Thursday, 14 November 2019


avoir un jour de courage: the immortals at l’Académie Française suggest a replacement for the English phrase “coming out”

notorious rbg: a leopard print camouflage homage to the Supreme Court Justice

vennbahn: a scenic bike trail following a former train track crisscrosses the border between Belgium and Germany multiple times, via Super Punch

acqua alta: tragic images of Venice drowning

mechanisms of affection: artist Maria Antelman explores how the tools of technology reflect the user

i’ve been called ruby giuliani: a drag queen entertained spectators during opening public testimony for the impeachment hearings

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

pavlovian response

Though sadly his predictions about being up to our necks in bugs did not come to pass and by losing the insects we are losing the song birds as well and we’d prefer this method of conditioning feline instincts, I think that it was a pretty noble notion on the part of inventor and erstwhile actor Desmond Slattery to save our avian friends from our domestic ambush by associating a poaching with a violent and memorable explosion through a treacherous decoy that did exactly that. Debuting his prototype in 1968, Slattery hoped that cats and birds would going forward coexist in harmony.

rat race

Via Kottke’s Quick Links, we arrive at a nifty bit of programming code that can be modified to accommodate any data set and energise one’s presentations and data-visualisations with a bar chart race (like the one we encountered recently). The comprehensive and patient tutorial from Mike Bostock is a study in the power of clear conveyance (very much diametrically opposed to this overly-enthusiastic and persuasive slide deck, via the New Shelton Wet/Dry) and allows one, with some work and investment of time, to harness this sort of bracing animation that has one rooting for the underdog.

saint brice’s day

Though the feast day is darkened with the 1002 massacre of Danes in England ordered by Æthelred the Unready—probably in part responding to a populace weary of the piracy and appeasement, the commemoration of Saint Brice of Tours has a direct link to a recent celebration. Adopted by the sainted bishop Martin when discovered as an orphaned infant, Brice (Brictius, *370 – †444) was raised within the church under Martin’s tutelage, becoming a monk and eventually an archdeacon and succeeding his mentor Martin as the fourth head of the archdiocese upon Martin’s death in 397. This iconic, generic manuscript miniature illustrates Martin lecturing his pupil and ward Brice comes from the fourteenth century workshop of hagiographer Jacobus de Varagine and his anthology The Golden Legend (Legenda aurea).
Brice’s temperament and focus, however, according to the community was very much in opposition to his teacher’s and fellow clerics dismissed him as worldly and overly-ambitious and certainly did not like the idea of him becoming their spiritual leader. Scandalously, a nun became pregnant and there were persistent rumours that Brice was the father. In order to prove that he was the baby daddy, Brice submitted to a ritual ordeal of carrying hot embers in his cloak to the tomb of Saint Martin and coming out unscathed with his garment none the worse for wear either. This test did not impress and his parishioners banished him—saying that he could not return unless the pope in Rome himself exonerated him. Seven years later, absolved by Innocent I, Brice returned and discharged his duties as a bishop and confessor with such dedication and humility he was not only accepted back into the fold but was, upon his death, venerated as a saint. Brice is depicted with the iconography of glowing coals in his robe and/or a baby in his arms, the paternity issue never really resolved. No particular patronage is attached to Saint Brice (so you’re invited to come up with your own) but he does share this day with Saint Homobonus (Sant’Omobono, Sankt Gutmann, literally “a good man,” †1197) who was a celebrated tailor and cloth-monger of Cremona. A wealthy merchant, Homobonus expressed gratitude for his good fortune and privilege to work at a job he enjoyed by donating to and dressing the poor. Usually represented with a money bag, Homobonus is the patron of business casual and corporate executives.

Tuesday, 12 November 2019

technicolor refreshment trailer № 1

Our gratitude once again to friend of the blog Everlasting Blört for directing our attention to this 1970s Pepsi Cola sponsored appeal to head out to the concession stands. This psychedelic ad (see also) was meant for audiences of drive-in venues and even has a brief reference to the original “Let’s All Go to the Lobby” cast of anthropomorphic treats.

fire and brimstone

Though the fallen angels of the Bible are incarcerated and consigned to the same fate as the Titans, there’s no mention of Tartarus in the New Testament, with either the Greek abode of the dead, Hades, or the small valley in Jerusalem where child-sacrifice occurred, Gehenna (Hinnom), invoked for the concept, though the former is more neutral and would be better represented as the underworld.
There is however one instance that it sort of slips in—this homage to Antiquity—in verbal form: in the Second Epistle of Peter, condemning false prophets, the apostle uses the word (making an ensample of wickedness) tartaroo (ταρταρόω) for “to cast into Hell.” The original Greek rendering of the Apostles’ Creed that provides for and establishes among other things the harrowing of Hell, Jesus’ descent into the underworld to rescue all the righteous who had perished and were condemned prior to salvation, took the more pedestrian verb κατελθόντα είς τά κατώτατα (descendit ad inferos—to those below) but was far from unproblematic—prompting the need for a third estate, that of Limbo, a liminal place.

possibly in michigan

Vacillating between the cute and the grotesque and nicely framing the spirit of the contradictory and the absurd that America leans strongly into, we appreciate the referral to the filmmaker and educator Cecelia Condit through her 1983 eponymous and most viral piece.
Recently rediscovered and championed by a video clip platform that’s usually the reserve of brief lessons or lip-syncing, this musical short about a deranged cannibal who pursues a pair of women through an otherwise empty shopping mall has enjoyed cult-following for the past four decades and no stranger to the experience of memetic infection, having previously been drawn in as a poster child in the moral and Satanic Panic of mid-1980s America and the on-going culture wars—by dent mostly of the closing credits that prominently features the support and patronage of the National Endowment for the Arts. New audiences are sometimes the best audiences.