Thursday, October 20, 2016

Today's Election-Free Zone: Incredible Body-Painting

Japanese artist Chooo-San does the most incredible stuff with face- and body-paint, some of it creepy and scary, some of it just plain beautiful. Here's a representative collection of her stuff at My Modern Met.

Reminds me that I need to sort out the makeup for my (much less spectacular) Halloween costume, which I promise I'll post pictures of here, provided it all comes together :o). Here's a hint.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Today's Election-Free Zone: Paris's Independent Shopfronts and their Owners

At The Guardian, I love these gorgeous photos of the Parisian owners of indie shops standing in their own doorways. A chocolaterie, a patisserie, a pharmacie that makes me think of the TARDIS (sorry), a shop of homemade marionettes and toys, even a shop for pesticides and rodent traps (Destruction des Animaux Nuisibles). Photos taken by German photographer Sebastian Erras. Here at Snapshots: the shopfronts of independent Paris.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Today's Election-Free Zone: 4-day-old Goat Meets 4-month-old Puppy

I actually think the puppy is doing a remarkable job restraining his excitement and yearning. Considering he's a puppy :o)

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Friday, October 14, 2016

Today's Beacon of Hope and Rightness: Our First Lady

This is political and election-related, so I debated whether I was breaking my "Safe Zone" promise by posting it here. It's a speech First Lady Michelle Obama gave yesterday in Manchester, New Hampshire, so of course it refers to that horrible man. But: it also brings rightness back; it's uplifting and hopeful; it made me feel seen, heard, cared about, and understood as a woman and as a decent human being during this horrific election season. And -- she never says his name, for which I am grateful.

Here's a link to video and transcript of Michelle Obama's speech yesterday in Manchester, NH.

(The speech is actually only 21 minutes long. The first ten minutes is the stuff that is SO GOOD TO HEAR, the next ten minutes is stuff about Hillary, and the last ten minutes is FLOTUS shaking hands while her Secret Service detail anxiously hovers.)

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Today's Election-Free Zone: Earthset and Earthrise

From October 2007 to June 2009, a Japanese spacecraft called Kaguya orbited the moon. Kaguya had cameras, and the cameras recorded, among other things, views of the Earth rising and setting over the moon.

Here's Earth setting over (or under?) the south pole of the moon! (BTW, if you get my posts as emails and the videos don't work, just click through to my Blog Actual.)

For more photos and videos (all breath-taking), check out "New Gems from the Moon" at the blog of the Planetary Society.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Today's Election-Free Zone: Links to Beautiful Umbrellas

Let's start big: The magical unicorn umbrella promises to allow you to "Summon unicorns whilst staying dry." Disclaimer: "Unicorn sightings may vary depending on the strength of your imagination and the drugs you've consumed."

Whatever. Look at the handle. It obviously summons unicorns. Available at

Next up: This clear dome umbrella has an adorable street scene... and this one is a birdcage!

A Lulu Guinness umbrella, sadly out of stock at

Next up, Bella Umbrella is a gorgeous umbrella store in Seattle. In addition to selling beautiful umbrellas, here are the vintage umbrellas they offer for rental (beautifully arranged by color!)... and here's an example of the umbrella wall they will help you build, should happen to require an umbrella wall, which is a completely normal human need.

One of the gorgeous vintage umbrellas at Bella Umbrella...

Next, check out the umbrellas and parasols at Parasolerie Heurtault in Paris. Functional umbrellas that are also pure art...

And, also in Paris, the Alexandra Sojfer collection. Alexandra's umbrellas are handmade in her in-house workshop, and they are SO ELEGANT. I know because I have one, and in fact, I may as well end this post with some pictures of a couple of my own umbrellas... randomly chosen, because they're the two I felt like photographing today.

This is my Alexandra Sojfer umbrella.

Inside detail.

My "Images d'Épinal" umbrella; paper dolls from Épinal, France.


Come back to the blog tomorrow for comforting scenes of Earth, from the perspective of the moon.