Monday, November 30, 2009

The Divine Comedy (canto II): Rings of Hell

Cartography and cosmology merge and mingle in Dante's Divine Comedy; not to mention allegory, mythology, social critique and farce. The story begins on the eve of Good Friday in 1300, Dante himself is led through the various quarters and precincts of The Inferno by Virgil. The Divine Comedy is both a poetic look at the medieval christian view of heaven and hell, as well as a heavily veiled commentary on the politicians and power brokers of the world circa 1300-1350. It has also been suggested that Dante was depressed, to use our contemporary diagnosis, perhaps even suicidal. The writing of the Divine Comedy was then a literary journey of his own soul back to the light of the divine. Or he was hoping for a screenplay adaptation with up front points.

Hell was apparently found inside the earth and comes divided into nine rings and believe it or not-an antechamber! Sort of a pre-hell. There reside those cherubs who took no sides in the Rebellion of Angels (you remember the revolt against God led by Satan). Apparently, there were a fair number of angels who chose to wait out the conflict to see who won; this is never a good strategy in an allegorical war, in fact, it is the one way to get screwed no matter who wins. So these wishy-washy angels hang out just across the river from hell with the souls of humans who did nothing noteworthy in their lives and have neither good nor evil marks on their personal tabula rasa.

Sin it seems is punished metaphorically in or near the Inferno. The punishment is real, assuming you buy the entire cosmology here but the particular slings and arrows are apportioned by infraction and carry their own significance. In the anteroom of hell, for instance, the hesitant angels and ethical couch potatoes are stung my hornets and wasps which serve as metaphors for the sting of their consciences. It's poetry remember.

Following the waiting room of hell, we encounter another well known image, the river Acheron (not the river Styx that's another waterway of the Inferno) and the boatman Charon to carry the damned to hell or in this case the tourist Dante and his dead poet Virgil. Charon puts up a fiery fuss over taking a live human into hell, but Virgil utters some words of wisdom ("This is not the human you are looking for...) and they are allowed to be ferried cross the mersey or some such.

Next, the first actual ring of hell: Limbo.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Temporarily Out of Service

Due to circumstances beyond our control and a deluge of tryptophan. The Circles of Hell, particularly the one concerning gluttony, will be delayed one more day. Tune in tomorrow when MSG swollen fingers will attempt to return to issues of portent and blah-blah-blah.

And now Wii Frisbee golf and then second breakfast.
art credit: M. Cammer-turkey carcass, charcoal and carbon black on paper

Friday, November 27, 2009

Lion Clipart

Lions are amazing animals. I love them because they are symbols of power and strength, the kings of the jungle. Lions can be dangerous to humans, but they demonstrate the awesome power of nature and rather than look down on them I respect them for their strength. That is why lions are often the symbol and mascot of sports teams. The lion's strength is an inspiration to the atheletes.

But in cartoons and comics, cute and friendly lions are just as common as powerful strong ones. Lions are like big cats, so they can be cute as well.

Here are some lion clipart images.

These first two lion cliparts appear courtesy of Free Clipart Now
Old yellow lion clipart image

Classic yellow free lion clipart picture

Look at the beautiful mane on this lion clip art image

Cute cartoon lion clipart image
Black and white clip art of lions

The final lion clipart comes courtesy of Cavalry William Sport.

Black and white lion clipart

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Fish Clip Art

One of the most searched types of clipart is fish clip art. I haven't put so much fish clipart on this site until now, so today I decided to add some more fish images to meet the demand!

My hometown is a fishing village, so fish are very familiar to me. I used to go fishing with my family as a kid, taking home sockeye salmon and trout, and a lot of bullheads (a kind of fish you can't eat, so we would throw them back into the water). And now I live in Japan, known for its great seafood especially sushi, which is made of (usually) raw fish.

Here are some fish clip art you may find useful for your fish or fishing related site!

Star fish clip art images
scary piranha fish clipart image for free
Green and yellow fish clipart cartoon image
Blue and Orange fish clipart
black and white fish clip art colorable picture

I hope you found the above fish images useful. And I hope you have a chance to enjoy fishing and eat fresh fish straight from the ocean. There's nothing like it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Before moving on to a dissertation on Dante's Rings of Hell, as promised in my last post. I thought I would take a moment to reflect on the season, which for me thus far has meant a bit of driving between relatives homes and planning a variety of holiday meals, including of course...
Snopes or not, Benjamin Franklin did propose the turkey as the national bird of the USA.
Surfing the web can uncover the results of someone else's many wasted hours.
Damn good looking bird, you have to admit. For my vegan readers I refer to the turkey above, for the rest of us--the one below.
Wishing all of you in the U.S. a happy turkey day and pointing out that a word is just a word but context is everything!

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Divine Comedy (canto I)

This post is not a reflection on my life, the presidency of Barack Obama, the state of humanity nor the entropy of the universe. Tis only that once again I have noticed the influx of a certain metaphor into my consciousness; mere happenstance? synchronicity? who knows? However, in the past week or so I have encountered references far outside any explanatory statistical relevance to Dante, the Rings of Hell, Purgatorio and the Divine Comedy. At some point the light bulb went on and I wondered just what I still knew or had long forgotten about this masterwork of 12th century poet Dante Alighieri.

So I danced around the interwebs first focused on the dauntingly inviting "Rings of Hell" and then onto the complete work of The Divine Comedy and Dante himself. Time to share some of what I uncovered. I'm not really sure how far I am will pursue this line of inquiry, we certainly are going to wander through the nine rings of hell, whether we get to seven to ten levels of Purgatory or ultimately to Paradise, well stay tuned.

Let's begin with some general story notes and observations. The Divine Comedy is presented in three parts: Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. Basically, those translate to hell, purgatory and heaven. There are many more contemporary literary and social references to The Inferno then there are to either Purgatorio or Paradiso, which has got to say something about our collective darker side. I know I was first drawn to the whole Rings of Hell imagery. Purgatory is so, well, intermediary; sort of a spirtual cul de sac. Paradiso, on the other hand, just never came up in my initial cerebral percolation. Where the hell is some good old fashioned ecstasy when you need it!

(Sorry. I bit distracted there for a moment. Self reflection don't ya know. Meanwhile, back in Hades...)

Speaking of the infamous Rings. Dante viewed hell as a series of ever more vehement levels of sin, depravity and punishment. You will see when we explore those circles in detail that his reflection of medieval european sensibilities was not so far from those that vex our humanoid morality today. Some things just never change, despite the best efforts of the sane and the profane.

Before encountering The Inferno, I would point out that Dante lived roughly seven hundred years ago (approx. 1265-1321), therefore a great deal of what we think we know about him comes from later exegesis of his life and work. Mind you the first biography of Dante was written some two hundred years after his death, so all of what we think we know is influenced by historical writing and commentary. Dante was a poet and scholar of the late Medieval period but our first full biography of his life was written two centuries later in the near full flower of the Renaissance. That being said, an additional five hundred years have not diminished the impact of The Divine Comedy still considered the poetic masterwork of Italian literature. How many "great" authors of today will we be reading in 2709?

One final introductory mote of interest. Dante called his original work Comedy (Commedia), the 'Divine' was not appended until nearly two hundred years after his death. While it would appear on the surface that a major work constructed on the prevailing ecclesiastical themes of heaven and hell would be considered a religious work; in fact, Dante was using the religious metaphor to criticize and ridicule the political and religious figures of his time. The veil of the heaven-purgatory-hell imagery was both a literary vehicle as well as some social protection from the slings and excommunicatory arrows of his satirical targets.

Next time: a few Rings of Hell

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Frog Clip Art

Today I decided to bring you a small collection of frog clip art after my son came home with some frogs he caught in the stream near our home. When I was a kid I used to try to catch frogs just like my son did this week. I would hunt for frogs in the little creek near my grandparents' house. Sometimes I caught them, but they always escaped from my hands and ran away! That used to make me sad. haha

Here is the frog clipart
Frog Clip Art images black & white
Public Domain frog clip art black and white images
A pair of green frogs clip art
Frog clip art pictures in black and white
Beautiful green frog clip art pic
Cute cartoon frog clip art

I hope these frog clip art images are both enjoyable and useful for you. If you love animals as much as I do then I'm sure they will be! See you again soon, and be sure to browse some other clipart collections!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Snowflake Clip Art

I am originally from Canada and when I was a kid it used to snow a few times every winter. Sometimes the snow would pull up over a meter high! Sometimes my friends and I used to try to stick our tongues out and catch snowflakes on our tongues! And at school I always loved making paper snowflake crafts. In fact now that I'm a teacher I love making them with my students!

Here are some snowflake clip art pictures to use on your homepage to give it some winter flavor!

Blue snowflake clip art pic
Black and white snowflake clipart images
Nice snowflake clip art imagery
Winter snowflake clip art graphic images
Christmas time snowflake clip art for kids

I hope these snowflake clip art images up above are useful to you and that they can bring you some winter joy this holiday season!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Star Clipart

Today I'm bringing you some star clipart. I've always loved stars, and staring up at the stars always gave me a wondrous mystical feeling and inspired a lot of deep thoughts about how life began, how big the universe is, etc. But I grew up in the city, so when I went camping with my family in the countryside is when I really enjoyed looking up at the stars. Away from the city you can see the stars unimpeded, without pollution, smug, and city lights obscuring the view. It's a gorgeous sight! I love stars and stargazing.

Smiley yellow star clipart pic
Happy yellow star clipart image
Gray stars clip art picture for fun
Red metallic star clip art picture
Brown star clipart pic for designs and stuff
Light blue star clipart with rounded edges
Sharp-edged blue stars clip art graphic
Large orange star clipart picture for people who love stargazing

I hope you like these stars clip art and make good use of them. They are suitable for many kinds of designs, either for print out or for webpages.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Condoms & Condom Devices

The picture above is of a 'device', which is apparently used to assist in the application of a condom. Also apparently this task has become more difficult in recent times or perhaps this is just another indication that indeed men's brains do function poorly when blood is diverted for other purposes. In either case, anyone with a Y chromosome will take one look at that 'device' and offer a less than polite no thank you. But first looks can be deceiving.

Earlier this year I was at a medical equipment, paraphernalia, gimmick convention in Las Vegas where these items were being demonstrated. No, it was not a live demo but they did use anatomically correct and variously sized dildoes. Since then I have had this information in my "future posts" file. Today is the day.

The device is marketed under the brand name Pronto and was named The Most Beautiful Object in a 2007 South African Design competition. This from the product literature:

The applicator allows a condom to be put on easily and rapidly. The user holds the device with the thumb and forefinger of both hands, pulling the condom down over the penis in a single rapid movement.

Yes, there is a video demonstration, which might actually change the mind of any quick draws out there.

And for the purposes of keeping this blog within the bounds of public service educational content as opposed to prurient interest.

Condom - a thin sheath, usually of rubber, worn over the penis during sexual intercourse to prevent conception or sexually transmitted disease.

Synonyms: French letter, contraceptive, johnny, prophylactic, protection, raincoat, rubber, safe, sheath.

The additional picture is just an additional picture I had in my photo folder and bears no connection to the Pronto condom device, but its a cool picture.

[Update: Pronto condoms are now marketed at 4 sec condoms but remain unavailable in the U.S. because of a high level of demand and several nasty plastic pinching incidents.]
Photo credits: archives

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Paranoia Strikes Deep

Paranoia strikes deep
Into your life it will creep
It starts when you're always afraid
-Buffalo Springfield

For What It's Worth is the song by Messrs. Neil Young, Stephen Stills, Richie Furay, Jim Messina and perhaps Dewey Martin and/or Bruce Palmer depending on the version you listen to and who was caught up in the last drug bust.

Just a small digression, when Buffalo Springfield broke up after about two years of revolving bass players and the aforementioned drug busts---Stephen Still hooked up with Graham Nash of the Hollies and David Crosby from the Byrds and formed a little band, they took in Neil Young and played some music. Jim Messina and Richie Furay hooked up to form Poco. Jim Messina eventually teamed up with Kenny Loggins.

Meanwhile back at the topic of this here post: Paranoia Strikes Deep. That was the tagline for a Nov. 9 opinion piece in the NYTimes. The paranoia is either that the Republican Party has or will be taken over by the extremist right wing. Whether this has or hasn't happened yet depends on just how left or right you already are and (here comes the point) how paranoid you are about such a possibility. The article can be summarized with it's last two lines:

"The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here--and it's very bad for America."

In case you missed it, the lines from Buffalo Springfield are:

Something's happening here, what it is ain't exactly clear. There's a man with a gun over there, telling me I got to beware.

The problem is that you can't tell if the guy with the gun is an extreme conservative, a paranoid libertarian or a fearful liberal who has decided to defend his turf. That it ain't exactly clear is why paranoia strikes deep.
photo credit:

Clip Art Christmas

Christmas is just around the corner so it's time to get into the Christmas Spirit and spread some holiday cheer. One of the ways I want to spread some holiday cheer is by bringing you some clip art Christmas pictures. You can put these up on your personal homepage to give it some holiday flavour, or if you make your own Christmas cards maybe these will make a useful graphic you can use.

My favorite part of Christmas when I was a kid was always the candy canes. My parents would decorate the Christmas tree with ornaments and candy canes, but by the time Christmas day came there would be no candy canes left on the tree because I had eaten them all!

Clip art Christmas picture of Santa Claus and reindeer
Santa Claus Jolly Saint Nick with a bag of toys in this clip art Christmas pic
Clip Art Christmas picture of Santa and a bag of toys for all the nice kids
Clipart of candy canes for the Christmas season
Clipart with presents under the Christmas tree

The next one comes courtesy of

Clip art of Christmas stocking with toys inside
Clipart of a Christmas fireplace with stockings hanging on it
Clip Art Christmas present image for download or print

I hope you enjoy these clip art Christmas images and can make good use of them on your personal webpage or on printed Christmas cards, etc. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas!