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Rejoice! There’s a new blue!

Okay, but it’s kind of a big deal. Blue is a rare color in nature, and stable blue pigments even rarer. For a long time, all we had were ground up semi-precious stones like Lapis, which is why they saved it for the Virgin Mary’s robes. You probably knew that.

Even now, many blue pigments – the cobalts, for example – are expensive and a bit toxic. Cerulean is a cobalt color and very expensive and I have to have one tube on hand, because it is exactly the slightly lemony blue of the sky at the horizon. I still have the same tube from art school because I don’t paint landscapes very often.

This new one is called YinMn Blue but it is not, as it sounds, Chinese. It was discovered by two guys at Oregon State University twelve years ago. They were looking for novel electronic components. The name is from the three elements that make it up: Yttrium (Y), Indium (In), and Magnesium (Mn).

In the improbable event you find this at all interesting, there’s a good article on it here.

It looks like a good blue. Strong and opaque, but not overwhelming when mixed with other colors. I was once traumatized by a tragic pthalocyanine raw pigment spill. It stained me and everything I touched a vivid blue.


Sad to inform you that BullDawgGuy has won the pool with Rush Limbaugh. Fare thee well, Rush.

February 16, 2021 — 7:44 pm
Comments: 19

Shiny.

We watched The Dig over the weekend, the Netflix dramatization of the dig for Sutton Hoo just before the outbreak of WWII. It was 4/5 a brilliant film that somehow decided to spend its last twenty minutes tying up a minor subplot I didn’t give a shit about. With any luck, there will be a director’s cut with that excised.

Still a recommend.

They worked with the British Museum to get the costumes and sets right. There’s an interesting blog post from the BM here that describes the process. Spoilers, I guess.

And you can take a virtual walk around Room 41 that they’ve somehow built using Google Street View technology.

Very cool.

February 2, 2021 — 8:09 pm
Comments: 12

‘Tis but a scratch

This charming example of Victorian taxidermy – and my charming, I mean disgusting – was in the collection of Louis Mantin, a wealthy eccentric from Moulins. He built an entire mansion around his art collection. Not all of it in execrable taste.

When he died in 1905, he willed the property to the town – on the condition they put it on display and change nothing inside. He wanted people a hundred years hence to see “a specimen of a bourgeois home of the nineteenth century.”

It’s not clear to me that he meant to board it up and completely neglect it for a century, but I haven’t seen the will with my own eyes. Anyway, that’s what they did. Boarded it up and let it gently rot.

After pouring a bunch of money into it again, it opened to the public in 2010. NatGeo has a short slideshow, but you’ll probably see more on an images search.

What it is to have money, with or without taste. Good weekend, all!

Oops! I didn’t hit publish on this last night! Happy Caturday, folks.

January 30, 2021 — 1:10 pm
Comments: 5

Then there’s this thing

A thing I found looking for ancient Persian metalwork: behold the Luck of Edenhall. Do follow the link and see it in color.

It was made in Syria or Egypt around 1350, and the leather case in France or England not long afterwards. The leather case is undoubtedly how it manage to survive all this time in tact. How it got from there to here is unclear; Eden Hall was in Cumberland, a county to the far North. It’s first mentioned by name in 1677 in the will of Sir Philip Musgrave.

It is a wonderful example of luxury Islamic glass, but by the time it found its way to England, it was blamed on the fairies. Naturally.

The (probably 18th C.) story goes that a yokel interrupted a fairy drinking party. The fairies ran off, leaving the cup behind. A pissed off and drunken fairy shouted over his shoulder: “If this cup should break or fall/ Farewell the Luck of Edenhall!”

A luck is a class of objects from the North of England that have a legendary significance to the fortunes of a family. Lost, broken, stolen or sold would ruin the luck of a family. It stayed in the Musgrave family until they loaned it to the V&A in 1926; Eden Hall was demolished in 1934.

You decide!

January 21, 2021 — 8:22 pm
Comments: 10

Lion optional

We are having a jolly conversation about metalworking in the thread below. BJM says he used to work silver wire and Thracian “Herakles knot” arm bands were a popular item.

I have a new rule under lockdown. Any word or phrase I don’t understand, I immediately stop and look it up. There’s really no excuse not to now, when you can highlight, right click and search all in one swell foop.

Heracles knot is another word for reef knot (AKA square knot, Hercules knot, double knot or brotherhood knot). In jewelry, it is a symbol of love or friendship.

I don’t know how it’s associated with Heracles. I didn’t spend much time looking, though – it’s bath night!

A warning from the International Guild of Knot Tyers (yes, there is):

The International Guild of Knot Tyers warns that this knot should never be used to bend two ropes together. A proper bend knot, for instance a sheet bend or double fisherman’s knot, should be used instead. Knotting authority Clifford Ashley claimed that misused reef knots have caused more deaths and injuries than all other knots combined.

I woke up in a good mood today. No, it didn’t make any sense to me, either, but I held onto it as best I could by avoiding social media. Mostly.

January 20, 2021 — 9:22 pm
Comments: 9

Pyramids of Nubia

Pyramids of Nubia, y’all. A real thing, apparently, but probably not all clustered together like that. You can read more about it (and see the full-sized image) here, though the article is really more about cartography. Or printing.

Whatever. I found it in an image search and thought it was trippy.

Me, I’ve been playing Twitter like a slot machine addict today. Poking F5 and expecting something extraordinary to fall out. Any. Minute. Now.

Eh, I don’t suppose anyone’s interested in the full, unredacted Epstein flight log. First time the unredacted version has been released, I think. Nothing too interesting, that I saw. Roberts isn’t in it. Chuck Schumer (“Schumi”) is. So’s Trump (he said he took a flight home on Epstein’s plane once). I confess, my attention span for spreadsheets is really short.

Have a good weekend, everyone!

December 18, 2020 — 8:37 pm
Comments: 10

Just in Time for Christmas!

Yay! A mailing from the Museum of Bad Art!

The theme of this year’s 16-month calendar is “DOPPLEHANGERS – An examination of paintings from the MOBA Collection that, accidentally or by design, resemble famous people.” MOBA merch including calendar here.

It’s one of my two regrets about leaving the States that I never visited the Museum of Bad Art in person, though I worked nearby. (The other is not spending the night at the Lizzie Borden B&B).

They totally redesigned their website, I see. Most of these paintings are unfamiliar and my favorites aren’t there.

You can see most of the collection online. Many’s the evening I got a snootful of joy juice and had a cruel snicker at some other poor artist’s expense. My secret nightmare is finding something of mine has made the grade (I left a lot of old, unfinished art at the curb when I left).

November 30, 2020 — 8:05 pm
Comments: 6

Spain does it again

Spain’s latest civic art restoration project was brilliant as usual. Ahem.

So, after a week of using Parler, some tips.

Clicking hashtags is useful, because you won’t be following enough people at first to make it interesting. When you do click a hashtag, the first three or four entries will be busty camwhores advertising their wares. Block them or you’ll see them over and over again, guaranteed (unless you like seeing busty camwhores – who am I to judge?).

I also report them as spam because they piss me off, but I don’t know how Parler feels about that. The platform that bills itself as ‘no-censor’ may have a funny attitude about kicking anyone, even spammers.

Second, the grifters. There are a few accounts hawking Trump commemorative coins and the like. I mute those rather than block (some paid to be promoted and I suppose it helps support the platform, but they made me feel grubby).

Third, the nuts. I mute them, too. There are some goofy-ass people on Parler, as you would expect on a platform founded on Twitter rejects. I suppose some are lefty trolls trying to make righties look crazier, but we’re perfectly capable of turning out genuine right-wing nutbars, thanks.

Follow the same people you follow elsewhere, but beware counterfeit accounts – there are lots of these. Do that enough and it starts to be a little more useful.

Once you’ve done all that…it’s still too slow and lacking engagement to be a Twitter replacement. Worth having open in a tab, though, for sure. Once they absorb the newcomers and tweak their software a bit, we’ll see.

Final tip: the phone app is swifter than the Web app.

Oh, and new Dead Pool tomorrow!

November 12, 2020 — 8:08 pm
Comments: 7

Expensive creepy machines

The Met has got a show on at the moment called Making Marvels. It’s about two hundred years worth of eye-wateringly expensive things European royalty commissioned between 1550 and 1750. If you click either the catalogue or the picture album links on the page I linked above, you get a 404 error.

Boo, the Met.

Fortunately, I found their YouTube playlist. Don’t miss the famous draughtsman — with his clothes off, no less.

Lots of cool things to see on their Twitter hashtag, as well.

Yes, I’m still haunting Twitter for news of the coronavirus. Today in town, a family of Chinese tourists stopped me to ask directions and I ’bout came out of my skin. If one of the buggers had coughed…

January 27, 2020 — 9:15 pm
Comments: 7

Purty

This is neat. Spanish photographer takes high resolution video of birds in flight and isolates the birds from the landscape. He uses movie cameras and slow motion and films them for several days before picking the image apart in Photoshop.

His name is Xavi Bou and if you click that link, it’ll take you to a Google Images search of his name. Do go look; my little black and white photos don’t half do him justice.

I love watching birds in flight. I could do it for hours.

But tonight, the storm rages, so I’d best be off. Go look at pretty pictures.

January 14, 2020 — 7:26 pm
Comments: 14