Cat goat

(via Kevin Williams)

Dear Clusterflock: What was the most comforting condolence sentence you ever heard?

Stolen from Metafilter. I don’t have a MeFi account, so I can’t even favorite things over there, much less comment. So I figured I’d re-pose the question here.

The MeFi thread is great, but bring tissues. I loved this one most:

My uncle, Albert Crary, was an extraordinary man. Not only was he an explorer and scientist of both poles (The Crary Mountains in Antarctica were named by him and the A.P. Crary Science and Engineering Center at McMurdo Station was named fo him) but he gathered stories like no one I’ve ever met. At his public memorial in Washington DC at, I believe, the Cosmos Club, speaker after speaker got up and told about his staunchness, his incredible endurance, but most importantly, they all told a funny story about him: The time he fell off the ice shelf and what he said to the preacher after his rescue when the preacher came looking for a good sermon. The time he went shopping for supplies in South America when they were running a geophysical line across a South American swamp. The time my father put my brother up to calling him and acting like a dumb reporter asking the stupidest questions imaginable about the ice island T3.

Months later, we had a private memorial in his hometown of Canton, New York. One-by-one his nieces, nephews, in-laws and friends got up and told more stories. To all of us he’d been the source of fun, support and laughter when we were growing up – he never let any of us take ourselves too seriously, but he was always there when anyone needed help. When my turn came, I got up, told my story and then said this:

Everyone deserves an Uncle Albert, we were just fortunate enough to have had one.
posted by BillW at 5:23 PM on March 30

(Via the wonderful Ed Yong.)


While I’m logged in here, I’d like to blatantly promote a project I worked on recently that I think is cool:

Heroes Get Hired book cover

Heroes Get Hired by Michelle Tillis Lederman

It’s a job-interview guide for military veterans and their partners, and though I didn’t read every word while I was working on it (I designed and coded the e-books and designed and typeset the print edition (not the covers)), I got the impression that it’s practical and well thought-out.

And it’s free to download in lots of formats (there are versions with video and versions without), or to view on the Web. Free, FREE, FREE!

So if you are a veteran (thank you!), please have a look; if you know some, pass it along.

And if you see any typos or formatting errors, drop me a note. I can fix those!

Omega Institute In Your Pants, 2013 edition

It’s that magical time, folks! Once again, as in 2010, my woodland friend Susan has forwarded the In Your Pants edition of the Rhinebeck, NY, Omega Center’s course catalog.

Sign up early, if you want a spot; these pants fill up fast!

The Wayfinder Experience in Your Pants
Unlocking the Life Force in Your Pants
The Marks of Our Existence in Your Pants
Say “No” to Stress in Your Pants
Storming Heaven in Your Pants
Compose Yourself in Your Pants
Trees & Ecosystems in Your Pants
Frequencies of Healing in Your Pants
Enter Through the Image in Your Pants
Dreamgates in Your Pants
Leap of Perception in Your Pants
Timeless Loving in Your Pants

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Dear Clusterflock,

I’m still thankful for all you guys.

Offline Friend Request EULA

By my (for reasons that will soon become obvious) Twitter-only friend @ChrisKubica:

For those who asked, here is the EULA to be my friend

If you are my friend offline, you agree:


Your stuff is my stuff. Your food is my food. I can sleep on your bed. I can give you kittens. I can take your kittens. I can play your music and your apps. You will provide cuddling within 4-hour’s notice. I can ride your dog even if he or she is too small when compared to my size. I can eat whatever is in your fridge or on your counter. I can sit on your counter. I can ask you questions. You will provide all answers in writing, orally and on 8-track cassette. I can wear your various clothing. I can has cheeseburgers. I can show you unicorns. I can believe in rainbows. You will believe in rainbows or pretend to believe in rainbows when I am about. I can have your milk and your jewelry. I can call you good and bad names. I can rock in your hammock and borrow your car. You may guard my house. You should buy me marshmallows. You will buy me books, read me books and lend me your books indefinitely. You will lend me everything indefinitely. You will provide me with five copies of the entire universe. . . .

If, having read the EULA, you wish to request offline friendship with Chris: Anyone also not on Facebook, feel free to use my offline Friend Request template (PDF)

Update: Unfriend Request Form

Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America

My same friend Susan who brought us the critically acclaimed Omega Institute in Your Pants, 2010 edition today supplied the following list, from the book Owlet Caterpillars of Eastern North America by David L. Wagner, Dale F. Schweitzer, J. Bolling Sullivan, and Richard C. Reardon:

Sordid Snout
The Herald
Feeble Grass Moth
Dead-wood Borer
The Betrothed
The Little Wife
Serene Underwing
The Consort
Dejected Underwing
Inconsolable Underwing
Tearful Underwing
Sad Underwing
The Penitent
Sappho Underwing
Youthful Underwing
Darling Underwing
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Miss Lucy

is becoming Mrs. Lucy today. On Thursday, I helped her get her hen on, in a swanky hotel bar.

This is your Lucy on drugs

I’m immensely honored to be attending her and Ross’s wedding, and the succeeding reception-crawl. I will bring a real camera to that.
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I saw Deron in Oslo

Helmeted allegorical figure
At Akershus Castle.

Clusterflockstock 3: Outside the Feed Sack

I’d buy that app.

Fuck it I’ve heard enough, I’m going to make some killer android app that listens to every word you hear and uses Google’s voice recognition shit and some semantic networks and logistic regression crap and fucking starts chirping at you whenever it detects someone is hitting on you, make it look like an incoming call from captain obvious or something. It make take a while to accumulate enough training data to detect every subtle hint but it should pick this one up pretty easily. #

One of the 5,661 comments on From Male Redditors: What are some hints females gave you, but you didn’t get them until after you had your chance?
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Trees cocooned in spider webs after flooding in Sindh, Pakistan

Trees cocooned in spiders webs after flooding in Sindh, Pakistan

(Via @josephpearson)

“PBS will never be defunded.”


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Tweet of the day, honorable mention

Specifically, he’s been tweeting gorgeous photos from this collection all afternoon.


This would solve all my problems. All of them.

(Via Dylan, who got it from Charlie)


Select your mix of chillies and slice them up. Separate the seeds from the flesh if you want a milder outcome. Kasoundi is not a macho hot-sauce contest. Avoid the temptation to construct an edible inferno, because all those subtle flavours will be lost. Look, you should just throw out the seeds.

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The Order of Myths

A film by Margaret Brown. Trailer:

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From a letter I got

My car busted again. Well, not busted. I never replaced the catalytic convertor last year, and then the ignition, which I replaced myself started acting bad. And the starter. But it is all fixed again.
I got a 2011 Muscle Car Calendar from the shop.
Last year I had the clutch replaced in December so I had a muscle car calendar this year too.
That was a 12 hundred dollar calendar, but this year it is a 9 hundred dollar calendar.
The economy IS getting better.

Miss Lucy Foley, up-and-coming diva

Lucy (and Ross! and some friends of theirs) had a gig in NYC on Friday, at which they Tore. It. Up. I commemorated the occasion with a bunch of wobbly pictures. Fortunately, Lucy’s so gorgeous and has such poise that either of my cats could have taken a whole roll of good ones of her.

Once again, ladies and gents, you can hear and buy Lucy’s album, Copenhagen, at So how about you go do that?

Sisu, the Finns’ favorite word

Because it’s long, I have set this video to start at the discussion of sisu; it’s worth watching all the way from the beginning, however.
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Murdered Kansas Abolitionist David Hoyt’s Bloodstained Map and Condolence Letter

David Hoyt's bloodstained map

What he was doing in the area is not entirely clear. Some reports indicate that he was attempting to negotiate a truce with proslavery elements; others suggest that he was “testing” the intentions of Southerners in Lawrence by entering a proslavery gathering unarmed.

The Cowan’s Auctions copywriter continues,

Included with the lot is a 3pp letter, 5 x 8″, Leominster, 11 Sept. 1856. The letter is from James F. Legate to the parents of David Hoyt expressing his condolences and trying offer some solace in the idea that their son gave his life …that Freedom might live….Take comfort for he died that Liberty might come to the oppressed people of Kansas…. Incredibly, he also asks Hoyt’s parents if they know anyone else who will come carry on the fight: I have been laboring ever since in the State to get a party to go back with me. Has he no friends to go & do battle for which he fell a [martyr]? If so I’ll take them to the spot where he yielded his young, useful life….

Both map and letter sold last month for a mere $705.

Possible moral of the story: Do not “test” the intentions of Southerners while unarmed.

(Via SC.)

Naomi Harris: America Swings

A friend’s paraphrasing of this episode of WFMU’s radio show Too Much Information from last night:

I was listening to the radio and Benjamen Walker (the host guy) was talking about some photo on the playlist page, and so I glanced over to look at the page I didn’t look at when I opened it two hours earlier. Just then he said to the photographer he was interviewing, “The people in your photos of American swingers don’t look like average Americans; they are, like, 300 pounds overweight, white, kinda crazy and distracted, and, well, really, they look more the Tea Party than any other group of Americans, even if they are crawling around their living rooms having group sex while they watch football on TV and drink beer.” As I was glancing at the photo, the photographer generally confirmed that, yes, the people in her photos were, as a rule, in the Tea Party.

I did not need that. Nooooooo…

The photographer being interviewed is Naomi Harris. If you are over 18, or under 18 with the ability to sense a trick question, you can page through her book, America Swings, at the Taschen site.

Please note that just because you can does not mean that you should. I’m just saying.

Marcel Broodthaers: Interview with a Cat (1970)


Airing of Grievance: TO smallish dog FROM doormat owner

The Cooler Bandits

My friend Bruno is producing this:

Maybe you can help?

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