Monday, 5 December 2022

8x8 (10. 362)

under attended: when only two individuals show up to a new author’s reading, much of the establishment commiserates and share words of encouragement—via Super Punch 


giving face
: Poseidon’s Underworld takes a moment to reflect after a month’s sabbatical  

postcards of dead birds: more on strange Victorian Christmas greetings—see previous here and here  

monochrome: an AI tool to colourise black-and-white images—see previously 

government attic: Things Magazine reminds of us this great aggregator of FOIA logs—see previously 

the christmassy chord: a deconstruction of iconic holiday standards 

the tartarian empire: n introduction to a bizarre architectural conspiracy theory—via ibฤซdem  

rsvp: journalist was one of six attendees who showed up for an expensive Metaverse party hosted by the European Union

Tuesday, 29 November 2022

up, up to the sky (10. 345)

Sharing the anniversary with many other sundry events of pith and circumstance, our faithful chronicler reports that on this day in 1975, the single from Silver Convention hit number one on on the Billboard Hot 100, holding the spot for three weeks before being unseated by CW McCall’s Convoy. Despite the paucity of lyrics (six words, which is an accomplishment in itself) owing to the fact that the German disco group didn’t speak so much English, it’s acknowledged to be the first avian themed song to reach the top of the charts, only followed by Prince’s When Dove Cry in 1984.

Friday, 28 October 2022

ฮฌฯ€ฯ„ฮตฯฮฑ (10. 253)

On the south shore looking back over Souda Bay, there is an ancient settlement that enjoyed strategic importance from Minoan through Hellenistic times and to the modern day given the nearby Greek and NATO military bases, called Aptera—without feathers—owing to the legend that Hera, Queen of the Gods, convinced the Muses and the Sirens to a song contest, with the former sister-act handily beating the latter, the Sirens being so upset by losing that they rent their feathers a wings, dusting the ฮ›ฮตฯ…ฮบฮฌ ฮŒฯฮท (White Mountains) with them and plunged into the sea.

The archaeological remains of site mostly date to the Roman occupation and include a cistern and baths and an impressive amphitheater. Visiting on Oxi Day (ฮ•ฯ€ฮญฯ„ฮตฮนฮฟฯ‚ ฯ„ฮฟฯ… ฮŒฯ‡ฮน, the Anniversary of the ‘No’)—marking the date that Greece refused the ultimatum issued by Benito Mussolini and resistance to fascism during World War II, entry was free as well as the bit of history and the more contemporary couching. On same high plateau of Paliokastri, there was also the Kule (Castle) of Subashi with a view of the Ottoman Izzedin Fortress below.
In the area we also toured the monastery of St George (ฮœฮฟฮฝฮฑฯƒฯ„ฮฎฯฮน ฮ†ฮณฮนฮฟฯ‚ ฮ“ฮตฯŽฯฮณฮนฮฟฯ‚) outside of ฮ’ฮฌฮผฮฟฯ…ฯ‚ (Vamos) with tranquil small church and old olive presses that highlight pre-industrial extraction with millstones and frails, the round bags used for squeezing the pulp.
We got to sample some of their bread and olives afterwards.

Sunday, 16 October 2022

7x7 (10. 229)

symphony of the birds: CBS Radio director Jim Fassett’s 1960 experimental arrangement  

home row: Google Japan develops a long, horizontal keyboard for messy desks—reminded us of the iPhone Taller that doubles a guitar  

benevolent dictator: a profile of President Kevin Baugh and his micronation of Molossia—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

kunstradfahren: a graceful bicycle ballet by a skilled practitioner of this 130 year old sport  

barcalounger: ten homes whose decor is tied together with classic Eames chairs—see previously

unreliable narrator: microbrews and hipster beer names  

peer-reviewed: birdsong helps alleviate human anxiety and paranoia

Saturday, 10 September 2022

8x8 (10. 124)

the girl from ipanema: the Yahoo! GeoCities (previously) Midi project has gathered a collection of over one-hundred and fifty thousand chiptunes, via Web Curios  

summer island: a graphic horror novella that’s a collaboration between a story authored by a human and illustrations courtesy a machine 

bill-of-sale: receipts and letterhead of the Old East End  

null island: the imaginary location at the intersection of the Equator and Prime Meridian (see previously) that exists by necessity  

premium vector: a selection of 90s cursor effects (trails, rainbows) that can be incorporated into one’s website—via ibฤซdem  

trichromacy: fascinating etymologies of words for colours—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

b-poty: avian photography of the year  

pattern recognition: more on mondegreens and misheard lyrics

Saturday, 16 July 2022

7x7 (9. 999)

featherbase: a consortium of ornithologists join their collections and make them freely accessible on-line—via Web Curios 

cut-up technique: Artbreeder (previously) creates collages with your help—via Waxy 

harry and the hitman: Oklahoma man pleads self-defence, claiming potential assailant had summoned a Bigfoot to kill him  

deep scatter library: stellar cartography mapping a billion stars in the Milky Way  

culmen > columna > compagna colonnella > coronnel > colonel: explore etymologies with this interactive tool from the creators of Interlinear Books and Language Hat  

unsleeved: an exhibit on the art of the record cover and designer Alex Steinweiss 

trainspotting: an obsessive database of European rolling stock—also via Web Curios

Sunday, 10 July 2022

8x8

can i pet your dog: a short-lived 1971 talk show, The Pet Set, hosted by Betty White  

particle zoo 2.0: revved up Large Hadron Collider discovers three new exotic quark-pairings—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

plastic mero: artwork installed on a beach in Funchal crafted on salvaged ocean waste speaks to the plight of the Atlantic goliath grouper and fellow fish 

onomatopoeia: a collection of nonsense words invented by bird-watchers to convey calls and songs 

gol gumbaz: a resplendent seventeenth century mausoleum in Bijapur is called the Taj Mahal of Southern India  

denton, denton you’ve got no pretension: a photoessay of the Texas city in the 1970s  

gravitational waltz: tracing the orbits of stars near super-massive black hole Sgr A* (previously)  

golden girls 3033: BoJack Horseman director Mike Hollingsworth creates an animated pilot using splices of original dialogue

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

Monday, 6 June 2022

sort sol

Revisiting an arresting and formative moment from his childhood in western coast Denmark, as the Guardian reports, photographer Sรธren Solkรฆr is exhibiting a portfolio of mesmerizing murmurations of starlings on the wing from the Wadden Sea to northern Spain. These flocks of hundreds of thousands of birds can blot out the sun (the dark sun of the title, referring to the accompanying coffee table edition), and it remains a mystery how autonomous individuals achieve this degree of mass-coordination for these majestic manoeuvre.

Saturday, 21 May 2022

motacillidae

H snapped a very good picture of a avian pal who’s been visiting and running about on the deck lately, Bachstelze or more descriptively a pied wagtail (Motacilla alba—a mistranslation of the Latin term “little-mover” from the medieval notion that cilla meant tail). I had seen these passerine birds on the path that runs by the pond (= Bach) with their distinctive gait, swift but halting after a few paces to bounce their tail feathers, but they hadn’t before ventured to our backdoor—apparently they prefer the bare range of pavement for foraging where it can best see and pursue and the deck met these conditions too. This comical, constant tail wagging is observed in all related species but the behaviour is poorly understood—possibly a tactic to flush out prey or signal vigilance to potential predators.

Friday, 6 May 2022

all-seeing or the eyes have it

Though apparently gregarious with most of the village as well, a young peacock—we thought it was a peahen but learned it was young one and the signature plumage and dimorphism does not develop until they reach three years of age—has adopted H and I and roams our yard and roosts in various spots on the balcony and the front stoop, friendly in guest territory but possibly territorial in his own backyard. He belongs to a neighbour and is called Charlie and often appears before the French doors and jarringly at times at the kitchen window sill. Apparently this behaviour in peafowl, congregating before glazed faรงades, is to examine themselves in the glass, like a mirror. I held up my cell phone display in front of Charlie to reflect back his image and he regarded it with interest, rather than destructive pecking at the screen and my hand. I remember the controversy a few years back over an airline passenger trying to board with their therapy peacock and at the time siding with those who condemned the act as performative and over-the-top but getting a sense of their calm demeanour and engagement, I have come around to the other side in thinking these are legitimate therapy animals, tail-feathers and all. We are looking into getting our own. The collective term for a group of peafowl is an ostentation.

Saturday, 23 April 2022

8x8

song birds: a printed circuit bluejay and other avian friends  

industrials: a leitmotif of edifying vocabulary—see previously—from Futility Closet  

occultation: Perseverance rover captures Mars’ lumpy moon Phobos partially eclipsing the Sun 

infinite tapestry: a generated side-scrolling landscape—via Web Curios  

days of rage: a gallery of activism posters curated by the USC Library system—see previously—via ibฤซdem  

art bits: an archives of HyperCard stacks (see also)—via Waxy  

ghost in the shell: skeletons in video games  

cheeps and peeps: the rich, melodic syntax of birdsong

Friday, 18 February 2022

7x7

pigeon fancy: Emil Schachtzabel illustrates unnatural selection in prize breeds  

act local, think global: a twenty-question quiz about one’s bioregion, immediate surroundings and a challenge for low-scorers 

onomastic terminology: petrichor, overmorrow, interrobangs and other proper orthonyms  

wysiwyg: Jane Austen used straight pins to edit the rough drafts of her manuscripts before word processors and correction-liquid  

device orchestra: various peripherals, gadgets and appliances perform “Seven Nation Army”  

pandemic cartograms: our unvaccinated world  

hodowla goล‚ฤ™bi: profiling Poland’s pigeon keepers, moving up in the pecking-order

Saturday, 12 February 2022

7x7

forum gallorum: step into this unassuming salon to inspect a piece of Roman London, reminiscent of discovering this shopping mall in Mainz—via Nag on the Lake  

burds: just a fun little cleanse—cartoony birds hopping about—via Waxy  

shred, white and blue: the totally normal and perfectly legal ways the White House handled official records 

neft daลŸlarฤฑ: a decaying offshore oil platform in the middle of the Caspian Sea  

the thoughtful spot: the Phrontistery (ฯ†ฯฮฟฮฝฯ„ฮนฯƒฯ„ฮฎฯฮนฮฟฮฝ, Greek for the thinking place) catalogues a treasury of rare and obscure words—via Kottke  

gumshoe: the bygone era of the hotel detective—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump  

be mine: the Lupercalia and the origins of Saint Valentine

Friday, 15 October 2021

lieutenant pigeon

Topping the UK charts this week in 1972, the novelty band’s song “Moldy Old Dough” (a play on the flexible jazz-era phrase vo-dee-o-doe) featured Rob Woodward and his mother Hilda respectively on keyboard and piano, not only making this short, endearing tune the only number one hit to feature mother and son but also the eldest woman to earn that distinction, aged fifty-eight at the time. The band from Coventry was the second incarnation of a project called Stavely Makepeace and subsequent recordings included “Desperate Dan,” “I’ll Take You Home Again, Kathleen,” “Grandfather Clock,” and “Disco Bells.”

Thursday, 7 October 2021

pair bonding

Endearingly, Kottke brings us the story of the requited courtship and romance of zookeeper Chris Crowe and his non-corvid bird wife, Walnut—a spry twenty-three year-old white-named crane, the former earning the latter’s affections despite being a rather lacking (by avian standards) mate and life partner.

Thursday, 9 September 2021

rewilding

Via Super Punch, we learn that not only has the Swiss ambassador to the US made the expansive embassy grounds in Washington, DC, a former farm in the Woodley Park neighbourhood, a biodiverse oasis, replacing the manicured lawn with native shrubs and trees to attract and sustain birds and other wildlife, the ambassor’s actions have set a positive example, leading other diplomatic missions to adopt ecologically sounder landscaping practices including vegetable gardens and beehives. More from the Audubon Society at the links above.

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

Thursday, 20 May 2021

bombylildรฆ

While in Europe we don’t have humming birds (Kolibris), we are lucky enough to have these uncanny important pollinators called the fly bee or the humblefly (Wollschweber). Our garden is absolutely full of them but I’ve never managed to capture a picture of one until now when I spied one resting on a flower (see also), which by the end of the season can grow quite substantially and present like their avian cousins but less so than the equally camera-shy Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Taubenschwรคnzchen) that hovers and has a proboscis for nectaring. We’re visited by them too and maybe if I’m patient, I’ll be able to get a photo.

Friday, 26 February 2021

bitmap bull finch

Via Present /&/ Correct, we really enjoyed these graphics of pixelated renderings of common birds of Japan (ๆ—ฅๆœฌใฎ้‡Ž้ณฅไธ€่ฆง) and especially, vis-ร -vis a pair of our recent posts, could firstly relate to the slander and naming conventions of obvious avian defamers and secondly to more personalised labels for new electronic file folders and its source catalogue.  Much more to explore at the links above.