Friday, December 30, 2016

Last day of the year, December 31st, 2016

2016 the movie

Wow. This is such a fascinating, poignant story. A husband in Japan fell out of talking with his wife for 23 years. Their son went to a tv program and asked for help to see if his father would talk to his mother. Deeply moving to see this story unfold.

Love stories about different kinds of work, like this one. A brief glimpse into a fascinating world in Hong Kong.

The Making of Neon Signs

Whoa. An $80 mango. An Irwin type of mango, grown in southern Japan as a formal gift.

An exceptionally insightful, brief video about a few of the major social, life attitudes and work problems of people born after 1984. Basically due to having been badly parented on the one hand and the sudden introduction of social media via the internet.
Millennials in the workplace

An exceptionally good film. The Corporation. The full movie watchable online for free. Very worth seeing in regard to the current election and political climate but also very entertaining in its story.

Online Libraries - 25 Places to Read Free Books Online


1. The Online Books Page

The University of Pennsylvania's Online Books Page is a great place to read free online books. There are more than 30,000 English language works available. All of them are nicely formatted and can be read right on your computer.

2. Project Gutenberg

Project Gutenberg is the original free electronic book producer. There are currently over 25,000 books in its online catalog, with 100,000 more titles available from many partners and affiliates.

3. Questia

Questia is best known as a resource for writers and students, but the site also hosts a library featuring more than 5,000 free books that may be read online. Offerings include rare books as well as classics.

4. Free Classic Books

This free online library holds many of the world's most treasured classics. Books include the writings of authors such as L. Frank Baum, H.G. Wells and Jane Austen.

5. offers thousands of books that can be read online for free. All of these books are sorted by title. also has links to sites with free reference books, biographies and science books.

6. Internet Public Library

The Internet Public Library is a goodplace to access newspapers, magazines and reference works. Nearly 100 links that will take site visitors to websites offering free online books. Links are updated regularly and include descriptions to help you find what you're looking for.

7. Classic Reader

Classic Reader has nearly 4,000 free classic books, poems, plays and short stories. You may read the books for free online and even add your own annotations.

8. Authorama

Authorama features free books from a wide range of authors. All of the books on this site are public domain and are formatted in XHTML, which means that text style and illustrations have been preserved. Currently more than 100 free books are available, with new books added on a regular basis.

9. is just what the name implies--a website for people who are bored. The site offers thousands of free books that can be stored on your computer and/or read online. Book offerings include British literature, American literature, cookbooks, children's books, textbooks and reference books.

10. Read Print

Read Print is a free online library that was designed for teachers, students and readers of classic books. This well-organized site has its thousands of free books sorted by author. Other features include literature articles and a section on Shakespeare.

11. The Literature Network

The Literature Network features thousands of free short stories, books and poems that you maybegin reading immediately. The site also includes quizzes, author biographies and user comments.

12. LibriVox

LibriVox is a unique online library catering to both listeners and readers. The site has free audio books and links to text versions to read online. Other site features include book summaries, author bios and links to further book-related content.

13. Bartleby

Bartleby is one of those sites you'll want to bookmark as soon as you discover it. This Internet publisher features a huge collection of free books to read on your computer. Offerings include fiction, nonfiction, poetry and reference works.

14. Classic Bookshelf

The Classic Bookshelf is a nice place to read classic books online because of its easy readability program. Users can open the free book of their choice and then decide how they'd like the screen to look. Things readers can customize include page color, text color, print size, margin size and font.


Although this website isn't that pretty, it's a good place to read books online for free. The site has over 1,000 books by different authors. Offerings include the best of British, Irish and American literature.

16 Chest of Books

If fiction isn't your favorite thing, Chest of Books is a good place for you. This free online library features nonfiction books on a wide range of topics, including business, art, computers, finance, health, history, gardening, home improvement, science, real estate, sports and travel.

17. has a good selection of free classic books that may be read online in a free user-friendly interface. The site also features works by accomplished authors from around the world. Reading categories include classics, comedy, children's, fiction, nonfiction, poetry, plays and sci fi.

18. Biblomania

Biblomania has over 2,000 poems, short stories, novels and plays to read for free online. New books are added each month. Biblomania provides study guides, literature articles and a whole range of resources for students to go along with these works.

19. International Children's Digital Library

The International Children's Digital Library Foundation provides access to online free books for children around the world. Books are available in many different languages and most of them feature user-submitted activities and other content that can be used in conjunction with the books.

20. Public Bookshelf

Public Bookshelf will likely have something to suit you no matter your interests. This online library has classic books as well as new authors. Free book categories fantasy, history, mystery, romance, teen fiction and horror. Public Bookshelf also features a substantial collection of nonfiction.

21. Perseus Digital Library

Perseus Digital Library of Tufts University is an evolving digital library featuring a wide range of materials and constantly updated with new content. Current works include modern English Literature, classics and science papers.

22. DailyLit

DailyLit offers a unique service for reading free books online. This site lets readers choose classic and contemporary books, then the books will be sent out in installments via RSS feed or email.

23. is a great place to find free online novels. Books are split into chapters, so it's easy to remember where you left off. The site also offers poetry, plays and picture books.

24. Page By Page Books

Page By Page Books has hundreds of classic books that may be read online for free . Books can be searched for by author and title.
Big Oil and its environment destroying messes in the USA. Pipeline Spills, 1986-2016
List of Famous people who died in 2016

Marvelous 1960s photographs of New York City by Richard Friedman

Summer 1966  Thru 1967

Top executives of a major fentanyl company arrested for allegedly leading a huge criminal conspiracy

In order to get doctors to prescribe more fentanyl, the indictment says, Insys executives gave them thinly disguised kickbacks. One of the preferred methods for this was to bring them in to supposedly give paid speeches about their products with other healthcare professionals. But many of the events had no attendees, and sales representatives routinely falsified names of guests, the government claims.

Vintage Swiss travel poster. Love traveling by train anywhere

Vintage Swiss travel poster

"Happy new year to everybody as the road winds on over the next hill and round that bend . . ." 
Via Paul Fraser 

Hoca Ali Riza - Manzara (Landscape), 1898

May what's ahead for the world be wonderful. May there be greater peace, greater loving kindness.

Some excellent podcasts and fun stuff

A menu of interesting and fun podcasts:
Criminal - interesting crime stories via BANANARCHY

99% Invisible - It combines science, social science, and design to discuss aspects of the world around us. Some things that are common but are curious, some that are obscure and fascinating. Almost every one is a home run. via zazzlekdazzle

The History of Rome podcast by Mike Duncan. He also does another one called Revolutions which I'm listening to now. Very well researched and Mike is a joy to listen to. via treebeardsavesmannis

Bill Burr's Monday morning podcast is fucking hilarious. Some of the funniest parts are when he reads his advertisements cause he does all of these inflections with his voice and as he's reading he just calls the companies out on how stupid the advertisements sound. Highly recommend it! via code_and_coffee

My Dad Wrote A Porno. Pretty self explanatory, guys dad writes an erotic novel so he decided to make a podcast with two of his friends where he reads a chapter each episode. It's painfully funny, the combination of the terrible writing and the knowledge that this guy is essentially reading his dad's (graphic) sexual fantasies out loud is uniquely hysterical. via vulnerablehuman

Welcome to Night Vale is absolutely hilarious if you like dry humor. via Steven_Letols

100 Outstanding Audio Stories of 2016

The best podcast episodes & audio journalism of the year, as chosen by the Bello Collective team (and friends)


  • Investigative journalism
  • Politics & history
  • First-person storytelling & interviews
  • Out of the ordinary
  • Human behavior, love, & other feelings
  • Science, nature & technology
  • Cool collaborations & serialized stories
  • Audio drama
  • Documentary-style

-This American Life: pretty popular but their stories are so well crafted and I love Ira Glass.
-The Black Tapes: It's a fictional paranormal story told week by week. Pretty creepy and really entertaining. It's a good one to binge on a car ride.
-Tanis: It's by the same people as The Black Tapes, but this story has more of a new age/fantasy/conspiracy element. I don't like it as much as the Black Tapes, but it's still really good.
-Serial: One true story told in pieces week to week. First season was amazing. Second season was good, but a lot of people didn't like it as much.
-Guys We've Fucked: Two comediennes talk about sex and interview other comedians about their sex lives. They can be preachy, but it's still really entertaining.
-Planet Money: 15-20 minute stories about different economic topics. Most of them are really interesting and relevant to pop culture.
-Reply All: A podcast about the internet. They do a bunch of different stories that relate to a bunch of different aspects related to internet culture. Really great stuff.
-Lore: Great podcast about different folk lore/scary stories
-Sword and Scale: This one is a true crime podcast. Sometimes he'll use the whole podcast to talk about one story, other times it's three or four stories. Pretty eerie hearing a lot of the live testimony and nitty gritty. It can get graphic sometimes, but definitely a great listen.
-Freakanomics: A lot of similar content to the book, but they delve into different social issues and how they effect different economic problems.
-Radiolab: Pretty similar to TAL, but their segments are a little shorter and more concentrated.
-Embedded: They take a news story and do a really in-depth piece on it. The one about the biker brawl was absolutely fascinating.
-The Moth: Different people get pulled on stage to tell stories to a live audience.
-How I Built This: Different entrepreneurs talk about how they started their business. They feature every different type of company, from Sam Adams to Spanx to Patagonia. All super interesting.
-Making Oprah: This is only a three part series, but they do a really in depth analysis of why and how the Oprah show got popular.
-The Mortified Podcast: People read their diaries from when they were teens. Hilarious
-More Perfect: From the producers at Radio Lab. They examine supreme court cases that have impacted different facets of society
-Science Vs.: She takes a look at different issues in the media and the science behind them. She's done shows on fracking, organic foods, forensic science, etc.
-Astonishing Legends: They do multi-part series on different weird or paranormal things in pop culture. They get on tangents, but they guys that do the show are really entertaining and do some really in-depth research.
-Up and Vanished: A true crime podcast about a documentary maker who is looking into the case of a vanished woman in Georgia.
-Crimetown: Each season they take a look at the organized crime families of different cities, and how they shaped the city as a whole. Currently doing it on Providence, Rhode Island.
This is list is really long... but when you commute, it's a lifesaver! via rex0411

“One of the major findings in this study is that there is a dramatic difference in brain activity in the amygdala and hippocampus during inhalation compared with exhalation,” said lead author Christina Zelano, assistant professor of neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. “When you breathe in, we discovered you are stimulating neurons in the olfactory cortex, amygdala and hippocampus, all across the limbic system.”

Another potential insight of the research is on the basic mechanisms of meditation or focused breathing. “When you inhale, you are in a sense synchronizing brain oscillations across the limbic network,” Zelano noted.

Nasal Respiration Entrains Human Limbic Oscillations and Modulates Cognitive Function

Pranayama basics

Wow. What an incredible instrument and quite wonderful music. The Stranierofono.
Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia These 4,086 square miles in southwest Bolivia make up the world’s largest salt flat. The vast and incredibly flat plains and clear skies of Salar de Uyuni make it both one of the most famous “natural mirrors” on the planet.

Omg, this is one of my favorite videos, ever! Magnets and marbles
Snuggle time

An exquisite swan automaton

This is extraordinary. Wait for it.

Illustration of what's happening there.

Claghorn had an unshakable obsession with the South, and would proudly voice his disdain for the North in humorous ways. For instance, the Senator refused to ever wear a "Union suit" or drive through the Lincoln Tunnel when he visited New York City, and he claimed to drink only out of Dixie cups. The Senator even rebuked Allen for saying the word "no" in his presence, saying "N-O.. That's North abbreviated!!"
Delmar, as Claghorn, starred in the 1947 movie It's a Joke, Son! which featured the above clip. The entire movie is available at YouTube. Later in his career, Delmar found that Warner Brothers had copyrighted Foghorn Leghorn, and he had to get their permission to perform as his Claghorn character." 
Hilarious and somehow so pertinent to some of the insanity of this recent election and its ridiculous prejudices. It's a Joke Son, trailer.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Trump’s Night Before Christmas - by Alan Skwarla

Trump’s Night Before Christmas - by Alan Skwarla

(Apologies to the estate of Clement Clarke Moore)

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Trump Tower,
Not a creature was stirring, except Kelly Anne Conway because she never sleeps. She’s like a shark. A good shark. A very good, insomniac shark. She’s the BEST shark because she eats reporters and interviewers for lunch, then she stays awake looking for more. Lemme tell ya, her appetite is YUGE.

The stockings were hung on the mantle below by my life-sized portrait with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas, or some other foreign dignitary bearing gifts, soon would be there.

Ivanka, Donald Jr., Eric, Tiffany, Barron, and Jared Kushner, who is like a son to me, believe me, were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of tax dodges, inflated dividends, and anticipatorily breached contracts danced in their heads.

And Melania in her ‘kerchief, and I in my toup.., err ah, cap,
Were just settling our brains for a long winter’s nap, but first I have to do some tweeting, mostly about SNL, terrible show by the way, not funny at all, and that rude and unfunny Alec Baldwin – a hack with no talent.

When out on the avenue there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed and ordered my butler and footman and dresser and hair stylist to see what was the matter.
Away to the window they flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow,
Gave the lustre of mid-day to the entourage of black, armored SUVs below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a stretch Zil limousine with tri-color Russian fender flags, and eight of my best cabinet picks, and Reince Priebus and Steve Bannon, who are great guys…the best guys, believe me, bringing up the rear.

With a sinister, shirtless driver, waving a gun ready for shootin’,
I knew in a moment it must be my newest and dearest and best friend, Vladimir Putin.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name, in broken English but hey, he’s tryin’ right?

"Now, Sessions! Now, Mattis! Now, McMahon and Carson!
On, Chao! On, Puzder! On, McMahon and Flynn!
To the top of the penthouse! To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the Tower-top the coursers they flew,
With the limo full of cabinet members, and Vlad Putin too.

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney Kelly Anne came with a bound.

She was dressed all in fur, from her head to her cloven-hooved foot,
And her clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
She was a real mess, I wanna tell ya. I always considered her to be a 6, maybe a 7 on a good day. But now, she was in the negative numbers if ya know what I mean (wink!).

A bundle of shiny baubles and trinkets she had flung on her back,
And she looked like a peddler, just opening her pack.
She looked more like a chimneysweep if you ask me, but hey, whatever.

Her eyes, how they twinkled! Her dimples, how merry!
Her cheeks were like roses, her nose like a cherry!
Her droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of her chin was as white as the snow.
Yes, she has a little facial hair but she keeps after it pretty good so it doesn’t bug me too much.

She spoke not a word, but went straight to her work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying her finger aside of her nose,
And giving a nod, down the private elevator she goes!

She sprang to Vlad’s limo, and to his team she gave a whistle,
And away they all drove like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to my good and dear friend Trump and to all American Peoples , and to all a good-night!!!"

Bonus link:

 Lady Bunny's ‘Twas the Night Before Trumpmas

Thursday, December 15, 2016

A little Japanese meandering

Marvelously mischievous woodblock print by the Japanese artist, Kawanabe Kyōsai. This is one of his comic images in the erotic style of Japanese art known as Shunga.

Masters of old school craftsmanship by artisan,Hiroi MasaakiBeautiful Japanese wooden toys with moving parts and trick tops. Edo koma toys.
Such delightfully whimsical Edo Koma wooden toys with their naughty sense of humor. More footage of the master artisan, Hiroi Masaaki, making them.
A little Japanese food porn. A wet omelette, expertly made.

Paintings by Utagawa Hiroshige, 1797 – 12 October 1858, master of the ukiyo-e genre

Hiroshige's work came to have a marked influence on Western painting towards the close of the 19th century as a part of the trend in Japonism. Western artists closely studied Hiroshige's compositions, and some, such as van Gogh, painted copies of Hiroshige's prints.