chipped (PhotoHunt)


This is part of set of china that was my great grandmother’s. For decades it was in the china cabinet at my grandmother’s house, but now is part of my own collection. I love the dark, bold pattern with its unusual color scheme of rust brown and black. And I love the quaintness of the egg cups, which seem like such relics of another era.

The odds and ends remaining of the set are in varying conditions. While most of the plates are whole, many of the teacups have cracks. One of the egg cups has a small chip, which prompted me to think of it for this week’s PhotoHunt theme, “chipped.”

For more “chipped” photos, pay a visit to tnchick.

a sopping Thursday

It’s raining here today. Lots of rain. It’s a good day to bring out some umbrellas, so I give you a ThThTh list of umbrella things.¹

a selection of umbrellas

  • The Sopping Thursday, by Edward Gorey. This is one of my all-time favorite Gorey books. John and I have been known to send each other messages that are quotations from the book:
  • I have lost my umbrella.
  • I do not find my umbrella
  • I have been poked in the eye with an umbrella
  • None of these umbrellas will do
  • And perhaps our favorite:

    The child has somehow got shut inside its umbrella

  • Mary Poppins: The famed fictional nanny of books, stage and screen uses her wind-propelled umbrella as a mode of transportation. (I think that’s how it works, at least. I confess that I haven’t read the books, and this horror trailer recut video is the most I’ve seen of the Disney movie.)
  • John Steed. A character from the 60s British spy show The Avengers. Carrying a finely crafted traditional British umbrella is one of his trademarks.
  • James Smith & Sons, Umbrellas Ltd.: An umbrella store in London, established in 1830. A place to go if you would like to buy a finely crafted traditional British umbrella .
  • The Correct Way to Kill: An episode of The Avengers. The plot involves a lot of umbrellas, as well as an umbrella store. Also spies with bad fake Russian accents. A favorite quote, which must be spoken with a bad Russian accent is:

    What would a chiropodist want with a case of umbrellas?

  • Les Parapluies de Cherbourg (1964). A musical starring Catherine Deneuve, featuring an umbrella shop.
  • Chatri Chor/The Blue Umbrella (2005) An Indian movie based on the children’s book by Ruskin Bond. About a poor girl who gets an umbrella, which is then stolen by a shopkeeper.
  • Singin’ in the Rain (1952): The famous scene where Gene Kelly dances around in the rain with an umbrella (though generally not held over his head) singing “Singin’ in the Rain.”
  • Umbrella, a song by Innocence Mission (also the album title):

    You dance around with my umbrella.
    You dance around the obvious weaknesses.
    Around the room with my umbrella.
    You dance around the room with me.

  • let your smile be your umbrella: an expression meaning something like “let a good attitude keep your day from being totally crappy.” It’s probably good that the meaning is metaphorical, because let’s face it. A smile is pretty ineffectual at keeping you dry in the rain.
  • “Under the Umbrella of the United States”. This was a song that I remember singing in my Junior High chorus class as part of a series of jingoistic patriotic songs about America.²
  • umbrella superstitions: It is considered bad luck to open an umbrella indoors. Or give an umbrella as a gift. There are a few others, too.³
  • a Haitian riddle:

    Q: Three very large men are standing under a single little umbrella. But, not one of them gets wet. Why?⁴

  • little paper umbrellas: What can I say about them? They are little umbrellas. Made from brightly colored paper. Often used in tropical-esque cocktails. I really liked them when I was little.⁵

  • ———————-
    ¹ I’ve had this list in mind for a while, but I was saving it for a rainy day…

    ² The song was pretty awful, and I can’t find a record of it. Anyone else ever heard of it? (I fear it may have been written by the chorus teacher himself. And someday he may find my scathing review.)

    ³ My own superstition, if you want to call it that, is that carrying an umbrella with you will prevent the rain. At least, it rarely rains when I bring an umbrella, and I rarely have an umbrella with me when it does rain.

    ⁴ A: It’s not raining.

    ⁵ The umbrellas, that is. I didn’t so much get to try the cocktails…

    a butterfly collection

    A while back, I gave you a list of moths for a Themed Things Thursday list, and I said I’d get around to the other major set of lepidoptera shortly. So here is a collection of butterfly things, which I have carefully skewered with pins and lined up for your enjoyment.

      A Butterfly Collection

    1. butterfly collecting: a hobby that involves collecting specimens of butterflies, and typically pinning them to a board and displaying them under glass in rows. It was a particularly popular hobby during Victorian and Edwardian times.
    2. The Collector (1965) A movie about a butterfly collector who kidnaps a woman to add to his collection of creatures.
    3. butterfly net: a type of handheld net used for catching butterflies (often for a collection). The image of using oversized butterfly nets to catch people is sometimes used in cartoons (or the imagery is evoked in humor writing). Particularly when depicting the “men in white coats” in pursuit of an escapee from a mental institution. (cf: this, this, or this cartoon.)
    4. “The Butterfly”, a fairy tale by Hans Christian Anderson. A tale of a butterfly seeking a flower to be his bride. Unsuccessfully. In the end, he gets caught by people and pinned down, a state he likens to marriage.
    5. The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle. A picture book about a caterpillar who is hungry and eats a lot before becoming “a beautiful butterfly.” (Sorry, did I give away the ending?)
    6. Heimlich : a caterpillar (who is generally very hungry) from Pixar’s animated feature, A Bug’s Life. At the end of the movie, he emerges from his cocoon as a butterfly with wings disproportionatley small for his body, saying: “Finally, I’m a beautiful butterfly”?) (You can watch the scene on YouTube.)
    7. butterfly kiss: a nickname for the act of brushing one’s eyelashes against another person’s skin as an act of affection.
    8. In the Time of the Butterflies. A novel by Julia Alvarez about 4 sisters who participated in a resistance against a brutal dictator in the Dominican Republic. Their codename was “las Mariposas,” or “the Butterflies.” Also a 2001 TV movie based on the novel.
    9. butterflies in the stomach: an expression referring to temporary minor gastrointestinal distress triggered by stress, such as that due to an anticipated meeting or public performance. (Doesn’t that sound poetic?)
    10. The Monarch. A bumbling arch-villain from “The Venture Bros.”, a cartoon shown on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim. Wears a butterfly costume, as do his henchman.
    11. Madame Butterfly: an opera written by Giacomo Puccini about a Geisha in Nagasaki called “Butterfly.”
    12. “Butterfly”, a song by Weezer about catching a butterfly in a mason jar. It also makes reference to the opera Madame Butterfly, and is on the album Pinkerton, which is the name of the male protagonist from the opera.
    13. the butterfly effect:
      An idea from Chaos theory whereby minor events can trigger a chain reaction of other events, which can sometimes lead to big events. Such as the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings leading to a tornado changing its path. (Also a 2004 movie.)
    14. butterfly ballot: a voting ballot notorious from the 2000 US presidential election, as its confusing layout may have led some would-be Gore voters in Florida to mistakenly vote for Pat Buchanan.
    15. The Sinister Butterfly: “Nefariously fluttering from leaf to leaf.” John’s blog. Which he doesn’t update very often these days. But he has posted some great photos there before, as well as some other stuff that’s worth reading.


    Butterfly collection image source: Worcester City Museums, UK. The Monarch image was found here

    having my cake

    I got to have me some cake this week.¹ I ate it, too. And this cake-having inspired me to think about cake. So I’ll be serving up a list of cake-oriented things for this week’s ThThTh.

    Bon appétit!

    A Cake List

    1. Cakes are used for lots of holidays and celebratory events in many cultures. Some examples include birthday cakes, going away cakes at office parties, French bûches de Noël or German stollen at Christmas. Also…
    2. Wedding cakes. Usually elaborately decorated multi-tiered cakes meant to serve all the guests at a wedding. They can be quite tall, and easily knocked over or smashed for comedic effect in movies or sitcoms.
    3. stripper in a cake. A tradition (if it really happens outside of TV and movies) of having an exotic dancer jump out of a large cake-shaped container. (You can make your own, if you like.) (I toyed with making a list of movies/shows where you see a stripper cake, but could only remember “Under Siege,” where the stripper fell asleep in the cake. Anyone have any others?)
    4. sexy cakes. A sketch on Saturday Night Live with Patrick Stewart as a baker of cakes decorated with erotic images. That is, erotic if you have similar ideas to the baker as to what’s “sexy”. (The video seems not to be up on the SNL website, but you can read the transcript. Come on, go read it. It’s funny. Especially if you imagine Patrick Stewart’s dignified stentorian voice for the baker’s lines.)
    5. “Let them eat cake!” A phrase attributed to Marie-Antoinette, reflecting her insensitivity to the hungry masses who could not afford to buy bread. It was likely not really said by her. (And certainly not in English.) Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote of someone using a similar phrase under similar circumstances in 1767, several years before Marie-Antoinette even arrived in Versailles.
    6. the icing on the cake. An expression meaning an additional bonus, benefit, or other desirable thing. As in something good on top of something else that’s good.
    7. cupcake. A small individual serving-sized cake. Also an endearment.
    8. babycakes. Another, even cutesier, endearment. (Want to see something creepy? Check out this YouTube video of someone making a realistic sculpted baby cake. Perhaps not as deeply unsettling as bread made to look like dismembered body parts, but creepy nonentheless.)
    9. Pat-a-cake. (or Patty-cake). An English nursery rhyme. Also used for a clapping game.

      Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man.
      Bake me a cake as fast as you can.
      Pat it and roll it and mark it with “B”
      And put it in the oven for Baby and me.

    10. a piece of cake. An idiomatic expression meaning “easy.” As in “eating up all that chocolate was a piece of cake.”
    11. have your cake and eat it, too. An expression describing a desire to have things 2 different ways that are not compatible. More along the lines of “save your cake and eat it too.”
    12. takes the cake. An expression meaning “the most extreme example,” such as the winner of a contest or other comparison. As in “I thought Martin was a geek, but his brother Andy really takes the cake.”
    13. Cakewalk. A game, set to music, where the winner gets win a cake. I hadn’t realized it had origins as an actual dance:

      Cakewalk is a traditional African American form of music and dance which originated among slaves in the Southern United States. The form was originally known as the chalk line walk; it takes its name from competitions slaveholders sometimes held, in which they offered slices of hoecake as prizes for the best dancers.[1] It has since evolved from a parody of ballroom dancing to a “fun fair” like dance where participants dance in a circle in the hopes of winning a free cake.

    14. Cake. A band. My favorite song of theirs is probably their cover of Gloria Gaynor’s “I will survive.”


    ¹ Actually, what I technically had was a celebratory fresh fruit tart, with a preamble of a couple of donuts holding some candles. But these were symbolically cake:

    all my eggs in one basket

    whole_egg_simple.pngWith Easter around the corner, and with nesting on my brain, it seems like a good time to break out the eggs. While there are loads full of eggs out there, to help moderate our cholesterol intake, I’ll restrict this ThThTh list to a dozen egg things.

    A Dozen Eggs

    1. Easter eggs. Eggs that have been dyed and/or decorated as part of Easter traditions. Linked by some to the concept of rebirth. Linked by others to an anthropomorphic bunny.
    2. Easter egg: a hidden message or bonus in video game, DVD, or other (ususally digital) media. (Can you find my Easter egg?) They can also be found in print or other media, scuh as maps, as a means to protect from copyright infringement.
    3. Fabergé eggs. Elaborate jewelled eggs made by Russian jeweler Peter Carl Fabergé, many of which were commissioned by the Russian imperial family. They often had surprises hidden inside.
    4. Chocolate eggs. Not actually eggs flavored with chocolate, which probably comes as a relief to many, but egg-shaped chocolates. I’m partial to Kinder eggs. A type of chocolate egg containing a plastic yolk with a surprise inside. When I was little, the toys were much cooler than the prizes you could find in, for example, Cracker Jacks. Cadbury Creme Eggs are pretty tasty, too, but the yolk contained within is messier to play with.
    5. egg_blue2.jpgegg_yellow.jpgegg_purple.jpgegg_green.jpgegg_pink.jpgegg_orange.jpg

    6. “the egg scene” from Angel Heart (1987) (clip on YouTube) “You know, some religions think that the egg is the symbol of the soul,” says Robert Deniro during the scene where he malevolently peels and eats a hard-boiled egg.
    7. Humpty Dumpty. A nursery rhyme about an egg.

      Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
      Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
      All the king’s horses and all the king’s men
      Couldn’t put Humpty together again.

      It has quite a bit of lore associated with it. (Did you know it was a riddle in earlier forms, with the eggness of Humpty being the answer?)

    8. Palestinian egg story: A Palistinian folktale about an egg trying to discover its identity. I was exposed to it during a field methods class, where we worked with a speaker of Palestinian Arabic. I particularly remember the line [ʔɪnti mɪʃ Хudra], or “You are not a vegetable.”
    9. Eggbert, the Slightly Cracked Egg, a picturebook by Tom Ross, illustrated by Rex Barron. A story of an egg who is an individual. And a slightly cracked one.
    10. egg_pink.jpgegg_blue2.jpgegg_orange.jpgegg_purple.jpgegg_green.jpgegg_yellow.jpg

    11. Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss. A story of an elephant who is talked into sitting on a nest.
    12. Look – (Stop Me If You’ve Heard This One) But There Were These Two Fellers (1968). An Avengers episode with an archive of clown faces painted on eggshells. (This was actually a Tara King episode, but one of the better ones.)
    13. “She was a bad egg.” An expression meaning “she was a bad person,” and a quote from the movie Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971) by Gene Wilder when Veruca Salt was dumped down the chute after being identified as faulty by the egg-dicator.
    14. “Egg Baby” Parenting an exercise or assignment sometimes used to teach teenagers about parenting and responsibility. Kids are given an egg to “care for” for a set amount of time. Featured in “First the Egg” (1985), an After School Special starring Justine Bateman. Also in the Buffy episode “Bad Eggs.” Of course, in this case, the eggs turn out to be evil demon spawn.


    images (edited 2/7/2010, since people were wondering): The white egg is a public domain image from, and the single colored egg images are ones that I made based using that image. The photo at bottom is mine.

    heart in my hands

    figure12.png Happy Valentine’s Day. Or what’s left of it.¹ Well, today is a day most strongly associated with one symbol: the heart. Whether it’s heart-shaped boxes of cheap-ass waxy chocolate, chalky-tasting little candy hearts with messages, or the good old-fashioned construction paper heart cut-out, Valentine’s Day is an affair of the heart. Or at least the heart shape. Because let’s face it, the actual organ itself gets the short shrift. So this ThThTh list is for you, you hard-working, blood-pumping bundle-o-muscles.

    A list for the Heart

  • The Tell-Tale Heart,” by Edgar Allen Poe. The sound of his victim’s beating heart haunts a murderer. (There’s a Simpsons episode that features a diarama of “The Tell-Tale Heart.” Someone out there has also made a Tell-Tale Heart scene Legos.)
  • Angel Heart (1987). This movie has a bit about someone eating a human heart.
  • The episode “Hush,” from Buffy the Vampire Slayer. This is the one where everyone loses their voice. The villains in this one steal people’s voices in order that they may accomplish their goal of collecting 7 human hearts without the inconvenience of screaming victims.
  • There’s also the famous scene from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) in which a man rips the still-beating heart out of another man’s chest as part of a sacrificial ritual.
  • Aztec sacrifices: check out the Wiki bit (and do note the “[citation needed]” bit. I really have know idea whether this is true.)

    The Aztec civilization used the heart as a sacrificial token during the sacrifice of a human being. The priest used a stone knife to cut into the thoracic cavity and remove the heart, upon which it would be placed on a stone altar as an offering to the gods. The greatest sacrifice under the reign of Montezuma involved the removal of the hearts of over 12,000 enemy soldiers.[citation needed]

  • Las Dos Fridas (The Two Fridas): a painting by Friday Kahlo with two versions of the artist with heart exposed.(Go have a look.)
  • Looking for something to impress the cephalopodophile in your life? Consider one of the lovely tentacled-heart images of Ben Lawson. (ht to raincoaster and MasterCowfish.)
  • Still want to give your true love the semi-traditional gift of candy? Why not consider the gummy heart, or the one-pound solid milk chocolate human heart?
  • —————-

    ¹ Here it is, almost 11:00, and I’ve been meaning to toss up a list all day. My plan, you see, was to post something heart-related. John suggests that I should prioritize sleep over posting a list. Pah! I scoff at your well-reasoned suggestion. And anyhow, I’ve got most of the damn thing already outlined.

    image: The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Child’s Day, by Woods Hutchinson,

    Looking for gift ideas? (or shamelessly promoting my sister)

    I love to have a variety of different cloth kitchen towels around. My grandmother’s house had a collection of them, unique linens purchased around the world. I’ve inherited some of these linens, and have accumulated my own collection. Some were gifts, such as from family members’ travels to distant locales. I have penguins from Argentina, sheep from New Zealand, and a towel with an Aboriginal lizard design from Australia. Others were purchases I made because I liked the pattern or color. My most recent additions to this collection have been some of these:


    They are modern and elegant, whimsical and colorful.

    And what’s really cool is that I know the designer¹. In fact, I’ve known her all my life.

    I’d like to take this opportunity to rave about my sister. And to promote the textile business that she recently started. Mostly, I want to offer up some reasons why you might want to consider buying some.

    You can feel good about yourself for buying Tikoli tea towels because:

    • using cloth towels instead of paper towels reduces waste
    • buying them supports a small business owner
      • what’s more, the business owner is a woman
      • and that woman is also a new mother
      • and a very cool individual
    • the tea towels are lightweight, so their shipping impact is relatively small
    • they come with minimal packaging

    Tikoli tea towels make good gifts because²:

    • they are functional and durable
    • They are low-priced, so that you can easily give 2 or 3 of different designs
    • they are compact and easy to wrap (or you can get them wrapped)
    • they are gorgeous


    You can find these tea towels at the Tikoli online store, or at various retailers.

    ¹ Oh, and if you want to feel like you know the designer yourself, you can pop by her blog pantry permitting and say “hi.” She’d love to meet you. You could swap recipes and have a cup of tea together.

    ² Incidentally, these tea towels were recently listed among the favorite gifts of a magazine. You might have heard of them. A little publication known as Newsweek (see item #24 of their online holiday gift guide).³

    ³ I’m allowed to boast because it’s my sister.

    some things about ThThTh

    Some of you may have noticed that I like to put together lists. In fact, at this point, I have now tagged 96 posts as “lists.” That’s a lotta lists. I have also, for the past half year or so, started making a regular weekly list. A list of things. Things that have some sort of theme in common. And these themed things, I bring them out on Thursday. Occasionally I get asked what this is all about. Often people are just confused by my lists. And I’m okay with that. But I have been meaning to write some sort of ThThTh about page for a bit. And seeing as I’m a bit burnt out from the excessive blogging of NaBloPoMo reading and writing, rather than bring you a new list, I’m going to regurgitate a list of old lists. A nice, big mega-list of a meta-list. And maybe a wee bit of explanation.

    What the hell is ThThTh?

    ThThTh is a tag I use when I put together a list of things on a theme on Thursday. What these lists have in common is that they are lists of things that have one thing in common.

    Why do you do this craziness?

    Putting together these lists helps satisfy my desire…to put together lists. I like to categorize like things, and have been doing this in my mind for years. I have a tendency to collect things, as in the physical objects, but this new outlet for collecting collects a lot less dust.

    What sorts of things are they?

    I like to pick from among the universe of things, and not be limited to a medium or category. So my lists will include things like movies, books, folktales and myths, songs, cliches and other sayings. The lists may include toys, products, names, and other totally random things. (I also will more than occasionally put together lists of just one type of things, such as books, movies or songs. But I consider those a separate type of list.)

    What sorts of themes are they?

    I often pick themes that are somehow loosely related to something that is going on in my life, or something seasonal. Or sometimes based on nothing much at all.

    My inaugural ThThTh post was on teeth, to pay tribute to the usefulness of teeth in producing the voiceless interdental fricative that we represent as “th” in the words theme, things and Thursday. I have now posted 24 ThThTh lists, on top of those themed lists I threw together before I’d settled on having Thursday be my special list day.

    At this time, you can find lists on topics such as turkeys, turtles, trees, squirrels, birds, parrots, pigeons, pigs, and pigtails. There have been spiders, ants, bats, balls, shoes, and black clothing. There were blue, green and red dudes, vegetables, peaches, berries, pumpkins, apples, tomatoes, chocolate and cheese.

    I even made one list of things I did not expect to make lists about.