brucine (broo'-seen), 1) n. Pharm., Chem. a bitter, poisonous alkaloid, C23H26N2O4, obtained from the nux vomica tree; 2) n. Bruce Bortin's 'low-impact' weblog

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vuillard Detail

Vuillard Detail, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
Closest approximation I've ever seen of the texture that Al Green gets in his paintings

Wisconsin Vision Quest

Yesterday, I rented a red VW bug in Chicago and drove up to Wisconsin. I called Ann Pereles on my way up, but she wasn't to phone. LM.

The weather was intense--cool, intermittent drizzles & untethered winds.

I drove up to Schwai's in Fredonia first. The people at Einstein Bros in Mequon helped me with a toasted sesame with a salmon shmear & directions; keep north on 43 & take the Saulkville fork. A bartender in Saulkville sold me a bag of chips & refined my navigation.

Schwais was as remembered. Nice lady behind the counter was very patient with me. A fresh bratwurst, two summer sausages (regular & Hungarian), a package of curds, a package of meat-sticks very spicy, and a sixpack of frozen brats.

I drove from there out to Springhill. Slight side trip onto North Avenue, looking for a florist shop, but couldn't find one. Skirted a recently downed tree on N Fond du Lac, back onto the freeway and off to the Hawley road exit.

No florists on Hawley, either. I just don't know what's happening to this world.

At Springhill. Mort's stone was fine. I laid the solo bratwurst on it.

The plinth on Babs' stone had separated from the base and was displaced to the upper right corner of the headstone.

I checked it out. It had obviously come loose at some point and somebody had tried to repair is with what looked like florist clay. I scraped that off with a paintscraper, cleaned the headstone & got down with the silicone.

The headstone has developed a languorous backward tilt from 14 winters and thaws. That plinth wasn't going to stay where I put it without some help. I found a largish twig that had come down in the wind, and propped it against the stone to keep it in place until the silicone sets.

Driving home, I stopped at a Culvers just above the state line for late lunch. Returned the car a little after four. Good to be back.  More photos from the trip here.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Ghery viewed from Contemporary Wing


Beckman, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Hi, Al.

Cloud Gate

Cloud Gate, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010


DUST(SHIELD, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
At the far end of the jetway. Does this seem weird to you?

Monday, September 20, 2010

pre-trip to-do list

pre-trip to-do list, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
Preparation for Chicago


yar·mul·ke, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
For those hot Shabbos nights
Guarding the Golan Heights
I just knit [sic] you a Ventillated Kippah

Happy Birthday, MM

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Physics Question from a Client


From: David Redacted
Sent: Saturday, September 11, 2010 11:59 AM
To: Bruce Bortin; Daniel
Redacted; Fayedine Redacted; Fred Redacted; HUGH Redacted; JULIA Redacted
Subject: Re. : A physics question that's been -ONLY- sent to smart people.

Dear All,

I have, already, worked out the answer to the following question.  If one, some or all of you can't figure it out, let me know & I will explain the answer.

Now, w/a drumroll, the question.  If a vehicle is moving, regardless of speed & there are a baloon & a hummingbird, untehered & suspended w/in the passenger compartment of the vehicle & the brakes are applied hard: A)Will the humming bird & ballon trave in the same direction?; B)Will they travel in different directions?, and; C) If the answer is "B,", wich direction will they travel & why?
Good question, David!

The hummingbird’s motion will continue in the direction that the van was going and dash it’s tiny brains out against the windshield, which is a real shame, because I love hummingbirds. 

The balloon on the other hand will jerk backwards in the van, and here’s the reasoning behind that.  The balloon gets its buoyancy by being lighter than the air in the van. That is, the air’s acceleration of gravity displaces the balloon in the opposite direction of that acceleration. When the van decelerates, the air inside of it decelerates with it, in the direction of the van’s motion. The balloon accelerates in the opposite direction, because the air’s acceleration is the moral equivalent to acceleration in the gravitational field. 

I put this action inside of the {van} subset of {vehicles} because it’s the most likely vehicle for such a scenario to occur in.  I personally know at least three people who have vans, hummingbirds, and tanks of helium, and are always driving around and about with them.  There’s Jimmy Rotundo and his beige ’78 Econoline, Snaps MacDoof drives a VW van, and another fictional character with a fictional SUV which for the sake of this story I’ve decided to classify as a van, on narrative principle.

Jimmy runs a party balloon business out of his van. Don’t tell the cops, but one of the ‘helium’ tanks in the back of the van is actually filled with nitrous, from which Jimmy will now and then take a huff while he’s on the road.  This often leads to sudden deceleration, just like in your question.  Jimmy’s pet hummingbird Mr Mothman rides in a padded cage, secured on the seat beside him to avoid catastrophic beak trauma and similar.

I hope this answers your question.  All answers assume a robust string theory incorporating exactly 10 spatial dimensions and at least one temporal dimension.  When do you expect the Higgs boson will drop at CERN?


Thursday, September 09, 2010

Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow! Mrow!

Ray's .gif-doppelganger speaks eloquently for him/

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Bay Tree

Bay Tree, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
Thanks, Cathy.

Where'd That Damn Suttlecock Go?

Where'd That Damn Suttlecock Go?, originally uploaded by dumbeast.
What you get when you buy your badminton set at the dollar store.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

How to Submit an Issue to the Annex Log when the Network is Down

How to Submit an Issue to the Annex Log when the Network is Down, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

Hey, look--the last post was about bark, and this one's a picture of a log.  Captain Synchronicity, Block That Kick!

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


bark 2, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

because I'm a big fan of texture. That's why.

Shark for Moon

Shark for Moon, originally uploaded by dumbeast.

PS she likes it:
Moon likes Sharky

Moon likes Sharky

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