wrigley field is 100 years old today. when you think about it (and i may be the only person who does), that makes it older than the chrysler and empire state buildings, older than the lincoln and jefferson memorials, older than the golden gate bridge and the hoover dam, and older than mount rushmore. as public infrastructure/monuments go, not much else is older in the u.s.

but in today’s age of uniformly terrible sports mascots (youppi! notwithstanding), it’s worth remembering that things could be worse. because the cubs once used actual cubs for mascots. in 1914, an alaskan brown bear named cara maduro (third photo) was brought in, but later judged to be “too strong and determined in its ways to be among peaceable people.” because what are chicagoans but peaceable people (that’s al capone at wrigley in the fourth photo.)

so cara was placed in the lincoln zoo, and replaced with a bear who would go on to be shot in late 1915 for “escaping its crate and invading a tailoring factory and throwing thirty five girl employees into a panic,” as one newspaper put it. and by tailoring factory, they mean sweatshop. like, the kind where the building burns down with all the girls in it

that bear would be replaced with joa, named after cubs owner j. ogden armour, a meat-packing magnate who served as the model for upton sinclair’s “the jungle,” a novel which exposed unsanitary practices and terrible working conditions in the meat packing industry. (armour, interestingly, would also serve as the model for cargill*.) 

joa (second photo), who was made to live in a small cage outside of wrigley field for completely sober baseball fans not to taunt at, was also sold on to the lincoln zoo, but not before clawing several of the ball players. “and now you know …the rest of the story.”

The Smashing Pumkins

i miss me
i miss everything i’ll never be

"when the first european settlers arrived in what is now the united states, the continent was covered by an estimated 3.2 million square kilometers of forest. in just 500 years, all but 220,000 square kilmoeters have been cleared." — edward goldsmith 

images by markley boyer from eric w. sanderson’s mannahatta: a natural history, showing how manhattan — or what the lenape called mannahatta, meaning the island of many hills in their algonquin language — would have looked like prior to european contact.

(not so fun history fact: the word boss comes from the dutch word for master, baas, which was used by slaves and indentured servants who arrived in new york’s ports when the city, having been founded by the dutch, was called new amsterdam.)

photos for the laia foundation by pep avila in vedanthanga, a village in the indian state of tamil nadu, where most residents are dalits, or those who are traditionally regarded in the caste system as untouchables. 

though ‘untouchability’ is barred in india’s constitution, dalits (which translates as broken or crushed) remain an ostracized community in vedanthanga, prevented from owning land and forced to work jobs other castes see as beneath them. 

the laia foundation, founded after the 2004 tsunami, works with the dalits of vedanthanga, contributing to their social and economic development through educational, health and women’s empowerment projects.

when he was a young warthog… simba ate pumbaa. circle of life and all. photos by trix jonker from the addo elephant park in the eastern cape province of south africa.

Escarpment Blues
Sarah Harmer

we’re two thirds water. what do we really need but sun, shower, soil and seed. we’re two thirds water. the aquifers provide. deep down in the rock there’s a pearl inside.


tropical rainforests cover only 2 percent of the earth’s surface but contain over half of the planet’s plant and animal species. the current rate of deforestation is about 1 acre every second (or an area the size of a football pitch, as seen in the third photo). this accounts for 20 percent of all greenhouse gas emissions, which is double what all cars, trucks and planes emit combined. rainforests also produce a fifth of the oxygen we breath (though most actually comes from phytoplankon in the ocean.)

photos by per anders petterson in fiejo, acre state, brazil, showing the average three acres that are cut down there every minute, and stian bergeland in altamira, para state, brazil. lungs of the earth by conservation international

landsat and aster satellite images processed by stephen young, a geographer at salem state university who uses some of the photos to study vegetation change in the sahara. but as false colour images, the photos could be confused for abstract art. click pic for description. additional photos from weather.com. see also: usgs/eros earth art post

"an objective observer, from mars lets say, looking at the human species would conclude that they’re an evolutionary error, that they are designed in such a way that leads them to destroy themselves and probably much else with them." — noam chomsky

though you may find that slightly macabre, we do seem to prefer our own extinction to the loss of our jobs. happy earth day, humans.

Sea And The Rhythm
Iron & Wine

by pairing skate lessons and boards with education initiatives, skateistan — a non profit organization that works with the support of local afghan communities — is using skateboarding as a tool of empowerment for more than four hundred afghan kids, many of whom live on the streets.  

more than 40 percent of skateistan’s students are female. though girls are banned from riding bikes in afghanistan, skateboarding is novel and remains permissible, and has now become the most popular sport for females in the country. 

photos from skateistan’s facebook and instagram (see also: skating in uganda)

The Strife Is O'er
The Welcome Wagon

photos by nordin seruyan (previously featured) from his flower garden in seruyan, central borneo, indonesia

But For You Who Fear My Name
The Welcome Wagon