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William Blake Doc Martens

William Blake 1460, $150

The summer after I graduated high school, I went to London with a friend. We visited the Tate and I became smitten with William Blake’s art. I didn’t have a lot of money to spend on that trip but I did buy a bunch of postcards of his art as souvenirs.

About five years later, when I landed in California from the East Coast, I got into a heated discussion with a friend’s husband. He mentioned that he was a fan of Blake’s poems. I said that I was a fan of Blake’s art. He said I must be mistaken, that Blake didn’t make art. I insisted that he did. (Now, keep in mind, this was the mid-1990s and there wasn’t an instant way to verify who was right.) We tabled that discussion, and our relationship, indefinitely. (more…)

Sidrolz in the Rain

Eighteen works by Ben Zoeller from Louisville, Kentucky, c. 2016-2018
Find him on tumblr and instagram

Artwork for Meng Qi’s “Sidrolz” cassette on Obsolete Staircases

Artwork for WET’s “Apollo’s Rodeo” cassette on Obsolete Staircases

Follow the artist on tumblr and instagram

50 Ways to Support 50 Watts

By: 50 Watts
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Radio and Television, a Peep into the Future of 1930 from 1929

 JF Ptak Science Books   Post 2740

Pop Mech 1929 radio of the future

The odd thing about this odd speculation for an odd look advancing a single odd year into the future is that it is so, well, odd. Here on page 1009 of the January-June volume of Popular Mechanics the editors speculated on what the approaching year might bring in the evolution/revolution of the radio. Radio as a popular medium was relatively new-ish in 1922 and the in six quick years very much developed for wide use, and so it must have appeared not too long a leap to jump into a radio for 1930 that offered images to accompany the broadcast. The idea of “seeing by wireless” was already upon folks back then, or at least the technology was.


Podcast: The History of UFOs

giphy (3)

Who knew that Harry Reid was so concerned about UFOs? As reported in Politico this week, he secured twenty million dollars in appropriations for the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program (AATIP) in 2009. The program conducted pilot interviews and gathered flight recordings until 2011.

So here’s the question: why was the AATIP kept secret? National security? Or perhaps national embarrassment? Whatever one thinks about UFOs — are they natural phenomena, military aircraft, mass hysteria, or alien visitors? — we can agree that they are freighted with a lot of meaning. Everyone has an opinion. 


Greg Eghigian

How did this come to be? In 1946, Swedish and Finnish observers reported “ghost rockets” flying over Scandinavia. In the United States, they became known as “flying saucers.” This is the starting point for historian Greg Eghigian who discusses the science and culture of UFOs in the twentieth century. Eghigian is professor of history at Penn State University. He also holds the Charles A. Lindbergh Chair in Aerospace History at the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.


The Golden Age of the Illustrated Book Dust Jacket

Spines of books from the collection of Martin Salisbury (photo by Simon Pask)
Spines of books from the collection of Martin Salisbury (photo by Simon Pask)

In the 19th century, dust jackets on books were just protective paper wrappers, thrown away after a book was purchased. The prized cover was the leather underneath, and although some of these bindings had elegant designs, the dust jacket rarely referenced the interior contents. The Illustrated Dust Jacket, 1920-1970 by Martin Salisbury, out November 21 from Thames & Hudson, chronicles how this once disposable object became a major creative force in publishing.

“In view of its origins as a plain protection to be discarded on purchase, and the relatively recent acceptance of the detachable jacket as an integral part of the book and its identity, it is ironic that for today’s book collectors the jacket is key — the presence of an original jacket on a sought-after first edition now greatly adds to its value,” Salisbury writes in the book. The Illustrated Dust Jacket concentrates on the 20th-century heyday of the dust jacket, when artists were experimenting with printing and illustration techniques, and publishers were recognizing its advertising potential. Although the first known illustrated dust jacket dates to the 1830s, this was the era in which it was actively designed.


Uncanny Images from an Investigation into Gef, a 1930s Talking Mongoose

"Harry Price commissioned artist George Scott to draw a sketch of Gef, based on the Irvings' descriptions of him. But on being shown the sketch, Gef strongly objected, saying: 'That ain't me! Looks more like a llama!'," from <em>Gef!: The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose</em> (courtesy Strange Attractor)
“Harry Price commissioned artist George Scott to draw a sketch of Gef, based on the Irvings’ descriptions of him. But on being shown the sketch, Gef strongly objected, saying: ‘That ain’t me! Looks more like a llama!’,” from Gef!: The Strange Tale of an Extra-special Talking Mongoose (courtesy Strange Attractor)

“I am the ghost in the form of a weasel and I shall haunt you,” proclaimed Gef, a spectral creature that became part of the Irving family’s daily life in 1931. James Irving, age 58, Margaret, age 54, and their daughter Voirrey, age 13, collectively experienced the manifestation of Gef at their farmhouse on the Isle of Man. As James would later describe, what started as a “tap, tap, tap at night” within their walls developed into an ongoing conversation with this astute, and often snide, “man-weasel” who had decided to make their isolated home his own abode.


n514_w1150 by Biodiversity Heritage Library Via…


n514_w1150 by Biodiversity Heritage Library

Via Flickr:

Report on the scientific results of the voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the years 1873-76 under the command of Captain George S. Nares ….
Edinburgh :Neill,1880-1895..

By: Scientific Illustration
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