Wednesday, 1 February 2023

la cage aux folles (10. 514)

The farce, “The Cage of the Mad Women,” by playwright Jean Poiret portraying the comedy of errors that ensues when the son of a Saint Tropez night club operator and his gay boyfriend invites his fiancรฉe’s conservative parents to meet their future inlaws had its debut this day in 1973 at the Thรฉรขtre du Palais-Royal, running for over eighteen-hundred performances. After being adapted as a Franco-Italian film—a trilogy ultimately, in 1978, it became a musical with book by Harvey Fierstein and music by Jerry Herman, with later cinematic premiere as The Birdcage in 1996.

Friday, 27 January 2023

paris peace accords (10. 500)

Negotiations finalised between Lรช ฤแปฉc Thแป and Henry Kissinger on 24 January and nearly derailed the day before by the Battle of Cแปญa Viแป‡t, the treaty officially known as the Agreement of Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam (Hiแป‡p ฤ‘แป‹nh vแป chแบฅm dแปฉt chiแบฟn tranh, lแบญp lแบกi hรฒa bรฌnh แปŸ Viแป‡t Nam) was signed on this day in 1973 at the Hรดtel Majestic on Avenue Klรฉber in the XVIe arrondissement by representatives of the governments of the United States, the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the Republic of South Vietnam (the Provisional Revolutionary Government, representing South Vietnamese communists). All US and allied forces agreed to complete withdrawal in exchange for the release of prisoners-of-war, with all parties acceding to an immediate cease-fire, the establishment of council of national reconciliation, a peaceful reunification free of foreign interference, withdrawal of foreign troops from Cambodia and Laos and financial aid from the US for war-ravaged Indochina. Despite also securing a commitment from America to replace materiel and armaments on a one-by-one basis, congressional support for further appropriations evaporated and lapsing during the Watergate scandal, North Vietnam made their final offensive operations in April of 1975, precipitating the fall of Saigon and the capitulation of the Republic of Vietnam.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

annex and honours (10. 494)

Occupied by elements of the US Army’s Eighth Infantry Regiment under the leadership of General Henry Tureman Allen, who recognising its historic and aesthetic value successfully argued its preservation over planned destruction of the strategic fortress, the American flag was lowered at noon at Ehrenbreitstein above Koblenz, the headquarters of American forces during the Occupation of the Rhineland, on this day in 1923 as the last remaining troops departed by train to the port of Antwerp. The band of the one-hundred fifty sixth French Infantry played them out with the “Star-Spangled Banner” and themselves in with “La Marseillaise,” the French taking on the role through 1930. With a flourish of being unstuck in time, the image is of the same flag from this first occupation being raised again in the courtyard of the fortress in 1945 when Allied troops once again were stationed in the demilitarised zone.

Wednesday, 18 January 2023

dglflf (10. 478)

A unit of the Ministry of Culture and Communications and successor to the “High Committee of the French Language” which was established on this day in 1973 by the government of Charles de Gaulle to find authentically French substitutes for some three hundred and fifty creeping Anglicisms, la Dรฉlรฉgation gรฉnรฉrale ร  la langue franรงaise et aux langues de France, essential is a continuation of that original mission and charge, though now importantly acknowledging a plurality of languages of the country—see also here and here. Five decades ago, changes included dropping flashback for retrospectif, palmarรจs for charts or hit parade and navire citene for tanker.

Friday, 25 November 2022

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.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

6x6 (10. 306)

honkbal hoofdklasse: Dutch for ‘Major League Baseball’  

fragrant, acid, burnt and caprylic: the Crocker-Henderson odour classification system 

dinosaur.pocket: AI generated Mastodon instances by Janelle Shane (previously

the floor is lava: a fun looking arcade experience though the best part was climbing over the furniture and leaping from place to place  

pontifex: the cathedral-like under-girding of the bridges of Seoul 

phryge-fest: Paris unveils its Olympic and Paralympics mascots—anthropomorphic hats

Sunday, 13 November 2022

je suis en terrasse (10. 300)

Already on heightened alert after a series of attacks following the Charlie Hebdo office and Jewish grocery market shootings at the beginning of the year and vigilant ahead of the UN Climate Change, COP21, Conference scheduled to be held in the city next month, the coordinated radical Islamist terrorist operation, les Attentats du 13-Novembre, transpiring this night in 2015 were six separate bombings and indiscriminate shootings across Paris and its suburbs undertaken by three groups. Three suicide bombers struck a stadium hosting an international football match. Another group took hostages and opened fire into the audience of a large concert venue with simultaneously more gunmen attacking crowded cafรฉs and restaurants on the boulevards of the city. In all, 130 people were killed, most victims from the music venue, and the violence rattled Europe and sparked a backlash against refugees and migration in general as France was put under an รฉtat d’urgence, state of emergency, though locally there was a spirit of resilience and defiance with curb side dining reopening under the title slogan.

Thursday, 3 November 2022

hubertustag (10. 268)

Fรชted on this day as the Apostle of the Ardennes and patron protector of hunters, opticians, metalworkers, mathematicians and chicken roasters, the sainted eighth century bishop of Liรจge (see previously here and here) is regarded as the originator of ethical deer stalking and preached compassion for animals as God’s creations—Hubertus himself converted whilst pursuing quarry in the woods and had the vision of a Crucifix floating suspended between the antlers of a stag—and is credited with formulating a set of rules and tactics to follow. Until very recent times, the saint was invoked as a cure for rabies (see also) through the use of a sacramental metal nail worked into the form of a cross called a St Hubert’s Key (Hubertusschlรผssel, Clef de Saint-Hubert), heated in fire and branded at the site of an animal bite, possibly with the effect of cauterising the wound.

Monday, 31 October 2022

quintinus (10. 259)

Venerated with a feast on the calendar of saints on this day, marking his martyrdom by beheading whilst on his way to trial in Reims, the capital city of Gallia Belgica, for proselytizing Christianity in the late third century, Quentin of Amiens, was charged by the prefect Rictovarus (the province’s vicarious, a deputy, a vicar) whom under the reign of Diocletian (see previously) is cited as a the persecutor of thousands of the faith community—before converting himself and put to death, at least by tradition though that may be a pious fiction, and subjected to torture though refused to relent. Unceremoniously tossed in the Somme, his body was first miraculous discovered by a Roman woman visiting the region on pilgrimage—her sight restored—and then again in the seventh century by Saint Eligius who established a permanent shrine which became the basilica of Saint-Quentin. For no particular reason that I can fathom, Quentin is invoked against sneezes and coughs and dropsy (edema, water retention) and is the patron protector of chaplains, locksmiths (see above), porters, tailors and surgeons.

Friday, 21 October 2022

you know what thot means, right? (10. 243)

During the upheaval of the French Revolution in 1789, an application was submitted for a translation of Livre de Thot,
the French translation promising to reveal the practise of ancient Egyptian magic through tarot (see previously). Engravings by Pierre-Franรงois Basam, Jean-Franรงois Alliette under the pseudonym Ettellia (reversing his surname), they helped introduce cartomancy to the wider population. The first known occultist making a living off of their readings, Attiette issued one of the first comprehensive guides, and is considered foundational to the study of tarot.

Monday, 17 October 2022

7x7 (10. 232)

cheesewrights and turophiles: Noรซlle Janaczewska on the culinary and artistic history of cheese 

causal observer: a teenager in Trondhjem called Christian Charlotte Elster captured various scenes of Regency-Era Norway in the early nineteenth century–via Messy Nessy Chic  

perhaps more like edison than tesla: friends, family and enemies discuss Elon Musk

putinversteher: Russian leadership enlisting influential mouthpieces to convince Western governments to accede to their narratives–see previously

kukla, fran & ollie: a Youtube channel working to conserve and put on-line over seven hundred episodes of the 1950s puppet theatre–via r/ObscureMedia   

parlement technologies: the rapper formerly known as Kanye West announces plans to purchase rightwing friendly social media site  

la pyramide des saveurs: France’s reigning and unrivaled Queen of Cheeses, Nathalie Quartrehomme

Saturday, 8 October 2022

santa reparata (10. 205)

Venerated on this day in celebration of her intercession that freed Florence from Ostrogoth dominance in 406, the third century maiden martyr from Caesarea Maritima is the co-patron of the Tuscan city (along with Zenobio, its first bishop) as well as sole patron of Nice. Arrested and tortured under the reign of Decius, Reparata was first saved by a miraculous rain shower from being burnt at the stake for refusing to apostatise and later decapitated with a dove’s appearance coinciding with her death to symbolise her soul ascendant, coming to be associated with Nice through the further elaboration that her body was put in a boat on borne on the breath of angles to Baie des Anges on the French Rivera. Similar traditions of posthumous relocation are associated with Torpes of Pisa—Saint-Tropez where his headless body arrived with a rooster and a dog in the boat—and Devota, patron of Monaco and Corisca with similar iconography and source of the flag, whose remains were ordered by Diocletian to be burnt to prevent veneration but was rescued from the flames and put on a boat bound for Africa but was diverted by a storm to the present day principality.

Friday, 7 October 2022

7x7 (10. 203)

silphium: an ancient superfood of the Mediterranean world thought extinct possibly rediscovered in Turkey—via Strange Company 

unsung heroes: a LEGO diorama depicts a crew keeping the sewers unblocked—with more links to fatbergs  

mlle musidora: reviving a forgotten icon of the Belle ร‰poque—see also  

centaur chess: machines can handily beat grand masters but a computer-human team is unstoppable  

the legend of sleepy hallow: the wild ride behind the Headless Horseman

pendant lighting: Ambience Studio upcycles LEGO bricks into a colourful lamp  

pommes bleu: the annual optical spectacle that the intersection of the sun and these stained glass windows of the chapel of Rennes le Chรขteau draws pilgrims

Sunday, 2 October 2022

l'escargophone (10. 189)

Reportedly convincingly demonstrated to a journalist from La Presse on this day in 1851, though business partners remained sceptical and suspected a hoax, the apparatus known as the pasilalinic-sympathetic compass (la boussole pasilalinique sympathique, the snail telegraph, incredibly—see previously) was a heuristic contraption meant to take advantage of the supposed permanent telepathic link (a subtle form of animal magnetism that naturally drew in the public in parallel with the technical achievements of actual telegraphy) that mated pairs of snails form. Inventor and noted occultist Jacques-Toussaint Benoรฎt, called de l’Hรฉrault, constructed two remote scaffoldings each with one gastropod partner labelled with a letter of the alphabet, whereby the operator touched one that was supposed to cause a reaction in its corresponding mate that could be decoded by the receiver. Attempts to repeat the near successes of the first trial for the public failed and Benoรฎt promptly vanished.

Friday, 19 August 2022

picture-perfect (10. 072)

On this day 1839 following assurances of a lifetime’s pension for himself and business partner Nicรฉphore Niรฉpce and a seat on the National Academy of Design, the government of France published the complete technical details of the daguerreotype process—previously withheld over fears of others counterfeiting the process or stealing credit for the research and experimentation of set building, background painter and inventor of the diorama Louis-Jacques-Mandรฉ Daguerre—gifting it “free to the world.”

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

vertrag von verdun (10. 049)

Agreed on this day in 843, the Treaty of Verdun divided the Frankish Empire of Ludwig I, son and successor of Charlemagne, into three kingdoms to be ruled by the emperor’s three sons. The outcome of a succession crisis, civil war and palace intrigues, the negotiations were the first of a series of partition arrangements that to a large extend correspond with the borders of modern Europe. Though the peace was not destined to last long, the brothers agreed to recognise the suzerainty of their father, Lothair (already created king of Italy) was given Francia Media (Middle Franconia—stretching from the northern half of the Italian peninsula and up the corridor of the Rhein river valley to the Low Countries), Louis the German (of Bavaria) received Francia Orientalis—eastern Franconia, comprising the largest, unified constituent realm of the Holy Roman Empire, and Karl II, Francia Occidentalis, Burgundy and Aquitaine, most modern France with the exception of Bretagne. The provisioning—which reflected the custom of partible inheritance (see above) rather than leaving property to the most senior offspring—saw centuries of border swapping especially for the middle kingdom, with few natural defences for territorial integrity and communication was curtailed by the Alps, and a legacy of disunity and division for Italy.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

sacrum romanum imperium (10. 042)

Neither holy, Roman nor an empire in the cohesive sense yet in existence for more than a thousand years, the Heiliges Rรถmisches Reiches was defacto dissolved on this day in 1806 as an outcome of the Napoleonic Wars and the abdication of Francis II (dispatch to the royal ambassadors pictured) the House of Hapsburg who repaired to Austria and released all tenets and subjects from their oath and obligation. Regarded as the successor state to Rome because its emperors were also legitimised through the papacy, the decentralised empire without a coherent monetary system and unusual government of elected monarchs rather than hereditary rulers was on the decline for centuries and experienced its finally death knells after interfering in Revolutionary France, fearful that republicanism might spread, and the success of Napoleon in recruiting more client states into the sphere of influence of the Empire of France. The Peace of Pressburg (Bratislava) geographically cordoned extraterritorial claims and allowed some pocket principalities and city-states to be absorbed, effectively dividing the old Holy Roman Empire into Germany and Austro-Hungary.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

she keeps her moรซt & chandon in a pretty cabinet (10. 035)

Though unclear if the attribution is entirely accurate as sparking did not become the dominant style of the wine region until the nineteenth century, this day in 1693 is the traditional date ascribed to the invention of Champagne by Benedictine monk and cellarer Dom Pierre Pรฉrignon at the Abbey of Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers and our abbot can certainly be credited with innovating the techniques and practises of in bottle fermentation, which beforehand was an acute occupational hazard since if wine was bottled prematurely, they would become literal time-bombs liable to explosion due to an excess of carbon dioxide. Pรฉrignon further championed purity in wine-making and prescribed a set of protocols for harvesting and crushing grapes. The popular quote of Pรฉrignon’s first impression of drinking his Champagne— « Venez mes frรจres, je bois des รฉtoiles » (“Come quickly my brothers, I am tasting the stars!”)—is also unfortunately a fin de siรจcle marketing myth meant to distance the drink’s associations with decadence and tie it to the diligence of a hard working monk.

Saturday, 30 July 2022

7x7 (10. 025)

spectacular vernacular: 99% Invisible celebrates milestone episodes with an exploration of vintage architectural styles, via Pasa Bon!  

conlang: fluency in Esperanto—see previously  

122 CE: a colourful gate house installed at Hadrian’s Wall 

the electric lucifer: the musical stylings of Bruce Haack 

civic duty: a resonant “I Voted” sticker for Ulster County, New York

isochrone: an interactive map illustrates how far one can travel from any European train station in under five hours 

la maison sculptรฉe: Jacques Lucas’ hand-sculpted home in Rennes