Merry Christmas!


In honor of today’s joyous occasion, one of my all-time favorite carols, lovingly performed by the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge: If you’re searching for some appropriate music for the day, you could do a lot worse than the Choir’s YouTube channel, which features numerous instances of their famous “Carols from King’s” program. Set one [Read More...]

Neil Gaiman, Charles Dickens, and a Bit of Christmas Cheer


It’s going to be a bit slow here at Summa This, Summa That in the coming days, both because my Christmas travels begins today, and because Christmas with a passel of youngish boys leaves almost no time for blogging (or breathing, really). But I am not leaving you entirely bereft. Here’s a little Christmasy something to [Read More...]

A Marvel-ous Use of Negative Space


Here’s yet another bit of evidence to support my contention that artists see the world differently than I do. (OK, so I probably see the world differently for a whole host of reasons, and this is one of the most minor. But let’s not focus on that unsettling reality at the moment. Let’s just roll [Read More...]

California: No Wonder They Call It Golden


I may be a happy Wyomingite now, but I’ll always be from SoCal. Which means this will always get to me. (HD and full-screen, please.) Gorgeous piece on a breathtakingly gorgeous subject. Michael Shainblum, the short’s creator, had this to say about his work and about the state that inspired it: “Into The Atmosphere,” is [Read More...]

Nicol Williamson and the Definitive Hobbit


Last December, I was discouraged by Peter Jackson. This December, I am discouraged by Steven Greydanus’ suggestion that I will probably still be discouraged by Peter Jackson. So, I’m doing what any reasonable person does when confronted by the specter of such bitter, Hobbit-themed disappointment: I’m listening to Nicol Williamson! Take it away, Internet Archive: [Read More...]

Nature Turns Black Friday on Its Head


November 29th was Black Friday – a day of annual (and increasing) infamy. But it was also a day featuring a rare and breathtaking natural phenomenon: Temperature Inversion at the Grand Canyon. The DailyMail(UK) described it thusly: According to the national park’s Facebook page, the fog was caused by something called a ‘temperature inversion’. This happens when [Read More...]

A Word of Warning


For those amateur chemists out there who might be tempted to mix NH4Cr2O7 with HgSCN some time in the near future, just …don’t. Because WAIT FOR IT… That’s about the most terrifying thing I’ve ever seen. Or the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t quite decide which response is uppermost in my mind as I watch [Read More...]

50 Years of Whovian Title Sequences


I’m probably heading off into the rarefied, brain-addling air of the nerdosphere with this one, but I just can’t help myself. This post on the 50-year-old-yet-ever-evolving institution that is the Doctor Who title sequence combines two of my all-time favorite nerd-things: Title Sequences. And “Doctor Who.” (OK, yes. That title was a bit literal. It’s Monday.) The pilot [Read More...]

The Red Beaches of Panjin, China


These look fake. They’re not. That’s Red Beach in Panjin, China. It’s famous for its vibrant and unusual color, caused by Chenopodiaceae, “a unique variety of alkali-tolerant seaweed that changes from green to red in the fall.” (This particular branch might be known as Suaeda salsa. I hope that’s right; it sure would be fitting.) I’m having trouble remembering when and [Read More...]

Everything’s a Remix, German Expressionistic Version


The dances I attended during my college years provided me with some of the fondest musical memories I own. Among those memories, Bobby Darin’s lilting “Mack the Knife” holds a place of particular prominence. (I’m not quite sure why; I suspect it’s equal parts unusual rhythmic construction and the strange dichotomy between the song’s easygoing [Read More...]