the insect identification multimedia extravaganza

  • Little insect splashed with paint,
  • Is you a moth or is you ain’t?
  • Brown and orange wings with a big white spot,
  • Are you a butterfly or are you not?
  • Butterfly antennae have clubs and bobbles.
  • Moths have quiet wings, softly mottled.
  • Butterflies rest with their bright wings together;
  • Moths have antennae that branch and feather.

  • Antennae like a butterfly, but not quite …
  • Furry body like a moth, but what’s with the white?
  • The Internet answers in a clip like a clipper:
  • Between butterflies and moths there’s a bug called a “skipper”.
  • (A Silver Spotted Skipper, that is.)
  • The ‘Net says you like flowers in all colors but yellow.
  • You’re the bug in the middle, and an interesting fellow.

Yes, the Phone Camera Butterfly Project has spawned a multimedia side project: insect identification poetry!  This all started because I was wondering if these photographs counted as Phone  Camera Butterflies since I wasn’t sure if the subject was a butterfly or a moth.  As is so often the case, the resulting quest for information yielded results much interesting than expected.

Also, it took me two days to write this poem.  The first two lines were written on the spot, as it were.

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best of the drawing of the day: wolf, sheep, etc.

The title of this drawing refers to the curly wolf character in the foreground, who definitely looks like a kind of wolf in sheep’s clothing.  And is almost certainly a werewolf as well, although that doesn’t come into the story.

But this one is really about the woman with the gloves and basket. I remember drawing this and thinking of her as a Queen (or Princess*) in Her Garden, which is normally a pretty wimpy subject involving single roses, tiny golden scissors and possibly a small pool of clear water in a birdbath looking fixture that acts as a magic mirror.

This woman is not that kind of lady.  She is clearly planting and harvesting the kind of first class Herbs and Ingredients that remind us that there’s nothing stopping a Queen (or Princess) from also being a Sorceress, Herbologist, Potions Mistress, or Witch.  She certainly has the space for it, and a deep budget for importing seeds and cuttings from Distant Lands.  And if the resulting plants are a little hard to handle, her leather gloves and apron (and confident expression) show that she is perfectly able to show them whose Garden this is. I’m pretty sure she has a huge knife with a serrated back in her concealed hand, if not a pair of mithril steel lopping shears.  And the magic pool is a small pond with weeds and dragonflies and weeping willows all around it, and probably a kraken.

*Not a teenage Princess in a poofy ball gown, toying with a golden ball– a grownup Princess who is the King’s aunt or sister and doesn’t have to take any guff from anybody.

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car spotting: alfa romeo gtv6 2.5

The distinctive shape of this “late 20th” Alfa called to me from across the parking lot at the big box store.  My first take was “Alfetta”, and I wasn’t entirely wrong: GTV6 2.5 was the name given to late model six cylinder versions of the 4 cylinder Alfetta, but they are definitely members of that family. The Alfettas were famous racing cars in Europe, excelling on the Touring Car circuit and in rallies.

There were two series of GTV6 2.5s: 1980-83 and 1983-87.  I am pretty sure this is an example of the later car.  Unfortunately, the few minutes I had available to hang around it with the phone camera failed to yield the return of the owner, who I hoped would be willing to answer a few questions (like “what year?”) in exchange for my admiration for their rocking Italian Eighties ride.  I was in my twenties when this car was new, and I admit that as the years go by the design language of the period is looking better and better to me.

Sighting: Alfa Romeo GTV6 2.5, series 2 (?), silver over black, definitely a driver.  8 points base for an unusual, appealing, and fairly rare car, +1 Italian, +1 cool old car being driven on errands, -1 silver car not of German origin, for a total of 10 points.  Great spot!

(Photographed with the phone camera on the old Nexus 5 on a cloudy spring afternoon, edited first on Pixlr in the phone, then on FastStone on the desktop.  Rear three quarters image redacted on PaintShop Pro.)

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the source

This is where it all comes from: the act of walking around a corner and finding a bunch of concrete pavers stacked around a tree in somebody’s front yard.

And the pavers are dyed subtle earthy colors and the grass is bright green, and behind everything is a black iron fence and a plastic watering can in a different green.

And there are eyes to recognize a moment, and tools to record, and a spirit to lift and fly around the neighborhood for no particular reason.

And a few days later, there is a brain to remember and speculate and build it all into something, even though no one is sure what it is going to be.

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a flower, the world cup, teeth etc.

Sorry for dropping off the face of the earth for a few more days than usual.  The Bad Tooth finally made enough noise (and gave me enough sleepless nights) to send me on an emergency trip to the dentist, where (surprise!) it did not have to be pulled.  The dentist suggested that the Bad Tooth was actually infected, and sent me away with a prescription for antibiotics without any scary pointy things or blood.  The whole festival of unnecessary terror cost me less than twenty bucks and the BT is already calming down after 4 doses. (My dentist = a genius.)

Other distractions include late spring/early summer walks, including some with the cameras, and starting next week, the World Cup.  Longtime readers of this blog know I have a passion for international football and you can expect that during the group stage I am going to be watching 4 games a day whenever possible and everyone else is just going to have to put up with it, except the dogs who do not care about the football and will insist on their usual routine.  You can expect occasional football content on the blog, and otherwise to look at photographs and drawings from the sketchbook for the duration.  The good news is that a Big Summer Serial Project is coming and should start as soon after the World Cup Final (Spain/Brazil?  France/Brazil?) as can reasonably be expected.

But for now, have an iris growing in the water garden downtown.

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a poem about fences and the word “fence”

For some reason, I find Menards very inspirational.  I make a fair number of photographs there, and sometimes write small essays and poems.  This is A Poem About Fences, and the Word “Fence”.

  • snow fence, safety fence
  • net fence
  • barrier fence
  • green fence
  • orange fence
  • wooden fence posts
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a mysterious warning for the far north

Down the street from World Headquarters is an elementary school, and behind the elementary school is a playground with an asphalt lot painted with courts for various games and also large simple maps of Indiana and the United States as a whole.  I was walking the Martian across this lot and saw that somebody (probably several somebodies) had decorated the entire surface lavishly with sidewalk chalk.  Amid the names, silly animals, and cartoon daisies, I found this cryptic warning seemingly directed at the people of Alaska.

Or is it simply a wise expression of a sound philosophical position?  Either way, live for today, Alaskans (and everyone else), and make sure your affairs are in order if you can.

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from the garage sale notebook

Did the neighborhood garage sales/ found this in my notebook afterward.

Gourds painted to look like apples.
Apples painted to look like gourds?

Not one of the Deeper Questions of the Universe, but it’ll do.

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happy zip code day to coggon, iowa!

I have been sitting on this one for a while, since a Saturday a few weeks ago when I ate a rather delicious breakfast in a little restaurant in Iowa (where I was conducting Important Domestic Business) and found this card on my table.  I decided immediately that my blog would post on Tuesday May 22nd in honor of Zip Code Day in Coggon, Iowa, since I won’t be able to be there in person.  You very seldom encounter a real “one and only”. I don’t think I ever even suspected there was a place in the world that had a completely unique name. (The Wikipedia says so, so it must be true.)

We got rather royally lost that day in Iowa, and while we never drove all the way into Coggon, we brushed its outskirts, and on a beautiful Saturday in spring the business of the countryside seemed to be ticking right along there.  And the business of the nation, in spite of everything else that’s happening, is ticking along too.  The one and only Coggon in the world has gotten its own zip code.  (And it’s a good sounding one, too.)

Happy day to everyone in Coggon, Iowa 52218.



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best of the drawing of the day: feathered dinosaur

I didn’t give this drawing a title in the sketchbook at the time that I made it, so now I feel perfectly free to give it an ambiguous, if not actually confusing, title as part of a blog post.  Because if you like dinosaurs, or paleoart, or scientific illustration, or the history of science, or all four, the phrase “feathered dinosaur” brings up all kinds ideas about active debates that cross over between the realms of art and science in a very interesting way.  Now you’re probably expecting T rexes and velociraptors vibrantly (and to an older person, incongruously) befeathered.  And not perhaps, this happy one eyed brontosaurus thing 

with a feather duster crest on his head, being ridden by a “girl who looks like a young Iowa wearing glasses”* reading a book barefoot, and carrying a parasol.  And the parasol is almost certainly pink.

I hope this contrast between title and content confuses/amuses and entertains you.

*a common character in sketchbook world.

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