Sunday, 24 April 2022

unpo

Founded and headquartered in the The Hague in 1991, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation was constituted to champion the marginalised with membership made of indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognised or otherwise occupied territories with an aim of achieving political autonomy and self-determination with the rejection of violence and terrorism as tools of policy. Current localities and groups on its rolls (not without controversy and in-group dispute) are Abkhazia, Bretagne, Catalonia, the District of Colombia, Guam, the Hmong, Savoy, Sindhudesh and Tibet. Former members Palau, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Armenia have attained full statehood and independence.

Thursday, 31 March 2022

catchascatchkhan

The unrecognised, break-away region of South Ossetia, in northern Georgia on the border with Russia willhold a referendum shortly for the fifty thousand residents of the militarily occupied territory to decide whether or not to begin the accession process to and be absorbed by its neighbour. The other break-away region, Abkhazia, maintains it has no such plans at the present. Declaring independence in 1991 with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Russian forces have held de facto control since the 2008 Georgian-Russo conflict. The last time the Russia Federation annexed the land of another sovereign country was when it took Crimea from Ukraine in 2014, incorporating the independent Republic of Crimea and the federal city of Sevastopol after a much shorter period of transition lasting only weeks.

Wednesday, 16 February 2022

the simpsons sing the blues

The first cartoon ensemble to reach the top spot on the singles charts since the Archies’ fabricated band’s performance of “Sugar, Sugar” back in 1969, on this day in 1991 the song “Do the Bartman” from the titular album grabbed and held the number one position. Never officially released as a single in the US despite air-play, the song written and produced by Michael Jackson earned critical acclaim including a nomination for the year’s MTV Video Music Awards. Track listings included several remixes including a cappella and a So So Krispy version by artist Diplo.

Saturday, 25 December 2021

fait accompli

Having persuaded the Supreme Soviet to vest within the office of president (a different entity altogether from the Presidium whose chair was sometimes conflated by Western governments and press) all executive powers for an amount of time not to exceed two years—like the Roman tradition of appointing a limited-tenure dictator, during this time of transition and upheaval, incumbent just since mid-March of 1990, Mikhail Gorbachev, his position strengthened by withstanding the failed August Coup but unable to reverse the party’s decision for dissolution, announced his resignation as commander-in-chief at the Kremlin before television cameras broadcasting internationally on this day in 1991. Expressing remorse for the breakup of the union, Gorbachev at the same time welcomed the reforms of a market-economy, greater political and religious freedoms as well as the end of the Cold War and its attendant brinksmanship, the Supreme Soviet the next day voted itself out of existence, allowing the Soviet Union to expire at midnight 31 December (Julian Christmas of course falling on the seventh of January on the Gregorian calendar but not reinstated as a holiday until 1992, with New Year’s the big celebration—see also) with the Russian Federation the successor to all Soviet Institutions.

Tuesday, 14 December 2021

good posture is its own reward

One of two shorts before the main film The Unearthly about a crazed scientist in search of eternal youth, the educational, social guidance film from 1952 Posture Pals first received the MST3K treatment on this day in 1991, featuring a foursome of elementary students pledging to help each other improve their bearing. Hey—it’s Whistler’s Mother!

Sunday, 28 November 2021

(i’ve had) the time of my life

On this day in 1987, the closing duet from Dirty Dancing with Jennifer Warnes ([Love Lift Us] Up Where we Belong with Joe Cocker and various collaborations with Leonard Cohen) and Bill Medley—former Righteous Brother—reached number one on the US Billboard Hot 100, and peaking twice in UK charts, once in November after the theatrical release of the soundtrack album and then again in 1991 when the film was first Broadcast on television. Written and composed for the movie by Frank Previte, Donald Markowitz and John DeNicola, the song won a Golden Globe, Grammy and an Oscar. The team were also responsible for Eric Carmen’s “Hungry Eyes,” which also went on to become a hit.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

teenage caveman

Airing for the first time on this day in 1991, MST3K’s lampooning of the 1958 Roger Corman film revived its status as a contender for the worst movie ever made. Summarily, the plot follows a tribe of primitive humans eking out a survival in a barren wilderness, prohibited from crossing in to lusher lands within sight over ancient superstitions, until one old teenager dares to defy societal norms. Beyond the barrier, the protagonist and his followers encounter the enforcing spirit of this taboo and kill the demiurge—only to discover that it is merely a much older man with mysterious dress and markings. The expository voice-over for the denouement reveals that the apparent supernatural being was a survivor of a long ago nuclear holocaust forced to live inside his radiation suit and wander his side of the river for decades. The triple-feature includes two shorts before the main film. You're wasted!

Tuesday, 26 October 2021

the saga of the viking women and their voyage to the waters of the great sea serpent

The 1958 Roger Corman film with the ridiculously long title (see previously) about a group of women from a land called Stannjรธld embark on an adventure in search of their lost men, are shipwrecked by a sea monster and are imprisoned by the Grimaults and made to toil in their mines, reunited with themishing male companions in captivity was revived as a cult cult classic when it was lampooned by Mystery Science Theater 3000, first broadcast on this day in 1991. Starring Abby Dalton as Desรญr and June Kenney as Asmild, the film was apparently cheap-looking even by Corman’s standards, reviews were mixed and the director wasn’t enough studio-time in Paradise Cove for such an ambitious epic, going against his instincts and letting special effects carry the story forward. The feature is preceded by the educational short The Home Economics Story.

Sunday, 26 September 2021

biosphere 2

Under construction since 1987, the environmental research facility in Oracle in the US state of Arizona host to the largest closed vivarium—that is sealed ecosystem—ever built, more than a hectare in size and meant to demonstrate the viability of artificial and self-sustaining life-support systems in outer space, began its first forty-eight month mission on this day in 1991, with a crew of eight impounded under the dome. With the crew enduring oxygen deprivation and near starvation over the two year trial and not all biomes that were to represent the different regions of Spaceship Earth thriving plus pests, lessons were learned and changes implemented, although by the time the second mission was to commence, there was vicious fighting amongst the project managers and accusations of bad science and bad methodology, including the engagement of Steve Bannon who put the programme into receivership incorporated under the name Space Biosphere Ventures. All this took place outside of the framework of competitive reality television and the era of business sectarianism. Since 2007, Biosphere 2 has been owned and operated by the University of Arizona, conducting experiments in atmospheric research, soil geochemistry and climate change and holding special week-long space-camps for students.

Sunday, 19 September 2021

iceman

Discovered on this day in 1991, the human, natural mummy named ร–tzi (previously) was found by a pair of German tourist on the east ridge of the ร–tztal (Venoste) Alps spanning the Italo-Austrian border believing that this five thousand year old corpse was the remains of a more recently departed mountaineer and immediately summoned the authorities, the forensics department turning the case over to the archeologists. Frozen and exquisitely preserved, scientist were able to study his clothes, shoes and tools as well as the contents of his stomach, bodily composition, toxicity and glean a lot of about his civilisation’s lifestyle, diet and technical prowess.

Monday, 6 September 2021

second city

Known as Leningrad since 1924 (following the death of its namesake), the sixteenth century Russian port town on the Neva and erstwhile capital had its original name, St. Petersburg, restored on this day in 1991 by the result of a citywide referendum held that June. Through the changes, locals referred to their home simply as ะŸะธั‚ะตั€ for short and the oblast colocated there still bears the former designation of ะ›ะตะฝะธะฝะณั€ะฐ́ะดัะบะฐั.

Friday, 3 September 2021

#30ua

Via Web Curios, we thoroughly enjoyed this scrolly-telling celebration of Ukrainian independence, having just recently observed its thirtieth anniversary, adopted by parliament on 24 August 1991 in the aftermath of the failed coup when party hardliners tried to reassert control and reverse the reforms of Mikhail Gorbachev, which not only presents the country’s history but moreover lauds its accomplishments, culture, attractions and other highlights with splashy call-outs and a touch of Doge-level mawkishness that compels one to read through to the end.

Sunday, 29 August 2021

come doused in mud, soaked in bleach as i want you to be—as a trend, as a friend

Ahead of the album’s official release later in the third week of September, a Boston radio station (call sign WFNX from 1983 to 2012 and one of the first commercial broadcasters to play alternative rock) hosted by DJ Kurt St. Thomas premiered Nirvana’s Nevermind, playing the entire recording on this day in 1991. Launching four singles and an unexpected success, both in critical reception and sales, the album is credited with bringing the various genres of the Seattle grunge movement into mainstream media, awarded several honours and reissues. Despite having recreated the cover art with underwater photoshoots for the album’s tenth, seventeenth and twenty-fifth anniversaries, the then infant model has filed a lawsuit against the band for lifelong damages for exploiting his image.

Saturday, 21 August 2021

dziesmotฤ revolลซcija

Beginning in 1987 after the introduction of the policies of glasnost and perestroika that rolled back certain limitations on political expression heretofore imposed on Soviet constituent member states outside of the core of Russia, the Baltic satellites staged a peaceful Singing Revolution that culminated for Latvia on this day in 1991 declaring its independence in the midst of an attempted coup to unseat Mikhail Gorbachev from his leadership position. One of the more popular songs of the freedom movement was the trilingual (also with verses in Estonian and Lithuanian) The Baltics are Waking Up!, composed by Boriss Rezniks for a protest two years prior commemorating the fiftieth anniversary of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact of August 1939, which defined German and Soviet spheres of influence in the region, with defiant ralliers’ joining hands and forming a human chain stretching across the three countries.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

hauptstadtbeschluss

Casting their vote on this day in 1991, the Bundestag of reunified Germany made the decision to move the seat of government and departmental headquarters from Bonn to Berlin. As stipulated by the second article of the treaty between East and West—which also established 3 October as der Tag der Deutschen Einheit—Berlin was already declared the capital in 1990. The transition took place over the ensuing decades with field offices of several ministries retained in the western conurbation, near Brussels and Germany’s most densely populated region.

Tuesday, 15 June 2021

your experiment today is called pod people. it has nothing to do with pods, it has nothing to do with people. it has everything to do with hurting.

First airing on this day in 1991, the third episode of the third season of Mystery Science Theater 3000 (see previously) lampoons the 1983 Franco-Spanish sci-fi movie with the original title Los nuevos extraterrestres, which was originally meant to be a horror film with a murderous alien rampage in the tradition of Beowulf but changed course during shooting to capitalise on the success of E.T. (changed to avoid confusion) with a bond forming between one of the aliens and a human kid. The MST3K cast especially enjoy mishearing the performance of “Burning Rubber Tyres”—singing “hear the engines roar now” as “idiot control now.” 

Monday, 3 May 2021

information as a public good

The annual observance focused on the above theme, World Press Freedom Day was enshrined by the United Nations in 1998 as a time for reflection and remediation for governments to uphold their commitment to freedom of expression and an adversarial press and encourage journalists and media professionals to recount their struggles and pledge to truth and ethics in pursuit of reporting. The day falls on the anniversary of the forerunning Windhoek Declaration of 1991 when a consortium of newspaper reporters from all across Africa met in the Namibian capital resolved to promote an independent and pluralistic press for the continent. The Press Freedom Index is also updated at this time, ranking the ability for journalists to cover candidly government and corporate behaviour.

Tuesday, 23 March 2021

near wild heaven

Topping the charts this week in 1991, R.E.M.’s seventh studio album Out of Time including the tracks Losing My Religion with Grammy-winning music video, “Radio Song,” “Texarkana” and “Shiny Happy People” helped raise the band’s profile from a cult following to the international face of alternative rock. The packaging in the form of a CD longbox included a petition in support of the Motor Voter Act (previously) in support of a less onerous registration process for franchisement.

Thursday, 20 August 2020

avgustovskiy putch

Opposed to the decentralisation and reform efforts of the Soviet president and General Secretary of the Communist Party, Communist hardliner elements in the government attempted a coup d'รฉtat beginning on this day at noon in 1991 to remove Mikhail Gorbachev (see previously) with the Moscow military district commander declaring martial law in effect and signaling an imminent siege on the parliamentary compound (ะ‘ะตะปั‹ะน ะดะพะผ—that is, the White House). Allies of the Gorbachev government barricaded the building and rebuffed the attack, codenamed Operation Grom—that is, thunder. Whilst these events unfolded—a power vacuum that lasted sixty hours, Estonia declared its independence with the other Baltic states following soon after.

Thursday, 9 January 2020

resolution 678

On this day in 1991 Iraqi Foreign Minister Tariq Aziz and US Secretary of State James Baker held a conference in Geneva lasting some seven hours to try to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the invasion and annexation of Kuwait (August 1990).
Though the dialogue was overshadowed by the respective parties’ messaging, that George HW Bush was willing to continue talks and privileged peace and regional stability over any exercise of power—and that Saddam Hussain would not agree to an unconditional withdrawal, arguing that the region was put in turmoil over Palestine issue well before the Iraqi occupation of Kuwait and targeting their advances with the backing of the UN and the US-backed coalition was hypocrisy and an injustice. Both sides lost their leverage and no progress was made in finding a mutually acceptable solution, and the failure of the Geneva Peace Conference precipitated Operation Desert Storm (17 January 1991 – 28 February 1991) to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.