July 31, 2002

The above photo of gargoyles comes from Tom Pilston's photographs of the restoration of Hereford Cathedral in England which can be found on The Independent's very nice photography page.

Congratulations to Vancouver's Juliet O'Keefe on one year of her awesome blog, the highly literate Eclogues.

July 29, 2002

Well, we're glad that's solved. Scientists have discovered why lobsters turn pink when you boil them. BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Lobster mystery solved

July 23, 2002

From our always growing "Did everybody know about this but us?" file.

July 21, 2002

Congratulations to Portage fave, and good Lambton County girl, Emm Gryner on the release of her excellent new album Asianblue. Emm has been consistently awesome over the last few years and admirably devoted to going it alone. Despite winning a major label contract with Mercury Records, she left them to continue on with her own label Dead Daisy Records. Her new album liner (or CD liner or whatever you call them now) has the following statement prominently displayed,

This album was entirely funded by the artist + fans, and was in no way financially supported by a corporation, major record label, or government agency.
Emm first came to our attention a few years ago with her awesome solo acoustic covers of Ozzy's Crazy Train and Pour Some Sugar On Me by Def Lepperd, since then we've been loyal fans and, well, we think you should be too. Here's an older Emm song, Summerlong, for you to listen to. You can also get more free Emm tracks at her page at MP3.com, but why not just go buy the records instead? Trust us, they kick! (If you live in, or near, Toronto Emm is going to be rocking the Top O' The Senator on Tuesday for her album release party. See you there.)
  • Summerlong by Emm Gryner
  • Emm Gryner's Official Website
  • Emm Gryner on MP3.com

  • Baby, fix me one more drink and hug your daddy one more time
    Keep on stirring my malted milk, mama, until I change my mind.

    Shake It Up, Baby All about the Malted. (NYTimes Magazine)

    Guardian article/interview with Springsteen whose new album, the first with the E Street band in over 15 years, is due out later this month. Meet the new Boss

    Dung-fired power stations, stallions in iron underwear, psychic butt-readings - all this and more at Australia's The Age oddspot. The funniest odd news site we've seen.

    July 19, 2002

    Noh Masks & Facial Expression Perception: Fascinating study on Noh theatre and how the masks work. A skilled Noh actor can express different emotions with the same mask by tilting his head a certain way. Cool. It seems, however, that Westerners will never really 'get' Noh because they interpret the emotions the masks portray differently from Japanese. Noh subtlety for the British.

    July 17, 2002

    We're back from our sailing trip feeling rested and looking tanned and lovely. Well, I am. Jack the dog, on the other hand, is not feeling so rested. Jack, you see, had a few harrowing adventures on the trip and has vowed never to sail again. Jack fell overboard and had to be rescued, then, during rescue operations, the captain fell in while trying to rescue Jack. It was a scene, that's all we're going to say on the matter. Back on dry land, things were no better. Out for an evening stroll Jack was snuffling along in the bushes when he suddenly gave out a mighty yelp. Jack had met his first porcupine! He was not happy. He had about 15 quills stuck right in his nose. I had to sit on top of him and hold him down while I pulled them out, they're barbed and hurt like hell coming out. It was just awful. Jack hit the couch last night when we got home and hasn't moved since.

  • Canadian Encyclopedia entry on porcupines
  • The Indians of Manitoulin Island (where we were sailing) make beautiful boxes out of porcupine quills. Lillian's Crafts of M'Chigeeng

  • July 15, 2002

    Yousuf Karsh, 1908-2002

    The great Canadian photographer Yousuf Karsh has died at the age of 93. Although Karsh is most widely known for his portraits of famous people he also took a series of photographs of ordinary people, such as the one above of steelworker 'Tiny' Stirtzinger, or an anonymous steelworker, or spraypainters at Ford's Oshawa plant. These photographs came from a very nice collection of Karsh portraits at the George Eastman House. There is also an excellent collection of Karsh photos at the National Gallery of Canada's CyberMuse site. (You'll have to login as a guest, then do a search for "Karsh", it can't be linked directly.)

  • George Eastman House Yousuf Karsh Series
  • National Gallery of Canada CymberMuse
  • this Public Address post on Karsh (links to photos)
  • NYTimes Obituary
  • Canadian Encyclopedia on Karsh

  • July 08, 2002

    July 05, 2002

    The KodakGirl Collection is a great site devoted to images of female photographers. The primary focus (ho ho) is on the advertising of the Kodak company, which for many years has used images of women taking pictures to sell cameras and film, but there's other stuff here too including calendars, catalogs, toys, and filmstills. Very interesting.
    (link via Spitting Image)

    Martha Cooper, the photographer who runs KodakGirl, has a great collection of photographs of New York City at NYCity Snaps

    We've been exploring the amazing Joe Fishstein Collection of Yiddish Poetry. Joe Fishstein was a garment worker from the Bronx who had an enormous love of Yiddish poetry. Throughout his life (1891-1978) he amassed a remarkable library of over 2300 volumes of poetry and ephemera. He protected most of these volumes with gorgeous handmade bookjackets that he crafted himself. After his death his wife, who refused to sell the collection, wanted to donate it to a library that would care for it as her husband had and which supported a strong Yiddish studies program. Several libraries refused the gift before she offered it to McGill University in Montreal which eagerly accepted it. Now they've created a wonderful website so that the whole world can share Joe Fishstein's passion.

    Ruth Wisse, who accepted the collection for McGill, recalls her first view of the library in the Fishman's small apartment in the Bronx.

    "In poor homes there is so much joy,"

    This line of Mani Leib's came to life for me one autumn day, about 1980, when I entered the small Bronx apartment of the late Joe Fishstein. The place was being readied for a move, and most of the furniture was already gone. But around the room, on white bookshelves, stood a library such as I had never seen. The walls sparkled, quite literally, with bright bindings, as almost each book had been provided with an extra decorative covering, and shone on the shelves like a bedecked bride. Mrs. Fishstein explained to me that her husband had fashioned all these covers by hand. Even before approaching the shelves, I felt that I had stumbled upon a treasure trove: Joe Fishstein had wanted his books to look as precious as they felt to him, so that their beauty should be palpable, the way they were in the great leather libraries of yore. He had transformed the modest room into a happy shrine.
    The Fishstein Collection is another fabulous project of McGill's Digital Collections Program which is run by the Rare Books and Special Collections Division of the McGill Library. Every time we visit one of their sites we are wowed. They're really setting the bar for what digital collections can and should be.

    Torontonians are enduring an angry strike by city workers, including garbage collectors, this hot, hot summer. With temperatures reaching 36 Celsius (almost 100 F) there are piles of garbage rotting on the streets and, obscenely, in many city parks, which have been turned into dump sites. We assure you it is not pretty, certainly not as pretty as these photos of compost by John Pfahl. The photos are from the super George Eastman House collections.

    July 02, 2002

    Great New Yorker article on Carolyn Gilbert and her annual Great Obituary Writers' Conference.

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