Tuesday, 24 January 2023

8x8 (10. 495)

super 8: Kodak background orchestral ensemble for home movies (1961) would make a good soundtrack for any clip  

memory hole: unearthing—with surprising difficulty—an iconic, defining moment of 90s US political pop culture  

the fourth plinth: what becomes of statuary exhibited temporarily in Trafalgar Square—via Things Magazine  

whw: an interview with the ousted Kunsthalle collective who wanted to showcase all sides of Vienna  

poissons de diverses couleurs et figures extraordinaires: exquisite disco fish (1719)  

geyser relays: a rather pie-in-the-sky proposal for irrigation using a series of water canons  

parade route: revisiting the would-be arrival and presentation of Ganda the Rhinoceros  

sympawny № 4: a short arrangement to pay tribute to a beloved cat

Sunday, 4 December 2022

mary celeste (10. 360)

The American-registered brigatine, sailing from New York to Genoa was found (see also) by fellow Nova Scotian vessel Dei Gratia on this day in 1872 in the waters of the Azores, mysterious abandoned and remaining an enduring conundrum. One lifeboat missing but still well-provisioned and sea-worthy—with her cargo of rum untouched—the salvage proceedings held in Gibraltar following recovery entertained a range of possible explanations from mutiny, piracy to giant squid attacks and paranormal interventions but no theory was ever confirmed nor were the missing nine crew members ever found. Following the hearings and under new ownership, the ship was wrecked deliberately in Haiti in an attempt to collect on insurance fraud. Legendary fodder for myths, her fate was sealed with a treatment by Arthur Conan Doyle with a fictitious accounting from reportedly the ship’s surgeon—one statement by J Habakuk Jephson—among many other alleged survivors of this ghost ship.

Monday, 14 November 2022

7x7 (10. 305)

eyes wide shut: morbid fascination for both the collapse of Trumpism and Twitter  

massa alimentรญcia: former pasta factory in Portugal for sale—via Messy Nessy Chic 

slava ukraini: president Zelenskyy visits liberated city of Kherson   

backstory: a modern history of our butts  

pets.com: series of Silicon Valley layoffs  

turbulent indigo: Joni Mitchell reminisces on her career with Elton John  

hidden in plain sight: the anti-MacGuffins of Hitchcock’s Charade—via Language Hat

Saturday, 24 September 2022

7x7 (10. 164)

trench run: we are not skilled enough to try this with our X-Wing drone  

semester abroad: tips for affecting an RP accent, as one does  

an army marches on its stomach: a trove of 1970s field rations—see previously—via Present /&/ Correct

algar do carvรฃo: a guide to the incredible Azores—see also  

blowhole: sea platform harnesses wave energy by using it to pressurise air and powering a turbine—outperforming expectations  

mappa mundi: an annotated, interactive fifteenth century world atlas—see also  

5 bby: Star Wars fans invented their own calendar (see previously) over a quarter of a century ago and the latest series finally makes it canon

Monday, 22 August 2022

wish you weren’t here (10. 079)

Via Things Magazine, we are directed to a quite repulsive, compelling masters thesis from Natacha de Mahieu on overtourism that explores not only the growing chasm between social media and reality but about the performative instincts that have emerged as the leading edge of sharing society like a prisoner’s dilemma especially when we think that no one is watching, aptly titled Theatre of AuthenticityThis representative image of the lone national park in Portugal, Peneda-Gerรชs, properly radicalises me as we together use these composite photos taken over the course of an hour help us reconcile and resolve our own conflicts over travel and picture-taking and quite as the most jarring staging and unreality of nature’s quiet spots but rather for its backstory, de Mahie relating that she had to rig up her camera to take this shot remotely since otherwise people would politely stand out of frame to allow her to take her perfect souvenir. What do you think? Have you experienced such disconnect and struggle to create the illusion of leisure and discovery? I can understand the urge to want to see, experience something pristine before it’s all lost to our bad stewardship of the planet and feel some sympathy for those vying for one last pose. Much more at the links above.

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

Saturday, 18 June 2022

branding identity

Having previously showcased lettering artist Rafael Serra, PRINT magazine was quick to recognise his 1980s-informed logo inspiring another new management’s corporate image. Be sure to check out Serra’s whole nostalgic, bold portfolio recasting iconic labels at the link above or at the graphic designer’s website, particularly the iterations of fast food franchises in corresponding styles.

Tuesday, 7 June 2022

line of demarcation

Signed on this day in its namesake town on the Douro river in 1494, the Treaty of Tordesillas (Tratado de Tordesilhas, see previously) divided the so called New World—those lands new to European explorers—between the Spanish and Portuguese Empires along a meridian in the Atlantic judged halfway in between the Cape Verde island group (then a crown colony of Portugal) and the lands claimed for Castile and Leon by Christopher Columbus, modern-day Cuba and Hispaniola) with points east going to the latter and westward to the former. The Treaty of Zaragoza in 1529 defined the antemeridian to address the other side of the globe in order to settle conflicting claims to the Moluccas Islands, an Indonesia archipelago historically called the Spice Islands. Though blessed-off by the pope, newly discovered peoples viewed this claim with disdain and other European powers did not sign on and generally ignored the treaties, Francis I (albeit representing one of the worst future colonisers) declaiming, “The sun shines for me as it does for others. I would very much like to see the clause of Adam’s will that denies me my share of the world.” The signatories considered the arrangement null and void by 1750, notwithstanding competition and their general decline as global powers, swapping rights Brazil and the Philippines.

Friday, 13 May 2022

nossa senhora de fรกtima

The series of Marian apparitions that reportedly presented themselves to a trio of three shepherd children appeared for the first time on this day in 1917. Declared events worthy of believe after years of careful study and deliberation by the local bishop, this set off a chain of investigations of the visions of Lรบcia dos Santos and her cousins Jacinta Mart and Francisco that led to the coronation and veneration of the site by the mid-1950s. Appearing to the children for the first of six times, the Virgin Mary delivered the prophecy that prayer would end the Great War, promising to return soon in a more public fashion so that all would believe, a miraculous solar aberration observed by many assembled in a field on 13 October of the same year. The call to pilgrimage and the general incredulity of the witnesses was regarded with suspicion with many accusing the movement to be subversive and to overthrow the newly established republic that had first thrown off the yoke of monarchy and then dictatorship in 1910 and 1915. Sister Lรบcia—who had since taken become a nun, publishing her memoirs—detailed in 1941 that she and her companions had been entrusted with three secrets: first a vision of Hell and that whilst the Great War (WW1) had ended, more dreadful future conflicts were to come if the people were not repentant; second the need to evangelise to Russia and the restoration of the pious monarchy (an assessment enforced by the thwarted assassination attempt on Pope John Paul II on this day in 1981); and thirdly—not revealed until 2000—that of the downfall of the Catholic Church, which especially hinged on whether the above attack had been carried off successfully.

Tuesday, 3 May 2022

el tres de mayo de 1808 en madrid

Considered by many to represent the first modern work of art for its departure from convention stylistically and in its message, the 1814 commission for the provisional government of Spain by Francisco Goya, The Third of May, depicts and commemorates resistance to the forces of Napoleon during the occupation and Peninsular War over access to the Mediterranean—the French garrisons originally invited under the pretence of jointly conquering and dividing Spain and award the Spanish prime minister the principality of the Algarve and not realising the ruse until it was too late. Picturing in media res the suppression of the junta uprising against the soldiers of the First French Empire, the rebels and their ranks facing the firing squad on Prรญncipe Pรญo hill portrays war as bleak and unheroic—in vast contrast to the usual posed compositions of charging victory and unflagging patriotism—and inspired Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and Massacre in Korea among other revolutionary and edifying works of art.

Sunday, 13 June 2021

antonio di padua

Priest and Franciscan friar and Doctor of the Church, Anthony of Lisbon (*1195 - †1231 in the commune west of Venice) is one of the most popular and quickly canonised among the cult of the saints and was acclaimed in his lifetime for giving powerful and persuasive sermons, even keeping a school of fish in rapt attention once and reputation for care for the poor and sick. Invoked in the name of lost things—credited first with the restoration of his own psalter full of notes when Anthony feared it was gone forever—his extensive patronage (see previously) includes things prone to going missing like mail, mariners, shipwrecks, travellers and lost souls, though not all who wander… Anthony in the extended sense is also the protector of the elderly, fisherfolk, amputees, Native Americans, harvests, watermen, horses, travel hosts and counter-revolutionaries.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

ponte pรชnsil

Located in the geographic park and preserve in the town of Arouca outside the Porto capital district and definitely not for the acrophobic new span crossing the Pavia river valley boosts the world’s longest pedestrian suspension bridge. The marvel of engineering is over five hundred metres long between peak and pylon with the roaring watercourse one-hundred and fifty metres below and offers outstanding vistas—though far from the only attraction to see in the nature park. More from Plain Magazine contributor Toby Orton at the link above.

Thursday, 13 May 2021

glyceria

Meaning sweetness and sharing her feast day with the apparition of Our Lady of Fรกtima, the second century saint compelled to pray to a sculpture of Jupiter which turned to dust by her faith, for which she was sentenced to be torn asunder by wild animals. Glyceria expired, however, before she could be served. Interestingly, especially in light of the minor craze that erupted a few years ago over the chance to drink the mummy juice—sewage found in Egyptian sarcophagi, the relics of Glyceria are counted among the myroblytes, those whose remains (sometimes their icons as well as their coffins) exude the holy and healing Oil of the Saints.

Friday, 9 April 2021

7x7

tsugite: software that generates traditional Japanese joinery (previously) that can be 3D printed or precision cut

prince albert in a can: a collection of fish tin labels from a digital museum dedicated to the Portuguese canning industry 

cosmic nature: artist Yayoi Kusama exhibits at New York’s Botanical Garden  

tune-dex: the real-fake book of jazz standards, essential to musicians in the 1970s 

dingbat: thirty select works of Mid-Century Modern print for inspiration 

beer is proof god loves us and wants us to be happy: brew theorems post US National New Beers’ Eve ahead of the anniversary of rescinding parts of the Volstead Act that allowed for consumption of higher proof beer 

ukiyo-e: the unintentional ASMR of a master printmaker at work

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

7x7

silvagunner: an appreciation of the remixing collective from Kicks Condor 

film festival: curate one’s own streaming series from a vast, public domain archive  

re-branding: artist FAEL redesigns corporate logos with a perfect balance of retro and progress 

prompts and cues: remedies to exhausting monologues and fostering better conversations  

metronome: a fascinating look at synchronicity  

ะฑั€ะฐั‚ัั‚ะฒะพ ะบะพะปัŒั†ะฐ: a 1991 Russian television version of The Fellowship of the Rings (see also) resurfaces on the internet—including an appearance by Tom Bombadil whose otherwise left out of the adaptations  

the only post-punk supergroup: the musical stylings of the New Age Steppers

Friday, 26 March 2021

kirรกlypuccsnak

Taking advantage of the quiet ahead of Easter with the Diet not in session and the regent installed by the Allies Miklรณs Horthy settled in for a long weekend at the palace, former king and last Hapsburg Austro-Hungarian emperor Karl I. (IV. Kรกroly) 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.

Saturday, 9 January 2021

refectory

Via friends TYWKIWDBI and Nag on the Lake, we find ourselves transported to the monastic complex of the town of Alcobaรงa, a Cistercian community famed for its gastronomical and vinicultural excellence and founded by Portugal’s first king Alfonso Henriques, which features among its Gothic elements a dining hall whose entrance is preceded with the rather abstruse admonishment: Respicte quia peccata Populi comdeitis—that is, Remember you eat the sins of the people. 

Otherwise perfectly proportion, the communal area has direct egress to the kitchen, which according to popular legend and rather practically, had a door to discourage gluttony, either measured for self-catering or as a monthly check on one’s girth with the passage two metres high but only thirty-two centimetres wide, a model pants-size for many though the cloth and cowl could be quite concealing in any circumstance. Perhaps we are misinterpreting the whole intent of this narrow doorway and it was rather meant to shame those who were not committed devoradores de pecados.  According to current lore, those who could not pass needed to diet until they could sidle and squeeze through. 

Wednesday, 6 January 2021

the governor and company of the merchants of great britain, trading to the south seas and other parts of america, and for the encouragement of fishery

Though not the only joint-stock venture to hedge its liabilities and ultimately prove ruinous for investors, the South Sea Company (official long form above), founded as a public-private partnership—with the support of the government hoping to offset some of the national debt incurred during its involvement with the War of the Spanish Succession and its own colonial activities—in 1711, was the most spectacular economic bubble, bankrupting thousands of investors and speculators who had underwritten the enterprise. Originally incorporated as a substitute revenue generating operation when a national lottery scheme run on behalf of the Crown failed to turn a profit (the jackpot winners were deprived of their prizes), the public was instead invited to purchase shares of a chartered company with a monopoly over trade with Spain and Portugal and would in time collect dividends from the profits. The stock price was inflated by those late-comers not wanting to miss out (taking out loans to take part) on an opportunity and rife mismanagement, including a not insignificant amount of business in the trafficking of enslaved individuals from Africa to Central and South America—and though huge sums of money were trading hands, the company failed to be profitable and engaged in increasing debt for equity swaps until the price increased in a frenzy from £100 to over £1000 in the course of a few months in 1720, falling just as precipitously at an even faster pace. A decade after its founding, on this day, with recriminations rampant and with the aristocracy, the merchant classes as well as the working poor duped and financially broken, the Committee of Inquiry on the South Sea Bubble came forth with their findings, revealing fraud and corruption at all levels. Amazingly the newly appointed First Lord of the Treasury, Robert Walpole, was able to restore public confidence in the financial market and the company continued—this time focusing its efforts on whaling—until the reign of Victoria, finally dissolved in 1838.

Monday, 21 September 2020

empire shops

Though the above euphemism for a colonial goods store (ultramarinos, comptoir des colonies, coloniali), a nineteenth century speciality retailer that sold non-perishable items like coffee, tea, spices, tobacco, etc. as opposed to butchers, bakers and green-grocers, has fortunately fallen out of common-parlance, retained through the 1970s when most former colonies were achieving independence, it is still present, fossilised in some unexpected places, like in the name of our local chain supermarket, an affiliate of the large co-op Edeka, founded in 1898 as E.d.K.—that is, Einkaufsgenossenschaft der Kolonialwarenhรคndler im Halleschen Torbezirk zu Berlin (Purchasing Cooperative for the Traders of Colonial Wares of the Halle Gate District of Berlin), phonetically abbreviated (see also) out of necessity.

Monday, 20 July 2020

saint wilgefortis

Though officially delisted from the martyrology of saints in the late sixteenth century and her veneration suppressed, the iconography of and devotions to the bearded saint—whose English name is thought to have derived from the Latin for courageous virgin but goes by many others (see previously)—are still to be found to the present age and is feted on this day.
Also going by Uncumber, Ontkommer (Dutch), [ohne] Kรผmmernis (German), Liberata (Italian), Librada (Spain) and Dรฉbarras (good riddance in French), Wilgefortis symbolises the liberation or disencumberment from abusive relationships and is invoked for relief to that end. Historians speculate that her origins can be traced to androgynous depictions of Jesus but was embellished with her own story and cult in the 1420s in Galicia, with a noble woman not wanting to be forced into her arranged marriage and praying for a way out—and miraculous sprouted facial hair that made her repulsive to her betrothed. In iconographic depictions, Wilgefortis’ beard ranges from minimal to quite lush and substantial and is shown often crucified—sadly her fate for showing up and looking unpresentable—with a small fiddler at her feet, having given away her wedding dowry, represented by a silver shoe, to the poor.