Wednesday, 22 June 2022

5x5

amelia bedelia: reading suggestions for adults informed by one’s favourite children’s literature  

the suwaล‚ki gap: Lithuania blocks some supply trains that transit its territory to the Russian exclave Kaliningrad  

mall rats: a huge collection of 1990s consumer aesthetics 

fluxburgh: a selection of offerings gamifying architecture  

children’s television workshop: a lost, pulled episode of Sesame Street with the neighbourhood terrorised by Margaret Hamilton, the Wicked Witch of the West—via Super Punch

to each his dulcinea

Revived on Broadway for the first of four times on this day in 1972 with Richard Kiley in the role of Miguel de Cervantes and alter-ego Don Quixote, the 1965 musical by Dale Wasserman (devolved from his 1959 non-singing DuPont Show of the Month teleplay), Mitch Leigh and Joe Darion (replacing W H Auden as lyricist as his words were considered too arch) is a nest, play-within-a-play performed by the imprisoned poet and errant knight and fellow inmates awaiting their hearing before the Spanish Inquisition. A cinematic version was produced this year as well—with the main part going to Peter O’Toole. Tossed in a dungeon along with Sancho Panza, Cervante’s manservant, the other prisoners are eager to take the contents of the trunk that they brought were allowed to bring with them—to which Cervantes suggests that in his defence, he be allowed to perform a play. The room consents and Cervantes is told he can keep his property if his acting and story are judged up to muster and introduces Don Quixote and his adventures, producing make-up and costumes from his trunk for himself and supporting cast.

Monday, 20 June 2022

dรฉnouement

As a bit of insight into the formulaic writing (previously here and here) of every streaming show, JWZ breaks down the first, often orphaned series into: 

  • Episodes 1 and 2: The Mystery Episode 
  • 3 - 6: The Fambly and Crying 
  • Episode 6: Mild cliffhanger Episode 
  • 7: Deep Flashback—prequel that exploits the whole show mythology 
  • Episode 8: Resolution for Episode 6 but proffers several more cliffhangers for a Season Two that’s probably not going to happen 

Once this pattern becomes established, it becomes hard not to find this arc-of-narrative.

Friday, 17 June 2022

now do tuvix

The animation studio Gazelle Automations is really doing yeoman’s work by recasting later iterations of the franchise in the style of the 1970s Filmation Star Trek: The Animated Series (previously) and its latest offering, an adaptation of the infamously bad Voyager Season Two episode, “Threshhold,” wherein Chief Helmsman Tom Paris is a space shuttle test pilot fuelled with a more potent form of dilithium crystals and postulated to be able to break the Warp Ten barrier. Returning from his first flight altered body and soul for having experienced everything all at once, Paris becomes agitated and abducts Captain Janeway and takes off in the shuttlecraft again, rocketing through space at speeds to drive them to evolve into salamanders and have offspring. The Voyager crew find the swamp planet where they fled and manage to restore Paris and Janeway, devolving their genetic structure and abandon their lizard babies on that world.

Monday, 13 June 2022

myoclonic contraction

Whilst attempting to restrain a hog to weigh it before slaughter, one Charles Osbourne (*1894 - †1991) of Anthon, Iowa caught a case of the hiccups on this day in 1922 which lasted for sixty-eight years, forty a minute and eventually relenting to around twenty over the decades for an estimated four hundred and thirty million of them, theorised as a result of an aneurism caused by the exertion that damaged the part of the brain that normally inhibits the response. Adopting a breathing technique that made the constant ordeal more bearable and a manner of speaking that swallowed the hic sound, Osbourne became a minor celebrity, appearing on the Tonight Show with Johnny Carson and That’s Incredible and inscribed in the Guinness Book of World Records. This chronic, intractable attack ended abruptly a merciful eleven months prior to Osbourne’s death.

Thursday, 9 June 2022

7x7

null island: errant data lands at this imaginary place at the intersection of the equator and the prime meridian (see also)

miscellany № 95: assorted links from Shady Characters, including some emoji code for illicit drugs  

fairlight synths: Kate Bush rediscovered by new audiences with her 1985 hit “Running Up That Hill”—previously  

mullet sneakers: for mental health 

¶ the encyclopedia of light is a curious mode of escape:the strike-through as a form of shadow writing, contextual undoing  

linkroll: your friendly reminder to pay a visit to the cabinet of hypertext curiosities of the illustrious Mx van Hoorn—previously 

terra nullus: a tour of ten off-limits places

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

7x7

tidal power: Japan trials subsea turbines as a stable source of limitless green energy  

rethink the week: Stephen Fry and a host of animators believe that the time has come for a four-day work week—previously  

bosco verticale: Milan’s forested apartment block recreated in LEGO  

young macgyver: an unaired pilot spin-off of the original—remember when it was a huge reveal to disclose our hero’s first name?  

baad mambia: voicing AI output from Janelle Shane (previously) of Strong Bad from the flash animated series Homestar Runner—via Waxy  

mapped sonification: mouse around noisy cities and imagine how things will be different when our built environment isn’t designed to accommodate the internal combustion engine  

blue planet: World Oceans Day 2022 focuses on revitalisation—previously

Saturday, 4 June 2022

they’re here

Released on this day in 1982 from an adaptation of a story by Steven Spielberg and featuring the talents of JoBeth Williams, Zelda Rubinstein, Heather O’Rouke, Craig T Nelson and Dominique Dunne, the parapsychological thriller follows a suburban California family whose home is haunted by malevolent ghosts who abduct their younger daughter, Carol Anne, having inexplicably carrying on with a television set airing post-broadcast static. While the rest of the family is sent away for safety and having determined that the nature of the intrusion is a poltergeist, the ghost-hunting team summon spiritual medium Tangina Barrons who locates Carol Anne on the other side and guides her mother through the gateway to retrieve her, Barrons triumphantly proclaiming, “This house is clean!”

Monday, 30 May 2022

dear sir or madam will you read my book?

The eleventh single credited to the Lennon-McCartney collaborative partnership, Paperback Writer was released on this day in 1966 (the B Side was “Rain”). It climbed to the top of the charts in the US for two non-consective weeks, interrupted by Frank Sinatra’s “Strangers in the Night.” A promotional film for the song, later aired on The Ed Sullivan Show, was shot at Chiswick House in West London and was among the first music videos.

Saturday, 28 May 2022

8x8

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

Sunday, 22 May 2022

oom papa

The always exquisite Fancy Notions directs our attention to a delightful classic cartoon from UPI and storyboard artist and writer T. Hee about generational clashes and the fear of being made obsolete with Pops Tuba discouraging son from experimentation and stern warnings against falling in with the wrong crowd. “And Orville and his friends thought they had the hippest sound—until Steel Johnny Six-String and his pals Fuzzpdal and Fenderstack came to town.”

Thursday, 19 May 2022

long island lolita

Prompting three separate made-for-television dramatisations of the incident starring in chronological order of release date (all within a year afterwards) Noelle Parker, Alyssa Milano and Drew Barrymore, seventeen-year-old high school student Amy Fisher, increasingly jealous of the wife of the thirty-five year old auto mechanic she was hoping to sustain a relationship with that had been going on since two years, shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face on this day in 1992. Fisher confronted Buttafuoco when she answered the door of their house in Long Island and informed her that her husband was having an affair with Fisher’s imaginary younger sister—offering a tee-shirt from her husband’s auto body shop as proof. The situation escalated quickly when Buttafuoco demanded that Fisher leave the premises and fired at her with a pistol. Buttafuoco survived, divorced her husband (albeit a decade later, coming to the realisation through writing her memoir that this man who had committed statutory rape against a fifteen year old girl is a manipulative sociopath) and became a motivational speaker.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

yea i didn’t falter—just kept on going, man! i knew nirvana was straight around the corner. i turned the corner and ran smack into betty crocker! she was running across the sky yelling you never outgrow your need for milk:

The low-budget 1978 sci-fi movie Laserblast starring Roddy McDowall (previously), Kim Milford (original cast member of Hair, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and both Jesus and Judas in Jesus Christ Superstar), Cheryl Lynn “Rainbeaux” Smith and introducing Eddie Deezen received the MST3K treatment on this day in 1996 as the season finale of its seventh and last on the Comedy Central cable channel, before being untethered (the Umbilicus of the Satellite of Love cut) the mad scientist lair Deep 13 and drifting into interstellar space—foreshadowing its imminent move to the Sci-Fi network. A teenage loner discovers a powerful piece of alien technology that slowly corrupts him and compels him to seek revenge (a popular genre at the time) against those who’ve wronged him.

Friday, 6 May 2022

7x7

⚠️: a pictogramatical survey of caution wet floor signs—via Pasa Bon!  

load-bearing bifurcation: engineers incorporate sturdy, often-discarded tree forks in construction  

thameside tv: clips from London’s first pirate station—see also  

no tofu: the Noto typeface (previously) a suite of emoji  

unit patch: the more inscrutable badges of the US Space Force—see previously  

pocket mac: the process of designing a fake vintage product 

: Unicode Consortium’s growing list of astronomical glyphs, magical charms

Thursday, 5 May 2022

diggi-loo diggi-ley

Winning the twenty-ninth installment of the Eurovision Song Contest (previously) hosted by Luxembourg City on this day in 1984, the clean-cut Swedish trio of the brothers Herrey were referred to once by fellow contestant and performer Tommy Kรถrberg (Anatoly from Chess) as the “dancing deodorants” which stuck in the press and followed them their whole career. An English-language version was released as “Golden Shoes” at a later date, the more expository title affords non-Swedish speakers a glimpse into the lyrics about the lead singer discovering a magical pair of shoes that make him dance in the streets and wishes everyone in the world could have the same experience. In 1985, the group—the original boy band ahead of the later boom—won the Sopot International Song Festival with “Sommarparty,” and was the first Western band to be invited to tour behind the Iron Curtain.

Monday, 2 May 2022

fan mail from a flounder?

Given the MST3K treatment for the first time on this day in 1999 in their tenth season, the surpassing bad 1971 sci-fi horror film also released under the titles ZaAt (the name of the chemical compound), Hydra and Attack of the Swamp Creatures relates the plot of a mad scientist first to transform himself into a catfish-like monster (sort of like the hybrid God-Emperor primate-sandworm) then drug an entire town’s water supply with the same serum to create a community of merpeople. The mad scientist then turns his focus to revenge on his fellow researchers who ridiculed his work.

Thursday, 28 April 2022

hollywood on the tiber

Dedicated on this day in 1937 by Fascist dictator Benito Mussolini, the sprawling studio complex in Rome, Cinecittร , was built in accordance with the motto ”il cinema รจ l‘arma piรน forte“—that is, movies are the most powerful weapons. Their aims however were not exclusively for propaganda with the primary goal of reviving the country‘s flagging film industry, which had virtually collapsed in the early 1930s. Subject to bombardment during World War II and post-war was host to an encampment for displaced persons. Rebuilt in the early 1950s, the studio site garnered the titular nickname with over three-thousand productions, including Roman Holiday, Quo Vadis, Ben-Hur, Cleopatra, The Agony and the Ecstasy plus numerous films by Franco Zeffirelli and Federico Fellini. More recently the the studios were the set of the BBC/HBO co-production Rome and The Young Pope, a full-scale mock-up of St Peter’s and the Sistine Chapel on site, just a few kilometres away from the actual location.

Tuesday, 19 April 2022

you are not drinking a piรฑa coladas at trader vic’s, young man, you’re just not old enough

First aired on this day in 1997, the 1957 b-movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf starring Michael Landon (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven) as troubled youth Tony Rivers was lampooned by MST3K. A fight in school garners Tony (Landon) the attention of the local detective who persuades him to speak with a staff psychologist who proposes a regimen of hypnotherapy to help deal with his bouts of anger.  Reluctant at first but then convinced he needs to seek help to curb his violent (often dairy-based) inclinations after another brawl during a Halloween party, Tony submits to seeing the doctor, who has the patient pegged rather as the ideal test-candidate for an experimental serum developed to regress personality and bring out primitive instincts. One side-effect of the treatment is of course lycanthropy.

Monday, 18 April 2022

ident and interlude

We thoroughly enjoyed this introduction to the authentically analogue off-set animation, printmakingtechnique called risography (ใƒชใ‚ฝใ‚ฐใƒฉใƒ•)—a form of mechanical-duplication for high volume reproduction using soy-based inks and toners—through the rejection of digital media and the phenomenon of reimporting the tried and true mimeograph technology as embodied in the introduction for the news programme Hลdล Station as animated, frame by frame, by artist Hiromu Oka for TV Asahi. Longer and more involved than the pause for station identification were the montages—now discontinued—for sign-ons and sign-offs (see also) at the beginning and end of the broadcasting day called Hato no Kyลซjitsu (้ณฉใฎไผ‘ๆ—ฅ—that is, “Dove’s Day Off”).  More about the technique and graphic designer at It’s Nice That at the link above.

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

7x7

mutually intelligible: interlocutors with no common language gravely overestimate the success of their getting the message across 

let’s have church: mystery artist of gospel album covers—via Nag on the Lake  

partygate: Prime Minister and cabinet members fined for violating lockdown protocols 

toto, i have a feeling we’re not in kansas anymore: watch an Iowa television station transition from monochrome to living colour  

coin-op: a comprehensive look at Gachapon (ใ‚ฌใƒใƒฃใƒใƒณ) across Japan  

1-bit: summon demons with this slightly racy tarot reading  

light verb variation: why some people make decisions and others take them