Wednesday, 29 December 2021

mmxxi

As this calendar draws to a close and we look forward to 2022, we again take time to reflect on a selection of some of the things and events that took place in 2021. Thanks as always for visiting. We’ve made it through another wild year together and we’ll see this next one through together as well.

 january: In the US state of Georgia’s run-off election, Democrat candidates prevail and thus switch the Senate’s controlling majority. The joint session of Congress to certify the votes of the Electoral College in favour of the Biden-Harris ticket is interrupted by a violent insurrection on the Capitol incited by Donald

Trump, yet the proceedings are resumed undeterred. For his gross incompetence and treasonous actions, the US House of Representatives impeaches Trump for a second time. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris are inaugurated president and vice-president of the United States of America in a socially-distanced ceremony held on the same portico where the violent coup attempt occured two weeks prior. Across Russia, thousands protest the arrest and detention of opposition leader Alexei Navalny.  English filmmaker Michael Apted (*1941), entertainer Siegfried Fischbacher (*1939, see also last May) and baseball players Tommy Lasorda (*1927) and Hank Aaron (*1941), actress Cloris Leachman (*1926) as well as accomplished star of stage and screen Cicely Tyson (*1924) pass away.  

february: A military uprising in Myanmar wrests power from the government of Aung San Suu Kyi.  Actor Hal Holbrook (*1925) and veteran become fund-raiser who raised millions for the National Health

Service Sir Captain Thomas Moore (*1920) himself succumbed to COVID-19.   French screen-writer and director Jean-Claude Carrière (*1931) passed away, and so veteran actor Christopher Plummer (*1929). The US Senate again convenes as jury to vote on whether to acquit or prosecute Donald Trump’s impeachment.  Larry Flynt (*1942), publisher, pornographer and self-styled anti-censorship champion, passed away, as did jazz virtuoso and twenty-three-time Grammy Award winner Chick Corea (*1941).  The US Senate votes not to acquit Donald Trump a second time after his second impeachment.  A polar vortex brings severe winter storms to Texas and Mexico, leaving millions without heat and electricity has the power grid is overwhelmed.  Talk radio provocateur Rush Limbaugh (*1951)  dies after a year-long struggle with lung cancer.  Poet and activist Lawrence Ferlinghetti passes away, aged 101. Martian probe Perseverance touched down on the Red Planet to begin a search for signs of past life. The US rejoins the Paris Climate Agreement.  

march: Oprah Winfrey interviews the estranged, self-exiled Sussexes about Meghan Markle’s treatment

by the Royal Family, causing consternation and many to question the institution of the monarchyPhantom Tollbooth author Norton Juster (*1929) passed away aged ninety-one.  A container ship gets lodged in the Suez Canal, hindering global trade and could potentially be stuck for weeks.  Legislators in the American state of Georgia pass selectively restrictive laws to disenfranchise Black voters.   Children’s book author Beverly Cleary (*1916) writer of the Ramona Quimby series passed away, aged 104.  The usurping military forces in Myanmar gun down dozens of pro-democracy protesters.  Islamic rebels besiege the city of Palma in Mozambique.  Undercover operative whose missteps brought the Watergate scandal to the press and public, G. Gordon Liddy (*1930) died, aged 90, as did author Larry McMurtry (*1936) who penned Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show and Terms of Endearment.

april: Prince Phillip passes away, aged 99.  As tensions escalate between Russia and NATO with a troop

build-up along the border with Ukraine, US President Joe Biden proposes to meet with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to normalise relations and restore diplomatic ties.  The police officer who murdered George Floyd is found guilty on all charges.  Walter Mondale (*1928), former vice president under Jimmy Carter, and presidential candidate with running-mate Geraldine Ferraro passed away, aged ninety-three.  Astronaut Michael Collins (*1930) who orbited the Moon while Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin explored the lunar surface passed away, aged ninety.

may: Accomplished actor Olympia Dukakis (*1931) passed away, aged eighty-nine.  Architect Helmut Jahn (*1940) behind the Messeturm in Frankfurt and the Post tower in Bonn died in a bicycle accident.  Dozens of rebel priests across German defy the Catholic church and offer benedictions to same-sex couple.  Israel airstrikes in Gaza escalate.  Actor, author, televangelist and TV’s Captain Merrill Stubing Gavin MacLeod (*1931) after suffering a long bout of ill-health.  

june: G7 leaders meet in Cornwall, in person.  A coalition government in Israel unseats Netanyahu after a

dozen years as prime minister.  The US government establishes Juneteenth as a new federal holiday though new laws to disenfranchise Black voters continues apace in many Republican controlled polities.  The space station Tiangong receives its first crew.  Software and computer security pioneer John McAfee (*1945) found dead in a Spanish jail cell awaiting extradition to the US over charges of tax evasion.  Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s personal attorney, was disbarred for peddling the lie that that the election was stolen from his former client.  The US government issues a declassified report to congress regarding unidentified aerial phenomenon.  A twelve storey condominium complex near Miami, Florida collapses with dozens injured and unaccounted for.  

july: Outrage as more mass-graves of indigenous pupils found at historic Canadian residential schools.  Hundreds perish from record heatwaves and wildfires along the Pacific coast of North America.  Angela Merkel makes her last official visit to the United Kingdom, addressing the Houses of Parliament, the last

foreign leader to do so since Bill Clinton in 1997.   Richard Donner (*1930), film director behind The Goonies, Superman and the Lethal Weapon franchise passed away.  England plans to fully reopen with no COVID-19 restrictions late in the month despite a resurgence in cases and the rapidly spreading Delta variant.  Jovenel Moïse, the Haitian president, was assassinated.  Continual and torrential rains exacerbated by the climate emergency caused severe flooding in western Germany and the Henan region in China.  The Special Committee on the January 6th Capitol Insurrection heard opening testimony from law enforcement on the scene of the terror attack.  Inventor and infomercial pitchman Ron Popeil (*1935) passed away.

august: The UN Panel on Climate Change issues a stark, bleak forecast for the planet’s future as a suitable place for life as we know it.  Wildfires rage throughout the Mediterranean, Siberia and the North American west coast.  As coalition forces depart, the resurgent Taliban takes several regional capitals in weeks with Kabul poised to soon collapse as authorities flee and embassies are evacuated.  A massive earthquake strikes Haiti.  Tragically, most Afghani government officials flee the country and the capital falls as the Taliban retakes power and restores the emirate after nearly two decades of warfare.  US army installations in Germany assist with Operation Allied Refuge (OAR) as thousands of Afghans are airlifted from the country.  Rolling Stones drummer Charlie Watts (*1941) passes away. 
Just days ahead of the deadline imposed to complete evacuation missions out of the Hamid Karzai international airport, an Islamic State affiliate and sworn enemy of the Taliban for being too Westernised, lax, undisciplined detonated twin suicide bombs outside the gates, killing dozens.  Veteran actor and advocate Ed Asner (*1929) passed away as did Jamaican musical giant Lee “Scratch” Perry (*1936).  On the sixteenth anniversary of the devastating Hurricane Katrina, a destructive storm called Ida makes landfall.  The Taliban celebrates with fireworks and firing rifles in the air the departure of the last US flight from the Kabul airport, declaring victory.

september: The legislature of the state of Texas passes a tranche of new laws curtailing voting access, restricting teaching of America’s racist past and present, mandating the national anthem at sporting events, permitting universal carry laws for firearms and doing away with licensure or training requirements and

essentially banning abortion by placing a bounty on abettors and deputising neighbours to litigate the ban against neighbours.  New Wave actor Jean-Paul Belmondo (*1933), whose roles defined the genre and called the French counterpart of Marlon Brando, James Dean and Humphrey Bogart, passed away.  El Salvador becomes first country to adopt Bitcoin as legal tender.  “Yes Sir, I Can Boogie” singer María Mendiola (*1952) of Baccara passed away in Madrid.  An effort to recall and replace Democrat governor of California fails and Gavin Newsome retains his place, though the balloting and counter-campaigns cost taxpayers of the state in excess of a quarter of a billion dollars.  The first commercial, all-amateur space tourism mission safely splashes down after three days in orbit.  Entrepreneur, inventor and computing pioneer behind the ZX Spectrum, Clive Sinclair passed away, aged 81 (*1940).  Justin Trudeau’s party retains power following national elections.  After three years under house arrest in Canada and fighting extradition to America on charges of espionage and circumventing sanctions against Iran, business executive Meng Wangzhou, daughter of the head of Chinese communications giant Huawei, is released. 

october:  US president Biden’s agenda is derailed, diminished by moderate voices in his party.  A vaccine for malaria is trialled in Africa.  Amid a growing corruption scandal, Austrian leader Sebastian Kurz

tenders his resignation, though choosing to remain leader of his political party and will retain his seat in parliament.  William Shatner, aged ninety, as a space tourist becomes the oldest human to enter the Earth’s orbit.  Attending an open-advice surgery for his constituents from Leigh-on-Sea, long-time MP David Amess was murdered by an attacker with a knife.  Former US Joint-Chief-of-Staff and Secretary of State, Colin Powell (*1937) dies from complications arising from COVID-19.  President Biden’s Build Back Better plan, under pressure from elements of his own party, is rather austerely pared back, dropping proposed benefits like universal college tuition and paid family-leave.  Garbage social media network rebrands its parent company as Meta as it prepares to build and embrace its concept of the metaverse.  A military coup in Somali plunges the country into chaos with no signs of peaceful resolution.

november: A powerful storm-flood in western Canada cuts off Vancouver from the rest of British Columbia.  Weaponised refugees massed at the EU frontier by a provoking Belarus at enormous personal

cost are slowly being repatriated to the lands they fled.  After exonerated in a gross miscarriage of justice, Republicans acclaim a teenage, white supremacist murderer as their new hero.  Award winning Broadway songwriter Stephen Sondheim passes away, aged ninety-one in the same week as Schoolhouse Rock! lyricist Dave Frishberg (*1933).  The COVID-19 Omicron-variant, first detected in South Africa, is causing major concerns as convention cases rage resurgent in Europe, poised to be more widespread and deadly than the same time a year ago.  Inflation and supply-chain issues threaten global economic recovery.  On the anniversary of its independence from the UK in 1966, Barbados becomes the world's newest republic, with Sandra Mason as the island’s president. 

december: Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows releases Power Point slide-deck that outlined options for Trump to hold on to the presidency in the chaos of the 6. January insurrection to the commission investigating the attempted coup.  Monkees singer Mike Nesmith (*1942) passes away.  An unseasonal tornado rips through western Kentucky, leaving over a hundred dead.   Gothic novelist Anne Rice (*1941 as Howard Allen Francis O’Brien) passed away.  Tensions continue to mount at the Russo-Ukraine border with Russia putting forward a litany of demands for NATO to avoid invasion.   Journalist and author Joan Didion (*1934) passed away due to complications from Parkinson’s disease.   Borders close and travel-restrictions re-imposed over truly exponential spread of the the Omicron variant; preliminary findings suggest although less lethal, hospitals and other essential services could be overwhelmed by the sheer numbers and vulnerable populations still need protection.  Archbishop Desmond Tutu (*1931), anti-apartheid hero and moral-centre, passes away aged ninety.  Sadly veteran blogger Jonco, behind Bits & Pieces, passed away quite suddenly, leaving the blogosverse a dimmer place.  On the last day of the year and just weeks short of planned celebrations for her one-hundredth birthday, beloved talent and treasure with a career spanning over eight decades, Betty White (*1922) passed away.

 



Tuesday, 21 December 2021

summa doctrinæ christianæ

Venerated on this day on the occasion of his death in 1597, Dutch-born Jesuit priest Saint Pieter Kanis is regarded as a Doctor of the Church and a major figure of the counter-Reformation and successor to Saint Boniface as apostle to the Germans. Falling in with the Society of Jesus during college in Köln, Canisius became an influential preacher and writer, touring the university circuit through Austria, Moravia, Bohemia, Poland and Switzerland, at a pivotal time in church politics. Many intellectuals championed Protestantism throughout Europe, reducing the esteem of Catholic doctrines and making it seem to be the faith of the unenlightened and ignorant, but Canisus’ persuasive arguments (widely translated and propagated) reinforced beliefs that Catholicism was reasoned and rational and won back lapsed converts in Bavaria and other enclaves. Adopted in the official catechism during the Council of Trent, among Canisius’ contributions include adding the invocation “Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners” to the Ave Maria prayer.

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

opus 214

Composed during a successful summer concert series touring Russia, Johann Strauss (often printed with an Eszett, ß, though he wrote his name with a long-s and a rounded, terminal s--Strauſs) the Younger's Tritsch-Tratsch polka (German for chit-chat and referencing the obsession for gossip among otherwise polite society) had its premiere performance at Viennese guesthouse Zum großen Zeisig on this day in 1858. This jaunty piece is among a repertoire of over five-hundred waltzes, quadrilles and other dance numbers written and arranged by Strauss.

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

neutralitätserklärung

Chiefly to champion world peace but also motivated to avoid the state of affairs in its neighbour, divided and occupied Germany (see previously here and here) and its own decade-long hosting of foreign forces, the parliament of Austria declared on this day in 1955 its neutrality, pledging to abstain from entering into any future military alliances or permit the establishment of any permanent international army bases on Austrian territory. France, the United Kingdom, the Soviet Union and the United States had agreed to leave Vienna in the summer of that year contingent upon the republic's resolution to commit to being geopolitically neutral, sandwiched as it was between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, nonalignment remaining an element of national identity since and celebrated as the country’s national holiday.

Wednesday, 29 September 2021

7x7

kádár cube: a practical, mass-produced boxy house (Magyar Építőművészet) from Communist-era Hungary is staging a comeback 

the new english canaan: revisiting the banned publication that mocked American’s puritanical ways—see also  

you’ve got a habit of leaving: the first single from the unreleased David Bowie album, coming in January

merfolk and melusine: tritons and mermaids entertained by enlightened minds 

facebookland: the social media giant ought to be treated like the autocratic rogue state it is—via Waxy 

roll over beethoven: a team of musicologists using artificial intelligence complete the composer’s unfinished tenth symphony—to premier in Bonn next month, via Kottke  

гостиный двор: a rotating arch for a shopping arcade in St. Petersburg—via Pasa Bon!

Sunday, 19 September 2021

iceman

Discovered on this day in 1991, the human, natural mummy named Ötzi (previously) was found by a pair of German tourist on the east ridge of the Ötztal (Venoste) Alps spanning the Italo-Austrian border believing that this five thousand year old corpse was the remains of a more recently departed mountaineer and immediately summoned the authorities, the forensics department turning the case over to the archeologists. Frozen and exquisitely preserved, scientist were able to study his clothes, shoes and tools as well as the contents of his stomach, bodily composition, toxicity and glean a lot of about his civilisation’s lifestyle, diet and technical prowess.

Wednesday, 25 August 2021

non più andrai

Always appreciative of learning that that the villainized and vilified come down to a matter of apocryphal license, we enjoyed disabusing ourselves of this staple fact of pop-culture (see also) in that there’s no substantiating the feud between Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri and their vying for the position of court composer. The narrative was first introduced in a two-act opera by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov with book by Alexander Pushkin in 1897 with the elder dedicated maestro scheming to poison his younger rival, inspiring the 1984 film Amadeus by Miloš Forman.

Tuesday, 10 August 2021

journée du 10 août

Symbolically, a year to the day after storming of the Tuileries Palace during which the Nation Guard of the Paris commune and confederates from Marseille and Brittany overpowered a detachment of Swiss Guards and took Louis XVI and the royal family into custody, the pivotal event that eventually led to the declaration of a republic, the adjacent Musée du Louvre was officially opened in 1793. Fortified in the late twelfth century to rebuff attacks from on the western side of the city by English Normandy, the name of the palace may be derived from an ancient wolf hunting lodge (lupus, lupara) originally on that site. In 1846, the US Congress charters the Smithsonian Institution (previously), after its benefactor and namesake English mineralogist James Smithson of the Royal Society, dying without an heir, bequeaths an endowment of half a million dollars. By dint of another coincidence, another grand institution of Europe, the Natural History Museum of Vienna (as das k. u. k.—kaiserlich und königlich—Hof-Naturalienkabinette) held its official opening ceremony on this day as well in 1865, sourced from the personally acquisitions of the Double Monarchy, by Emperor Franz Joseph I.

Saturday, 7 August 2021

bildersturm

Due to the above titled iconoclasm movement that left many Catholic churches bereft of their religious symbols and saintly relics from Protestant furore that sought to destroy what was regarded as idolatrous figures (see previously) during the Reformation of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, the Vatican ordered suitable replacements be found and promptly installed.

Thousands of skeletal remains were exhumed from the catacombs of Rome, lavishly dressed and decorated, like this day’s celebrant, Donatus of Münstereifel, reportedly a second century Roman soldier and martyr. Quickly rising through the ranks after enlisting, Donatus (sharing his feast day with several other liked-named saints) was part of the famed XXII. Legion—known as Fulminatrix, the thundering ones, and was assigned to the personal security detail of Marcus Aurelius (previously). Engaged in the Marcomannic Wars on the Danube march, the legion was outnumbered and nearly defeated until saved by a sudden storm that frightened off the Goths and Samaritans. Although the emperor wanted to credit his magician with summoning the storm, Donatus insisted it was his Christian prayer circle and gave thanks to God. The emperor had them all killed. Said to have been entombed in the Catacombs of Saint Agnes, Donatus’ remains were re-discovered by Pope Innocent X in 1646 and translated to the town on the Rhein near Bonn, acclaimed patron and protector from lightning strikes and invoked for a good grape harvest. Popular throughout the Rhineland as well as Donauland, Donatus also enjoyed a cultus in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Luxembourg, Slovakia and Austria.

Sunday, 1 August 2021

the velocity of money

In the unfolding of the worst case of hyperinflation (previously here, here and here) and devaluation in history, the Hungarian pengő (an onomatopoetic word for the ringing of silver struck, the clinking of coins), itself a replacement currency for the Austro-Hungarian korona, liquidated under the terms of the Peace of Saint-Germain that dissolved the joint bank of the monarchy, battered and bashed by the ensuing Great Depression and a second world war, was pegged to the reintroduced forint (in use prior to the imperial union in 1892 and named for city of Florence) at an exchange rate on this day in 1946 of one Ft for four hundred octillion pengők, shedding twenty-nine zeros and starting over, notes in the millions and billions reused and reissued marked with exponentially higher values.

A last ditch effort to rescue the collapsing economy in January brought in a parallel currency that would hold its value called the adópengő for tax and postal payments—sort of like those forever stamps that aren’t subject to rate hikes or the specie of old pennies with high copper content, starting at parity with what was then in circulation but eight months later each was worth two sextillion. The largest denominated bank note issued was the one hundred quintillion (ten to the twentieth power, one million billion and worth about two US dimes) featuring an anonymous Hungarian woman wearing scarf on her head who back in March appeared one the one hundred million pengő bill.

Sunday, 4 July 2021

besetztes nachkriegsösterreich

Much like post-war Germany, Austria was—after a column of Soviet forces crossed into the Burgenland in April of that year and established a provisional government with support of Joseph Stalin though absent any consultation from the Western powers—from this day in 1945 when it was decided at the London Conference that it shall be jointly occupied (rather than being split into constituent nations) by Great Britain, France, the Soviet Union and the US through 1955—see previously here and here, see also. By 9 July, the Allies had negotiated the details and decided on the borders of their zones and sectors, Vienna being shared amongst all with its historic centre being governed by a different power each month on a rotational basis.

Sunday, 25 April 2021

mappi mundi

On this day in 1507, humanist and cartographer Martin Waldseemüller—whom also went by the Latinised form of his name Hylacomylus (forest-lake miller)—together with his collaborator Matthias Ringmann, published their map featuring the new world, significantly portraying South America as a continent separate from Asia and naming portions of the New World America after explorer Amerigo Vespucci. The academy that Waldseemüller and Ringmann founded in Saint-Dié with the patronage of the Duke of Lorraine came in possession of a booklet that gave a rather heroic and sensational account of the voyages of Vespucci in the western Atlantic and the two scholars carried forward that credit in a short treatise with atlases and a world map as a primer on cosmography (Cosmographiæ Introductio) that spanned from the familiar to the antipodes that were predicted in Antiquity. Ringmann actually, persuasively championed the toponym America, arguing: “I see no reason why anyone could disaaprove of a name derived of that Amerigo, the discoverer and a man of sagacity—with suitable forms being Amerige, meaning land of Amerigo, or America, especially since both Europe and Asia have women’s names.” Europa was raped by Zeus in the form of a bull and gave birth to the Minotaur. Hesione was a Trojan princess and distressed damsel for Hercules to save from a sea monster and blamed indirectly for the Trojan War—Hercules helping himself to the fine horses that Zeus sent in compensation for the abduction of Ganymede and causing strife among the gods. Classically referred to as Libya, Africa was considered to have a feminine ethnonym as well. The original world map was believed lost until a copy was found in Schloss Wolfegg in Austria in 1901 and purchased by the US Library of Congress (pictured)—though other uncut gores to be assembled into globes survive.

Friday, 23 April 2021

the harry lime theme

Also known as the above, the zither instrumental from the soundtrack to the 1949 Graham Greene film The Third Man (previously) by Anton Karas became the best-selling single in the US following its theatrical release there on this day in 1950, remaining at the top of the charts for eleven weeks. A guitar version by Guy Lombardo plus three other separate covers were also commercial successes that same year. Long in Karas’ repertoire, he described it as the sort of warm-up music played in a café that no one stops to listen to.

Friday, 26 March 2021

királypuccsnak

Taking advantage of the quiet ahead of Easter with the Diet not in session and the regent installed by the Allies Miklós Horthy settled in for a long weekend at the palace, former king and last Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian emperor Karl I. (IV. Károly) attempted on this day in 1921 to retake the throne, encouraged by royalists and his close entourage.

Travelling from exile in Switzerland on a forged Spanish passport, Charles and his party arrived in the border town of Szombathely undetected. The coup attempt ultimately failed due in large part to Horthy’s insistence that his return was premature and was in danger of being arrested by Allied authorities for breach of terms of the surrender. Charles returned to his Swiss villa with greater constraints placed on his political activity though further restrictions did not stop him and his supporters from staging a further abortive coup a few months later, resulting in Charles’ exile to Madeira.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

axonometric projection

Via Things Magazine, we discover the portfolio of Margarethe Fröhlich (*1901 - †2001), architectural illustrator and modeller, who created straightforward yet expressive interiors to allow clients to preview their rooms with furnishings. Working in Munich, Prague, London and then New York, Fröhlich collaborated with Raymond Loewy (previously) and went on to teach at Columbia University. The title refers to the specific foreshortening techniques that allows a viewer to perceive more than one side of an object on a flat surface without overt distortion by skewing the axes and angles. In contrast to the auxiliary view of an ensemble depicted from one of the primary presentations—that is, front, back, left, right bottom or top, an axonometric picture does not privilege any principle axis and instead creates the illusion—the lines of sight—of two in parallel. More to explore at the links above.

Monday, 1 February 2021

cosmic bowl

Declaring that geometry preceded the origin of things and “was coeternal with the divine mind” and supplying God with the patterns for creation, our old friend Johannes Kepler was eager to insert and integration harmony and mathematics into the accepted world view and contrived a model that the famed astronomer believed would fully describe the Universe through a set of perfectly aligned shapes within one another.

To this end, in February of 1596 Kepler sought the patronage of Friedrich von Württemberg to not only forward his vision with continued studies and publications but also create an artifice and artefact as a demonstration—his model of the Cosmos set in silver with the planets cut of precious stones and dispense alcohol that corresponded to the celestial bodies on tap through unseen pipes—Mercury paired with brandy and Mars a vermouth &c. Wanting to compartmentalise the labour however of the craftsmen he commissioned and not failing to realise that the orbits of the planets were not spherical but rather ellipses, the pieces did not fit together as planned. Mortified by his mistake, Kepler redoubled his efforts and though not completely forsaking his quasi-mystical theories arrived on his revolutionary laws of planetary motion and moved away from the belief in the perfection of circular motion which the Copernican model espoused, culminating in three laws that still hold to this day.

Friday, 4 December 2020

8x8

three blind mice: researchers restore sight by reversing the epigenetic clock in laboratory animals, re-endowing youthful characteristics—via Marginal Revolution  

big drunk girl energy: the dumbest coup is still playing out in the courts  

a touch of cabin fever: this is what stir-crazy looks like—the Year on TikTok—via the morning news

manifest destiny: a scrollytelling art histories (previously) that recounts the mythology of North America—via Maps Mania  

alpenhorn: disappearing, defaced and duelling phallic totems in the mountains of Germany and Austria 

for the longest time: dispel the zoom and gloom with this quarantine rendition from the Phoenix Chamber Choir 

 home box office: Warner Brothers is simultaneously releasing its cinematic productions on subscription television for 2021—via Kottke  

oceanus procellarum: Chang’e probe (previously)has lifted off of the lunar surface and will return with the first samples of moon rocks since 1976—via Slashdot

Thursday, 26 November 2020

nutbush city limit

The settlement believed to be founded in the sixth century by a Bavarian nobleman called Focko with its first documented mention in 1070 as part of the lordship of Adalpertus de Fucinging with the name evolving over the centuries from Vuxxhingen, Fukching, Fugkhing and finally to Fucking (see also) in the seventeen hundreds, the village of just over a hundred residents in Upper Austria has agreed as on the New Year to change its toponym, accordingly with some gleichnamiger localities to Fugging in an attempt to better reflect native pronunciation.  Despite the realised potential for using the name as an intensifier for any number of causes, villagers have grown weary of stolen signage and windshield-tourists. The villages of Petting, Kissing, Wanking as well as the affiliated hamlets of Ober- und Unterfucking have not yet indicated any plans to change names.

Monday, 9 November 2020

world freedom day

Rather presumptively first proclaimed by George W. Bush on this day in 2001 (sort of like rededicating Armistice Day as Veterans’ Day, also positing that the alternative was the right and only one)—reaffirmed by several US presidential administrations—as an homage to the idea that Ronald Reagan’s policies were solely responsible for the collapse of the Soviet Union and the influence it held over central and eastern Europe as the anniversary of the opening of the Berlin Wall, though the commandeering of the holiday is not widely observed. Because the date coincides with Schicksalstag (the Day of Fate), witness to many pivotal events including the execution of liberal leader Robert Blüm which suppressed the democratic revolution of 1849, the abdication of the Kaiser following the November Revolution of 1918, Albert Einstein’s win of the Nobel Prize for physics in 1922, the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch, the 1938 Reichspogromnacht which saw the large-scale destruction of Jewish property and of course the wall coming down (German reunification not celebrated on this day because of the prior associations). The German Sprachraum instead marks this day as Inventor’s Day—in homage to Austrian actor and Erfinderin Hedy Lamarr (*1914 - †2000) for her discovery of frequency hopping that led to cellular telephony and Bluetooth technology.

Friday, 6 November 2020

8x8

photos veritables: antique pre-prepared vacation picture albums  

necessitous men are not free men: FDR’s 1944 second, more equitable Bill of Rights 

conformal cyclic cosmology: Nobel winning astrophysicist Roger Penrose shares his Universe origin hypothesis 

la sape: Tariq Zaida documents the fashion of the sapeurs and sapeuses of Brazzaville and Kinshasa—reminding me of this other subculture  

author, poet, composer: the amazing virtuosity of Gordon Parks 

das neue europa mit dem dauernden frieden: revisiting an early proposal for the European Union, divided into Kantons converging on Vienna (previously

dss43: Deep Space Communication Complex re-establishes link with Voyager 2 

scarfolk & environs: a road & leisure map for uninvited tourist