This edition of Stamp Nook takes us to the tropical Gilbert Islands of Micronesia, now known as Kiribati, where we encounter a curious artefact. Issued on December 6, 1976, the stamp (Scott #289) depicts a porcupine fish helmet (or te barantauti), a traditional Kiribati warrior's helmet made out of the inflated, dried carcase of a porcupinefish, a close relative of the pufferfish.
(I should also point out that Mr Zapato has an icon of the porcupine fish helmet available in his Archæologicons set. Very useful for differentiating your want-list of Oceania topicals.)
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I've created two more vector icons -- an African and an Emperor penguin -- and have added SVG and PNG versions of all three on the Zapaticons page. These are still experimental and are subject to change. If your OS or desktop environment supports SVG icons, let me know if they work or if there's any issues with them. I'll add more once I'm satisfied with the format.
Thinking about my icons in the previous post reminded me of an idea I had a while back to make vectorized versions of some of them for use with newer operating systems and desktop environments that support that sort of thing. So I whipped up a take on my thorn-mimic treehopper icon. It's more cartoony and simplified, yet bold like the mighty treehopper himself! I'm undecided as to whether I should add vein lines in the wings -- if I do other insects, some, like dragonflies, will look better with them so I might add them for consistency's sake.
I'll put a vector version of it, and any other's I do, on the Zapaticons page when I figure out the best way to save it for use by OSs/DEs. Currently it's in SVG, but Inkscape adds extra info to the file that's unnecessary. (Anyone with any suggestions on this, feel free to email me.)
In the mean time, you can enjoy this rastorized version, which coincidentally makes the front page look more festive... Feliz Navibug!
For some odd reason, lately people (11 to be precise) have been buying the Penguin t-shirt from my Zapaticons store. I say "odd reason" because it's the only thing from that store that anyone has bought in the almost one year that it's been there and people only started buying it in October. I haven't done any advertising of it other than the banner ad on the Zapaticons page that has been there since I added the store. I thought maybe it was because of the shirt's placing on Cafepress's search, but it only shows up on the third page for "penguin". I also thought it might have something to do with the increase in Cascadia sticker sales around the same time, but the only place where the two stores are mentioned together is on the front page sidebar, so that doesn't make sense.
What gives? Has there been a sudden outbreak of penguinophilia? Some sort of joint Penguin-Belgium psy-op campaign aimed at influencing my website?
Anyway, the Zapaticons store is a hodgepodge mess of random icons on random items; however, if penguins are so very, very popular (does no one appreciate the homopterrific cuteness of the thorn mimic treehopper?) I could increase the penguin-to-nonpenguin ratio there (I already added a second penguin shirt and two penguin ornaments), or add a separate penguinicon store with a full complement of penguiny products (unless that's what THEY want!) If anyone has any requests or suggestions regarding this, email me and I'll take it under advisement.
While monorailist literature insinuates that they are a futuristic technology, monorails are actually archaic devices that predate the airplane. Case in point: the Schwebebahn in Wuppertal, Germany. This suspended monorail was built in 1901 and is still in operation -- thanks to the backroom influence of the Monorail Industry -- even though it exhibits all the dangers common to monorails; there have been train collisions, trucks hitting piers, and four people died in 1999 when a train derailed and fell into the river. However, even in the storied annals of monorail dangers, the Schwebebahn manages to impress with an incident involving an innocent baby elephant named Tuffi.
On July 21, 1950, the 3-year-old elephant, enslaved by a cruel circus-director/monorail-fanatic named Franz Althoff, was forced to board the Schwebebahn as part of an ill-conceived monorail propaganda stunt. Tuffi had suffered through many degrading stunts in the past -- Althoff had her driving streetcars and marching through department stores -- but she balked at riding on that dangerous contraption (the Wuppertaler Todesfalle as it was secretly called by locals). One and a half minutes into the ride, Tuffi freaked out, no doubt sensing something was awry with the train (in other words: normal monorailular operating conditions). In her instinctual desperation to escape death and with no other safe means of egress, she smashed a hole in a side window and, rather taking her chances with the Wupper river 5 meters below, bravely leapt through.
Tuffi was not seriously injured in the fall and was unfortunately recaptured shortly after. There's no telling what would have happened if she had stayed in the train, which was understandably stopped after experiencing an unexpected elephantine defenestration. Perhaps the train would have derailed or spontaneously combusted. We will never know for sure, but it is highly likely that the actions of this monorail-doubting pachyderm might have saved the lives of the human passengers.
(Of course, had this monorail been constructed over city streets instead of a river, as many monorails are or are planned to be, she would have been killed and probably have taken out some pedestrians and small cars too. When will people learn what even baby elephants seem to understand: monorails are a menace.)
Photos from the incident:
Thanks to reader Crosbie for bringing this to my attention.
Russian president Vladimir Putin isn't the creepy, ex-KGB technocratic spook that you might assume. Oh no! He's actually a nice guy who gets along with children -- and not just because he looks like Dobby from Harry Potter. In fact, he has his very own kids site (in Russian) called Uznay Prezidenta, where Russian kids can learn all about how their government works and what a swell guy Putin is!
The site features three cartoon kid mascots -- bespectacled Dobrinya, adventuresome Ilyusha, and touchy-feely Alenushka -- who ask Putin various questions and learn various fun Putin facts. For instance, did you know that president Putin does not have a right to allow Russia to be conquered and lose its independence and that, as the supreme commander-in-chief of the armed forces of Russia, he is obligated to make the Russian military invincible? Fun and factual!
Here's uncle Putin's fun response (paraphrased from a Babelfish translation, caveat translator) when the kids petition him to extend school vacations as a matter of civil liberties:
Putin: I am glad that you are already ready to defend civil liberties. It is necessary to learn this from childhood. But it is still more important, and this no longer a joke, to understand what is the most important right for you now.
Ilyusha: The right to the vacations!
Putin: No. The main right of a citizen of school age is the right to growth, to study.
There's even a Putin photo album, so kids can see all the fun the president has. Like that time Putin decided to take a break from running the country and go live with the dolphins:
Good times, good times.
Dharma was a dog living in San Diego. Although she was barely conscious of anything beyond kibbles and walks, she still had an instinctual yearning to escape the subliminal tyranny of the Bohemian Grove Cabal that rules most of California (and whose tyranny has grown all the more liminal since the rigged election of their puppet governor, bioengineered in Austria from Hapsburg DNA.)
Dharma decided one day to escape, to make her way north to the freedom of the Republic of Cascadia, to elude the reach of the Cabal. It was an arduous 15-month trek -- no doubt filled with many thrilling adventures and harrowing run-ins with NWO forces hell-bent on stopping her -- nonetheless, she made it all the way to Federal Way, Washington, a thousand miles from her captors.
Federal Way is a city infamous for its population of anti-Cascadian Federalists, but Dharma had no way of knowing this. She now felt safe enough this far into Cascadia to trust some friendly humans who offered her a ride in their van. Unfortunately, unbeknownst to her, her masters had implanted her with a microchip.
The chip betrayed her; she was found out by NWO agents working in a shelter and has since been returned to Cabal-controlled California via black helicopter. If I know the Bohemian Grove Cabalists (and I do) she will be subjected to intensive operant reprogramming -- forced, eyes pried open, to endure a doggie Parallax-montage of scenes from Cascadia interspersed with split-second "BAD DOG!"s. After this, Dharma will never yearn to be free again.
So, let the sad tale of Dharma be a lesson: never trust the Cabal; never get into the vans of strangers, no matter how friendly they may seem; and never, ever let your masters put a microchip under your skin.
© 2004-2020 Lyle Zapato & ZPi
unless otherwise noted or implied.