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A Genetic Portrait of Manhattan’s Rats 

Thursday, November 30th, 2017

🎵 Uptown rats! They’ve been living in their uptown flats. I bet they’ve never met a downtown rodent. They’re just waiting for that special moment. 🎵

In Love With an Order Form 

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

Last year, I linked to an article about a Japanese company called “Client Partners”, which provides friends for rent. Now the Atlantic has a fascinating interview with Ishii Yuichi, CEO of “Family Romance”, another company in the same field. Perhaps most strikingly, Yuichi has been hired by a single mother to secretly play the role of a largely-absent father. He’s been doing this for nearly a decade, and his “daughter” is entirely unaware.

I’m Pretty Sure That’s a Chipmunk 

Wednesday, July 26th, 2017

There are some great submissions to National Geographic’s ”Travel Photographer of the Year” contest, but photograph #9 cracks me up every time I look at it.

Eight Days in the Trump White House 

Monday, February 27th, 2017

Rumana Ahmed is a Muslim woman who worked for over five years in the Obama White House and the NSC. She tried to stick it out when Donald Trump became president, but she couldn’t last very long.

Refugees Fleeing America 

Thursday, February 16th, 2017

America has long been a beacon of freedom, shining for all the world to see. While the promise of America has not always been fulfilled, we’ve damn sure tried. Unfortunately, President Trump’s repugnant Executive Order #13769 has greatly dimmed our light. As a result, fearful refugees are fleeing America and heading for Canada. I’m tremendously saddened by these images, and by what they represent.

A man from Yemen is taken into custody by RCMP officers after walking across the U.S.-Canada border on February 14, 2017. The Yemeni man was shaking so badly that the officer asked if he was cold. “I am scared,” he replied.

If you’re looking for something to cheer you up in these images, I offer two things. First, in that caption for photo #13, you can read that the Canadian officer informed a refugee that he didn’t need to have his hands up as they searched him, and that’s just nice and friendly. Second, in photo #16, can you think of a worse possible store to have shopped at prior to going for an illegal border crossing between two heavily-armed countries?

The Giraffe-Necked Assassin Bug 

Thursday, November 3rd, 2016

It should be no surprise that the insect crazy enough to hunt spiders is Australian. The giraffe-necked assassin bug is more than a little nuts.

Election Watch 2016: October 18th Edition

Tuesday, October 18th, 2016

We’re just three weeks away from the end of the horror show that is the 2016 American election season, and I for one can’t wait. But before then, it continues to be imperative to convince folks that voting for Donald Trump would be a huge mistake. Today, let’s talk about voter fraud, and voter intimidation.

In recent years, Republicans around the country have passed laws aimed at making it tougher to vote. The reason given for these laws is that we must crack down on voter fraud. The problem with these claims is that voter fraud is so rare as to be non-existent.

Meanwhile, after studying how various groups voted, North Carolina Republicans eliminated voting options favored by those who support opponents. For instance, after learning that voters of color disproportionally make use of early voting, its availability was greatly reduced. On the other hand, elderly voters who lean Republican use absentee voting more than most, and so it was left untouched. This is all simply shameful.

Now, Donald Trump has entered the fray. A spokesman for his campaign was quoted by Time saying they hope for low voter turnout, as it would favor Trump:

“We have no problems going deeper into the mud,” the adviser said. “A low-turnout election is better for us.”

If low turnout is good for you, you should re-think your whole campaign, and possibly your whole life. Democracy is about hearing from as many eligible voters as possible. Anyone who opposes that is headed right down the path toward tyranny.

More recently, Trump has repeatedly whined both broadly and non-specifically about the upcoming election being rigged. Is the election rigged? No! While there are justifiable concerns about things like paperless voting machines and the aforementioned legal changes which have made voting more difficult, America still has one of the most transparent election processes in the world. No one is going to steal the presidency from Donald Trump. He’s simply going to lose it on his own.

Of course, that only happens if all those who oppose Trump make it to the polls on November 8th. We must all refuse to be intimidated by Trump’s fear-mongering attempts at voter intimidation. His racist dog-whistle language must not be enough to swing the election in his favor. Make sure you’re registered to vote, then vote, and help others vote as well.

Register To Vote

Today (October 18th) is the last day to register in Oregon, Kansas, Minnesota, Florida (after multiple extensions, this is really last call), West Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, and Maine. Tomorrow (October 19th) is the last day to register in Wisconsin, and my home state of Massachusetts. Get more information at

Inside North Korea 

Wednesday, October 12th, 2016

Photographer Fabian Muir has visited North Korea five separate times, and he’s brought back photos that are much more revealing than usual.

Artist Statement

This is a selection of the many images I collected over my two years in the DPRK. Working within the constraints placed upon visitors there, the series seeks to offer a fair, honest and intimate portrayal of the country and its people.

See Muir’s site for much more.

Motels From the Past 

Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

I love atomic age design1, and these photographs of New Jersey motels capture some wonderful examples.


  1. We recently rebranded over at Rogue Amoeba, and the new logo has some atomic age styling to it that I enjoy. ↩︎

Happy Dying 

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016

Speaking of Asia being oh-so-very-different from America, a somewhat strange new program is gaining popularity in South Korea: role-playing one’s own funeral.

For years now, South Korea has had the second-highest rate of suicide in the world. Public and private programs have been developed to address the problem, and one getting notice lately is called “Happy Dying.” The program, led by Mr. Kim Ki-ho brings participants together to reflect on their lives by experiencing their own fake funeral. They write their own eulogies, make out mock wills, and pen farewell notes. Then, they dress in traditional burial linens, climb into coffins in a darkened room, and meditate on their lives for 30 minutes.

While the pictures of this are quite interesting to see, I’d love to read more about the whole program.