Obsessions: Week of September 4, 2009

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Ornithological prints became popular in early 20th century American homes as a way to display that their owners were interested in the cataloging of nature, and were therefore modern, intelligent, and connected with gentle European pastimes. i still have my grandmother’s cardinal (Cardinalis cardinalis) print.

In a genius combination of kitsch, irony, and pure pop joy, Lumadessa has launched their Flora Fauna collection of prints; beautifully illustrated birds rendered as bold geometric solids. I squealed, twirled around, clapped my hands, cried a little bit, then bought one of each. As should you.

Way back in early 2008, I found a simple way to create e-commerce ready sites for smaller clients who were large enough to warrant that, but too small to need a merchant account. The method was a JavaScript-based cart called “SimpleCart,” by some Midwestern colleagues in Michigan, and I used it with much success for 2wice magazine. Now, SimpleCart has updated to version two, with many features and enhancements. It allows you to add and subtract amounts on a single page or add items to a separate page entirely, and check out with PayPal. Free to use, donations accepted (and as far as I’m concerned, encouraged). The cart is licensed under a Creative Commons license.

Thirty-five seconds of a cheap joke, re-imagined so very elegantly by Mato Atom. I don’t have a single thing to say about this short film that would be any funnier than the actual piece.

Kurt Vonnegut, meet Brenda Walsh: It’s Slaughterhouse 90210, pairing brilliant authors’ words with the garbage we look at every day on basic cable. This is some of the best cultural criticism I’ve run across in, well, days.

So, since a lot of you NetNewsWire users are going to be rather unceremoniously booted into Google Reader very soon, Helvetireader is a method for making Google’s horrifically utilitarian interfaces more tolerable.

This is a script to be installed into Firefox or Safari which pares Google Reader down to its most essential components, and then re-styles it with much more tolerable typography. I’m not a Helvetica/Akzidenz junkie by any stretch of the imagination, but this is a fantastic method to keep your little corner of the web looking less like a Post-it note and more like you, you know, care.