Sunday, 7 November 2021

four seasons total documentary

Via Miss Cellania, we are treated to a preview of the documentary, premiering in full on the occasion of the press conference’s one year anniversary, about the venue (see previously here and here) booked by the Trump campaign by mistake that became a media sensation from the perspective of the landscapers that ensured the boon and bane of viral fame.

Monday, 25 October 2021

urgent fury

Along with a coalition of six Caribbean partner states, the United States embarked on this day in 1983 on its first and only military victory since partaking in World War II with its predawn invasion of Grenada, the island nation recently decolonized and independent from the United Kingdom. Characterised by outsiders as a Marxist-Leninist vanguard organization, the New Joint Endeavor for Welfare, Education and Liberation, the New JEWEL movement, chartered prior to attaining its self-governing status, had seized power in a peaceful coup from the first ministry installed after the UK’s departure.

Internal struggles among party leadership escalated to an armed confrontation that resulted in the killing of the movement's leader, Maurice Bishop, and a group of his supporters once the shooting began under still disputed and unresolved circumstances, and in turn elevated into an international crisis with the United States lobbying for immediate intervention.
Though transparently a pretext for the invasion and occupation, Ronald Reagan, wanting to forestall a repeat of the Iran Hostage Crisis, attributed his actions to “concerns over the six hundred US medical students on the island,” (the country offering medical school at affordable rates and presenting an attractive alternative to US tutition) and remained steadfast in his decision despite nearly universal condemnation and censure in the UN. Under the leadership of Major General Norman Schwartzkopf, Cuban presence was expelled to prevent further communist influence and a government friendly to capitalists' interest was propped up, though the prevailing narrative is still a contentious one and not authored by the Grenadians.

Sunday, 12 September 2021

bergruine hutsburg

Having lost the trail a couple weeks ago trying to hike up to the ruined donjon, isolated and nearly forgotten though once one of the most imposing fortifications in the area due to its location on the former border between East and West Germany, whilst trying to approach it from the Bavarian side, we ventured up the Hutsburg to see the eponymous fortress from the thรผringischer side.
First passing through the ghostly remnants of villages deemed a liability owing to their nearness to the border (previously here and here), we slowly climbed up the mountain and at the wooded summit encountered the tall of the shield wall and foundations, with the sun shining through the otherwise dark forest through the ancient portal.
Though far older than its first documented reference in the early twelfth century (possibly from the four hundreds in some form of fort), I suspect that these runes were a more recent graffito. It was a strategic possession of the counts of Henneberg and degenerated over the years as the power of the family waned to little more than an outpost for slum lords—Raubritter, literal robber barons in the sense of unscrupulous feudal landowners who imposed higher taxes without the approval of a higher authority and expropriation, culminating with the intervention of the king in the fabled execution of a gang of such bandits after a a siege lasting weeks (the subject of a German nursery rhyme:
Ernst war sie eine stoles Feste / doch heute sieht man our noch Reste. Mit Nรผrnberge Schraubenzeug ward sie gebrochen / Und zweiundviersig Rรคuber kamen hervorgekrochen. Noch erhobenen Hauptes und voller Stolz, / kรผrtze man sie gleich um selbiges, was Solls.
Basically, Once a proud Fort, but today only rubble remains / Battered with catapults / forty-two robbers emerged / Hoisted by their own petard) and was passed through the lordship of Tann and Kere.
The bulwark was not to meet its final fate and fall into ruin and disrepair until the Peasants’ Revolt of 1525 (die Bauernkrieg, see also) when the rebellion successfully stormed and took the castle, the Hutsburg being one of the few castles of the Rhรถn active at the time of its taking, most empty and irrelevant at this point in history and under the administration of a bailiff. Though the victory was not strategically significant, it was important symbolically as overthrowing the trapping and tool of oppression and serfdom.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

7x7

terrorstorm: the garbage documentaries that fulled the cult of conspiracy theorist, fragility and New Age Paranoia  

chestbursters and facehuggers:an official Alien xenomorph cookbook to liven up the dinner table  

en hobbits รคventyr: Moomins’ creator Tove Jansson illustrates Tolkien’s work 

skeuomorphs: vestigial, hidden parts of consumer electronics  

docudrama: a guide to making a Netflix style serial on the topic of one’s choosing  

next sunday a.d.: a neglected remix, compilation of the MST3K Satellite of Love theme  

white rabbit: redpilling (previously) and the regime

Wednesday, 8 September 2021

proclamation 4311

Issued on this day in 1974 by American president Gerald Ford, the directive granted a full and unconditional pardon to his immediate predecessor for any crimes he may have committed against the United States as its leader. In response to public outcry Ford defended his decision to exercise his prerogative in excusing Nixon, particularly over the Watergate Scandal (previously), saying it was for the good of the country to close this tragic chapter. Privately, after leaving office, Ford justified his actions by keeping on his person—in his wallet—a copy of a 1915 US Supreme Court decision that affirmed the notion that accepting a pardon implies a confession of guilt. I’m sure that assuaged his conscience.

Friday, 3 September 2021

it’s the plumber—we’ve come to fix the sink

Under the direction of US presidential advisor John Ehrlichman coordinated a team of burglars who would go on to attempt the Watergate break in (previously) to infiltrate the offices of Washington, DC psychiatrist Lewis Fielding also on this day in 1971. Dr. Fielding was treating former US Department of Defence contractor with the RAND corporation Daniel Ellsberg, whom had leaked the “Pentagon Papers” the prior year to the press. Although they found Ellsberg’s file, the operation yielded no useful information.

Saturday, 28 August 2021

8x8

letraset press: a collection of instant lettering dry-transfer sheets (see previously) from Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals 

the woman who stared at the sun: the circumstance and contributions to astronomy of Hisako Koyama who helped hone our understanding of solar cycles 

a good walk spoiled: an in-depth look at how golf course exacerbate the housing shortage  

couch gag: a clever individual shares their construction of a miniature replica of the Simpsons’ purple television set that plays random episodes 

one week supply: a podcast discussing Damn Interesting’s curated links section 

the china syndrome: a super-tunnel simulator that illustrates the quickest, shortest routes to connecting points around the globe—see also  

tartu snail tower: the spiralling skyscraper in Estonia’s second city  

the art of letters: a typographical study from Mark Gowing

Sunday, 15 August 2021

i have directed secretary connolly to suspend temporarily the convertibility of the dollar into gold or other reserve assets, except in amounts and conditions determined to be in the interest of monetary stability and in the best interest of the united states

Effectively ending the economic arrangement among Canadian, Western Europe, Australia and Japan since 1944, the Bretton Woods system (see previously), the first fully negotiated monetary order recognised across independent polities that regulated exchange rates by pinning national currencies to the price of gold under the supervision of the International Monetary Fund, American president Richard Nixon announced, unilaterally, that on this day in 1971 the dollars could no longer be freely converted to their worth in gold. Rendered a fiat currency instead of a representation of intrinsic value, only upheld by the consent of the parties engaged in trade for goods or services, many other signatories soon followed suit and untethered their money. This jarring economic policy change was the culmination of several intervention strategies undertaken by the Nixon administration to curb inflation incurred as the world reserve currency (privilรจge exorbitant as the US could print money at virtually no cost, but subsidised by the rest of the world, each bank note expatriated cost face value in actual goods), preceded by wage and price freezes and raising tariffs. Loosing the ability to service indebtedness over the war in Vietnam, Nixon accused other nations of gaming the system and using established conventions to devalue their currency to maintain a competitive advantage. The US dollar dropped precipitously in value shortly thereafter and led to the the stagflation that typifies the decade and general failure of wages to rise proportionally with the increasing prices of vital things like healthcare, education, rents and food.

Wednesday, 4 August 2021

cooling the mark out

The always engrossing house blog of San Francisco’s DNA Lounge explores the in-grouping of confidence artistry and the seemingly irrational behaviour of working against one’s own self-interest through the authoritative study of the subject in the titular 1952 essay by social psychologist Erving Goffman, lucidly illustrating the predictable stages of those defrauded and the eventual recognition of the scam that instead of leading towards reconciliation engenders such shame and fear of ostracism rather rewards those who become more trenchant in proclaiming their beliefs. Different than other forms of humiliation, those conned can defer shattering their self-image by upholding their dishonest narrative for as long as possible at the expense of society as a whole, in turn convincing others. ‘Coolers’ are affiliates of the person orchestrating the con who tamp down self-reflection by promoting self-blame and doubt over their reference group, re-constituting their self-image with that dogma even more integral to their identity.

Friday, 9 July 2021

old rough and ready

Zachary Taylor having finally expired after an excruciating bout of indigestion from an ill-advised repast of milk and cherries on the during an especially hot Independence Day celebration, his vice president Millard Fillmore, once a contender for the distinction of being the worst ever to hold high office, Whig and backed by the nativist Know Nothing Party, but still a solid runner-up, assumed the presidency on this day in 1850.

Immediately dismissing the cabinet of predecessor, whom largely ignored Fillmore and held little ideology in common, to lobby congress for the passage of the package of bills known as the Compromise of 1850, which was seen as a concession to slave-states and enforced the law that would return fugitive enslaved people to those who claimed ownership of them anywhere within American borders. This appeasement postponed the outbreak of civil war and established the expectation of even-handed enfranchisement that continues to characterise American politics. Moreover, Fillmore was the architect for foisting trade on Japan and forcing them to open relations with the outside world and the overthrow and eventual annexation of Hawaii.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

the rose mary stretch

While later reviewing tape recording of a conversation held on this day in 1972 between White House chief-of-staff H.R. Haldeman and Richard Nixon three days after the Watergate break-in occurred, presidential secretary Ms. Woods admitted to a terrible clerical error during replay when she took a telephone call and held the combination of buttons and pedals that caused a portion of the tape to be re-recorded. Obliging Ms. Woods later demonstrated the pose that would have allowed for this accident to happen to a doubtful press, making her story all the more incredulous once it was revealed that the gap in the transcript was not the five-minute duration of the call but rather eighteen and a half minutes long. Three days after those lost conversations were held, the “smoking gun” reel documented—between the same two interlocutors—the plans to cover-up the bungled burglary and to curtail investigations by directing the Central Intelligence Agency to falsely assert to the FBI and local police that it was a matter of National Security. Once this tape became public, all remaining political support for Nixon, including fifteen Republican senators favouring acquittal, evaporated—though Nixon resigned in lieu of impeachment.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

6x6

sounds to me like someone’s got a cases of the s’posedas: an interesting look at wanna, gunna, gotta  

gable top: Japanese milk carton graphic art  

jim jordan is a scary twit whose scandals are quite crass: Bette Midler performs an homage to Mary Poppins with her “GOPs a Cult for Scammer, Liars, Thugs and Traitors” 

 yacht boy problems: Jeff Bezos’ super yacht requires its own support ship  

the green knight: the cinematic adaptation of Sir Gawain’s tale to be released this summer  

recto-verso: a look at early printing and pagination standards and practises

Monday, 19 April 2021

1600 pennsylvania avenue

Via friends of the blog Everlasting Blรถrt and Nag on the Lake we are treated to the changing interior touches that each new US presidential administration (see also) brings to the executive office, the Oval Office completed during renovations in 1909, and the choice of art, artefacts and personal effects have a symbolic resonance. The vignettes tied to each presidency as told in dรฉcor are pretty interesting—like how Dwight Eisenhower kept the furnishings of his predecessor Harry S. Truman without any significant changes other than managing to destroy the floor by neglecting to take off his golf spikes when returning from the putting green he had put on the back lawn. The tradition of keeping Swedish ivy on the mantle goes back to the Kennedy administration and the current runner was rooted from the original vine.  More at the links above.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

the thracian

Acclaimed by the Praetorian Guard as emperor in the West on this day in 238—a year later labelled by history as the Year of the Six Emperors (see also)—and reluctantly confirmed by the Roman senate who did not find the prospect of putting an oafishly large barbarian bandit in charge, Gaius Julius Verus Maximinus “Thrax” would rule for three years, the first to attain such the pinnacle of government without coming from the elite classes of the Senฤtus or knights eques. Thrax’ tumultuous reign is considered to have set in motion the Crisis of the Third Century which eventually led to its downfall and dissolution in the West and ruled mainly from Mogontiacum, capital of Germania Superior along the Rhein and from the province of Israel, where there is archaeological evidence of starting on some infrastructure work with an unfinished roadway, never able to come to Rome herself. Paranoid and focused on consolidating power inciting accusations and cultivating a court of informers, Thrax doubled soldiers’ pay and waged continuous warfare—financing these policies through raising taxes and appropriation of church property and violent confiscations, earning almost universal distrust from those outside of the army and his inner circle. Marching on Rome in May of 238, Thrax was assassinated by his own troops at a camp outside the city walls at Aquileia, the gates closed to the advancing siege of the unpopular emperor by order of the senate, the soldiers disaffected and suffering from privation with taking the fortified city not as simple of a matter that they had been led to believe.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

แ›Ÿ

A vote on the crucial stimulus and relief package for the American people was pushed into the obscure and suspect early morning hours—with no shortage of dissenters pointing out this rank hypocrisy—though the statutory delay and eventual relenting was wholly due to the fact that the needed quorum had excused themselves in order to attend the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in Orlando, Florida with not only an idol of Trump stealing the spotlight (we can understand how a movement might be bestowed its problematic golden calf) but the stage design and its flow a brash and ostensibly deliberate reference to that Elder Futhark rune called Odal, ลŒรฐalan (แ›Ÿ) opportunistically inferred to express inheritance, heritage, embraced by Nazis and Neo-Nazis, and is a reassertion in lightly veiled language of white supremacy. The serifs are a special touch, just to erase any doubt but even if by chance that this was ab unfortunately coincidence, it will be interrupted as outright to the far right who might detect weakness and hesitancy in their GOP cult. Not a single Republican House member voted in favour of a nearly two-trillion dollar recovery bill, which nonetheless passed with the Democrat‘s majority.

Wednesday, 10 February 2021

no vacancy

Whilst not the first time that the Grifter-in-Chief sought to capitalise on conspiracy theories with room rates at Trump’s DC hotel, the former Post Office Building, jumping to over five thousand dollars per night for single-occupancy just ahead of the certification of the US Electoral College vote interrupted by the violent insurrection, there’s one last desperate attempt to siphon money off these useful idiots the first week of March. With prices nearly tripled over the massively over-priced going rate, the suggestion is that the United States of American was secretly and incontrovertibly turned into a corporation in 1871 (occasioned by the passage of legislation that turned the country into an asset of the city of London) and that Ulysses S. Grant, inaugurated on 4 March 1869 was the last legitimate president. QAnon followers are dangling the prospect that Trump will be invested on this day as the nineteenth president, rather than the forty-fifth pretender, and the country will revert back to its original form, an argument to moot any subsequent legislation and render sovereign citizens immune to enforcement. Whether or not this date draws crowds, it’s assured that they will need to equivocate over their next rapture.

Monday, 8 February 2021

who cares!

Apparently using White House letterhead deprived his preferred mode of communication (see previously here and here), Citizen Trump to no effect and with zero geopolitical consequence has written to the Screen Actors’ Guild, the US labour union for film, television and radio performers as well as journalists, to pre-emptively resign once word circulated that the Guild would eject him for notorious behaviour, ill-betting a member of the organisation. In his signature immodest way—also used with a host of UN agencies and NATO partners—he rubbishes the union as doing very little for him whereas Trump has greatly helped “the cable news television business (said to be a dying platform with no much time left until I got involved in politics), and created thousands of jobs at networks such as MSDNC and Fake News CNN, among many others.” Despite parallel efforts to digitally remove his cameo appearances, Trump goes on to cite his roles in Zoolander, Home Alone 2, and Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps as well as reality television.

Wednesday, 20 January 2021

6x6

flotus: the story and legacy of the wooden Melania Trump sculpture in Slovenia 

lightening never strikes twice: a meteorologist debunks some weather myths 

we shall come rejoicing: digging out the sheep—rescued after a heavy snowfall  

photobomb: animals interrupting wildlife photographers 

draw a tattoo of a mailbox: in a reversal of sorts, compete with other human sketch artist to prove to an AI who is the most accomplished—via Waxy 

conspiracist ideation: what to do about QAnon

Sunday, 17 January 2021

strange bedfellows

One could be excused for thinking that we were nearly done with Trump after his corporate donors had distanced themselves from that dumpster fire, but one rentier entrepreneur whose business acumen and ambition seems somehow complimentary—if not pandering—who we also thought it safe to assume would not be making an encore appearance, the MyPillow guy (see previously) has remained loyal and showed up at the White House on Friday to share some thoughts about declaring martial law, excerpted from his MyPillow Plan™ playbook thanks to a telephoto lens.

Thursday, 14 January 2021

high crimes and misdemeanours

Yesterday, the House of Repre-sentatives, Democrat members joined by ten Republicans, voted to impeach Donald Trump for an unprecedented second time as a “constitutional remedy to ensure that the republic will be safe from this man, who is so resolutely determined to tear down the things that we hold dear and that hold us together” by his demonstrably dangerous and treasonous behaviour in encouraging a violent insurrection against Congress. The House undertook this course of action when the vice president and the cabinet refused to entertain invoking Amendment XXV to remove the Trump from office.