Cartoon (hand-made)

January 21st, 2015

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(Tip of the hat to JWE)

Signs in the Neighborhood

January 7th, 2015

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Yesterday’s drifting snow in Glover Park turned a cautionary sign into really bad advice:

Cleaned up, the sign reveals its original intent (click on image to enlarge):

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For additional information about these safety signs, go to http://drivelikeyourkidslivehere.com/.

Several blocks to the south, in Georgetown, someone turned their mini-dumster into a four-sided plea:

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Yard Sale – Honesty in Advertising

November 9th, 2014

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Yesterday in Glover Park:

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Blog Spam – A Look Behind the Curtain

November 9th, 2014

Despite the valiant defense of anti-spam filters, this blog, like most every blog, receives its fair share of blog spam.

Usually considered a petty annoyance, the phenomenon is an unlikely source of enchantment for some. Dan Piepenbring, for example, in a piece for Paris Review (“Postcards from Another Planet“), studies spam comments within the context of a literary tradition.

Right now I’m more intrigued with how spam is created.

A clue arrived the other day in an extraordinarily long comment on a book review I posted on this blog last year. The comment opened a window into the hidden mechanics of spam construction.

It was a thick clump of confusing text. On closer examination I saw segments within the run-on message that could be used as a template to build a semi-coherent comment if one were so inclined. A would-be commenter could first isolate a part of the material and then customize it by choosing among words found in bracketed portions of the text:

Wow, this { article / post / piece of writing / paragraph } is { nice / pleasant / good / fastidious }; my { sister / younger sister } is analyzing { such / these / these kinds of } things, { so / thus / therefore } I am going to { tell / inform / let know / convey } her.

I appreciate { this sort of / this type of / such / this kind of } clever work and { exposure / coverage / reporting }!  Keep up the { superb / terrific / very good / great / good / awesome / fantastic / excellent / amazing / wonderful } work.

Greetings from { Idaho / Carolina / Ohio / Colorado / Florida / Los Angeles / California }!  I’m { bored to tears / bored to death / bored } at work so I decided to { check out / browse } your { site / website / blog } on my iphone during lunch break. I { enjoy / really like / love } the { knowledge / info / information } you { present / provide } here and can’t wait to take a look when I get home.

But in this instance, it appears the { lazy / scatterbrained / apathetic / sloppy / just plain dumb } commenter said to hell with choosing, why not simply send out the { entire / raw / exhausting / un-customized } shebang?

The shebang can be found here.

{ Check it out / Let me know the reaction of your younger sister / Get back to work! }

Halloween 2014

November 1st, 2014

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Round about my neighborhood big spiders on walls and facades were very big this year.

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Some homeowners went all out to stage elaborate scenes of thrills and chills.

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Osage Orange Tree Drops Its Fruit

October 29th, 2014

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Along Parrott Ropewalk in Georgetown’s Montrose Park there is an old Osage Orange tree (maclura pomifera). Early this morning I stopped to spend a few minutes photographing its large yield of fruit.

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The Endless Summer of Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18

October 26th, 2014

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Well, this blew me away. A begetter named Adam Bertocci has seized a single generative poem — Shakespeare’s Sonnet 18 — and fractured and refashioned it into a brilliant series of 22 poetic exercises. Reading these pieces is like listening to an eclectic jazz performer spin variations on a theme, or like viewing a roomful of works by a disciplined cubist painter.

Yet again, Shakespeare’s “this” gives life to thee.

The one piece of Bertocci’s I’d like someone to press into further adaptation — into song — is this ditty:

Rondelet

Like summer,
But more so, your temperate way,
Like summer.
You will not fade nor discolor,
In lines that your beauty convey
You shine like the fires of day,
Like summer.

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Leaving on a Jet Plane

October 25th, 2014

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Glover Park in Washington, DC, October 24, 2014 at 6:20:46 PM.

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C’est le pigeon, Joseph

September 10th, 2014

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On a lunchtime walk today I saw a landscape crew placing fall mums in the sidewalk tree boxes. Arrested by the color, I raised my iPhone and shot several photos. Midway through the series I remember sensing a disruption to the scene. There was the sound of fluttering wings and then a sudden streak from left to right on the screen, gone in a flash. Only later while looking through all the photos did I see what the camera had caught.

The scene:

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The photobomber:

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Attention All Quick Brown Foxes: Now’s Your Chance!

August 24th, 2014

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On this lazy Sunday morning:

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[Referencing the "sleeping" version of the pangram used by typing teachers.]

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