Monday, 11 January 2021

your daily demon: orias

Ruling from the 20° to 24° of Capricorn—corresponding from this day until 15 January, this infernal marquis presents as a lion a gee with the tail of a dread serpent and clutching two snakes in his paws—this presenting this sigil will compel him, like all the other spirits, to appear as a man.

According to the Ars Goetia and other sources, Orias’ strength is in astrological readings and can forecast the trajectory of an individual’s life and career with precise intelligence on the hour and place of their birth. Able to curry favour with both friend and enemy, he can also transform humans into any shape desired. This fifty-ninth entry on the Demonic Calendar is opposed by the Archangel Harael.

Sunday, 10 January 2021

captain l'audace

Featured as the cover link of Nag on the Lake’s Sunday round-up (much more to explore there) we appreciated being acquainted with master of the disaster sketch Walter Molino (*1915 – †1997) whom excelled at illustrating dramatic near-death experiences and whose commission for a 1962 edition of an Italian weekly—the same publication that engaged Molino regularly, illustrating future visions which from our present (May 2020) looked quite prophetic, though this premonition made no reference to social distancing and pandemics.

Also contributing to comic books, his flair for the dramatic, style which references celebrities that the readership would recognise and subject matter recall a couple other pulp artists (here and here) we’d had the pleasure of learning more about recently. Much more snakes on trains, violence, wild beasts, natural disasters, omens, crashes (a fighter jet into said locomotive), armed pets and daring rescues at the links above.   


In a field outside of Beaumont, Texas, Patillo Higgins prospecting for an in situ energy source—natural gas—to power his brickworks, drilled a well and struck oil on this day in 1901, penetrating salt dome that had contained the reservoir since the Jurassic epoch, gushing some million barrels of it over the next nine days. Beforehand considered geologically relatively scarce and impractical as a staple fuel source, petroleum in this form was used primarily as an industrial lubricant and for street lamps (see also) but discoveries to follow suggesting large quantities fit for mass, universal application pushed a boom and the world into the Oil Age, abetted by the corporations leading the charge.

arbeiter nr. 11811

Debuting on this day in 1927 at the Ufa-Palast-Zoo cinema in Berlin, the silent, expressionist dystopian drama Metropolis was director Fritz Lang’s vision of the eponymous science-fiction novel by Thea von Harbou. Filmed during the optimistic days of the Weimar Republik and informed by the philosophy of such attendant movements as Bauhaus, the ground-breaking piece forecasts, presciently, a bleak and oppressive future technocracy with a huge chasm separating the classes. With a legacy of immeasurable influence and launching numerous homages, it was inscribed on the UNESCO register of Memory of the World—the first film to receive this honour. The message of the movie, whose allegory is of course not meant as an instruction manual, is summed up in the final intertitle: „Mittler zwischen Hirn und Hรคnden muss das Herz sein“—that is, “The mediator between the Head and Hands must be the Heart.”

project diana

Namesake of the Roman lunar goddess (twin sister of Apollo, establishing the naming convention for missions eventually taken up by civilian agencies) carried out by the US Army Signal Corps at a specially built laboratory with a power surplus transmitter array at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey achieved on this day in 1946 one of its initial aims, concomitantly establishing the discipline of radio astronomy, by demonstrating that a radar wave could be bounced off the surface of the satellite, sent and received by a terrestrial source. Previously no one knew for certain whether transmissions through the vacuum of space were possible. This monumentally large step not only accurately furnished the distance from the Earth to the Moon and hinted at mapping the terrain of other worlds, Project Diana in a sense began the Space Age.

Saturday, 9 January 2021


Via friends TYWKIWDBI and Nag on the Lake, we find ourselves transported to the monastic complex of the town of Alcobaรงa, a Cistercian community famed for its gastronomical and vinicultural excellence and founded by Portugal’s first king Alfonso Henriques, which features among its Gothic elements a dining hall whose entrance is preceded with the rather abstruse admonishment: Respicte quia peccata Populi comdeitis—that is, Remember you eat the sins of the people. 

Otherwise perfectly proportion, the communal area has direct egress to the kitchen, which according to popular legend and rather practically, had a door to discourage gluttony, either measured for self-catering or as a monthly check on one’s girth with the passage two metres high but only thirty-two centimetres wide, a model pants-size for many though the cloth and cowl could be quite concealing in any circumstance. Perhaps we are misinterpreting the whole intent of this narrow doorway and it was rather meant to shame those who were not committed devoradores de pecados.  According to current lore, those who could not pass needed to diet until they could sidle and squeeze through. 

heaviside layer

On this day in 2006, with its seven-thousand-four-hundred-eighty-sixth performance Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Phantom of the Opera over took the composer and impressario’s other long-running stage piece Cats with the most iterations on Broadway in the latter’s eight-year run, twice-revived in the West End for twenty-one mostly parallel years in London. The establishing megamusical phenomenon, the piece has proved polarising and defining for the entertainment industry and arguably introduces quite a bar to entry.


Just a few local impressions from my walks yesterday and the day before.  We’ve gotten quite a bit of snow.