Monday, 5 April 2021


snuggling cygnets: avian photography of the year, also known as b-poty for short—via Colossal  

untitled pizza movie: documenting change in New York City slice-by-slice  

aqen the ferryman: Cairo hosts a parade for a score of royal mummies moving to a new museum—via Super Punch  

salvator metaversi: art historian turns supposed last Leonardo into an NFT to help out the family who sold it to unscrupulous art dealers 

theatre of machines: intricate gear illustrations from Agostino Ramelli (see also here and here)  

scenes from a mall: footage from the Southdale Centre’s grand opening in 1956  

knock knock: a swan terrorising a neighbourhood in Northampton—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

Wednesday, 31 March 2021


berggeschrei: Saxon princes collected, modelled miniature mountains and enjoyed miner cos-play 

#oddlysatisfying: the hypnotic and self-soothing qualities of visual ASMR  

it’s not a cult thing: an interview with the real estate agent selling this ‘sexy funeral Goth house’ in Baltimore—via Super Punch  

erard square action: a tool that measures a piano key’s up- and down-weight  

slamilton: a basketball musical of Space Jam meshed with Hamilton—see previously—that works better than it should, via Waxy  

den hรผgel hinauf: Amanda Gorman’s inspirational US presidential inaugural poem (see also) will be published in German

Sunday, 28 March 2021


Via Nag on the Lake’s always splendiferous Sunday Links (lots more to explore there), we are directed to a wonderful collection of antique trade cards of various London emporia for all one’s clogg, peruke, bunnbaking needs and more—retail or wholeลฟale. Developed at the end of the seventeenth century parallel to rise of cheap priniting, the advertising ephemera were business cards of a sort and included specific, detailed directions to the merchants’ stores, referencinf signage that could be quite elaborate, as no standardised system of street addresses existed at the time—see also. Be sure to check out Spitalfield’s Life bookshop for more treasuries of old London.

Thursday, 18 March 2021

100% birgitta

Pictured here among the influential and aspirational on the beach in Ibiza in crocheted attire, we quite enjoyed learning about the crafter and dyer become wardrobe artist and celebrity in her own right Stockholm native Birgitta Bjerke who turned the patchwork of old-timey bedspreads into fashion that the rock royalty of the mid- to late 60s with icons like Jimi Hendrix, Roger Daltrey, Eric Clapton and Mick Jagger sporting her outfits. Much more at Collectors’ Weekly at the link above.


From the June 1953 issue of Esquire—courtesy of Weird Universe—we are directed towards bedding with a strange gimmick that really stretches metaphor with these sheets treated with chlorophyll which apparently would at the same time attract livestock and fulfil the preferences of goatherds and shepherdesses who would rather sleep in the great outdoors.

There’s one made up fear (see also) but made not in the obvious word. If one’s present linens are wanting, one is advised to “deter aegiphobia”—not a real word and presumably one should avoid the fear of covering up, aegis—“and rest assured.” The other menacing word, even footnoted from Aristophanes, is ฯ„ฯฮฑฮณฮฟฮผฮฌฯƒฯ‡ฮฑฮปฮฟฯ‚ but not meaning agoraphilia or claustrophobia but rather referring our little bedmate above armpits smelling like a he-goat, in use both figuratively and in clinical-settings. There is quite a bit going on here and I’d be hard-pressed to find a contemporary advertisement that has this many levels I think.

Tuesday, 2 March 2021


Via Weird Universe—striking us as rather incredulous as well that we’ve not blogged about this topic before though there are some corresponding posts (see here and here)—we are introduced to commercial code, a method adopted by companies to save on cablegram expenses when telegraph companies charged per word or character and thus elaborate and competing systems of encoding and decoding were developed and broadly used from the 1870s through the 1950s, both for general use and industry jargon. Secondarily a means of keeping communications private and confusing unless one had the right reference book, some systems used less common words as a cipher for a series of phrases on the same subject and sometimes included non-words, like HAUBARER for “charterers will allow the option of carrying horse for the ship’s benefit,” BYOXO for “are you trying to weasel out of our deal,” ENBET for the “captain has gone insane,” AZKHE for a clean bill of health and COSNOSCO as shorthand for “dining out this evening; send my dress clothes here.” More to explore at Weird Universe at the link up top including a good resource of scanned codebooks.

Saturday, 27 February 2021

deep nostalgia

We learn that a genealogy company is offering a fully automated service to reanimate one’s old photographs by applying the same sort seamlessly predictive technology behind deep fakes, transforming perhaps staid and distant images in the same sort of way that Live photos or Harry Potter photojournalism captures a few seconds of posing and framing the shot. It seems like a clever idea to image one’s relatives smiling and mugging for the camera. Learn more at Gizmodo’s io9 at the link above. 


Monday, 22 February 2021


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

Tuesday, 16 February 2021


penn station’s half century: vignettes of the original New York Beaux Arts transportation hub painstaking brought to life to experience the station prior to its 1957 demolition and renovation 

delightful creatures: drone captures manatees and dolphins frolicking in Florida Everglades 

raven story: Alaska Tlingit artist features on new US postage stamp with a depiction of the trickster spirit

poisonous green: the paint that might have been the death of Napoleon and other toxic tinctures—see previously  

de-programming: interviews with children of parents radicalised by QAnon trying to get their moms and dads back 

morph and mindbuffer: a mesmerising hypersurface of a globe composed of expanding isohedrons 

preservation watch: conservationists fear that the iconic, Art Deco lobby of the McGraw-Hill Building might be under threat

Thursday, 4 February 2021

fainting couch

With due deference to one of the greatest historical armchair adventurers and confinement veterans Xavier de Maistre, we quite enjoyed this thoughtful and thoroughgoing essay from Hunter Dukes on the postures of transportation and how cushion and cortege and increasing sophistication in seating and upholstery parallels literary conventions and enabled one to truly escape one’s surroundings and mentally travel to new worlds. Consider that one popular design for a chaise longue was an asymmetrical day-bed called le Mรฉridienne, a sloping affair made for a mid-day rest. Like a modern gaming chair, one’s sedentary comforts influence and inform one’s imagination and engagement and a gauge of one’s willingness to let the world come to them. Much more from Public Domain Review at the link above.

Monday, 25 January 2021


hair flashes: some MidCentury styling tips from the British Pathรฉ archives  

salvator mundi: an inconspicuously missing five-hundred-year old copy of the world’s most expensive painting (previously) found in a wardrobe in Naples  

home edition: a meditative Tiny Desk Concert from pianist Max Richter  

elevator pitch: Michael Dorn’s suggestion for a franchise series from the point-of-view of the Klingon Empire sounds intriguing  

mpaa: a brief history of the PG-13 rating for US box-offices—see also 

 boneshaker: antique footage of cyclists in the days before suspension and shock-absorbers

Saturday, 23 January 2021


dog and ferret sundries, etc: a fantastic hardware catalogue from the 1930s 

the roaring twenties: the Sea Shanty craze of a century before—via Strange Company 

midori: the relatively modern distinction between blue and green in Japan—see previously 

tag yourself: medieval owl alignment chart 

arkaphones: a resounding retrospective to artist Terry Adkins, who created sonic monuments  

for all the latest medical poop, call surgeon general c. everett koop: the fortune and failure of the post executive branch career of the doctor’s branded medical advice website  

ghost signs: self-appointed guardian of fading signage, collecting it before it vanishes altogether—we can all do this

Tuesday, 12 January 2021


From our infinitely engrossing antiquarian, JF Ptak Science Bookstore, not only do we learn the image for demonstrating the formation and oscillation of drops is the above titled optical toy or tool “wonder turner” that gives the illusion of motion and progression (see also here and here), moreover there is accidental poetry is addressing the airy gravity of the nature of bubbles and membranes. An excerpt from an early Nature article speaks to this: “He has studied the behaviour of big bubbles and of little ones, of bubbles in large and small tubes, of bubbles of air in a liquid, and of one liquid in another, of bubbles in heavy land in light liquids, of bubbles in liquids of various degrees of viscosity and with various degrees of surface tension at the surfaces.” Much more to explore at the link up top.

Monday, 11 January 2021

logic gates

Via Pasa Bon! we are presented with an educational toy in the form of a mechanical computer invented and marketed in 1965 by John “Jack” Thomas Godfrey called the Digi-Comp II that used marbles rolling down an incline through customisable, programmable interventions, like a pinball game (Flipperkast) or pachinko to teach coding. These basic calculations were accomplished—less kinetically—on the predecessor game with gears and latch circuits as a demonstration of binary logic. Much more to explore at the link up top including a giant model and a Lego version of the visual calculator.

Tuesday, 22 December 2020


schrรถder staircase: prize-winning optical illusions 

well, the spam, eggs, sausage and spam—that’s not got much spam in it: McDonald’s in China releases a special, limited edition burger  

every day, the same, again: miscellany from the New Shelton wet/dry 

black mirror: a Claude glass was a handheld Instagram filter of artists and sightseers in the late 1700s

back contamination: NASA’s efforts to contain a lunar pandemic (see previously) that never came to pass and what lessons it can teach us in this current situation

frame-included position shift: another impressive optical illusion

Friday, 11 December 2020


repetition: an exploration of built-environments as an audio-visual landscape of infinite regression  

a pigment of our imagination: the illusory nature of colour  

nationally determined contributions: European Union agrees to more than halve its carbon emissions by 2030—via Slashdot 

awesome sauce: a safari-pak of canned-meats from 1967 

road gritters: track Scotland’s fleet of snow-plows in real time by name  

training a generation of future karens: this scholastic kids books series are clearly coding adults as happy and confident with their life choices as monsters and misfits—via Super Punch 

a universe of imagination: revisiting a classic and inspiring documentary (previously) on cosmology on its sixtieth anniversary

Monday, 30 November 2020


regolith: British R&D company working on process to extract oxygen from lunar soil and using the by-product to three-dimensionally print a moon base—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

gentle giant: David Prowse, the British weight-lifter and character actor who played Darth Vader, has passed away 

person, woman, man, camera, tv: Sarah Andersen’s funny take on our future senility  

kung-fu grip: new research suggests that Neanderthals did not use their hands and thumbs in the same way as Homo sapiens 

 handkerchief flirting codes for post-humans: Janelle Shane (previously) trains a neural network on late Victorian courtship etiquette 

wilmarsdonk: the remains of a village in the middle of the Port of Antwerp, mostly vacated for the busy shipping hub’s expansion  

social harmony: queuing guests practise distancing on a length of music notation, producing a movement from Gymnopรฉdie  

pareidolia, apophenia: brain neurons juxtaposed with galactic clusters connected by filaments of dark matter

Monday, 16 November 2020

goรปt grec

We rather enjoyed looking through these fantastical masquerade outfits informed by neoclassical Greek columns and other architectural elements from the imagination of Ennemond Alexandre Petitot—himself the court architect and influencer (railing against this particular style) of the Bourbon Dukes in Parma, printed in 1771, not as sketches for buildings nor actual fancy dress but rather gentle derision on the obsession for “Greek taste” that dominated French fashion and decorative arts with Ionic scrolls, key and fret work and similar patterns—sort of like the tiki aesthetic of its day. Much more to explore at Public Domain Review at the link up top.

Saturday, 26 September 2020


more than meets the eye: introducing the Ephemera Society of America through Hunt’s Remedy—via Everlasting Blรถrt

cheesemongers: a tour of London’s venerable Leadenhall Market  

divergent media narratives: a battle designer wargames the upcoming US presidential election to terrifying, bleak ends  

more than means the eye: transforming everyday objects from the studio of Max Siedentopf  

try this at home: a demonstration of the allassonic phenomenon—also known as the hot chocolate effect  

non-canon: among the three hundred known apocryphal books of the Bible includes epic wizard and demon battles and a border guard that tried to help Jesus from Strange Company  

parfumez vu: an antique, coin-op scent dispenser

Monday, 31 August 2020


the trouble shooter: a truly bizarre and blessed vintage cartoon

single-camera setup: more lockdown sitcom episodes from Poseidon’s Underworld

far from the madding crowd: a backyard shed that’s the ultimate weekend, quarantine project—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

sidebar: the hobby and craft chain Michael’s has a community chatroom that’s become an affirming if not wild forum—via Waxy

kingston’s good ghosts: an Art Deco inspired (see also) custom roadster

rave cave: party-goers in an Olso bunker hospitalised for carbon monoxide poisoning

obscure media: Miss Cellania’s Video of the Day “Robot Love” from a decade ago