Friday, 24 June 2022

§219a

While most providers and recipients are prosecuted, abortion remains illegal (with broad exceptions) in Germany but there are pledges and plans to wholly decriminalise it—with the first major step in this direction coming with a government coalition moving to strike a law from the criminal code that dates back to Nazi times, which states that anyone publicly advertising or offers abortion services can face imprisonment or fines. Though sparingly enforced, the restriction (Werbung fรผr den Abbruch der Schwangerschaft) meant a distinct dearth of information accessible for those in a situation dealing with family-planning—such as the credibility of potential providers, possible side-effects and after-care processes. This decision was carried through on the same day as the US Supreme Court announced that they would be overturning the landmark case Roe v Wade, which guaranteed generally the liberty of choice to terminate a pregnancy.

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

Friday, 17 June 2022

oppo research

A few hours past midnight on this day in 1972, Watergate Complex (previously) security guard Frank Wills on patrol noticed tape on the hinges of some doors coming from the parking garage to office doors—preventing them from locking when closed. Removing the tape, Wills dismissed it as something innocent—perhaps janitorial staff propping the exit open—but returning upon returning to the same corridor a short time later, Wills saw the tape had been reapplied, so he called for back-up. Three officers showed up, dressed as hippies and on an undercover shift looking to arrest drug-dealers, and the look-out for the operation, staying at the Howard Johnson’s across the street failed to alert his co-conspirators, distracted by Attack of the Puppet People on the television, failing to spot the police car outside. The police apprehended five individuals who had broken into the Democratic National Committee headquarters housed in the complex, photographing documents and attempting to plant bugging devices. The Washington Post broke the story the next day, though the “White House plumbers,” charged with stopping security leaks, downplayed the failed attempt as a “third-rate and amateurish” burglary, categorically denying any involvement by the Nixon administration.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

standing firm

On this day in 1992, whilst attending a spelling bee at the Muรฑoz Rivera elementary school in Trenton, New Jersey, vice president and former senator from Indiana Dan Quayle (see previously) corrected one pupil’s answer from potato to add an erroneous e at the end. Subject to widespread ridicule for this mistake (part of a long series of gaffes), in his memoirs Quayle blamed written material given to him in advance by the school. During the presidential campaign later that year, the incumbent facing challengers Al Gore and Vice Admiral James Stockdale (RET) for his office, Quayle declaimed to reporters that he believed that homosexuality was a choice, and “the wrong choice.”

Saturday, 4 June 2022

7x7

2slgbtqia+: a calendar of Native American and First Nations’ Pride events—the 2S is for “Two-Spirits”  

about the damn end: DJ Cummerbund (previously) mixes Lizzo and Linkin Park—via Waxy  

sacred modernity: McGregor Smith explores Europe’s superlative post-war churches—via Things magazine

why ernest saves christmas: wholly machine-generated articles on any number of topics—the logorrhoea of infinite neural networks producing infinite copy, via Web Curios  

signature sound: a 1957 musical horoscope album (see also here and here) orchestrated by Hal Mooney  

the endangered california bumbletrout: court declares bees are fish to afford them better defence under the state’s species protection act  

night of a thousand judys: a tribute concert for charity on what would have been Garland’s one-hundredth birthday

Thursday, 2 June 2022

hrh

On the occasion of the seventieth anniversary of her coronation ceremony in Westminster Abbey, aged twenty-six and already proclaimed as monarch upon the death of her father in February the year prior, and one of the first major televised events in history, we quite enjoyed reviewing these facts and figures about Elizabeth II. As a corollary, we also quite liked this photo album spanning her life from the BBC. Just a sampling of the trivia included (41) That in order to avoid a wardrobe mishap, the hem of the Queen’s skirts are weighted, followed on by (42) that at Balmoral atop a piano, there is a Big Mouth Billy Bass (a novelty animatronic singing fish that held a degree of popularity around the turn of the century), (57) her admirable drinking regimen and (69) how she takes her scones. More from the Guardian at the link above celebrating this jubilee.

Friday, 27 May 2022

strange news out of essex

Though no byline is on the pamphlet it is usually attributed to poet and biographer William Winstanley (Poor Robin’s Almanack, England’s Worthies), the bulletin published some months later gives the account of a sighting of a dragon, a winged serpent on this day in 1668 that attacked villagers on this day before disappearing into the forest. “The place of his abode and where he hath been oftentimes seen, is called Henham, but most commonly Henham on the Mount, the town standing upon a hill, having many fair farms and granges belonging to it, in one of which named The Lodge, near to a wood called Birch-wood, by reason of the many birches growing there, in a pasture-ground close by the same, hath this monstrous Serpent been often seen upon the sides of a Bank, beaking and stretching himself out upon the same at such time as Sol did parch the earth with his refulgent beams.” Later described as a beast nine feet in length and with tiny wings which wouldn’t bare its weight, the author nonetheless calls it flying.

Wednesday, 25 May 2022

fixed penalty notice

The newly published report on the inquiry overseen by Second Permanent Secretary on the Cabinet Office Sue Gray investigating social gatherings held during the COVID-19 pandemic during times when social distancing and public health restrictions would have prohibited such behaviour includes a series of redacted photographs that illustrate the disdain and clubby atmosphere of the Johnson administration, detailing partying until 04:00, vomiting and guests booted with the discretion of making their drunken egress from Downing Street and Whitehall by the back exit. Whilst lockdown measures were in effect which prevented the general public from getting together in general and particularly during pivotal and solemn moments of birth and death, members of the government that put these measures in place and on the pains of enforcement were flagrantly ignoring them. The cost so far of the inquiry is estimated at £460 000.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

lady lindy

After piloting a Lockheed Vega 5B for seventeen hours from Harbour Grace, Newfoundland, on this day in 1932 Amelia Earhart lands her airplane near Londonderry. The aviatrix then became the second individual to successfully complete a solo transatlantic flight, touching down five years to the day after Charles Lindbergh had landed in Paris, the press sometimes giving her the above sobriquet, one she probably did not care for.

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.

Monday, 16 May 2022

6x6

dandelion wine: slow drinks made with our favourite noxious weed—see also  

give that wolf a banana and before that wolf eats my grandma: Norway’s Eurovision entry—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

stablecoin: the collapse of NFT and crypto markets 

 for every bear that ever there was: 1984 reportage of Keanu Reeves covering a teddy bear convention for the CBC—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

homeostatic awakening: new developments in the Fermi paradox—see previously here and here  

quattro bianchi: Italy’s answer to the Long Island Iced Tea packs a wallop

Tuesday, 10 May 2022

onward victoria

Standing later for the office of president in the 1872 election, Victoria Woodhull accepted the nomination of her party, the Equal Rights, at Apollo Hall in New York City on this day of the same year—though a few detractors have reservations in acknowledging her to be the first woman to run for high office in America on the technicality (albeit a constitutional one) that she would have been six months shy of her thirty-fifth birthday on inauguration day. Self-made twice over, Woodhull first earned—and subsequently lost—a substantial fortune in magnetic healing and afterward entered into arguably more legitimate enterprises with her sister, Tennessee Claflin, to open the first female-ran stock brokerage and used profits from trading to open a newspaper. Running on a platform of universal suffrage, labour reform, equality and free love—that is the right to marry, divorce, bear children or not without social prejudice or government interference, Woodhull also declared this day her running-mate to be respected statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass though unbeknownst to him, Douglass did not take part in the convention or campaign in any way. Wary of Woodhull’s reputation as an investigative journalist and having previously introduced patriarch Cornelius to the above pseudoscientific therapy, heir to the vast estate William Henry Vanderbilt paid Woodhull and her sister $1000 to leave the country. Newly divorced and with her political career behind her, she accepted the offer and moved to London and founded a charter school and lectured on education reform.

Monday, 2 May 2022

the sinking of the general belgrano

Originally built as a Brooklyn-class cruiser for the US Navy and surviving Pearl Habour and sold to the regime of Juan Perรณn in 1951 and named after Argentine naval instructor and founding figure and with a loss of life totalling almost a third of the casualties of the entire campaign, a UK submarine torpedoed and sunk the warship, with a three-hundred and twenty-three members of its full compliment of eleven hundred perishing at sea, on this day in 1982. Following the April invasion of the Falkland Islands in response to occupation by the Junta, the UK declared a Maritime Exclusion Zone around the Malvinas and any armed vessel entering those waters would be subject to attack. Though outside the zone of exclusion, signals interception and a change in bearing suggested that the Belgrano was a threat and a legitimate target, though the fateful decision in this senseless war is still debated and whether the act was a war crime or the target was a lawful one is a matter of controversy, although most in the Argentinian navy concede the ship had taken an offensive tack. Whilst most media outlets maintained a neutral stance, the British tabloid The Sun reported on the story with the incredibly tasteless headline “Gotcha!” in early editions, arguably toning it down a bit with the front-page re-titled to “Did 1 200 Argies drown?” Tensions escalated and two days afterwards, the HMS Sheffield was sunk by a missile strike with a truce called after seventy-four days of fighting.

Saturday, 30 April 2022

illuminated manuscripts

We quite enjoyed reflecting on this survey of the allure of modern medievalism for commercial clients and image-makers through the lens of the portfolio of commissions of Riga-based graphic designer Robert Rurans, who in turn takes his inspiration from source materials like fourteenth century catechisms, almanacs, herbals and alchemical guides. Clientele include fashion house Hermรฉs, Coca-Cola and numerous jobs for the New York Times, who’ve twice nominated Rurans for illustrator of the year. Much more at It’s Nice That at the link up top.

Tuesday, 26 April 2022

arch-fiends

Kyiv mayor Vitali Klitschko announced that the Soviet-era monument, a large titanium arch in the city centre over an ensemble of statues including two bronze workers erected in 1982 on the sixtieth anniversary of the USSR and fifteen-hundredth anniversary of the founding of Kiev representing the Order of Friendship of Peoples will undergo alterations.  Known locally as ะฏั€ะผะพ́, the comrades holding aloft a medal symbolising this accord that saw the reunification of Ukraine with Russia have been dismantled (see also), and whilst the arch—which since the 2014 annexation of Crimea has born a crack painted by activists to indicate the strained relationship—will remain but be highlighted in the colours of the Ukrainian flag.  Reportedly, the figure representing Russia was accidentally decapitated during removal, and further streets (see previously) named for Russian personages will be renamed—emphasising of course that Russian culture is not under attack but rather the ideology of monument and memorial is liable to be bankrupt given current affairs.

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

Tuesday, 29 March 2022

i have no idea what a burner phone is

Despite taking slight issue with the headline—as one wouldn’t round down the gap in the Nixon tapes down to a quarter-of-an-hour rather than citing the full eighteen-and-a-half minutes, the reporting on the on the omissions of the presidential daily diary (PDD) and call log is revealing that an nearly eight hour block of time is missing from Trump’s activities on 6 January 2021, the date of the attack on the US Capitol, is a devastating indictment and highly incriminating, especially for those communications that have been verified to have taken place, despite not being reflected in the archives. The committee investigating the insurrection, suspecting a cover-up, are looking for witness testimony in order to fill in the gap as the violence was unfolding. This news comes at the same time as a federal judge rules that Trump—on the advice of his legal counsel—committed felonies on several counts in his scheme to overturn the election, opening up the possibility to subpoena more documents and communication between the Trump administration and legal team, overriding the protections of attorney-client privilege, another favoured shield to invoke by those with something to hide.

Friday, 18 March 2022

prank calls

Both the UK defence minister and and home secretary took video calls earlier this week from imposters claiming to be the Ukrainian prime minister and were posed leading questions in an attempt to solicit inappropriate and provocative responses but quickly saw through the hoax. Though unclear what party was behind it, officials are blaming Russian disinformation campaigns and the fact that fraudsters could gain access to top ministers is worrying regardless of motive—the report ending with a linguistic coda touching on the topic of shibboleths and that future callers should be credentialed or outed by how they pronounce palianytsia, a traditional kind of roll, that Russian speakers pronounce with a soft <ฤญ> instead of <ะธ>.

Monday, 14 March 2022

goblin mode

Not to shame or scold anyone for their coping mechanisms or lack thereof, we felt seen by this article by Kari Paul on the reframing of the hedonistic cycle that steps out of it with the same intention as those tactics of betterment and self-improvement only to be camouflaged as the lazy under-achieving escapism that this sort of behaviour is trying to distance itself from, albeit in not the most flattering fashion. Rather than embracing those incredibly narrow and niche trends that limned the beginning of the pandemic isolation, the phenomenon that simultaneously accepts and rejects the definition of a hashtag represents the opposite of the in-crowd.

Saturday, 12 March 2022

world day against cyber censorship

Observed as an occasion to rally against internet censorship and advocate for unfettered access to free and unrestricted expression since 2008 (on the 1989 anniversary of Sir Tim Berners-Lee submitting his proposal for a information management system for CERN which would eventually become the world wide web) by and incorporating the annually updated Enemies of the Internet roster from Reports without Borders (Reporters sans frontiรจres, RSF) that calls out countries for suppressing freedom of the press.