Category Archives: style

animal style

Maskull Lasserre outliers shoes

“Outliers” shoes by Maskull Lasserre
via Dezeen, for trailing a bit of wild behind you.


female Satin bowerbird

The most notable characteristic of bowerbirds is their extraordinarily complex courtship and mating behaviour, where males build a bower to attract mates. There are two main types of bowers. One clade of bowerbirds build so-called maypole bowers, which are constructed by placing sticks around a sapling; in some species, these bowers have a hut-like roof. The other major bowerbuilding clade builds an avenue type-bower made of two walls of vertically placed sticks. In and around the bower, the male places a variety of brightly colored objects he has collected. These objects — usually different among each species — may include hundreds of shells, leaves, flowers, feathers, stones, berries, and even discarded plastic items, coins, nails, rifle shells, or pieces of glass. The males spend hours arranging this collection. Bowers within a species share a general form but do show significant variation, and the collection of objects reflects the biases of males of each species and its ability to procure items from the habitat, often stealing them from neighboring bowers. Several studies of different species have shown that colors of decorations males use on their bowers match the preferences of females.

Uy and collaborators have shown that mate-searching females commonly visit multiple bowers, often returning to the male several times, watching his elaborate courtship displays and inspecting the quality of the bower and tasting the paint the male has placed on the bower walls. Many females end up selecting the same male, and many under-performing males are left without copulations.

Bowerbird basics from Wikipedia.


Wikipedia also tells us there are improbable fish that live amidst the dunes in Brazil’s Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, and as far as I can tell they are real fish, not prank fish. The park is dry much of the year, but seasonal rains punctuate it with lagoons. Are the fish who briefly make these lagoons their home brought there in egg form by birds — perhaps storks? — or are their eggs cryptobiotic, like free-range Sea Monkeys, waiting patiently in the sand for the rainy season to arrive?

Lençóis Maranhenses lagoons

Lençóis Maranhenses lagoons from Wikipedia.


“The Centaurs” by Winsor McKay, 1921.


pug tricks

The University of Virginia’s “The Mind is a Metaphor” database is sortable in various ways, one of which categorically focuses on animals. Personally I have found spaniels to be much trickier than pugs, but maybe there is something here that resonates with you.


Doris Day will kill you

Be kind to animals or Doris Day will kill you.
Photo from If Charlie Parker was a Gunslinger.


If you should find yourself lost in the sticks and in need of a decent meal, just go and sit by the monkeys.

look for monkeys

Snippet from Eating and Drinking: An Anthology for Epicures, which I blogged about over here. Indeed, I’ve yet to see any evidence that monkeys are not fickle little fuckers. Look how these British monkeys behaved during the recent Jubilee celebrations, for example. You can tell they’re not going to bother finishing those cupcakes, and that in a matter of moments they’ll be prodding the jelly and throwing oranges on the ground for no good reason.

monkeys at Jubilee tea party

Monkey tea party pic by Ian Turner/BNPS from the Guardian.


the Tote-Road Shagamaw

The Tote-Road Shagamaw, as captured in Fearsome Creatures of the Lumberwoods, has front paws resembling those of a bear and back legs resembling those of a moose, and craftily alternates walking on one set or the other to evade hunters. It is, however, trapped in its habits, and predictably inverts itself every quarter of a mile.


dog and cat seed bombs
seed bombs for cats and dogs

One way to be kind to animals: provide them with fresh, tender grasses and grains to nibble at or pee on. Seed bombs formulated to appeal to cats and dogs (“a mixture of catnip, cat grass, wheat, oats, and rye”) are $7/sack from visualingual on Etsy.


Trufa is a vacation home in Spain designed by Ensamble Studio and constructed with the assistance of a cow named Paulina. A hole was dug; hay bales were stacked inside and concrete poured over them; the resulting concrete truffle was unearthed and sliced open; Paulina went to work on the hay. In this manner, over the course of a year, the living space was cleared.

Trufa interior

Paulina the cow

Trufa photos via Dezeen. The interior one is by Roland Halbe.



The axolotl is an endangered Mexican salamander found exclusively in the lakes and canals of Xochimilco. They can regenerate lost limbs, and live for ten to fifteen years if not caught and roasted for someone’s snack. Source: National Geographic.


Tsumori Chisato cat shoes

Cat shoes by Tsumori Chisato, ¥12,600 at Humor.


From The Element of Lavishness: Letters of Sylvia Townsend Warner & William Maxwell 1938-1978:


yr gang is here

Coffee Pots close-up

Coffee Pots jacket

Vintage 1940s or 50s Coffee Pots gang jacket on Etsy.

Cloudy Busey, “Pound Your Town To Hell.”

Halloween who, what, and how

creepy baby at Chelsea Market

creepy baby at Chelsea Market

It’s nearly too late now to get a costume together but I have a few last-minute ideas:

The woods at night. Black unitard covered with pairs of googly eyes of various sizes. Better get started on this one right now so the glue will have time to dry.

googly eyes

Yayoi Kusama dots obsession. Red unitard covered with white pompoms or felt circles, or white with red, or white with multicolor, or yellow with black. I kind of want one of these for wearing around the house this winter. It would improve just about all of the things I do around the house.

Yayoi Kusama self-obliteration by dots

Yayoi Kusama red and white dots obsession

Yayoi Kusama multicolor dots obsession

Lunar Camel Co.-size bucket of pom poms

Noosha Fox. A good closet-shopping costume. Have you (or your girlfriend, if you’re a guy and not too burly) got velvet hotpants and a satin cape, or maybe a pink vintage dress and raspberry tights like she wore on that album cover? (I’ve got these Falke ones in rose and can vouch for their perfection, but surely others would do). Not having to shop for a costume leaves you more time to curl your hair. I’m including a photo for reference but the best way to get a sense of Noosha’s style is to spend some quality time at YouTube. Here she is on Top of the Pops in 1975, and here she is in the cape you see below on Australian teevee in 1976, and here she is on Top of the Pops again in 1976 wearing a straw hat.

Noosha Fox bow and cape

You know, screw Halloween, I think you should dress like Noosha Fox pretty much all the time. It’s tricky in cold weather but you’ll just have to line your cape with something warm. Here’s a very Noosha-esque contemporary look from the Guardian for further inspiration. Click on the photo to be taken to a slideshow of more.

so Noosha-ish

Somewhat-pretentious non-costume for a group of friends arriving at a party sans costumes: Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser, Vali Myers, Wolfgang Hutter, and Mia and Hubert Aratym in Vienna, 1952. OK, it is more than somewhat pretentious, but I think they look great — warm, too — and all you need is sweaters and black eyeliner.

Vali Myers and co.

Vintage anatomy guide. This requires only a flesh-colored unitard — so versatile! — and some fabric paints. Like Slim Goodbody, but you haven’t got time to paint yourself a whole suit, so you’d better focus on just the sex organs or the digestive system or whatever parts you fancy. There are some amazing illustrations over at 50 watts to inspire you. Click on the ones below to see loads more from Le Livre de la Sante, a 1967 French anatomy book. Don’t forget to attach, to your unitard, an index card that says les organes genitaux. If you’re ambitious you can identify each part.

Le Livre de la Sante manparts

Le Livre de la Sante ladyparts

Morgellons sufferer. It’s cruel to poke fun at the diseased but few people know what Morgellons is, so think of this as educational outreach. It’s a condition that causes terrible itching as mysterious, possibly alien, colored fibers emerge from the skin.

morgellons close-up

close-up of Morgellons fibers by Vitaly Citovsky/SUNY Stony Brook via the Guardian

No one knows what causes it or how to cure it, but if you dress as Morgellons, pretty much everyone at the party is going to learn what Morgellons is by the end of the evening, and that can only be a good thing. You’ll need a flesh-colored unitard — see, they are super-versatile — and some colorful bits of yarn and lurex thread and holiday ribbon and whatnot to attach to it. Joni Mitchell has Morgellons so if you have long blonde hair you can be Joni Mitchell suffering from Morgellons.

Bed-in. An ideal costume for a couple. Hair peace, bed peace! I’ve written about my enthusiasm for bed-ins before. Being a bed-in for Halloween requires much less of a time committment than an actual bed-in and all you really need is a sheet to wrap yourself in and a sign.

hair peace bed peace

sentimental Herculean cravats

Cravats cartoon from a Milan newspaper, 1827, scanned from The Art of Sewing: Classic Techniques, by the editors of Time-Life Books, 1973. Bookmark it so you’ll have something to refer to the next time you’re seeking a Byronic Irish gastronome or a sentimental ballroom mathematician.

sentimental Herculean cravats

More from this series of books coming very soon — they’re amazing. In the meantime, see how nice they look in a stack here. I didn’t buy that whole stack but I’ve got a good start on my own stack.

creeping around in creepers

People, people. I have half a dozen longer posts about this and that in the works (including a blog mixtape, which has been finalized but yet to be uploaded) but a very busy week ahead of me. In the meantime I’m wondering where you stand on creepers. Last night while browsing I noticed some white ones and sent them to a former Mr. Camel Co. asking what he thought, not for me but in general. At some point we both went to sleep but the conversation continued this morning, until we realized that we’d had a rambling two-day discourse on creepers. I can’t really see myself wearing them and I know they’re derivative and sort of costume-y, but overall I’m happy that we’re in a moment in which people feel like being experimental with what they wear. It’s not inconceivable that someone might wear those white creepers at the same time as, say, this feathered neckpiece and these absolutely mental leggings. I think that’s sort of great. Not necessarily in real life, in NYC neighborhoods that are feverish with gentrification, but, you know, as an idea.

it is time to go back to bed


merde! click on the pillow to get yourself one

I just discovered this morning that my food blog, which I’ve had since 2006, was deleted by the Gawker hackers. I’m hoping Google’s elves will be able to restore it but in the meantime I’d just like to go back to bed. Which I think would be an entirely appropriate gesture, both as a personal comfort and as a counter fuck-you of the non-confrontational variety. I have been meaning to write about this lately anyhow, but: refusing to get out of bed is severely under-rated as an act of dissent. It’s the ultimate No, it doesn’t hurt anyone or anything, and it’s way, way more fun than spending hours hunched over your keyboard.

famous bed-ins of history, Exhibit A

Famous bed-ins of history, Exhibit A.

I think the last time I had a proper bed-in was maybe around 1999, an inexcusably long time ago. It lasted three days — just a practice run, really, but nonetheless effective — and all provisions were delivered by Sunnie and Annie’s. I highly recommend that you have your own bed-in within the delivery range of a good full-service bodega, one with excellent sandwiches, cold Red Stripe, reliably fresh coffee, printer paper for your manifestos, and, if you are age 22 or so, your favorite cigarettes. Back in the olden days we also needed the print NYT sent over with our breakfast every morning, and I do think the contemporary bed-in is better off without it. The internet version will not leave smudges on your sheets and your bed-in will be more successful if you keep those reasonably clean. Crumbs can be brushed aside, damp spots will dry, ink remains grubby.

On a related note, I recently sent the ex-Mr. Lunar Camel Co. a Susie Bubble blog post about her vintage 30s pajamas. He’s a former designer and I knew he’d appreciate them. He did, and he informed me that the people of Shanghai are very advanced in this regard — that they are in fact so devoted to wearing fantastic pajamas that the government tries to stop them from doing so.

Susie Bubble's pjs

Apparently meant to be cocktail pajamas, but I heartily endorse them for commencing a bed-in.

Anything the Chinese government is against is worth at least considering, if not doing, right? Maybe. This topic will require further consideration in bed, while propped up on my best thinking pillows. There are various explanations as to why the Shanghainese people cannot, will not be separated from their pajamas — a blurring of boundaries between private and public spaces, a suitable climate — but one needn’t sort this all out before deciding to join them as a sympathizer.

red pjs, Shanghai circa 2005 or so

red pjs, Shanghai, captured by photographer Justin Guariglia (via The Year in Pictures)

blue pjs, Shanghai, also by Guariglia

blue pjs, Shanghai, with bonus fuck-you lady bag as man bag, also captured by Justin Guariglia (via National Geographic)

pjs with sneakers, Shanghai

yellow pjs, Shanghai (via a Boing Boing post about the crackdown); another benefit of having a bed-in is that you won’t need to wear trainers with your pajamas

If you’re going to be starting your bed-in tonight, you’ll want to have a light but nourishing meal first, perhaps just some food for your eyes and your mind. Trust me, there will be plenty of time later for elaborate Seamless Web meal-planning. Here, comrade, are some flux sausages to get you started:

flux sausages

flux sausages from the fluxshop (via I’m Revolting)

May your dreams be pleasantly, non-violently seditious.

on a grey snowy morning

there’s nothing to lift one’s spirits like new sunglasses.




Vintage Italian sunnies here; pastel cats by Tim Walker via here. I’m wearing the mint ones (the specs, not the cats) in my sick-bed this morning and things are looking up. Those cats, by the way, didn’t mind getting their hair did . . .