Sunday, 29 January 2023

8x8 (10. 509)

musiclm: a Google sandbox experiment for audio generation from rich captions—via Waxy and Web Curiossee previously  

krewe of karens: i would like to see the Mardi Gras manager  

semi-stagionato: an ancient method for surviving the COVID cheese glut made have improved the region’s pecorino cheeses  

taming of the shrew: voles manage to bond and form long-term relationships without the “love hormone” oxycotin  

party (of one): Broadway Barbara’s “Dance for Your Life!”—see also 

 an absurd italian gastronomic religion: the ironical, fascist sauce that outlived the war on pasta—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links—lots more to explore there 

you know i always wanted to pretend that i was an architect: attribute these quotes to either Seinfeld’s George Costanza or GOP darling George Santos  

magic voice: more prompts and audio continuation courtesy of Google’s suite of AI tools

zero my hero (10. 507)

Turning fifty this month with its debut as a series with Multiplication Rock with songs written and performed by Bob Dorough going through the tables—see also—the interstitial animated educational shorts Schoolhouse Rock! was a staple of American Saturday morning cartoon programming, originally running through 1984. The original concept was suggested by an advertising executive of the influential firm McCaffrey and McCall’s that his young son was—despite being able to memorise the lyrics of Rolling Stones songs—struggling to rote lessons, resulting in the pre-canon “Three is a Magic Number” in 1971 before pursuing the project further. One of three between programming segments along with Time for Timer (“A Hankering for a Hunk of Cheese”) and the Bod Squad (“The Munchies,” “Don’t Drown Your Food”) and was followed by a second series, Grammar Rock, and for the US bicentennial in 1976, America Rock, culminating in the final run of Scooter Computer and Mister Chips.

Tuesday, 24 January 2023

8x8 (10. 495)

super 8: Kodak background orchestral ensemble for home movies (1961) would make a good soundtrack for any clip  

memory hole: unearthing—with surprising difficulty—an iconic, defining moment of 90s US political pop culture  

the fourth plinth: what becomes of statuary exhibited temporarily in Trafalgar Square—via Things Magazine  

whw: an interview with the ousted Kunsthalle collective who wanted to showcase all sides of Vienna  

poissons de diverses couleurs et figures extraordinaires: exquisite disco fish (1719)  

geyser relays: a rather pie-in-the-sky proposal for irrigation using a series of water canons  

parade route: revisiting the would-be arrival and presentation of Ganda the Rhinoceros  

sympawny № 4: a short arrangement to pay tribute to a beloved cat

Saturday, 21 January 2023

7x7 (10. 484)

between two ferns: chats with “historical figures” have been regrettable—see previously

this concludes our broadcasting day: an alternate HBO signoff announcement (see previously) emerges  

nuscale for scale: US authorities approve design for the first generation of small, modular reactors  

all things bright and beautiful: a compelling argument to enjoy the All Creatures Great and Small reboot  

circular sun house: Frank Lloyd Wright’s final completed project (see also) on the edge of the Phoenix Mountains Nature Preserve goes on the market  

closed captioning: as a bilingual family, we always relied on subtitles and appreciated this primer on why we’re not alone  

content mill: CNET magazine suspends automated articles after an embarrassing disclosure

Monday, 16 January 2023

lemminkรคinen, very pretty (10. 421)

First subjected to the MST3K treatment on this day in 1993 (broadcast edition below, preceded by the short “Here Comes the Circus”), the 1959 cinematic anthology of Finnish folk tales and loosely based of the national epic sage Kalevala, the co-Suomi-Soviet production by Aleksandr Ptushko and Risto Orko was also marketed under the title of the main MacGuffin, the mystical Sampo (see also)—a magical mill that will grant limitless prosperity to whomever possesses it. The only person in the realm able to craft a Sampo is the smith Ilmarien, who cannot make it until his sister Annikki falls in love, which she eventually does, enamoured with our pure-of-heart and hard-working protagonist. A evil witch called Louhi, ruler of the dark and dismal Pohjola is also desirous of a Sampo and ransoms Annikki to her land, kidnapping her by means of an enchanted cloak. Lemminkรคinen must perform a series of seemingly impossible tasks to win her back, with the last challenge going to her brother, Ilmarien, to fashion a Sampo. ”Look, it‘s Thomas Edison and his Electric Child!“

Sunday, 8 January 2023

if only they could talk (10. 397)

Based on the title novel by Glasgow veterinary surgeon Alf Wight (writing under the pseudonym James Herriot), Bill Sellars’ comedic drama series All Creatures Great and Small premiered on the BBC on this day in 1978. Running for a total of seven seasons and then rebooted in 2020, the show is set in 1930 Yorkshire uplands, it portrays the triumphs and challenges of a rural veterinary practise of Siegfried Farnon and the pseudonymous author.

 

Sunday, 1 January 2023

9x9 (10. 379)

run with us: Lisa Lougheed vocal talents showcased for the Canadian animated television series The Raccoons—1985 to 1992  

the number 23: Tedium looks forward to the dawning year  

artisanal bitcoin: crypto mined with only slide rules and graph paper  

rip: this more inclusive, Sgt Pepper’s style (previously) obituary of those we lost in 2022—to include the very recently passing of Anita Pointer, Barbara Walters and Pope Benedict 

next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual: a literary guide to New Year’s resolutions and more from Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

web 1.0: a clarion call to bring back personal blogging—also the upteenth time this appeal has circulated since 2007—via Kottke’s Quick Links  

penny-farthing: a pocket-sized battery that can enhance a mechanical bicycle  

magic clock: a 1960 Mel-O-Toons classic reminds us it’s late than we think  

fever ray: a selection of new musical artist from Super Punch

Saturday, 31 December 2022

but my friends, they’re waiting in the lobby (10. 375)

Though no one can say quite sure why Dinner for One (previously), an eighteen minute British sketch from Lauri Wylie and starring comedians May Warden and Freddie Fronton recorded in 1962, has been made a Jahreswechsel broadcast and standard New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day television—perhaps owing to one of penultimate lines delivered by manservant James (posing as one of the no-show guests Mister Pommeroy) wishes Miss Sophie a Happy New Year, since New Year’s Eve 1972, it has been continuously aired, first by the Norddeutscher Rundfunk based in Hamburg, since attaining cult status with even Netflix producing a short remake of this obscure tradition with characters from their most popular series and a German film consortium planning a prequel mini-series—possibly a murder-mystery —for the end of 2023.

Monday, 26 December 2022

the duchess and the dirt water fox are calling (10. 362)

Originally telecast on this day in 1992 with the MST3K treatment—having previously attained somewhat of a cult following by its inclusion in Elvira’s Movie Macabre in 1984, the 1965 scif-fi movie from the Woolner Brothers (also with the credits Hercules Unchained, Hercules and the Captive Women, Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and Hillbillies in a Haunted House) follows the plot of a mysterious agent, Dr Kolos, of the Intergalactic Council tasked with replacing prominent human scientists with android doppelgรคngers in order to take over the Earth. The alien plan is foiled by intervention from the US National Intelligence Service.

Saturday, 17 December 2022

01-811-8055 (10. 341)

Airing on BBC1 from for five seasons from 1982 to 1987—with a format matching its predecessor hosted by presenter Noel Edmonds, Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, the children’s call-in programme featuring talent shows (more clips here) had many memorable moments, including the appearance of Margaret Thatcher taking questions ahead of a re-election campaign and being berated by a small girl who demanded to know the prime minister’s whereabouts in the event of a nuclear war and numerous musical guests, like Wham!, The Pet Shop Boys and Kate Bush or as on this Saturday morning in 1983, when Culture Club, Duran Duran and The Police all performed and were jury members judging the entrants’ talents. The episode is split into several clips but should play sequentially.

Friday, 16 December 2022

mistletoe and magic ✨ (10. 340)

Whilst OpenAI’s ChatGPT (previously) invent more plausible and predictably formulaic output instantaneously and in a way that addresses all the tropes—and stereotypes—in a more natural and less forced way, these rather vanilla spec-scripts for a generic Hallmark Holiday special, safe and concise as they may be, do fall short of the genius of an earlier artificial intelligence model’s product, set in a small town snow-globe refillery. Plus as a bonus treat, we are referred by Strange Company to the origin story of the Snow Globe—through the lens of its most famous cinematic appearance in the first few moments of Citizen Kane—from a Viennese family trying to provide surgeons with brighter operating theatre lighting, a convoluted story that sounds like it could have been written by the above neural network.  Give it a try yourself at the link up top and be sure to share.

verse chorus verse (10. 388)

Released as a live double-album the following November after the death of singer Kurt Cobain, Nirvana’s Unplugged session—not wholly acoustic and unlike previous performances featured cover songs and lesser-known material and accomplished in a single take—MTV first aired the studio concert on this day in 1993. Acclaimed as transcend and retrospectively as a requiem, the album was certified multiplatinum and consistently ranks among the greatest records of all time.

Thursday, 15 December 2022

7x7 (10. 386)

de-evolution: Dangerous Minds interviews Devo’s Gerald V Casale  

santa baby: Cher’s 1975 Christmas Show—see previously  

risky ebay alternative: a round-up of poorly considered gift ideas from Tedium 

๐Ÿ‘️‍๐Ÿ—จ️: an infinitely recursive Game of Life—see previously—via Waxy  

going to be out of pocket today: a Gen-Z lingo quiz—via Language Hat⊙  

december will be magic again: a 1979 BBC Kate Bush Christmas Special with guest star Peter Gabriel  

crack that whip: the group’s signature song was inspired by Thomas Pychon’s Gravity’s Rainbow

Tuesday, 13 December 2022

eh-oh! (10. 382)

Reaching number one on the UK singles chart somewhat inexplicably on this day twenty-five years ago for a two-week run and remaining in the top seventy-five for some thirty two weeks, the hit is a remix of the children’s series theme song with a few nursery rhyme bridges thrown in. We won’t make you watch the video.  Beating out the Spice Girls in the holiday race to be the Christmas number one, a prized annual distinction in the run up to the season. Following the success a Dutch version came out the following month, “Teletubbies zeggen ‘A-Oh!,’” reaching number twelve.

Monday, 12 December 2022

brion sanctuary (10. 379)

Via Messy Nessy Chic, final resting place for the commissioning widow, her late husband, founder of an Italian consumer electronics company called Brionvega noted for their futuristic design and the designer himself, Carlo Scarpa—never officially credentialed as an architect as he refused to sit before the state board of examiners—the monumental extension to an adjacent municipal cemetery is considered to be a masterpiece of Modernism. Completed in 1978 after a decade of construction, the chapel and sacrophagi outside of Treviso is a mediation in concrete that evokes the cross-cultural influence of nearby Venice, incorporating Byzantine tiles and mosaics and the signature motif of vesica piscis or mandorla—the lens formed by the intersection of two circles, suggesting in Latin, the bladder of a fish or in the Italian, an almond. Restored last year, it was a filming location of the second part of Denis Villeneuve’s Dune shot over the summer.  More at the links above, including many pre-conservation photos and more projects by Scarpa.

Friday, 9 December 2022

data dump (10. 373)

Although unashamedly US-centric, the just-published Year in Search retrospective from Google nonetheless yields some insights for this past year and our collective engagement with the news and trends. 

It seems that we were less interested in chasing memes and more focused on the news and an interesting feature (America only apparently) allows one to find popular search terms locally. There are several categories–plants, pets, people–of analytics to parse and contrast and the top ten searches (with apparent recency bias) worldwide were: 

  • Wordle
  • India vs England
  • Ukraine
  • Queen Elizabeth
  • Ind vs SA
  • World Cup
  • India vs West Indies
  • iPhone 14
  • Jeffrey Dahmer
  • Indian Premier League

The top news queries were: Ukraine, Queen Elizabeth’s passing, Election Results, Powerball Numbers and Monkeypox. More at the links above.

Thursday, 24 November 2022

secondly, i think you made that second bacteria up (10. 330)

Via fellow internet caretaker Miss Cellania, we are reminded of this classic segment from the serial political drama and stand-in for reality in Aaron Sorkin’s West Wing from season three, episode seven, “Indians in the Lobby,” wherein President Bartlet learns about and proceeds to call the Butterball Hotline. The main story focused on two Native Americans camped out in the White House demanding better healthcare standards for reservations and promising to cause a media disruption unless they are granted an audience with the bureau director.

Tuesday, 22 November 2022

7x7 (10. 325)

99.9% of people will never get to experience what you will: NASA's social media guidelines for astronauts—via tmn  

cosmic christmas: an animated short from the studio of Nelvana, contracted to do interstitials for The Star Wars Holiday Special

the kiss: the first filmed act of intimacy by pioneer Eadweard Muybridge—see previously  

all systems go: Orion orbiter begins its loop around the Moon  

photobomb: finalists from the seventh annual Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards––previously—via the Everlasting Blรถrt  

before there was hope in the galaxy, there was andor: Rogue One prequel presented as a mid-70s television series—spoiler alerts—see previously 

edge of space: a maritime cosmodrome with a carbon neutral balloon for rides into the stratosphere—via tmn

Friday, 18 November 2022

7x7 (10. 314)

umwelt: a short video to compliment Ed Yong’s exploration of animal cognition—previously 

what9whos: a proprietary geocode system based on the names of the actors who’ve portrayed the Doctor from Gallifrey 

lexical lists: the index, the listicle are the oldest forms of narrative  

commit to being extremely hardcore: the Twitter exodus continues  

speaker of the house: after two decades of party leadership in the lower chamber, Nancy Pelosi is stepping down 

chart-topper: a collector has amassed every single number one single in the UK—see previously  

mockingbird: you’ve likely been fooled by an avian friend––see also

Monday, 14 November 2022

cinebox (10. 303)

I was wracking my brain and hitting an internal googlewhack over the audio-visual jukebox short films (finally found what I vaguely recalled blogging about before—an overview of the technology and content that spanned the history from the pre-WWII Soundies and Panorams to their revival in the late 1950s by a French company) that less mainstream performers used to promote their latest singles and see that it also inspired a search by friend of the blog par excellence Nag on the Lake, who preening through a lot of unfortunate link-rot, discovered and shares a great repository of scopitones. Check out the links above for more of these precursors to music videos and streaming whose particular style (Nancy Sinatra’s “These Boots are Made for Walking” is a less obscure epitome) prompted essayist Susan Sontag to nominate them for inclusion as part of the “canon of Camp.” Let us know your favourites.