Incoming Signals
He sits motionless, like a spider in the centre of its web, but that web has a thousand radiations, and he knows well every quiver of each of them. —Sherlock Holmes
• After many months of dithering, technical incompetence, and procrastination, I'm finally kicking around a Wordpress version of Incoming Signals over here at this link. If you have me bookmarked, don't change your URL—at some point once I've got the new version looking and working the way I want to, I'll move it over to this page and, probably, archive the material on this page somewhere else. It's all a work in progress. But for the most part, new Incoming Signals entries will be made over there, not over here.

• It's been true for a long time that I don't update this page nearly often enough, but three months, that's a new record. More soon. In the meantime, here's a link I've been saving for whenever I decided to post again: A simulated aerial view of what Manhattan Island looked like in 1609.

The Obakemono Project, a guide to Japanese folk monsters.
Knitted Daleks.
Nasal strips for horses.
• The silver skull watch of Mary Queen of Scots.
• An animated historical map of the construction of the New York City subway system.

• Some stuff I wrote elsewhere:
• For the A.V. Club: An interview with ex-Jayhawk Gary Louris.
• The John Lee Hooker and Hank Williams entries in the Inventory feature (Don't Taunt) The Reaper: 26 tempting but inappropriate funeral songs.
• A review of Mike Doughty's new disc, Golden Delicious, which is neither golden nor particularly delicious.
• Posted at the A.V. Club blog: A wonderfully cheesy 1991 unauthorized biography of Patrick Swayze published by Personality Comics.

• And for, I wrote about 11 great movies about the prehistoric era, pegged to the new 10,000 BC (which is a Roland Emmerich movie, so don't go expecting anything great).

• Beautiful images of agatized dinosaur bone. (via Making Light)
• The World War One-era draft cards of Al Capone, Groucho Marx, T.S. Eliot, and other famous people. (via Boing Boing)
• An antique Masonic pocketwatch, c. 1935. (via Neatorama)
• A detailed three-dimensional model of ancient Rome. (via Cynical-C)
• A photographic comparison of the U.S.-Mexico border in the town of Nogales, 1898 and 2008.

And some things I wrote elsewhere:
For The A.V. Club:

• A brief report on Tapes N' Tapes' secret unannounced show at the Turf Club in St. Paul last night.
• A then-and-now photo gallery of the locations in Joshua Tree National Park used for the cover and inside album art for U2's The Joshua Tree in 1987 and 2007.
• A review of ex-Jayhawk Gary Louris's new CD, Vagabonds.
• The entries on renaissance fairs, Doctor Who and The Rocky Horror Picture Show for this group-written Inventory feature on 20 pop-cultural obsessions even geekier than Monty Python. That is most definitely NOT me in the photo.

• An appreciation of the Coen brothers in anticipation of No Country For Old Men's showing at the Oscars on Sunday.

• Great, haunting photographs of a Namibian ghost town being taken over by sand dunes. (via Boing Boing)
• Another photo set of the decaying Detroit Public Schools Book Depository, which reminds me of what the library in J.R.R. Tolkien's Khazad-Dum might have looked like. Here's a site with more explanation about the photos. (via Making Light)

• A couple of image galleries found on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's website: The USDA Pomological Watercolor Collection, which collects paintings of fruit (here's a page with nothing but strawberries), and the Henry G. Gilbert Nursery and Seed Catalog Collection. And lots and lots of information about the fight for screwworm eradication, which I didn't bother to link to. But when I say lots and lots, I mean it-just one of those collections was "59 linear feet and occupies 91 archival boxes." That's more information on screwworm eradication than I need to know, though I'm sure the war was just and courageously fought. Also, there's the "Cackelator," which appears to be a briefcase-sized electronic tin chicken—I wish I could tell you more about it, but there's tantalizingly little information there. (originally via Information Junk)
• Images of Arctic polar science stations during 1881-84, the first International Polar Year. (Why was the first International Polar Year three years long, anyway?)

• Hopefully soon, we'll see some much-needed structural changes and updates for Incoming Signals. Don't hold your breath, but I'm working on it. Every since I began blogging in 2001 or 2002, I've been writing the HTML by hand, which has limited my ability to add things like tags or other recent innovations. My plan is to begin running Incoming Signals via a publishing system like Wordpress. So far, I haven't gotten very far because I am not really very good at the technical side, and can't figure out how to install it. It's pretty frustrating; I feel like someone who just got a new car but can't figure out how to open the doors, let alone start the engine, and yet is looking at an instruction manual that skips past all that and starts talking about the intricacies of carburetors and the rest of the stuff under the hood that I can barely name, let alone fix. But I'm trying to stay optimistic about it. For now, I can still post via the old methods.

• I also posted this at the A.V. Club Blog: A wonderfully exhaustive list of all the reasons why David Banner became angry on the 1970s Incredible Hulk TV show. My favorite: 108. Having several clay pots broken over his head in the middle of the now-burning room (why is the room always burning?), and then knocking an entire case of same clay pots onto same head, and then, while lying very still and struggling not to get angry, having his pants catch fire.

• I saw Cloverfield last weekend, and loved it. A very vocal subset of the audience clearly hated it, though they were polite enough not to say so until the credits started running. I can see why they didn't like it. The shaky, handheld camerawork is a huge part of what made the film work for me, but all that motion definitely makes some people nauseous, and it also strikes some people (wrongly, I think) as amateurish. People also didn't like that there was nothing like a traditional resolution to the story. To me, that wasn't the point of the movie at all; what's most interesting about Cloverfield is that it's the first giant-monster movie to really try to capture what the experience must be like for an ordinary person caught in the middle of the city when a giant monster attacks. (Only this scene from Godzilla, Mothra, and King Ghidorah has really touched on this, and it's only about 45 seconds long.) So what if there wasn't a true "ending"? I didn't feel cheated, never mind what was or was not resolved. On another subject, any New York-based disaster film is obviously going to be full of associations with 9/11, and maybe Cloverfield was in bad taste to have made them—I don't really buy that, but then I didn't live in New York in 2001. But I also think we need horror films with 9/11 imagery in the same way that it was important for earlier films to touch on Vietnam or the Cold War. It's one of the ways we work these issues out as a culture, by making stories that allegorize subjects we have trouble dealing with otherwise. It's what made Texas Chain Saw Massacre important, and it's what makes Cloverfield important, or at least as important as a movie about a 400-foot-tall creature demolishing Manhattan can be.
• Anyway, I also wrote an article for about other great monster movies. Please check it out.
• While we're at it, during my long interregnum when I wasn't posting here, I also wrote a Halloween article on 10 great Asian horror films. (And there's lots of my writing at The A.V. Club that I haven't posted here either, but I don't want to dump 20 links on you right now; go look, if you're interested.)

• Hey, what about some random links? That's supposed to be the point of this blog, isn't it?
• The X-Ray art of photographer Larry Berman. (via Information Junk)
• Tracking the trains of Zurich in real time.
• Artist Ben Wilson's Wireframe Lamborghini. (via Things)
• A gallery of Polish movie posters. (via Boing Boing)
• A gallery of Belarussian movie posters. (via Plep)
Life in Elizabethan England: A Compendium of Common Knowledge. (via Making Light)

Just a quick post to declare that this blog is still alive. Happy new year.

Sorry about the lack of updates recently; I've been swamped. I'll return to a more regular posting schedule as soon as I can. In the meantime, enjoy this economic theory of AC/DC.

The big news in my city today was the total collapse of the Mississippi River bridge of I-35, the main highway running through Minneapolis, during the middle of rush hour with dozens of vehicles in bumper-to-bumper traffic. I'm fine and everyone I know is fine, but many aren't—nine deaths officially announced so far, and there are certainly people still unaccounted for. It's pretty shocking. That stretch of I-35 was one of the most heavily trafficked in town. I crossed that bridge almost every day, and it's very easy to imagine that it could have been me, my family or my friends who were unlucky enough to be on it when it collapsed. Judging from the extent of the damage I've seen in the news media and online, it seems amazing that the death toll was so low. I don't think it's known yet what caused the structural collapse. We'll be dealing with this for a long time to come; besides the deaths and injuries, the loss of the bridge literally tears a ragged hole in the heart of our city's transportation system.

• There's something very eerie about this gallery of taxidermied polar bears. (via Plep)
Armor for cats and mice. (via Cynical-C)
• A map, compiled by NASA, showing how much of the surface area of the United States is covered in turf lawns.
Peanuts, as it might have been written by Charles Bukowski. Also: The Nietzsche Family Circus.
• A useful website for finding sunrise, sunset, dawn and dusk times around the world.
• If my Simpsons trivia quiz linked to below was too easy for you, then this monster Simpsons quiz with more than 300 questions is your game.

• A history of artificial eyes. (via Plep)
Standard tooth numbering. (via Making Light)
• ApeLad's Laugh Out Loud Cats, mixing the LOLCATs phenomenon with his own work on the 700 Hoboes project.
• Scans from Jack Kirby's comics adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. (via Gerry Canavan)

• Stuff I've written recently elsewhere:
• For A guide to the major characters on The Simpsons and a Simpsons trivia quiz, and a character guide for the movie of Harry Potter & The Order Of The Phoenix.
• For the A.V. Club: The Charles Mingus and Roky Erickson entries in this Inventory of 10 surprisingly good tribute albums, and reviews of Metric's Metric, Grow Up And Blow Away and Gogol Bordello's Super Taranta!.

• I wrote a trivia quiz for on Transformers and movie robots in general.

• Over at the A.V. Club, I've got an interview with guitarist and songwriter Richard Thompson.

• Record-setting large lakes and islands, including the largest island in a lake on an island in a lake on an island.
• A gallery of Chinese public health posters.
• One hell of a lawn ornament: A life-size replica of a Camarasaurus. A steal at $55,000. (via J-Walk)
An archeological timeline of human expansion.
• A wall map of Aboriginal Australia. (via Moon River)
• Artist Jonathan McCabe's cellular automata. (via Moon River)
• Tove Jansson's illustrations for The Hobbit.
• A family tree of North American railroads.
• An interesting blog post with lots of photos on the most dangerous roads in the world. I drove though a particularly cliff-bedecked section of the Pacific Coast Highway near San Francisco recently and that was vertigo-inducing enough for me; I think I'd need tranquilizers to go on the Bolivian road mentioned here.
• The weblog Throttling sticks rigorously to its mission statement of cataloging throttling scenes from old comics, and is therefore awesome. (via Superfrankenstein Beer & Meat)

• In the stuff-I-wrote-elsewhere department: I'm a little late posting this here since the movie's out by now, but last week I wrote a trivia quiz about heist movies, pegged to Ocean's Thirteen.
• And here's a quiz about the Silver Surfer, occasioned by the new (and probably pretty bad, since it's not screening for critics) Fantastic Four movie.

40 facts about sleep, including: "Experts say one of the most alluring sleep distractions is the 24-hour accessibility of the internet." Ain't that the truth. (via Cynical-C)
• A tour through the Inferno. And speaking of the underworld: Maps of the major subway systems of the world. (both via Making Light)
• See what happens when two galaxies smash into each other, as is apparently going to happen eventually when the Andromeda galaxy whacks into our own Milky Way, with Gravitas: Portraits of a Universe in Motion. (via Monkeyfilter)
• Scenes from Dr. Strangelove recreated with household items. (via Cynical-C)
• The U.S. Civil War in four minutes.
• An interactive timeline of British history. (via Neatorama)
• A photo series showing the assembly of the space shuttle and its engines and subsequent transport to the launch pad. (via Neatorama)

Stuff I wrote elsewhere:
• For, a guide to the characters of the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy and a roundup of a dozen other worthwhile pirate movies.

Unusual technical images of equipment used in World War II. (via Neatorama)
• I just started reading a collection of Jorge Luis Borges' short stories. Here's a set of audio excerpts from lectures Borges gave at Harvard. Also, William Carlos Williams reading his own poetry. (via Bookslut)
• Probably not related to Jorge, but Phil Borges is a photographer worth looking at. (via Neatorama)
Transylmania!: Bite the villagers before they stake you.

• Over at, I wrote a guide to the characters of the Shrek trilogy. You'll thank me later when you're not all confused as to who the hell this "Pinocchio" guy is.

• Diagrams of Amtrak Superliners. (via Information Junk)
• Michel Gagné's Frenzied Fauna: From A to Z.
• A map of the world according to Wal-Mart.
• Detailed Flickr scans of the Voynich Manuscript. (via Boing Boing)
• A gallery of the religious symbols (including a nuclear-powered atheist symbol) available for use on U.S. government headstones. (via This Modern World)

Stuff I wrote elsewhere:
• For the A.V. Club: Interviews with pro wrestling legend Baron Von Raschke and Andrew Rieger of the band Elf Power.
• For, a trivia quiz about Spider-Man 3.

• A big page about African clawed frogs, which look like something H.P. Lovecraft might have dreamed up. Especially in this picture. (via J-Walk)
Xrez, a site collecting extreme high-resolution photography. (via Making Light)
• Photographs from the Arkansas State Prison, 1915-1937.
• A gallery of abandoned buildings in Finland. (via Plep)
• A huge open pit mine in Siberia.
• An alphabet made of raw hamburger.
All known bodies in the solar system larger than 200 miles in diameter. (via Waxy)
• The paleontological art of Heinrich Harder (1858-1935).
• How to knit a slice of pizza. (via Grow a Brain)

• Some stuff I wrote for the A.V. Club: An interview with the Duluth trio Low. And, for the Permanent Records column, Robyn Hitchcock's I Often Dream Of Trains.

Kurt Vonnegut is dead. So it goes.

Do The Right Thing, as acted out by Fisher-Price Sesame Street figures.
60 years of Fate Magazine covers.
• A timeline of jazz and its relation to popular culture.
• A life-size blue whale, staring back from inside your monitor.
• U.S. home prices, adjusted for inflation, plotted to a roller coaster.
• An atlas of the languages of Russia's Caucasus region. (via Languagehat)
• A gallery of Russian roadside bus stops.

Stuff I wrote elsewhere:
• For, a trivia quiz on Grindhouse, the new movie from Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez.
• For the A.V. Club, a bunch of things:
• An interview with author Jonathan Lethem (the Seed interview mentioned in the first segment can be found here), and another one for the Random Rules feature with rapper P.O.S..
• A review of Low's new album, Drums And Guns, and an appreciation of my favorite Peter Gabriel album, Peter Gabriel III, a.k.a. Melt.
• And I pitched in on a couple of the Inventory roundups for memorable movie scenes set in offices and songs that are also short stories.

• Photographer Chris Jordan takes stunning images that capture the scope of American consumerism.
• Some trivia about paperweights.
World Navies Today lists all the named ships of dozens of countries.
• The Smithsonian's online version of the Biologia Centrali-Americana contains 58 digitized volumes of the hundred-year-old compendium of Central American plants and animals.

• I've got an interview with musician Andrew Bird online at the A.V. Club.

• The path of the sun over a year. (via Neatorama)
• The Battle of Helm's Deep, from Tolkien's The Two Towers, rendered in candy.
• A gallery of German industrial buildings c. 1910-1925. (via Things)
• Photographs from the Chicago Daily News, 1902-1933.
• From the American Newspaper Repository, a gallery of art and illustration from early 20th-century American newspapers.
• A page on photographer George R. Lawrence, 1869-1938, who captured a stunning image of San Francisco in ruins after the 1906 earthquake and fire by sending his camera high up in the air on kites.

• More stuff I wrote: The Stevie Wonder, Blind Boys Of Alabama, Elvis Costello, and Langley School Music Project entries in this list of 14 cover songs that are better than the original; 1974, 1999, and 2525 in this list of songs about years; and a Random Rules interview with Chuck Klosterman.

• I wrote a trivia quiz about war movies for, pegged to the upcoming release of "300." Please check it out.

• Mauritania, land of shipwrecks. (via Grow a Brain)
Warning signs of the future. (via Gravity Lens)
• How to talk to rabbits. (via Information Junk)
Dubai in the fog. (via Making Light)
• The sketchbooks of an unidentified artist, known only as "JM," who was a British soldier during World War One.
• Strange Maps has an interesting post about respectable astronomer Edmund Halley, who gave his name to Halley's Comet, and his belief in a Hollow Earth.
• Freight flow maps for Los Angeles by truck and water and San Francisco by truck and water. (via Information Junk)

Newspaper blackout poems. (via Fimoculous)
• A graphical representation of your odds of dying from various causes. (via Backwards City)
• A great set of photos of dancers in mid-jump. (via Cynical-C)
• A map of the present geographic distribution of Africanized killer bees in the U.S. (via Information Junk)
• A noise map of England. (via Grow a Brain)
• A gallery of frogs in myth and religion. (via Monster Brains)
The American Society for Velociraptor Attack Prevention. (via Gravity Lens)
Denver International Airport, before and after a snowstorm.
• An online pig disease problem solver. Registration is required to use it, but hey, if your pig needs medical attention, that seems like a small price to pay. (via J-Walk)
• A movie showing the size of several stars and planets in scale next to each other. (via Infosthenics)
• A diagram of the anatomy of an ant. (via Information Junk)
• A diagram of the anatomy of a fish.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a stony coral polyp.
• From the BBC, diagrams of the human organs, muscular structure, skeleton, and nervous system.
• A diagram of the anatomy of an animal cell.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a slug.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a bass guitar.
• A diagram of the anatomy of an electric and acoustic guitar.
• A diagram of the anatomy of an acorn barnacle, with all the dirty parts circled in red for some reason.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a crocodile.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a cobra.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a bee.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a horseshoe crab.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a coelacanth.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a caballo.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a snake.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a loose diamond.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a flower.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a fetal pig.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a cow.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a clam.
• A diagram of the anatomy of a dog.
• There, that ought to make up for only posting once last month.

• Some stuff I wrote: six contributions to the A.V. Club's Inventory feature on sidekicks who are cooler than their heroes, with the items on Tonto, R2D2, Nobody, Inigo Montoya, Dr. Pretorius, Marvin, and Mouse. A lot of readers complained about the unintentional slight of the Green Hornet's sidekick Kato, who was mentioned in the Tonto entry but not given his own listing. So I put together a little tribute to Kato here. Also, a short item on the failed U.S. version of Spitting Image.

• I saw in the news that a valuable replica of the statue from the movie The Maltese Falcon has been stolen, and it strikes me that if there's any object that really ought to be stolen property, it would be the Maltese Falcon statue. Let it wander through the world, passing through the hands of many owners, rightful and not rightful, and inspire covetous visions in treasure hunters everywhere. The stuff that dreams are made of doesn't belong to anybody. (On the same subject, here's my favorite section from Dashiell Hammett's novel, the short parable of Flitcraft and the falling beams.)
• A blogger snarkily recaps old episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation—which would be nothing to write home about, except that the blogger is Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher on TNG, and writes simultaneously from the perspective of an insider reminiscing on the old days, and of a wryly bemused fan who loves the show but also loves to poke fun at its occasional silliness (or, especially in the first season, its frequent silliness).
• An interactive map of Charles Dickens' London.
• A real-time map of commercial boat activity in San Francisco Bay.
Japanese medical art.
Chinese public health posters.
• The worldwide distribution of blood types.
Romanian stencil graffiti.
• How to tell time. No, really. (via Information Junk)

• Stuff I wrote recently for The A.V. Club: 1) A Random Rules interview with Josh Grier of Tapes N' Tapes, with a photo by my friend Liz from their recent show at First Avenue, 2) The Ike Turner and Bob Dylan segments of the 8 Songs About Sexual Mishaps Inventory, and 3) a short paragraph in the Ask The A.V. Club feature on whether non-musicians should review music. And I don't know who Karl Ruben is, but he's OK in my book.

• Jeez, it's been more than a month. I'd better post something. How about this?

• An online collection of police hats. (via J-Walk)
• A collection of diagrams of James Bond villain lairs. (via Backwards City)
• Twelve issues of skateboard magazine Thrasher, c. 1981.
• The rabies webpage that's just for kids! (via In4mador!)
• Every book Art Garfunkel has read in the last 30 years. (via Backwards City)

• The A.V. Club picks a collective Top 25 discs of 2006. Here's my personal top 10, with a little commentary. And I also chose my Top 20 discs by Minnesota artists, which I posted to the AVC Blog after its appearance in the Twin Cities print edition.

• Also, a Java-based spirograph. (via Daily Jive)
• A stabilized version of the infamous Patterson-Gimlin "Bigfoot" film, steadied so you can see how the creature, or person dressed in a creature suit, really walks.
• Make your own animated scrolling text LED sign. (via In4mador!)

• A pie chart of avalanche fatalities ranked by country. (via Information Junk)
• A collection of photos spelling out the first seven lines of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, taken in order, walking west to east, on the Pilgrims' Way from Winchester to Canterbury. (via Things)
• The Navigable Atlas of the Dolphin Brain. (via Plep)
• The Museum of Scientifically Accurate Fabric Brain Art. (via Making Light)

• An invention made long before its time: Pants for cows. (via Ramage)
Soviet propaganda carpets. (via Cynical-C)
• An interesting interview with editor and architectural critic Geoff Manaugh on the works and legacy of J.G. Ballard. (via
• The time-gun map of Edinburgh. (via Moon River)
• Ed the Handyman uses a hammer. (via Information Junk)
• An animated map of U.S. county formation from 1643-present.
Uranium glassware. (via Neatorama)

• John Lennon died 26 years ago today, gunned down by a deranged "fan," and the world is still the poorer for it. Certainly I still miss him, and when I look at the sometimes terrific music that guys like Bob Dylan are creating in their later careers, I can't help but wonder what Lennon had inside him that we'll never get to hear. So, a few Lennon links:

• City Pages' Jim Walsh asks "Where were you when you heard John Lennon had been shot?"
• Last year, WFMU's Beware Of The Blog posted a recording of a radio-dial scan from New York the night of the murder.
• Grow a Brain has compiled a whole bunch of links to Beatles-related material around the web.
• Oasis' Liam Gallagher claims he was once visited by Lennon's ghost. (via Hans)
• For those of you in the Twin Cities, tonight is the annual John Lennon tribute ring-led by Curtiss A, one of my favorite events on the local-music scene except for, of course, the reason it had to happen.

• I've got a new interview online over at The A.V. Club website with one of my favorite authors, crime novelist Donald Westlake, alias Richard Stark. And as long as I'm plugging my own material, here's a few other things I've done for The A.V. Club recently that I haven't linked here: Interviews with musicians Martin Dosh, The Hold Steady, The Awesome Snakes, Albert Kuvezin of Yat-Kha, and Emily Haines of Metric; also, a review of Neil Gaiman's new short-story collection, Fragile Things.

Some Westlake/Stark links:
Donald Westlake's website.
The Violent World Of Parker, probably the best fan website out there devoted to the Stark novels.
• The Thrilling Detective's Westlake page.
• A 1990 audio interview with Wired For Books.
• An April 2006 interview with Chronogram.
• From the weblog of jazz trio The Bad Plus, the opening scene of The Da Vinci Code rewritten in the style of Richard Stark.
• One of Stark's signatures has been to open his novels with a quick, sharp sentence that puts you right in the middle of the action. Here's a compendium put together by the Rara Avis email discussion list of the first lines to the Parker books, missing only the opener to the most recent novel, Ask The Parrot. Which is, by the way: "When the helicopter swept northward and lifted out of sight over the top of the hill, Parker stepped away from the tree he'd waited beside and continued his climb." Not bad, but the best one of the series is far and away 2001's Firebreak: "When the phone rang, Parker was in the garage, killing a man."
Ask The Parrot also includes a little lexicographical legerdemain, with Westlake having accepted a challenge from the the New Oxford American Dictionary to insert three rare words into the book. Frankly, I didn't really think this added anything to the book and I could have done without having to stumble over the word "acheiropoietoi." It might have been more fun in one of Westlake's Dortmunder books, though.

And, to keep with Incoming Signals' nebulously defined mission of posting whatever random things I found on the Internet that struck me as interesting, here's a bunch of random stuff I found:
• How to regain control of a spooked camel.
Phonetic alphabets of the world.
• The etchings of Rembrandt van Rijn
Old German zoological wallcharts. (via Plep)
• A photographic exploration of old Los Angeles (via Daily Jive)
• A BBC graphic illustrating the difference between the various kinds of Muslim veils. (via Cynical-C)
• A detailed map of oil and gas fields in the Persian Gulf region. (via Information Junk)
• The complete works of Charles Darwin.
• An archival website devoted to 2001: A Space Odyssey.
• Make your own official seal.
An air-conditioning glossary (via Information Junk)
• A tag cloud of U.S. presidential speeches, with the words used most often in the largest typesize; not surprisingly, the current White House occupant's favorite word is "terrorist."
• The Samurai Archives, a site about Japanese history.


That's it. Just "awesome." Need I say more?


• Hey, at least I've got company. (via Boing Boing)

• A hard-drive crash about a month ago knocked my computer out; I didn't lose any important files, but I did have to reinstall everything. I won't bore you with the details, but it's taken me quite a while to get everything back in working order, which is why I haven't posted anything on this weblog—partly because I didn't have much free time, and partly because I didn't have my FTP thingamajig working and so literally couldn't post. Unlike my little attempts in September to be clever about why I wasn't posting then, this isn't a lame attempt at humor; it's just lame. Hopefully I'll be back soon.

• Making microwave popcorn. No posting today. Back soon.

• Mildly injured in bar fight over whether the dromedary camel is the one with one hump or two. No posting today. Back soon.

• Inflamed carotid artery. No posting today. Back soon.

• Cleaning lint traps. No posting today. Back soon.

• So, I guess I haven't posted here in a while. Don't worry, I haven't given up on blogging, I've just been busy. No posting today. Back soon.

• Take the challenge, if you dare, of my Snakes On A Plane quiz over at

• I've been out of town, hence three weeks without posting. Will return soon.

• Over at the A.V. Club's website, I've got an interview with the band Tapes N' Tapes, and a review of Golden Smog's Another Fine Day.

• A huge archive of Jeopardy! questions (via Fimoculous)
• A collection of lichens of North America. (via Plep)
• A collection of medical slang.
Paleogeography and Geologic Evolution of North America, a pretty cool collection of maps showing the changing shape of the continent over the last 550 million years or so. (via Shopiere)
• Unrealized Soviet architectural projects from the 1930s to 1950s. (via Cynical-C)
American Environmental Photographs 1891-1936, a collection of 4,500 vintage photos from the Library of Congress. (via Plep)
Banglapedia, the online national encyclopedia of Bangladesh.
Carthalia, a collection of postcards of theaters and concert halls from around the world.
• Jason Kronenwald's Gum Blondes (via Neatorama)
Snakes In A Drain and Crocodiles In A Drain. Part of The History Of Sanitary Sewers, an indispensable resource on the end of civilization. Also includes a section on poems and songs about sewers. (via Making Light)
• A recent live photographic re-recreation of George Seurat's painting "Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte" by the community of Beloit, Wisconsin. (via Waxy)

• New from me over at A trivia quiz on Kevin Smith and Clerks in honor of the upcoming Clerks II, and a bit of speculation about who'll die in the next Harry Potter novel.

• A brief tour of the higher dimensions, progressively harder to imagine the higher up you go, but pretty clearly and concisely explained here.
• A collection of pulp-magazine covers featuring octopi. (via Daily Jive)
• A bizarre, supposedly educational comic from 1942 commissioned by the U.S. armed forces to train clueless white soldiers how to tell Japanese and Chinese people apart. It's so filled with racist nonsense that it couldn't possibly have been of any use in sniffing out enemy spies. But it would sure have been useful in dehumanizing the enemy in the eyes of your troops. Propagandistic garbage, if historically interesting. (via J-Walk)
Holocaust: The Untold Story. A look at how the U.S. media during and before WWII deliberately downplayed reports of the increasing Nazi atrocities towards Jews. (via Plep)
• RIP, Syd Barrett.

• I've got a couple of new bits o' writing up at The A.V. Club: an interview with Dave Pirner of Soul Asylum, and a review of the new CD by The Handsome Family, Last Days Of Wonder.

• Photographs of six 1950s Nevada atomic-bomb tests that were visible in nighttime Los Angeles, more than 250 miles away. More details at this Boing Boing post where I found them.
• A collection of American political campaign badges, 1824 to the present.
• A collection of vintage novelty transistor radios.
Common pickle problems and their solutions. (via Information Junk)
• A timeline of food.

• A flowchart of Armageddon. (via Presurfer)
• The art of Ben Tolman. (via Phantasmaphile)
• Hamid Sardar's photography of Mongolia's Reindeer People. (via Neatorama)
• A guide to elephant footcare. (via Tofu Hut)
• A line-by-line delineation of the differences between the U.S. and Confederate constitutions. The major difference, unsurprisingly, was that slaveowning was strongly protected by the Southerners. (via Cynical-C)
Aerial formations of flocks of more than a million European starlings. (via Presurfer)
• A timeline of the life of Woody Guthrie, 1912-1967.
• A guide to fake David Bowie postage stamps. (via Daily Jive)
• I've linked to him before, but he's well worth linking again: Shaun O'Boyle's photographs of abandoned buildings. Eerie and quite well done. (via Neatorama)

• I wrote a trivia quiz about Pirates of the Caribbean II over at
• Related, here are a few sites about buccaneers and swashbucklers and sea brigands and people like that: Pirates of the Spanish Main. Pirate's Hold. Pirates! Fact & Legend.
Davey Jones' Locker, a website about seafloor mapping.

• A gallery of cool Polish movie posters. (via The A.V. Club Blog)
• A chronology of human technology.
• A large collection of film trailers, from early D.W. Griffith and Charlie Chaplin movies to Fahrenheit 9/11, from the University of Houston's Digital History site. The site calls them "historically significant" films, but they include things like Bubba Ho-Tep, which I love, but it's not exactly The Seventh Seal.
• A history of poisoning.
• A history of felt hats and hat making. (via Monkeyfilter)
• A history of the wheelbarrow. (via Information Junk)
• A history of coffeehouses.
From Old Books, a site of nearly 1,200 scanned images from out-of-copyright sources. (via Cartoonist)
• An interesting 2002 article from the Atlantic Monthly that suggests that American Indians were present in far greater numbers and far more sophisticated populations than archaeology usually claims, and that their agricultural prowess was so great that "the Amazon rain forest may be largely a human artifact." (via Backwards City)

• Over at The A.V. Club, my interview with musician Mason Jennings.

• Movie posters redrawn in the style of medieval Russian illuminated texts. (via Tofu Hut)
• An expansion of the planet-comparison site I linked to in the post below: The relative sizes of the planets and of several nearby stars. Antares is pretty mind-bogglingly huge. (via Presurfer)
Urville, an amazingly large and detailed imaginary city drawn by an autistic French artist named Gilles Trehin.
• A live webcam from the Pyramids. (via Shopiere)
• A live webcam from the North Pole. (via Cynical-C)
• How to choose the right shovel. (via Information Junk)
• Via Youtube, a bizarre 1970s-era antismoking public-service announcement in which Superman kills a tobacco lobbyist.
• A gallery of purported children's drawings of aliens.
• The official website of the Leaning Tower of Pisa.
Cool Antarctica, a website about the southernmost continent.

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