(This is a sequel to the post “in the interests of public safety“.  Just so you know.)

direcorgisidewalkThe sidewalk is still closed/even though it now exists./The dire corgi cannot read.

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car spotting– knight xv

Knight SUV 2Just what everybody needs: here’s a first ever in-the-wild spot of the Knight XV fully armored luxury custom SUV.  This 13,000 lb monster, built on a Ford F550 Super Duty platform and powered by either a V-10 gas motor or a V-8 Power Stroke Diesel, is certainly not something you see everyday.  Besides full armor all the way around (including the grille) it has a bewildering variety of security enhancements, including a milspec night vision system and a black box, as well as all the usual luxury bells and whistles.  The interior is fully customizable.  I will have mine done up as a “first class aircraft sleeper”, with a special space for my dogs.  And satellite TV, and “VIP strobes” in the grille …

Seriously, this website is really entertaining.  Configure your own Knight XV on the Conquest Vehicles site here.  If you’re in a hurry, click on “in stock” and see if they have one already made up that happens to suit your personal needs.  The price of course depends on the configuration you want, but a little research indicates the base is around $300, ooo.

I really wish this was my spot, but credit must go to my husband, who saw the Knight XV at a tollway oasis north of Chicago yesterday afternoon, and was kind enough to grab a shot with his phone camera.  (My edits, though.)

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tumblr sunday- gum wrapper condor

tumblr_n99pixxtGM1r855nqo1_500It sounds like the beginning of a bad ethnic joke from the late 20th, but this was identified as a Polish gum wrapper. (If any Polish speakers out there want to provide a translation,  I would be very glad to edit it in.)

But regardless of its origin, this wrapper tells a most intriguing little two panel tale, that of a pair of youngsters, perhaps a brother and sister, in the American West.  In the first panel, they wear feathers in their hair as they admire the scenery.  But their awe at the rock formations and their clothing suggest that they are visitors rather than Native Americans,  at least not local ones.

In the second panel, there is a dramatic change in both plot and perspective as the pair are carried off by a bird of prey so large that the tips of its wings are cut off by the implied panel border.  This seems to be far from the disaster it would be in most stories, since the protagonists never lose their broad smiles, and the bird himself seems friendly enough.   He even seems to be speaking–is this the second item on their sightseeing itinerary,  an aerial tour?

Even that interpretation doesn’t explain the most intriguing aspect of the entire story: the bird’s hat, which seems to be a beret.  Is he French? A Basque? A beatnik?  Or perhaps he is a victim of a deadline.  The original art was almost certainly hand drawn. Did a botched line or a blot drive the artist to draw his or her way out of the problem by adding the jaunty headwear?

We have more questions than answers, and no choice but to leave the kids and their cool condor pal as we found them, flying over the Polish gum wrapper version of a red rocks Western landscape. Maybe a translation of the text would make some sense of all this, but this cheerful pink world doesn’t really need it.

(Edited to correct copious typos– posting from one’s phone is convenient, but sometimes fraught with grammatical peril.)

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in the interest of public safety

“Closed”.  That’s one word for it.  We would also accept “non existent”.

 “Not there” works too.

(Bloggers are among the few who will miss the Great Neighborhood Storm Sewer Diggings of 2014.  Even the very last stages are full of amusing detail.)



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best of the drawing of the day, week 121– spotted guy in a tank top

drawingoftheday-week21-spottyguyinatanktopRegular reader Wolfie is here for a visit, and I let him pick this week’s best of the drawing of the day.  Great minds (or whatever kind of minds we have) must think alike, because this is the one I would have picked myself.  I really like this slightly grumpy spotted guy in a tank top over a black short sleeve of unusual cut.  Of course, he may actually be slightly drunk, instead.  And I may have been the same when I drew this late last Saturday night.

Whatever its origins, this is a “lucky drawing”, flowing straight out of the scritchy-scratchy pen onto the paper without any planning or penciled underdrawing.  If you look carefully, you can see a lot of false starts and “wrong” lines, particularly in the jawline, hair, ears and shirt.  Solid blacks and weird patterns aren’t just design elements– they’re the tools you use to draw your way out of all kinds of problems.

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recently voted character most likely to: never wear a trucker cap, or where do ideas come from?

beer wolf-blogIn this case, the idea came from a visit to an antique mall in Michigan where I found this striking sculpture of a (very) minor pop culture icon, which immediately suggested this Italian restaurant placemat sketch and accompanying fictional wolf placemat drawingGideon Lykander, Librarian and Archivist, Noakes Library, Sauk Trail State University:

Ms Ginsberg, staff picnic or no staff picnic, I hardly think that this … object constitutes appropriate headgear.  It seems to be made entirely of petroleum based artificial materials.  I don’t care if you and Ms. Halloo and Mr. Swann do think that sleazy bar room artifact “looks exactly like me”.  No, I will not “do the ears” so you can prove it.

There.  Are you satisfied?  Mr. Swann?  Are you giggling?  Put your camera away, Ms. Halloo– if a photograph of me wearing this appears in public in any way, I will bite you.  I will bite all of you and it will be very painful.

Now take this thing away and bring me my Panama.  And a mimosa. A large one. I feel quite faint.

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ten (imaginary) facts about a beautiful victorian lady

victorian lasdeyRemember this haunting photograph from this week’s Tumblr Sunday?  I was determined to find out some facts about the subject and/or the photographer, and also to bring her into the Kekionga universe.  The second task is proving easier than the first.

It turns out that Shelley just found the portrait among some of the Berry family treasures,  and asked her grandfather, old Professor Berry, to tell her the story.  Here are ten facts about the beautiful Victorian lady, as Grandpa Berry remembers hearing them from Great Grandma Ida (who died before Shelley was born) and Great Aunt Leah (who she remembers very well).

  • The beautiful Victorian lady’s name was Lilah Franklin.  Her full name was Delilah, but she never liked it because it “made her sound like a cook”.
  • Although Lilah couldn’t cook, she was an excellent housekeeper and seamstress and was never ashamed that she earned an honest living with those skills at several different times in her life.
  • Lilah was born in freedom after the Civil War, but her parents had been slaves. Since her father, a blacksmith, had a trade, they were able to move North and settled first in Baltimore, then in several places in Ohio.
  • Although Lilah went to school, she considered herself primarily self educated, mostly through free libraries.
  • Lilah was a devout Christian, but with a definite Universalist bent.  She was broadminded and very progressive in her politics.
  • She came to Kekionga in the late 1880s to attend Rutherford College, which had just begun admitting women.  (The school had always been integrated.)  She stayed with the Berry family, although she wasn’t a relative as far as anybody can remember.
  • Lilah was the first black woman to graduate from Rutherford.  She was a fine writer and journalist, and studied both English and library science.
  • She traveled around the country working as a newspaper and magazine journalist, freelance writer, librarian and teacher.
  • She never married, but was rumored (by Ida and Leah at least) to have had romances with several very distinguished gentlemen.
  • Later in her life, Lilah settled in New York City and eventually became a grande dame of the Harlem Renaissance.
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very dire puppyhood (in digital imaging)

dire corgi babyCorgi puppies are the cutest puppies.  Discuss.   Yes, that’s the dire corgi as a baby pup, one ear half up, the other down, standing in my parents’ driveway an hour or so after we saw him in person for the first time.  (We stopped to show him off on our way home.)  I was holding the leash in one hand and my point and shoot in the other; he was taking a break from chasing the leaf in the upper left.  He’s slightly confused, but not scared a bit, and already quite dire.

This is a well traveled and much reproduced image; it’s surprising that there’s still more signal than noise at this point.  It started out as a fairly high resolution JPEG imaged with a very small sensor through a cheap little lens.  It was processed in the camera, copied to a hard drive, taken out of the hard drive and stored in a flash drive.  It was carried around in somebody’s pocket for two years, then downloaded to a color photocopier as a test image and printed out on junk copier paper.  Then that printout was tossed in the back seat of a car and driven around for a couple of days.  The printout then sat on a coffee table for a month in a pile of books and papers, then it rose up to the top of the “stuff for the blog” list and was scanned at 200 dpi and reproduced here.  But an image of such pure direness can stand up to all kinds of digital abuse.

Just for fun, I found the original image.  Here it is,  direct from the camera:IMG_4034


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t shirts

shirts on the line-cropblog

This afternoon, with notebook and phone camera.

Three loads of clean T shirts hanging on the lines in the backyard for the second day in a row.  Brought them in yesterday afternoon, damp around their collars, when it started to rain.  Reasonably dry in the house with the AC running, but in the morning, yeah, still damp, too wet to fold.  But also, still raining.  So here we are at three o clock this afternoon, hanging out the same pile. Easier to do this time, because they’d already been shaken out once, but even so, let’s hope everybody wants to be extra wrinkly this next couple of weeks. (Beats being moldy.)  And it looks like it is going to rain again.

One mystery remains: yesterday there were 41 T shirts; today (you can count them) there are 40.  ‘

And they took more than a half hour to fold … still very slightly damp.


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tumblr sunday– a beautiful lady

This is already so familiar to people who love old photographs the oval portrait of the beautiful lady wearing a high necked dress and a big hat with a decoration on it like a whole bird, a lady with an honest face, not made up or airbrushed or Photoshopped, and all the more beautiful for it, the whole in a deep soft monochrome with a range of tone that’s hard to match today.  Her expression is serene with the special serenity which comes from having to sit still for up to three minutes, the exposure times of those early emulsions.  This beautiful lady is particularly beautiful, and an important reminder that not all of the Victorians were white. victorian lasdeyI’ve been thinking about this lady a lot since I found her on Tumblr. I really want to do some research and try to find out who she was, or maybe learn something about the photographer or the circumstances under which the image was taken.  But I also want to adopt her into the Kekionga canon and make her a part of local history.  Perhaps she is one of the early librarians at the Noakes?

(There’s nothing stopping me from doing both.)

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