The $10 flaming chalice

Time to get back into blogging, bit by bit.

Last night, Hubby and I were at that font of “I’m not sure I like it, but isn’t it well designed,” a.k.a. IKEA. As y’all know, I think the flaming chalice, though not bad, is an uninspiring and increasingly amorphous emblem. Also, some of the commissioned ones I’ve seen are hideous. It could be better.

That said, as a side-effect of my now-retired quest for the best communion gear available from usual commercial sources (I settled on some of the heritage pewter still made) I still keep my eye open for secular goods that can be pressed into sacred service.

Using a cut-down pillar candle, this candleholder might be just the thing, especially for those smallish fellowships in the middle of the country who have or rent mid-century buildings. Also, it isn’t heavy.

IKEA FALANG candlestick (Note there are two sizes, 11″ and 7″ tall.)

2014. Alas, they’ve been gone for a long time. They looked like this, and also came in a neutral wood finish.

I can't read your protest sign! (Or GA banner!)

Philocrites gave some advice recently about not using a fine point marker if you’re making signs for a demonstration. There really needs to be some information put out there if anything’s going to be made of public demonstrations. After all, a certain unnamed rabidly anti-gay wacko from Kansas has signs so bold they could be read from space.

This gets me back to a pair of very practical websites that deal with related issues, each related to sign making, and by extension, banners at General Assembly. I’d love to see a moratorium on rainbow color themes, shapes of river course, and illegible writing on banners. (Yes, I know a banner and a flag serve different purposes.) I think the best banners are those that, like flags, have a simple color scheme and a memorable design. My favorite here is the Muttontown, New York congregation, which has a big, recognizable sheep on theirs. I also like seeing the “flaming crab” of the Annapolis, Maryland banner.

In short, if you can’t recognize a banner from a thumbnail, how in the world can someone recognize it from the rafters at the Opening Ceremony or when hung up?

The North American Vexilogical Association has good flag design advice:
Good Flag, Bad Flag: How to Design a Great Flag

The other site is from the Letterheads with old fashioned instruction about hand lettering, as once used widely for commercial applications. Calligraphy’s larger, plainer cousin.

And remember, in some areas, the wooden pickets used to hold signs aren’t allowed, as they can be used as a weapon. Cardboard tubes may be substituted.

Little Jesus

Philocrites refers to Little India, which I would categorize as a Hindu children’s religious education. It is also very, very cute.

I Learn About Jesus on my desktop

It reminded me, graphically, of the earliest book I own, I Learn About Jesus. I got it at St. Ann’s Kintergarten not all that much after its 1972 publication date. It was printed by the Daughters of St. Paul, of the well known (to my posse of UU bloggers) Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts. The Paulines are the big media order of the Catholic church.

(I kept the photo uncropped so my dear readers can see a bit of Boy in the Bands World Headquarters.)

And — wow! — it is still in print, in a revised edition, but from the new cover, it seems some of the internal graphic are probably still from 1972. Love it.

The typeface upstairs

In case you were wondering, the typeface for the nameplate is from that “giver of all good things typographic,” Manfred Klein.

It is FreeBradbury

I wanted something unicase (no distinction between upper and lower case) because most (all?) of the early Christian documents were in unicase letterforms. But it needn’t be antique, and should preferably have a bit of whimsy.

When I learned of Bradbury Thompson’s unicase experiment, Alphabet 26, I was caught with the romance. This isn’t one of his faces, but rather an homage.

Thought you might like to know.

First the chicken, then the bike

Thanks to PeaceBang for pointing out a very hip-to-funny commercial website:, which makes tandem bikes for seven.

It shares the spotlight with, a purveyor of urban chicken hutches.

The sites are as specialized, hip, and creative as their products. They’re gobs of fun to visit, but useful for the serious consumer.

For that reason alone, I don’t deserve any notice from ChaliceChick for revising this site. I want my blog to be half as interesting — visually and thematically — as those sites. I’ve barely begun.

Fifteen meatballs

When your minister leaves this kind of note in your comments section, you must reply:

Right on IKEA! Somehow I didn’t realize that they sold meatballs…are they cooked?

Yes, they are cooked, and fifteen of them are served with boiled new potatoes, cream gravy, lingenberries, dinner roll, your choice of soup or salad greens, and a soft drink for $5.99. I always get soup; Hubby, salad. This is the Manager’s Special and it is the only thing we get. (There are seafood and vegetarian options, usually another special, plus a children’s menu and desserts. You can even get jarred baby food, or a very cheap breakfast in the morning.) Note: in the Swedish food section, you can get meatballs, gravy, and the lingenberries frozen and ready to go.

There is a theological tie-in. The Swedenborgian church I actually attend is — what I have heard — called “the church where angels serve meatballs”: an obvious pun on the Sweden- part of the name, and a reference to their rather aetherial theology.

The IKEA cafe and restaurant is, like other aspects of their business plan, a constant, so the following links to images of their restaurants in other countries might as well be the eatery in College Park, Maryland.


United Arab Emirates
Near me

. . . and in 2005, Stoughton, Massachusetts.

To tell you the truth, I’m not sure if IKEA is very, very good, or very, very evil. But it is certainly uniform.

London's bus campaign for Washington

Bus-loving people will have already seen the London ‘My other car is a bus — new advertising campaign — I only wish I could get one of the bumper stickers!

That said: Washington’s buses could use some more practical help, especially with the capacity of the Metrorail system being stretched towards breaking.

We all know that rail is “sexier” than bus, but that’s were the room for growth is — affordable growth anyway — and buses are more convenient and practical for a large segment of the populus than the rails anyway. (Neither home nor work is less than a twenty-minute walk from a rail station, but there’s a bus that goes very close from one to the other. I would have to drive if it wasn’t for the bus.) Time to treat them with some respect.

We could be more like London: encourage pride in our strikingly extensive and relatively modern system and provide more information for potential users. WMATA buses are quite difficult to use if you don’t already use them. It took far too long to get free system maps printed (and as it is, you have to ask for them at subway stations). The experimental downtown route direction maps were printed too fine, without adequate direction, and are already outdated. Weekly bus passes are sold at too few many shops. Bus stops are inadequately marked. There are several problems, and they are all resolvable.

A good starting palce would be to adopt London-style “spider maps.” These combine realistic local neighborhood maps (centering on a rail station) with stylized radiating bus routes. The format is based on the famous London Underground map. Hubby and I found the concept invaluable in our visit last year, and once implemented the bare details can be printed at the individual stops — far more helpful than the truth-bending minute-by-minute, long-distance-train-style schedules currently posted.

Since a picture is worth more than my feeble description, here’s a link to get some spider maps to review.

Spider maps by borough