Wednesday, 1 February 2023

9x9 (10. 515)

wickies: Fisheries and Oceans Canada is hiring assistant lighthouse keepers 

the montessori method: a look at the world’s mist influential school system  

little moving splat: Ze Frank (previously) covers the strange and wonderfully intelligent behaviour of plasmodial slime moulds  

unitar: a selection of one-string music—via Pasa Bon! 

blue harvest: a history of the spoiler alert—see also  

what is a map: an awful educational short from 1949 given the MST3K treatment 

dead as a dodo: a de-extinction company gets a one-hundred fifty million dollar investment  

the free-market tree: non-felonious children’s literature editions for the state of Florida  

coast guard: a collection of lighthouses of North America

Monday, 30 January 2023

distrans (10. 511)

Though aware of the differences in international editions it had never occurred to me that illustrated covers were set in a specific type over its first printings, like these UK volumes with titles in Giorgio, fittingly a sort of space-age spaghetti Western font, we were unfamiliar with the mystery surrounding—via Boing Boing—the visual identity of Frank Herbert’s original trilogy from 1975 on, eventually encompassing all of the author’s work. and work about the author and franchise. An uncredited typographer lettered a modified version of Davison Art Nouveau, a font never digitised and can only be licensed from a single catalogue of a particular Manhattan foundry. Many more examples at Fonts in Use at the link above.

Sunday, 15 January 2023

spider web castle (10. 420)

Considered among the finest adaptations of the Scottish play with production and development deferred for six years after learning that Orson Welles directed his own Macbeth in 1948, Akira Kurosawa’s (previously) transposition of the plot of Shakespeare’s masterwork to feudal Japan (่œ˜่››ๅทฃๅŸŽ, Kumononsu-jล—literally the above title but released in English-speaking markets as Throne of Blood) premiered in Tokyo on this day in 1957. Under contract to produce three samurai movies (jidaigeki—period, costume dramas) for Toho studios, Spider Web Castle was originally slated to go to director Ishirล Honda, best known for his 1954 kaiju classic Godzilla but Kurosawa ended up making the trio of films. His 1960 The Bad Sleep Well was informed by Hamlet—though not a direct correspondence—and Kurosawa’s final work Ran, which is based off of King Lear. Throne of Blood in turn influenced Roman Polanski’s adaptation of Macbeth and the death of Taketoki Wasizu (the Lady Macbeth analogue) inspired the death of the mother of the titular Carrie in the 1976 horror classic.

Sunday, 8 January 2023

breaking bread (10. 399)

Published in 1903 with the express purpose of linking bakery and laboratory and advocate for the miller the downstream supply-chain, Owen Simmons, FCS (Fellow of the Chemical Society) ensures that the science that goes into loaves and biscuits is not taken for granted with the rather costly tribute in the form of one of the first photobooks—a deluxe edition that spared no expense in detailing and documenting the fusion of techniques, with exacting instructions, to make the perfect slice. More from Public Domain Review at the link above.

Saturday, 7 January 2023

8x8 (10. 395)

notional counting: amateur archaeologist proffers the theory that markings on ancient cave paintings may communicate information about quarry animals’ life cycles—pushing back the origins of writing ten-thousand years  

social recession: declining trust, friendship and adult activities by the numbers—via tmn  

brick and mortem: the surprising, seemingly non-sequir resurgence of a chain of bookshops  

arrakhis: the European Space Agency launches a tiny satellite to search for dark matter  

metroid as directed by paul verhoeven: imaging 90s video games as feature films—see previously  

little d: a Defender-style camper conversion kit unveiled at the Tokyo Auto Salon  

upward falling payloads: proposals for an orbiting warehouse and fulfilment centre  

mirabile scriptu: phony but possibly plausibly kanji generated by AI for abstract concepts—particularly appealing is one for the Chief Twit, ็Ž‹ (pronounced wang, meaning king)

Monday, 26 December 2022

my company takes the entire delivery fee. you were a capitalist until five minutes ago—you should know how these things work. (10. 364)

Regular contributor to McSweeney’s Steven Ruddy presents a delightfully Dickensian gig-economy, Uber Eats retelling of the Christmas Carol, specifically the concluding scene when Scrooge cries out to a boy in the street, ecstatic that he hasn’t missed Christmas Day and attempts to dispatch a prize turkey to the Cratchit home, though has difficulties fulfilling his order. “Delivery fee is two crowns, sir.”

Wednesday, 21 December 2022

public domain revue (10. 352)

Under US copyright law, now more true to its lifecycle after years of belayed disposition, we can herald
the many works from 1927 that will become free to use and reuse as one sees fit on New Year’sDay. In the category of literature, we have works by Virginia Woolf and Arthur Conan Doyle as well as Hermann Hesse’s Der Steppenwolf and the final instalment of Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past, and in film and stage Fritz Lang’s Metropolis and Wings, and in music the original “The Best Things in Life Are Free,” “Puttin’ on the Ritz” as well as “(We All Scream for) Ice Cream.” See the link from Duke Law Centre for more.

Monday, 19 December 2022

reflect upon your present blessings—of which every man has many—not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some (10. 344)

For the 1843 first printing of the novella by Charles Dickens—see previouslyOpen Culture treats us to a accomplished recitation of the work as the author himself would have delivered it, by Neil Gaiman, through studying the hand-edited copy he used for public readings. The Victorian morality tale relates the profound redemption, on Christmas Eve, of a bitter miser with the aid of supernatural intervention. The narration begins at about the eleven minute mark.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

7x7 (10. 342)

the gate of the exonerated: a new entrance to be named in honour of the falsely accused Central Park Five, Raymond Santana, Antron McCray, Yusef Salaam, Korey Wise and Kevin Richardson 

mighty mikko: a 1922 adaptation of Finnish fairytales 

time performance: taipa (ใ‚ฟใ‚คใƒ‘) and the Ukrainian pronunciation of Kyiv (ใ‚ญใƒผใ‚ฆ) are among Japan’s neologism—not characters—of the year  

mpi: social contagions, mass psychogenic illnesses, can lead to physical maladies—see also, and certain platforms may be superspreaders 

feliz navidad: beautiful vintage Christmas cards by artist Alejandro Rangel Hildalgo—via Marco McClean’s Memo of the Air  

blue light special: more Kmart reel-to-reel soundtracks—this one from December 1974  

heroes act: US supreme court admits more challenges to Biden’s student loan forgiveness plan

Monday, 5 December 2022

8x8 (10. 362)

under attended: when only two individuals show up to a new author’s reading, much of the establishment commiserates and share words of encouragement—via Super Punch 


giving face
: Poseidon’s Underworld takes a moment to reflect after a month’s sabbatical  

postcards of dead birds: more on strange Victorian Christmas greetings—see previous here and here  

monochrome: an AI tool to colourise black-and-white images—see previously 

government attic: Things Magazine reminds of us this great aggregator of FOIA logs—see previously 

the christmassy chord: a deconstruction of iconic holiday standards 

the tartarian empire: an introduction to a bizarre architectural conspiracy theory—via ibฤซdem  

rsvp: journalist was one of six attendees who showed up for an expensive Metaverse party hosted by the European Union

Wednesday, 30 November 2022

dei delitti e delle pene (10. 346)

Though preceded by periods of temporary abolishment in Japan, China and the Kievan Rus’, the first modern and permanent ban on the capital punishment was enacted on this day in 1769 by Pietro Leopoldo, ruler of the Grand Duchy of Tuscany (later Holy Roman Emperor Leopold II), directly influenced by the writing of Enlightenment author Cesare Beccaria in his 1764 Of Crimes and Punishment (antiporta, frontispiece, frontespizio pictured)—widely translated and well read all over Europe—the first study of the discipline of penology and championing reform of the criminal law system. The Florentine state did away with torture and the death penalty and this anniversary is commemorated annual as “Cities for Life Day” with thousands of towns and dozens of capitals lobbying for stays in executions and restructuring incarceration.

Monday, 28 November 2022

i am a camera (10. 341)

The title of John van Druten’s theatrical adaptation taken from the first lines Christopher Isherwood’s 1939 Goodbye to Berlin (see previously) that goes on “…with its shutter open, quite passive, recording, not thinking” opened on Broadway in the Empire Theatre on this day in 1951. Also made into a film just over a decade before the second stage adaptation (which this play largely informed, though set primarily in Isherwood’s rented room rather than the night club) starring Shelly Winters as Fraulein Sally Bowles,van Druten’s work did not garner universal praise from critics, prompting the famous three word review from New York Times drama desk editor and playwright Walter Kerr: “Me no Leica.” Yes and the Buggles also recorded the song “Into the Lens (I Am a Camera)” in 1980 from the same quote.

Sunday, 20 November 2022

kit kat klub (10. 320)

Wildly successful, with the award-winning musical reprised for subsequent productions in London (Dame Judi Dench playing the original Sally Bowles in the West End version and Jane Horrocks, “Bubble” from Absolutely Fabulous in the 1993 revival) and New York and a 1972 cinematic adaptation, Cabaret, with music and lyrics by John Kander and Fred Ebb with book by Joe Masteroff and based on Christopher Isherwood’s semi-autobiographical accounting of the end of the Weimar Republic and the Jazz Age in the early 1930s, Goodbye to Berlin, had its Broadway premiere on this day in 1966 at the Broadhurst Theatre. Chiefly narrated by the club’s Master of Ceremonies, whose numbers depict the privation, chaos and upheaval of the interbellum times and the impending catastrophes to come with the Nazis gaining political power.

Friday, 18 November 2022

dictes & sayengis of the phylosophers (10. 313)

 The first printed book in England to bear its date of issue inside the colophon of early publisher William Caxton (see previously), the compendium of words of wisdom and collected quotations was introduced as an incunabulum on this day in 1477 as a Middle English translation by Anthony Woodville, bibliophile and brother-in-law of Edward IV, based off the original work of eleventh-century scholar Al-Mubashshir ibn Fatik—with some attributions and biographies, mostly on Greek and legendary thinkers but later revisions included biblical words of wisdom, slightly dubious but long since established as canonical.

the quest for self-winding (10. 312)

This was a bit of a haunted memory for me as I recalled this one scene with the Droste Effect but couldn’t name the animated film until this reminder from last month from Nag on the Lake and Memo of the Air asking “what lies behind the last visible dog?” It is the 1977 cinematic adaptation of the young adult novel by the same name from a decade earlier by Russell Hoban, which was released by Sanrio studios on this day that year. The Mouse and His Child tells the story of two conjoined clockwork toys holding hands who gain awareness after being unboxed in a shop, and although forming a close bond with an elephant and seal, are ridiculed for the suggestion that they remain in the shop and form their own family. The titular protagonists accidentally end up discarded and once at the dump and are forced into a pressgang by a rat who runs a casino at the rubbish yard on the labour of broken toys but escape aand are rescued by their friends from the shop, eventually realising their goal. The film version features the vocal talents of Cloris Leachman, Andy Devine and Peter Ustinov.

Sunday, 13 November 2022

recursive centaur alert (10. 301)

We quite enjoyed perusing this growing gallery of bad book covers (see previously) from our friends at Pulp Librarian. This omnibus post has too many choice works to pick favourites but we did quite like this anthology from author Ray Bradbury, referencing the Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass collection—whose title was not added just over a decade later, as which each poem, though in this case being that the term was not yet common currency. Originally in turn entitled “My Beautiful One is Here,” the eponymous story accounting a family selecting a robotic grandmother as a surrogate nanny to a brood of recently motherless children and their revelation that they won’t again be abandoned.  Much more to explore at the links above.

Friday, 11 November 2022

and so it goes (10. 294)

As our faithful chronicler informs noted author, humanist, peace activist, World War II veteran—captured during the Battle of the Bulge, interned in Dresden and survived the Allied fire bombing of the city, recounting the experience in Slaughterhouse-Five—and possible alien Kurt Vonnegut, Junior would have turned 100 today. From the introduction to his 1973 novel Breakfast of Champions, “So this book is a sidewalk strewn with junk, trash which I throw over my shoulders as I travel in time back to November eleventh, nineteen hundred and twenty-two. I will come to a time in my backwards trip when November eleventh, accidentally my birthday, was a sacred day called Armistice Day.  When I was a boy, and when Dwayne Hoover was a boy, all the people of all the nations which had fought in the First World War were silent during the eleventh minute of the eleventh hour of Armistice Day, which was the eleventh day of the eleventh month.  It was during that minute in nineteen hundred and eighteen, that millions upon millions of human beings stopped butchering one another. I have talked to old men who were on battlefields during that minute. They have told me in one way or another that the sudden silence was the Voice of God.  So we still have among us some men who can remember when God spoke clearly to mankind.”

Tuesday, 8 November 2022

7x7 (10. 284)

big bounce: some astrophysicists suspect that things were happening in the Cosmos prior to the Big Bang—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

nogoodnik: Russia reactivates its bot and troll army to muddy the US mid-term elections  

fivethirtyeight: mapping out when individual voting jurisdictions announce results  

jazz harp: the musical stylings of Turiyasangitananda—a.k.a. Ms Alice Coltrane—via Messy Nessy Chic

false prophets: a denunciation of America’s Christian nationalism—via Miss Cellania  

battleground states: artists reflect on the consequential American election 

hero’s journey: avoiding the perils of the monomyth in storytelling

Monday, 7 November 2022

adapted for drawing-room performance (10. 281)

Via the always excellent Everlasting Blรถrt, we are directed to a gallery of the very worst Jane Austen book covers (see also). Famously in the public-domain and a mainstay for book-sellers, Emma as well as Sense & Sensibility of course as the does the aesthetic of the Regency Era feature heavily in this thread, which has delightfully elicited a lot of outside response. Much more to explore at the links above and do let us know your favourites.

Friday, 4 November 2022

8x8 (10. 271)

make it another, double, old-fashioned please: a definitive, festive guide to whisky cocktails 

born in arizona, moved to babylonia: a new book on the King Tut’s parents, Akhenaten and Nefertiti  

elf-on-the-shelf: the shrine to departed Dobby in a nature reserve can remain but visitors asked to refrain from leaving mementos  

planchette: the intersection between profit and superstition revisited with a look at the story of the Ouija borad—see previously  

toynbee tiles: an enduring urban myth—see previously  

they’ve got it all on uhf: Harry Potter’s Daniel Radcliff appearing in musical biopic parody of Weird Al Yankovic (previously)  

palimpsest: peeling back the layers to rediscover ancient manuscripts recycled as early modern incunabula

limoncello: a doubly lemon aperitif in the ‘Amalfi Dream’