Tuesday, 22 March 2022

8x8

situation of opportunity: a giant soft pillow urban intervention on the streets of Amsterdam—via Messy Nessy Chic 

floor plan: highly detailed drawings of Japanese hotel rooms  

you can’t take it with you: the coffin tradition of the Ga people of Ghana  

photogenic: Tom Hegen captures the symmetries of solar farms  

hobbiton-across-the-water: maps and paintings of Middle Earth curated on-line—see previously  

this is a test—this is only a test: a look at the history of the US emergency broadcast system—see previously  

long life to the lord of men: jade burial suits from the Han dynasty  

anchors in the afterlife: a collection of non-human resting-places

Tuesday, 21 December 2021

letters from santa

Spotted by Messy Nessy Chic in a very festive link round-up refers us to a collection of letters from Father Christmas first collected and shared in 1976, three years after the author’s death, addressed to the family of J.R.R. Tolkein. Starting out as simple, illustrated greetings, over the course the youngsters’ childhood evolve to include ancillary characters and support staff, unmistakably shaky penmanship, franking and even an arctic dialect of Qenya, as in the salutation from the Polar Bear: Mรกra mesta an ni vรฉla tye ento, ya rao nea—Good-bye until I see you next, and I hope it will be soon!

Sunday, 19 December 2021

samwi$e g

In case you missed pre-anniversary acknowledgments on Friday, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert celebrated, two decades on, the cinematic premiere of Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Fellowship of the Ring (previously) on this day in 2001 (I recall seeing this in theatres with my father, not on opening perhaps day but soon after, and it was the first time we’ve been to the movies since 9/11, a fear of large gatherings needed to be overcome) with a rap video about the LOTR trilogy with some Elvish lyrics and featuring cameo appearances that reunite the cast by Elijah Wood, Andy Serkis, Orlando Bloom and more.

Friday, 26 November 2021

7x7

limerent limerick: help in recognising unhealthy obsessions and how to work one’s way out of intrusive think—hopefully through bawdy rhymes 

there and back again: Gene Deitch’s animated short The Hobbit—the first such adaptation  

roll for perception: a collection of resources, a florilegium from a Society for Creative Anachronism member for the LARP community—via Mx van Hoorn’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities  

avenue of the sphinxes: a restored promenade between Luxor and Karnak opened with fanfare  

opiate for the masses: drug use in Antiquity 

mlhavรฝ: Martin Rak’s fog-draped forests in Saxon-Bohemia—see previously 

here’s mud in your eye: a select glossary of beer and imbibing terminology—via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump


 

Thursday, 9 September 2021

7x7

terrorstorm: the garbage documentaries that fulled the cult of conspiracy theorist, fragility and New Age Paranoia  

chestbursters and facehuggers:an official Alien xenomorph cookbook to liven up the dinner table  

en hobbits รคventyr: Moomins’ creator Tove Jansson illustrates Tolkien’s work 

skeuomorphs: vestigial, hidden parts of consumer electronics  

docudrama: a guide to making a Netflix style serial on the topic of one’s choosing  

next sunday a.d.: a neglected remix, compilation of the MST3K Satellite of Love theme  

white rabbit: redpilling (previously) and the regime

Thursday, 29 July 2021

lotr

Preceded by The Hobbit and followed by The Adventures of Tom Bombadil, the fantasy epic by J. R. R. Tolkien was first released on this day in 1954 in London by the publishing house of Allen & Unwin—familiar to most as a trilogy but originally intended to appear as a single volume and accompanying The Silmarillion. The highly influential and academically parsed for its mythology, philology and personal allegories experiences of World War I has enjoyed an enduring legacy and continued acclaim, inspiring many adaptions and derivative works. Mainly told from the narrative perspective of the above mentioned Hobbits, the book begins to the follow the quest to find and destroy the One Ring and keep it from Dark Lord Sauron.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

chevron of chain counterchanged argent, sable, argent

Winning entrant designed by vexillologist Gracie Sheppard in a contest sponsored by a local museum to create a symbol for the region, the flag of Black County was first hoisted in 2012—thereafter on this day to mark the invention of the Newcomen steam engine in 1712 that heralded the beginning of the Industrial Revolution with a county fรชte.

The heavily industrialised area in the West Midlands after Birmingham has no single set of defined boundaries to the satisfaction of all with the most common being where the coal seam has come to the surface and refers to the layer of soot that covered everything from all the mining, mills and factories by the mid-1800s. Chain-manufacture was big business there, as was glass-making and brickworks. Charles Dickens’ The Old Curiosity Shop established the region’s first literary conceit as a vicious hellscape in 1841 with others upholding it including J. R. R. Tolkien’s Mordor—elvish for dark land—corresponding with contemporary accountings, with some suggestion that activist and Communist and Labour party mayor of Bilston in Staffordshire, Ben Bilboe, was the inspiration and namesake for the hobbit character, the author’s family having roots in the West Midlands.

Wednesday, 9 June 2021

mallorn

Via Dark Roasted Blend, we are directed to the extensive archives of the J.R.R. Tolkien Society and their periodic journal—the above titled in reference to the mellyrn trees of Nรบmenor that grow to immense sizes—whose issues include peer-reviewed scholarship, editorial, art work and academic essays on the legendarium of Middle Earth and related topics. Some of the manual typesetting and formatting, illuminated scripts really, of the earlier instalments, like this coda to an argument about the physics of Gimli’s armaments and fighting style with the contributor having developed his own Fรซanorian glyphs to render their by-line, are especially worth a read through.

Wednesday, 28 April 2021

midden-aarde

First spied by Super Punch, we are referred to a nice appreciation of the recently departed, prolific Dutch artist Cor Blok (*1934), particularly well known in the Netherlands for illustrating J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings (In de ban van de Ring) in the early 1960s.

Later creating a tapestry out of Middle Earth’s characters to showcase his repetoire, Blok went on to become docent of the school of modern art at the University of Utrecht from 1977 to 1999, retiring as professor emeritus at the University of Leiden.

Wednesday, 7 April 2021

7x7

silvagunner: an appreciation of the remixing collective from Kicks Condor 

film festival: curate one’s own streaming series from a vast, public domain archive  

re-branding: artist FAEL redesigns corporate logos with a perfect balance of retro and progress 

prompts and cues: remedies to exhausting monologues and fostering better conversations  

metronome: a fascinating look at synchronicity  

ะฑั€ะฐั‚ัั‚ะฒะพ ะบะพะปัŒั†ะฐ: a 1991 Russian television version of The Fellowship of the Rings (see also) resurfaces on the internet—including an appearance by Tom Bombadil whose otherwise left out of the adaptations  

the only post-punk supergroup: the musical stylings of the New Age Steppers

Monday, 22 February 2021

5x5

vanishing london: the Topographical Society laments and documents changes to the city—1900 to 1939 

a murder of crows: a captivating thread about accidentally creating a fiercely loyal avian regimen 

kaitenzushi: a 1948 proposal to move diners from course to course  

genius loci: an investigation into the character Tom Bombadil from the Middle Earth legendarium 

forwarding address: moving a Victorian mansion in San Francisco

Saturday, 6 February 2021

zardoz

The 1974 Irish post-apocalyptic fantasy film starring Sean Connery (*1930 - †2020), Charlotte Rampling and Sara Kestelman premiering on this day in Los Angeles and New York takes its title, the eponymous stone talisman and cornucopia, from a damaged copy of the L. Frank Baum book Wizard of Oz that survived the end of the world and the bibliocaust and supplant older gospels and introduces us to a highly gentrified and segregated society that consists of a ruling class of ageless Eternals and mortal, enslaved Brutals who eke out a subsistence in the nuclear wilderness after satisfying the needs of the aristocrats—with a clan of assassins charged with keeping the exploited under subjugation by following orders issued by Zardoz in exchange for weapons.
It is revealed that Zardoz is an extension of the omnipotent artificial intelligence called the Tabernacle that maintains the precarity of this social order by boundless insight that no human, immortal or otherwise, can comprehend. John Boorman, the writer, director and producer had hoped to create an adaptation of The Lord of the Rings (see also) for a film studio at the time but Boorman’s offer was turned down, fearing it was too ambitious and would run-over budget, instead turned his sights to creating this world, which was philosophically challenging with good elements of storytelling and very much ahead of its time but had not played well to audiences by dint of that same complexity, costuming and lack of special effects.

Monday, 21 September 2020

there and back again

First published on this day in 1937, English author and academic John Ronald Reuel Tolkein’s (*1898 – †1973) premier work of high fantasy, The Hobbit (previously), was received with critical success and an avid readership with an appetite for more, retroactively finding a niche in the mythopoetic legendarium which Tolkien had been developing privately for decades, realised in his follow-on work The Lord of the Rings. Aside from his keen interest in Norse philology and folklore, Tolkien’s prose is influenced by designer, poet and activist for social justice William Morris and his correspondents C.S. Lewis and W.H. Auden, the latter recollecting the author’s moment of inspiration while grading papers, jotting down: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit.”

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

conlang

From the cabinet of hypertext curiosities of Mx van Hoorn, we are not only introduced to the linguist David J Peterson, whom after JRR Tolkien and lexicographers behind Klingon is probably the most celebrated contemporary figure in constructed languages (see previously) with Dothraki from Game of Thrones, we make his acquaintance in the greatest of fashions—namely, through his handmade landing spot for his various projects. Pictured is a bit of orthography for the invented script of the imagined Njaama culture and the entire enterprise has a lot to explore and is a prompt for reflecting on the organic and inspired development of communication and how that might be resonant and rendered.

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

be a gandlum, not a goldo

This cursed chart of unknown provenance (via Boing Boing—I’m sure that no one is eager to take responsibility for this un-unseeable nightmare for fear of reprisal) that blends, cross-references Lord of the Rings characters (previously) is more proof that idle hands are the tools of Sauron—or rather his hybrid Saurumon. That said, tag yourself. What other ensemble paracosm would you like—if any—the Marvel cinematic universe perhaps, subjected to the same treatment?

Sunday, 24 May 2020

6x6

colours of the world: Crayola crayons launch a special pigment pack to capture the diverse skin tones of people around the world—since fortunately the vast majority is not this

farringdon folly: the real life landmarks that informed and inspired (see also) JRR Tolkien’s Middle Earth

a typographical sirloin: visual mondegreens (see previously here and here) resulting from the keming—er, kerning of certain letter combinations

service ร  la franรงaise: the history and possible future of buffet-style dining (relatedly)

ultraflex: a futuristic Icelandic boogie band at the intersection of disco and Soviet-era calisthenics

where the rubber meets the road: tyre add-on device collects worn and shredded detritus before it goes into the environment

Monday, 18 May 2020

6x6

why that’s a perfectly cromulent word: neologisms coined, defined and used in a sentence by a machine learning algorithm—via Things magazine

elrodon, son of halcyon: anti-depressant (see also) or Tolkien character—via Super Punch

your perfectly creased coordinated casuals: Kristen Wiig reads the early work of Suzanne Somers—via Nag on the Lake

specious logic: Trump argues against testing and tracing

howards end: E. M. Forster’s prescient 1909 sci-fi foray “The Machine Stops”

the floor is haunted: responsibly confined to our own living rooms, AI Weirdness (previously) imagines escape rooms

Saturday, 18 January 2020

7x7

economies of ale: after a decade of steep declines, UK pub numbers are seeing a slight uptick charted

parkverbotszone: plans for the future IKEA am Westbahnhof in Vienna is being designed for a post-auto world

women hold up half the sky: Liang Jun, the tractor driving figure, iconically featured on the one yuan bill, has passed away, aged ninety

best in show: winners and honourable-mentions of the Ocean Art Photography competition

the id, the super-ego, and the psyche: the strange, singular encounter between Salvador Dalรญ and Sigmund Freud

triangle man, triangle man: celebrating thirty years of They Might Be Giants’ (a reference to Don Quixote’s tilting at windmills) seminal album Flood

there and back again: a remembrance of Christopher Tolkien (*1925 – †2020), executor of his father’s literary estate and map-maker of Middle Earth

Sunday, 12 January 2020

lotr or there and back again

Via Kottke, we are invited to explore and rediscover the web presence of veteran actor Sir Ian McKellen, which includes among its deep linkages about his acting career and other projects the blog, journal he kept from 1999 through 2003 during the production of Lord of the Rings.

Monday, 4 November 2019

ฯˆฮทฯ†ฮฟฯ‚

From the Greek for the study of pebbles (used for ballots in ancient Athens—the English word itself having Italic origins, ballotta, a little ball and hence the phrase “blackballing”), psephology is a sub-branch of political science that tries to account for election outcomes in language of socio-historic studies through research and reporting on voting registries, franchisement, polling and the influence of lobbies and special interest groups in politics.
Coined for the nonce in the late 1940s, the word term was introduced by Scottish classicist WFR Hardie when fellow academic and member of JRR Tolkein’s roundtable (the Inklings) Ronald Buchanan McCallum called on him for a word to denote the study of referenda. Poltical correspondents, analysts, demographers, policy wonks and pundits could all be called psephologtist—that is, pebble-counters.