Saturday, 26 November 2022

li’l folks (10. 338)

Born this day in 1922 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Charles Monroe “Sparky” Schultz, cartoonist and creator of the characters who would become the Peanuts comic strip (his uncle gave him the nickname after the horse Spark Plug in a daily comic called Take Barney Google F’rinstance) is regarded as a universal influence, informing and defining the modern medium as a legitimate means of psychological and sociological exploration and commentary.

santa claus (10. 337)

First screened in September of 1898, we are directed towards the technical marvel by George Albert Smith considered the first short, silent film about Christmas—with pioneering examples of parallel action and double-exposure—making it one of the most sophisticated examples of filmmaking to date. After two young children are put to bed on Christmas Eve, St Nicholas enters the house through the chimney and start trimming the tree and filling the stockings hung by the fire. After surveying his work, he disappears the same way he came in. The latter innovation already demonstrated, superimposition in cinematography, in two of Smith’s earlier experiments—namely Photographing a Ghost (see also) and The Mesmerist—is a particular segue into the filmmaker’s life and career, chiefly billed as a magic lantern lecturer, hypnotist and psychic ahead of his extensive filmography of short subjects, which Smith turned to after being drummed out of the Society for Psychical Research (see above) over alleged fraud—and possibly contributing to the death of his accuser by overdosing on opium—turning his interest to the nascent movie industry run out of small studios in Brighton and Hove, specialising in special effects and colour processing.

everybody comes to rick’s (10. 336)

Based on an unproduced stage play, prolific Hungarian-American filmmaker Michael Curtiz’ vision of the war time romantic drama starring Ingrid Berman, Paul Henreid, Claude Rains, Humphrey Bogart, Sydney Greenstreet and Dooley Wilson had its premiere in the Hollywood Theatre in Manhattan on this day in 1942, the release rushed to capitalise on publicity of the Allied invasion of North Africa. Telling the story of an expatriate night club owner, a crossroads for refugees as well as enemy officers, who is forced to choose between the woman he is in love with or helping her husband, a Czechoslovakian resistance fighter escape Moroccan city controlled by the Vichy-government and continue his fight against Nazi Germany, the reception and estimation of the iconic work has grown over the decades to secure it a solid spot amongst the greatest films of all time. Much of the emotional impact for contemporary audiences was attributed to the number of exiles and refugees in principal and lesser roles—particularly in the below “duelling anthems” that elicited genuine tears with the realisation that they were all displaced. The singer, who also played guitar to “Tango de la Rosa” earlier in the movie is the uncredited Corinna Mura.

solange der vorrat reich (10. 335)

An Aldi native and a long-time shopper though I tend to patronise other grocery stores within walking distance or at the terminals of my commute, I had never heard of the term ‘Aisle of Shame’ and felt a bit personally affronted until reading on that there was a community of fellow enthusiasts of this ever-refreshed and replenishing smรถrgรฅsbord in the central row of food and non-food items available as long as supplies last. Not savouring the task of grocery shopping, I appreciate this serendipity incubator and the cult status accorded to these bargain bins of seasonal and limited edition merchandise and will go specifically to check them out.

Friday, 25 November 2022

7x7 (10. 334)

 the winnowing oar: an itinerant floating city in the Pangeos Terayacht and other mega projects from Saudi Arabia—via Things Magazine  

mรถnitรถr nรธn: previously unheard audio from the first gigs of British rock band The Fall  

imperial isolate: gold coin in a museum cupboard proves existence of Sponsian, an emperor heretofore dismissed as fake—via Digg  

artificial gravity: spinning spacecraft don’t supply a wholly satisfactory solution to the effects of zero-g for human anatomy 

purple tomato: an anthocyanin-rich vegetable is a heuristic for exploring the distinction between genetic modification and selective-breeding—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

feed-back loop: schema for artificial neural networks from the 1940s up to the present—via Web Curios   

anyox: an abandoned copper mining operation in British Columbia is Canada’s largest ghost town

candida navis (10. 333)

Precipitating a succession crisis and a nearly two decades long civil war in England, a period known as the Anarchy, the White Ship (la Blanche-Nef) and its manifest of noble figures sank in the Channel after departing from Barfleur. Among the some three hundred drowned in the overloaded vessel were William Adelin, the sole, legitimate heir of Henry I, his half-siblings Matilda of Perche and Richard of Lincoln, the Earl of Chester, Royal Justice Geoffrey Ridel, with future, fated king Stephen of Blois disembarking due to the boisterous crowd. Taking off in the dark in an effort to overtake the King’s ship which had left earlier, the captain struck a submerged rock called Quillebษถuf and quickly capsized. The disaster left Henry with only one heir that he could pass the throne to, another daughter unoriginally also named Matilda, but her marriage to the Count of Anjou, a traditional enemy of Norman England and the fact she was a woman (none had yet ruled England in their own right) caused the Barons to rebel against these founders of the Plantagenet dynasty and reject Mathilda as queen regnant after Henry’s death in 1135. The only survivor was a butcher from Rouen called Berold, who likely was only on board in an effort to collect on the monies owed to him by the travellers.

le mont-saint-michel au pรฉril de la mer (10. 332)

Always grateful for the chance to revisit Mont Saint-Michel (previously here, here and here), we enjoyed this artistic observation from Atlas Obscura of the abbey and the bay from the painterly perspective of a satellite (see also) under the low angle of the winter sun, with the spires of the monastery casting a shadow on the quicksands and tidal waters. More about the history of the eleventh century religious retreat and place of pilgrimage and its environs at the links above.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

salient factor (10. 331)

Whereas the American term panhandle or bootheel might be more prevalent in certain contexts, salient is the universal descriptor for the elongated, peninsular protrusion of a national or sub-national jurisdiction into another—in turn taken from the strategic lingo of otherwise a bulge that projects into enemy territory. While falling short of the imposition of exclaves and enclaves, notable European examples include the province of Trieste, Schaffhausen in Germany and Inn, Lugano and Mendriso in Switzerland as well as on a state or department level the Gironde and Lower Franconia with many other places vying to extend their influence.