Friday, 13 January 2023

8x8 (10. 413)

rummaged in the roots: with only the dead in their graves as witnesses, we learned that the Hardy Tree of St Pancras succumbed to blight, via Strange Company  

terracotta army: archeologists are hesitant to unseal the tomb of China’s first emperor—and for good reason, via ibฤซdem, more here 

genuary 2023: a month of generative coding to make beautiful AI artefacts—via Web Curios  

alphaputt: this typographical, twenty-six hole course

know your meme: incredibly, there has never been an indexed search engine of the internet image macros—via Waxy

fossil fuel: industry scientists had a preternaturally accurate grasp on the consequences of burning oil five decades ago—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

ucluelet: the largest Rogue Wave on record—see previously  

vauxhall: a tour of south London in the 1980s—via Things Magazine

Thursday, 12 January 2023

homeotherm (10. 411)

Declared legally dead on this day in 1967, University of California psychology professor and author of several influential works of occupational counselling, Dr James Hiram Bedford became the first individual whose body underwent cryopreservation. With the expectation of being revived and treated when medical science could cure a presently terminal illness, Evan Cooper’s Life Extension Society offered to treat and store a body in a state of suspended animation free of charge as a promotion to advance their line of research. Dying of kidney cancer that had metastasised and spread to his lungs, Bedford volunteered but not entirely taking up the foundation on its munificence but importantly providing in his will funding for his continued preservation. Though there is some debate on the efficacy of the methodology and whether through various transfers the vital temperature was maintained, a cryogenics lab is still Bedford’s caretaker to the present day.

Sunday, 1 January 2023

9x9 (10. 379)

run with us: Lisa Lougheed vocal talents showcased for the Canadian animated television series The Raccoons—1985 to 1992  

the number 23: Tedium looks forward to the dawning year  

artisanal bitcoin: crypto mined with only slide rules and graph paper  

rip: this more inclusive, Sgt Pepper’s style (previously) obituary of those we lost in 2022—to include the very recently passing of Anita Pointer, Barbara Walters and Pope Benedict 

next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual: a literary guide to New Year’s resolutions and more from Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

web 1.0: a clarion call to bring back personal blogging—also the upteenth time this appeal has circulated since 2007—via Kottke’s Quick Links  

penny-farthing: a pocket-sized battery that can enhance a mechanical bicycle  

magic clock: a 1960 Mel-O-Toons classic reminds us it’s late than we think  

fever ray: a selection of new musical artist from Super Punch

Tuesday, 20 December 2022

and if you want to be free, be free (10. 347)

Premiering on this day in 1971, as our faithful chronicler informs, the romantic black comedy by Hal Ashby and Colin Higgins relates the narrative of Harold Chasen, an adolescent obsessed with the macabre, staging elaborate fake suicides, driving a hearse and attending the funerals of random strangers to the dismay of his wealthy, socialite mother, who goes to great lengths to try to make him more respectable, and Dame Marjorie Chardin, a seventy-nine year old he meets at a funeral mass, who counters his morbid demeanor and teaches him joie de vivre for the first time as their relationship develops into a more intimate one. The film’s soundtrack is provided by Yusuf Stevens. Producer and writer Higgins had expressed an interest later the decade after his work attained cult status after its initial mixed reviews in both a prequel, Grover and Maude wherein Maude learns how to break into cars and fence stolen property and a sequel, Harold’s Story about his life after meeting Maude though neither were pursued though was adapted into a Broadway stage play, a French made-for-tv-movie and a musical version.

Monday, 12 December 2022

brion sanctuary (10. 379)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, final resting place for the commissioning widow, her late husband, founder of an Italian consumer electronics company called Brionvega noted for their futuristic design and the designer himself, Carlo Scarpa—never officially credentialed as an architect as he refused to sit before the state board of examiners—the monumental extension to an adjacent municipal cemetery is considered to be a masterpiece of Modernism. Completed in 1978 after a decade of construction, the chapel and sacrophagi outside of Treviso is a mediation in concrete that evokes the cross-cultural influence of nearby Venice, incorporating Byzantine tiles and mosaics and the signature motif of vesica piscis or mandorla—the lens formed by the intersection of two circles, suggesting in Latin, the bladder of a fish or in the Italian, an almond. Restored last year, it was a filming location of the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune shot over the summer.  More at the links above, including many pre-conservation photos and more projects by Scarpa.

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

7x7 (10. 344)

canopic jars: a mummy called Pachery is the only individual found so far with his internal organs intact—via Messy Nessy Chic    

hardbottom communities: researchers work to preserve Florida’s coral reef    

nightfall: researchers discover two new minerals sourced from a meteorite strike in Somalia    

thirteenth studio album: imaging a fantasy concept record after 1970’s Let It Be for the Beatles    

kraft dinner: a Florida woman is suing Macaroni & Cheese over misleading preparation time    

crown of thorns: some Australian politicians take issue with the ‘endangered’ status for the Great Barrier Reef—see previously    

khufu: an interactive virtual tour of the Pyramids of Giza—via Maps Mania

Friday, 4 November 2022

8x8 (10. 271)

make it another, double, old-fashioned please: a definitive, festive guide to whisky cocktails 

born in arizona, moved to babylonia: a new book on the King Tut’s parents, Akhenaten and Nefertiti  

elf-on-the-shelf: the shrine to departed Dobby in a nature reserve can remain but visitors asked to refrain from leaving mementos  

planchette: the intersection between profit and superstition revisited with a look at the story of the Ouija borad—see previously  

toynbee tiles: an enduring urban myth—see previously  

they’ve got it all on uhf: Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliff appearing in musical biopic parody of Weird Al Yankovic (previously)  

palimpsest: peeling back the layers to rediscover ancient manuscripts recycled as early modern incunabula

limoncello: a doubly lemon aperitif in the ‘Amalfi Dream’

kv62 (10. 270)

On this day in 1922, archaeologist Howard Carter and team, sponsored by patron George Herbert, Earl of Carnavon, discovered the first step leading down to the tomb of Tutankhamun, inspired to continue the search after other burial goods were discovered bearing the name of the pharaoh of the Eighteenth Dynasty of Ancient Egypt were found by excavators contracted by Egyptologist Theodore Davis in ancillary chambers before the Great War. Digging proceeded at pace throughout the month, reaching the antechamber and unsealing the vault on 26 November, exceeding all expectations and lending heretofore unknown insight into royal funeral rites. The media frenzy following that gripped the public imagination was known as “Tutmania,” influencing styles and decorative arts as well as informing Egypt’s struggle for independence from Britain by reconnecting it with its past.

Tuesday, 1 November 2022

8x8 (10. 261)

allhallowtide: the artwork of Mike Egan that references elements of Dรญa de Muertos—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

famous artist dies penniless and all alone: the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s archives of artists’ obituaries   

fps: visualizing sweeping across the globe at the speed of light  

forma: Federal Occult Range Management Administration  

mapping out the month: the thirty day charting challenge returns  

eleiรงรตes gerais: Brazilian artists herald the return of President Lula  

ghost bride: a centuries-old tradition practised in some communities in Kerala  

ofrenda: a guide to making an altar to celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve passed

Friday, 28 October 2022

unblogged crete (10. 254)

A few bits of miscellaneous reflections on traveling in Crete that didn’t quite fit elsewhere: Like the German practise of erecting crosses at the roadside to memorialise a tragic death in an auto accident, in Greece, they use these miniature concrete churches, often with a small shrine inside to those lost and are mass-produced.

There are cats everywhere that belong to no one and will congregate around one at a restaurant, and generally have very good table manners and will not beg or harass but will sit quietly and mildly look at you.
Far more intense and immersive than a cat cafe, only once when we were the sole guests at a criminally under-partonized establishment did they bother us, until an older woman riding a motorbike arrived and with distinct Ernest Hemingway Martha Gellhorn energy produced a bag of cat food and proceeded to portion it out on the railing and announcing that she wanted to eat in peace and requested the waiter bring her “fish and white wine.”
There is also seemingly a preponderance of distressed and half-finished property developments, single-family homes ready for a second storey but with stairwells to nowhere, skeletal foundations, uncompleted resorts and obviously orphaned restaurants. Such commercial ruins make a strange landscape.

Saturday, 15 October 2022

the levelled churchyard (10. 227)

Strange Company’s invaluable Weekend Link Dump invites us to pass an hour in the cemetery of Old St Pancras—not only famed for its connection to the literary circles of Thomas Hardy, Charles Dickens and Mary Wollstonecraft as well as the iconic telephone box via the tomb of Sir John Soane but moreover attracting visitors to what has been deemed the Hardy Tree, after the former junior architect turned novelist involvement with the expansion of the train network (see also). The building of the Midland Railway necessitated the removal of many graves, a number of the headstones of them were rummaged in the roots of this tree, inspiring the author later to reflect in the titular poem, “We late-lamented, resting here,/Are mixed to human jam,/And each to each exclaims in fear,/‘I know not which I am!’” Much more to explore at the links above.

Saturday, 1 October 2022

castillo del diablo (10. 184)

While visiting Rosarito in Baja California, friend of the blog, Fancy Notions, stumbled upon a most usual six-storey beach house bedecked with gargoyles and monstrous statuary and crammed to the brim with antiques that is yet uncompleted obsession of a real estate developer called Tony Wells. This Gothic residence chocked full of period furnishings, coffins and chandeliers has become quite the draw for tourists and there are plans to convert property into a museum, relenting to the throngs of visitors who wanted a peek inside. Much more at the link above.

Monday, 19 September 2022

last post

Whereas the B♭ version might be more familiar, the E♭ variation is employed by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the particular flourish was acquired by British troops garrisoned in the Netherlands (see also), drawing on an older Dutch custom called taptoe—root of a military tattoo or send-off and the North American version of “taps”—signalling the end of the duty day, the solemnity of the taptoe itself adopted as an extension of last call, Doe den tap toe—a reminder to make sure that the beer spigots were closed before shutting down for the evening. More coverage of the historic state funeral, including this ceremony, from the BBC and the Guardian

Saturday, 10 September 2022

6x6 (10. 122)

derivative art: online communities are rejecting AI-generated images 

compostable mushroom shroud: when Luke Perry passed away in 2019, he requested that his mortal remains leave no trace—only it didn’t work—via the morning news  

forms of address: the title culture of German—and the UK—via Marginal Revolution 

remember-tini: a Virginia country club is facing backlash for a planned 9/11-themed seafood Sunday brunch—via Super Punch    

temenos: every four years a screening of experimental filmmaker Gregory Markopoulos’ eighty-hour Eniaios is held in the Peloponnese that his magnum opus could spiritually cleanse our over-polluted media diets  

multi-level marketing: the online community bent on undermining crypto-scams and bitcoin pyramid schemes

Sunday, 10 July 2022

8x8

can i pet your dog: a short-lived 1971 talk show, The Pet Set, hosted by Betty White  

particle zoo 2.0: revved up Large Hadron Collider discovers three new exotic quark-pairings—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

plastic mero: artwork installed on a beach in Funchal crafted on salvaged ocean waste speaks to the plight of the Atlantic goliath grouper and fellow fish 

onomatopoeia: a collection of nonsense words invented by bird-watchers to convey calls and songs 

gol gumbaz: a resplendent seventeenth century mausoleum in Bijapur is called the Taj Mahal of Southern India  

denton, denton you’ve got no pretension: a photoessay of the Texas city in the 1970s  

gravitational waltz: tracing the orbits of stars near super-massive black hole Sgr A* (previously)  

golden girls 3033: BoJack Horseman director Mike Hollingsworth creates an animated pilot using splices of original dialogue

Friday, 10 June 2022

9x9

web revival: rediscovering the serendipity of hyperlink daisy chains—via Joe Jenett  

free-range children: relocating from London, Ontario to Amsterdam  

sure-footed: a goat-like heavy-lifting robot called BEX under development—via Super Punch 

lavender fields of surrey: a seasonal stroll through an aromatic patch of land  

mono men: the Punk, Grunge aesthetic of Art Chantry 

hyakutsuki-in: a beautiful locker-style cemetery in Toyko  

hounds of love: a 1992 interview with Kate Bush (previously), breaking down her 1985 album track by track  

sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment: an enigmatic sign spotted on a nike trail 

jacob hive maker: first streaming film Wax; Or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees (1991)

Thursday, 21 April 2022

red baron or what do you want on your tombstone?

Vaunted as the ace-of-aces of the Great War, Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen was shot down and killed on this day in 1918 after scoring his seventy-ninth and eightieth air combat victories the day prior. Previously we had poked about Wiesbaden’s Sรผdfriedhof in search of the Red Baron’s resting place and thought it appropriate to visit today. Already elevated to legendary stature in life and subject to hero-worship that Richthofen was wont to indulge as well as respected by his enemies, the circumstances surrounding his death are a matter of controversy and speculation, coming to the aid of his cousin, another member of the elite Flying Circus (see above), Lieutenant Wolfram von Richthofen, who was taking enemy fire. The source of the fatal bullet is uncertain with several vectors entertained. As was
customary, the commanding officer of the Royal Airforce combatant squandron accorded the Baron a military funeral with full-honours, near the spot where the fighter pilot fell in Bertangles in the Somme—and had a more active than usual career in death, disinterred and reburied in the German Military Cemetery at Fricourt in Picardie, brought to Berlin by his brother Lothar (a site that was later relegated to a no man’s land on the boundary of the Soviet zone of occupation and often pelted with stray bullets in attempts to stop people from fleeing for the West—his brother’s gravesite in their hometown of ลšwidnica too was levelled once Silesia was restored to Poland after World War II) and finally in 1975 transferred to the family plot in Wiesbaden.

Tuesday, 22 March 2022

8x8

situation of opportunity: a giant soft pillow urban intervention on the streets of Amsterdam—via Messy Nessy Chic 

floor plan: highly detailed drawings of Japanese hotel rooms  

you can’t take it with you: the coffin tradition of the Ga people of Ghana  

photogenic: Tom Hegen captures the symmetries of solar farms  

hobbiton-across-the-water: maps and paintings of Middle Earth curated on-line—see previously  

this is a test—this is only a test: a look at the history of the US emergency broadcast system—see previously  

long life to the lord of men: jade burial suits from the Han dynasty  

anchors in the afterlife: a collection of non-human resting-places

Sunday, 6 March 2022

helter skelter

Recorded and released on this day in 1970 in extremely poor taste by Manson himself and members of the Family in support of the cult leader’s legal defence fund by the infamous record producer Phil Kaufman (notorious for stealing the body of singer Gram Parsons and—ostensibly in accordance with Parsons’ wishes, burned his moral remains in Joshua Tree nature reserve), the cover was designed to parody the LIFE magazine cover of December 1969 with an expose of the series of murders cult members perpetrated. Though thankfully not a commercial success, several tracks were covered or sampled by several groups including The Beach Boys, Guns ‘N Roses and The Lemonheads. A second album was produced a quarter of a century later in the 1997 Family Jams. One theory proposed by the prosecution offered that along with the Book of Revelations, Manson believed he was attuned to messages revealed in the tracks and lyrics of the Beatles’ White Album. Subsequent re-releases of the recordings have raised funds to benefit crime victims.

8x8

wayfinder: Polynesian palm frond and seashell navigational charts  

zoned for resimercial: reaction offices and the future of the workplace  

the final nail in the coffin: a proposal for a casket one drills in the ground  

such freedom: a convoy of truckers whose grievance is less clear picks up some hitchhikers along the way in the form of a la carte conspiracy theories 

fashion forward: RIP to Elsa Klench (*1930) host of the long running Style segment on CNN  

don’t know much about geology: James Sowerby’s 1884 illustrated study of catastrophic British mineralogy  

the neutra house: the hilltop compound that belongs to Red Hot Chilli Pepper Flea has strong evil villain lair energy—and is on the market—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

glonass: mapping tools and satellite imagery as a prelude to the information war over Ukraine