Monday, 6 July 2020

time out of mind

Though the phrase time immemorial may sound beyond the reach of history or record, it is a phrase coined (temps immémorial) to satisfy the legal burden of proof of ownership—for both moveable and immovable property, with the First Statute of Westminster, which codified English law in 1275—including other pithy prescriptions like “No Maintainers of Quarrels shall be suffered,” that decreed that time immemorial extended back to the beginning of the reign of Richard I (see previously here and here), ascending to the throne on 6 July 1189, very much as it was a matter of record and in living memory. Lands enjoyed in an unbroken chain of custody since then required no further proof of ownership. Noting that the full expression was conditional, “time immemorial, or time whereof the memory of man runneth not to the contrary,” common law was amended in 1832 to be sixty years.

Sunday, 5 July 2020


télévision œil de demain: a prescient 1947 short about the future ubiquity of screens

zeus mode: alternative phone casings featuring accessories including a built-in stun gun

harvey wall-banger adjacent: click on grid mode to see how these cocktail ingredients compare—via Nag on the Lake’s always excellent Sunday Links

corona cosplay: understanding Americans’ aversion to wearing masks—via Duck Soup

we’ll celebrate once we have a reason to celebrate: revisiting (see also) Fredrick Douglass’ 5 July 1852 speech

ipertesto: Agostino Ramelli’s sixteenth century bookwheels recreated by modern designers

eagle-eye cherry

Though not always able to vouch for the headliners and the juxtaposition of the competing stages would make it sometimes a tough choice, we are very much enjoying this 90s fantasy music festival generator (see also)—via Things Magazine—these posters containing clickable elements that let one sample the acts and imagine them in back-to-back sets. These are random pairings but what bands that you had not thought about in some time from that decade would you enlist for your summer venue?

voyage, voyage

As an evangelist of the temperance movement, on this day in 1841—capitalising upon the extension of the Midland Counties Railway, Thomas Cook (previously) organised the excursion to bring a group of anti-drink campaigners from Leicester (presently under restriction of movement) to a teetotaller demonstration in Loughborough, some eleven miles distant with Cook himself acting as steward and chaperone to some five hundred individuals willing to pay a premium to have the arrangements sorted out. Some four years later, he took parties on journeys to Liverpool and Scotland—this time not busing-in out-of-state agitators, finally cementing his reputation soon after as a tour agent with one-hundred and fifty thousand journeying to the 1851 Great Exhibition in London followed by a continental grand tour of Belgium, German and culminating in the 1855 Parisian Great Exhibition.

Saturday, 4 July 2020


My auto-correct function believes the superlative adjectival form of free is the double rather than triple e version favoured it seems by others, and while I would probably avoid either and employ more and most free—say nothing of wee or twee—there are probably instances where it would be useful (I use soonest in the right context often enough, my phone suggests it), it does seem somehow orthographically lacking somehow, as if one had not arrived at free‧er or free‧est and was instead conveying some archaic verbal form. What do you think? With all this talk of e’s, it’s interesting to draw in the suffixes –or as the actor and the object –ee as the receivee, expanded from the legal nomenclature of donor and donee in mentor and mentee and all its permutations, or denoting the empathised champion of the transitive action, as in trainee, abductee, insuree or purgee.

honor america day

Though intentionally apolitical nearly to the point of obfuscation and denial, the Fourth of July celebrations held in Washington, DC in 1970 branded as Honor America Day could not ultimately separate themselves from the milieu of war and social injustice and incivility that it tried to rise above.
Richard Nixon’s milquetoast and hardly objectionable gala, orchestrated by hotel magnate J Willard Marriott, secured universal and neutral celebrities like astronaut Frank Borman, Jack Benny, Bob Hope, Glen Campbell, et al—though to pull back the curtain a bit all were at least ostensibly supportive of the expanding war in Vietnam that had crept into Laos and Cambodia and had resulted in massacres domestically, at least to the point where they could be reliably trusted not to turn on the hosts and protest.
Unlike the pomp and pageantry of Nürnburger rallies of recent years, this asymmetrically white and mainstream celebration was not meant to cause more division than was already baked into the ongoing tensions but inevitably attracted protests and counter-protests. Conservatives, neo-Nazis, members of the religious-right plus the so called Silent Majority clashed and the event ended in tear-gas.  

american top 40

On this day in 1970, the ABC Radio Network first broadcasted its three-hour block of syndicated programming hosted by radio personality and music historian Casey Kasem (*1932 – †2014), counting down the top of the domestic charts according to Billboard magazine.  Also a veteran voice-actor, Kasem also played the role of Norville “Shaggy” Rogers in the Scooby-Doo franchise throughout most of the incarnations of the characters. The show’s format—which included trivia, predictions, dedications and letters from listeners—was exported around the world and launching several spin-off ranking shows, a version of the Top 40 is still airing today.

Friday, 3 July 2020

operation cyclone or charlie wilson’s war

Though exponentially expanded under the Reagan administration, US president Jimmy Carter secretly authorised for the first time on this date in 1979 measures that would aid and underwrite the resistance efforts of the mujahideen in Afghanistan against the occupying Soviet troops and the USSR’s client state, the secular and liberalised Democratic Republic of Afghanistan.
The decade-long undertaking is the largest and most expensive known operation of the Central Intelligence Agency (the UK’s MI6 ran a parallel one), budgeted at seven hundred thousand dollars during its first year and upwards of six-hundred million by 1987—to incite insurgency and eventually bankrupting the Soviet Union and precipitating a violent civil war in Afghanistan. Carter reluctantly agreed to lend initially non-lethal support to the Mujahideen in part under pressure from nuclear neighbour Pakistan—believing the US should try to make amends with regional partners especially after its involvement in the unrest in Iran—though arguably, the secondary US motivation was to draw the Soviets into a quagmire, like the one the US had only recently extricated itself from with Vietnam. Ultimately financing jihadists and undoing the social and economic reforms that the country had aspired to effect and then abandoning it as a failed narco-state once it had served its purpose, resulted in consequential, inevitable blowback.