A Must-See Vintage Betty Boop Cartoon, 1931
The 1931 Max Fleischer cartoon Bimbo’s Initiation is a miracle of awesome, Fleischerian weirdness. It’s the last Betty Boop cartoon that was personally animated by her creator, Grim Natwick. It’s so delightfully bizarre that the film critic Leonard Maltin called it “the ‘darkest of all” of Fleischer’s work.
The cartoon starts with Bimbo seemingly being drawn into a college fraternity initiation. What Bimbo goes through is very dark — until he sees who’s behind the mask. Wonderful to watch.
(Source: Boing Boing)
Romantic underwater photography. Still life scenes meticulously created in huge dark tanks of water then photographed. Artist statement:
This series revisits the work of the 17th century Dutch masters using period props, food and real insects including butterflies that I breed myself. Each carefully staged underwater scene is captured in-camera, using subtle distortions of light and movement from the water’s own wave energy to create a unique and painterly effect without either traditional or digital post-production. The subjects appear to be floating in a black space which neither interferes nor disrupts the subject matter but interacts with it within this void to offer a serene and dreamlike sensation.
In his ongoing series of portraits titled Just the Two of Us, photographer Klaus Pitchler gained access to the homes of Austrian costume play (cosplay) enthusiasts where he photographed the elaborately costumed individuals against the backdrops of their everyday life. Artist statement:
Who hasn’t had the desire just to be someone else for awhile? Dressing up is a way of creating an alter ego and a second skin which one’s behaviour can be adjusted to. Regardless of the motivating factors which cause somebody to acquire a costume, the main principle remains the same: the civilian steps behind the mask and turns into somebody else. ’Just the Two of Us’ deals with both: the costumes and the people behind them.
While the costumes are incredible, terrifying, and laughable, it’s the strange juxtaposition of ordinary home life and the unknown identities of each individual that create such great images. See much more here. All images courtesy Klaus Pichler.
The Horrifying Bat Flower
This flower is an incredibly unusual looking species, with its black bat-shaped flower. The flowers themselves can grown up to twelve inches across and the ‘whiskers’ that you can see are known to grow up to thirty inches. So why does it look like the Predator? Of the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Because Mother Nature is just as likely to scare us as to entrance.
Altogether the bat flower is one of the spookier plants you will come across – something Morticia Adams might like to have in her conservatory. There is certainly something of the triffid about them too, but the fact is that the wild variety of this plant species can be found in the Yunnan Province of China. It is also found in Thailand and Burma.
Animals Preserved by Salt, Not Killed by Deadly Lake
Lake Natron does not turn animals to stone and it did not “kill” these animals as reported by many websites. Lake Natron in Tanzania hosts beautiful wildlife. And for those animals that do become interred here, animals don’t immediately die and turn to stone upon touching the lake. Those that fall in and perish are exceptionally preserved by the salts that make the lake so unique, but the lake’s surface isn’t an aquatic equivalent of Medusa’s gaze.
Nick Brandt unexpectedly found the dead animals that had washed up on the shore, preserved by the high content of sale in the lake, and posed them as they had been in life. The photographs, taken between 2010 and 2012, appear in Brandt’s new book Across the Ravaged Land. The pictures are meant for art and not a statement of science.
Jaimi Butler, of the Great Salt Lake Institute at Westminster College in Utah, said that on the shoreline of the northern arm of the Great Salt Lake can preserve animals in much the same way. She has found birds that are so encrusted in salt you can pick them up and they will stay in the same position they were lying in.
Thure Cerling, professor of geology and geophysics at the University of Utah, said by email that the animals in Brandt’s photographs likely died of natural causes. Since there are few predators in the area, their bodies remain and become salt-encrusted when the lake’s water level drops.
The animals aren’t truly calcified, but are coated with sodium carbonate or sodium bicarbonate, said Cerling, who has researched the chemistry of Africa’s Rift Valley lakes. “There is almost no calcium in the lake, although the inflowing fresh waters have calcium, which precipitates as it mixes with the high-pH alkaline waters of the lake.”
Although the alkaline waters of Lake Natron are harsh, they are not lifeless. Even though the lake is particularly warm and salty, algae within the lake supports a species of tilapia adapted to the unusual conditions. In addition, three-quarters of the Earth’s flamingo population use Lake Natron as a breeding site because the water stays low enough to prevent nest flooding but remains high enough that there’s a barrier between predators and the conical nests the birds build.
The Horrific Practice of Chinese Foot Binding