still trimming the sails;
a work-in-progress...


and some questions we've seldom been asked...

Did you know...?

While the prudent, cautious, and empirical mind might find some of the claims below to strain credibility, still, there's a certain lack of guile (the mention of apparently random names, such as "John Belushi," and "Jim Whitaker" etc.) that makes one want to believe them.
However, until the stories behind the statements pass our lab of fact-checkers, and images, names (of some still living and presumed innocent, per King John), etc. are verified, we're keeping them under wraps. In the interest of helping visitors find the site, though, we're leaving the claims here as markers; hopefully not disingenuously.

did you know that barton cole...

  • ...was once the last guy out of a burning building, twice in one day?
  • ...received a letter from President Richard Nixon [and with his actual signature] when he was six years old?
  • ...once hung out with the late, great clown, John Belushi, in a restaurant men's room?
  • a Distinguished Research Fellow?
  • ...has seen the puddle which is the headwaters of the Eider, the magnificent Northern European river?
  • a highly-accomplished maker of alcohol from conventional and diverse sources? see 23crows...
  • ...was a failure in school?it's true; see above.
  • ...has a tricolor [ ] he's flown in Paris on Bastille Day?
  • ...has smelled an eagle's breath?
  • ...once nearly exploded the plastic hair of an evening news magazine TV hostess, who leaned over to look in the flambé pan as we filmed a segment, just at the moment of ignition?
  • ...scr**ed Tom Selleck's girlfriend [totally innocent; barely memorable; mostly ironic; got there first]?
  • ...saw a five-hundred year-old oak on his arrival at the ancestral home in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany, the day before it was destroyed by a storm?
  • a superhero with a not-so-secret identity (as a non-conformist, he promptly "outed" himself): Professor Bancha, who leaves his beneficiaries with a gold foil origami cat, à la the Lone Ranger's silver bullet?
  • ...can caw just like a crow or a raven (they're pretty similar, yet oh, how different), and does so for money?see more
  • ...has a framed poster of Jim Whitaker, first American on the summit of Everest, inscribed, "barton - you cook like I climb!"?
  • ...owns a rare bottle of wine, so worthy of aging he might never taste it?
  • ...directed an acclaimed staging of Dylan Thomas's "play for voices," Under Milk Wood, in 2009? more...
  • ...drank rum in the cockpit of a sailboat with a German sailor on the Elbe River at Hamburg in January, and sailed on the Baltic to Denmark in July?
  • ...has performed a number of ensemble improvisation works with his ad-hoc performance troupe, the Trickster Hero Orchestra, including Aquavelva, Spam Reload 2.0, Raven and the Whale (an authorized telling of a Tlingit myth), and the acclaimed Mass for the Death of Intellect and Reason, in 2005 (during the Bush years): live onstage, on the radio, and streamed on the web, including simultaneously?
  • ...can listen to entire symphonies in his head?
    (his son can do it too...)
  • ...sang bass in a barbershop quartet?
  • 1981-82, was making stuff for the Frugal Gourmet to pull out of the oven on television?true enough; read more...
  • ...placed 5th in the West Coast (usa) Oyster Shucking Championship, out of practice, even - not having seen an oyster all summer?
  • actually, also, a viscount? see above...
  • ...went to the top of the Space Needle, up the stairs, when he was five years old?
  • ...received a special, home-economics cooking award in the 7th grade (age 12; to his great embarrassment) the only year his school ever conferred such an honor?
  • ...played "Murray Burns" in Herb Gardner's excellent A Thousand Clowns (opposite the sublime Amy Walker, as Sandra Markowitz) and ate pastrami and Cracker Jack before every performance?
  • ...once read two hundred novels in one year, commencing with John Dos Passos's USA Trilogy on day one, completing it in four days?
  • the only foreign ambassador of an obscure, Northern European country?
  • ...went onstage with a big speaking part, after a week of laryngitis, and when the lights came up for the lengthy opening monologue, still didn't know if he could speak?
  • ...made a cheddar in 1987, and still has it in his refrigerator?
  • ...came within a barleycorn of death by electrocution, and didn't know it until three days later?
  • his long-and-checkered career as a "mercenary cook," cut up an estimated five tons (4,500+ kg) of onions, which, if laid end-to-end, would stretch over five miles [8 km], or .002% of the distance to the moon?
  • ...once viewed one of the Seattle Asian Art Museum's venerable pair of Crow Screens, which they'd set up in the basement for his sole viewing pleasure?
  • ...was the first guy to smoke a joint with a kid who grew up to become a big rock star?
  • ...was subpoenaed to testify as the "star witness" in a multi-million dollar lawsuit, which settled out of court the day before he was due to appear on the witness stand?
  • ...made his son crêpes au chocolat for breakfast, whenever he wanted them, all through high school?
  • ...wrote over a million words in a year? more...
  • ...doesn't own a single pair of jeans?
  • ...designed this site, wrote all the text, did all the graphic work (inlcuding the low-tech turning gears; nifty, eh?), wrote all the code, et cetera, by himself [ha-ha - wow]?

about this website

the graphic headings used throughout

I tend to be a wordy chap, as you may have noticed (oh, I can really wear people out in conversation; I frequently see eyes glaze over while I meander on and on).

To take the edge off, I employed a few choices, so the site wouldn't be merely blocks of dry text.

Among them, I replaced the text in the section headings with images of text; technically, the text is still there, but covered by the image, in accordance with design standards - if the image fails to load, or is browsed with a screen-reader or other device, the headings are still there as text.
(You can read up on this fascinating technique - the "empty span" - at my design site,

When I visit a new site - a friend's, or the work of a directly-competitive developer - I like to take all its pulses, à la Chinese medicine:

  1. First, I'll sniff around the site's code (you always have a shot at "View Source" - guys like me find it fascinating and instructive. I'm initially looking to see what generated it - a mind, or a robot? It's right there in the meta-data).
  2. Then, I'll disable the CSS, to see if I can still navigate the page, and to see where the content ends up, in relation to the other elements.
  3. My favorite step is to disable the images, as if I were on dial-up on IE6 in Moscow.
    They walk among us, people.
    Don't be naive.
    Without images, many sites get bizarre and interesting.
    If images are gone, I ought to still be able to navigate the site and access the content, but lots of designers don't seem to work that way. One site I visited, of an architect friend's, went completely blank upon disabling the images - everything on the site had been a picture; now, it was merely white.
    I berated him for it, but he was proud: "Oh, yeah, it's all pictures! It's a good-looking site!"
    Not an accessible site, although he didn't seem to be interested.

The graphic approach gives me opportunities to approach this as one would with some print design; in this case, a magazine filled with editorial content (but no ads!), and a graphic format, for example.

To supplant the heading text with pretty images of text, I employed my beloved and fascinating technique, the "empty span," as revealed at my design site,

Here are all the headings, corraled for your enjoyment and mine; I like looking at them, too.
clicking on the heading will spring you to that spot on the site... just so you know.
sitework »