Monday, 29 August 2022

8x8 (10. 095)

clippit: a biography of the MicroSoft Office virtual assistant  

banana for scale: megalophobia-inducing images to make you as a human feel small and insignificant  

scotty, bones and chekov: Tom Snyder (previously) interviews Star Trek personalities during a 1976 convention 

flagship store: fashion brand Gucci opens up in Detroit—via Nag on the Lake  

pillow-talk: the history of bundling, the sixteenth and seventeenth custom of allowing pre-martial sleeping arrangements—via Messy Nessy Chic 

sabbatical: oh no—after seventeen years Futility Closet is taking a hiatus—see also  

it’s a reference to don quixote: a selection of literary nods from They Might Be Giants—see previously  

book it: incentivising reading with pizza

Sunday, 6 February 2022


platinum geezer: our London correspondent reflects on the Queen’s jubilee by the numbers  

snow-drifting: artist Alexander Deineka’s celebration of winter sports in the USSR  

nunsexmonkrock: Nina Hagen’s (previously) legendary masterpiece extolled as it deserves  

definitely did not used to be a pizza hut: an investigation into the camouflage (see previously) of franchise blight—via the morning news  

biblioclasm: more books, press outlets, educators under fire as potentially subversive, challenging  

king of the mountain: fours goats play on a sheet metal shelter  

celebrity-ntf complex: the race is on to find the remaining marks and rubes before the bottom falls out

cockney cats: vintage feline photos collected by Spitalfields Life  

hrm: Pietro Annigoni’s 1969 portrait of the Queen

Thursday, 3 February 2022


1:12: a 1983 architectural magazine’s call for dollhouses  

way-finder: a friendly reminder about the most important app ever made 

i can’t hear you—i’m wearing a towel: dated New Yorker cartoons whose punchline has become a depiction of the everyday—via Waxy  

fisheye lens: a floating exhibit platform showcases Norwegian aquaculture practises 

philately: a brilliant abecedarium (see previously) of vintage postage stamps from around the world  

tensor strength: researchers engineer new material that can absorb and release enormous amounts of energy—like super-charged rubber band, via Slashdot  

the vault of contemporary art: a collection of architectural sketches and schematics from a Things Magazine omnibus post on the subject

Thursday, 25 November 2021

now i work at the pizza pizza

A brief discussion of the tabletop shuffleboard-like, disk-flicking game that the interlocutors mostly knew from the lyric from the song “King of Spain,” “playing crokinole with the Princess of Monaco” transported me back aeons ago when I was volunteer “security detail” (i.e., checking wrist-bands and stamps of people coming and going between different venues) at a music festival in Vermont with headliner Ani DiFranco and also featuring acts like Moxy Frรผvous (1989 - 2001) with their ballad retelling the Prince and Pauper story. Now I eat humble pie.

Saturday, 16 October 2021


pour homme, femme, et grenouille: Amphรญbฤซa, Kermit the Frog’s signature scent from 1995  

hampsternomics: a look at how the attention economy has matured through the lens of a quarter-century old meme—see previously 

a day without rain: Endless Enya (previously) from Mischief Magazine—via Web Curios  

memento mori: a treasury of macabre reminders of death’s inevitability  

corvid catalogue: counting crows of literature  

sneakernet: non-existent virtual trainers dreamed up by artificial intelligence (see also)—via ibฤซdem  

pietra per pizza: a deep-dive into the history of the cooking accessory convinces one individual it isn’t just a trendy gimmick

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Having arrived late at our third choice campsite near the city of Vadstena—for which everything ultimately worked out though it was extra driving, on the lakefront, we opted instead for pizza from the resident restauranteur and we’re delighted to discover not only the Swedish version of the meal that one can’t get wrong (doughy but cheesy and delicious) but also that the twelve percent value added tax applied to take-out is called—because we taught you how to budget and cook for yourself—is abbreviated as “Moms.”
Skydad alternatively is the Swedish term for protection, security. Though the campgrounds were crowded,the protracted period of dusk as the sun never quite sets afforded some nice vistas of the lake beyond.

Sunday, 30 May 2021

small barnstar

Despite having not seen another contending example of a table of contents that I can recall lending outsized credence or interest to an otherwise dull article about an Italian-cuisine-inspired restaurant chain (other franchises aren’t so elevated—just with a section In Popular Culture, Litigation or Controversies—even more of a furore could be made of it, like with one Charles Entertainment Cheese and rebranding under bandmate Pasqually P. Pieplate), I am confident that there is a category dedicated to just that—likely contained herein. We wonder if they might mandate that the sensationalism be toned-down a notch.

Saturday, 22 May 2021


Nearly a year and a half after the minting of the first blocks of the chain and demonstration that block chain was viable in code as a reusable proof-of-work system (a cryptographic transfer wherein one party shows to another that an established amount of computational effort has been expended with no other disclosure between the two sides), the first known cryptocurrency commercial transaction (see also) occurred between a programmer and a pizza chain, the later exchanging ten thousand bitcoin for two pies on this day in 2010. At the time of publication, this figure is valued at over three-hundred thirteen million euro.

Monday, 5 April 2021


snuggling cygnets: avian photography of the year, also known as b-poty for short—via Colossal  

untitled pizza movie: documenting change in New York City slice-by-slice  

aqen the ferryman: Cairo hosts a parade for a score of royal mummies moving to a new museum—via Super Punch  

salvator metaversi: art historian turns supposed last Leonardo into an NFT to help out the family who sold it to unscrupulous art dealers 

theatre of machines: intricate gear illustrations from Agostino Ramelli (see also here and here)  

scenes from a mall: footage from the Southdale Centre’s grand opening in 1956  

knock knock: a swan terrorising a neighbourhood in Northampton—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

Wednesday, 3 March 2021


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

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

puce chintz alert: a truly cursed McMansion built in 1978  

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

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

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

Sunday, 29 November 2020


Originally created by programmer Allan Alcorn as a training exercise assignment from Atari co-founder Nolan Bushnell (also the businessman responsible for Chuck E. Cheese restaurants—establishing a venue and a franchise for arcade games), Pong—the table tennis themed video game, was released on this day in 1972, having been prototyped at a local bar in Sunnyvale, California since August of that year.

Patrons visited Andy Capp’s tavern just to play the game, at a quarter per play with each unit projected to generate forty dollars a day, quadruple the revenue of other coin operated entertainments like jukeboxes and pinball machines. Among the first commercially successful ventures in the field, Pong was instrumental in establishing the industry of gaming and drove emulation and competition.

Wednesday, 28 October 2020

putt putt to the pizza hut

We rather enjoyed the brand-recognition and the now expanded font specimen associated with the franchise Pizza Hut—which until recently was restricted to the seven letters under that red roof, in this brief appreciation from Print Magazine. Since the first restaurant opened in 1958 in Wichita, Kansas, their logo and corporate image has gone through quite a few permutations and experiments (see also here and here) that reflected the aesthetic of the times but the classic, iconic hut was used from 1967 until 1999—only to be reprised last year.

Friday, 22 May 2020

power pellet

First appearing in limited release in Tokyo arcades on this day in 1980 and originally called Puck Man (see also) from the onomatopoetic gobbling om-nom paku paku taberu—though that was changed once developers realised that the potential and temptation for defacement would be high, especially in foreign markets, Pac-Man was an instant and transformative hit with players, helping to expand and legitimise the video game industry. Working for Namco, programmer and game designer Toru Iwatani was inspired to make the protagonist by a pizza with a slice taken out. Much more gaming history and lore at Kotaku at the link above.

Tuesday, 19 May 2020

pizza arbitrage or avoid the noid

First rejecting the characterisation of the whole house of cards of mail order schemes that pushes no cost merchandise in exchange for favourable reviews and nights on the town fuelled and funded via recommendations as too unsustainable to be believed and then learning of the seemingly contradictory exorbitant fees that food delivery aggregators charge to restaurants for membership, I was really taken aback by this bit of trading and markets incongruity that seems to be an example of business working for exposure.
Essentially the delivery service that a pizzeria proprietor uses undercuts the price paid per pizza taken from the order-in diner—the result being, experimentally verified, it being more profitable for the eatery to order their own pizzas and netting the difference. Of course, this mismatch and spreading out risk wouldn’t be sustainable with a network of restauranteurs capitalising on this sort of scheme but it’s the bubble and burst cycle that’s reflected in macroeconomics all the time—strange as it seems on this level. These platforms and the exploitative gig empire, a sheen of refinement, sophistication and technical skill but all held together with great effort and with the most precarious and vulnerable doing the most work, are subsidised by bigger platforms and by our own delusions of taking part and conceits of convenience.

Sunday, 1 December 2019

ะฟะธั†ั†ะฐ ั…ะฐั‚

Nearly as strange and forgotten as the time when Pepsi Cola had the second largest naval fleet in the world, Miss Cellania reminds us of the time in 1997 when Mikhail Gorbachev was promoting an international pizza franchise (see also).
It can be a bit treacherous for leaders to outlive their countries or for celebrities or politicians to otherwise survive beyond their careers when there’s little prospect for a next chapter and every time a moment like this appears in a collection of clips of embarrassing star endorsements, it does leave a bit of a breadcrumb of clickbait behind, yet there’s a truly complex narrative and history encapsulated in this sixty-second spot that’s more respectful than most advertising to geopolitics and recent history and one worth exploring in detail.

Sunday, 10 November 2019

secret agent man

While better known for his role as the music director for the Godfather franchise of film and for his award-winning score for Pizza Connection (1985, originally called The Sicilian Connection until realising that that title had already been taken, composer Carlo Savina (*1919 – †2002) was incredibly prolific, behind the soundtracks of dozens and dozens of movies, including for numerous Spaghetti Westerns, Sword-and-Sandal dramas (previously, known as pepla in Italian, after the Greek full body gown, แฝ ฯ€ฮญฯ€ฮปฮฟฯ‚, a period costume from those movies) and the later profusion of Eurospy features of the mid 1960s. This 1966 Goldsnake ‘Anonima Killers’ (with plenty of alternate titles for foreign markets) is a good number to start with. More to explore at the link above.

Wednesday, 2 October 2019


surveillance cinema: iconic movie scenes from the perspective of security cameras, via Kottke’s Quick Links

take this job and fill it: a satisfying gallery of resignation letters

sight safari: a map application that draws on Wikipedia’s proximity function (previously) to generate the most scenic routes

fortress america: Trump wanted to fortify border wall with snake- and alligator-filled moats

๐Ÿ•: a startup in Seattle demonstrates a mobile robotic chef that makes up to three hundred pizzas an hour, via Slashdot

flyover: a cache of gorgeous, high-resolution images of our planetary neighbour courtesy of the Mars Express orbiter

biogarmentry: living apparel made from biofabricated textiles photosynthesise

pareidolia: a surveillance camera detects a face in the snow and won’t shut up about it

Sunday, 4 November 2018


gooey, crunchy, cheesy, yummy: Pizza: the Musical by Anthony Clune, Sarah Fiete and Eric Tait, via Everlasting Blört

craft master: paint by numbers with Dan Robbins, an appreciation from Nag on the Lake plus lots more to discover

bauhaus 100: Dezeen continues its special series on the upcoming centenary of the art movement with a profile of Walter Gropius

corporate identity: a retrospective look at the design studio of Massimo Vignelli (previously) and cohorts

rock, paper, scissors: agitating militia groups expected to surge at the border present a more dangerous challenge than the refugees

ghastlygun tinies: MAD magazine remixes Edward Gorey’s macabrely doomed children for the era of school shootings, via Boing Boing

the shape of water: vintage illustration of the alien beauty of the nudibranchia (previously here and here)

Monday, 4 December 2017

sloppy joes

A quick read of the tea leaves on how the US Department of Agriculture—the agency responsible for maintaining the integrity of America’s foodstuffs—might relax some of the stricter standards put in place to ensure that public school meal programmes (for comparison, here are some global examples) were healthful and nourishing, Naked Capitalism hit upon an interesting, adjacent campaign combatting food-waste.
Many of the dissenting voices who’ll advocate classifying catsup the tomato paste of pizza as a vegetable say that kids end up throwing away big portion of these healthier meals and while the problems that afflict institutional lunches are not new and schools have challenges staying in compliance, some districts are engaging their pupils by setting food sharing and donation programmes to reduce the amount of food that gets thrown away. Students are required to fill their trays with a balanced meal—including a portion of vegetables, a carton of milk, et cetera—but after passing through the line, they are empowered to trade something unwanted (within reason) for an extra helping of something desired and know that they are giving food away to the hungry and disadvantaged of their communities. Instead of ingratiating processed foods at a formative age, it’s probably a far more important lesson to imprint that waste and choice has consequences.

Saturday, 8 April 2017

neapoliatano or avoid the noid

Though the pedigree and provenance might not be as directly royal as this bit of apocrypha relates, there’s no reason to doubt the deliciousness of pizza, which via Mental Floss legend holds was first delivered in 1889. The king Umberto Ranieri Carlo Emanuele Giovanni Maria Fernando Eugenio di Savoia and the queen consort Margherita Maria Teresa Giovanna of a newly united Italy were on a good-will mission, touring every region of their kingdom.
The couple who represented the continuation of the Savoy dynasty were on a hearts-and-minds stint in Naples, where he had survived an assassination attempt a decade prior, when the queen expressed a loss of appetite for their usually fancy French-influenced fare and longed for some authentic, local cuisine—which has some claim to the dish as a matter of national pride. The story goes that the most renowned local chef was commissioned to deliver to the royal residence a selection of what would appear on a peasant’s menu—for which three pizza-pies were prepared. The queen found the simple combination of white mozzarella, red tomatoes topped with green basil to be by far the most delicious—arranged purposefully with the colours of the banner of the united peninsula. The basic pizza, the margherita was supposedly named in her honour.