i’ve been in bed sick today.  i was prepared to blog something substantial, but i’ve fallen prey to a nyquil hangover and just can’t get my brain going at full speed.  that stuff should be illegal.  anyway, this is all i can muster.  a dose of cute goes a long way, too.

When photographer Daniel Borris first started his Yoga Dogs series, he had a feeling that it would catch on but he couldn’t expect that people from all over the world would eventually see it. “The photos have been written about in magazines from India to Russia and Brazil,” he tells us…. His follow-up series to Yoga Dogs was Yoga Cats and then Yoga Puppies and Kittens. (We’re showing Yoga Kittens today.) If you’re wondering where Borris gets his furry felines from, they’re members of The Animal Defense League. “They’re great to work with,” Borris says. “We give them a big plug in the calendar and book and we’re happy that they use the calendars for some fundraising.”- VIA

A cat and a rainbow. What’s not to love? “The photo of Wendy was just a total lucky shot I caught while trying to photograph a rainbow on the wall behind her that the acrylic chair creates,” says Kat Miss of For Me, For You. “She turned and yawned just at the right moment. I laughed so hard when I looked down at the photo I had just taken.”- VIA

in other totally unimportant news, i read today that Katy Perry’s cat’s name is Kitty Purry… brilliant! to the best of my knowledge, the above is not a photo of kitty purry.

this is not ok

The picture is super-cute.  It’s totally o.k.  One could come up with adorable captions.  However, half of the “cleverly cavalier commenters” offered up offensive ones.  It almost pains me to say that I assume (which we all know is a stupid thing to do… ass-u-me) that these smart a**es are privileged white kids tooling around on their macbook pros feeling quite awesome and funny while totally oblivious to… well, i don’t know exactly what… to everything?



Rated Comments:
machofinger -BEST- 33 points: 2 days ago
soo…do i give you my wallet now or ten years later?
MichaelPorter 10 points : 2 days ago

That’s actually a pretty culturally-artistic picture.

RyFro 7 points : 19 hours ago

yo dawg, we got those flintstones. Orange $5, Purple $10, Red $15.

joshtherealist 6 points : 1 day ago

no i didnt enslave your great grandparents! no i wont give you my back pack.. stop blaming me for everything i wasnt around for!!!

jokesonpics 2 points : 18 hours ago

Can you take this bag through customs for me girls? Dont worry theres nothing illegal in it.

kuroi 2 points : 2 days ago

Watching ‘The Wire’ makes this picture funnier, to me.

edarruda 1 point : 2 hours ago

Were you made at night?

tmonster 1 point : 22 hours ago


a more appropriate (not to mention genius) exhibit

now this is the kind of exhibit i’d pay to see! i would like to take this time to say “told ya so.”  not that anyone’s really argued against this point with me.  i’m just sayin’… it doesn’t exist… and yet it dictates life chances and prevents us from being open to what exists and really matters in ourselves and each other.

Museum of Science explores science, concept of race

By Chris Bergeron/DAILY NEWS STAFF

BOSTON —An African, an Asian and a North American viewing the new exhibit “Race” at the Museum of Science might be surprised to discover they have more in common than individuals of any other species on Earth.

They would learn their variously colored complexions derive from how their skin processes folate and vitamin D. The African would find he’s susceptible to sickle cell anemia, not because of his race but because of the prevalence of malaria in his homeland.

And all three might be troubled to learn world-famous psychologist Arthur Jensen has written that differences in their intelligence can be attributed to their racial origins.

By the exhibit’s end, each might answer the question in its subtitle, “Are We So Different?” by saying, “No, not based on our genes.”

Combining scientific, anthropological and historical evidence, the exhibit argues the fundamental concept of race and racial differences has no biological basis but is a man-made distinction with immeasurable social consequences over the centuries.

Developed by the American Anthropological Association and Science Museum of Minnesota, “Race” invites visitors to examine race and racism through exhibits, interactive stations and artifacts.


Museum President and Director Ioannis Miaoulis said it’s the first exhibit to examine race and human variations using the most up-to-date genetic discoveries.

“This exhibit can be inspiring, revealing and even life-changing,” he said opening the show last Thursday.

Chioma Nnaji, research coordinator of the UMass Horizon Center in Boston, praised the exhibit for explaining how a broad misunderstanding of race “complicated” relations between people by emphasizing superficial differences over shared interests.

Citing cutting-edge genetic research, the exhibit states, “Race is a recent human invention.”

Nina Catubig Nolan, chairwoman of the museum’s Race education team, said, “The idea of race doesn’t have a basis in biology. Humans from around the world share 99.5 percent of their genes. That’s more than chimpanzees or fruit flies,” she said.

Flawed science results in social injustice.

The failure to recognize our common genetic heritage is demonstrated by a photo that shows how the U.S. Census labeled people based on mistaken ideas of pigmentation and appearance.

From 1850 to 2000, a mixed-race woman would have been variously described as “mulatto,” “Negro” or, recently, “White and African American.” From 1930 to 1990, a woman from Tijuana who moved to Texas would have been labeled “Mexican,” “white” and “Hispanic white.” Over the course of the 20th century, Inuit women have been called “Indians,” “Eskimos” and in 2000 “Alaska natives.”

Wall text by that photo states: “The idea of race is tied to power and hierarchy among people. The legacy of race continues to shape the lives and relationships of people in the U.S. and around the world.”

Paul Fontaine, vice-president of education at the Museum of Science, said “Race” provides “a perfect opportunity to look at a sociological issue through a scientific lens.”

Museum official sought to open the exhibit just before Martin Luther King Jr. Day and over the following months to encourage discussion about a timely issue and provide an opportunity to present related events and activities, he said.

“When we first saw ‘Race,’ we loved the way it was presented. It was powerful and emotional and based on current genetic research. From this exhibit, visitors will learn race is an artificial construct. Yet it has been the basis for categorizing people and all the negative reactions that have followed from that,” said Fontaine.

“Race” includes fascinating, even a few disturbing, artifacts.

A “hair color table” that measured the spectrum of hair color from Aryan blonde to less desirable shades was used by Nazis to provide a scientific basis for the practice of “racial hygiene” that legitimized the deaths of millions of “non-Aryan” Jews, gypsies and Slavs.

Closer to home, visitors can see a placard for a “Colored Waiting Room” and a sign announcing “We want white tenants for our white community.”

And debunking a television crime show staple, the exhibit uses photos and expert testimony to show forensic pathologists can not definitively determine a victim’s race from their bones and teeth with the regularity or ease of investigators on “CSI Miami.”

Unlike many Museum of Science exhibits, “Race” devotes more than half its gallery space to establishing a historical and social context for its premise that humans have misused the idea as a tool to discriminate rather than seek common ground.

The most effective parts of the exhibit help visitors understand the genetic science that provides the exhibit’s foundation. By twisting a dial, visitors can direct human migration from 100,000 B.C. to 40,000 B.C. across a world map.

At the exhibit’s opening, musician and sound artist Halsey Burgund previewed a segment of his audio installation, “Voices Without Faces, Voices Without Race,” which consists of snippets of conversation from more than 250 people discussing race.

Commissioned by the museum, he recorded people along Rte. 128 responding to three questions: When did you first become aware of race? When were you first privileged by or discriminated against because of race? And, What is your experience of race in Boston? The audio installation will open Feb. 3.

Khaalie Parham, a 15-year-old sophomore at Community Charter School in Cambridge, said people react differently to him depending on whether he’s in his predominantly white hometown of Belmont or among his peers.

“Race has a huge significance in my life. If I’m in Belmont, people look at me differently or cross to the other side of the street than I’m walking on,” he said. “In my school, race isn’t much of a factor. But if people look past differences and what other people say and follow their own mind, then race stops dividing people.


WHAT: “Race: Are We So Different?”

WHERE: Museum of Science, Science Park, Boston

WHEN: Through May 15

ADMISSION: $21 for adults, $19 for seniors (60+) and $18 for children (3-11)

INFO: 617-723-2500, TTY 617-589-0417,

Visit the American Anthropological Association’s Race Project at


the child was exhibited yesterday

in my search for vintage images of mulatto folks i recently stumbled upon a gem!!   Joan P. Gage is a journalist and a collector of photographs.  on her blog A Rolling Crone she shares one of her collectibles and the fascinating (and still unfolding) story behind it.  i feel all kinds of ways about this piece of our history (and by “our” i do mean mulatto, i do mean american, i do mean human seeing as everything is everything and all.)  anyway, i feel sad for the little girl.  i feel pride for the little girl.  i feel a sense of satisfaction that i can point to this child and to the efforts charles sumner as evidence that, even way back when, a white man and a white-looking black child attempted to change people’s minds (way back)when it would have been much easier (not to mention safer!) to relish in the societal refuge that their phenotype offered.  i am not implying that the attempt was perfect, nor that there is nothing offensive or off-color about the sentiment behind the message.  but, if you consider the general consensus of the times on this matter, i think it safe to view sumner’s cause as a benevolent one.  i wonder how little mary felt.  i wonder if she understood.  i wonder what her parents looked like.  and her siblings.  i assume there’s a reason that they were not photographed or ‘exhibited’ together.  and i wonder how they felt about that, about all of it.  and what became of all of them…

From a New York Times article dated March 9, 1855, which read:
A WHITE SLAVE FROM VIRGINIA. We received a visit yesterday from an interesting little girl, — who, less than a month since, was a slave belonging to Judge NEAL, of Alexandria, Va. Our readers will remember that we lately published a letter, addressed by Hon. CHARLES SUMNER, to some friends in Boston, accompanying a daguerreotype which that gentleman had forwarded to his friends in this city, and which he described as the portrait of a real “Ida May,” — a young female slave, so white as to defy the acutest judge to detect in her features, complexion, hair, or general appearance, the slightest trace of Negro blood. It was this child that visited our office, accompanied by CHARLES H. BRAINARD, in whose care she was placed by Mr. SUMNER, for transmission to Boston. Her history is briefly as follows: Her name is MARY MILDRED BOTTS; her father escaped from the estate of Judge NEAL, Alexandria, six years ago and took refuge in Boston. Two years since he purchased his freedom for $600, his wife and three children being still in bondage. The good feeling of his Boston friends induced them to subscribe for the purchase of his family, and three weeks since, through the agency of Hon. CHARLES SUMNER, the purchase was effected, $800 being paid for the family. They created quite a sensation in Washington, and were provided with a passage in the first class cars in their journey to this city, whence they took their way last evening by the Fall River route to Boston. The child was exhibited yesterday to many prominent individuals in the City, and the general sentiment, in which we fully concur, was one of astonishment that she should ever have been held a slave. She was one of the fairest and most indisputable white children that we have ever seen.

From “Raising Freedom’s Child—Black Children and Visions of the Future after Slavery,” written by a University of New Orleans professor, Mary Niall Mitchell:

By the eve of the Civil War, abolitionists recognized the potential of white-looking children for stirring up antislavery sentiment…Although it was the image of a raggedy, motherless Topsy that viewers might have expected to see in a photograph of a slave girl, it was the “innocent”, “pure,” and “well-loved” white child who appeared, a child who needed the protection of the northern white public.
George Thomson’s Woodcut Illustrations

The sponsors of seven-year-old Mary Mildred Botts, a freed child from Virginia, may have been the first to capitalize on these ideas, as early as 1855. Her story also marks the beginning of efforts to use photography (in Mary Botts’s case, the daguerreotype, as the carte-de-visite format was not yet available) in the service of raising sentiment and support for the abolitionist cause.”
“…In his own characterization of Mary Botts,” Mitchell continues, “Sumner set a pattern that other abolitionists would follow.  In a letter printed in both the Boston Telegraph and the New York Daily Times, he compared Mary Botts to a fictional white girl who had been kidnapped and enslaved, the protagonist in Mary Hayden Pike’s antislavery novel Ida May:  ‘She is bright and intelligent—another Ida May,’ [Sumner wrote] ‘I think her presence among us (in Boston) will be more effective than any speech I can make.’”

From joanpgage, the blogger (and current owner of the daguerrotype) from which I am re-blogging this piece:

Only a year after parading Mary Botts through New York, Boston and Worcester and dubbing her “The real Ida May”,  Charles Sumner’s devout abolitionist views  led him to a crippling disaster, when, in 1856, he was so badly beaten on the floor of the Senate by South Carolina Representative Preston Brooks,  who broke a cane over his head, that it would take years of therapy before Sumner could return to the Senate.

…Prof. Mitchell is currently working on a book about Mary Botts that will tell more about this former slave’s life, including the drama of how Sumner purchased her and spirited her out of Virginia, how he introduced her to the media and society as a  living advocate for the abolitionist cause, and how her family settled in the free black community in Boston.

I’m eager to learn the rest of the story, but, for now, it’s enough of a thrill just to know that the daguerreotype, taken in 1855, that is part of my collection may represent one of the first efforts EVER to use the modern discovery of photography to touch people’s emotions and change their minds.  This small image of a seven-year-old girl may be an example of the first time photography was used for propaganda, but it was certainly not the last.




unsavory initial recognition

i’ve no idea where i found this.  it’s been waiting to be posted since last july…

in light of the current posting trend over here, i found the last line to be somewhat relevant…”document(s) white recognition of beauty and attraction in their slaves.”  not quite so “flattering” as the modern recognition.

An attractive and well dressed mulatto woman from New Orleans. A sixth plate dagu

Her light skin color was itself evidence of miscegenation.
She was quite possibly a free woman and as such, the photograph would contribute little to a study of slavery. Yet the likelihood remains that she was enslaved. If so, this woman’s attractive looks and fancy dress imply she could have been owned or hired as a slave mistress.

Interracial sexual exploitation, along with brutal punishment and separation of families, was a terrible aspect of slavery. The practice was far from unknown throughout the antebellum South and existed with special visibility in New Orleans. If the daguerreotype of this woman could for a moment be interpreted in such a fashion, then commissioned by her escort, it would document white recognition of beauty and attraction in their slaves.


so, while i was “away” one of the big community newsflashes was that mixed-race is the new standard of beauty.  um…ok, cool…i guess…or, whatever!…i’m not really sure where i stand on this one, because, just like race, a standard of beauty really has no basis in reality.  that’s merely an opinion.  however, the fact 64% of the people polled in the Allure magazine survey that delivered us this “good” news are of the opinion that they generally find mixed-race women to be the epitome of beauty, leads me to ponder a couple of things:

1. we’re not so invisible anymore.  they didn’t choose light-skinned black people with “good hair,” or asians who may also be perceived as a little hispanic too as the exemplification of beauty.  they chose mixed-race.  it was on list.  that’s progress, no?

2. i firmly believe that there is no such thing as race, not in terms of the universal reality which i perceive to be very different from the mainstream worldly reality.  yet within the confines of the discussion of the topic at hand (funny (and frustrating) how this ‘non-existent’ thing is so confining) i would say that we are all mixed race.  so who amongst us is not full of beauty?

3. i also think about all the previous generations of mixed people who may have felt invisible and/or less than and/or all that jazz… i think about me… i wish i could have told this girl that if she could just wait 10-20 years or so, some of the things she felt uncomfortable with and perhaps even unloveable because of would come to be perceived as beautiful… so she should just rest assured in herself and wait for the world to catch up…

wow! these pictures make me so uncomfortable. just like i was back then.

now…not that i’m all caught up in thinking of myself as some biracial beauty…but…i gotta say…progress, no?

if i had to identify something beautiful about this picture, i would say it’s that i seem unapologetically present and, dare i say, confident even. i’d like to see phrases like that enter the equation when calculating the standard of beauty… confident, present, compassionate, passionate, gracious, generous… how ’bout those undisputably beautiful things?


mulattoes captured

Not like this:

But like this:

1850 portrait of a mulatto woman

J.P. Ball quarter plate daguerreotype of mulattoes

Sixth Plate Daguerreotype Portrait of A Young Mulatto WomanA fine daguerreotype portrait of a young, well-dressed mulatto woman, with the letters W and MB etched on plate’s verse

Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants,

*Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants*

Cased Ninth Plate Daguerreotype of a Mulatto, fine half-length portrait of a 20-something young, mixed race gentleman, Negroid and Caucasian, in typical merchant sailors outfit of the period.

The Daguerreotype was the first successful photographic process, the discovery being announced on 7 January 1839. The process consisted of

  • exposing copper plates to iodine, the fumes forming light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be used within an hour.
  • exposing to light – between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon the light available.
  • developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees Centigrade. This caused the mercury to amalgamate with the silver.
  • fixing the image in a warm solution of common salt (later sodium sulphite was used.)
  • rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.

I absolutely love these!  I fully intend to collect them one day when I can afford it.  There seems to me to be so much more to a daguerreotype than a photograph.  They seem haunted to me.  Like the image and the moment was so thoroughly captured that I’m really looking at something/someone frozen in time.  Haunted.

On another note, I get some sort of satisfaction from looking at these and reading the descriptions.  Proof that “we” exist and were once recognized.

*or brothers….(re: white children & their mulatto servants above)*