Here's a glimpse of Covid-Christmas, a glittery ornament of Santa Claus in a face mask ($21.99). It's made by Old World Christmas, a company that specializes in higher-end handblown glass ornaments. On their blog, they also promise two other coronavirus-inspired ornaments:
2020 has been a wild ride however you slice it. Our most anticipated releases are already selling like crazy to our wholesale vendors. By November, our three Covid-19 ornaments will be available on our website, and these cannot be missed. Santa is masking up with a sparkle in his eyes, a commemorative roll of 2020 Toilet Paper will never run out, and our hands have never been cleaner with a few squirts of Hand Sanitizer. It's a year that will be impossible to forget, but should be commemorated with one of these special ornaments. These three and the rest of the entire mid-year collection will be released by November, right in time for holiday shopping.
Woke up this morning here in Alameda (San Francisco Bay Area) and it was still dark, with a strong orange coming through the blinds. I can best describe it as a "hellscape." It's caused, of course, by the wildfires. But, oddly enough, it doesn't smell like smoke (that's explained here). Though there is ash covering my vehicle and, really, everything outside. My Instagram feed today looks something like this:
Another event is going virtual. The quirky What the Fluff? festival can't happen as planned at their in-person location of Union Square in Somerville, Massachusetts, so they are taking it online this year. The live-streamed festivities happen Saturday, September 12 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT.
I make art (and art-products) inspired by Fluff. I also collect art inspired by Fluff. People gift me Fluff-inspired art. My logo is a visual portmanteau of the iconic Fluff jar and my last name. I spend hours every holiday season making my mom's award-winning Fluffernutter Fudge to bring to parties and to give to friends. If there's a news article about Fluff, my inbox will be filled with emails from folks making sure I saw it. My identity is forever enveloped in the sugary sweet white stuff (not as messy as it sounds!).
But even I didn't know that I was a super fan of Fluff until I saw it in print. In 2017, Fluff celebrated its 100th anniversary. The book that tells its tale, "Fluff: The Sticky Sweet Story of an American Icon" by Mimi Graney, was published that same year. In the chapter "Ladies Love Fluff," Mimi shared a story of mine about how I wrote to Durkee-Mower, the company who makes Fluff, about its fictional lady mascot. It starts, "Rusty Blazenhoff, a Marshmallow Fluff super fan, wrote to Lynne White in 1996."
A Fluff super fan? I was shocked to read those words. They say fish can't see water and, 20 years in swimming in the world of Fluff, I certainly hadn't seen the obvious. I'm cool with the title now but, I'll be honest, I couldn't finish reading the rest of what Mimi wrote in the book until last year.
Now, Mimi Graney didn't just author the 100-year Fluff history book where she properly pins me, she also founded the Fluff festival fifteen years ago. I've been and it's a hoot! I'm looking forward to checking out its virtual presence.
Today I learned: Flamingos feed with their heads upside down and that their beaks are adapted for this purpose.
This essay on flamingo feeding from Stanford explains:
In most birds a smaller lower beak works against a larger upper one. In flamingos this is reversed; the lower bill is much larger and stronger, and the fat tongue runs within the bill's deep central groove. To complete the jaw reversal, unlike other birds (and mammals) the upper jaw is not rigidly fixed to the skull. Consequently, with the bird's head upside down during feeding the upper bill moves up and down, permitting the flamingo's jaws to work 'normally.'
Part of the flamingo's filter feeding is accomplished simply by swinging the head back and forth and letting the water flow through the bill. The tongue also can be used as a pump to pass water through the bill's strainer more efficiently. It moves quickly fore and aft in its groove, sucking water in through the filter as it pulls backward, and expelling it from the beak as it pushes forward. The tongue may repeat its cycle up to four times a second.
This neat underwater video from the San Diego Zoo shows this "filter feeding" in action. Wow!
Not sure what to do for the holidays this year? Give a shiitake! Shiitake Mushroom Candy Canes may seem odd at first, but they're sprouting up all over the place. How do they taste? Like shiitake. After all, we know Santa is a fungi with mushroom in his heart for holiday spirit, so obviously he gives a shiitake about Christmas!
To be able to perform the feat of "floating into the sky with a cluster of balloons," David Blaine had to first gather a team of experts, jump out of a plane 500 times (to get a pro skydiver rating), earn a hot air balloon pilot's certificate, and earn another one that gives him the right to fly helium-filled balloons. The stunt is called "Ascension" and it's intense:
On Thurday, a rally for Donald Trump was held in Fred Roger's hometown of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. His 92-year-old widow Joanne made it clear in an interview with The Daily Beast that she's not a fan.
"Fred tried to stay pretty quiet about politics, basically because his program was for children," Joanne Rogers said.
She is under no such constraints herself.
"I'm alone now," she said. "I don't do a program for children."
She made clear her feelings about Trump: "I think he's just a horrible person."
…"I think maybe the fact that Mr Trump seldom tells the truth," she said. "If he does, it's just a fluke, I think. But the fact [is] that I can't believe anything he says, not even the simplest thing."
She was speaking what she feels is the simple truth when she said, "This man is pathologically ill. Mentally ill."
On September 5, the Burning Man Project is hosting Burn Night: Live From Home,"a worldwide, around-the-clock Burn Night extravaganza." Pre-recorded and live burns will be live-streamed for a full 24 hours. To encourage participation, they've created a detailed blueprint so at-home Burners can build (and later burn) a simplified two-foot Mini Man.
Timing Your Burn Night (Wherever You Are!)
Tentative scheduled start time is 2am PDT September 5th (that's 9pm NZST in New Zealand).
Burns will begin in New Zealand and roll westward approximately hourly, culminating in the US West Coast and Hawaii, with special Fire Conclave performances at 7pm PDT.
Our collective Burn extravaganza will tentatively wrap up at 2am PDT on Sept 6 (that's 11pm HST in Hawaii). This schedule will adjust based on your submissions!
Two great tastes that taste great together! Sylvan Esso's latest music video is set on what appears to be singer Amelia Meath's Animal Crossing: New Horizons island. I love everything about it and am really curious how they actually "filmed" it. The song is "Ferris Wheel" and is off their upcoming Free Love album, which drops September 25.