Lego Art

I came across a fantastic series of photos at the NY Times blog page today.

Christoph Niemann, whose illustrations have appeared on the covers of The New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, The New York Times Magazine and American Illustration to name but a few has recently moved to Berlin with his wife and three sons. Gazing at their scattered lego blocks one night he created a series of Continue reading

In praise of … Hipster Librarian Chic

Hipster Librarian Librarian Chic

Check out my books!

As many of our regular readers are no doubt aware by now, here at Notes we are quite partial to a well-made cocktail. What you may not know is that we also appreciate a good book, because we have delusions of Continue reading

The Governator Strikes Back

Take a look at this letter sent out by California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s office. Fairly innocuous, right?

Now, take a closer look and this time imagine you’re a Continue reading

Volkswagen “Theory of Fun” Bottle Recycling

Here’s the latest addition to the VW social engineering “Theory of Fun” advertising/experiment. This time, bottle recycling units  have been modified to resemble Continue reading

Remaking “The Prisoner”: Further Mining of the TV Back Catalog

The extended promotional trailer for the remake of the classic 1960s British TV series The Prisoner has been out for a few months. I’ve held off posting on this, however, because the miniseries doesn’t start until November, so today is close enough.

I rate the original series in my all-time, top five Continue reading

“Coastwatch” Somali Style — The Benefits of Piracy

OK, I know I’ve been banging on about piracy in the last week, but a news piece from Channel 4 just out details an  unexpectedly beneficial side effect from Somali piracy.

You see, the reason why Somalians took up piracy in the first place was because Chinese and Japanese commerical fishing vessels were illegally raping the local fishing stocks. Without a standing navy, the Somalians were powerless to Continue reading

Fetch my axe! I smell goblin…

Is there a funnier hobby than Live Action Role Playing (LARP)?

Since when did Goblins carry firearms?

Since when did Goblins carry sidearms?

If there is, I invite you write in and inform us so it can be investigated.

Until then, this particular pastime ranks as #1 in our list of bizarre things to do at the weekend. Want to be an elf? A Paladin maybe? Or perhaps you’ve always fancied becoming a wizard?

Your prayers have been answered… all the equipment you require is available online at

There also seems to be quite a few people who take it seriously enough to write philosophy papers based on it. Here’s an excerpt from “Philosophies and Strategies of Pervasive LARP Design” published this year. Continue reading

Top 10 Wackiest State Insignia

Who’d have thought that each of the states in the US would have such a list of insignia?

Louisiana has a State Crustacean, the Louisiana Crawfish.  West Virginia’s State Fossil is Jefferson’s Ground Sloth. There’s an almost endless list of them…

I thought they limited themselves to a flower, a flag and a motto… and I always thought the wackiest of those was something like “Idaho – Land of the Potato”, as I was sure I spotted it on a license plate while on a road trip years ago.

Gem potatoes - Idaho here I come

Idaho's once proud boast

My memory is obviously faulty — Idaho used to go with the rather snappier “Famous Potatoes” and has now upgraded itself to “Great Potatoes. Tasty Destinations.” … Nice!

So I decided to have a look at the list of State Insignia and, forget the flag, flower, motto thing… here’s my top 10. Continue reading

The Weekly Revisit

This is just a quick update on a few of our posts from the last week.

Follow up #1: Will a new “American Dream” emerge from the current recession?

First of all, in recession news, the New York Times yesterday carried another story of large amounts of people applying for Continue reading

Obama is …. “Joseph Stalin without the Bloodshed”

As the Obama v. Fox War heats up, Media Matters for America* have posted this edited package of Fox’s anti-Obama rhetoric. 

God, I love watching Fox “News” — could you find better comedy?

* Media Matters for America describe themselves as a not-for-profit, progressive research and information center dedicated to comprehensively monitoring, analyzing, and correcting conservative misinformation in the U.S. media. They’ve been around since 2004 and you can visit their website here if you so wish.

Pirate Report


When I saw that a Chinese ship had been hijacked last week, I thought it was about time for a piracy report, as after a large burst of publicity late last year surrounding the Somali pirates, there has been very little follow up in the mainstream media. While piracy is no longer front-page news, it is still alive and well Continue reading

When Cities Go Mad

I love the eccentricity behind the decision to close Sydney Harbour Bridge in order to cover the bridge in real, lush grass and allow 6,000 to have a breakfast picnic this morning.

Sadly, I was too late to get tickets but was woken by Continue reading

2100 calories of Windows 7 promotion

Never try to put anything in your mouth that is bigger than your head

Never try to put anything in your mouth that is bigger than your head

Is this one of the weirdest promotional tie-ins ever?

To celebrate the release of Microsoft’s Windows 7, Burger King in Japan is serving up a Continue reading

Tragedy in Vinyl: The Archive

I watched this gorgeous short film The Archive a couple of weeks ago.

It tells the story of Paul Mawhinney who has given his entire life to amassing what has become the world’s largest record collection. Mawhinney has over a million albums in his possession, including the world’s 1st flat record made in 1881. Due to health issues and a struggling record industry, Paul is being forced to Continue reading

Will a new “American Dream” emerge from the current recession?

The number of newly laid-off workers filing claims for jobless benefits rose more than expected last week, after falling in five of the past six weeks, as employers remain reluctant to hire even with the economy showing signs of recovery.  (MSNBC Oct. 22, 2009)

Consumer spending stayed soft, as jobs remained hard to come by for the nation’s 15 million unemployed … in large part because companies aren’t hiring. (Wall Street Journal Oct. 22, 2009)

Yesterday, Harvard history professor Niall Ferguson predicted the decline of the American Empire. Basing his analysis on the fact that “America today is similar to the Spanish Empire in the 17th century and Britain’s in the 20thcentury”, Ferguson believes that the US is caught in a Continue reading