Wednesday, 2 March 2022

earthship ark

Our gratitude to the aptly recursive and veteran podcast Stop Podcasting Yourself (previously) for the viewing recommendation in the ambitious and acclaimed Canadian sci-fi series from author Harlan Ellison (as Cordwainer Bird) and featuring the adaptions of stories of Ursula K Le Guin, Arthur Heinemann and others which despite the trappings of low production-value is genuinely intriguing and compels one to watch more. Starring Keir Dullea from 2001: A Space Odyssey and only lasting for a single season in 1973, the sixteen episode arc of The Starlost is set in a multigenerational colonial ship of dozens of connected biospheres in the late twenty-fourth century of Earthling refugees seeking a new home after the destruction of their own.

Wednesday, 9 February 2022


desert fox: play-through for a complex, WWII-themed board game, The Campaign for North Africa, that requires over fifteen hundred hours to complete  

hill house: a giant drying-box that preserves an Art Deco marvel by Charles Rennie Mackintosh—via Things Magazine 

the greatest thing since sliced bread: a satisfying video showing the steps in production in an industrial bakery in South Korea  

lightsaber flavour: alternative designations from young people that far surpass their proper names—via Miss Cellania’s Links 

rip: a celebration of the life and vision of Douglas Trumbull, special effects artist behind Silent Running, Close Encounters, 2001 and many others

multiple arcade machine emulator: after a quarter of a century, the MAME project is still releasing monthly new additions for home play—via Waxy  

ltee: the E. coli long-term evolution experiment has been running since 1988 and monitoring the mutations in twelve original strains over tens of thousands of generations

Monday, 20 December 2021


kentucky christmas: the origins of KFC for festive dinners in Japan traced to the Osaka World Expo  

you sure have a way with people—well, they’re my species: Harold and Maude at fifty, with soundtrack by Yusuf (Cat) Stevens  

lake toilet-brush: the toponymic curse of IKEA product names 

 ๐Ÿ’Š: a round-up of the Resurrections premier  

build back better: US president Joe Biden’s legislative agenda derailed  

die hard’s a christmas movie: Eyes Wide Shut (1999) re-evaluated

Wednesday, 17 November 2021


wordle: a daily acrostic-variant challenge—via Waxy  

double-dog dare: the original overture to what’s become a real snowclone for about to do something foolhardy  

parasitus: a fixture—or at least a trope of Greek and Roman society—was the individual whom could thrive off of the hospitality of others and suffer a little humiliation—via Super Punch 

i prefer the sequel—also sprach zarathrustra: an extensive look at 2001: A Space Odyssey and how some of the most indelible elements were left up to chance—see previously 

you would give everyone salmonella, ella, ella, eh, eh: Weird Al narrates Thanksgiving  

natural habitat: an interactive map lets one explore the range and change of living organisms at their margins  

uncountable case: the partitive declension and a lively debate on less versus fewer

Thursday, 26 August 2021


Via Waxy, we are treated to another instalment commemorating half a century of text gaming (see previously) with a retrospective look at the first major Alternate Reality play and the community of enthusiast who first embraced it with. The elaborate internet scavenger hunt called the Beast was made to promote the Steven Spielberg production the story of the then recently departed Stanley Kubrick touted as the blockbuster of the summer of 2001 about a sentient machine that wanted to be a real boy.  The curious were encouraged to search for hints by phone, fax and web and engaged with this immersive entertainment experience.

The interactive narrative that used entry points (coined as ‘rabbit holes’ and mirroring the plot of the movie as a sort of preview) embedded in merchandising and movie posters that take one through a network of specially created websites revolves around the investigation into a string of murders of humans and cyborgs after a cryptic message leads a doctor to believe the death in a boating accident of a colleague was more sinister than concluded. Much more at the link above and I believe followers at the time—predominately Yahoo! Groups Cloudmaker (name of the above vessel)—were wrapped up with what they knew to be just for fun, but I would if these leading clues and cues somehow informed today’s bent in favour of conspiratorial thinking and specious arguments bound together by red string.

Monday, 24 May 2021

nitrate divas

Via friend of the blog Nag on the Lake, we quite enjoyed this short montage from Fabrice Mathieu of pristine looping animations (see also) sourced from scenes of classic (past and more contemporary) movies arranged together for visual similarities, energies and synchronicities. If the name of the filmmaker strikes as familiar, we’ve referenced his work at least once in the past with a cleverly edited mash-up between directors Alfred Hitchcock and George Lucas. We were reminded of the image, not featured below and far less artfully timed, of the shot-for-shot comparison of The Phantom Carriage and The Shining or the post-credit parody of Deadpool in homage to Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

Sunday, 11 April 2021


Via the forever engrossing Everlasting Blรถrt, we are directed towards a screen-test for the haberdashery of Alex DeLarge and his gang of droogs for the 1971 cinematic adaptation of the dystopian, delinquent novel from Anthony Burgess A Clockwork Orange (previously) trying on different hat styles before settling on the bowler variety. More images and reactions on the thread that are well worth checking out.

Sunday, 17 January 2021

also sprach zarathustra

Previously we wrote about the unused soundtrack for 2001: A Space Odyssey and so were pleased to find this addendum, coda to the story from Things Magazine and learn that the film demo tape with the composition by Mike Kaplan, 2001: A Garden of Personal Mirrors, has been rediscovered, more than five decades after it was written and is getting the air time it deserves.

Wednesday, 25 November 2020

tycho magnetic anomaly

The recent buzz about the discovery of a mysterious yet most likely of mundane origins of a metal monolith in the desert of Utah that channels in a sense the cinematic titan of 2001 made me think about this smaller though also puzzling concrete post I encountered during a walk in the woods last week. 

It’s in a clearing where some trees were recently felled for lumber. Though just off a logging trail, there’s nothing else nearby and no other signs of construction. The blue bit embedded seems to be the pontil marked base of a cobalt glass bottle. I wonder what it could be for or why it was placed there—I’ll have to keep an eye on this one. 


Sunday, 30 August 2020

red telephone

Despite its conception in the popular imagination the Washington-Moscow Direct Communications Link or hotline, which first went into operation on this day in 1963, was a text-only emergency channel as spoken communication was considered too prone to misunderstanding.
Engineers first recognised the need for an expedient exchange between the leaders of the polarised world in the midst of the Cuban Missile Crisis of the previous summer when it took US diplomatic and military staff nearly twelve hours to receive and decrypt the initial settlement message from Nikta Khrushchev and deliver it to John F. Kennedy, with a nod to the direct link as portrayed in Red Alert, the 1958 novel that Doctor Strangelove (1964) is based on. The superpowers could initially send teletypes to one another—the equipment tested hourly by exchanging passages from William Shakespeare and Mark Twain (with selective quotations from the former and A. A. Milne as they were considered Soviet cultural property) for excerpts from Anton Chekhov and other literary figures, with messages of greetings and congratulations sent instead on New Year’s and on 30 August, the anniversary of the hotline’s launch. In 1986, the system was upgraded to facsimile machines and finally in 2008 to an extra secure form of email.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

star child or letterbox edition

Via Kottke, we are directed to this little lockdown masterpiece by graphic artist Lydia Cambron who recreates beat-for-beat the concluding apartment scene (see previously here, here, here and here) from 2001: A Space Odyssey synced to her own 2020: An Isolation Odyssey filmed over the course of two months in her Brooklyn flat with props and creature-comforts that speak across time and space referencing both the disorientation of discovery and of the pandemic. Strongly recommend viewing all the way through the closing credits to fully appreciate the effort put into this work.

Friday, 26 June 2020


morning edition: artist paints sunrises on newspapers as a dawning juxtaposition to the headlines of the day

free parking: aerial views of grounded planes at the Frankfurter Flughafen—see previously

b&b: designs for a horizontal hive with human sleeping compartment

๐Ÿ‘️๐Ÿ‘„๐Ÿ‘️:the ubiquitous string of emoji signals a tautology

if it ain’t baroque: another in a growing chain of art restoration failures, via Miss Cellania’s Links

2020: a spa odyssey: a day retreat in Caracas inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s aesthetic

Thursday, 28 May 2020


According to the director’s original vision, the iconic and arresting prop from the 1968 cinematic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey and a character in its own right (see previously) was to be a transparent hulking block of acrylic.  After having the two tonne megalith delivered—fulfilled by Stanley Plastics, a speciality company near Portsmouth, it failed the camera test and Stanley Kubrick went with the matte black basalt structure that we’re familiar with.
The Tycho Magnetic Anomaly has an exacting ratio of 1 : 4 : 9—1 : 2² : 3³, suggesting that the sequence extends out beyond our three spatial dimensions. Although the transparent version was mothballed and gathered dust in a studio backlot for years, the rejected prop did see a second career in the hands of Slovakian artist Arthur Fleischmann (*1896 – †1990), who was generally besotted with modern materials like Lucite and Perspex (also creating the UK Pavilion for Expo70) carved it into a sparkling “Crystal Crown,” unveiled by the Queen herself on the occasion of her Silver Jubilee. The commemorative artefact can still be visited at St. Katherine Docks just downstream of the Tower of London.  More to explore at Amusing Planet at the link above.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

i'll just set my bourbon and advocaat down right here

Premiering in theatres in the US on this day in 1980, the Stanley Kubrick adaptation of the Steven King novel of three years prior presents a certain corollary to and correspondence with the present Zeitgeist of wintering, hibernation and generally being not taxed mentally or physically with its foil of an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic and domestic abuser hoping to take full advantage of this generous sabbatical for self-improvement but woefully unable to.
What do you think? That much of the milieu is quite resonant, even if the plot and search and insistence for meaning is receding—just like we are focusing on inconsistencies, ambiguities and attributed symbolism as curative guideposts to navigate ourselves through this time when for many of us, we just have one job to do. Isolation is not only prone to the compromised credibility of an unreliable narrator but also can cause us to doubt and question our credentials as dependable observers—and whether we’re haunted by real ghosts or the hypochondria cabin-fever.

Friday, 1 November 2019

thus spake zarathustra

We had missed this rather significant directorial choice regarding Stanley Kubrick’s timeless and iconic adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey (see previously) and are grateful to the emendation from Open Culture.
Before deciding on scoring his film with the orchestral classics of Strauss (the above tone poem, fanfare was also used as walk-on music by Elvis Presley from 1971 until his death in 1977), Mozart and Brahms, Kubrick had commissioned composer Alex North (*1910 – †1991) to write a full soundtrack (listen to the playlist in its entirety at the link above) which was ultimately rejected. What do you think about the decision? Of course we are used to the setting as produced but North’s tracks have a different connection and emotional response. North, who had received accolades and Oscar nominations for his music in such films as Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, Cleopatra, The Misfits, Death of a Salesman, and Spartacus did not take the rejection well—especially having put so much effort into it and not discovering the fact he was cut out of the picture until its New York preview—but was able to incorporate some of the music into later projects, like the score for The Shoes of the Fisherman and Dragon Slayer.

Wednesday, 21 August 2019

a spacex odyssey

Via the Awesomer, Deep Fake artist called ctrl shift face has morphed the visage of entrepreneur Elon Musk onto actor Keir Atwood Dullea playing astronaut David Bowman in this four-minute clip as he confronts the HAL 9000 regarding egress for some pod bay doors. It’s not quite seamless yet and I think we like to grasp onto those glitches as hard as we can but impressive and disturbing, nonetheless with the potentials for the technique clearly illustrated—check out more canny shorts of face-swapping at the links above.

Thursday, 11 July 2019

for here am i sitting in a tin can

Though lyrically and stylistically informed by the previous year’s release of the Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey (previously), David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” (previously) had a delayed release—a version was recorded back in February—owing to an earlier split with his old record label and Bowie’s new artists and repertoire managing group decided to release the song on this day in 1969, just nine days ahead of the Apollo 11 mission, to capitalise on the publicity of that event. Due to the tone and the unresolved finish, the BBC network of stations refrained from playing the song until the crew of the lunar excursion were safely back on Earth.

Thursday, 24 January 2019

my god, it's full of stars

The inestimable Kottke directs our attention to the half hour National Film Board of Canada 1960 documentary “Universe,” which portrays the Cosmos as it would be experienced by a voyager barrelling through time and space, and was a cinematic touchstone for filmmaker Stanley Kubrick, informing the look and tone of his adaptation of 2001: A Space Odyssey. If the voice of the narrator seems oddly familiar, that’s because it is late actor Douglas Rain, renowned for his role as the voice of HAL 9000.

Tuesday, 4 December 2018

i’m afraid i can’t do that dave

Though matters have yet to escalate to HAL 9000 levels, Quartz reports that the first interaction between the International Space Station’s robot crew member (previously) and its human astronauts came off a little socially awkward with first impressions ranging from frosty to slightly menacing. I’m confident that relations will improve and civility will prevail but one does have to take a bit of exception to the fact that man and machine got off to this sort of start on day one of the mission.

Monday, 12 November 2018

requiescat in pace: douglas rain

NPR reports that accomplished Shakespearian actor Douglas Rain passed away, aged ninety in Ontario, with an illustrious career with many hundreds of credits to his name, both on stage and on television, working alongside countless veteran actors—but perhaps the role that Rain will be remembered and appreciated in the widest sense for is that of voicing the Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer that controlled the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft on its voyage to Jupiter in Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Arthur C Clarke’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (previously here, here, here and here). Rain’s calm and measured tones became something menacing and unforgettable, to have lost agency and the ability to countermand a machine. In 2010, HAL is rebooted and Rain reprises his role, this time alongside his twin, SAL 9000, voiced by Candice Bergen.