Monday, 21 November 2022

turnverein (10. 323)

As a socio-political movement meant to promote German culture, liberal politics as well as physical fitness, the gymnastic club movement, the Turners, was founded in the early nineteenth century by Turnvater Friedrich Ludwig Jahn (see also) as a way to also introduce conversation and action for statehood at a time when the constituent states were under occupation by Napoleon and ultimately suppressed and exported with immigration to the United States in the aftermath of the failed European revolutions of 1848. One of the largest associations, the Cincinnati Turnverein, was founded on this day in the same year—a centenary stamp was issued by the US Postal Service, the members of the Bund fighting for the North (Union) during the American Civil War and acted as bodyguards for Abraham Lincoln and through the turn of the century an important and influential civic organisation. Despite being a wholly domestic institution having little to do with German roots or contemporary geopolitics, Turners’ clubs were regarded with suspicion during the World Wars and active groups dwindled from the thousands to just a few dozen which still host events today.

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

6x6 (10. 306)

honkbal hoofdklasse: Dutch for ‘Major League Baseball’  

fragrant, acid, burnt and caprylic: the Crocker-Henderson odour classification system 

dinosaur.pocket: AI generated Mastodon instances by Janelle Shane (previously

the floor is lava: a fun looking arcade experience though the best part was climbing over the furniture and leaping from place to place  

pontifex: the cathedral-like under-girding of the bridges of Seoul 

phryge-fest: Paris unveils its Olympic and Paralympics mascots—anthropomorphic hats

Friday, 21 October 2022

7x7 (10. 242)

lettuce rejoice: a bit of highly monitored produce outlasts the prime minister 

cincinattus: the real and fraught possibility that Boris Johnson could be brought back as the Tory leader

jazz swing and joy wheel: revisiting the playground and its antique architecture—via tmn  

hive mind: how studying the decision making approach of bumble bees can lend insights into the mechanics of human memory  

on pointe: ballet dancers caring for the tools of the trade  

not another experiment: UK opposition political parties call for a General Election 

every inch of you: a punny produce display

Thursday, 20 October 2022

gerรผste der republik (10. 239)

Via Present /&/ Correct, we directed towards a project curating all the varied playground climbing frame configurations from the former East Germany, der GDR—see also. The website not only maps the location of each structure, it also features pictures and schematics of each taxonomically and gives their fantastic names—Rubiks Wรผrfel, Alcatraz and Dromedar plus a litany of rocketship and space-themed jungle gyms and playground equipment. Much more to explore at the links above.

Sunday, 18 September 2022

san giuseppe da copertino (10. 145)

Patron of the town in Apulia and we suppose by extension, Apple headquarters in California, as well aviators and astronauts, Joseph of Cupertino, fรชted on this day on the occasion of his death in 1663 (*1603), was considered to be rather a dullard but was given to bouts of ecstatic visions and levitation. After years working as a stableboy at a Franciscan friary in his hometown and demonstrating his devotion and work ethic, the brothers who had previously rejected Joseph due to his lack of education admitted him into the Order. After taking his vows, Joseph’s visions increased significantly to the point where his floating (which may have been a demonstration of gymnastic skills rather or ergot-poisoning actual levitation) about during Mass became quite disruptive and lest his miraculous powers be taken for witchcraft, Joseph was confined to a small cell and ordered to avoid the public. Joseph lived a life of quiet aestheticism after briefly being quite a showman and a draw for the next thirty-five years before being readmitted back in as a part of worship services shortly before expiring.

Tuesday, 19 July 2022

xxii olympiad (10. 003)

Beginning on this day and running through 1980 Summer Games hosted by the Soviet capital was the first such event held in a communist country until 2008 Beijing Games, with quite low participation—the US leading a boycott by sixty-six countries over the Russo-Afghan War. A few countries took part but competed under the Olympic banner rather than as a national team, and Philadelphia hosted an alternate Liberty Bell Classic for those not participating in the other venue. The Soviet and Eastern Bloc athletes reciprocated by staying out of the 1984 games hosted in Los Angeles with the closing ceremony absent conspicuous elements of the handover.

Tuesday, 21 June 2022

skydiver

Pioneering parachutist and inventor of the rip-cord, Georgia Ann “Tiny” Broadwick became the first woman to jump from an airplane on this day in 1913 when she performed the stunt over Los Angeles’ Griffith Park with the assistance of aviator Glenn L Martin (of Lockheed Martin) as pilot, having begun her career as an aeronaut jumping from hot air balloons in a travelling troupe. Demonstrating her technique to the US Army the following year, Broadwick’s skill and daring-do convinced the military that the deployment of paratroopers might be executed in a less hazardous manner by untethering the jumpers (the static line) from the aircraft and allow for a few seconds of free-fall. Also in 1914, Broadwick became the first individual to parachute from a seaplane, landing in Lake Michigan. Retiring from her act in 1922 due to problems developed in her ankles, Broadwick had over eleven hundred safe landings.

Monday, 6 June 2022

i said young man, pick yourself off the ground

Founded on this day in 1844 by businessman (in cloth wholesale), philanthropist and great-great-grandfather of current (at the time of publishing) Prime Minister Boris Johnson Sir George Williams, in response to the appalling working conditions in London, the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA, CVJM, Christlicher Verein Junger Mรคnner jetzt Menschen auf Deutsch, now a pseudo-acronym or orphan-initialism with the letters standing for nothing) was based on the beliefs of Congregationalism including the Muscular Christianity movement that promoted the notion that the body is a temple and that the physical beauty of athleticism and self-discipline were a compliment to godly behaviour and deportment. Drawn to the cities by the Industrial Revolution, there was a considerable dearth of activities for the new recruits to occupy themselves with—other than taverns and brothels—and Williams, with the support of a consortium of fellow drapers, wanted to offer his workforce better accommodations and more wholesome activities and encourage better citizenship. Basketball, volleyball, racquetball and water polo are among the sports invented and formalised at YMCA facilities. Though still considered a para-ecclesiastical organisation espousing Protestant values, its mission and outreach has expanded and become more inclusive. You can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal, you can do whatever you feel.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

9x9

platinum geezer: our London correspondent reflects on the Queen’s jubilee by the numbers  

snow-drifting: artist Alexander Deineka’s celebration of winter sports in the USSR  

nunsexmonkrock: Nina Hagen’s (previously) legendary masterpiece extolled as it deserves  

definitely did not used to be a pizza hut: an investigation into the camouflage (see previously) of franchise blight—via the morning news  

biblioclasm: more books, press outlets, educators under fire as potentially subversive, challenging  

king of the mountain: fours goats play on a sheet metal shelter  

celebrity-ntf complex: the race is on to find the remaining marks and rubes before the bottom falls out

cockney cats: vintage feline photos collected by Spitalfields Life  

hrm: Pietro Annigoni’s 1969 portrait of the Queen

Friday, 4 February 2022

de finibus bonorum et malorum

Spotted by Super Punch, New York Times sports writer Andrew Keh took note of the inspiring captions on posters for the Winter Games in the hotel he’s based out of. Lorem ipsum is placeholder text used in draft copies before the final version is available (see previously) and is adapted from a passage from the above Socratic dialogue of Roman orator Cicero (meaning on the ends of good and evil, a rather heavy subject for a throw-away endeavour), popularised in typesetting since the 1960s by a Letraset transfer sheets ad campaign, this pictured call-out begins “the pain is important to me” but non-standard, breaks down from there. Traditionally, the passage, which could very much apply to the spirit of competition, continues: “[B]ut occasionally circumstances happen wherein toil and pain can procure some pleasure. To take a trivial example, whom of us ever undertakes laborious physical exercise, except to obtain advantage from it? But who has any right to find fault with one who chooses to enjoy a pleasure that has no consequences, or one who avoids a pain that produces no pleasure?”

Monday, 10 January 2022

6x6

curiosity cabinet: virtually explore the museum house of Sir John Soane (previously)—via Things Magazine  

glitchy terrain: users and clients report bugs in fly-over features (see previously)—via Super Punch  

debate club: let’s thrash out these ongoing arguments once and for all  

low, heroes, lodger: a look at the Eastern European literature that influenced David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and beyond  

medico-mechanical gymnastics: the nineteenth century work-out regiment of Gustave Zander—see previously 

 ex libris: a look into some of the great libraries of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria

Friday, 10 December 2021

fuzzwords of the year

Differentiated from buzzwords as something intentionally euphemistic or vague and so perhaps under the radar of censors and above a certain level of reproach, we enjoyed learning some of the current slanguage vocabulary of China. We especially liked the Mandarin / Putonghua near equivalent for the English acronym GOAT—that is, greatest of all time—in yว’ngyuวŽn de shรฉn (ๆฐธ่ฟœ็š„็ฅž) YYDS, “eternal god” and used to heap praise for excellence. As the author points out, the same transliterated, four-letter initialism is also employed for yว’ngyuวŽn dฤnshฤ“n (ๆฐธ่ฟœๅ•่บซ), essential “forever single”—so context counts. Much more at Language Log at the link above.

Friday, 12 November 2021

he’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease

Lawyer, cycling pioneer, acrobat and aerialist who popularised the gymnastic wear singlet that’s his namesake (see also) and inspired the song “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze,” Jules Lรฉotard premiered his signature somersault (Salto) routine on three bars high above the audience on this day in 1859 at the Cirque Napolรฉon in Paris. Touring the world and writing vaudeville acts and other theatre pieces (preparing to retire from the riskier portions of his act as he grew older), the life of this Toulouse native was cut short in 1870, after Lรฉotard contracted smallpox or cholera in Spain.

Monday, 30 August 2021

live at five

This 1979 industrial (as in in the trade) theme music anthology really revs one up for the network news, coming in strong with the familiar-sounding opening track by Craig Palmer Energy, a masterpiece of the genre. There are multiple volumes of Palmer’s works, both for syndication and for one-off events, though we were unable to find out more about this rather prolific and pervasive composer unfortunately—though not everyone wants a biopic and we can appreciate letting one’s works speak for themselves—that formed the soundscape of televised reporting and sports coverage (see also) in the 1980s. More bracing openings and interstitials coming up in the panel below.

Monday, 23 August 2021

vucanalia

Held annually to propitiate the deity with bonfires and sacrifice at a time when crops and granaries were most prone to burning, the Roman fastus to Vulcan falls on this day in what was originally Sextilis and was part of a larger cycle of agrarian holidays of the summer and the beginning of the harvest season, a human commission as opposed to placating untamed Nature observed in July. Games were held with the additional rituals of hanging clothes on a line out-of-doors and beginning to work after sundown by candle-light darkness already coming noticeably sooner and harnessing the potentially destructive nature of fire for something productive. The tubilustria ceremonies were also held at this time—the ritual purification of trumpets and similar instruments which were considered sacred to Vulcan.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

all night long (all night)

For the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Summer Olympiad this evening in 1984, Lionel Richie gave a live performance of his signature calypso song to a global television audience of some three billion.

Though most of the lyrics are in English, there are some faux patois lines, namely—tam bo il de say de moi ya, hey jambo, jumbo—like Waka, Waka—This Time for Africa from the 2010 World Cup. The modified verses for Team USA leave out we’re going to party, karma, fiesta forever (see previously), the middle term being a Swahili borrowing for feast, banquet and also used in the context of Kwanzaa celebrations.

Friday, 6 August 2021

citius, altius, fortius

After learning that Olympians towel off with special shammies, that US unincorporated territories are recognised by the IOC as their own teams and that team Russia is not allowed to represent their country but rather their country’s Olympic Committee and are played out to Piano Concerto Number One rather than the national anthem, I found myself on sort of a sports trivia kick and enjoyed this extended rundown of factoids and growing list of questions answered from NPR. We especially liked learning more about air-horns, whistles and other alarms are used in swimming competitions and changes to the scoring conventions.

Saturday, 31 July 2021

hendiatris

Discouraged from being shown openly and in general taboo in Japanese societies, stigmatised for their associations with organised crime (see also), tattoos—of the commemorative variety especially, were widely on display during the Olympics, the athletes’ bubble meant no mingling with the public. See a whole gallery from the Associated Press’ photo pool, via ibฤซdem. The motto of the Games, Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is a famous example of the above Greek figure of speech แผ“ฮฝ ฮดฮนแฝฐ ฯ„ฯฮตแฟ–ฯ‚, “one through three,” a phrase where three words express one idea. This year the committee added a fourth term, “Communiter,” Latin for Together.

Saturday, 29 May 2021

rebound

Though it never occurred to us that such equipment needed inventing and a champion—despite the fact that every exercise and intervention does, we enjoyed learning of the contributions of avid gymnast and promoter George Peter Nissen (*1914 - †2010) who developed the trampoline and made the sport and pass-time an enduring world-wide sensation through this rather arresting feat of man and kangaroo. Inspired by the safety nets of trapeze artists and having toured fairs and carnivals of North America after university studies as a performer and learning the word trampolรญn—springboard, Nissen registered a trademark for his bouncing apparatus. Having petitioned for the sport to be included in the Olympics for decades, Nissen finally succeeded with trampolining added to the Sydney Games in 2000. The stunt however was captured in 1960.

Monday, 24 May 2021

7x7

television memories: John Hoare reflects on his birthday by tracking down what was on BBC at the moment he was born 

hijack: a Belarusian fighter jet diverts a commercial airliner in order to apprehend a dissident blogger  

greatest of all time: legendary gymnast Simone Biles has a rhinestone goat on her leotard  

please sir, three of your finest cocaines: a pharmaceutical advertisement from 1912  

europigeon songbird contest: the grand prix goes to Turdus (see previously) Philomelos 

 stardust: a collection of micrometeorites and a guide how to hunt for them  

omnibus programming: a revue of fifty obscure British comedy series from the 1980s