Open Thread – Pretty Pictures

Just because I can. These were taken at the Mosteiro Santa Maria da Vitória in Batalha in Portugal.

It is quite an extraordinary building. The church is narrow, but its sparse, almost willowy columns draw one’s eyes up to the breathtaking height of its ceilings. Out the back, there are the Capelas Imperfeitas, the Unfinished Chapels – a massive, unceilinged, octagonal space of curlicued stone where swallows swoop and squabble. The charming cloister is made even more pleasant by the sight of several handsome soldiers – stern faced, yet shyly amiable, and oh so young – guarding the tombs of two Portuguese unknown soldiers.


Feel free to share links if you have photographed (or otherwise made) something you like recently.

Edited after posting for more photoey goodness.

Friday morning photograph Open Thread – Fish and cephalopod edition

Hello, my dears.

I can’t abide reading or writing about American politics tonight, so I popped a Haldol and have been looking at pictures from my visit to an aquarium a few years ago. Cuttlefish are very relaxing.

The aquarium was the Aquarium of Western Australia. I was in Perth to check up on one of my mines – originally a strictly off-the-record gift from a grateful Frazer government to Keith after he was so successful in getting that nice Mr Whitlam kicked out in 1975. So much nicer than a knighthood.

Perth is quite a nice city in a thrusting kind of way – a little priapism of towers surrounded by red-brick houses, lovely parks and the gaudy, black-glass-clad abominations built for the newly rich to live in. These last are everywhere – lines of waterfront houses the size of small office-blocks, each looking like the architect had sold his artistic soul to a particularly malign and vengeful older god and then built an altar to it made entirely of glass and concrete reproductions of Michelangelo’s David. There were atria you could house 97 pensioners in and still have room for their dogs and a year’s supply of Depends.

Anyway, the aquarium was quite lovely, and dedicated to reproducing the various aquatic environments of Western Australia. The shark tank is incredible with a moving walkway (similar to the one in OceanWorld in Singapore) which takes you beneath rays and sharks and some quite terrified looking fish. My pekinese Fuzzbutt was desperate to tackle a particularly dyspeptic looking white pointer, but only managed to get a lot of dog slobber on the three-inch-thick perspex.

I hope you might indulge me if I post a few of my pictures. The quality varies due to the lighting, but these have been making me feel happy this evening. Click to embiggen massively.

Scorpion fish:

Scorpion Fish

This is the least blurry picture of a Leafy Sea Dragon I managed to get. All the others are just cute yellow swirls. These things are simply incredible. It must have taken God hours to get each of those leaves right.

This is the best picture of a Leafy Sea Dragon I managed to get. All the others are cute yellow blurs.

This Little Pineapple fish is a little blurry too, but it’s just so pretty. Its scales are thick and clear and almost crystalline.

Finally, the cuttlefish, who I communed with for quite a while. He’s quite adorable and peered out at me with great interest, circling around his tank to get a better view at each of the punters.


ETA: When Great Cthulhu comes back to crunch the world in his slimy maw, it will look something like that, although probably with more screaming and rending of flesh.

Happy days.

Open Thread: Send Pictures!

I’ve only got a couple more Pet Rescue stories stockpiled, and I know you all have many tales to share. Send me your photos (, or click on the link near the top of the right-hand column) and you too can cheer up Glenn Greenwald be a front-pager for a day!

The Dreams of Summer

The last roll of Kodachrome produced by Eastman Kodak has been processed at the last Kodachrome lab in the world, which will close down at the end of the year. I wonder how many Kodachrome sunsets that place developed. This one is by Flickr user rappensuncle.


Sex, Death, Politics, Religion and Fireworks

Real Americans don’t need fancy museums, because art is all around us. Here are a few examples from the local fireworks stands.

Here’s some political art (click for a bigger image), containing some unflattering commentary on Bush and the Iraq War. Even Real Americans are sick of that guy.
Read more