Tuesday, July 30, 2013

#BioDivlibrary button at Marconi Station, Cape Cod

Site of first transatlantic radio transmission

Sunday, July 28, 2013

QotD: "A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings" HP Lovecraft, The Call of Cthulhu

2013.07.26-IMG_5000For the second time this month, I've had the fortune to stumble upon a famous writer's home. Earlier in the month it was William S. Burrough's home in St. Louis, and now it was H.P. Lovecraft's last home in his native Providence, Rhode Island.

Providence, I learned, is full of Lovecraft sites, including his birthplace and his grave.

Pictured at right, is Lovecraft's home at the corner of Prospect St. and Meeting Street. The house was originally on a different site a few blocks down, but was moved when Brown University was doing some construction. FYI, many of Lovecraft's papers are in the John Hay Library (Brown).

And so, today's quote of the day is from one of Lovecraft's signature works, "The Call of Cthulhu":
"Above these apparent hieroglyphics was a figure of evidently pictorial intent, though its impressionistic execution forbade a very clear idea of its nature. It seemed to be a sort of monster, or symbol representing a monster, of a form which only a diseased fancy could conceive. If I say that my somewhat extravagant imagination yielded simultaneous pictures of an octopus, a dragon, and a human caricature, I shall not be unfaithful to the spirit of the thing. A pulpy, tentacled head surmounted a grotesque and scaly body with rudimentary wings; but it was the general outline of the whole which made it most shockingly frightful. Behind the figure was a vague suggestion of a Cyclopean architectural background."


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Happy birthday, Henry Shaw, founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden, aka "Shaw's Garden" (@mobotnews)

Shaw's Mausoleum
Today is the birthday of Henry Shaw, founder of the Missouri Botanical Garden. I paid my first visit to "Shaw's Garden" in 2006 (photo set) when I was attending at TDWG meeting before heading on to San Francisco. Since that first visit, I've made many more trips to STL and the Garden (most recently, just a few days ago (photo set).

As a member of the Biodiversity Heritage Library, the Garden has hosted many of our BHL meetings over the year (as well as

Though the Garden is, of course, famed for the beautiful floral and botanical displays, it is also an important scientific facility with an amazing herbarium and research library (The Peter H. Raven Library).

The Garden will be having some special events in honor of it's founders 213th birthday, see more information here.

Some random shots from visits to "MOBOT" (as I continue to think of the Garden) are below. The first item is an herbarium specimen collected by Charles Darwin.

2007-09-12-dscn0758 2009-08-19-IMG_4051 2011.09.21-IMG_4257 2013.07.19-IMG_4755 2011.09.20-IMG_4243 2011.09.20-IMG_4244 2006-10-17-dscn5837 2006-10-17-dscn5828 2011.09.21-IMG_4255 2012.02.28-IMG_0983 2008-03-27-dscn3291 2008-03-27-dscn3286 2008-03-26-dscn3209 2008-03-28-dscn3350 2009-08-19-IMG_4059 2007-09-13-dscn0800 2007-09-13-dscn0796 2007-09-12-dscn0783

Saturday, July 20, 2013

QotD: "Where’s my donut-shaped space station? Where’s my ticket to Mars?" -- Neal Stephenson

"I have followed the dwindling of the space program with sadness, even bitterness. Where’s my donut-shaped space station? Where’s my ticket to Mars?" Some Remarks: Essays and Other Writing by Neal Stephenson
Well, here on the 45th anniversary of the moon landing, it looks like my donut-shaped space station is still just a painting on the walls of the Smithsonian, and my ticket to Mars is not in a whacky space suit, but via the Internet and some robotic controlled landers.


New Fab Four? @UDCMRK - @FabLadyB - @ChrisFreeland - @ElyW ... some whiteboard work by @TheSherrin

IMG_20130719_115328_842.jpgSome whiteboarding activity at the Missouri Botanical Garden by Simon ... he obviously doesn't know me well, it's clear that I'm George! IMG_20130719_115342_423.jpg

Friday, July 19, 2013

American Airlines 1760: STL to DCA

Gate C12

A visit to the Missouri Botanical Garden

QotD: "Many years ago my first contact with the Land of the Dead: It is in the backyard of 4664 Pershing Avenue." WS Burroughs

2013.07.18-IMG_4721And here's another view of the William S. Burrough's birthplace as well as another quote of the day:
"Many years ago my first contact with the Land of the Dead: It is in the backyard of 4664 Pershing Avenue. Darkness and patches of oil and smell of oil. In the house now, and I am bending over Mother from in front, eating her back, like a dinosaur. Now Mother comes screaming into the room: “I had a terrible dream that you were eating my back.” I have a long neck that reaches up and over her head. My face in the dream is wooden with horror. It is like a segment of film underexposed. Not enough light. The light is running out. Dinosaurs rise from the tar pits on La Brea Avenue. Oil and coal gas."
From My Education: A Book of Dreams (1986-1994). As collected in Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (1998)

QotD: "His mother had been to dancing school with “Tommy Eliot”—(His socks wouldn’t stay up. His hands were clammy." WS Burroughs

2013.07.18-IMG_4723I had an opportunity to visit St. Louis on business and stayed at the Chase Park Plaza hotel in the Central West End. I've been there before, but while browing Google Maps, I saw that the birthplace of William S. Burroughs was just around the corner. Had to stop and take a peek (as I have always found Burroughs strangely compelling, both as a writer, a person, and a personality).

So, our quote today is from the Word Virus anthology:
"ST. LOUIS RETURN (ticket to St. Louis and return in a first class room for two people who is the third that walks beside you?) After a parenthesis of more than forty years I met my old neighbor, Rives Skinker Mathews, in Tangier. I was born 4664 Berlin Avenue changed it to Pershing during the war. The Mathews family lived next door at 4660—red brick three-story houses separated by a gangway large back yard where I could generally see a rat one time or another from my bedroom window on the top floor. Well we get to talking St. Louis and “what happened to so and so” sets in and Rives Mathews really knows what happened to any so and so in St. Louis. His mother had been to dancing school with “Tommy Eliot”—(His socks wouldn’t stay up. His hands were clammy. I will show you fear in dancing school)—Allow me to open a parenthesis you see Rives Mathews had kept a scrapbook of St. Louis years and his mother left a collection of visiting cards from the capitals of Europe. I was on my way back to St. Louis as I looked through Rives’s scrapbook dim flickering pieces of T. S. Eliot rising from the pages—(But what have I my friend to give you put aside on another tray? Those cards were burned in my winter house fire, October 27,1961..."
From The Burroughs Files (1984), "St. Louis Return" (1965). As collected in Word Virus: The William S. Burroughs Reader (1998)

Good morning St. Louis