February 2008


The Times of India reports, “[a] survivor-against-all-odds baby, the 1.4 kg girl … had a delivery through her mother’s womb into the toilet bowl of a running train and then right onto the tracks.” Nearly unintelligible prose notwithstanding, holy moley. That’s way more riveting than Georgia the subway cat.

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… is always nice, but if I poured with this pot, the romantic feelings would probably have to be put on hold as I mopped double the mess from my lap. Design via Marla Dawn Home.

Beautiful Children, Charles Bock’s fiction debut (which more or less everybody orgasmed in anticipation of) is available as a free, downloadable PDF courtesy Random House until Friday, February 29 — get it here!

It’s gimmicky, sure, and I don’t know what the publisher’s end game is (demonstrate that even netizens occasionally express demand for finer forms of the written word?), but I’ll be honest, I downloaded it. And I can’t wait to start reading it, if only to be able to put forth an informed opinion about this middle-aged wunderkind everyone’s talking about.

A group in Indore, Madhya Pradesh, India, just set the world record for the largest tea party — 32,000 people gathered for a ritual cuppa, breaking the record previously set in Japan.

“From an industrialist to the man on the street, a cup of tea is a major bonding factor in India,” said Sanjay Mani, general manager of the Dainik Bhaskar newspaper, which helped arrange the event.

Darjeeling, anyone?

A sketch of the building of the Golden Gate Bridge done by my great-grandfather, Stephen Thomas Hennessy, some time in what I'm guess were the 1930s.

A view of the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge under construction, from either 1935 or 1936, courtesy the San Francisco Museum.

My mom just made a pilgrimmage to the grandparent’s abode in the Sierra Nevadas, where she took a series of photos of her grandfather’s sketches from the Bay Area in the early twentieth century. I don’t know much about Stephen, but I have culled a few facts and/or amassed some anecdotes that may be historical conjecture:
— He was born in Cincinnatti, had moved to St. Louis by 1920, and ended up in California in the 1930s (according to U.S. Census records)
— My mother claims he drove a motorcycle built by a Native American across the country
— He painted alongside S.C. Yuan and spent much of his time mimicking landscapes in Carmel-by-Sea
— Walt Disney approached him to work with him as a studio artist, but Stephen refused
— He sketched maniacally, on any material available to him (which included brown paper bags, tissue paper, and cardboard inserts discarded by dry cleaners)

I’ve created a set of photos of his work on my Flickr account. It’s got landscapes, a few fabulous figure studies, and, of course, those select sketches of the Golden Gate going up. My aunt, an artist herself, is rumored to have squirrelled away about 20 more.

The San Francisco Museum, from which I brazenly stole the above image for comparison, has a great repository of images of the Golden Gate Bridge being built.

America Hurrah’s Bill Roddy also offers pictures he took while the bridge was going up, which he later published as a set of postcards. Another comprehensive set was posted by history_eyes_05 on WebShots; numerous books on the subject have also been published.

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Current obsession? Making my morning brew in a Mono Fillio 50-ounce pot. Now, if only I could justify spending $139 on a tea accessory …

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