Feline Friday


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Vacation in a Box

Thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic, most of us have been forced to postpone our summer vacation plans, but IKEA in Dubai has come up with a clever idea to offer “vacations in a box” to help send customers to far-flung destination in their imaginations.

The boxes come with a selection of curated IKEA products including pillows, tableware, candles and artwork inspired by locations such as Paris, Turkey, the Maldives and Tokyo.
The kits also come with songs and recipe suggestions to help customers recreate the vacation experience.



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Not in the Nick of time

I recently read that there is a prequel to The Great Gatsby scheduled for publication in January 2021 when the copyright expires on F.Scott Fitzgerald’s great American novel. On January 1, 2021, the iconic book enters the public domain in the United States and we can anticipate a flood new editions of Gatsby  in an array of formats. However, Little, Brown has found another way to cash in on the  expected wave of Gatsby-mania. On January 5, 2021 they will be publishing a title called Nick–a Great Gatsby prequel by Michael Farris Smith. The book promises to focus on Nick Carraway’s life prior to his enmeshment with Jay Gatsby.

Call me a curmudgeon, but I don’t think the world needs, or really wants, a Gatsby that was not actually written by Fitzgerald. I admit that I have been a life long evangelist for the classic novel and believe that it verges on sacrilege to presume to know the world of Nick Carraway that Fitzgerald imagined beyond what he wrote in Gatsby. To be honest, I’m not into “fan fiction” or reconceptualized novels. There are an infinite variety of stories to be told; tell your own.

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August Everything Is Wrong



Mary Oliver

Our neighbor, tall and blonde and vigorous, the mother
of many children, is sick. We did not know she was sick,
but she has come to the fence, walking like a woman
who is balancing a sword inside of her body, and besides
that her long hair is gone, it is short and, suddenly, gray.
I don’t recognize her. It even occurs to me that it might
be her mother. But it’s her own laughter-edged voice,
we have heard it for years over the hedges.

All summer the children, grown now and some of them
with children of their own, come to visit. They swim,
they go for long walks at the harbor, they make
dinner for twelve, for fifteen, for twenty. In the early
morning two daughters come to the garden and slowly
go through the precise and silent gestures of T’ai Chi.

They all smile. Their father smiles too, and builds
castles on the shore with the children, and drives back to
the city, and drives back to the country. A carpenter is
hired—a roof repaired, a porch rebuilt. Everything that
can be fixed.

June, July, August. Every day, we hear their laughter. I
think of the painting by van Gogh, the man in the chair.
Everything wrong, and nowhere to go. His hands over
his eyes.

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Fantastic Fonts


As an antiquarian book collector, I’ve always been fascinated by the astonishing variations in fonts and typefaces. These days we are so overwhelmed by the variety of fonts that we see both in print and online that we often pay no attention at all to the brilliance of the design work involved. However, I was intrigued by the crowdfunding project for this clever set of eight new font designs that draw inspiration from the past.

“Fontikon is a Worldwide Type Foundry of Ethno-Esoteric-Mystic-Magical fonts for creatives, graphic designers and game designers. It contains a set of 8 ancient fonts from historical cultures and civilizations around the world, designed in modern style. The collection is inspired and brings together: Alchemy, Adinkra, Aztec, Celtic, Lovecraftian, Japan Samurai, Viking Norse, Slavian. These are not your regular novelty fonts, they’re a divergence from the stereotypical.Fontikon visually transports ancient languages to the digital era. Taking cues from historical visualization and linguistics, is a new way of re-visiting the past. ”

Italian designer Michela Graziani created the project called Fontikon, elegantly bringing Ethno-Esoteric fonts and symbols inspired by worldwide ancient civilizations.It’s a fascinating collection, and feels much more unique and authentic than the novelty fonts that are far too common.Take a look at Graziani’s active Kickstarter campaign to learn more about this cool project.




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The Bookshop Sketch

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If you want to understand a poem

h/t Grant Snider


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Copenhagen and Coffee

Like many folks, I’ve had to forego any travel plans this summer and kickback at home for the duration of the pandemic. That doesn’t mean that I’ve not indulged my travel dreams on lockdown. If you visit TBTP on a regular basis, you are aware that my travel itineraries always include local coffee roasteries and coffee shops wherever I go. Although it’s been a minute since I’ve been in Copenhagen, it’s one of my favorite Nordic cities. So, I was intrigued to learn about the city’s fine roaster Coffee Collective’s brilliant new shop.

Housed in a 19th century baroque phonebooth Coffee Collective has created a miniature specialty coffee shop.These telefonkiosken were built between 1896 and 1910. They were designed by architect Fritz Koch to house the first public telephones. An operator would run the booth and for 10 Danish Øre (1 Øre is 0.01 kroner) you could make a call. They were open from 7:00 in the morning to 11:00 in the evening. In 1896 four of them were put up and seven more followed. The booths were an excellent representation of the national romanticism of that time, with its attention to crafted details.

They are hexagon shaped, nine meters tall with a copper roof and granite base. There’s wood carvings with different motifs and at the very top a clock to show the time. The Coffee Collective’s newly renovated kiosk Convenient is located right next to Denmark’s busiest station, Nørreport.

I know where my first stop will be on my next visit to Copenhagen.


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You Are An Acceptable Level of Threat

A new book called Banksy: You Are An Acceptable Level of Threat and if You Were Not You Would Know About has just been published. The book features a huge collection of photos highlighting some of the most iconic works by the secretive street artist. From his early days tagging graffiti in Bristol in the 1990s to his more recent efforts,  the new book chronicles Banksy’s celebrated street art career.

The book also covers Banksy‘s self-destructing Love is in the Bin artwork which Sotheby’s described as “the first artwork in history to have been created live during an auction.” It also has images of my favorite, his monumental Dismaland show, paintings and mixed-media sculptures from The Walled Off Hotel, Basquiat-inspired artworks on the walls of the Barbican, as well as new works from around the world.

Accompanying text provides descriptions to assist readers in understanding  the context behind the artworks.  Banksy: You Are An Acceptable Level of Threat and if You Were Not You Would Know  looks like a must read for street art fans.


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Bookstore Tourism

After many delays, New York City’s historic Strand Bookstore has opened its Upper West Side location at 450 Columbus Avenue, between 81st and 82nd Streets in Manhattan. The store features a combination of new, used and rare books of all genres, as well as a children’s section in the basement. Also, through July 31st, they’ll be offering shoppers a free branded tote bag with purchases of $75 or more

The Strand’s new Upper West Side space was previously occupied by Book Culture, which closed earlier this year.

Learn more: www.strandbooks.com


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