Wednesday, 5 October 2022

and as i recall, i think we both kind of liked it (10. 198)

Coincidentally on the anniversary of the premier of the cinematic adaption of the Truman Capote novel in 1961, Deep Blue Something’s ballad “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” recorded and released the year prior, topped the UK singles’ charts on this day in 1996. Lyrics inspired by another Audrey Hepburn film, Roman Holiday, the band leader felt another title would better suit. Their failure to achieve the same level of enthusiasm for later works earned the band the status of one-hit wonder. Well that’s the one thing we’ve got.

Tuesday, 4 October 2022

7x7 (10. 195)

also sprach zarathustra: Raquel Welch dances to a disco-funk version of the Strauss classic 

information overload: a survey of pictorial statistics’ evolution to the infographic  

great chain of being: Evard d’Espinque illustrates the fifteenth century De Proprietatibus Rerum 

this lady is for turning: after precipitating markets instability and provoking decent from within the party, the Prime Minister and Chancellor walk back unfunded tax cuts for the rich  

fancy dress party: Jane Asher’s book of costumes search engine: glean answers to queries from passages in literature, conversation rather than Google Search—via Swiss Miss  

phone a friend: 1-900 hotlines in the United States 

daisy, daisy—give me your answer, do: witnessing a demonstration of the IBM 704 in 1961 inspired Arthur C Clarke

Saturday, 24 September 2022

8x8 (10. 162)

herbst: vintage Eastern Bloc matchboxes welcoming Fall  

ฮฑฯฮฝฮฌฮบฮน: comedian Shari Lewis delivers One Minute Mythologies—via r/Obscure Media  

wie ist dein name, mann: adapting Hamilton in German for the Hamburg stage—possibly a bit rough for those who committed the original lyrics to heart but Lin-Manuel Miranda is deeply involved 

tl;dr: an AI powered tool that provides a summary of long videos—via Web Curios  

wolf hall: RIP historical fiction author Hilary Mantel  

not in my backyard: good luck getting anything built in Sim Nimby (see also)—again from Web Curios

voting integrity: Russian soldiers in occupied regions of Ukraine undertake door-to-door balloting in the referenda to ensure citizens choose wisely  

kirie: celebrating the onset of autumn with more of the Japanese art of leave carving

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

septembertestament (10. 153)

Composed during his stay at the Wartburg, Martin Luther’s translation of the Greek bible into Early High German, published without attribution under the title Newe Testament Deลฏtzsch in a first printing of three thousand folio copies by a print-shop in Wittenberg, when on sale to the public on this day in 1522. Taking extensive liberties with the prose and heavily relying on Latin glosses as his Greek was not that strong, the original manuscript (later proofed and edited by scholars) is lost but ready for typesetting by July and illustrated, illuminated with woodcuts by Lucas Cranach out in time to for the Leipziger Herbstmesse (the Leipzig Autumn Fair) to achieve maximum exposure. Despite its relatively high cost—a half a guilder the weekly wage of a journeyman—and being banned in the Duchy of Saxony, it quickly sold out and a second edition (with corrections) came out in December. To counter the book’s popularity, Duke Georg commissioned a more orthodox translation rushed to publication, but it was soon apparent that it was highly plagiarised, repeating Luther’s errors and tone.

Wednesday, 14 September 2022

chapter and verse (10. 134)

Via Pasa Bon! we are treated to this automated, illustrated Bible by DALL· E 2 (previously) text to image, imago protocol. These initial compositions are prompted by Genesis but we wonder might what the fuller corpus might yield in terms of imagery and whether the earlier books influence the output. for the latter.  More at the links above.

Thursday, 8 September 2022

sternstaub (10. 116)

Having sold over two billion novellas (Heftroman) worldwide since the publication of its first edition (under the title Unternehmen Stardust) on this day in 1961 and issued weekly with new chapters ever since, the Perry Rhodan franchise is patently the most successful one in the arena of science fiction, originally conceived by authors K H Scheer and Walter Ernsting, expanded into radio dramas, video games and comic books—plus a failed cinematic adaptation considered so poorly done that fandom disavows it. Set a decade in the future (1971) during the first lunar mission, US Space Force Major Rhodan and his crew discover an abandoned extraterrestrial vessel and appropriating alien technology, artificial intelligence (positronic brains) and hyper drives, swiftly are able to unite the people of Earth and make humans a galactic presence. With increasingly complex arcs of narrative undertaken by a team of writers, action takes place in a multiverse of exotic aliens, cosmocrats and god-like beings. By coincidence, another beloved science-fiction franchise had its US premiere on the same day in 1966.

Tuesday, 6 September 2022

7x7 (10. 112)

all the news that’s fit to print: a curated collection of kiosks from around the world from Trevor Traynor—via Present /&/ Correct  

tomato cain: an anthology of the short fiction of Nigel Kneale—perhaps better known for his screenplays, like The Stone Tape Theory  

national defensive design strategy revisited: another look at the style book (see also) of the US government  

finding out that you accidentally wrote five pages in cursive: our AI wrangler Janelle Shane (previously) charges a neural network to explain human behaviour quirks  

flareup: a 1969 Raquel Welch vehicle  

wild palms: a 1993 cyberpunk soap opera that aired on US network television  

movable-type: the Ruckwanderer innovation and how the Chinese incorporated the keyboard—see previously

Monday, 29 August 2022

8x8 (10. 095)

clippit: a biography of the MicroSoft Office virtual assistant  

banana for scale: megalophobia-inducing images to make you as a human feel small and insignificant  

scotty, bones and chekov: Tom Snyder (previously) interviews Star Trek personalities during a 1976 convention 

flagship store: fashion brand Gucci opens up in Detroit—via Nag on the Lake  

pillow-talk: the history of bundling, the sixteenth and seventeenth custom of allowing pre-martial sleeping arrangements—via Messy Nessy Chic 

sabbatical: oh no—after seventeen years Futility Closet is taking a hiatus—see also  

it’s a reference to don quixote: a selection of literary nods from They Might Be Giants—see previously  

book it: incentivising reading with pizza

Sunday, 28 August 2022

the tango briefing (10. 093)

The franchise created in the mid-60s and concluding in the mid-90s the Quillerverse stars the eponymous, pseudonymous protagonist created by novelist Elleston Trevor and was introduced to us in the form of a short-lived BBC television series with Michael Jayston, Moray Watson and Sinรฉad Cusack that first aired a decade later, following the success of the cinematic adaptation of the first novel, The Quiller Memorandum (under its American title) with screenplay by Harold Pinter and the acting talents of Max von Sydow, Alec Guiness and George Segal as Quiller. All iterations, the books, film and TV (all thirteen episodes below), are set during the Cold War and feature the mostly independent spy-master who works for a secret organisation known only as the “the Bureau.”

Sunday, 21 August 2022

1.d4 (10. 074)

Not discounting the possibility of promotion—or queening—or underpromotion in scenarios when too many queens would cause a draw over a stalemate, we enjoyed learning that in medieval gaming traditions, each pawn was assigned a common occupation, ranging from the king’s rook’s to the queen’s rook: farmer, smith, notary, merchant, physician, innkeeper, watchman and town crier. These roles were handed down to us in the collected sermons of mid-thirteenth century Dominican friar from Asti, Jacopo da Cessole, who authored a morality book through the pieces and protocols of the game—the Book of Chess, De ludo scachorum. First printed a century and a half after it was written, it became one of the most popular early books, possibly even rivalling the Bible for its life lessons and accessible social allegory, and became the basis for printer William Caxton’s The Game and Playe of the Chess, only the second book published in English. More at Futility Closet at the link above.

Sunday, 14 August 2022

9x9 (10. 059)

i’m sorry but this is quite clearly a haunted murder panda and/or the protagonist of moshfegh’s next novel. do not buy: an assortment of random oddities that one preeminent author is selling her online emporium—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (check it out!)  

quasi-modal: apparently “thy shall be done” is a thing now  

eye of the beholder: an AI visits a contemporary art museum 

printers’ auxiliaries: a beautiful 1940 book of typefaces from the Gujarati foundry  

if marisol and nilofer are the only non-white women at the staff meeting, how frequently will each be called by the other’s name: word problems for female professionals that aren’t so non-sequitur  

pulp power: the mainstay illustrative style of 1930s and 40s serial fiction  

heat dumping: searching for the etymology of the adaptive behaviour of splooting—which is referred to in England as squirrel “pancaking” 

world englishes: the OED on Irish’s contribution to language—see previously  

a lamb himself: an excerpt from Ottessa Moshfegh’s novel Lapvona

Wednesday, 10 August 2022

7x7 (10. 050)

smokin’: Bill McClintock remixes Clarence Carter’s “Strokin’” (That’s What I Be Doing) with Boston’s “More Than A Feeling”  

s morgenstern’s classic tale of true love and high adventure, the ‘good parts’ version: wildly divergent book covers for The Princess Bride, via Super Punch  

we’re walking in the air: author and illustrator Raymond Briggs (previously) has passed away, aged 88  

development purgatory: more titles and properties never released by movie studios—see also—via Things Magazine   

scarborough faire: housing developer agrees to rebury unique Roman villa for future conservation a year after it was discovered  

the seventh seal: AI designs movie posters  

seona dancing: Ricky Gervais’ synth-pop group from 1983

Friday, 5 August 2022

the piper at the gates of dawn (10. 039)

Debut album title taken from the seventh chapter of the 1908 Kenneth Grahame novel The Wind in the Willows—a favourite of Syd Barrett’s and featuring the single, anomalous appearance of the god Pan—the first record from the band Pink Floyd (previously) was released on this day in 1967. Consistently ranked among the best and most influential albums of all time, there have been multiple reissues and features tracks including “Astronomy Dominรฉ,” “Interstellar Overdrive” and “The Scarecrow.”

Tuesday, 2 August 2022

9x9 (10. 032)

iron monger: a preserved Victoria shopping alley hidden underneath an Edwardian arcade in Yorkshire  

u1ke: a constrained coding experiment from Frank Force (previously) lets you strum on a 1024 byte ukulele—via Waxy  

put a tiger in your tank: a brilliant, bizarre vintage ESSO filling-station commercial from Italy  

white-washing: researchers develop a highly radiative paint that cools the ambient air—see also  

call me ishmael: imagining a multinational coffee purveyor as other characters from Moby Dick  

carbon-negative: biogenic limestone grown by algae as a concrete substitute 

future farming: an exploration of sustainable, incidental agriculture  

transcorporeality: bug-swallowing in fiction  

spectacular vernacular ii: more architectural quirks, including witch-windows

Sunday, 31 July 2022

u is for undine pursuing ulyssess and umberto, who fee her damp, death-dealing kisses (10. 028)

Via Nag on the Lake’s always excellent Sunday Links (lots more to see there), we are directed towards a concise, antique abecedarium (previously) of celebrities of 1899—most of whom are recognisable and accessible to modern audiences—with rhyming verses that gently lampoon fin de siรจcle poets, authors composers and politicians paired with figures from Antiquity. There’s no context really for this tightly rhymed (Q, V and X are done well) and nicely illustrated work by Oliver Herford that tosses together historic and contemporary personages in a bizarre manner but no matter. Columbus, who tries to explain how to balance an egg—to the utter disdain of Confucius, Carlyle, Cleopatra, and Cain.

Thursday, 14 July 2022

7x7

nag on the lake: a new viewing platform with spectacular views of the Falls  

smart brevity: the prevalence of bulletin-point journalism 

light cycle: the lost TRON (previously) arcade documents—via Things Magazine  

true colours: Metropolitan Museum of Art presents statues from Antiquity with their original paint jobs—see previously 

granite & rainbow: the book jackets of Virginia Woolf

restored to its polynesian/craftsman/medieval-colonial revival/queen anne glory: an architectural doppelgรคnger of the Little House  

bonne fรชte nationale: images from Bastille Day from over a century ago 

sluicehuis: a cantilever housing bloc in Amsterdam’s IJburg district

bringing up baby

Originally published on this day in 1946, the volume by pediatrician and psychologist Benjamin Spock and its subsequent editions (updated through 2018 to address same sex parents, gender identity and equity and advocating for a vegan diet) revolutionized and informed the post-war baby boom generation in the US and worldwide with his approach to child rearing that encouraged mothers and care-givers to trust their instincts and was a distinct departure from the conventional wisdom that emphasized regiment and regularity and withholding displays of affection. With the intent to disseminate a comprehensive primer to all parents and provide guideposts as to what to expect at various points of growth and development, Spock's book was made available broadly at a low cost of twenty-five cents so as to be affordable for any budget.

Saturday, 9 July 2022

8x8

carina nebula: first five subjects for JWST announced  

a pharmacopeia with balneological appendix: a primer and point of departure for the mysterious pre-Renaissance volume, the Voynich Manuscript—see previously

putt-putt for the fun of it: a time-capsule of miniature golf courses 

trap daddy: spoof Russian history on Chinese Wikipedia introduces us to a catch-phrase for the deception hoax—see also, see previously  

jubilee: inflexibility applied to finance and debt contributed to the downfall of the Roman Empire  

spatter platters: morbid 1960s teen tragedy songs

hushed-tones: a neural network makes a nature documentary about ants  

hudf: JWST takes deepest image of the Cosmos without even trying plus other space news briefs

Saturday, 25 June 2022

8x8

morning chorus: a suspended hotel suite in Sรกpmi cladded with three-hundred fifty birdhouses 

meanwhile margaret atwood says hold my beer: teach and student, Aldous Huxley and George Orwell, spar over which dystopian vision is more plausible  

don’t say g*y: Disney introduces its first openly closeted cast of characters  

makeup and monobrow: a quick survey of the female eyebrow in art 

border and backsplash: the mosaic tile museum of Gifu—over ten-thousands exemplars, many rescued from buildings slated for demolition 

i had hoped that god would work one of his signature miracles and spare me from is also signature “horrible pain in childbirth” curse: the Virgin Mary reclaims her nativity narrative  

stonk-and-go: the US Securities and Exchange Commission weighs sweeping change to curtail meme-driven trades  

a doghouse for eddie: charmingly, Frank Lloyd Wright (previously) builds a home for a canine and his human companion

Thursday, 23 June 2022

enter sandman

Featuring the talents of Michael York, Jenny Agutter, Farrah Fawcett and Peter Ustinov, the dystopian sci-fi film set in a future where population and resource consumption is managed by rapturing (the Carrousel) people at the age of thirty, the cinematic adaption of the 1967 novel by George Clayton Johnson and William F Nolan had its debut in theatres on this day in 1976. Escaping the subterranean mega city, fugitives Logan 5 (whose job it was formerly to enforce this maximum age mandate but turned Runner himself) and Jessica 6 find themselves in an ice cave and encounter Box, a robot designed to capture fleeing individuals and freeze them for food. Expertly voiced by Shakespearian actor and director Roscoe Lee Brown, this commanding role influenced George Lucas to cast James Earl Jones the following year as the voice of Darth Vader. Below is an extended version of that performance, shortened in the release.