First off, originally from a "particle" link on Making Light: There's an annual set of awards for gem cutting, and the winners are (as one would expect) quite remarkable. Here are some photos from 2008, 2007, 2006, and 2005. The citrine gem that's the best-in-show winner for 2008 is intriguing; it's quite remarkably sparkly due to the little lapis, red coral, and turquoise inserts, and I quite like the overall effect, but I'm not sure I like them quite so much when I look closely at them. There's a really gorgeous sparkly oval in the faceted gems category in 2007, and the "Eye of the Dragon" ametrine that won the faceted gems category in 2005 is quite stunning indeed. The concave-cut rose quartz in the 2005 specialty-cut category is also nifty and quite sparkly, and I'm also fond of the tourmaline that won the 2006 cabochon category. I also like the representative-sculpture piece that won best-in-show in 2007.
John Scalzi's daughter had lots of fun in the winds from Hurricane Ike when it got up to their place in the midwest (IIRC), and proves that she continues to be entertainingly photogenic. And I continue to think that she's a nifty kid. (What is it with preteen daughters of authors? Between her and Maddy, if there are any more and they form a League, they'd be a force to be reckoned with indeed.)
City of Salt is a sort of manipulated-photo-and-text piece, in the sort of surrealist style that reminds me very loosely of Borges. Also quite nifty, and very evocative.
Making Light recently made a post declaring September 21st to be Dysfunctional Families Day, noting: "There are a plenitude of days for celebrating your parents and getting together with your family. There aren’t a lot of days when you can admit that your parents actually drove you completely bats.... And some people need that, because that’s the truth of their lives, and pretending otherwise is poison to the soul." The comments thread turned into quite a remarkable outpouring of stories and sharing and recognition that people weren't alone in their experiences, along with a quite interesting subthread woven through it about what "forgiveness" means, and how some meanings can be pretty toxic while others can be healing.
Some entertaining and amusing furniture designs. Not that many are things I'd actually want to have, but I like a lot of them. I particularly like the park bench that tangles up and grows up the wall like vines (bottom right on the top set of photos). And the idea of a side table that quickly disassembles into a roman-style shield and bat (top right, top set) is rather entertaining. The dollhouse bed (second set) and pumpkin-carriage bed (further down, below the panda chair) are quite cute of the sort that would be really nifty if one had a kid into pink and lace and such, and the garden furniture (just below that) is also very nice.
If there were tours to other planets in the early 1950s, this is what the National Parks Service posters for them might well have looked like. I'm really quite fond of this sort of retro-futuristic imagery, and these are very well done -- I particularly like the Venus and Mars ones, and also the Europa one. Prints of these seem reasonably affordable, too.
Meanwhile, in the "amusing little things to put on cross-stitches" category of art, text messages. They end up being a rather poignant little story; rather evocative given the very small amount of content.
suzanne sent me a link to this recipe for Raspberry Kielbasa over Cheese Grits. It is slightly disturbing as a concept (though far more so with the Key Lime variant suggested in comments!), and also very entertaining how with only a small substitution of more water for less milk, and slightly fudging the amount of kielbasa, the recipe degenerates into consisting of exactly one cup of everything.
Meanwhile, this is an intriguing way to organize a bookshelf, but one that I suspect would drive Suzi nuts even though it's quite pleasant to look at.
And finally, something lilairen just quoted at me, from sources unknown, but which seems like a good way to wrap up this very random list: "Label on a bottle of olive oil: 'In case of anything, use this product.'" It even goes in the kielbasa!