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19 Feb 10:13

Drape Yourself in Literature with Book Scarves from FreshComfy

by Christopher Jobson


If you like getting lost in a good book, here’s your chance to literally cover up in one. Thailand-based FreshComfy prints the covers and pages of classic books on lightweight chiffon scarves. Books include retro covers for The Great Gatsby, The Catcher in the Rye, or even illustrated maps from Lord of the Rings. See more in their shop! (via Lost At E-Minor)





18 Feb 23:38

Why Dozens of U.S. President Statues Sit Deteriorating in a Rural Virginia Field

by Christopher Jobson

All photos courtesy Patrick Joust.


Somewhere in Virginia on the outskirts of private farmland sits the completely bizarre sight of nearly 40 giant U.S. president busts crumbling amongst the weeds. The mammoth heads—each estimated to weigh in excess of 7,000 pounds—were originally commissioned from a Houston artist as the centerpiece for Presidents Park, a ten-acre open-air museum with presidential sculptures and informational plaques located in Williamsburg, Virginia. First opened in 2004, the museum closed just 6 years later due to lack of attendance and most of the heads were eventually moved to a private farm where they sit today.

Photographer Patrick Joust recently made a trek to the presidential graveyard and shot these amazing photos of the eroding statues. The pieces are already faded and peeling from the elements and display a number of structural scars from repeated moves. The post-apocalyptic scene is reminiscent of the final moments of Planet of the Apes, or a modern take on the giant mysterious heads sprawled across Easter Island. A few of the presidential busts have been a bit more lucky: Abraham Lincoln’s bust now rests in front of the the Lincoln RV Park in Williston, North Dakota, and Theodore Roosevelt’s bust sits outside the Roosevelt Inn in Watford.

You can see more of Joust’s photography on Flickr and by following him on Facebook. (via The Virginian-Pilot, Smithsonian)








16 Feb 21:20

Why is the UK still printing its laws on vellum?

Why is the UK still printing its laws on calf-skin?
16 Feb 07:41

A Mysterious and Abandoned Fishing Village Outside of Budapest Captured in Perfect Reflection

by Kate Sierzputowski


A few years ago photographer Viktor Egyed accidentally stumbled upon the town Szödliget a few miles outside of Budapest, and to his delight found this small abandoned fishing village filled with clusters of A-frame huts. Deciding the weather was not ideal, Egyed came back a few years later when he was able to capture the town in a hazy fog, the perfect condition to highlight the glasslike reflections of the structures in the lake below.

The feeling of the small lakeside town is just as dreamlike as the imagery suggests. “This small abandoned fishing lake has its own very unique atmosphere,” said Egyed to Colossal. “It is an idyllic place for people who want to escape from the rushing of life for a little while.”

You can see more of Egyed’s photographs on his Behance page here.










12 Feb 22:19

No need to be sad with this comprehensive study of shoegaze

by Chris Todd
From the end of the C86 scene through to shoegaze itself via grunge and ending with Britpop - Still in A Dream proves itself to be a truly comprehensive release.
09 Feb 21:35

Iggy Pop Reads Walt Whitman in Collaborations With Electronic Artists Alva Noto and Tarwater

by Josh Jones

whitman pop

Image of Iggy Pop by Patrick McAlpine, via Wikimedia Commons

I don’t know why no one thought of this ages ago: an album of Walt Whitman’s poetry, set to moody, atmospheric electronic music and read by former Stooge and current American badass Iggy Pop. It makes perfect sense. Though Pop may lack Whitman’s verbal excesses, preferring more Spartan punk rock statements, he perfectly embodies—in a very literal way—Whitman’s fearless, sexually-charged “barbaric yawp.” And both artists are very much American originals: largely self-taught Whitman cast aside 19th-century decorum and formal constraints to write wildly expressive verse that celebrated the body, the individual, and American industrial noise; self-taught Pop cast aside 20th century rock formalism to create dangerously expressive music that celebrated… well, you get the idea.

I don’t know if he would have written “Now I wanna be your dog,” but in contrast to “the popular, well-educated poets of the time, those sensitive noblemen,” Whitman wrote—says Pop in his own distinctive paraphrase—“Fuc% as$.” 

You know, I think he had something like Elvis. Like Elvis ahead of his time, one of the first manic American populists. You know you’re looking at pictures of him, and he was obviously someone who was very much involved with his own physical appearance. His poetry is always about motion and rushing ahead, and crazy love and blood pushing through the body. He would have been the perfect gangster rapper. Whitman says, even the most beautiful face is not as beautiful as the body. And to say that in the middle of the 19th century is outrageous. It’s a slap in the face. 

Of the many rock and roll interpreters of literary greats we’ve featured on this site, I’d say Iggy Pop’s reading of, and commentary on, Whitman may be my favorite.

Unfortunately, we can only bring you a short excerpt, above, from Pop’s collaboration with instrumental duo Tarwater and German electronic artist Alva Noto (who recently scored Alejandro Iñárritu’s The Revenant with Yellow Magic Orchestra’s Ryuichi Sakamoto). This two-minute sample comes from a 2014 album these artists made together called Kinder Adams—Children of Adam, which features several abridged renditions in German of Whitman’s most famous book, Leaves of Grass by various voice actors, then a complete reading by Pop, set to a throbbing, haunting score.

Now, Pop, Alva Noto, and Tarwater have come together again to revisit Whitman with a seven-track EP simply titled Leaves of Grass. Like the early, self-published first edition of Whitman’s book, this work will only reach a few hands. “Released on Morr Music with no digital version planned,” reports Fact Mag, “Leaves of Grass is only available in a limited vinyl edition of just 500 copies, complete with embossed artwork.” You can purchase a copy of this artifact here (act fast), or—if you prefer your more traditional Iggy Pop without the literature, moody, post-rock soundscapes, and rarefied formats—wait for his new album in March with Queens of the Stone Age’s Josh Homme, sure to hit digital outlets near you. Whether or not he’s reading Whitman, he’s always channeling the poet’s energy.

Related Content:

Iggy Pop Reads Edgar Allan Poe’s Classic Horror Story, “The Tell-Tale Heart”

Tom Waits Reads Two Charles Bukowski Poems, “The Laughing Heart” and “Nirvana”

Walt Whitman’s Poem “A Noiseless Patient Spider” Brought to Life in Three Animations

Orson Welles Reads From America’s Greatest Poem, Walt Whitman’s “Song of Myself” (1953)

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

Iggy Pop Reads Walt Whitman in Collaborations With Electronic Artists Alva Noto and Tarwater is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

09 Feb 17:17

Top 20 des spécialités culinaires d’Afrique du Sud qui défoncent le reste du Monde

by benoi

south african cuisine


Comment résumer simplement la gastronomie sud-africaine ? Un savoureux mélange entre la gastronomie africaine qui était là à l'origine, on ajoute ensuite des influences anglaises, néerlandaises, allemandes et françaises dues aux différentes colonisations. Et pour finir, on saupoudre le tout d'épices et de techniques indiennes qu'on doit à la route commerciale qui longeait les côtes du pays. Sans plus attendre, on passe à table.


  1. Biltong
    Pour l'apéro, c'est la spécialité qu'il vous faut : de la viande de boeuf épicée séchée qu'on coupe en lamelle.

    Carving Biltong

  2. Droëwors
    L'équivalent de notre saucisson, les droëwors accompagneront parfaitement le biltong pour un apéro réussi.

    Vivat Bacchus - South African platter

  3. Bobotie
    Tellement simple et tellement bon. De la viande hachée, du lait, des amandes, de la confiture d'abricot et du curry que vous mélangez bien et vous faites tout cuire.
  4. Tjips
    L'Afrikaans est une des nombreuses langues officielles, on ne commande donc pas des "chips" pour des frites mais des "tjips". Petite particularité sud-africaine, les pommes de terre prennent souvent un bain de vinaigre juste avant pour leur donner un petit goût supplémentaire.
  5. Roosterkobek
    Les Sud-Africains raffolent du barbecue, ils font donc tout naturellement cuire leur pain directement sur la grille.

    Roosterbrood (1 van 2)

  6. Chakalaka
    Un des exemples de l'influence indienne sur la gastronomie sud-africaine, le chakalaka est une marinade de légumes légèrement relevée au curry et aux piments.

    Chakalaka is a fantastic vegetarian "chameleon" recipe. Use it as a condiment, as a vibrant accompaniment to rice or some mealiepap, or even as a standalone stew. Whichever way you have it, it is supremely delicious!  Get the recipe at http://arousingappe

  7. Boerewors
    Non ça n'est pas une simple saucisse ! C'est la saucisse des "boer" (des paysans) faite à base d'un savoureux mélange de viandes de boeuf, ajouté à de la viande d'agneau ou de porc auquel on ajoute une bonne grosse poignée de différentes épices comme la coriandre. Cette saucisse est le résultat de la colonisation néerlandaise au court du 17ème siècle.
  8. Vetkoek
    Ce petit pain pané accompagne les plats salés et les plats sucrés.

    Vetkoek with Curried Mince

  9. Sosatie
    De simples brochettes de viandes telles que l'agneau ou le mouton qu'on fera cuire avec des abricots secs.

    Sosaties on the braai

  10. Potjiekos
    Le nom du plat a donné le nom à la recette. Le Potjiekos est une petite marmite de nourriture, derrière ce nom il s'agit d'un ragoût préparé en plein air, sur le feu. On doit cette petite marmite aux Hollandais.


  11. ... lire la suite de ce top sur Topito
06 Feb 10:35

What Procrastination Does to Your Body

by Stephanie Lee on Vitals, shared by Andy Orin to Lifehacker

Waiting until the last minute can actually do a number on your body. If you have a paper, presentation, or something else due soon, the normal response is to procrastinate. It may feel gratifying, but all that stress and tension has serious effects on your health.


06 Feb 05:51

Top 7 des différents styles de manga expliqués, pour enfin avoir de la culture générale

by François

different sorts of mangas (mangas for dummies)

PicMonkey Collage222

PicMonkey Collage22

Crédits photo : Topito

C’est toujours compliqué de décrire un manga de manière simple. Les gens ont tendance à croire qu’un manga c’est juste des personnages avec de grands yeux et des filles avec des gros nichons. Alors oui c’est un peu ça. Mais pas seulement. C’est aussi plein de genres différents, abordant des thématiques variées touchant plein de publics.

  1. Shônen Nekketsu (Dragon Ball, One Piece, Naruto)

    Les Nekketsu visent un public de jeunes ados pré-pubères à l’acné difficile. Tout d’abord on a un jeune héros qui décide de devenir le meilleur du monde dans son domaine. Ensuite, il s’entoure d’amis clichés, comme le pote/rival au passé sombre et violent, la meuf bonne, et le mec nul. Ensemble ils poussent à la salle pour démonter des méchants. On retrouve des valeurs comme le courage, l’amitié, la persévérance, et l’utilisation de la violence pour résoudre des conflits.


    Crédits photo : Reddit

  2. Shônen Pantsu (Negima, Love Hina)

    Toujours pour les ados dont les hormones bouillonnent, le Pantsu, qui vient du mot « pants », soit « culotte », raconte souvent l’histoire d’un jeune babtou fragile entouré de demoiselles dont on voit souvent leurs sous-vêtements. Ces dernières vont à un moment tomber amoureuses de lui. Mais généralement, c’est l’amie d’enfance qui réussit à se taper le héros à la fin. Comme quoi la friendzone peut être vaincue.


    Crédits photo : soogeek

  3. Magical Shôjo (Sailor Moon, Sakura chasseuse de cartes)

    Ce genre de manga est pour un lectorat de jeunes aimant porter des mini-jupes. Il met en scène des jeunes filles possédant des pouvoirs surnaturels. C’est avec leurs capacités et leurs vêtements courts qu’elles combattent le Mal, mettant souvent en difficultés leur parcours scolaire. A la fin elles sauvent le monde mais n’ont pas leur brevet. Merci l’Education Nationale.


    Crédits photo : madman

  4. ... lire la suite de ce top sur Topito
06 Feb 05:48

The Very First Coloring Book, The Little Folks’ Painting Book (Circa 1879)

by Ayun Halliday


Funny how not that long ago coloring books were considered the exclusive domain of children. How times have changed. If you are the sort of adult who unwinds with a big box of Crayolas and pages of mandalas or outlines of Ryan Gosling, you owe a debt of gratitude to the McLoughlin Brothers and illustrator Kate Greenaway.

First Coloring Book 1

Their Little Folks’ Painting Book burst onto the scene in around 1879 with such fun-to-color outline engravings as “The Owl’s Advice,” “A Flower Fairy,” and “Little Miss Pride,” each accompanied by nursery rhymes and stories. The abundance of mob caps, pinafores, and breeches are of a piece with Greenaway’s enduring takes on nursery rhymes, though grown up manual dexterity seems almost mandatory given the tiny patterns and other details.

First Coloring Book 2

Seeing as how there was no precedent, the publishers of the world’s first coloring book went ahead and filled in the frontispiece so that those tackling the other hundred drawings would know what to do. (Hint: Stay inside the lines and don’t get too creative with skin or hair color.)

First Coloring Book 3

Also note: the copy represented here has been carefully hand-colored by the previous owners, with one contributing some exuberant scribbles in pencil. See the full book, and download it in various formats, at

Related Content:

Download Free Coloring Books from World-Class Libraries & Museums: The New York Public Library, Bodleian, Smithsonian & More

The First Adult Coloring Book: See the Subversive Executive Coloring Book From 1961

Download 15,000+ Free Golden Age Comics from the Digital Comic Museum

The Very First Coloring Book, The Little Folks’ Painting Book (Circa 1879) is a post from: Open Culture. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus, or get our Daily Email. And don't miss our big collections of Free Online Courses, Free Online Movies, Free eBooksFree Audio Books, Free Foreign Language Lessons, and MOOCs.

06 Feb 05:47

5 Things Friday: 2/5/16

by Erica

Time for the weekly-ish round-up of randomness! 5 Things Friday is my way of shoe-horning in and discussing things that don’t necessarily belong on an urban homesteading blog, just because I’ve been thinking about them the past week.

This week: George Carlin is my kind of life philosopher, how to get one over on the internet, a 12 minute podcast I highly recommend and more.

5 Things Friday

1. What I’ve Been Eating

I purchased a whole pig back in November from my friends at Adalyn Farm.

The saying about a pig is, you eat everything but the squeal. My experiences enjoying the culinary satisfaction of pig heart, liver and jowl meat tells me this is very true. I’ve rendered lard and made stock and Canadian bacon but for fast family meals, our favorite piece-o-pig has become the “cutlet.”

The cutlet (at least in this case) is a thin slice of pork shoulder, run through a mechanical meat tenderizer. A quick three-stage dip in flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs leaves these cutlets ready to skillet-fry.

I’ve used these pork cutlets a bunch of different ways, but the kids favorite is what my son calls “Japanese Pork Cutlet” – which just means we drizzle the fried cutlet with a Japanese-style teriyaki sauce (Tonkatsu sauce would be more authentic.)

With rice and a fast cabbage slaw it’s not the healthiest meal around – but everyone gobbles it up.

pork-cutlet (1) 2

2. What Tool I’m Loving

The thing about the internet is, in many ways it’s the great liberator – the sum total of all human knowledge, condensed down into a form you can keep in your pocket. Pretty radical stuff.

But the internet can also be like a poorly trained, 130-pound dog, dragging you around from interesting smell to interesting smell until eventually you just wind up confused about why you are sniffing a stranger’s butthole.

As a blogger I am online far more than is really healthy, and I’ve learned the trick to surviving the interwoobles is knowing when to put your willpower in someone else’s hands. I use a browser plug-in called Anti-Social, which allows me to strategically turn off those parts of the internet that are most likely to whisk me away into butt-sniffing territory.

This is a $15 plug-in (I’m not affiliated with it in any way) that’s easy to use, annoying to circumvent, and helps me get more stuff done online.

Highly recommended.


3. What’s Going On With My Book?

Quick update! My book, The Hands-on Home, is getting really nice reviews on Amazon. Thank you to everyone who’s purchased a copy and taken the time to leave a review.

My husband took the kids to Costco the other day and saw my book right along side The Barefoot Contessa. That’s crazy! My publisher tells me Sam’s Club just confirmed a pretty big order to stock Hands-on Home this spring as well.

I’ve also gotten reader reports of my book in Elliot Bay Books, Ravena Gardens and Anthropologie, plus lots of great smaller indies throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This is all quite exciting! Thank you guys again so much for all your support.

Hands-On Home

4. What I’ve Been Listening To

I love podcasts. Podcasts are to radio what blogs are to magazines: a slightly less commercial, more personal way to tell stories and explore and solve problems. Long-time readers may remember my brief attempt at podcasting. One day, I hope to get back to producing my own podcast – it’s a medium I really enjoy.

For now, I seek out the best of other people’s podcasts. I’m a long time fan of Root Simple, Radio Lab, A Way To GardenPermaculture Voices and Living Homegrown. And you probably know that I am a regular contributor to The Survival Podcast.

One of my new (to me) favorite podcasts is a weekly celebration of scientific randomness called Ockham’s Razor. The last several episodes have covered Alzheimer’s disease, the design of the ideal self-sustaining eco-town, and sea worms.

Each episode is in the 12 minute range, and since Ockham’s Razor is a production of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, the quality is excellent.


5. What Quote I’ve Been Pondering

George Carlin is a personal hero of mine, contributing more to my outlook on the universe than is probably psychologically healthy. His stand-up comedy was no-quarter social critique about everything from race and religion to government and language, just barely disguised as two-drink-minimum fun.

A few Carlin quotes:

  • Trying to be happy by accumulating possessions is like trying to satisfy hunger by taping sandwiches all over your body.
  • A house is just a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get more stuff.
  • I love and treasure individuals as I meet them; I loathe and despise the groups they identify with and belong to.
  • The planet is fine. The people are fucked.
  • By and large, language is a tool for concealing the truth.
  • I like it when a flower or a little tuft of grass grows through a crack in the concrete. It’s so fuckin’ heroic.
  • Somewhere along the way, someone is going to tell you, ‘There is no “I” in team.’ What you should tell them is, ‘Maybe not. But there is an “I” in independence, individuality and integrity.’ Avoid teams at all cost. Keep your circle small. Never join a group that has a name. And if they tell you you’re not a team player, congratulate them on being observant.

But it’s this one that’s been most resonating with me lately: “Inside every cynical person, there is a disappointed idealist.”


Oh George – how well you know me.

I remember when I believed the mythology of the shining city on the hill – and even argued for it, while older and more sophisticated people with more visa stamps in their passport smiled at me indulgently.

From where I stand now, everyone looks at least a little dirty, everyone looks slightly culpable. It’s shades of unacceptable, and you just cross your fingers and hope you’re part of a team that’s a bit nearer to “pale smoke” than “wrought iron” on the great color swatch of evil.

It’s hard to feel idealistic or righteous in situations like these. But you know, maybe righteousness isn’t the point. Maybe just getting on with it as best you can is the point.

Or, as George Carlin once said, “Always do whatever’s next.”

So, what’s next for you?

05 Feb 09:55

Lush : un nouvel EP en avril

by Julien

15 april : an EP



Lush avait annoncé son retour sur scène l’automne dernier, sortant pour l’occasion une réédition vinyle de leur best of ainsi qu’un coffret regroupant toutes les sorties du groupe et quelques raretés.
Mais ce n’est pas tout car « Blind Spot », un EP contenant quatre titres inédits, est attendu pour le 15 avril avant une tournée qui passera par le festival This Is Not A Love Song (Nîmes) en juin.

Out Of Control
Lost Boy
Burnham Beeches


lush blind spot ep 2

05 Feb 00:11

This is what Leonardo DiCaprio’s Private Uninhabited Island Looks like

by MessyNessy


Ten years ago, Leonardo DiCaprio bought an island in Belize with plans to build the world’s first eco-restorative resort that would “restore” the over-fished waters, eroding coastline and deforestation. The island is called Blackadore Caye. Leo discovered it while vacationing on a nearby resort in 2004. Fishermen would use this island to manage their catches and chop down the mangroves for firewood while they were there and it was expected to sink back into the sea from erosion in just a few years. In other words, DiCaprio is essentially going “to save” Blackadore Caye, healing the environment by the nature of its design while serving as a luxury eco-resort to guests. It’s expected to be finished in 2018 and I’m torn between optimism and cynicism, but let’s hear them out…


As part of its mandate to restore the environment, the resort will have guidelines dictating what guests can and cannot bring to the island, which is a 15-minute boat ride from San Pedro. “Plastic water bottles, for example, will not be allowed on the island,” the N.Y.T. writes. The vision of the project is to increase the biological health of species on the island and surrounding waters and be powered completely by renewable energy.


A research station on climate change, leading restoration programs, local organic foods, zero fossil fuel use, 100% solar powered living, composted waste systems are a few of the hallmark green features listed.


But while promising the greenest luxury development ever built, there are still some questions to be asked. (I went to the website‘s “contact” page and was upset to find that Leonardo DiCaprio’s number wasn’t there).


You can’t help but wonder whether building 50 luxury “off-the-grid” villas on a 100 acre island has a net positive impact on the environment. Is that a restoration move or a development? Won’t there be yachts parks off the island dragging anchor chains around the world’s second largest barrier reef? I’d like to be wrong but human development has typically proven to lower the quality and diversity of an ecosystem.


beachJust take for example, what happened after Leonardo starred in that movie The Beach. Controversy arose during the making of the film due to 20th Century Fox’s bulldozing and landscaping of the natural beach setting of Thailand’s Ko Phi Phi Lee to make it more “paradise-like”. A lot of damage was also done due to the tourism that came after the film’s popularity. Lawsuits dragged on for years filed by environmentalists who believed the damage to the ecosystem was permanent and restoration attempts had failed.

While human design can be regenerative, the design process is highly knowledge intensive. For those curious, the type of development Leo is planning is called regenerative design and you can read up on it here. And in his defense, DiCaprio has been doing an amazing job drawing attention to climate change, and I think he deserves praise for that. Here’s an excerpt from Leo’s speech at the UN in 2014.

To be clear, this is not about just telling people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car. This disaster has grown BEYOND the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries, and governments around the world taking decisive, large-scale action. […] We need to put a pricetag on carbon emissions, and eliminate government subsidies for coal, gas, and oil companies. We need to end the free ride that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free-market economy, they don’t deserve our tax dollars, they deserve our scrutiny. For the economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse.

Someone else could do worse.

But I know what you’re thinking. Where are the dinosaurs?


Sources: Restorative Islands/ McLennan Design. More photos of the island on The New York Times

03 Feb 23:32

French Phrases Hidden in English Words (A Cartoon Crash Course)

by MessyNessy



I think one of my proudest moments in grade school was the time my teacher asked the class if anyone knew where denim came from. I over-excitedly raised my hand and blurted out, “Nîmes! The city in France!” My grandparents were from Nîmes and they had bestowed me with the rather obscure fact that the English word “denim” was a play on the fact that it was a textile which originally came from Nîmes → de Nîmes. As it turns out, the English language is full of hidden French phrases. Even if you speak French, you may have never noticed the connection. Take a look at this artful little crash course in French phrases hidden in English words…

02 Feb 08:29

Du parapente dans une aurore boréale

by Le Maitre de la Boite

Regardez Horacio Llorens faire du parapente de nuit sur un fond d’aurore boréale pendant que sa voile change de couleurs.



02 Feb 01:44

Top 10 Ways to Fix Your Terrible Posture

by Melanie Pinola

Good posture isn’t just about looks . How we sit, stand, and walk affect both our health and our moods . So stop slouching and get centered with these top 10 posture tips.


01 Feb 08:29

Un pont circulaire sur une lagune en Uruguay

by Le Maitre de la Boite


Le Laguna Garzon Bridge créé par les architectes new-yorkais de Rafael Viñoly Architects est un pont circulaire sur pilotis dont chaque voie de circulation utilise un demi-cercle opposé et est entourée de passages piétons qui font le tour pour permettre aux gens d’admirer la vue.

Le but était à la fois de permettre à plus de voiture de passer tout en réduisant leur vitesse naturellement.





27 Jan 09:59

The Power of Power Naps: Salvador Dali Teaches You How Micro-Naps Can Give You Creative Inspiration

by Josh Jones

dali naps 3

In high school, I had a history teacher who was, in his spare time, a millionaire owner of several marinas. He taught, he told us, because he loved it. Was he a good teacher? Not by the lights of most pedagogical standards, but he did intend, amidst all his lassitude and total lack of organization, to leave us all with something more important than history: the secret of his success. What was it, you ask? Naps. Each day he touted the power of power naps with a proselytizer’s relentless enthusiasm: 15 minutes a few times a day, the key to wealth and happiness.

We all thought he was benignly nuts, but maybe he was on to something after all. It seems that many very wise, productive people—such as Albert Einstein, Aristotle, and Salvador Dali—have used power naps as sources of refreshment and inspiration. Except that while my history teacher recommended no less than ten minutes, at least one of these famous gents preferred less than one. Dali used a method of timing his naps that ensured his sleep would not last long. He outlined it thus, according to Lifehacker:

1. Sleep sitting upright (Dali recommends a Spanish-style bony armchair)

2. Hold a key in your hand, between your fingers (for the bohemian, use a skeleton key)

3. Relax and fall asleep (but not for too long…)

4. As you fall asleep, you’ll drop the key. Clang bang clang!

5. Wake up inspired!

Dali called it, fittingly, “Slumber with a key,” and to “accomplish this micro nap,” writes The Art of Manliness, he “placed an upside-down plate on the floor directly below the key.” As soon as he fell asleep, “the key would slip through his fingers, clang the plate, and awaken him from his nascent slumber.” He claimed to have learned this trick from Capuchin monks and recommended it to anyone who worked with ideas, claiming that the micro nap “revivified” the “physical and psychic being.”

Dali included “Slumber with a key” in his book for aspiring painters, 50 Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship, along with such nostrums as “the secret of the reason why a great draughtsman should draw while completely naked” and “the secret of the periods of carnal abstinence and indulgence to be observed by the painter.” We might be inclined to dismiss his nap technique as a surrealist practical joke. Yet The Art of Manliness goes on to explain the creative potential in the kind of nap I used to take in history class—dozing off, then jerking awake just before my head hit the desk:

The experience of this transitional state between wakefulness and sleep is called hypnagogia. You’re floating at the very threshold of consciousness; your mind is sliding into slumber, but still has threads of awareness dangling in the world…. While you’re in this state, you may see visions and hallucinations (often of shapes, patterns, and symbolic imagery), hear noises (including your own name or imagined speech), and feel almost physical sensations…. The experience can essentially be described as “dreaming while awake.”

The benefits for a surrealist painter—or any creative person in need of a jolt out of the ordinary—seem obvious. Many visionaries such as William Blake, John Keats, and Samuel Taylor Coleridge have made use of waking dream states as wellsprings of inspiration. Both Beethoven and Wagner composed while half asleep.

Scientists have found waking dream states useful as well. We’ve already mentioned Einstein. Brilliant mathematician, engineer, philosopher, and theoretical physicist Henri Poincare also found inspiration in micro naps. He pointed out that the important thing is to make ready use of any insights you glean during your few seconds of sleep by writing them down immediately (have pen and paper ready). Then, the conscious mind must take over: “It is necessary,” wrote Poincare, “to put in shape the results of this inspiration, to deduce from them the immediate consequences, to arrange them,” and so forth. He also suggests that “verification” of one’s hypnagogic insights is needed above all, but this step, while critical for the mathematician, seems superfluous for the artist.

So the micro nap comes to us with a very respectable pedigree, but does it really work or is it a psychological placebo? The author of the Almost Bohemian blog writes that he has practiced the technique for several weeks and found it “relatively successful” in restoring energy, though he has yet to harness it for inspiration. If you asked empirical sleep researchers, they might tend to agree with my history teacher: “Sleep laboratory studies show,” writes Lynne Lamberg in her book Bodyrhythms, “that a nap must last at least ten minutes to affect mood and performance.” This says nothing at all, however, about how long it takes to open a doorway to the unconscious and steal a bit of a dream to put to use in one’s waking work.

Aside from the very specific use of the micro nap, the longer power nap—anywhere from 10-40 minutes—can work wonders in improving “mood, alertness and performance,” writes the National Sleep Foundation. Short naps seem to work best as they leave one feeling refreshed but not groggy, and do not interfere with your regular sleep cycle. The Sleep Foundation cites a NASA study “on sleepy military pilots and astronauts” which found that “a 40-minute nap improved performance by 34% and alertness by 100%.” Lifehacker points to studies showing that “power naps, short 10 to 15 minute naps, improve mental efficiency and productivity,” which is why companies like Google and Apple allow their employees to doze off for a bit when drowsy.

One stress management site observes that the 10-15 minute power nap does not even require a pillow or blanket; “you don’t even need to go to sleep! You just need a comfortable place to lie on your back, put your feet up, and breathe comfortably.” Such a practice will not likely turn you into a world famous artist, poet, or scientist (or millionaire marina-owning, altruistic high school teacher). It will likely rejuvenate your mind and body so that you can make much better use of the time you spend not sleeping.

via The Art of Manliness

Related Content:

How a Good Night’s Sleep — and a Bad Night’s Sleep — Can Enhance Your Creativity

Why You Do Your Best Thinking In The Shower: Creativity & the “Incubation Period”

How to Take Advantage of Boredom, the Secret Ingredient of Creativity

Music That Helps You Sleep: Minimalist Composer Max Richter, Pop Phenom Ed Sheeran & Your Favorites

Josh Jones is a writer and musician based in Durham, NC. Follow him at @jdmagness

25 Jan 11:38

Octopuses Might Be Alien…

by Darren
[life] Don’t freak out, but scientists think octopuses ‘might be aliens’ after DNA study … LOVECRAFT WAS RIGHT!! … ‘Octopus DNA is highly rearranged – like cards shuffled and reshuffled in a pack – containing numerous so-called “jumping genes” that can leap around the genome. “The octopus appears to be utterly different from all other animals, even other molluscs, with its eight prehensile arms, its large brain and its clever problem-solving abilities,” said US researcher Dr Clifton Ragsdale, from the University of Chicago. ‘
25 Jan 01:58

The Shirk Report – Volume 353

by twistedsifter

only for the cat

beshirk (6)


Welcome to the Shirk Report where you will find 25 funny images, 10 interesting articles and 5 entertaining videos from the last 7 days of sifting. Most images found on Reddit; articles from Twitter, RSS and email; videos come from everywhere. Any suggestions? Send a note to



Can I play?
Some say she’s still holding her fists to this day
All at once now
I can cartwheel too!
Am I the only one more concerned about the LEOPARDS???
Burger King, no
Rise peasants
I’ll just rub my own belly
The important thing is that he still made it into the water
Start Wandows Ngrmadly
Facebook remembers
You know it’s cold outside when
Instant de-pantsing
This cat passes out like a human
Oh no you don’t
Well this is adorable
Like a boss
This guy’s face is money
Good guy bird bro
Until next week



How a 90-Year-Old Missing Person Became a Hit on Spotify (thx for sharing Margie!)
Six-Legged Giant Finds Secret Hideaway, Hides For 80 Years
A Trip, a Fall and a Whole New Life
The man who cycled from India to Europe for love
The tube at a standstill: why TfL stopped people walking up the escalators
The Best Facts I learned from Books in 2015
I’m the most magnanimous motherfu#%er you know
OMFG Teach Your Kids Accurate Names for Body Parts Already
Venus Flytraps Are Even Creepier Than We Thought
How to Eat Street Food Without Getting Sick
















beshirk (6)


24 Jan 19:58

Second extrait du prochain album d’Iggy Pop composé avec Josh Homme

by Olivier

24 Jan 10:59

Josh Homme et Iggy Pop sortent un disque ensemble, on écoute un extrait

by Julien



C’est le New York Times qui l’annonçait hier, Josh Homme et Iggy Pop ont enregistré un disque ensemble intitulé « Post Pop Depression ». Entièrement financé par les deux compères, il sortira le 18 mars via le label Loma Vista.
Neuf titres enregistrés avec Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) et Dean Fertita (Queens of the Stone Age), pour un album que Homme qualifie « de suite logique » au « Lust for Life » d’Iggy Pop sorti en 1977.

Des concerts sont prévus avec Troy Van Leeuwen (QOTSA) et Matt Sweeney (Chavez) pour compléter le casting et la première apparition du « groupe » est prévue ce soir chez Stephen Colbert.

Voici « Gardenia », un premier extrait en écoute :


22 Jan 08:37

Portraits of Chinese Rockstars Imagined as Monumental Temples

by Christopher Jobson


Chinese artist DU Kun has long harbored a reverence for music and rockstars. A musician himself, the Beijing-based painter is awed by the creation of music, aspects of fame, and the intangible aura of being a revered rockstar, something he tries to capture is these temple-like portraits of famous Chinese recording artists titled “Revels of the Rock Gods”.

Each oil painting depicts the face of a musician as if it were a temple built in devotion to a god and borrows elements from Buddhist and Confucian architecture. Eyes are depicted as windows, tree branches or waterfalls as flowing hair, and the surface of skin as ornate wood facades gilded with gold.

Kun is currently exhibiting the “Revels of the Rock Gods” series as part of his first solo show in Japan at Mizuma Art Gallery in Tokyo through February 13, 2016. You can explore close-up details plus an archive of Kun’s work on his website. (via Hi-Fructose)










19 Jan 23:36

Montserrat: The Modern Pompeii

by (Admin)
June 1995 is a month that those living on the idyllic Caribbean island of Montserrat will remember for the rest of their days. The island’s volcano, on the Soufrière Hills had been dormant for many hundreds of years. Yet in that fateful month it erupted – and it hasn’t stopped since.

Much of the island was devastated. A further eruption followed in 1997. In a short time the small island nation’s capital, Plymouth, founded in Georgian times, had been buried by almost 40 feet of mud and other debris. Much of the airport and the dock were destroyed and the entire southern part of the island, an overseas territory of the United Kingdom, was rendered uninhabitable.

Today, Plymouth is a ghost town mostly submerged under the sludge and mire of a volcanic eruption. It is sealed off, locked inside the island’s self-imposed exclusion zone. Few visitors are allowed inside the exclusion zone, for fear of a sudden pyroclastic eruption which would swiftly extinguish their lives.

The exclusion zone extends outside of the once thriving and lively capital city and covers about half of the island. The coastline was expanded greatly by the eruptions and these areas are also off limits to visitors. The caution of the authorities is well warranted. As recently as 2010 a new vulcanian explosion sent pyroclastic flows cascading down the sides of the Soufrière Hills towards the sea.

The authorities allow so few visitors in to the exclusion zone as they still sting from the accusation that the death toll (19) of the 1997 eruptive event could have been avoided had the people of the south of the island been adequately resettled in the north following the 1995 eruption.

Image Credit Flickr User MikeSchinkel
After the last explosion the lava dome at the top of the hills partly collapsed and this sent an extraordinary pillar of ash to an altitude of 20,000 feet. The nearby islands of Antigua and Guadeloupe experienced ash falls. Yet surprisingly, despite the carnage that nature has wreaked the parts of the island which escaped devastation remain beautifully verdant.

Around five thousand people remain on the island, which is almost ten miles long and seven wide. Yet ten thousand people were forced to flee or face almost certain destitution as the volcanic activity had destroyed their home, business, means of employment or all three. Most ended up in the chillier environs of the United Kingdom.

Image Credit Flickr User signalpad
The British government launched a three-year $122.8 million aid program to help rebuild the economy. It also provided an additional $4.5 million to fund the ash-cleaning programme. Yet although these figures are large there is no doubt that that they are sorely inadequate to restore the island to its pre-eruption prosperity and some complain that the UK has done little to help or support its Montserrat (who were granted full UK citizenship in 2002) both on and off the island.

Image Credit Flickr User Pat Hawks
The part of the island unaffected by the eruption is very much open for business with everything you would want on a Caribbean vacation. Nevertheless, it seems the fate of Plymouth and other parts of the island of Montserrat is to remain buried under the mud and the ash – a modern day Pompeii it seems.

Image Credit Flickr User Nick Brooks
Image Credit Flickr User Pat Hawks
Image Credit Flickr User Brian Digital
Image Credit Flickr User Nick . Hawks
Image Credit Flickr User UWI Seismic Research
Image Credit Flickr User Pat Hawks
Image Credit Flickr User UWI Seismic Research
Image Credit Flickr User Nick Brooks
Image Credit Flickr User UWI Seismic Research
Image Credit Flickr User Nick Brooks
Image Credit Flickr User Nick Brooks
Image Credit Flickr User Nick Brooks
Image Credit Flickr User MikeSchinkel
Image Credit Flickr User MikeSchinkel
First Image Credit Flickr User MikeSchinkel 
Exclusion zone map - wikimedia
19 Jan 14:16

5 Ways to Tie a Scarf: Your 60-Second Visual Guide

by AoM Team

found an asian website with 30 ways (for women)
can remeber only 2 or 3 but I was so fed up to always use it the same way that it saved my outdoor life (did I said I have dozens of scarves, as my poor neck is very fragile)
in french we do a difference between écharpe, done with wool, and foulard, done with anything else : cotton, silk, ... In english seems that's the same word ?

5 ways for a man to tie a scarf men's style

Scarves are a great way to stay toasty warm when the winter winds come biting. But many men don’t know how to tie a scarf in a masculine and confident way. Using Antonio Centeno’s article from a few years ago, we illustrated 5 of the best ways for a man to tie a scarf so you can see your options at a glance.

The first 3 ways are for medium-length scarves, and will serve you well in cool temperatures — above freezing and up into the 50s. The final 2 ways are for longer scarves, and are better for those chilly days that dip well below the freezing mark.

Sport any of these different styles, and you’ll be a dapper fellow about town.

Illustration by Ted Slampyak

18 Jan 20:10

White Bean, Sausage and Cavolo Nero Kale Soup

by Erica

Yesterday afternoon my son was doing his best impression of a barnacle, stuck to me in an emotional rebound reaction to going back to school from Winter Break. Getting anything done was challenging.

My husband walked in, back from his daily round of corporate servitude, our pre-teen daughter trailing in behind him.

“How was school?” I asked her.

“Is there anything to eat?” she responded.

And because earlier in the day I had thrown together this soup, I could say, “Of course there is, sweetie,” instead of “What do I look like, your personal short order chef?”

Mom level 10: Activate. All thanks to this soup.

Click here for the printable recipe, or follow along for the step-by-step visual instructions.

Step-by-Step White Bean, Sausage and Kale Soup

You will need:

  • Some Italian sausage: Carnivore? See Note. Vegetarian? Substitute portabella mushrooms, or leave out completely.
  • Flavor Building Veg: a yellow onion, some garlic and a carrot.
  • Feature Veg: wonderful Cavolo Nero kale.
  • Light stock: chicken or pork. Veg is fine too, if you are meat-free.
  • White wine: goes without saying.
  • Cooked white beans: you want the little cannellini or similar type for this. You can cook them ahead of time, or use canned beans.
  • Seasoning: thyme, salt, pepper, and – if you are feeling fancy – a good quality olive oil and some parmesan cheese.

Sausage Note: You can use mild Italian or spicy Italian, chicken or pork or turkey, in casing or loose. Whatever. It doesn’t matter, so long as your sausage is uncooked. What you don’t want is a pre-cooked sausage you can just heat-and-eat. If your sausage doesn’t feel squidgy when you poke it, it’s the wrong type. The Yuppie Hippie market had bulk, uncased mild chicken Italian sausage, so that’s what I used.

Saute your sausage. Get it nice and brown, but don’t burn it.

Add your flavor builder veggies to the pot. Just throw them right in there with your sausage. Cook them till they are nice and soft.

Next, add your liquids. In goes the stock and vino. While we are at it, toss your dried thyme in there so it has time to hydrate and soften. Keep the heat moderate and get everything bubbly together.


Pop your sliced up kale into the soup. It will look like a lot initially, but you know how greens are. It’ll shrink down in no time. Cook the kale until it’s pretty tender. (Kale never gets tender, tender. It’s not codependent. This is one of the lovely qualities of kale.)

Add the cooked white beans. I had a pot of white beans going on the back of the stove anyway, so that’s what I used but – to reiterate – canned beans are totally fine here. Just drain them well and rinse all that goopy snot-textured bean-gel off of ’em before you add them to your soup.

Gently, gently stir those lovely delicate beans into the soup, then season everything with salt and pepper like you mean it.


This soup is classic and delicious and needs no messing with, but if you really want the absolute best experience, it’s all about the garnishing.

Dish up bowls of the hot soup, then drizzle each with some good quality olive oil, like the kind your friend who travels to Napa and Tuscany would bring you back as a thank you gift after you picked up her mail for a week.

Now top each bowl with a few shavings of parmesan. Skip the green can of cheese salt and take these right off a chunky wedge of fancy-pants cheese with a potato peeler. A few curls of good parm do a lot in almost every situation.


Enjoy with a glass of white wine. You had to open a bottle to make the soup, so you might as well.


Printable White Bean, Sausage and Cavolo Nero Soup Recipe

5 from 1 reviews
White Bean, Sausage and Cavolo Nero Kale Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A simple and delicious winter soup.
Author: Erica
Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4 to 6
  • ½ lb bulk Italian sausage, or about 3 mild Italian sausages, casings removed
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, peeled and medium diced
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and medium diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 quart chicken or pork stock
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 tsp dried thyme or 1 tablespoon fresh minced thyme
  • 2 bunches Cavolo Nero kale, rinsed, tough stems removed, and finely chopped
  • 2 cups cooked (or canned) cannellini or other small, white beans
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Best quality olive oil, to garnish (optional)
  • Parmesan cheese, to garnish (optional)
  1. In a large pot set over medium-high heat, warm the oil until it shimmers. Crumble the sausage meat into the oil, and cook, stirring frequently, until sausage is browned.
  2. Add the onions, carrot and garlic to the pot and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are translucent and the vegetables are tender.
  3. Add to the chicken or pork stock, wine, and dried thyme to the pot. Bring everything to a simmer, then add the kale to the pot.
  4. Adjust heat to medium-low maintain a very gentle simmer, cover pot, and cook until all the vegetables are quite tender, about 15 minutes.
  5. Add the cooked cannellini beans to the soup, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  6. Gently simmer for a final 10 to 15 minutes, to allow the flavors to fully meld. Adjust final seasonings with additional salt if needed.
  7. Serve the soup hot, topped with a drizzle of good olive oil and a few shavings of Parmesan.

15 Jan 22:16

Crème au citron bergamote (curd)

by Edda

I will do this, this is a curd, but not with lemon, with bergamot
more tasty

Crème au citron bergamote (curd) Je vous avais déjà parlé du citron bergamote (clic) ce drôle d'agrume que l'on trouve à cette période à la saveur un peu acidulée comme le citron mais avec en plus un parfum de bergamote qui reste en bouche, très séduisant. Vous savez que je suis une grande fan des curds, ces crèmes soyeuses aux fruits. J'ai donc voulu essayer avec un curd au citron bergamote
14 Jan 10:04

La « Pompéi britannique » sort de la glaise

by Pierre Barthélémy

Dégagement d'un clayonnage sur le site de Must Farm. ©

Le site Internet de la BBC a déjà surnommé, sans doute avec exagération, ce site archéologique comme "la Pompéi britannique". Cette emphase traduit assez bien l'enthousiasme des chercheurs qui, depuis septembre 2015, travaillent sur la fouille de Must Farm, non loin de Whittlesey, dans l'est de l'Angleterre. Ainsi que le résume David Gibson (Cambridge Archaeological Unit), qui est responsable de ce "chantier", "il s'agit simplement de la construction en bois de l'Age du bronze la plus complète qu'on ait jamais découverte dans ce pays." Pour Duncan Wilson, qui dirige Historic England, sorte de commission des monuments historiques version anglaise, laquelle co-finance les fouilles de Must Farm, "le site est d'une importance internationale et sa mise au jour va réellement transformer notre compréhension de cette période".

Le rapprochement avec Pompéi est dû à l'excellent état de conservation de ce site datant de près de trois millénaires, ce qui correspond à la fin de l'Age du Bronze dans cette région du monde. Si l'endroit s'est transformé en "une extraordinaire capsule temporelle", pour reprendre l'expression de Duncan Wilson, c'est dû à un concours de circonstances lui aussi extraordinaire. Remontons trente siècles en arrière. A l'époque coule ici une rivière – qui a changé de cours depuis – large d'une cinquantaine de mètres. C'est au milieu de cette rivière que s'est installée une communauté humaine, en construisant une plateforme sur pilotis, sur laquelle s'élevaient quelques maisons. Comme à Pompéi mais dans des proportions nettement moindres, une catastrophe va détruire ce site tout en contribuant à le préserver pour les générations futures : la plateforme prend feu, ce qui précipite les maisons dans la rivière. Leurs décombres coulent au fond du cours d'eau où ils sont rapidement ensevelis sous de la vase, ce qui va les protéger du pourrissement.

Au fil du temps, une très épaisse couche de sédiments recouvre le lieu au point que, de l'extérieur, rien ne laisse soupçonner ce qui se trouve caché dessous. Il faut attendre la fin du XXe siècle pour que le passé remonte à la surface : une carrière toute proche exploite l'argile locale pour fabriquer des briques et dégage une partie des sédiments. Apparaissent alors des morceaux de bois. Des sondages permettent, au cours des années suivantes, de comprendre que Must Farm constitue un site archéologique de première importance. Quelques années supplémentaires passent le temps de trouver un financement pour les fouilles qui ont commencé en septembre pour huit mois.

La première maison vient de sortir de la glaise. D'ordinaire, les habitations de l'Age du bronze sont des habitations "fantômes", en ce sens que l'on ne retrouve généralement pas de bois mais que des trous laissés dans le sol par les pieux... Ici, grâce à la vase, le bois a été conservé et les pieux sont toujours dans leurs trous ! C'est à une plongée dans le quotidien d'un monde disparu que nous invite le site de Must Farm. On devine la structure circulaire de la maison, on découvre de longues pirogues, des pièges à poissons en bois, des textiles tissés, des éléments de vaisselle, des outils en bronze mais aussi des armes. En même temps que les objets sortent de terre émergent de nombreuses questions. Qui était cette communauté qui semble opulente, bien équipée et bien nourrie (d'après les restes animaux trouvés sur place) ? Tire-t-elle une partie de sa richesse du contrôle du passage de la rivière ? Quelles étaient ses liens avec le reste de l'Europe, auquel certains objets semblent l'associer ? L'analyse du site répondra sans doute en partie à ces interrogations mais elle prendra des années étant donné la quantité impressionnante d'objets découverts. En attendant, je vous invite, grâce aux photos ci-dessous, à visiter cette capsule temporelle, à plonger dans le quotidien d'un village il y a trois mille ans...

       Pierre Barthélémy (suivez-moi ici sur Twitter ou bien là sur Facebook)


Les décombres de la maison. ©

Maison schéma

Schéma pour "lire" les vestiges de la maison mise au jour à Must Farm. En rouge, les restes d'une rangée de pieux. En bleu et en vert, les pans de bois qui structuraient une maison circulaire d'environ 9 mètres de diamètre. En orange, les éléments de murs. En jaune, les restes de la charpente. ©

Coupe. ©

De nombreux outils en bronze ont été mis au jour, parmi lesquels figure cette faucille. ©

Pointe de lance encore fichée sur son manche de bois. ©

Epée avec rivets et fragment d'un pommeau en plomb. ©

Textile tissé... et carbonisé. ©

Un des dix-huit pièges à poissons découverts sur le site

Un des dix-huit pièges à poissons découverts sur le site. ©

Une des pirogues de Must Farm, longue de 8,42 mètres et large de 85 centimètres. ©

Perle de verre bleu

Perle bleue en verre. ©

13 Jan 21:43

People climb on Bloody Bridge—which was built by penal colony...

People climb on Bloody Bridge—which was built by penal colony prisoners—on Norfolk Island in Australia, 1960. Photograph by J. Baylor Roberts, National Geographic Creative

12 Jan 17:06

A Darkly Delightful 1905 Poem Celebrating Punctuation, Newly Illustrated in Silkscreened Typographic Art

by Maria Popova

and nothing to do with above, those very very strange pictures :

“The semicolons’ mournful racket is drowned out by surrounding brackets…”

A Darkly Delightful 1905 Poem Celebrating Punctuation, Newly Illustrated in Silkscreened Typographic Art

The great German philosopher, sociologist, and music theorist Theodor Adorno considered punctuation marks the “friendly spirits whose bodiless presence nourishes the body of language.” Beloved poet Mary Oliver jested that every writer has a finite lifetime quota of punctuation. But there is no more marvelous a celebration of these friendly spirits than In the Land of Punctuation (public library) — a beautiful and clever type-art adaptation of German poet Christian Morgenstern’s darkly delightful 1905 poem “Im Reich der Interpunktionen,” illustrated by Indian graphic artist Rathna Ramanathan and translated into English by Sirish Rao.

Morgenstern, a sort of German Lewis Carroll who crafted literary nonsense with an aphoristic quality and a touch of wry wisdom, was in his early thirties when he wrote the poem — a jocular parable of how dividing a common lot into warring subgroups produces only devastation and no winners. That he died mere months before the start of WWI only lends the piece an eerie air of prescient poignancy.

Silkscreened on handmade paper with traditional Indian dyes and hand-bound in a limited edition of 3,000 numbered copies, this gorgeous large-format book comes from South Indian independent publisher Tara Books — a small team of passionate book- and art-lovers who have spent two decades giving voice to marginalized art and literature through a commune of artists, writers, and designers collaborating on books handcrafted by local artisans in a fair-trade workshop in Chennai. That labor of love has produced treasures like The Night Life of Trees, Waterlife, Creation, and Hope Is a Girl Selling Fruit.

The peaceful land of Punctuation
is filled with tension overnight

When the stops and commas of the nation
call the semicolons “parasites”

Within the hour they form their troops,
an anti-semicolon group

The question marks avoid the scrape
(as always) and quietly escape

The semicolons’ mournful racket
is drowned out by surrounding brackets

And then the captured creature freezes
Imprisoned by parentheses

The dreaded minus sign arrives
and — slash! — ends the captives’ lives

The question marks, now homeward-bound,
pity the corpses on the ground

But, woe! A new war looms large,
as dashes against commas charge

And cut across the commas’ necks
so that the beheaded wrecks

(the dashes delight in gore)
as semicolons hit the floor

Both semicolon types they bury
in silence in the cemetery

Those dashes that still remain,
Creep blackly behind the mourning train

The exclamation holds a sermon
with colon’s help, right on the spot

Then through their comma-form free nation
They all march home: dash, dot, dash, dot…

Complement In the Land of Punctuation, the tactile beauty of which this screen fails to convey, with the fascinating story of the failed crusade for an irony punctuation mark and Adorno on the art of punctuation.

Illustrations courtesy of Tara Books; photographs by Maria Popova

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