image image image image This centipede, possibly Scolopendra cingulata, was more than ten centimeters in length. I do not enjoy seeing them alive. I had trouble focusing, but one can see many, small ants appearing as shiny, black dots. They were all over, like Norwegians flensing a whale. Oops, that could have offended, but I could not help seeing the ants as people swarming over a large animal, and the only other image would be Lilliputians on Gulliver, but quite different activities.

image image image image image We experience muddy rains in Beirut, and last week was a thick one. The first photo is looking out through the wind shield focused far. The last is the same focused near. In between are the tracks of cats.

image The intersection of the  common reference of the talk’s title and this blog, the glamor of black holes, my fascination with hyperbole (especially propaganda), and a life-long diet of science fiction (speaking of the Dark, the alien narrative parts of Vernor Vinge’s “A Deepness in the Sky” is one of my favorites, but human parts are grim), insured my attendence. It was an excellent talk at high level without excessive technicality (only one, simple equation) for the educated laity. I especially appreciated the title, not only for its common Corinthian quote, but for the allusion to telescopes and black holes. For better or worse, scant words spent on worm holes or time travel, which is a rich source of surreal plots.

image This one was for wrapping a gift, so is more a furoshiki.

image This caught my eye and it was not until posting it here that I recognized what about it kept tickling my mind. Madagascar was the key.

image image image image image They are back.

image image image image I found a veritable cloister of snails, possibly Helix engaddensis or possibly pomatia, the Roman snail. The limestone outcroppings of Ra’as Beirut erode into convenient cells. One might think a snail need not worry, but their shells are thin, and they are prey.

image image imageimage image Despite the threat display, I took it as an auspicious portent to see an insect prophet on Orthodox Easter.

image image image Quite a visual treat to see vegetables accorded the same respect as seafood. I am not sure whether the labels are primarily educational, decorative, antiallergenic, a veneration of vegetables, the restaurant’s style signature, a way to get children to eat healthy food, some unknowable Japanese practice (such as a need to organize), an attempt at compliance with municipality ordinances, historical reasons, or part of a collectables fad. In any case, they do taste better this way. Tsudanuma, Chiba, Japan.

image At first, the words on this Japanese store’s bag struck as an arbitrary collection of fashion-related words in random order. Rereading Stephenson’s Cryptonomicon after fifteen years, I perused the words again for meaning. “Boy & Meets & Girl” and “Shopping & Smiling & Family” could be have significance in their sequence: the first is a grammatically complete sentence and cliché synopsis when the ampersands are discarded, and the second suggests an association that one could imagine being promulgated with pecuniary intent by Paseos. Finding plausible meaning prompts me to search for more. “Future & Sleeping & Earth” tantalizes: perhaps an environmentally correct future would be achieved if humanity hibernated for a few thousand millennia? Does Paseos sell pajamas?


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