Saturday, 28 January 2023

halt—who comes there? (10. 506)

Via Strange Company, we are directed towards the Gentle Author’s visit to the Tower of London and privileged to accompany her taking part in the oldest, unbroken military ceremony in the world, a nightly vigil that has taken place through war and plague for over seven centuries, “The Ceremony of the Keys” executed faithfully by the Yeoman Porter, locking the main gates for the night at ten sharp. Photographed by Martin Usborne, granted a rare license and access since at the request of the sovereign the pomp and protocol has never been filmed,  visit Spitalfields Life for more on this ancient ritual, the repetition kept up without stint or remiss.

gang nach kanossa (10. 505)

Absolved and seeing his excommunication overturned, Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV completed his ritual submission with his long journey from Speyer on the Road to Canossa on this day in 1077, humbling himself before Pope Gregory VII at a villa in Tuscany where the papal entourage was staying as guests. <Supplicating on his hands and knees while a blizzard raged for three days and nights before the Pope relented, Henry arrived with precious little time to spare as the Pope had deposed him during a Lenten synod in 1076 and vouchsafed that one year from that day, his loss of kingships would become irrevocable. Henry’s excommunication and forced abdication stemmed from the ongoing Investiture Controversy, a dispute over the precedence in civil and ecclesiastical authorities in appointing bishops and local clergy, whose loyalties could potentially either church or state, exacerbated after the suppression of the Saxon Uprising and the unilateral elevation of the bishopric of Milan with obedience to secular power—Henry being the Italian monarchy as well. In modern parlance, “going to Canossa” has become an idiom for mission of contrition—usually of the coerced kind, and though a colourful moment, it did not achieve political goals for either party, a rebellion stoked by the archbishops of Salzburg, Mainz and Magdeburg over loss of confidence in his leadership sparked a civil war within the Empire despite the Pope vows for support led to Gregory excommunicating Henry a second time, who having w

zรผndwarenmonopolgesetz (10. 504)

Having finally conceded to Swedish industrialist and con-artist Ivar Kreuger’s overtures (see link below for more on the Match King) for a financial lifeline to the struggling Weimar Republic (obligated to pay reparations for World War I with most other legitimate means of borrowing or issuing bonds severely limited), the Reichtag on this day in 1930 passed the Flammables Monopoly Law (see previously), awarding exclusive manufacturing rights to Kreuger and his subsidiaries. Quotas at fixed prices were extended to factories that bought into the scheme and were sold to the public at a set price, generating revenue to repay the bond instalments with interest, an arrangement which otherwise would have continued in perpetuity but debts were settled finally in 1983 by West Germany, the East having no truck with this deal.

Friday, 27 January 2023

ars notaria (10. 503)

Via Clive Thompson’s latest linkfest, which is a delight in itself to check in on often, we are introduced to the Cistercian system of ciphers, almost rune-like, developed by the monastic order parallel to the arrival of the Hindu-Arabic numerals in northwestern Europe which gradually replaced Roman notation, this stave system of units was far more compact and convenient for transcription as a single glyph could represent any value from one to ten-thousand. The pattern for forming higher numbers becomes apparent and later scholars expanded the system exponentially into the trillions. While seemingly not used for calculation, manuscripts from the thirteenth century show that they were used for numbering lists, indices, tables, musical notation and foliation—that is, page numbers. For more exploration and for a challenge (see also), click through to find source code to make a Cistercian clock.

and the girl in the corner is everyone’s mourner—she could kill you with a wink of the eye (10. 502)

Inspired by a unruly audience driving the band off the stage on this day in 1973 whilst performing in Kilmarnoc at the Grand Hall of the Palace Theatre—the booing and bottling ensuing perhaps the British glam rock group didn’t fit in with the rest of the line up—The Sweet would go on to release in September one of their biggest hits narrating the tense moments before their exuent. The Ballroom Blitz has been covered numerous times and featured in the soundtrack of several films including Wayne’s World.

corecore (10. 501)

Just as a digital culture correspondent hailed the movement as an “anti-trend,” the Dadaists that it is being compared to proclaimed that “Dada is the anti-Dada,” but the facetious take on the burdened suffix to denote a range of highly specific aesthetics and welling, small-batch fads do both attach meaning to the meaningless. Attendant with all the staples of being chronically engaged in online platforms, the best examples of the super-cut meme are touchstones of both estranging anxiety (keenly self-aware that the same platforms are a major and perpetuating contributor) and over-familiar nostalgia. Sample more at Hyperallergic at the link above.

paris peace accords (10. 500)

Negotiations finalised between Lรช ฤแปฉc Thแป and Henry Kissinger on 24 January and nearly derailed the day before by the Battle of Cแปญa Viแป‡t, the treaty officially known as the Agreement of Ending the War and Restoring Peace in Viet Nam (Hiแป‡p ฤ‘แป‹nh vแป chแบฅm dแปฉt chiแบฟn tranh, lแบญp lแบกi hรฒa bรฌnh แปŸ Viแป‡t Nam) was signed on this day in 1973 at the Hรดtel Majestic on Avenue Klรฉber in the XVIe arrondissement by representatives of the governments of the United States, the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam), the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (North Vietnam) and the Republic of South Vietnam (the Provisional Revolutionary Government, representing South Vietnamese communists). All US and allied forces agreed to complete withdrawal in exchange for the release of prisoners-of-war, with all parties acceding to an immediate cease-fire, the establishment of council of national reconciliation, a peaceful reunification free of foreign interference, withdrawal of foreign troops from Cambodia and Laos and financial aid from the US for war-ravaged Indochina. Despite also securing a commitment from America to replace materiel and armaments on a one-by-one basis, congressional support for further appropriations evaporated and lapsing during the Watergate scandal, North Vietnam made their final offensive operations in April of 1975, precipitating the fall of Saigon and the capitulation of the Republic of Vietnam.

Thursday, 26 January 2023

statistical breviary (10. 499)

Currently on exhibit at the National Arts Club in New York City, we are finding ourselves preoccupied with the presentation of Greg Colson and his studies in pie charts that reflect our collective and dissected anxieties and fear, surveyed as they are suggesting that each wedge might be susceptible to reduction or expansion in a way that’s wiser than the format seems at first glance. More at Hyperalleric at the link above.