Art and Design Resources and Reference Science

A visual compendium of vintage mineral art

Bookmarked British & Exotic Mineralogy (

All 2,242 of James Sowerby’s illustrations from his compendium of knowledge about mineralogy in Great Britain and beyond published between 1802 and 1817 and arranged by color.

Music Political Commentary

Played Born in the USA

Listened Born in the USA by Bruce Springsteen from Wikimedia Foundation, Inc.

Born in the U.S.A. is the seventh studio album by American rock singer-songwriter Bruce Springsteen. It was released by Columbia Records on June 4, 1984. The album’s music was written by Springsteen and recorded with his E Street Band.

My mom’s a huge Bruce fan so I’ve listened to this album many times over the years. Lately when I listen to Bruce I tend to avoid the more popular stuff like this album, or listen to covers, but today I wanted something upbeat while I was cooking.

Born in the USA – talk about depressing lyrics – if this came out today that background line would be dated but I think we all know it so well it disappears

Cover Me – I like this song, I usually put on the live version but this one’s good too

Darlington County – er, is this about underage girls?

Working on the Highway – er, is this also about underage girls 🧐 fun song though maybe a little dated sounding?

Downbound Train – love the line “now I work down at the carwash / where all it ever does is rain” – he snuck a sad song in that could fit with The River on this mostly uptempo album, although frankly the vast majority of his lyrics are depressing – I’ve been digging Kurt Vile’s cover

I’m on Fire – sweet now a song about cheating 😂 guess as long as you sing it sexy it’s not creepy – definitely hear the eighties in this one – I like the slower tempo cover by AWOLNATION

No Surrender – another song filled with despair covered by a major key and fast beat

Bobby Jean – the first half sounds like it’s about someone committing suicide but the last bit is I guess more straightforward that a friend left town

I’m Going Down – fun to sing along with, sweet backing organ

Glory Days – a popular kid’s anthem? I definitely wouldn’t consider high school “glory days”

Dancing in the Dark – very 80s backing on this – I’ve been listening to Hot Chip’s cover of this a bunch

My Hometown – don’t like this song much, and a low note to end the album on

I’ve kinda always assumed politicians didn’t listen to the lyrics whenever they use a Bruce song but now I’m wondering if they are trying to redirect a deep American disillusionment to their ends, that the depression is a feature and not a bug. If this really is the most American music – that being American means accepting your town’s been destroyed and there’s never going to be good (union) jobs there again, that your friends are gone, your best days are behind you, and there’s nothing you can do about any of it but try to grab a little pleasure? That this emptiness and hopelessness is what Americans identify with? But as long as we claim it we’re not admitting defeat, that we’re proud to be Americans even though our country is a dystopia? It must be some weird badge of honor that we endure this shit? That we must be proud of and defined by this shared suffering because otherwise we’d have to admit how wrong shit is, and how bad it is for so many people?


Played So

Listened So by Peter Gabriel from

The first of Peter’s studio albums to have a proper title So was a watershed release in his career. Its marriage of the artistic and the commercial made for an indisputable success, with the album quickly sitting atop the album charts on both sides of the Atlantic. Aside from some intriguing collaborations – with Laurie Anderson on This Is The Picture, Kate Bush on Don’t Give Up and Youssou N’Dour on In Your Eyes – it was the unity of singer, band and producer that made So such a crucial record in the Gabriel canon.

I was obsessed with this album in like 1995-6. I would play the start of Sledgehammer over and over at full blast on our speakers to hear the weird flute-y synth (?) riff. I still like all the songs on the album besides Don’t Give Up. For having a couple massive hits on it — Sledgehammer and In Your Eyes — this is a pretty weird and dark album. Not a lot of pop artists gonna write about a psychologist’s unethical experiments. It’s kind of an odd blend of funky pop and world beat influenced kinda prog rock.


Watched I-90 Rocks: Geology of the Puget Sound

Watched Geology of Seattle and the Puget Sound by hugefloods from

The hills and lakes of Seattle, Washington are a direct result of multiple Puget Lobe advances during the Ice Age. Beneath the drumlins, outwash, glacial troughs, and scattered glacial erratics lies the Seattle Fault, an active fault which has produced numerous magnitude 6 or higher earthquakes since the Ice Age.

Interstate 90 exposes much of this geology in its first few miles heading east from downtown. The freeway begins on old tidelands that were filled by early residents of Seattle. Hills composed of soft glacial deposits were moved and dumped into Elliot Bay to make new land for a growing city. Today’s SODO district – including stadiums for the Seattle Seahawks and Seattle Mariners – sits on filled tidelands that are especially prone to seismic shaking during the next big earthquake in the Puget Sound.

Tom Foster ( and Nick Zentner (Central Washington University) have been hiking together in Washington for years. ’Geology of Seattle’ is part of an “I-90 Rocks” video series.

Learned the reason everything in the Puget Sound is so north-south oriented: it’s a field of drumlins formed by the glaciers that at one point lay 3000′ thick over Seattle!

I always figured our yard was an old stream bed because of all the rocks but it’s totally glacial till 😂

It’s shocking how much of Seattle proper is built on fill 😳 South Seattle west of I-5! So, like, a lot (including the stadiums). As a born and raised Californian with a deeply rooted awareness of earthquake danger, my mind turns to liquifaction 😳

So much interesting geology in Washington! Snoqualmie Pass is different from most mountain passes, lacking a steep cirque on either side because of ice age glaciers weighing down the peaks (probably also explains why it’s a relatively low pass at 3000′). And a diverse blend of rocks – sandstone uplifted, magma chambers exposed, volcanic deposits, lots of cool stuff.


Read Bad Luck, Hot Rocks

Read Bad Luck, Hot Rocks

The Petrified Forest National Park in Northeast Arizona protects one of the largest deposits of petrified wood in the world. Despite stern warnings, visitors remove several tons of petrified wood from the park each year, often returning these rocks by mail (sometimes years later), accompanied by a “conscience letter.” These letters often include stories of misfortune attributed directly to their theft: car troubles, cats with cancer, deaths of family members, etc. Some writers hope that by returning these stolen rocks, good fortune will return to their lives, while others simply apologize or ask forgiveness. “They are beautiful,” reads one letter, “but I can’t enjoy them. They weigh like a ton of bricks on my conscience. Sorry….” Bad Luck, Hot Rocks documents this ongoing phenomenon, combining a series of original photographs of these otherworldly “bad luck rocks” with facsimiles of intimate, oddly entertaining letters from the park’s archives.

Read about two thirds and skimmed the rest. Fascinating how superstitious people can be and how they cast about for any possible source of misfortune: stolen rocks weighing on their conscience, feeling that they are being punished for moral failings by the universe. Interesting interview at the end with the ranger’s perspective and why they are shifting their message.


Rock opera cover of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons


I was listening to Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons the other day and thought, this would make a killer electronic cover. And The Internet Provided. Not quite what I was aurally envisioning but also kick-ass 😉