Friday, 12 March 2021


Via Language Hat, we are referred to a cartographic website called mapologies that specialise in linguistic, dialectical demarcation (see also here and here), like the Apfel-Appel line. It was not only engrossing to see the shifting sentiment, etymologies and root languages (like this toasting map of Europe) but also the distribution of use for a certain item or animal, like the multiple Spanish words for popcorn across the language’s Sprachraum, as attested by the saying “No two popcorns are called the same,” unsurprising as maize is native to the Americas but nonetheless the variety is striking.

Monday, 22 February 2021


vanishing london: the Topographical Society laments and documents changes to the city—1900 to 1939 

a murder of crows: a captivating thread about accidentally creating a fiercely loyal avian regimen 

kaitenzushi: a 1948 proposal to move diners from course to course  

genius loci: an investigation into the character Tom Bombadil from the Middle Earth legendarium 

forwarding address: moving a Victorian mansion in San Francisco

Friday, 12 February 2021

the one that got away

Via our peripatetic companion, Things Magazine, we learn about a centuries’ old Japanese method that fishermen used as a means of recordkeeping for logging their catch that is still employed though somewhat rarefied as an art form. ้ญšๆ‹“ (gyotaku, from fish + [stone] impression) is a printmaking technique which renders caught subjects as printing plates, brushing them with ink and carefully pressing a rice paper sheet over it. Details about the fish species, location and other conditions were captioned with the image along with an authenticating, notarising seal and traditionally a few gyotaku exemplars were prepared and dispatched to sellers as way of evaluating the quality of the harvest, which could also be thought of a regulatory measure to “brand” stocks and mitigate over-fishing. The detail transferred in the anatomy of aquaculture represents one of the first large scale nature studies.

Thursday, 11 February 2021


penne, named for the nib of a quill: a trilingual exploration of past etymology—see also 

i’m live—i’m not a cat: kitten-filter mishap for attorney’s teleconference is could become this era’s poster image 

so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause: the honourable senator from Naboo was the deciding vote that allowed the Palpatine to become Emperor as explored scene-by-scene by a group of screenwriters constructing the finest Star Wars story that will be never made

opmerkelijke zaken: mushroom bricks, bricks reinforced with plastic waste plus more from the peripatetic Pasa Bon!  

pelagic zone: winners of the 2021 Underwater Photography contest announced 

cosy web: the Multiverse Diary project, a collaboration that celebrates the old school blog and wiki aesthetic for branching out  

pov: Ancient China on Rome, the Islamic world on India and other historical perspectives narrative on Voices of the Past 

uunifetapasta: where the phenomenon of TikTok Pasta came from and where it might lead

Saturday, 30 January 2021

pigs is pigs

The Friz Freleng short first released on this day in 1937 relays the seemingly insatiable gluttony of one Piggy Hamhock (Porky’s brother, though last seen in this cartoon) and the hardship it has caused the family.

Falling into a food coma after receiving chiding and warnings from his mother that he needs to reform his eating habits, Piggy has a fugue-like dream that he is lured into the laboratory of a mad scientist, who subjects Piggy to a force-feeding by a tireless machine. Piggy waddles away but on the way out the door, takes a drumstick, which proves too much. Awakened from the dream, Piggy is relieved that he is back home and unharmed but devours breakfast without restraint—apparently none the wiser for his experience. Though Freleng’s cartoon shares the same name it does not tell the same story about a rapidly reproducing pair of guinea pigs whose numbers soon grow out of control from a 1905 Ellis Parker Butler work—which went on to inspire a Disney animation in 1954 and the 1967 “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

Thursday, 14 January 2021


Though one might have the inclination to dismiss these findings as patently obvious, a US academic study shows a correlation between legalisation of recreation cannabis consumption and junk food sales—up to five percent. Whereas most accept that marijuana in itself is harmless if not beneficial, it does have unintended after effects that confirm stereotypical beliefs about smoking. As a counterbalance that rather tips the scales in the opposite direction, there is also as much as a twelve percent dip in alcohol sales found in the same jurisdictions. The snacks and drinks lobby peddled state legislatures with opposing overtures.

Saturday, 9 January 2021


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. 

Saturday, 12 December 2020

sant kaourintin

First bishop of Quimper and patron of the west coast of Breton, Cornouaille (†460)—cognate with Cornwall just across the Channel, as well as of seafood, Saint Corentin is venerated on this day. Considered one of the seven founding evangelisers of the peninsula and counted as part of the pilgrimage circuit Tro Breiz (see link up top), Corentin was living humbly as a hermit, tending a fish in a fountain, which according to legend would offer itself to Corentin, who would take a small morsel for sustenance which would miraculous regrow without harming the fish (depicted in his iconography along with a bishop’s mitre), when as his reputation for humanitarian acts and humility preceded him, he was created bishop at the order of King Gradlon of Ys and dispatched to be concecrated by Saint Martin. Corentin’s companions were Saint Tudy of Trรฉguier and Saint Guรฉnolรฉ, founder of Landรฉvennec Abbey.

Friday, 11 December 2020


repetition: an exploration of built-environments as an audio-visual landscape of infinite regression  

a pigment of our imagination: the illusory nature of colour  

nationally determined contributions: European Union agrees to more than halve its carbon emissions by 2030—via Slashdot 

awesome sauce: a safari-pak of canned-meats from 1967 

road gritters: track Scotland’s fleet of snow-plows in real time by name  

training a generation of future karens: this scholastic kids books series are clearly coding adults as happy and confident with their life choices as monsters and misfits—via Super Punch 

a universe of imagination: revisiting a classic and inspiring documentary (previously) on cosmology on its sixtieth anniversary

Saturday, 24 October 2020


bongo cat: a joyous, simple noisemaker—via Boing Boing  

der orchideengarten: Austrian fantasy-horror revue that prefigured and informed Weird Tales and related properties  

backscatter: spooky, simple photography techniques and visual effects to haunt one’s Halloween picture portfolio 

porto-potty: Austrian postal service issues a special, rather expensive toilet-paper stamp whose proceeds go to charities benefiting those impacted most by COVID-19 

llama glama: a llama-based webfont—via Pasa Bon!  

smitten kitchen: for this US Food Day (made-up as a counterpart to Earth Day but never really took off) a look into the recipe library of Georgia O’Keeffe plus others  

clean up on aisle four: glass-floor of a supermarket in Dublin reveals a millennium old glimpse of Hiberno-Norse history (see also here and here

flags and drums: young brothers in Pakistan play BBC News theme on the table

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

i’ll have what she’s having

Waxing nostalgic for the days when we could eat out, Nag on the Lake directs our attention to a series of phrases wait staff may have once (and will have to contend with again, God willing) bemoaned over but are now missing their guests presented on vintage pre-printed dining ledgers.  Click through to check out more graphically enhanced ephemera from Laundry Room Studios.  What familiar inanities and declarations from the before times are you missing right now?

Saturday, 3 October 2020


Visiting a small harvest festival nearby held on Germany Unity Day, H and I looked for some autumn accents for the house and found several stalls selling traditional onion braids (Zwiebelzรถpfe). 

Sometimes also incorporating garlic bulbs, the braids adorned craftily with dried wild flowers were not customarily only for decorative and storage, preservative purposes but moreover for the notion that the power of the talisman would stave off illness and harm from hearth and home. Right now we can all use all the help we can muster. Singly, onions were worn as amulets in medieval times to ward off the plague, and a New Year’s Eve custom (divination from onions is called cromniomancysee also) in various regions, especially in the Erzgebirge, called for the dicing of an onion into twelve sections and sprinkling each bowl with salt to forecast the precipitation for each month of the year to come as the moisture drawn out of each section by the next morning would predict that month’s rainfall.

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, 31 August 2020

petit gรขteau

Via the always fabulous Everlasting Blรถrt, we are treated to the highly satisfying comparison thread we didn’t know we needed in English actor Tom Hiddleston juxtaposed with the almond meringue confection macarons (macaroons—French words borrowed into English in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were given an –oon ending) that mirror his wardrobe. A macron, on the other hand, is a genus of sea slugs in deference to this other series of comparative images.

Friday, 21 August 2020


Present /&/ Correct showcases a nice collection of vintage ekiben wrappers—a portmanteau of the words for railway and bento boxed meals (้ง…ๅผ).
The latter came from a Chinese term meaning convenience and around since at least the thirteenth century. Though there was a decline in quality and artfulness of these prepared snacks for train passengers with quicker journeys and the increased popularity of flying, ekiban are seeing a revival as on onboard food option and have since been at least offered as take-away fare inside stations, department stores and airports. Given this longevity (prior to the age of transporation), these boxes are bearers of a lot of culture, expectations and performance and several other specialty types have been developed, including shidashi—a catered meal ate a social occasion like a wedding or a funeral, kyaraben—a bento meant to resemble a favourite cartoon character, and a shikaeshiben (ไป•่ฟ”ใ—ๅผ)—that is, a revenge bento, where the preparer uses the boxed lunch to get back at the recipient by writing confessions or insults in the food or by making it inedible or possibly poisoned.

Saturday, 1 August 2020


From the Anglo-Saxon for “loaf mass,” Lammas Day is celebrated in some parts of the northern hemisphere on the first of August, Lammastide falling halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, by bringing bread to the church made of the first fruits of the season to be used for communion. Traditionally, members of the clergy reciprocally made a procession to local bakeries to bless them as a profession (it is a good reason to bring out ye old breadmaker) and is a syncretism, substitution for the Gaelic festival to herald the beginning of harvest time called Lughnasadh (Lรบnasa, Lรนnastal, Luanistyn) readopted by practitioners of Celtic neopaganism.

Sunday, 26 July 2020


you gotta eat them plums: an arcade version of William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say” (see previously)—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

op art: more on the Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (see previously, born Gyล‘zล‘ Vรกsรกrhelyi, *1906 – †1997) whose work informed the movement

earth for scale: ESA solar probe finds new “campfire” phenomena on the Sun

manhatta: a 1921 short considered America’s first avant-garde experiment set to the verse of Walt Whitman

slob serif: awful typefaces (not this one) for awful protests—via Memo of the Air

primary pigments: more colour stories (see also) from Public Domain Review

hasta la pasta: the history behind linguini, fusilli and every variety in between

Monday, 13 July 2020


flotus: chainsaw sculpture of Melania Trump erected in her hometown torched on US Independence Day

[screaming internally]: assorted news items including thrill ride guidance from Japan

holy wisdom: Turkey reconsecrates Hagia Sophia as a mosque after eight decades as a museum

dining alfresco: the variety of New York’s newly founded streateries

mallrats: a tour of shopping galleries past

strike a pose: professional model An Tiantian shows off her photogenic gestures

swamping the drain: Trump wines and dines wealthy campaign donors while America slides into failed statehood

Monday, 25 May 2020

✨#12 – boycotting cheese✨

A family acquaintance has been confined to a hotel and Saudi Arabia, one twitter personality reports, and shares this image of a menu card that strikes me as delightfully pure—first insofar as they would go to such lengths to accommodate Western guests, including at a time like this—during the pandemic, whom was stranded and staying for longer than expected plus through the month of Ramadan.
I also like the level of trust vested in a translating algorithm—since absent anything to check it against, why would one have reason to doubt? Also, interestingly, punctuation seems as important as letters, which seems right in hindsight for someone unfamiliar with the script but had not occurred to me before. That said, tag yourself. Foul, fool, full is probably fลซl mudammas—stewed, seasoned fava beans—which is very delicious. We had a hard time choosing between Chicken Dump Truck, A Regular Erika or She is Suspicious of Cheese—and wonder what the story is behind dishes such as Friday, Tuna is a Problem and Worried. Beans, gentlemen.

Monday, 13 January 2020

flexitarian or opportunistic omnivory

While we think it’s a case of moral panic on the part of the beef and dairy producers to try to outlaw calling an item almond milk or a meatless burger and no one will be duped or harmed by it, we agree with Cynical-C in finding something insidious and dishonest in the label plant-based itself.
Marketing machines are creating a false dichotomy and are on the verge of forcing consumers to choose between health and animal-welfare and the environment when we can indeed have and ought to demand both. Butter from plants is after all just a much-maligned margarine re-branded and such a diet that might have been called vegan—or aspiring in that direction, is shunted under that all-encompassing (and therefore empty) รฆgis to avoid past conceptions and associations. Not all food substitutes for a carnivorous entree and we shouldn’t let contentious marketers convince us otherwise.