Thursday, 11 February 2021


penne, named for the nib of a quill: a trilingual exploration of past etymology—see also 

i’m live—i’m not a cat: kitten-filter mishap for attorney’s teleconference is could become this era’s poster image 

so this is how liberty dies… with thunderous applause: the honourable senator from Naboo was the deciding vote that allowed the Palpatine to become Emperor as explored scene-by-scene by a group of screenwriters constructing the finest Star Wars story that will be never made

opmerkelijke zaken: mushroom bricks, bricks reinforced with plastic waste plus more from the peripatetic Pasa Bon!  

pelagic zone: winners of the 2021 Underwater Photography contest announced 

cosy web: the Multiverse Diary project, a collaboration that celebrates the old school blog and wiki aesthetic for branching out  

pov: Ancient China on Rome, the Islamic world on India and other historical perspectives narrative on Voices of the Past 

uunifetapasta: where the phenomenon of TikTok Pasta came from and where it might lead

Saturday, 12 December 2020

sant kaourintin

First bishop of Quimper and patron of the west coast of Breton, Cornouaille (†460)—cognate with Cornwall just across the Channel, as well as of seafood, Saint Corentin is venerated on this day. Considered one of the seven founding evangelisers of the peninsula and counted as part of the pilgrimage circuit Tro Breiz (see link up top), Corentin was living humbly as a hermit, tending a fish in a fountain, which according to legend would offer itself to Corentin, who would take a small morsel for sustenance which would miraculous regrow without harming the fish (depicted in his iconography along with a bishop’s mitre), when as his reputation for humanitarian acts and humility preceded him, he was created bishop at the order of King Gradlon of Ys and dispatched to be concecrated by Saint Martin. Corentin’s companions were Saint Tudy of Trรฉguier and Saint Guรฉnolรฉ, founder of Landรฉvennec Abbey.

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

Saturday, 24 October 2020


bongo cat: a joyous, simple noisemaker—via Boing Boing  

der orchideengarten: Austrian fantasy-horror revue that prefigured and informed Weird Tales and related properties  

backscatter: spooky, simple photography techniques and visual effects to haunt one’s Halloween picture portfolio 

porto-potty: Austrian postal service issues a special, rather expensive toilet-paper stamp whose proceeds go to charities benefiting those impacted most by COVID-19 

llama glama: a llama-based webfont—via Pasa Bon!  

smitten kitchen: for this US Food Day (made-up as a counterpart to Earth Day but never really took off) a look into the recipe library of Georgia O’Keeffe plus others  

clean up on aisle four: glass-floor of a supermarket in Dublin reveals a millennium old glimpse of Hiberno-Norse history (see also here and here

flags and drums: young brothers in Pakistan play BBC News theme on the table

Thursday, 22 October 2020

scarlet gn

The above compound also known as Red Dye Number 4 (E number, European standard, E125—that’s a strange tale too) was banned for use in all foodstuffs or ingestibles—still used in cosmetics, by the US Food and Drug Administration when the chemical was found have carcinogenic properties including horrendously causing tumours in the bladders of dogs. Formerly cocktail maraschino cherries were exempt with the rationale that they were mostly decorative and not to be eaten.  There are now safe alternative but red-colouring is mostly avoided by association.

Saturday, 3 October 2020


Visiting a small harvest festival nearby held on Germany Unity Day, H and I looked for some autumn accents for the house and found several stalls selling traditional onion braids (Zwiebelzรถpfe). 

Sometimes also incorporating garlic bulbs, the braids adorned craftily with dried wild flowers were not customarily only for decorative and storage, preservative purposes but moreover for the notion that the power of the talisman would stave off illness and harm from hearth and home. Right now we can all use all the help we can muster. Singly, onions were worn as amulets in medieval times to ward off the plague, and a New Year’s Eve custom (divination from onions is called cromniomancysee also) in various regions, especially in the Erzgebirge, called for the dicing of an onion into twelve sections and sprinkling each bowl with salt to forecast the precipitation for each month of the year to come as the moisture drawn out of each section by the next morning would predict that month’s rainfall.

Monday, 21 September 2020

empire shops

Though the above euphemism for a colonial goods store (ultramarinos, comptoir des colonies, coloniali), a nineteenth century speciality retailer that sold non-perishable items like coffee, tea, spices, tobacco, etc. as opposed to butchers, bakers and green-grocers, has fortunately fallen out of common-parlance, retained through the 1970s when most former colonies were achieving independence, it is still present, fossilised in some unexpected places, like in the name of our local chain supermarket, an affiliate of the large co-op Edeka, founded in 1898 as E.d.K.—that is, Einkaufsgenossenschaft der Kolonialwarenhรคndler im Halleschen Torbezirk zu Berlin (Purchasing Cooperative for the Traders of Colonial Wares of the Halle Gate District of Berlin), phonetically abbreviated (see also) out of necessity.

Monday, 31 August 2020

petit gรขteau

Via the always fabulous Everlasting Blรถrt, we are treated to the highly satisfying comparison thread we didn’t know we needed in English actor Tom Hiddleston juxtaposed with the almond meringue confection macarons (macaroons—French words borrowed into English in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries were given an –oon ending) that mirror his wardrobe. A macron, on the other hand, is a genus of sea slugs in deference to this other series of comparative images.

Friday, 21 August 2020


Present /&/ Correct showcases a nice collection of vintage ekiben wrappers—a portmanteau of the words for railway and bento boxed meals (้ง…ๅผ).
The latter came from a Chinese term meaning convenience and around since at least the thirteenth century. Though there was a decline in quality and artfulness of these prepared snacks for train passengers with quicker journeys and the increased popularity of flying, ekiban are seeing a revival as on onboard food option and have since been at least offered as take-away fare inside stations, department stores and airports. Given this longevity (prior to the age of transporation), these boxes are bearers of a lot of culture, expectations and performance and several other specialty types have been developed, including shidashi—a catered meal ate a social occasion like a wedding or a funeral, kyaraben—a bento meant to resemble a favourite cartoon character, and a shikaeshiben (ไป•่ฟ”ใ—ๅผ)—that is, a revenge bento, where the preparer uses the boxed lunch to get back at the recipient by writing confessions or insults in the food or by making it inedible or possibly poisoned.

Saturday, 1 August 2020


From the Anglo-Saxon for “loaf mass,” Lammas Day is celebrated in some parts of the northern hemisphere on the first of August, Lammastide falling halfway between the summer solstice and the autumn equinox, by bringing bread to the church made of the first fruits of the season to be used for communion. Traditionally, members of the clergy reciprocally made a procession to local bakeries to bless them as a profession (it is a good reason to bring out ye old breadmaker) and is a syncretism, substitution for the Gaelic festival to herald the beginning of harvest time called Lughnasadh (Lรบnasa, Lรนnastal, Luanistyn) readopted by practitioners of Celtic neopaganism.

Thursday, 30 July 2020

omiyage—voyage, voyage

This Japanese word for souvenir (ใŠๅœŸ็”ฃ) are representative meibutsu (ๅ็‰ฉ, literally famous things) applied to regional specialties and are often exchanged among work colleagues and family member upon the return of one who was away not just as a keepsake but as a way to apologize for one’s absence and a consolation for those whom did not get to make the trip this time. Via Present /&/ Correct we are directed towards this rather brilliant and wonderfully granular map of the country from Haconiwa design studios. One can click on any section of the grid to summon up a sample of local delicacies and virtually vacation. Much more to explore at the links above.

Sunday, 26 July 2020


you gotta eat them plums: an arcade version of William Carlos Williams’ “This is Just to Say” (see previously)—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

op art: more on the Hungarian-French artist Victor Vasarely (see previously, born Gyล‘zล‘ Vรกsรกrhelyi, *1906 – †1997) whose work informed the movement

earth for scale: ESA solar probe finds new “campfire” phenomena on the Sun

manhatta: a 1921 short considered America’s first avant-garde experiment set to the verse of Walt Whitman

slob serif: awful typefaces (not this one) for awful protests—via Memo of the Air

primary pigments: more colour stories (see also) from Public Domain Review

hasta la pasta: the history behind linguini, fusilli and every variety in between

Friday, 17 July 2020

a man, a plan, a can

Appropriately called out for its stereotypes and gendered biases that do not advance equity in the kitchen—though I do admit that it is often the most help and the least harm I can do is in setting the table and clearing up—we were struck with the illustrations of this vintage Working Couple’s Cookbook—via Weird Universe but curated then culled by our astute librarians (previously), which are strongly suggestive of adversarial graphic generation.
A Nitty Gritty production, written by Peggy Treadwell with artwork by Carl Torlucci—I can see that he specialised in this signature style but can’t find anything outside of this one collaboration unfortunately, with complimenting an author’s words seeming like an especially democratising task that is relatively accepted and well established as gender-neutral.

Monday, 13 July 2020


flotus: chainsaw sculpture of Melania Trump erected in her hometown torched on US Independence Day

[screaming internally]: assorted news items including thrill ride guidance from Japan

holy wisdom: Turkey reconsecrates Hagia Sophia as a mosque after eight decades as a museum

dining alfresco: the variety of New York’s newly founded streateries

mallrats: a tour of shopping galleries past

strike a pose: professional model An Tiantian shows off her photogenic gestures

swamping the drain: Trump wines and dines wealthy campaign donors while America slides into failed statehood

Thursday, 9 July 2020

in der rรถmerischer weinstraรŸe

Our penultimate overnight stop brought us to the Central Moselle (Mittelmosel) community of Trittenheim—this like most other steep vineyards advertising their local vintners and varietals in big white letters like the Hollywood sign, championed by a village Wine Queen (Weinkรถnigin) selected by a jury of past title holders and restauranteurs.
In 1999, however no suitable candidate could be found and the judges instead elected the first (and quite possibly sole exception but we’d like to think that such pageants are a bit more enlightened—a few years ago the Moselle named their first royal industry representative who was a Syrian refugee) Wine King in master mechanic, philanthropist, entertainer and developmental chieftain (Ngoryifia) Cรฉphas Kosi Bansah of the Ewe people of the Hohoe region of Ghana.
Having come to Germany as part of a student exchange programme, Bansah stayed on and was invested with this honourific political office, realising that he was able to govern remotely and could achieve more education and outreach for his people in Germany, improving infrastructure and schools dramatically through his celebrityand his talent for networking. 

Wednesday, 13 May 2020

erbario farmaceutico

Building on a history of reference, anecdote and experimentation already established for millennia at the time of publication of this fifteenth century volume from the Veneto, we appreciated the prompt to learning more behind this category of guidebook known as the herbal (Herbarius, Erbario).
Pairing images that aid in identification with others that represented supposed pharmacological merit—as well as toxic, tonic, culinary and magical properties, extensive accompanying texts and captions inform modern ideas (but certainly do not supplant them—a feature of such collections is that they advance and improve tempered by science and scholarship but are always good to peruse for perspective and perhaps insight) of taxonomy, chemistry and medicine. Much more from Public Domain Review at the link above.

Sunday, 10 May 2020

149 us 304 or clearing the docket

Via our faithful chronicler we learn that this day along with many other events of pith and moment marks the 1893 anniversary of the US Supreme Court decision in the case of Nix v. Hedden that ruled that the tomato be classified as a vegetable and not a fruit for the purposes of customs and tariffs. Whilst seemingly frivolous—and harmless and even comparatively wholesome—and not a matter for the high court, it is a nuanced case with repercussions in terms of future US trade policy decisions (see also) and of course the US resolution six years later to annex Hawaiสปi at the urging of a pineapple magnate (previously here and here).
In the 1840s, a Mister John Nix founded a fruit shipping company in New York City that was the first operation to bring in produce from Bermuda and after four decades of nearly frictionless business, the administration of Chester Arthur imposed heavy protectionist barriers on the importation of food, with fruit but not vegetables being exempt. Lobbyists and tomato dealers persuaded regulators that the botanical definition should prevail with domestic growers crying foul and filed suit against Nix’ business and others,  championed by Port of New York customs assessor Edward L. Hedden, progressing through the justice system and calling on dictionaries as expert witnesses. The technical definition having no bearing on commerce or trade (tomatoes are ‘fruit of the vine’ because they bear seeds), once it made it to the Supreme Court, vacating the rulings of lower courts, ruled unanimously that custom, cuisine and popular meaning. The legal outcome also ruled that beans—though botanically a seed—were to be treated as vegetables, though less fraught and no known knock-on effects. Also uncontroversially, in the European Union regulatory regime a carrot is classified as a fruit but only when used in jams and preserves. Going against precedent, the US Food and Drug Administration under Reagan infamously deemed ketchup to be a vegetable for nutrition purposes for school lunch programmes.

Thursday, 7 May 2020

corn dollies

At the crafty crossroads where creativity meets cult, Messy Nessy Chic presents a thoroughgoing history and how-to on cereal and straw art—referencing the ancient customs of the harvest (which continue into modern times) that saved the first (see also) and last sheaves of grain to fashion them into corn maidens or matrons that would winter with the family, exchanged as gifts during Yule to be ploughed into the furrows of the next season’s planting to ensure the continuity of abundance. Straw is worked, plaited, woven, spun according to centuries old tradition into some rather fantastic monuments, costumes and handicrafts—certainly worth admiring and wondering about their meaning and power, if not trying to create charms of our own.

Wednesday, 29 April 2020


meringue: recipes for transparent pies

it happened on the way to cordtland street: how filmmakers distort New York City in the imagination—see also—via Messy Nessy Chic

the great court: the British Museum (previously) makes millions of images of art and artefacts in its collection freely available under a creative-commons license

got your back: more artistic backgrounds for one’s video calls and virtual meetings—via Waxy

slum lord: Woody Guthrie sings a lament about his landlord, Fred Trump—via Everlasting Blรถrt

bleachman: a mascot from the 1980s who encouraged San Franciscan to shoot-up responsibly, absent federal aid and coordinated intervention

ร  la omurice: fried rice from ramen noodles sound like a scrumptiously easy and malleable survival food—more recipe ideas here

moment of zen

Via the always excellent Nag on the Lake, we are directed to designer Manami Sasaki who has transformed her breakfast toast into creative canvases and are seconding the nomination for favourite subject: we are really enjoying this depiction of a traditional Japanese Rock Garden (ๆžฏๅฑฑๆฐด—literally a dry landscape and meant as a heuristic tool to help the gardener contemplate the meaning of existence by representing the essence of Nature and not its physical manifestation), with cream cheese spread carefully raked with nuts and condiments artfully arranged as stones and other elements. We also admired the care and repair dedicated to another slice of torn bread.