The Periodic Table

I. The kind of stuff I used to share via Google Reader.
II. Other kinds.
Ask me anything


Each reading is like a little ark / Cada lectura es como una pequeña arca (ilustración de Geertje Grom)


"The Sandman" by Salvador Dali.

Peter Cottontail’s treatment was entirely different. Instead of evisceration, he got a turpentine and cedar-oil enema before being placed in natron. Herodotus, the famed Greek historian, wrote about the procedure in the fifth century B.C., but scholars debate his reliability. In this case, the experiment proved him right. All Peter’s innards dissolved except the heart—the one organ ancient Egyptians always left in place. Like the animals mummified more than 3,000 years ago, Ikram’s went to a happy afterlife.

Once the lab work was done, she and her students followed protocol and wrapped each body in bandages printed with magical spells. Reciting prayers and burning incense, they laid the mummies to rest in a classroom cabinet, where they draw visitors—including me. As an offering, I sketch plump carrots and symbols to multiply the bunch by a thousand. Ikram assures me that the pictures have instantly become real in the hereafter, and her rabbits are twitching their noses with joy. 

National Geographic Magazine -

Because I read John Crowley’s “Antiquities” this morning…

Challenged about how it might affect her daughter, she abruptly revealed something from her own past: “Should I share something for you, honestly? For some years I also been a boy.”

As the first child of her family, Mrs. Rafaat assisted her father in his small food shop, beginning when she was 10, for four years. She was tall and athletic and saw only potential when her parents presented the idea — she would be able to move around more freely.

She went to a girls’ school in the mornings, but worked at the store on afternoons and evenings, running errands in pants and a baseball hat, she said.

Returning to wearing dresses and being confined was not so much difficult as irritating, and a little disappointing, she said. But over all, she is certain that the experience contributed to the resolve that brought her to Parliament.

“I think it made me more energetic,” she said. “It made me more strong.” She also believed her time as a boy made it easier for her to relate to and communicate with men.

Mrs. Rafaat said she hoped the effects on Mehran’s psyche and personality would be an advantage, rather than a limitation.

She noted that speaking out may draw criticism from others, but argued that it was important to reveal a practice most women in her country wished did not have to exist. “This is the reality of Afghanistan,” she said.

As a woman and as a politician, she said it worried her that despite great efforts and investments from the outside world to help Afghan women, she has seen very little change, and an unwillingness to focus on what matters.

“They think it’s all about the burqa,” she said. “I’m ready to wear two burqas if my government can provide security and a rule of law. That’s O.K. with me. If that’s the only freedom I have to give up, I’m ready.”


John Baldessari

Throwing Three Balls in the Air to Get a Straight Line (Best of Thirty-Six Attempts) (detail), 1973
Portfolio of fourteen photolithographs, 9 11/16 x 12 7/8 inches


L.S Madsen

Some photographers think the idea is enough.
I told a good story in my Getty talk, a beautiful story, to the point: Ducasse says to his friend Mallarmé — I think this is a true story — he says,
“You know, I’ve got a lot of good ideas for poems, but the poems are never very good.”

Mallarmé says, “Of course, you don’t make poems out of ideas, you make poems out of words.”

Really good, huh? Really true. So, photographers who aren’t so good think that you make photographs out of ideas. And they generally get only about halfway to the photograph and think that they’re done.


i’m trying to figure out, is a dam a building?

i mean, it’s built, and it can hold people both on and in it, so i guess that makes it a building? which in turn makes it architecture?

ok, great. because this dam (conveniently hidden in the middle of hollywood) is beautiful, whether it’s architecture or engineering or a happy combination of the two (i mean, i guess all buildings are a combination of architecture and engineering).

according to the fancy plaque on this fancy dam it was built in the 20’s by the same person who built another dam that had previously fallen down. so, to prevent this dam from falling down they put a few million tons of earth on it’s south face, thus reducing it’s south face from a few hundred feet tall to about 50 feet tall. and thus giving hollywood even more odd parkland (apparently there are a couple of juvenile mountain lions co-habitating in the park created at the base of this once tall dam).

the dam itself is just the right combination of utilitarian and ornamental, looking at times like a giant water fortress and at times like an art deco wall decorated with bears heads (see the picture).

i’m hesitant to tell you where the dam is, as even though it’s open to the public it’s never, if you find it, or if you already know about: great. but otherwise you can pretend that it’s some art deco brigadoon-esque fortress that only shows up once every 40 years.

oh, and i hope you had a nice weekend.



p.s-just for fun i did some old timey processing to one of the pictures so we can all pretend it’s 1927 and we’re working for the wpa.


Roadside existentialism by Hope Reynolds of Folk Studios.

This made me want to listen to Queen.

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