Hole in the Clouds

April 2018

El Capitolio

Apr 4, 2018

About two weeks after this photo was taken, the Cuban national capitol building reopened following an eight-year renovation project.

The building, completed in 1929–during an era when Cuban dictators were, let's say, sucking up to the American governmen–is an exact replica of the U.S. Capitol and was used for the national congress. After the revolution, Castro repurposed it as an office building, most recently for the Ministry of Science and Technology.

El Capitolio will return to its original use April 12, when the Cuban national assembly convenes in the building to choose a new president. For the first time since the revolution, nobody named Castro will be in the running.

cars   streetscape   Havana   Cuba   balconies   capitol building   (Image credit: the phone)  

Two Stairways

Apr 6, 2018

Next to Tokyo''s famed neon nightclub district is Golden Gai, which we're told is the old nightlife neighborhood, packed with tiny dive bars, many of them up steep stairs from the street.

Somehow, Golden Gai escaped the urban renewal boom that destroyed almost all of old-timey Tokyo. These two staircases lead to two different bars. A patron with a furled umbrella descends from one of them.

night   streetscape   Tokyo   Golden Gai   doorways   nightlife   (Image credit: Trey Ratcliff via Stuck in Customs)  

Speculation from Ignorance

Apr 7, 2018

Apparently, this picture has been all over the web for a few years now. My lackadaisical research was unable to turn up anything at all about who made it or when or why.

You know how when people are showing you around a city they know well, they keep pointing at places and saying, "This used to be a bowling alley"? In Philadelphia, it's always, "This used to be a Wawa."

cityscape   surrealism   time   warp  

Monday in the Little House

Apr 9, 2018

There are many stories of children reading, or listening to, the adventures of Laura and her family in Laura Ingalls Wilder's Little House books and deciding to try that way of life themselves.

Their attempts could prove exciting and educational. We know of one eight-year-old who set her grandmother's house on fire when she was inspired by her reading to try to go to bed by candlelight.

The little boy pictured here, Teddy, and his big sister Kitty, were just a few chapters into the very first book, Little House in the Big Woods, when 

Kitty sighed deeply while we were reading. I asked her what was making her sad, and she replied that she wished we were a family who washed our clothes by hand like Laura and Ma did in the book. 'Well,' I said, 'Let's make some clothes for you and Teddy to wash.'

Today, we had a wonderful day making, and washing, prairie clothes. . . . Teddy washed and hung out his clothes three times.

laundry   children   clothesline   Laura Ingalls Wilder   Indian Territory   wagon train   (Image credit: Donni via themagiconions.com)  


Apr 24, 2018

Two years ago, in the month of May, a wild ruffed grouse, who was soon known as Grousey, made his home in a part of southern New Hampshire that was also claimed as home by a human, who was already known as Pat.

For almost seventh months, until mid-December 2016, Grousey and Pat shared their territory. Or tried to.

By all accounts–we're talking social media accounts here–Grousey found living with Pat to be a trial and a nuisance. He often had to chase her into the house and keep guard at her doorway, lest she dare to venture out again.

He acquired many Facebook friends and other fans, and he "never failed to make a showing for those who came to visit." But if they outstayed their welcome, he'd run them off, nipping at their heels.

No one was surprised that Grousey didn't show his feathered little face in the wintertime. But when spring 2017 rolled around, he still did not reappear. "Fans like to think," we're told, "that he smartened up and set up an alternative territory not shared by bothersome humans."

New Hampshire   yard   bird   ruffed grouse   (h/t Pat Nelson)  


Apr 26, 2018

Nothing, it seems, gets past our readers.

That April 19 post featuring a boat hemmed in by high-rise apartment towers in Hong Kong? Not even a real boat, per reader Marion Puglisi, who pursued the truth of the matter with her source (her brother) in Hong Kong. It seems that the area was once the harbor front, and the real estate company that built the apartment buildings also built "what looks like a boat" on the property, "as a nod to that past."

And the April 7 post of artwork showing a city peeled back to reveal the nearly blank slate of what might once have been? That was a cropped version of a 2011 print advertising campaign by telecom corporation Batelco in Bahrain. The idea was that Batelco could help you peel away all the urban clutter to highlight just the bit you were interested in; different versions of the ad isolated a hospital, a hotel, and a Chinese restaurant. We have Pat Nelson to thank for peeling away the internet clutter via what she admits was "dogged image searching" to uncover the story behind the story.

And the name of this website, Hole in the Clouds? For what it's worth, today's photo does in fact show a real hole in real clouds. An airplane taking off from Sea-Tac airport last December punched this hole on a day when the air surrounding a mid-level cloud deck was so quiet and still that water vapor lacked the oomph to change from liquid to frozen form, despite superchilled temperatures up there that were way below 32 degrees Fahrenheit. The airplane stirred things up, flash-freezing the cloud in its vicinity, and the ice dropped away, leaving us a big gaping hole for the camera.

(h/t: Marion Puglisi   Pat Nelson)