Tuesday, 27 September 2022

แˆ˜แˆตแ‰€แˆ (10. 172)

Transliterated into Latin script as Ge’ez or Cross, Ethiopian and Eritrean orthodox Tewahedo communities celebrate the fourth century discovery of the True Cross by Helen (previously) on this day, the seventeenth of Meskerem (แˆ˜แˆตแŠจแˆจแˆ), by which the holiday Meskel is known. Festivities includes the burning of a Demera—that is, a large bonfire—after the tradition that Queen Eleni, as she is called locally, was instructed in a dream that the rising smoke would guide her to spot where the relic was buried. Adherents believe that the burning symbolizes the cancellation of sins and the ultimate collapse of the wood pile has prognosticatory value to glean for the near future and like on Ash Wednesday, anoint themselves. Since 2013, Meskel has been inscribed on UNESCO’s List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.

don’t surround yourself with your self—move on back two squares (10. 171)

As belated blogoversary tribute to fellow internet-caretaker the Everlasting Blรถrt, we wanted to remark on one of the rotating interstitials on their page, “for the Queen to use,” that never fails to prompt us to hum the Yes song or at least the diddit, diddit, diddit, diddit, diddit, didda part. The progressive rock number that was first put out in 1971 and included on several later albums consists of two movements, “Your Move” followed by “All Good People,” played as a single seven-minute track. Utilising chess as allegory for negotiating relationship, the song also makes reference to John Lennon lyrics. Here’s to many, many more years of blogging.

Sunday, 25 September 2022

7x7 (10. 165)

a tale of two times: the gift of a European mechanised clock was respectfully declined by a Japanese lord raised in a culture of variable hours, via Strange Company’s Weekend Link-Dump  

miner 2049er: Atari celebrates its fiftieth anniversary with game posters from Billy Butcher (previously)  

sequestration: a scalable carbon-capture facility is setting up in Wyoming, aiming on drawing down five million tonnes of CO2 annually  

the battle of the planets: the American syndication of the 1978 Japanese anime series Science Ninja Team Gatchaman  

skyline: a free rooftop garden in central London—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (plus lots more to explore) 

pyrotechnics: a look at how digital fireworks displays competed with the real shows—from the Tedium archives  

est: US Department of Transportation to map out time zones ahead of the permanent switch to Daylight saving time after it learned that no such comprehensive map exists

Saturday, 24 September 2022

sub tuum praesidium (10. 163)

The veneration of the subject of art in late medieval Europe and other personalised in the form of a votive portrait—that is, when donors or patrons are included in the painting as with this work by Francisco de Zurbarรกn commissioned by a fraternity of monks, depicting a group of people sheltering under the outspread pallium of Mary, mother of Jesus (previously) is observed on this day in the Roman Catholic liturgical calendar. Our Lady of Mercy is known as Madonna della Misericordia in Italian, Virgen de la Merced in Spanish, Notre-Dame de la Merci in French and Schutzmantelmadonna in German with various local customs.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

ba-dee-ya (10. 152)

Co-written by Alta Sherral “Allee” Willis (whose credits include “Boogie Wonderland,” the Pet Shop Boys’ “What Have I Done to Deserve This?” scoring for Beverly Hills Cop and The Color Purple and the Friendstheme song) and the band’s lead vocalist Maurice White (“You Deserve the Best of My Love,” “That’s What Friends Are For”), Earth, Wind & Fire’s September was an international hit, inscribed on the US Library of Congress’ National Recording Registry in 2018, four decades after its release. There’s no consensus regarding the significance of the date—other than it was recorded in September and the twenty-first was most resonant, and reportedly Willis didn’t care for the nonsense lyrics and down to the last minute had insisted that they were only place-holders and urged White to cut the gibberish, eventually relenting and admittedly learning a lesson about composition.

Friday, 16 September 2022

el grito de dolores (10. 137)

Occurring on this day in 1810 in Dolores, New Spain, the Cry of Dolores that triggered the decade-long Mexican War of Independence, with local priest Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla ringing the church bells and inciting a call to arms to liberate themselves from the colonial government. Though the exact speech is lost to history, the President of Mรฉxico, from the balcony of the National Palace in the capital, ringing the same bell from back then—reenacts the moment with a patriotic rally.

Thursday, 15 September 2022

mater dolorosa (10. 135)

Formerly a movable feast like its other veneration a week before Good Friday until Pope Pius X fixed the date in 1913—possibly to suppress the idolatrous practise of the adoration of a miraculous portrait of Saint Dominic, later lost in an earthquake—Our Lady of Sorrows marks the seven hardships in the Life of Mary, mother of Jesus, which are: the Prophecy of Simeon, the Flight into Egypt, Losing Jesus in the Temple, her encounter with Jesus on Via Dolorosa, the Crucifixion, the Disposition and Burial. These devotions are counter-punctual to the Seven Joys: the Annunciation, Visitation, Nativity, the visit of the Magi, Finding Jesus in the Temple, the Resurrection and her Coronation as the Queen of Heaven.

Sunday, 11 September 2022

blร r drochaid shruighlea (10. 125)

As part of the First War of Scottish Independence, on this day in 1297, the forces of Andrew Moray and William Wallace took the strategically important crossing of the River Forth and defeated the English armies of the Earl of Surrey and Hugh de Cressingham, the much reviled treasurer of the English administration in Scotland and suggested the losing course of action—which cost him his life by flaying and reportedly ended up being turned into a belt and thongs. After Scottish king John Balliol submitted to Edward I, landholders, the clans were made to acknowledge the overlordship of England, soon afterwards precipitating a revolt. Wallace teamed up with Moray in Dundee and marched on to Stirling (see previously)—commanding a contingent of agile spearmen to advance on the English heavy cavalry. Taking control of the Stirling Bridge, it became impossible for the English to send reinforcements, thus retreating to the stronghold of the castle and effectively surrendering the Lowlands to rebel forces. In the aftermath, Wallace was proclaimed Guardian of Scotland, and the pictured tower is a nineteenth century monument to his exploits in view of Stirling Castle and the Forth crossing.

Friday, 26 August 2022

time in a bottle (10. 087)

A favourite topic here at PfRC being the subject of time and time-keeping and having previously covered topics of Roman hours, the French Revolutionary Decimal Calendar, Time Zones, Knocker-Uppers and Daylight Savings Time, we quite enjoyed this latest instalment of You’re Dead to Me—the comedy podcast that takes history seriously, that explores both the want to escape the tyranny of clock and how in its measurement of time, our horizons are broadened beyond the immediate to the eminent. Following one tradition that informs the generally agreed upon standard, it was the Roman conquest of Greek Sicily and bringing back the sundial of Syracuse as a war trophy and putting it on public display (despite being calibrated for Sicily-time) was the beginning of regimented time-keeping with the fabulist Titus Maccius Plautus lamented of this new installation in the forum during the Punic Wars, duplicated all over the empire, “May the gods damn the man who first discovered the hours—when I was a boy, my stomach was the only sundial, but now what there is isn’t eaten lest the sun say so.” Much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 24 August 2022

ะดะตะฝัŒ ะฝะตะทะฐะปะตะถะฝะพัั‚ั– (10. 083)

In response to the attempted coup to restore central party control and Mikhail Gorbachev’s resignation as head of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the Verkhova Rada (Supreme Soviet) of Ukraine drafted and adopted on this day in 1991 a declaration to reestablish itself as an independent state in a tense, eleven-hour parliamentary session spanning from Friday night into Saturday, passed swiftly and with near unanimity to avoid risking re-subordination and calling for a public referendum the same day. The vote was held on the first of December, with Canada and Poland first recognising Ukrainian independence the following day after the results were tallied and was soon followed by Boris Yeltsin and the rest of the international community—ten days ahead of the scheduled Belavezha Accords in Minsk that dissolved the USSR and established a commonwealth of sovereign nations as a successor entity.

Tuesday, 23 August 2022

black ribbon day (10.081)

Officially the European Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Stalinism and Nazism and broadly for all who suffered under authoritarian regimes, this day was chosen for its observance as the anniversary of the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 1939, a treaty of non-aggression between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, which contained a secret protocol that partitioned Europe into spheres of influence. To counter historic revisionism and Russia’s categorical denial of the deal which held until 1941 as well as grave crimes, twenty one Western cities, organised chiefly by Central and Eastern European refugees living in Canada, staged the first memorial in 1986, spreading to the Baltics three years later with the Cold War-era protests eventually leading to revolution. In 2019, the European Parliament adopted the resolution to enshrine (reaffirming the formal designation of 2008) the annual observance to broadly condemn the propaganda and disinformation that would deny or glorify totalitarianism and undermines liberal democracies.

Thursday, 18 August 2022

bona stabularia (10. 069)

Referred to by some historians as a “goodly stablemaid” and likely from humble roots in Bithynia (Anatolia)—though other counterclaimants, as with Charlemagne or any number of the artefacts she collected vying for authenticity, are out there including Augusta Treverorum, Mesopotamia, Palestine, the Pyrenees and Camulodnum (Colchester—a princess of the legendary Ole King Cole)—widowed wife and empress dowager of Constantius, relic-hunter and mother to Constantine I, Helen (Flavia Iulia Helena) is fรชted in the Roman Catholic Rite on this day as patron protector of the Holy Places and archaeologist, converts and divorcees. Helen was assigned this last benefaction as Constantius divorced her when Constantine was a teenager to take a wife of higher status, Theodora, and the two of them were exiled to the court of Diocletian in Dalmatia. After his father died in battle fighting against the Picts at Eboracum (York) and Constantine was proclaimed emperor, Helen returned to the imperial court and after her son’s consequential victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge and subsequent conversion to Christianity was appointed Augusta Imperatrix with unfettered access to the treasury and given the special assignment of collecting objects of Christian veneration, including the True Cross—the place of discovery now hosting the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and the Holy Tunic.

Monday, 15 August 2022

ferragosto (10. 062)

Originating from the Roman holiday Feriae Augusti instigated by Caesar Augustus, Octavian, to reward

agricultural workers (inclusive of beasts of burden) after a long, hot summer of toil at the head of the month and to commemorate his victory over Mark Antony in the Battle of Actium, the Church later shifted the festivity to coincide with the Feast of the Assumption. Observed also by the residents of San Marino, the canton of Ticino and for political reasons the Vatican rather than the day of holy obligation, the holiday became associated with an extended vacation weekend during the fascist era when Mussolini directed the National Afterwork Club (Opera Nazionale Dopolavoro—see also) to arrange hospitality and the “People’s Trains of Ferragosto” (nothing to do with ferrocarril) at heavily discounted prices that allowed working class families to visit the mountains or the seaside. This tradition continues commercially, the date signaling the start of the holiday season in Italy and businesses shutter operations for the next couple of weeks. Chiuso per ferie.

happy blogoversary: we are fourteen years old today (10. 061)

As PfRC passes this milestone, we want to once again extend our gratitude to our readership for your encouragement and sustaining interest and as well to our fellow chroniclers and internet caretakers. We hope that we’ve given you all something to pique your curiosity and aspire to keep the internet engaging, weird and old school. 

Since our last celebration, here are the most popular posts (measured by traffic): 

10: A 1969 series of record albums from celebrity astrologer Carroll Righter 

9: A post on expressing large numbers in Cyrillic script  

8: A 2021 post on World Aids Day and other on-going pandemics 

7: A 2013 post eulogising the weird old web  

6: top Japanese laundrette designs of 2019  

5: Once again—the seat of power shifts from Rome to Constantinople  

 4: Another perennial favourite, Martha Gellhorn from Art for Housewives  

3: Not another COVID conspiracy 

2: An unsolved UNICODE mystery 

1: A picture of photographic solidarity 

Warm greetings and salutations to all of you and wishing you nothing but the best for the balance of 2022.

Friday, 12 August 2022

sea org (10. 053)

Observed on the anniversary of its founding on this day in 1967, the Sea Organization is a fraternal paramilitary order, a sort of space navy based on L Ron Hubbard’s (see previously) own wartime experiences and his collected science fiction short stories concerning the Galactic Confederation and the ousting of the tyrannical Xenu by an inside group known as the “Loyal Officers” who ruled the Earth (otherwise known as Teegeeack) tens of millions of years in the past. Keeping with maritime traditions, there is a hierarchy and rank structure Sea Org’s fleet of cruise vessels serve as religious retreats and training centres, the organisation having assumed an ecclesiastical developmental role of the church of Scientology in 1971. In exchange for free room and board plus a modest stipend, members sign a billion year contract.

Saturday, 6 August 2022

sacrum romanum imperium (10. 042)

Neither holy, Roman nor an empire in the cohesive sense yet in existence for more than a thousand years, the Heiliges Rรถmisches Reiches was defacto dissolved on this day in 1806 as an outcome of the Napoleonic Wars and the abdication of Francis II (dispatch to the royal ambassadors pictured) the House of Hapsburg who repaired to Austria and released all tenets and subjects from their oath and obligation. Regarded as the successor state to Rome because its emperors were also legitimised through the papacy, the decentralised empire without a coherent monetary system and unusual government of elected monarchs rather than hereditary rulers was on the decline for centuries and experienced its finally death knells after interfering in Revolutionary France, fearful that republicanism might spread, and the success of Napoleon in recruiting more client states into the sphere of influence of the Empire of France. The Peace of Pressburg (Bratislava) geographically cordoned extraterritorial claims and allowed some pocket principalities and city-states to be absorbed, effectively dividing the old Holy Roman Empire into Germany and Austro-Hungary.

Thursday, 4 August 2022

she keeps her moรซt & chandon in a pretty cabinet (10. 035)

Though unclear if the attribution is entirely accurate as sparking did not become the dominant style of the wine region until the nineteenth century, this day in 1693 is the traditional date ascribed to the invention of Champagne by Benedictine monk and cellarer Dom Pierre Pรฉrignon at the Abbey of Saint-Pierre d’Hautvillers and our abbot can certainly be credited with innovating the techniques and practises of in bottle fermentation, which beforehand was an acute occupational hazard since if wine was bottled prematurely, they would become literal time-bombs liable to explosion due to an excess of carbon dioxide. Pรฉrignon further championed purity in wine-making and prescribed a set of protocols for harvesting and crushing grapes. The popular quote of Pรฉrignon’s first impression of drinking his Champagne— « Venez mes frรจres, je bois des รฉtoiles » (“Come quickly my brothers, I am tasting the stars!”)—is also unfortunately a fin de siรจcle marketing myth meant to distance the drink’s associations with decadence and tie it to the diligence of a hard working monk.

Saturday, 16 July 2022

sinimustvalge

Officially adopted as the national flag on this day in 1922 after the country declared its independence in 1918 in the short interlude between the retreat of the Bolsheviks and German occupation just before the end of World War I, the tricolour of Estonia was banned in August of 1940 with its annexation by the Soviet Union, though used continuously by the government-in-exile based in Stockholm and Estonian diaspora groups continuously from 1940 to 1991. The three equal bands of blue black and white (as referenced in the title) represent the landscape of the Baltic nation and was readopted in August of 1990 with the restoration of the republic.

Monday, 11 July 2022

band shell

Situated in a natural amphitheare in a shaded canyon just below the Hollywood Hills—a popular picnicking spot called “Daisy Dell” that also saw a number of outdoor performances and pageants, the Hollywood Bowl was officially opened on this day in 1922 with a concert by the Los Angeles Philharmonic, conducted by Alfred Hertz, playing the overture from Richard Wagner’s Rienzi, der letzte der Tribunen (after the Edward Bulwer-Lytton novel of the same name—the author best known for his coinage of stock phrases like “the great unwashed masses,” “dweller on the threshold” and the opening “it was a dark and stormy night”), movements from Tchaikovsky’s Fifth Symphony, a selection of Hungarian Dances from Brahms, a suite from Peer Gynt and the overture from William Tell—regular theme tune fare from the perspective of this centenary. The distinctive arched proscenium—later remodelled due to acoustic problems—was first added in 1926.

Saturday, 9 July 2022

praลพskรฝ most

On this day in 1357 on the banks of the Vltava in Prague, Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV (Charles of Luxembourg born Wenceslaus / Vรกclav / Wenzel) helped lay the cornerstone of his namesake bridge—Karlลฏv most (see previously)—construction completed nearly a half-century later. According to local lore—strongly informed by the emperor’s belief in numerology and the significance of auspicious dates—the foundation stone was laid at precisely at thirty-one past five o’clock in the morning to form a palindrome and numerical span—1357 9/VII V 31. For over four-hundred years the only river crossing and linking the castle to the Old Town market, this connection made the city an important trade hub between eastern and western Europe.