Saturday, 10 September 2022

queen bee (10. 023)

Beekeeper Royal John Chapple reportedly has informed the hives that Elizabeth II has passed on and to be loyal and productive for her Majesty’s successor as part of a broader custom of telling the bees. Black ribbons were placed on the structures to let the million subjects (see also about the bees’ own royal fanfare) know of their new allegiance to a figure once ridiculed for talking to plants. It cannot be a bad courtesy to take the otherwise preparatory measures of “telling the bees” for good and wise council.

Monday, 27 June 2022

macroglossum stellatarum

The butterflies have discovered our patch of lavender for sometime now and there’s always at least half a dozen of them swarming about but now it seems the community of hummingbird hawk moths (Taubenschรคnzchen) is enjoying nectaring a la cartรฉ as well. An example of convergent evolution, recognising the same quiver of behaviours and adaptations with its long proboscis to probe flowers works across species. Unlike other moths which are either diurnal or nocturnal, these hawk moths can be found active at all hours and display no visible sexual dimorphism—even in the antennal lobes size, serving a comparable role as the olfactory bulb in vertebrates and which is a prominent marker for most moths in distinguishing between male and female.

Friday, 10 June 2022


web revival: rediscovering the serendipity of hyperlink daisy chains—via Joe Jenett  

free-range children: relocating from London, Ontario to Amsterdam  

sure-footed: a goat-like heavy-lifting robot called BEX under development—via Super Punch 

lavender fields of surrey: a seasonal stroll through an aromatic patch of land  

mono men: the Punk, Grunge aesthetic of Art Chantry 

hyakutsuki-in: a beautiful locker-style cemetery in Toyko  

hounds of love: a 1992 interview with Kate Bush (previously), breaking down her 1985 album track by track  

sell your cleverness and buy bewilderment: an enigmatic sign spotted on a nike trail 

jacob hive maker: first streaming film Wax; Or the Discovery of Television Among the Bees (1991)

Saturday, 4 June 2022


2slgbtqia+: a calendar of Native American and First Nations’ Pride events—the 2S is for “Two-Spirits”  

about the damn end: DJ Cummerbund (previously) mixes Lizzo and Linkin Park—via Waxy  

sacred modernity: McGregor Smith explores Europe’s superlative post-war churches—via Things magazine

why ernest saves christmas: wholly machine-generated articles on any number of topics—the logorrhoea of infinite neural networks producing infinite copy, via Web Curios  

signature sound: a 1957 musical horoscope album (see also here and here) orchestrated by Hal Mooney  

the endangered california bumbletrout: court declares bees are fish to afford them better defence under the state’s species protection act  

night of a thousand judys: a tribute concert for charity on what would have been Garland’s one-hundredth birthday

Saturday, 28 May 2022


scotch tapes: commercials, idents and continuity from British television from 1984 salavaged from VHS casettes  

boldly go!: a medley of songs from and about the Star Trek franchise—see also  

apiculture: a survey of bee hives throughout the ages  

latex: Goodyear and the US Department of Defence are partnering to manufacture tyres from dandelions—see previously  

kleksographien: revisiting the blotograms (previously) of Justinus Kerner plus other inspired symmetries  

red wine and ginger ale: Vulture correspondent Rebecca Alter samples all the food combinations referenced in Harry’s House  

diagrammatic map: another look at how Massimo Vignelli presented mass transit to the masses—see previously here and here—via Things magazine  

the fantastic journey: an obscure 1977 time-travel series starring Joan Collins and John Saxon

Thursday, 9 September 2021


Via Super Punch, we learn that not only has the Swiss ambassador to the US made the expansive embassy grounds in Washington, DC, a former farm in the Woodley Park neighbourhood, a biodiverse oasis, replacing the manicured lawn with native shrubs and trees to attract and sustain birds and other wildlife, the ambassor’s actions have set a positive example, leading other diplomatic missions to adopt ecologically sounder landscaping practices including vegetable gardens and beehives. More from the Audubon Society at the links above.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

you give me fasciation

Our gratitude to our peripatetic pal Memo of the Air for directing us to this updated re-post from TYWKIWDBI that we managed to miss earlier that gives a little more background on the backstory of a Stevie Nicks’ classic we’ve covered previously by way of contorted, cresting displays of growth in certain kinds of plants, included the celebrated saguaro of central and southwestern North America with wasps, bees and white-winged doves counted among their important daytime pollinators.

Sunday, 1 August 2021


Graced with half a dozen flitting European peacocks (Tagpfauenauge, Aglais io), H got this flowering shrub Buddleja davidii as a present from his colleagues, commonly known as the summer lilac or simply, appropriately a butterfly-bush.  The ornamental plant is native to Hubei in Central China and named after the European missionaries and botanists Reverend Adam Buddle and Father Armand David who first collected and described it for the West, and just put in the ground. With the fragrance of honey and a rich source of nectar for pollinators, the perennial plant flowers in the summertime for six weeks, thriving in more temperate areas to the extent that this opportunistic and “perfect”—as in botanically being both male and female, self-propagating plant is sometimes classed as a noxious weed. We defer judgement to the butterflies, however.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

centaurea nervosa

Though no peonies or poppies (though our late-bloomers might be inspired by these) in the garden just yet, we’ve got quite a nice spread of these thistle-like plants that sprout at the edge of the deck in late spring. Called less charitably knapweed, Flockenblumen or bluets are commonly known as centaury in deference to the centaur Chiron who taught medicinal use of plants to human though Achilles, Aeneas, Asclepius and other Greek heroes. Ranging widely in colour from yellow to purple, the ornamental plant native to the Alps is the source of the colour cornflower blue and is useful alongside agricultural crops as a more appetising food source for insects. The bumblebees and other pollinators absolutely adore them and we are pretty partial to them as well. 


Sunday, 30 May 2021

sunday drive: wasserschloss roรŸrieth and walldorfer-kirchenburg

For what was the first time in a long time, H and I took advantage of the fine and sunny weather and visited a few sights from outdoors on either side of Mellrichtstadt and Meiningen first with the moated castle located within a small farming village of the same name. Existing as the seat of a lordship since the twelfth century before being destroyed for harbouring highwaymen in 1401, the rebuilt sixteenth century compound was in the ownership of the rulers of Ost- and Nordheim until the mediatisation of imperial immediacy at the beginning of the nineteenth century (die Reichsdeputationhauptschluss von 1803) when transferred to the Free State of Bavaria. 

The castle is in private hands and cannot be visited by the surround grounds and agricultural outbuildings were nice to explore. Next we came to the fortified church (see links above) of the town of Walldorf, now a suburb of Meiningen. Originally a medieval defensive Hรถhenberg (a hill castle) along the old trade route from Frankfurt to Erfurt—a good vantage point to monitor for smugglers and other potential disruptions, the complex on the promontory has been an episcopal fort since 1008 when the archbishopric of Wรผrzburg took over the area. 

The high keep with residential structures and a garden was used as a protected farmyard through the ages as it is today, restored after reunification and a fire in 2012 that caused extensive damage. Beyond its historical value as a monument, designs for restoration undertaken and achieved have made it moreover a “biotope church” with a replacement roof optimised for nesting kestrels, a colony of jackdaws (Dohlen), bats, bees that visit the old cottage gardens plus a nesting stork with a young brood.

Thursday, 20 May 2021


While in Europe we don’t have humming birds (Kolibris), we are lucky enough to have these uncanny important pollinators called the fly bee or the humblefly (Wollschweber). Our garden is absolutely full of them but I’ve never managed to capture a picture of one until now when I spied one resting on a flower (see also), which by the end of the season can grow quite substantially and present like their avian cousins but less so than the equally camera-shy Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Taubenschwรคnzchen) that hovers and has a proboscis for nectaring. We’re visited by them too and maybe if I’m patient, I’ll be able to get a photo.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

a touch of honey

Lampooned first by Mystery Science Theater 3000 on this day back in 1998, the 1967 British horror vehicle directed by Freddie Francis, The Deadly Bees, is sort of a low-budget homage, snowclone of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds with similar tropes and devices and is based off the above titled detective novel by H. F. Heard. A pop singer (played by Suzanna Leigh) suffering from physical and mental exhaustion after a series of shows is sent off to an island cottage for rest and recuperation and finds herself in the midst of an apicultural arms race with two competing beekeepers claiming to have developed a colony of killer bees that they control variously by pheromones and taped recordings of a moth. Well, I’m off to become Lulu. 


Saturday, 8 May 2021


take-away: flatpack pasta designed to morph and fold into containers when cooked  

bogland: photographing the marshes and alluvial plains of Belarus 

baby’s breath: biodegradable face masks blossom into wildflowers  

private issue new age: a soothing 1984 ambient recording that’s a psychoacoustic catalyst designed for release of spiritual and emotional energies 

children’s television workshop: the creators behind Sesame Street’s Teeny Little Super Guy  

forced perspective: giant Bidens and tiny Carters were keeping us awake—an explanation of the confluence of factors via Miss Cellania’s Links 

tableau muet: visualising history and charting epochs with Antoni Jaลผwiล„ski’s “Polish System” 

baibaojia: make your own thread book for safekeeping of sewing items, notions and other small treasures

Saturday, 23 January 2021

abominable mystery

The aptly-named Professor Richard Buggs of Kew Gardens (previously) believes that researchers may be on the cusp to solving the above-named puzzle that Charles Darwin confessed to fellow explorer and scientist Dr Joseph Hooker in an 1879 exchange addressing the unaccountable evolution of the higher plants in recent times to include such apparently rapid innovations as flowers that could undermine his theory and the observed gradual process in the rest of the living world. Though perhaps closer to resolving the unconscionably quick rise of the angiosperms (blossoming species—some two-hundred-thousand in total), the conundrum, which some critics take as evidence of divine intervention, yet defies a full explanation albeit less vexing and cause for awe and appreciation of Nature.

Sunday, 17 January 2021


a perfectly pleasant man but with a name of a bumbling villain from a Charles Dickens novel: the final resting place of Mister and Missus Skeffington Liquorish, via Super Punch 

glass-bottom: a transparent kayak with rainbow LEDs  

a line in the sand: Saudi Arabia plans a one hundred-seventy-kilometre-long belt city of net-zero, walkable communities (see previously and also here)  

beyond the poseidon adventure: the namesake blog reviews the forgettable sequel that came seven years later starring Karl Malden, Michael Caine, Sally Field and Telly Savalas 

 beauty, loss, confusion, hope, division, grace and grandeur: a ten thousand mile photographic essay of in the form of a long, lonesome look at America by Stephen Hiltner—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

mother nature: artist Tomรกลก Libertรญny recreates the bust of Nefertiti (previously) in honeycomb with the help of bees

Monday, 24 August 2020

to live alone in the bee-loud glade

Via Kottke, these superlative entries in the macro category for International Garden Photographer of the Year commended us to one recent snapshot that brought to mind William Butler Yeats’ The Lake Isle of Innisfree. What pictures from your garden are you keen to share? Explore an expansive gallery of many more superb and patient, intimate snapshots at the links up top. 

Friday, 26 June 2020


morning edition: artist paints sunrises on newspapers as a dawning juxtaposition to the headlines of the day

free parking: aerial views of grounded planes at the Frankfurter Flughafen—see previously

b&b: designs for a horizontal hive with human sleeping compartment

๐Ÿ‘️๐Ÿ‘„๐Ÿ‘️:the ubiquitous string of emoji signals a tautology

if it ain’t baroque: another in a growing chain of art restoration failures, via Miss Cellania’s Links

2020: a spa odyssey: a day retreat in Caracas inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s aesthetic

Friday, 19 June 2020

royal fanfare or call-and-response

Via Strange Company’s Weekly Link Dump, we learn that Queen Bees direct the hive through a series of tooting, honking and quacking that researchers were able to record, amplify and interpret. Like a flourish of trumpets, the toots herald her presence as she moves around the colony. The quacking comes from matured queens not yet released into society by the workers so as to prevent a power struggle and will continue to toot until the current monarch either abdicates or absconds in a swarm, splitting the hive.

Wednesday, 20 May 2020

svetovni dan ฤebel

Born on this day in 1734 (†1773), professionally trained painter become beekeeper to the Viennese Hapsburg court, Anton Janลกa cultivated expert knowledge on their care and maintenance and published authoritative manuals and delivered lectures on apiculture across the Empire in order to maximise their yield of honey and wax and pollination of crops. In addition to the rotation of hives in pastures, Janลกa’s designs for bivouacs with stacked combs (see also) are the still the modern standard today, and since a bid to the United Nations from Slovenia was accepted in 2017, Janลกa’s birthday has been memorialised as World Bee Day.

Sunday, 3 May 2020


horsefly stretches so much time: learning French with these near homonyms that sound like (near) idioms, you know—taon temps tant tends

the lord hardened pharaoh’s heart: as scary as “murder hornets” sound, if they destroy the bees, US agriculture will be in shambles

making muppets: Jim Henson presents a tutorial on creating one’s own puppets in 1969, shortly before the debut of Sesame Street

jukebox: a neural network that’s getting quite good at imitating musical genres and syndicating wholly artificial songs, via Memo of the Air

plastique fantastique: these face shields from Isphere have a certain Avengers’ spy-vibe

do not make me fight you: reminiscent of this montage, stunt choreographer Zoรซ Bell takes on Hollywood

headspace: cranial collages from Edwige Massart and Xavier Wynn

catamaran: this floating shelter in Amsterdam, de Poezenboot, finds new forever homes for our feline friends

www: this was the internet we were promised—why did it take the collapse of civilisation to bring it?