Thursday, 11 November 2021


silent haitch: the voicing of this letter is “still a significant shibboleth”—a look at h based on modern usage and notes on wh by Alfred Leach  

kinship and pedigree: genealogical mapping shows historic spread and retreat of surnames for British Isles and much of Europe 

rural free delivery: a superb, thematic collection of vintage picture postcards—via Things Magazine  

zeta reticulans: a tarot deck from Miguel Romero features the history of UFOlogy  

ั‚ะต ัะฐะผั‹ะต ะบะฐั€ั‚ะธะฝะบะธ: collection of avant-garde children’s book illustrations from the USSR 

retromod: Hyundai brings back its 1986 luxury Grandeur with a fully electric powertrain 

trebuchet: another start-up envisions flinging satellites into space via spinning centrifuge—see previously  

get lost losers: a rock band flotilla entertaining the cargo crews stuck in the seemingly insurmountable backlog waiting to unload containers at the ports of Los Angeles

agent of chaos: agnotology, the study of deliberate spreading of confusion

Wednesday, 3 November 2021


fought and sold: the evolution of military recruitment advertising campaigns 

modern classics: in the vein of abstract vintage paperback cover art, eighty-four works of literature as postage stamps 

sleight of hand: objects from the Ricky Jay collection—more here, via Things Magazine 

20/20/20: revisiting a retrospective of the work of Afrofuturist Bodys Isek Kingelez 

every time they hear der bingle croon: episode two of Radiolab’s Mixtape miniseries explains why early entertainment was live and not Memorex  

america’s moveable fighting man: new G.I. Joe action figures available for pre-order

Saturday, 30 October 2021


the motion picture that pits steel weapons against steel nerves: Joan Crawford in Herman Cohen’s 1967 Berserk! plus a medley of other horror films 

phenaskistiscopic vinyl: animated record albums—see previously  

cop26: designer installs a sinking Monopoly style house on Putney Weir ahead of this crucial climate conference 

ghostly footsteps (with chains): in 1977, BBC’s foley artists (previously) released a best-selling record of spooky sound-effects  

cloaca maxima: Rome’s revered sewer-system—see also  

auchan daily mascarpone cheese: a decade of Russian music videos  

the high-handed enemy: director Denis Villeneuve storybooks the gom jabbar scene 

 kitchen witchery: a tarot deck to divine one’s dinner

Saturday, 23 October 2021


floh u. trรถdel: couple’s costume ideas—via the ever excellence Everlasting Blรถrt 

 boutonniere: Harriet Parry’s flower arrangements reproduce iconic fine art and classic tarot card designs—via ibฤซdem

microface: a quick quiz to identify whether the subject is a font or a Marvel character (see previously)—via Kottke’s Quick Links  

์˜ค์ง•์–ด ๊ฒŒ์ž„: Squid Games Funko-Pop characters—see also 

pyrrhic victory: the rules of play for a variant called Atomic Chess allows a pawn crossing the breadth of the game board promotion to a scale that would instantaneously annihilate all pieces—of both sides

rollercoaster tycoon: Saudi Arabia transforms a decommissioned drilling platform into an extreme amusement park  

hell no: a sensible horror film

Wednesday, 13 October 2021


Named after the tarot card, the psychedelic design collective based in Amsterdam, The Fool, and influenced by the hippie community of Ibiza (see previously), whose costuming for stage and album cover art include iconic outfits for Procol Harum, Cream and the Beatles, as seen in televised broadcasts of “All You Need is Love,” the Magical Mystery Tour and Sgt. Pepper’s inside graphics plus the largest mural in the world for a performance of Hair at the Aquarius Theatre. Much more at Messy Messy Chic at the link above.

Saturday, 9 October 2021

queen of wands

Brilliantly, artist Juanjo Cristiani (a.k.a. enjoy.mycake) transformed contestants, guests and hosts from RuPaul’s Drag Race into a divine and divining tarot deck, which on close inspection reveal a wealth of detail and character development in each card, patterned off of the iconic Rider-Waite-Smith template. Here’s Lil’ Poundcake / Alaska as The Hermit, signalling the need for introspection and slow, deliberative steps going forward since the lantern does not afford much of a preview of terrain ahead, but it was too tough to pick just one representative card. Much more at It’s Nice That at the link up top and the artist’s website and boutique.

Monday, 2 August 2021

aces & eights

Referenced throughout popular culture including tattooed on McMurphy’s shoulder in One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, the cards drawn in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and numerous law enforcement emblems—especially in Las Vegas, the Old West Wild Bill Hickok folk hero had just been dealt this allegedly cursed poker hand (with a fifth unrevealed wild card) on this day in 1876 during a heated game at Nuttal & Mann’s Saloon in Deadwood, Dakota when shot in the head by a drunk Jack McCall. A bit of creative retconning fifty years on solidified this narrative, whereas previously the Dead Man’s hand referred to a full-house with three Jacks and a pair of Tens and regarded with suspicion.

Saturday, 31 July 2021


70% cรดte d’ivoire, 66% cyprus, 65% republic of ireland: doodle world flags and let a computer guess—via Web Curios  

peaky finders: a selection of interactive mapping application still functional and chugging along a decade later  

cult of the sun: a look at the Athon, a 1980 Lamborghini concept car  

ss experiment: an unsuccessful ferry, powered by eight horses on a treadmill  

astronomia: a lovely antique deck of playing cards with celestial charts and information on the planets and stars 

flsa: US congressional representation introducing legislation for a four-day work week—see previously here and here  

google doodle: a selection of the best commemorative banners—via Things Magazine

Tuesday, 27 July 2021

eight of swords

Via Super Punch, we discover a text-to-image generative experiment that applies some 1970s sci-fi paperback covers filters to the classic Rider-Waite-Smith iconography to dream up a tarot deck hybrid. We especially liked this Seven of Pentacles card that seems inspired by the novel and film Silent Running.

Saturday, 24 July 2021


yรคchtley crรซw: a cover band’s homage to the genre (previously

sky mall: the inevitable fate of all platforms, selling botware to other bots in glossy format—via Things Magazine plus an update on the Metabolist capsule hotel of Kisho Kurokawa 

๐’€ญ๐’„‘๐’‰‹๐’‚ต๐’ˆจ๐’Œ‹๐’Œ‹๐’Œ‹: assaying the Epic of Gilgamesh—previously here and here  

this beach does not exist: using generative adversarial networks (previous snowclones) to create fantasy shorelines—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

hearse: a concept Airstream funeral coach, circa 1981, which never caught on—also h/t to Things  

not affiliated with project shield, loki or the world security council: an exclusive exposรฉ on cyber surveillance abuse on a global scale 

 transatlanticism: US withdraws objections to completion of Nord Stream 2—previously, now ninety-eight percent done—after negotiations with Germany 

 murphy’s law: an abcedarium of the maxims of management—see also

Wednesday, 30 June 2021


billboards and hoardings: the evolution of outdoor advertising  

ptychography: a high resolution imaging of atoms—see previously  

the village: lovely Mid-Century Modern accommodations in Portmeirion—where The Prisoner was filmed  

vqgan+clip: Picasso’s Persistence of Memory with Lisa Frank filter applied—via Waxy  

ems: composer and sampling pioneer Peter Zinovieff has passed away, aged eight-eight—via Things Magazine  

pulp tarot: a divining deck (previously) informed by Mid-Century illustrations from Todd Alcott

siss-boom-bah: a Japanese pyrotechnics catalogue (see also) from the 1880s  

indexing: a look at how the adoption of vertical filing helped ushering the Information Age—see also here and here

Thursday, 4 March 2021

The visual search engine Same Energy has been circulating for a few days and while we found it to be a clever idea and there was definitely correspondence among images by a word prompt it seemed a little predictable. Uploading a picture, however, like I did with this art work from Tadami Yamada Japanese surrealist in this 1983 composition that features elements of a still life, chequerboard and a strange framed tarot motif in the background and taking in a mosaic of what the algorithm makes of the visual cue really is engaging and demonstrates a virtuosity that we weren’t expecting. Do give it a try and see what it serves up. 


Wednesday, 3 March 2021


spongmonkey: though not a cultural shibboleth for myself personally, this history of the Quiznos’ submarine sandwich franchise’s mascot was an interesting object lesson in internet culture—via Miss Cellania  

backmasking: fun with that portrait animation application, via Super Punch  

puce chintz alert: a truly cursed McMansion built in 1978  

micro-face: a fascinating, multistage look at the process of acquiring a super hero with the Planet Money podcast  

garage mahal: vlogger pays house-calls to the ostentatiously wealthy, asks what they do for a living

previous tenants: buildings that used to be a Blockbuster video rental shop—in the tradition of This Used to be a Pizza Hut—via Things Magazine

Sunday, 28 February 2021

the queen of wands

Having encountered the iconic Mountain Dream Tarot deck, the first complete major and minor arcana in photographic format previously, we appreciated this update in the form of an interview with the artist behind the project, Bea Nettles, who discusses her five-decades long career and has recently released a third edition of her famous tarot deck.
We have it much easier nowadays with accessible and intuitive digital cameras and photo-editing software and here’s a scalable clip-art template to frame and label your suites sourced from your own picture albums in the Smith-Waite style. Do share your King of Cups, Fool or World if so inspired, and find out more at Nag on the Lake at the link above.

Tuesday, 29 September 2020

king of rods

Brilliantly a clever graphic designer and Trek fan took advantage of the correspondence between the classic Thoth tarot deck used for divination—the twenty-two card Major Arcana (Greater Secrets) plus the fifty-six suite Minor Arcana (Lesser Secrets) –and the seventy-eight episodes of the Original Series creating a custom deck with a fortune-revealing homage to some of the franchise’s most memorable, founding characters. What’s in the stars for you? Much more to explore at the links above.

Sunday, 9 August 2020

major arcana

We rather enjoyed this preview of an anthology of plus centuries of divinical card decks (see previously for more on the subject) surveyed in the upcoming coffee table, conversation piece book Tarot from Taschen.
Over five hundred cards are featured from Antiquity, to the Middle Ages to Post-Modern times whose iconic symbolism is enchanting on so many levels and we particularly liked these contemporary interpretations from Olivia M Healy whose Fool, classically depicted as someone standing on the edge of a precipice and usually is understood to signify a point of departure, is evocative of spiritedness associated with Carnival. The Pre-Raphaelite vision of Treviso-based graphic artist Elissabetta Trevisan’s Justice, meaning probity and prevailing of the virtuous, was also quite arresting. Learn more at Colossal at the link up top.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

mister resetti

A talented cartomancer called Silkirose is creating a tarot deck (see also here, here, here, here, here and here) whose Major Arcana, greater secrets, features characters from Animal Crossing.
Admittedly while I like the idea of social simulations in video games, world-building and civic-engineering, the social platform and the idea of inhabiting that world with others is kind of a turn-off, though this title from Nintendo (see previously) with all its possibilities for mirroring the real life does seem worthwhile, worth looking into and genuinely relieving.

Wednesday, 25 March 2020


paperback writer: the cinematic portfolio of Matt Stevens in old book covers, via Things magazine

live-feed: snapshots of deserted public places around the world gleaned from web cams, via Kottke

social distance: the inspiring latest torch song from Randy Rainbow, via Miss Cellania

 ๐Ÿค : lone security guard of the National Cowboy Museum virtually engages his visitors

 ๐Ÿ˜ท: the origins of surgical masks and respirators

they laugh and love: John Carpenter announces sequels to his 1988 sci-fi thriller
major arcana: an automated tarot reader that seems to never have gotten off the drawing board

still buffering: the lagging evolution of the video teleconference

Thursday, 7 November 2019

minor arcana

For the eighteenth iteration of James Bond in the film Live and Let Die (1973), producer Albert Romolo Broccoli (not to be confused with an Alan Smithee credit, a pseudonym adopted by individuals wanting to disown the movie) commissioned from Salvador Dalรญ a deck of tarot cards to be used as a prop for a pivotal scene featuring a psychic played by Jane Seymour. Over budget, the studio went with another artist in the end but Dalรญ nonetheless completed his assignment, limning all the seventy-eight trump and numbered suites.

Saturday, 26 October 2019


best in breed: national banks in Turkmenistan under presidential decree to fund efforts to enhance the pedigree of the country’s Alabay dog

call of the wild: scientist record the mating sounds of the Amazonian bellbird, which can exceed the noise-level of a chainsaw at very close-range

zodiac killer: a treasury of Persian demons

not the doral: Number One Daughter celebrates her tenth wedding anniversary at Camp David

yip yip: a couple’s admirably coordinated costumes

major arcana: Salvador Dalรญ’s tarot deck re-issued

augmented roman: a truly phonetic-spelling reform measure for the English language, bringing the alphabet up to forty-three distinct letters

roaming costs: researchers tracking migrating Russian eagles are hit with hefty data tariffs once the birds cross borders, via Slashdot