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

Friday, 4 March 2022

pontypridd

Born this day in 1800 in Caerphilly, courtesy of Weird Universe, we learn about the singular figure of William Price (†1893), physician, Druid priest, vegetarian, marriage and organised religion contrarian and champagne enthusiast—would that we could stop with those epithets and skip nationalist and anti-vaxxer. Often seen donning an elaborate headdress of fox pelts, long hair and beard and emerald green onesie with incantations—or alternately stalk naked on his daily constitutional through the countryside, Price’s legacy includes the legalisation of cremation in Great Britain, previously against custom, when sadly his infant son, Iesu Grist—Welsh for Jesus Christ Price, died suddenly and Price burned his body on a pyre in accordance with Druidic traditions. Arrested for the unlawful disposal of a corpse, Price was however able to successfully plead his defence in court, leading to the passage of UK Cremation Act of 1902 and the establishment of crematoria throughout the country. Aged eighty-two, Price fathered a second son—also named Jesus (plus a daughter two years later called Penelopen) at which time he made detailed arrangements for the disposition of his estate and death, a funeral pyre a decade later attended by twenty-thousand mourners.

Monday, 24 January 2022

zanryลซ nipponhei

Incredibly SGT Shลichi Yokoi (ๆจชไบ• ๅบ„ไธ€, 1915-1997), among the last holdout soldiers found decades after the end of hostilities in the Second World War, was discovered by two individuals checking shrimp traps at the edge of a small river leading into the jungles of Guam on this day in 1972. When American forces took the island in 1944, Yokoi and others went into hiding, taking up isolated outposts in the wilderness. Though later admitting that he knew of the outcome of the war since 1952, he considered it a grave disgrace to surrender or be captured alive, Yokoi remained in hiding for twenty-eight years, making clothes out of plants and surviving off a diet of mango, papaya, snails and frogs. After his repatriation to Japan, Yokoi became a media sensation and advocate for simple living. Passing away, aged 82, Yokoi was interred at a cemetery in Nagoya in a plot with a headstone originally installed by his family in 1955 when the missing soldier was officially declared dead.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

7x7

dress rehearsal: for a quarter of a century, an individual attended his own funeral  

dominical letters: how the artificial unit of the week came to govern our lives—see also  

carceral publications: a collection of US prison newspapers  

yes or no questions: celebrate the conclusion of Futility Closet’s eight plus year run with a final episode of lateral thinking puzzles  

hvorugkynsnafnorรฐ: despite progress in the choices for human naming conventions, the Icelandic governing body for horses is still highly gendered  

regenerative medicine: researchers develop “xenobots” capable of biological self-replication—via Waxy  

amigone: aptly named mortuary services—via Super Punch

Saturday, 6 November 2021

9x9

the audience effect: fellow blogger and internet caretaker Duck Soup passes a million page-views

ะณั€ะฐั„ะธั‡ะบะธ ะดะธะทะฐั˜ะฝ: celebrating the works of three pioneering Serbian graphic designers and topographers

mountain view: a prop gravesite used for film and television, interred and disinterred thousands of times, in a very real cemetery 

subject matter expert: the street photography of Eric Kogan—via the morning news  

utter rubbish: traumatising photographs of the garbage, sometimes neatly knolled, that humans produce  

the briefing: a definitive guide to COP 26  

greased falcon: a fan-channel dedicated to Star Wars! The Musical (2008)  

time in a bottle: hackers are amassing encrypted data in the hopes that within a few years, quantum computers will be able to unlock it—via Slashdot 

return to comfort town: more on brilliant housing development in Kyiv inspired by building blocks—see previously

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

aw, she’s the ginchiest—life does begin at forty

Broadcast for the first time on this day in 1990 and reattaining its reputation as a minor cult classic with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, the 1961 horror film Ring of Terror, following the trials of a young medical student portrayed by a significantly older actor, Lewis Moffitt, twenty-two, played by George E. Mather, then forty-two, who submits to hazing before he is able to join a fraternity. Despite a haunting childhood trauma that involved an incident with a corpse, our protagonist Moffitt puts on a brave face for his first autopsy. His initiation ritual, which involves him retrieving a ring from a dead body, proves far more frightening and reveals his past. Universally panned for its pacing and casting choice that marked the beginning of the trope of old teenagers. The only episode of MS3K to have the short after the feature, it concluded with another chapter from the 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

7x7: happy halloween edition

robert the doll: Key West’s most cursed object—see also—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see here)  

zombie jamboree: Harry Belafonte’s actual ghoulish calypso number—notwithstanding the associations with the Banana Boat Song 

la calavera catrina: a sugar skull puppet presents a primer on Dรญa de los Muertos  

westsonality: enjoy Paul Lynde’s 1976 Halloween Special with a cavalcade of guest stars  

respect the sabbath: periodic movements in the US to hold no Halloween on Sundays  

main title theme: the score for John Carpenter’s classic horror film Halloween 

lovecraft country: welcome to my metaverse—see previously