still trimming the sails;
a work-in-progress...
I made this page for stuff that wouldn't fit anywhere else, yet; wayside station, perhaps, or - maybe even limbo for some of these things... and more to come...

don't follow me on twitter

don't follow me on twitter - bird giving the bird

Cute little guy, isn't he? or at least, he might be, if he were friendlier.

As an iconoclast, I was obligated to generate this. We think it's a decent bit of art, but can take little credit for that.

I got the source image from Aravind Ajith at his blog, the Design Superhero; a high-quality PSD file, and a generous, free download.

It was one of those late-night hack jobs, which is why I'm not posting a PSD... I just set the thing up on a whim and edited it with my favorite image editor, which might have been Photoshop, or might have been the GIMP.
Feel free to take away my image (right-click and "save as," or click here and "save as" - it's a larger version, nearly 400 pixels square); you can credit me if you want, but do indeed credit Mr. Ajith, the illustrator who generated the top-notch source (if you groove on twitter icons, you can see more he's collected at his blog).

the scintillating c

I whipped up this little visual gem is to illustrate a story about the ironic migraine that took me to the hospital. It's not a painful memory at all; just have to whip the text into shape and we'll post it. had an idle moment, though, so made the heading image. fun, huh?

star trek bridge view
star trek bridge view, 50% scale

I had to use a bit of brainy, web-coding magic to set this up: it's composed of two images; one is the bridge...

star trek bridge screen, 50% scale, still

...and the other is the corner of the image which includes the viewscreen - it's an animated .gif image (sixteen frames, I think?), so it's essentially sixteen times larger, file-size-wise.

I positioned an element with the screen image relative to the element that had the view of the bridge (the brainy coding part); just laid it right on top. Otherwise, I would have had to make a sixteen-frame version of the whole bridge, which would have been nearly half a megabyte - as it is, the whole package is only 80 kilobytes. I do love optimized content...

stop for the claw

stop for me, it's the claw - graffiti on road sign

I've been admiring this sign for years; it's up on Capitol Hill, in Seattle, Washington, USA (allegedly a widely-known center of urban hipness; it should check in on Greenwich Village, or the Schanzenviertel in Hamburg...) - or the sign was there - it's been replaced by an un-defaced version of the same.

It was there for years, though - finally, I snapped a picture, in November 2009. The most economical use of electrical tape, ever.

One visitor to the site - who apparently scouted around and saw much of our content - reported, "'Stop for me, it's the claw' is pure gold," and he's right.

Cajun Night Before Christmas

I first encountered this in a marvelous compendium of clever wordplay by Willard Espy, An Almanac of Words at Play. The books were loaners; they're now out of print and hard to come by... I have a copy of The Best of An Almanac of Words at Play, published about eight years ago, and given to me by Polly Friedlander, the president of the Willard Espy Foundation. But many of my favorites were omitted, including this brilliant bit.
I've since been given source material, but have edited it, since that's what I do, and it appears below.

I was a guest at a Christmas Eve party one year not long back, at which were many children; the host had also urged the guests to bring some thing to perform, so I brought this, and also an old pair of unlaced boots, bib overalls, a nasty-looking costume beard, old henley shirt, and a beaten-up straw hat, which I left out in the car during the convivial fest.

I discreetly went out to the car and changed into the gear, and came back in as "Oncle Jacques," and sat by the fire and told this little story, doing my level best (I'm a marginally-capable actor, so put into it what chops I had) to present it as Tom Waits would, had he been smoked like a ham and poled around the bayou in a pirogue.

When I was done, I departed, cackling over my shoulder, "Joyeux Noël!"

I changed back into my clothes and came in the back door, with some wood for the fire, and one of the kids - no fooling - "Where were you? This funny man came, and —"

Open an unformatted text document, which you can save as a Word document, if you copy it and paste it in.
Although I've enhanced the text, don't bother to credit me, but please be sure to credit Trosclair, the author of this marvelous piece.

bonus: here's a low-quality .mp3 of the original "Oncle Jacques" reciting the text; he was there, and an Alan Lomax was there, and did what he could do. At least a version of it's been preserved this way. Enjoy.

Cajun Night Before Christmas
by Trosclair
'twas de night before Christmas, when all t'ru de house, Dey don't a t'ing pass, not even a mouse. De chirren been nezzle, good snug on de flo' An' Mamm pass de pepper, t'ru de crack on de do'. Den Mama in de fireplace, done roas' up de ham, Stir up de gumbo, an' make bake de yam. Den out on de bayou, dey got such a clatter, Make soun' like Boudreau done fall off his ladder. I run like a rabbit, to git to de do', Trip over de dorg, an' fall on de flo'. As I look out de do', in de light o' de moon, I t'ink "Man, you be crazy, or got ol' much too soon." Cuz out dere on de bayou, w'en I stretch ma' neck stiff, Why dere's eight alligator, jus’ a-pullin' de skiff! An' a little fat drover, wit' a long pol'n stick, An' I know r'at away -- dat got to be ole St. Nick. Mo' fas'er and fas'er,de 'gator dey came. He whistle an' holler, an' call dem by name: "Ha, Gaston! Ha, Tiboy! Ha, Pierre an' Alcee, Gee, Ninette! Gee Suzette! Celeste and Renee!" "To de top o' de porch, to de top o' de wall, Make crawl, alligator, an' be sho' you don' fall.” Like Tante Flo's cat, t'ru de treetop he fly, W'en de big ol' houn' dorg, come a run hisse'f by, Like dat up de porch, dem ole 'gator dey climb! Wit' de skiff fill o' toy, an' St. Nicklus behin'. Den on top de porch roof, it soun' like de hail, W'en all dem big 'gator, done sot down dey tail. Den down de chimney, he fell wit' a bam. An' St. Nicklus fall, an' sit right on de ham. "Sacre!" he axclaim, "Ma pant got a hole, I done sot ma'se'f on dem red goddam coals!" He got on his foots, an' jump like a cat, Out to de flo', where he Lan' wit' a SPLAT! He was dress in musk-rat, from his head to his foot, An' his clothes is all dirty, wit' ashes an' soot. A sack full o' playt'ing, he t'row on his back, He look like a burglar, an' dass fo' a fack. His eyes how dey shine, his dimple, how merry! Maybe he been drink, de wine from blackberry. His cheek was like a rose, his nose like a cherry, On secon' t'ought maybe, he lap up de sherry. Wit' snow-white chin whisker, an' quiverin' belly, He shook w'en he laugh, like de stomberry jelly! But a wink in his eye, an' a shook o' his head, Make my confidence dat, I don' got to be scared. He don' do no talkin', gone straight to his work, Put playt'ing in sock, an' den turn wit' a jerk. He put bot' his han', dere on top o' his head, Cas' an eye on de chimney, an' den he done said: "Wit' all o' dat fire, an' dem burnin' hot flame. Me I ain' goin' back, by de way dat I came." So he run out de do', an' he clim' to de roof. He am' no fool, him, for to make one more goof. He jump in his skiff, an' crack his big whip. De 'gator move down, an' don' make one slip. An' I hear him shout loud, as a splashin' he go, "Joyeux Noëel to y'all, 'til I saw you some mo'!"

Download the Word .doc

it's fluffy, it's pink, it's...?

It's fluffy, it's pink, it's - what the hell is it? Is it disgusting?
Quite the contrary.
Any ideas?
[it's an extreme close-up, is what it is - ]

fluffy, pink mystery: detail
Here's a closer look:

any notion? It's tasty, but you won't find it at a carnival... (it's not cotton candy).
[click here to see the big version]

fluffy, pink mystery 300x300 click to enlarge

surely, by now you give up.
it's a stumper; why else would I bother to show it to you?


it's rockfish, a tasty north pacific bottomfish, prepared as sushi (with borage blossoms, avocado, pickled cucumber...)

18 may 2011 update: I've learned it's called "Sakura Denbu," from a marvelous site I discovered,

you can see my recipe below (dragged around in memory; I prefer it to the procedure at, which is still worth a look, if you're intrigued as you ought to be).

see my recipe
fluffy, pink mystery: it's sushi

Sakura Denbu

Fluffy Pink Rockfish for Sushi
here's something like a recipe:

You'll need:

  • a couple of nice rockfish filets, about a pound.
    blackRockfish.png You'll usually find it for sale as "red snapper," which is a warmer-water fish, off California and Mexico - we don't see it in my part of the country, but that's what it's often called in the grocery, which pisses me off - a fishmonger, or piscatorial purist, would never.
    It's typically black rockfish, pictured, dwelling in shallow, rocky waters. Black rockfish is a well-managed and abundant North Pacific resource, but note, from the article at Wikipedia:
    "Rockfish are slow-growing and extremely long-lived, and black rockfish become sexually mature only after 6 to 8 years of age. Specimens collected off of Alaska have been aged to 49 years old. In addition, they benefit from a low natural mortality rate; only about 7% of the total population."
    Other bottomfish might work; dover sole is perhaps better for such an application, since it's soft and mostly useful for roulade., but lacks the fine flavor - still, you can work with that, and a bit of sushi vinegar. Starry flounder is another common bottomfish, and common for the saltwater angler in my area. A great use of it, but you'll need to work with its rather coarse flavor.
    I routinely only eat wild fish from the North Pacific, nearly always fresh, seldom frozen, so have limited experience with "Chilean Sea Bass," or "Tilapia," and that will likely continue. Nor do I have much experience with lake and river fishes found in the Midwest and East, being a proximo-pisca-vore. Many of the local white bottomfish are completely unsuitable, as it would be a waste of their talent and marvel. I'd never do this with black cod, true cod, or lingcod, nor halibut, petrale sole, or lemon sole -- a waste of their deep and broad capabilities.
  • salt
  • rice vinegar
  • sugar or brown rice syrup (preferred)
  • a small, fresh beet, peeled
  • a few drops fresh lemon juice
  1. trim and de-bone the rockfish; rinse it in cold water, but don't pat it dry.
  2. heat a heavy pan over a low flame - stainless steel is best, as cast iron, though amply heavy, might tarnish the lovely, eventual pink. Aluminum is forbidden; doesn't belong in kitchens.
  3. lay the damp rockfish in the pan, without any oil - you may add a few tablespoons of water to prevent any initial scorching, to which you must pay special attention.
  4. add the fresh lemon juice, up to half a teaspoon, and slowly cook the fish; it will express its own liquid, which you want to slowly evaporate.
  5. stir the fish as it cooks, breaking it up into smaller pieces as they become firm.
  6. keep stirring - a pair of chopsticks is best - half-inch (1 cm) filets will take about twenty minutes, doing this very slowly; be sure the flame is low enough.
  7. when all the moisture is evaporated, lower the flame further, to the least-possible. Stir the fish until it shreds into fibers, which will stick to the pan, so keep stirring.
  8. When the fish is as dry as you can get it, scrape it all into a bowl.
  9. Into another bowl, grate a tablespoon or so of the beet. Either through cloth or a fine strainer, press out the juice.
  10. Measure out a couple of tablespoons of rice vinegar, and dissolve in it a bit of salt and a bit of your preferred sweetener (as if seasoning sushi rice). Add a bit of the beet juice (go easy at first - you can add more to get the desired color), and stir all to dissolve. I find that I sometimes need to heat the vinegar to dissolve the thick, rice syrup - if doing so, microwaves are forbidden; they don't belong in kitchens.
  11. Stir the seasoned vinegar into the fish, mixing it in completely.
  12. Applying your most refined aesthetics, adjust the seasoning and color, mixing in well.
    As with any pink-tinted food, less is more - however, one can go "late-night-downtown-tokyo" with the color, and make it rather garish, if one chooses; this depends upon taste, boldness, and the other ingredients in the sushi, of course.

guide to complete idiots

A friend, enamored of Fairies, but also Elves, checked out books on them from the library, among them, "The Complete Idiot's Guide to Elves and Fairies [ISBN: 9781592573240 — the book actually exists]."


I laughed when I saw it, and fired up the trickster software — and Photoshop — and whipped up the image below.

Scouting on the web for a suitable image of a "Complete Idiot" presented some challenge; I was at first tempted to use an image of Monty Python's Graham Chapman, but ran across an image of Harry Shearer, which worked perfectly. I think he'd be flattered, just as Mr. Chapman would have been, no doubt.
[to view a larger version in a new tab, click here].

Elves and Fairies Guide to Complete Idiots - mock book cover

Here's the inspirational image; the actual book cover:

Complete Idiot's Guide to Elves and Fairies - actual book cover

some old material


Once upon a time, this was the extent of my website. For years, actually, as I pondered what sort of content I was going to put together, and which of my diverse interests to feature. My work? My art? My avocations?

In the end, I decided to put it all on here, and developed a plan for the architecture and coding.

Although the image resembles a watercolor painting, it's a digitally-modified ["photoshopped"] photograph taken in a café in Amsterdam in 2005 by my good friend, Jörg Hellberg.

The initial site merely featured this image, and a caption:

barton cole, scribbling and writing in an amsterdam café in 2005.
barton cole lives on an island off the northwest coast of america.

Without much content, the search engines placed the site low on the search results. I'd "google" my name, and see these other barton cole chaps, on Facebook, were higher in the results than my url, "" Once I developed the current site, that changed, as I uploaded more and more content, which I continue to do. Still plenty left to post; I'll get to it.

memphis and moosejaw

These are my son's two cats, Memphis and Moosejaw. Moosejaw is the one with the white paws; at the time of the photo, she's about three months old, and Memphis is about ten months.

Memphis is named after Memphis, Egypt, and Moosejaw's named after Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Memphis chose Moosejaw's name, but at the time I'm posting this [2 October 2013], the method she used is the topic of an online puzzle at the Lateral Thinking Puzzle Forum, and users haven't yet determined the solution. When they do, I'll try to remember to come back and tell the charming story of the naming.

sitework »