Thursday, 19 May 2022

long island lolita

Prompting three separate made-for-television dramatisations of the incident starring in chronological order of release date (all within a year afterwards) Noelle Parker, Alyssa Milano and Drew Barrymore, seventeen-year-old high school student Amy Fisher, increasingly jealous of the wife of the thirty-five year old auto mechanic she was hoping to sustain a relationship with that had been going on since two years, shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face on this day in 1992. Fisher confronted Buttafuoco when she answered the door of their house in Long Island and informed her that her husband was having an affair with Fisher’s imaginary younger sister—offering a tee-shirt from her husband’s auto body shop as proof. The situation escalated quickly when Buttafuoco demanded that Fisher leave the premises and fired at her with a pistol. Buttafuoco survived, divorced her husband (albeit a decade later, coming to the realisation through writing her memoir that this man who had committed statutory rape against a fifteen year old girl is a manipulative sociopath) and became a motivational speaker.

Monday, 16 May 2022

ac/dc

Three years to the date after Nikola Tesla delivered a famous lecture to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers outlining the efficient production of electricity from a centralized location and transmitting the power generated over long-distances using alternating current, the International Electrotechnical Exhibition opened at Frankfurt’s Westbahnhof and demonstrated the first such inductive feat, the power generated from a hydroelectric source some one hundred and seventy five kilometres south from a waterfall at Lauffen am Neckar. The Post Office helped erect the transmission lines, a considerable amount of copper wire—the three phase arrangement (3ฯ†) that is used for most modern grids to this day trebling or rather thirding voltage across three wires each with the current offset by one hundred twenty degrees—that retained about three-quarters of the output over the distance, the experiment proving that generation in situ, with direct current, was not ideal in most domestic and industrial applications, confirmed and adopted by the United States and favouring rival George Westinghouse (Tesla’s employer) over Thomas Edison in the War of the Currents at the Columbian Exposition in 1893.

Friday, 13 May 2022

unvollstรคndigkeitssatz

Futility Closet relates an anecdote from the live of mathematician Kurt Gรถdel in residence at Princeton University Institute for Advanced Studies and his friendship with fellow resident scholars physicists Albert Einstein (previously) John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern, whom felt obliged to make sure their younger charge’s tendency for over-thinking remained an asset and not his undoing and monitored Gรถdel’s preparation for the US citizenship exam in 1947, Einstein himself naturalised seven years earlier. The prodigal and influential logistician widely settled the impossibility of formulating a self-consistent and complete set of rules governing all of mathematics at the tender age of twenty-five, Gรถdel assayed the project of his examination with signature tenacity and revealed to his wardens that in his research, he had uncovered a fatal-flaw in the American constitution that could led to dictatorship, the corruption and consequence of totalitarian democracy. Einstein and company implored him not to share this discovery and the test was actually a much simpler affair, though basic civics and recent history might have suggested otherwise. The proctor for the citizenship test inquired of Gรถdel his state of origin and its form of government—to which Gรถdel replied Austria and a republic, but owed that “the constitution was such that it soon become a dictatorship.” Despite the examiner’s insistence that the same could not happen in the USA and Gรถdel’s refutation with the offer of proof, the panel stuck to the business at hand and conducted the test. No mention was made in their collective memoirs what that finding might have been and we suppose won’t know it until it’s happened.

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

onward victoria

Standing later for the office of president in the 1872 election, Victoria Woodhull accepted the nomination of her party, the Equal Rights, at Apollo Hall in New York City on this day of the same year—though a few detractors have reservations in acknowledging her to be the first woman to run for high office in America on the technicality (albeit a constitutional one) that she would have been six months shy of her thirty-fifth birthday on inauguration day. Self-made twice over, Woodhull first earned—and subsequently lost—a substantial fortune in magnetic healing and afterward entered into arguably more legitimate enterprises with her sister, Tennessee Claflin, to open the first female-ran stock brokerage and used profits from trading to open a newspaper. Running on a platform of universal suffrage, labour reform, equality and free love—that is the right to marry, divorce, bear children or not without social prejudice or government interference, Woodhull also declared this day her running-mate to be respected statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass though unbeknownst to him, Douglass did not take part in the convention or campaign in any way. Wary of Woodhull’s reputation as an investigative journalist and having previously introduced patriarch Cornelius to the above pseudoscientific therapy, heir to the vast estate William Henry Vanderbilt paid Woodhull and her sister $1000 to leave the country. Newly divorced and with her political career behind her, she accepted the offer and moved to London and founded a charter school and lectured on education reform.

Monday, 9 May 2022

dmsmh

Celebrated as Dianetics Day in the Church of Scientology (previously), today marks the 1950 anniversary of the first sales of the foundational book by L Ron Hubbard subtitled The Modern Science of Mental Health. Colloquially and canonically referred to as “Book One,” it outlines the system developed by the author out of personal experience, his understanding of some tenants of Eastern philosophy and the psychoanalytic traditions of Sigmund Freud. Despite outright rejection by the community of medical and mental health professions and most critics who compared the repetitious and immature tautologies to the works of Wilhelm Reich, it was a best-seller and found an audience as well as an attendant religious movement, which number their years relative to its publication—this year being 72 AD—that is, after Dianetics.

Wednesday, 4 May 2022

8x8

saved: Diane Keaton’s coffee table book of quirky photography  

broadacre city: Frank Lloyd Wright’s experimental community of the future—via Nag on the Lake  

23 skidoo: enhanced footage of flappers from 1929 

senator palpatine needs to flip just five seats to take back power: a fund-raising solicitation from the galactic majority leader (previously)

spelunking: surveyors discover the largest cave system in North America 

 they’ve got an awful lot of coffee in brazil: the novelty song as performed by Frank Sinatra  

homage to the squares: a rhythmic revisiting of the art of Josef Albers via Pasa Bon!  

vacansopapurosophobia: an assortment of very cromulent vocabulary

Saturday, 23 April 2022

project kansas

Lingering until the summer of 2002 (see next) and suspected by some as a marketing ploy to boost sagging sales of its flagship beverage—reintroduced and rebranded as Coca-Cola Classic, the reformulated version, New Coke, was introduced on this day in 1985 to much derision—with production of the original production halted later the same week. Under the titular code name (having polled the demographic considered Middle America but failing to take into account nostalgia and the attachment to tradition), the secret project to launch a new flavour of soft-drink was in response to test marketing that suggested that palettes preferred sweeter tastes and Pepsi (see also) faring better in new markets. Despite the sustained backlash, the corporation continued with aggressive commercial campaigns, including bringing on spokesman Max Headroom (previously—caution, flashing images) in 1986.

Thursday, 21 April 2022

reedy creek improvement district

In retribution for the Magic Kingdom’s public stance against legislation passed and enforced by the state of Florida and suspension of political donations in response to the so called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that bars instruction that is not “age or develop-mentally appropriate” as a form of indoctrination and makes it taboo to talk about gender identity or sexual orientation, the Republican governor, with the backing of the legislature, is proposing to strip Disney properties of its own private governance. Accorded by Florida in 1967 to make it more attractive for the entertainment giant to establish its resorts and theme parks (see also)—and originally a planned city of the future, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, that reverted back to another attraction, the special jurisdiction has its own law enforcement and security, environment standards, building codes and zoning laws as well as its own tax regime. Authorities warn that its dissolution will burden neighbouring counties with much higher property taxes and further alienates the state’s largest employer.

Sunday, 10 April 2022

doctor tongue’s 3d house of pancakes

On this day in 1953, the American period horror film directed by Andrรฉ De Toth and starring Vincent Price (previously) as a disfigured sculptor who resolves to repopulate his destroyed wax-museum with murdered townsfolk coated in paraffin on display, House of Wax, had its premiere opening in New York City before general release on 25 April. Whilst Colombia pictures’ noir remake of Ralph Bellamy’s The Man Who Lived Twice, Man in the Dark was the first studio 3D release, albeit in black and white, bet this film by two days, this was the first major production company colour-presentation with stereophonic sound that could be screened in regular theatres (the independent Bwana Devil—which had packed audiences in cinemas in 3D glasses—preceded both by a few months and the success caught off guard). Also starting Phyllis Kirk, Dabbs Greer and Charles Bronson, the film featured some clever and startling foreground effects despite the irony of the director being unable to perceive depth himself due to blindness in one eye caused by an accident as an adolescent and wore a balck eyepatch for the rest of his life.

Saturday, 2 April 2022

unalaska

Discounting the fact that the territory was home to untold thousands of aboriginal peoples long before the imperial aspirations of either faded superpower or exhausted petrostate, we missed the apparent threats made by Russia that it would reclaim in recompense for illegal sanctions not only its former holdings just across the Bering Straits (only a day—due to the International Date Line—and three and a half kilometers apart) but also the whole of Antartica plus small outposts in Hawaiสปi and California (again, already people living there) including Fort Ross (ะšั€ัฃะฟะพัั‚ัŒ ะ ะพัััŠ) in present-day Sonoma County which was sold to John Sutter, renaming the settlement Sutter’s Mill and going on to start the Gold Rush in short order. As for the latter, the parliamentarian and Putin-loyalist claimed the sale was invalid and that Sutter never paid but as with the former case and present casus belli it’s all specious ackamarackus.

busted flat in baton rouge

Co-written by Kris Kristofferson and Fred Foster (producer and songwriter who helped launch the careers of Roy Obison, Willie Nelson and Dolly Parton), the posthumously released cover by Janis Joplin reached its peak at number on the US singles charts on this day in 1971, ranking overall the eleventh best song of the year. At that point, the only other song to achieve that level of success was “(Sitting On) The Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding in 1968. The gender-neutral name of the titular character, with the recording studio secretary Barbara “Bobbie” McKee originally in mind, has given the song’s singers and subjects a fluidity with little to no lyrical adjustment.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

dรญa de cรฉsar chรกvez

Commemorated as a holiday in several food producing regions of the United States, the life and legacy of the civil rights reformer and labour activist of Cรฉsar Chรกvez, born this day in 1927 (†1993), whom along wit fellow farm worker Dolores Huerta unionised and rallied for better conditions for all.

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

i have no idea what a burner phone is

Despite taking slight issue with the headline—as one wouldn’t round down the gap in the Nixon tapes down to a quarter-of-an-hour rather than citing the full eighteen-and-a-half minutes, the reporting on the on the omissions of the presidential daily diary (PDD) and call log is revealing that an nearly eight hour block of time is missing from Trump’s activities on 6 January 2021, the date of the attack on the US Capitol, is a devastating indictment and highly incriminating, especially for those communications that have been verified to have taken place, despite not being reflected in the archives. The committee investigating the insurrection, suspecting a cover-up, are looking for witness testimony in order to fill in the gap as the violence was unfolding. This news comes at the same time as a federal judge rules that Trump—on the advice of his legal counsel—committed felonies on several counts in his scheme to overturn the election, opening up the possibility to subpoena more documents and communication between the Trump administration and legal team, overriding the protections of attorney-client privilege, another favoured shield to invoke by those with something to hide.

Sunday, 27 March 2022

i too sing america

While members of the GOP in the US Senate viciously berated Supreme Court nominee Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson with contrived slights and pretend outrage (these childish, cruel and acutely embarrassing spectacles and tantrums have been nearly enough to make me give up about the prospect of reform and justice in the US altogether—at least to the point of refraining from comment or noting consequence) Senator Cory Booker (Democrat representing the state of New Jersey) turned to poetry for the solace and perspective that only verse can provide on the second day of Jackson’s confirmation hearings with Langston Hughes’ “Let America Be America Again,” citing the second to last stanza of the 1935 poem (which was incidentally also candidate’s John Kerry’s campaign slogan for his 2004 presidential run):

O, yes,
I say it plain,
America never was America to me,
And yet I swear this oath—
America will be!

The continual parenthetical aside through the piece rings as a promise, undelivered, unrealised progressively more hollow and irredeemable, and almost as dead at the time of writing as it can seem today—nearly but not entirely.  We don’t have the luxury of giving up.

Saturday, 19 March 2022

6x6

letters of marque and reprisal: US congress—which has displayed some rare moments of unity lately with abolishing Day Light Saving time and agreeing on a budget—looks also poised to commission piracy and the seizure of oligarchs’ assets  

unit patches: an assortment of mission badges from the US Space Force—see also here and here  

redacted: Sunshine Week and the least forthcoming US government agencies  

ambassador, the thane of cawdor / dialect so def, it’ll rip up the floor: notes on rap and language  

album amicorum: revisiting the seventh century friend book, das GroรŸe Stammbuch, of diplomat and influencer Philipp Hainhofer  

uncle vanya’s: after mass exodus of Western companies, Russia seems poised to appropriate and nationalise franchises

Monday, 7 March 2022

forwarding order

Though not quite undertaken as an official act of righteous odonymy just yet (see previously here and here), we discover that a group of peaceful protesters have re-addressed the Russian embassy in Washington, DC so that correspondence and directions point to Zelenskyy Way. We’ll see if this temporary re-designation might become something permanent.

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.

Saturday, 5 March 2022

spheres of influence

Though not coined by the British statesman and by then former Prime Minister, the use of term Iron Curtain metaphorically to describe the demarcation of Western and Eastern Europe saw its popularity and parlance cemented in an address given by Winston Churchill on this day in 1946 at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. Originally used in the literal sense as fire break—Eisener Vorhang—installed in theatres to prevent flames from spreading from the stage to audience or vice-versa but used figuratively several times to denote the end of a geopolitical arrangement in time or space (now whose tract and trace is repurposed as something verdant—see also here, here and here), Churchill’s “Sinews of Peace” speech, delivered soon after the end of World War II was a lecture on tensions and strained relationships that led to the Cold War, that term itself promulgated five days later in a newspaper article by The Observer correspondent George Orwell.

Saturday, 26 February 2022

uncontrolled deorbit

Unhinged and counter to the continued spirit of competition and cooperation that sustained a polarised world—at least until billionaires started sucking all the air of the room with their ambitions, the chief of the Russian space agency (Roscosmos) suggests that a not asymmetrical response to mounting sanctions levied against Russia for invading Ukraine would be to crash the International Space Station with North America, Europe, India or China all being within the path of impact. While Russia modules do help keep the five-hundred tonne structure aloft and help to dodge space debris, the process would note be immediate and orbit would degrade over several years, with time for it to be restored.

8x8

squirrel monkey: imagining Wordle vintage 1985—see also  

ะผะธัั‚ะตั†ั‚ะฒะพ: Ukrainian art community despairs as invasion advances

rumble: the overlooked musical virtuosity of Link Wray  

snake island: Ukrainian soldiers stand their ground and face off a battleship defending a military outpost on Zmiinyi, the rocky islet where Achilles was entombed 

regression to the mean: a spate of controversial laws passed in the US to curtail discussions in classroom that would make straight, white cis people uncomfortable (previously)

existential crisis: dread creeps into the everyday and makes it difficult to focus on what’s vital and the ultimately inconsequential  

ะฐั€ั…ั–ั‚ะตะบั‚ัƒั€ะฝะพั—: Ukrainian designers and architects fight back against Russian incursion  

acrophobia: sociable early internet word game that solicited wrong answers only plus several contemporaries