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Choose Your Footing Carefully — It’s Time For BPAL’s Weekly Links

2017 February 17
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Meet Eciton burchellii, the beetle that pretends to be an ant’s butt.

Scaffoldage is just what it sounds like – images of various structures covered in scaffolding.

☠ RIP: Monopoly is retiring the thimble game-piece after 82 years.

The Last Unicorn author Peter S. Beagle is getting raves for his new book,In Calabria.

☠ Protesting in Florida this weekend? Read author Melissa Jo Peltier’s advice first.

☠ New research shows that fictional characters make “experiential crossings” into real life.

☠ Atlas Obscura explores the roots of that famous folktale about a woman being tricked into eating her lover’s heart.

☠  How to remain vigilant in an age of “Alternative Facts”? Here are 14 literary quotes on the art of deceit.

☠ Need a break from the news? Here’s Grace Jones dominating La Vie En Rose.

Work Up An Appetite For V-Day With BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2017 February 10
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

A previously unseen photograph of Harriet Tubman has been discovered, and is headed to auction!

☠ The Seattle Aquarium had to cancel this year’s Valentine’s Day octopus mating event out of concerns that it might result in cephalopod cannibalism.

☠ A Brazilian artist is re-imagining the Orishas as comic book superheroes.

☠ Check out this surreal collection of dolls that contain hidden worlds just beneath the surface of their skin.

These Peruvian spiders form webs that could contain up to 50,000 inhabitants living together in a colony.

Over-thinking Disney’s Pinocchio: here are some questions you never thought to ask as a child.

Oscar Wilde is among those posthumously pardoned for homosexuality-related crimes by the new Turing Law.

☠ Behold, the Rotten Egg Nebula in all its Hubble-telescope-observed glory!

☠ Let sculptor Beth Cavener take you on a journey into the making of her unforgettable animal/human creations:

Time Once Again For BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2017 February 3
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ The Rotterdam Museum is exhibiting the stuffed body of a weasel electrocuted by the Large Hadron Collider.

The Cherry Sisters managed to go down in history as the world’s worst vaudeville act.

☠ No joke: DC is reinventing Snagglepuss as a “gay Southern gothic playwright” who is called before the House Un-American Activities Committee.

☠ Your oldest ancestor has been located in the fossil record: Saccorhytus was huge-mouthed, 1mm in size, and totally assless.

Sweden has created a new Bamse comic that teaches kids about the concept of disinformation.

☠ A German Ph.D. student unpacks the icon, nay enigma, that is Pride and Prejudice’s Mr. Darcy.

☠  Vocab time: “horizontal hostility” is a term that might come in handy as you navigate the increasingly fighty interwebs.

☠ Disturbingly relevant: George Orwell’s insightful 1940 review of Mein Kampf.

☠ Among those lost in 2016: record-smashing WWF goddess Chyna, whose successes became overshadowed by unforeseen setbacks in her career and personal life. There’s a terrific long-form tribute to Chyna on Broadly! Watch her signature bazookas-blazing entrance below.


Support The ACLU With Our New Scent, FAKE NEWS

2017 January 15
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by black phoenix


2016 turned out to be the year of the NASTY WOMAN — and thanks to your purchases, BPAL was able to donate thousands of dollars to Planned Parenthood and Emily’s List!

Unfortunately, 2017 is already shaping up to be the year of FAKE NEWS. In anticipation of the upcoming inaugural proceedings — and the months, nay years of high-volume dishonesty that are to follow — we offer the following blend to help penetrate the dense fog of of misinformation that’s already begun settling around Truth, Justice, and other historically celebrated American ideals.

Wear it in vigilance as you sift through the memes, trolls, clickbait, hate-speech, and outright propaganda that continually threaten to overwhelm all the world’s kindness, wisdom, and informed expertise. Wear it in courage as you refute ignorance and insincerity at every turn — even from our nation’s highest-ranking figures — with indisputable facts from well-researched sources.

And try not to lose your sense of humor as you fight back, or your own essential humanity. As Anne Lamott once wrote: “You don’t always have to chop with the sword of truth. You can point with it too.” 

FAKE NEWS: A scent of misdirection, of 140 frantic characters typed out in spite at 3am, and paranoia-clouded churlish accusations hurled at perceived enemies: crushed pink pepper pod, bitter white tobacco, gnarled patchouli, all covered in glinting, garish slashes of gold.

Proceeds from FAKE NEWS will go to the American Civil Liberties Union, non-partisan defender of the rights and liberties guaranteed by the Constitution and laws of the United States.

When purchasing, be sure to include your twitter handle in the Notes section of our order form — for every bottle you buy, we will tweet one fake news headline about you from our Twitter account (@BPAL).

Truly Something For Everyone In This Week’s Link Roundup!

2017 January 6
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Cranio-facial experts have digitally reconstructed the face of Scottish King Robert the Bruce!

The Satanic Temple has rolled out a new program to protect children from abuse at school.

☠ The ride of your life: twenty-one Knott’s Berry Farm attendees had to be rescued from a ride that got stuck 148 feet in the air.

☠ Did you know the Greek navy maintains a reconstruction of an ancient Athenian trireme, the HS Olympias?

Watch this Icelandic baker use lava-generated heat to bake his bread.

The tomb of an ancient, unknown queen has been discovered in Egypt!

☠ Meanwhile, Sweden’s Queen Silvia insists their royal palace is haunted by “friendly ghosts.”

☠ Behold: some thoughts on the literal magic that is fermentation.

☠ What’s the deal with this mysterious 30-ton stone ball discovered in Bosnia?

☠ Surprise! This is what music notes actually look like.

☠  At last, a trailer for the Oscar-shortlisted documentary about James Baldwin, I Am Not Your Negro:

Time for BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 December 23
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Bad omen from Naples: the blood of San Genarro failed to liquefy on schedule.

☠ Witch marks, curses, and magic in the neglected history of Medieval graffiti.

Neil Gaiman ruminates on his childhood fascination with Christmas, to his Jewish family’s chagrin.

☠ Library staff in northern Queensland, Australia are about to be joined by a humanoid robotnamed Pepper.

☠ Meanwhile, if no action is taken, Britain’s rash of library closures are set to double in the next five years.

☠ From The Paris Review: when Christopher Marlowe’s Doctor Faustus was first performed centuries ago, audiences believed they were witnessing a literal conjuration of the Devil.

Lucien’s True History, written around 175 CE, could be considered the original Star Wars.

☠ Check out this version of Westworld’s opening credits, re-imagined as an artifact of the 1980′s.

☠ White Christmas, indeed: Check out the apocalyptic wall of icy fog that just rolled in across Lake Superior!

☠ Instead of the traditional fireplace video, close out 2016 with seven hours of melting Chucky from Child’s Play. Enjoy below!

Welcome to #BPAL7wordstory Round Four: GLUTTONY

2016 December 21
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by black phoenix


For the fourth time, we invite BPAL’s fans to participate in our creative process. Welcome one and all to the return of our Seven Word Story Contest!

Call it what you will — flash fiction, microfiction, writing for short attention spans — we want to see just how imaginative you can get in seven words of fewer between now and 1 January 2016.

The winning story will inspire an original fragrance crafted by BPAL’s head perfumer, and will be featured on the label alongside a credit to the author (who will also receive a free bottle of the blend).

This time around, we’re celebrating the Solstice and winter holidays by reveling in GLUTTONY. Make every word count! Multiple entries are fine as well.

The deadline for entries is 1 January 2016.  Please read the rules below before submitting. Email your entries (and any questions about the Contest) to, or tweet them @bpal with the hashtag #BPAL7wordstory.

BPAL Seven Word Story Contest Rules and Regulations

By submitting an entry, you agree to be bound by the Official Submission Guidelines and Rules and represent that you have read and understood all requirements set forth.

How do I submit a 7 Word Story and what are the deadlines?

All submissions must be received by the Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab by January 1, 2017. Stories should be submitted online via email to or on Twitter using the #BPAL7wordstory hashtag. On or about January 12, 2017, Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab will announce the selected story.

On February 10, 2017 a fragrance inspired by the winning story will be released for sale on Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, featuring the full text of the story and winner’s name on the label.

Selected authors will receive credit under the name of their choice on the copy text for the fragrance, one bottle of the fragrance inspired by their story, and enviable fame within the Black Phoenix community (no warranties on the fame bit).

By submitting an entry, you agree to be bound by these Official Submission Guidelines and Rules and represent that you have read and understood all requirements set forth below.

  1. Submitted stories must be written in English; stories written in other languages will not be accepted.
  1. All entries must be 7 words or fewer.
  1. Stories must be original and unpublished at the time of submission, including the entrant’s social media accounts. All submissions must be exclusive to the 7 Word Stories Project through April 30, 2017, regardless of whether a story is selected as winner.
  1. All information must be submitted electronically via email ( or Twitter (#BPAL7wordstory).
  1. Stories must only have one author. No coauthored works, please. Because…Seven Words.
  1. A submitted story may not contain any material that is copyrighted or otherwise owned or controlled by someone other than the author (including but not limited to, poetry, music and/or lyrics, characters originally created by others in any medium, and/or stories based on real people and/or other people’s lives, other than public figures). We would be fascinated by how you’d manage it, though.
  1. All submissions should be complete stories which can stand on their own.
  1. By submitting a story, authors (and/or their parents and/or guardians) agree that Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab and any sponsors or other supporters of the 7 Word Stories Project may use the author’s name, image and all or a portion of the submitted story to promote the project, regardless of whether the story entered is selected as winner. Authors who are under the age of 18 must have the permission of their parent or guardian to submit their work.
  1. Employees of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab or any of their respective entities, subsidiaries, and immediate families (spouses, parents, children, and siblings and their spouses) and/or persons living in the same households as such persons of each are not eligible to enter.
  1. All applicable federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. You are responsible for knowing the laws of your jurisdiction with respect to contest entry. The 7 Word Stories Project and these rules will be governed, construed and interpreted under the laws of California. By entering, you agree to be bound by these rules and by the decisions of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, which are final and binding in all respects. Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab reserves the right to change these rules at any time, and in its sole discretion, and to suspend, cancel, postpone or extend the project. Individuals who violate or fail to comply with these rules, violate any law, rule or regulation in connection with participation in the application process, tamper with the operation of the entry process, or engage in any conduct that is detrimental or unfair to Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab, the application process, any other applicants (in each case as determined in Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab’s sole discretion), are subject to disqualification.
  1. By entering, authors retain their copyright but grant Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab the license to use their entire story for promotion of the scent, contest, and the Lab in general.
  1. The Lab agrees to use all commercially reasonable efforts to provide credit in whatever format entrants request (i.e., real name, forum name, other pseudonym).
  1. The winning entry or entries will be selected in the sole discretion of Black Phoenix Alchemy Lab.The Lab reserves the right to select one or more entries based on the quality of entries received. Entries will be judged on their overall narrative, as well as their potential for providing scent inspiration.

Humbugs and Hand Grenades: It’s BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 December 16
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ A new experiment may have revealed that ravens have a sense of fairness, just like people or dogs.

This Crusader-era hand grenade was fished out of the sea near Northern Israel.

Miami Beach has run out of sand. Now what?

☠ Read about the time-honored tradition of witch pits. Which pits? Witch pits!

The mystic Rumi remains beloved by Americans, despite growing anti-Muslim sentiment. What gives?

☠ Be honest: are you really learning anything new? Book Riot introduces their third annual Read Harder challenge!

☠ This week Wonder Woman was stripped of her honorary UN Ambassador title, because: haters.

☠ Feeling under the weather this holiday season? William Faulkner’s hot toddy recipe to the rescue!

☠ Watch this version of A Christmas Carol compiled from 400 different adaptations!

Welcome to BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup!

2016 December 9
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠ Dining with painfully normal family members this Christmas? Feed them Klaus Nomi’s lime tart recipe.

☠ An entire dinosaur tail has been found trapped in amber – and it’s covered in feathers!

☠ Medieval murals painted over by Shakespeare’s father on Henry VIII’s orders have been revealed for the first time in 450 years.

What are these mysterious jelly-like creatures that have begun washing up on Huntington Beach by the thousands?

Neil Gaiman reads Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Raven.” We’re not worthy.

☠ All the Harry Potter books rated purely by their mentions of goats.

Psilocybin mushrooms are changing lives in new therapeutic trials with anxiety and depression sufferers.

☠ Blasphemy, sex, Satanism, and sadism: the diabolic erotic art of Félicien Rops (NSFW).

☠ We can’t answer all your questions, but “What if THE VVITCH had been made by Wes Anderson?” That one we can handle. See below!

Curses! It’s BPAL’s Weekly Link Roundup

2016 November 25
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by black phoenix


Welcome to our weekly roundup of cherished news bits! This week’s batch:

☠  Over 40 ancient ships have been discovered at the bottom of the Black Sea.

☠  Protect your library the Medieval way, with horrible book curses.

☠  The One Where Medea Saves Her Kids: it urns out our understanding of ancient Greek culture is based on just a few surviving fragments of literature.

☠  Aaron Orbey writes about horror movies an aid in the grieving process.

☠  What it’s like teaching Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four to students in 2016.

☠  A handwritten poem by Anne Frank just sold for over $148K at auction!

☠  On the 50th anniversary of its sovereignty, Barbados wants to ditch Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

☠  The Chicago politician who complained about squirrels ended up being hospitalized by one.

☠  Vikings returns to the History Channel on November 30th! Here’s a teaser of bloody events to come.