Tuesday 5 December 2023

cloudland (11. 166)

Via Kottke guest-blogger Edith Zimmerman, we are treated a random cool old song with a performance of Pere Ubu 1989 song “Breathe” on Sunday Night, a Michelob Presents Music Hour sadly only running for two season and hosted by Jools Holland and David Sanborn showcasing jazz and eclectic artists, from their seventh studio album—the title record named after (see also) a resort village in northwestern Georgia that became a getaway destination for vacationing Florida residents to escape some of the summer heat. More recommendations worth checking out at the link above.


one year ago: a Vogue issue featuring Darth Vader plus assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: Flash Gordon (1980) plus the art of Matt Semke

three years ago: Krampus Night, World Soil Day, a boatswain pipe plus more Yuletide customs

four years ago: Pantone’s colour for the coming year plus icy atmospheric phenomena

five years ago: the Bermuda Triangle plus some local Christmas Markets

Monday 4 December 2023

the peace ship (11. 165)

With detectable parallels to modern day technological utopianists and branded altruism, industrialist and automaker Henry Ford launched his chartered vessel Oskar II from Hoboken, New Jersey on this day in 1915 on as trans-Atlantic mission to petition for a cease-fire in Europe and a de-escalation (anti-preparedness) in armaments. Inviting prominent pacifists to join, Ford hoped that the audacity of the act would spur a truce among belligerents, Ford’s plan was at first greeting with respect by the press and public, however opinion began to sour on this attempt at amateur diplomacy with in-fighting amongst the activist and fabricated claims that the European powers were willing to negotiate, at the behest of Ford or anyone else, fears that such antics might make the situation worse—and for embarking during an influenza pandemic, which spread through crew and passengers during the five-day voyage. Violently ill and receiving a cold reception from skeptical delegates in Oslo, Ford retired to his hotel suite, granting one talk with reporters (not mentioning the Peace Ship) before convinced to seek out of the county by way of a steamer departing from Bergen. Despite the organiser’s conspicuous absence and the inability to secure any meetings of consequence with any officials with influence, there were several other ports-of-call around Europe, under the banner of the Neutral Conference for Continuous Mediation, still financed by Ford up until 1917 when it became clear that US entry into fighting was inevitable.

Saturday 2 December 2023

le sacre (11. 158)

With an coronation ceremony of his own design marking a significant departure from the tradition of the Ancien Rรฉgime and to establish his legitimacy not grounded the pomp and precedent reserved for kings Napoleon and Josรฉphine were crowned Emperor and Empress of the French on this day in 1804 (11 Frimaire, XIII, according to the Revolutionary Republican Calendar) in Notre-Dame de Paris. Approved overwhelmingly by the people during a constitutional referendum in May of the same year, the investiture ceremony was a masterwork of propaganda to appease both royalists and reformers and whereas the old monarchs of France had been anointed by the archbishop in Reims, Pope Pius VII agreed to officiate and was an amalgam of Roman and French rites, with symbolism that elided over the ousted Bourbon dynasty and sought to link the new ruling house with the Merovingians, replacing the traditional fleur-de-lis motif with bees in reference to the golden decorations discovered in the tomb of Childeric I. After the sacred ritual and coronation mass concluded, Napoleon took a civil oath before the presidents of the senate, legislature and Council of State: “I swear to maintain the integrity of the territory of the Republic, to respect and enforce the Concordat (the settlement between Catholic church and revolutionaries that saw most of the church’s status restored) and freedom of religion, equality of rights, political and civil liberties, the irrevocability of the sale of national lands, not to raise any tax except in virtue of the law, to maintain the institution of the Legion of Honour and to govern in the sole interest, happiness and glory of the French people.”

Wednesday 29 November 2023

32/40 b (11. 148)

Commemorated since 1978 on the anniversary of the passage of the United Nations resolution 181 on the partition of Mandatory Palestine, which proposed the creation of independent Arab and Jewish states with a special, international regime governing the city of Jerusalem, the UN-organised observance, a day of solidarity, calls for immediate steps to be taken to grant the Palestinian people full sovereignty and independence. The declaration also established a commission to study The Origins and Evolution of the Palestine Problem to couch regional conflict and contemporary violence and displacement in terms of historical perspectives and past miscalculation and transgression.

Monday 27 November 2023

radio ripping (11. 144)

The campaign given its soft-start the month prior, the British Phonographic industry trade group under the chairmanship of Christopher Wright began placing its slogan in the press on this day in 1981, believing that the rise in the availability and popularity of the cassette and recorder would cause a precipitous decline in record sales—recruiting a few celebrity spokespeople to support their initiative against the new media, like the Boomtown Rats and Elton John. Others, like Bow Wow Wow, the Dead Kennedys, Devo and Sonic Youth actively encouraged the practise, some releasing titles with blank b-sides for the buyer to record whatever they wished. The propaganda and rhetoric (often subject to parody over the manufactured hysteria) have re-appeared numerous times as an invective against VCRs, “Don’t Copy that Floppy,” and file-sharing even for art and entertainment that’s meant for public enjoyment and made more robust by its channels of propagation and retention.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Makhno’s Movement (1920)

two years ago: an AI take on traditional wedding gifts

three years ago: an Italo Pop nonsense song meant to sound like English plus St Josaphat

four years ago: a font inspired by Trump’s handwriting, VR for happier cows, St James Intercisus plus a Monkees’ movie

five years ago: CARE packages, the collaboration between Stan Lee and Pablo Ferro, another Trump Dump plus Misinformation as Word of the Year

Sunday 26 November 2023

7x7 (11. 143)

sonic deconstructions: 1950s radio broadcaster’s album of Foley art, “Strange to Your Ears”  

onfim’s homework: a Wikipedia rabbit hole inspires an individual to get a tattoo of an eleventh century Novgorod pupil’s writings and illustrations discovered preserved on birch bark—via Hyperallergic’s Required Reading  

year in review: Time magazine’s one hundred top images of 2023—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to explore here) 

amaterasu: scientists detect an ultra-high energy cosmic ray—the most powerful in thirty years of observation 

<!--: a collection of historic HTML innovations—see also  

kenough: the story of Denny Fouts, hustler and literary muse for Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and Christopher Isherwood  

pie hole: a silly twenty-year-old vocal exercise that holds up

Friday 24 November 2023

al 288-1 (11. 135)

Found on this day in 1974 in the Awash Valley near Hardar, Ethiopia by a team of paleoanthropologists led by Donald Johnson, the collection of fossilised bones making up about forty percent of a female Australoptithecus is commonly known as Lucy—after the Beatles’ song played repeatedly during the excavation—or by her Amharic designation แ‹ตแŠ•แ‰… แŠแˆฝ (Dink’inesh, you are marvellous). Hers and early less complete finds suggested that hominid bipedalism preceded and informed the increase in cranial capacity and intelligence. Falling on the anniversary of the initial publication of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species in 1859, the three-million year old specimen, diminutive by today’s standards, quickly became a celebrity, captivating public interest in evolution, missing-links with the account of her discovery and reconstruction.

Friday 17 November 2023

8x8 (11. 123)

aล‚k’idฤ…́ฤ…́’ yรกdahodiiz’ฤ…́ฤ…́dฤ…́ฤ…́’ yรก’รกhonรญkรกรกndi: an update on Stars Wars dubbed in to the Dinรฉ bizaad language of the Navajo people—see previously 

hallucinate: the new meaning of the psychological verb picked for Cambridge dictionaries’ Word of the Year 

chipophone: Vivaldi performed on Commodore instruments—see previously 

wikiwho: guess the person from their Wikipedia biography—via Web Curios  

prisencolinensinainciusol: revisiting the Italo Pop song with nonsense lyrics that was meant to sound like English singing—see previously 

veistospuutarha: the sculpture garden of of Veijo Rรถnkkรถnen  

here we observe the sophisticated homo sapiens: an unauthorised David Attenborough voice-clone to narrate one’s daily activities—see also  

life day: a fresh look on the Star Wars Holiday Special on its forty-fifth anniversary 


one year ago: the Hand of Irulegi plus a Soviet moonwalker (1970)

two years ago: another MST3K classic plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: more links to enjoy, a rebuttal from Nixon (1973) plus St Hugh of Lincoln

four years ago: the Velvet Revolution plus world flags reimagined in the style of Kazakhstan’s 

five years ago: a Japanese view on American history, the mind of a scammer, more links to enjoy plus the Star Wars Holiday Special

Monday 13 November 2023

predatoroonops (11. 117)

Via Kottke, we learn that a genus of goblin spiders native to the forests of Brazil and described in 2012 has the above taxonomical designation in honour of the 1987 movie Predator, owing to their facial resemblance to the unmasked extraterrestrial hunting party, with individual species like Predatoroonops schwarzeneggeri named for the creatures, quarry and guerilla fighters.

Saturday 28 October 2023

per dexter, per fichtรฉe (11. 081)

Despite the proscription in the US against royal titles, many past American presidents have employed personal coats-of-arms, either through inheritance or as foreign honours from heraldic authorities. The last president to hold a such a heraldic achievement was William Jefferson Clinton bestowed on him by the Chief Herald of Ireland in 1995 at the behest of the Taoiseach in honour of his Irish heritage. The azure anchor of the crest bares the word SPES (Latin for Hope) as an allusion to Clinton’s hometown and campaign platform and the motto below, “The Lion carries away the Branch.” While the Trump Organisation and his Scottish golf course have corporate arms, they were not granted or sanctioned by any competent authority.


one year ago: further adventures plus unblogged Crete

two years ago: your daily demon: Shax, Gulliver’s Travels plus more on being in the flow state

three years ago: the Greek flag adopted, priority group mall Santas, the short films of Al Jarnow, a pizza chain’s logo plus a home-makeover for the Simpsons

four years ago: a constellation in the Southern Hemisphere, a mundane Halloween plus The Millennial Raven

five years ago: a day-trip to Frankfurt plus assorted links to revisit

Friday 20 October 2023

the patterson-gimlin film (11. 068)

Shot on this day in 1967 along the Bluff Creek tributary of the Klamath River on a logging-road in near the California-Oregon border, the short film, under a minute, captures a few frames of purportedly a Sasquatch and has subsequently been subject to numerous attempts to both authenticate and debunk it as a hoax. The iconic image of the cryptid was the result of a years’ long expedition through Bigfoot territory in the Pacific Northwest, a docudrama that failed to garner much interest, several creative fund-raising attempts and trademarking the term, when Roger Patterson and Robert Gimlin reportedly encountered an unknown figure, hairy and apelike and approximately two meters tall, they nicknamed “Patty,” who they tracked for some distance before loosing her trail and made plaster casts of her footprints. Scientist and consulted special effects artists concluded the footage was of a man in a hair suit.


one year ago: jungle gyms of East Germany,  more spectacular images from the JWST plus Liz Truss resigns

two years ago: St Artemis of AntiochPlay Misty for Me (1971) plus the dedication of the Sydney Opera House (1973)

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, the execution of Klaus Stรถrtebeker plus a remembrance of artist Enzo Mari

four years ago: synthwave Star Wars,  documenting car crashes plus the end of grazing season

five years ago: the Saturday Night Massacre,  artist Giacomo Balla plus more links to enjoy

Sunday 15 October 2023

rentenmark (11. 058)

In order to combat runaway hyperinflation after World War I and the the subsequent occupation of the industrial Ruhr region by French and Belgian forces that caused a major slump in economic activity and an attendant drop in government tax revenues that the Weimar Republic tried to compensate for with quantitive easing (that is—printing more money), finance minister Hans Luther, working with the Reichsbank, introduced a new currency on this day in 1923 to replace the Papiermark. Money had become nearly worthless and subject to precipitous devaluation on a daily basis due to lack of gold and other stable assets to back it, and Luther, whose plans for reform were grounded on the economic principles espoused by Karl Helfferich who suggested floating, indexing monetary value on rye and other agricultural commodities, devised a mortgaged-mark not tied to produce and crop yields (the original idea rejected due to inherent instability) but rather to the land that produced them, backed by biannual payments on farmland and business properties. With the first notes issued on 1 November, one trillion Papiermark could be exchanged for one Rentenmark and the relatively successful transition provided the stability for a recovery in the national economy. 


one year ago: most popular Halloween candy by state according to AI, a UB40 classic from 1988, the cemetery of Old St Pancras plus a menu ร  la carte

two years ago: assorted links to revisit, more unaired television pilots, Mouldy Old Dough plus dialling up the fright factor with AI

three years ago: more obscure and choice insults, a musical selection from Bronski Beat, more links to enjoy, Jack the Ripper’s From Hell letter, word nuance in cooking plus The Great Dictator (1940)

four years ago: high-energy cosmic rays

five years ago: a fun Star Trek musical mashup, more links plus discovering the convenience of public transport


Friday 13 October 2023

the poor fellow-soldiers of christ and of the temple of solomon (11. 056)

Whilst endorsed by the papacy as the favoured charitable organisation within Christendom and Instrumental in the early successes of the Crusades, subsequent failures and their vast holdings and wealth derived from an early banking service began to curry jealousy and mistrust for the Knights Templar particularly by those secular leaders indebted to them. Leveraging rumours about the order’s initiation ceremony and secretive rites, King Philip IV of France (heavily in hock) issued an arrest warrant on this day in 1307—also a Friday giving rise to the popular superstition though not the origin of it—for Grand Master Jacques de Molay and hundreds of other members. Pressuring Pope Clement V in Avignon to ascent to the mass incarceration and trial by torture, the summons opened with the words «Dieu n’est pas content, nous avons des ennemis de la foi dans le Royaume» (God is not pleased—we have enemies of the faith in the kingdom), they were summarily charged with fraud idolatry, blasphemy and homosexual practises, which bore substantial similarities to accusations levied against other persecuted groups including Jewish communities and independent women often labeled witches and which carried little supporting evidence. Under duress, several confessed that they did indeed commit such acts and worshipped a mummified head that they called Baphomet taken from the Temple Mount, which was officially passed off as the recovered relic of John the Baptist. Burned at the stake in Paris, their lands and wealth were confiscated by the state with the pope assigning their role to the successor group the Knights Hospitallers.

Wednesday 11 October 2023

archiatra pontifico (11. 051)

Via our faithful chronicler, we learn that this day in 1958, sharing the anniversary with quite a few other events of pith and circumstance, that our friend Pope Pius XII (see previously) suffered a posthumous indignity at the hands the hands of his personal physician Riccardo Galeazzi-Lisi, a trained optometrist later stripped of his office and medical license and banished from the Vatican for life for leaking photos of the dying pontiff to the magazine Paris Match. Claiming that Pius expressed a wish to be not embalmed and his organs removed in the usual fashion but rather preserved after the model of Christ, Galezzi-Lisi concocted a special treatment of oils and resins (plus wrapping the body in cellophane) claimed would make the papal corpse incorruptible. The unseasonable heat of that early autumn, however, undermined any effectiveness that treatment might have had and the body decomposed rapidly, curtailing the viewing of the faithful and necessitating the regular relief of the Swiss Guard standing watch, overcome by the stench. For the remainder of the procession and funeral service, the casket was closed and sealed and may have exploded from the pressure of gaseous discharge as a result of the accelerated autolysis and putrefaction, thankfully not witnessed by the public.


one year ago: Barbarella (1968), ancient animation, a Coming Out simulator plus a declassified map of nuclear targets

two years ago: the micronation of Rose Island

three years ago: an appreciation of the Smiley Face, a system for coding emotional facial reactionsSt Gummarus plus the debut of Saturday Night Live (1975)

four years ago: more on the moons of Jupiter plus the better letterer’s corner

five years ago: pรคntsdrunk,  more on Coming Out Day, the technical mastery of chindลgu, a moon moon plus The Secret Life of Plants

Friday 6 October 2023

the great debate (11. 041)

Via Slashdot, we are directed towards the centenary of when astronomer Edwin Hubble imaged a cepheid variable star (not a nova, N) in the constellation of Andromeda and ultimately settled the above, long-standing cosmological quandary concerning whether the Universe consisted of more than our own Milky Way, greatly expanding our horizons and astronomical perspective in demonstrating that the object heretofore regarded as a nebula and stellar nursery was a complete galaxy similar to our own some two-hundred fifty million light years distant. Sponsored by the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the debate held on on 26 April 1920 pitted astronomers Harlow Shapley, who maintained that the spiral nebulae observed were within the confines of our galaxy, against Heber Curtis who argued that they were independent galactic structures (“island universes,” as Immanuel Kant proposed in 1755 but never accepted by the scientific community due to the scales involved), very large and far, far away. A decade later, Hubble would go on to demonstrate that the apparently static Universe was in fact expanding.

Monday 2 October 2023

via xx settembre (11. 035)

The decisive battle marking the concession of Pope Pius IX and the unification of the Italian peninsula with the capture of Rome and the dissolution of the Papal States, in existence since 756, donations of various Frankish rulers to the Church over the centuries occurring a couple of weeks prior, the Italian prime minister organised a plebiscite to legitimise the annexation of Rome as the newly formed kingdom’s capital on this day in 1870. An overwhelming majority of eligible voters assented to being incorporated, with the pontiff left jurisdiction to the area surrounded by the ninth century enclosures built on the orders of Pope Leo IV to protect St Peter’s Basilica, but Pius protested, calling himself captivus vaticani. His predecessors took on the mantle until the matter—whether the pope was a subject of the Kingdom of Italy or whether the Holy See was an independent body without territory—was resolved by the Lateran Treaty of 1929, with no diplomatic relations existing between Italy and the Vatican prior and Italian royals and supporters of the Risorgimento summarily excommunicated. 


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, more on snail compasses plus Gulf War II (2001)

two years ago: Peanuts remixed, more on US exceptionalism plus a classic from Musical Youth

three years ago: Colonialism and Abstract Art (1936), more musical mashup annuals from Hood Internet,  Trump contracts the COVID-19 virus plus the caretaker presidency of Edith Wilson

four years ago: more links worth revisiting 

five years ago: the fight to save a remnant of ancient forest in Germany plus thumbnails of terrain

Sunday 24 September 2023

your captain, merrill stubing (11. 021)

Premiering on this day in 1977 after three pilots airing as made for television movies and broadcast for nine seasons—including five specials—the Aaron Spelling venture of the port-of-calls of the MS Pacific Princess, featured in a Saturday night weekly lineup including Fantasy Island. Though not the first to do so, it solidified the cross-over, guest-star anthology format, bringing in celebrities from film and pioneered parallel plots, with an A-, B- and C-stories in each episode. Aside from the roles of captain, ship’s doctor, and your bartender (promoted to yeoman pursuer, portrayed by Gavin MacLeod, Bernie Kopell, and Ted Lange, the cast rotated. Fred Grady as your yeoman pursuer—Burl “Gopher” Smith was in all the televised episodes but opted out of the specials to campaign for the US congress.

Friday 22 September 2023

stephan’s quintet (11. 014)

Discovered on this day in 1877 from an observatory in Marseille the eponymous compact galactic grouping documented by astronomer ร‰douard Jean-Marie Stephan, under the directorship of Urbain le Verrier, was the first of kind described. Among the most studied formations in the Cosmos and revealing the large-scale filament structure thought to underlie the Universe, the small cluster was one of the first nominated objects for the JWST to image and is famously celebrated in cameo as the angelic host in the beginning of It’s A Wonderful Life. “Oh, Clarence—hasn’t he got his wings yet?”  When summoned, the guardian angel-second class appears as NGC 7317 of the constellation Pegasus at the bottom of the frame.

Wednesday 20 September 2023

the panic of 1873 (11. 011)

The period of economic stagnation originally referred to as the Great or Long Depression before the interwar slump set new standards for the definition and though caused by a range of contributing factors including the opening of the Suez Canal that was disruptive for entrepรดt trade (also controlled by the British Empire, goods from the Far East were formerly warehoused in South Africa with the previous sea route around the Cape of Good Hope and the traditional sailing ships could not be adapted to navigate the new short-cut as the prevailing Mediterranean winds pushed them back into the Red Sea), devastating fires in Chicago and Boston and Germany going off the bimetallic standard—precipitating a fall in silver prices, the financial crisis with global implications was chiefly attributed to rampant speculation by investors in railroads and boom in their construction particularly in the United States following the Civil War. The panic began on this day in 1873 with the collapse of the Jay Cooke & Company, an innovative banking institution and brokerage house that pioneered the use of “wire” transfers and confirming transactions over telegraph lines, overextended and unable to sell on millions in bonds it had secured to build a second transcontinental line. With the railroad company and the bank indebted, bankruptcy soon followed with contagion spreading to other financial institutions and the insurance industry, prompting the closure of the New York Stock Exchange for ten days with immediate redundancies in the manufacturing sector. Railroad workers went on strike in protest of reduced wages, further exacerbating the crisis and knock-on effects overseas which led to a wave in immigration to the States that coincided with the easing of the turmoil by 1879.

Sunday 17 September 2023

begleiten wir die orion und ihre besatzung bei ihrem patouillendienst am rande der unendlichkeit (11. 006)

Debuting on this day in 1966 on the West German public-service broadcaster ARD, nearly parallel to Gene Roddenbury’s Star Trek, Die phantastischen Abenteuer des Raumschiffes Orion was the country’s first televised science fiction series set in not too distance future of a united, space-faring Earth following the voyages of a starship commander and crew who patrol the galaxy monitoring for threats. >Pointedly notorious for their defiance of superiors, the complement includes a officer of the GSD (Galakistcher Sicherheits-dienst) military intelligence service assigned to keep the Orion under check—and while the crew do not trust Lt Tamara Jagellovsk, over the arc of the seven episodes of the first and only season of the show, they ultimately develop feelings of respect for her—which is reciprocated by her omitting certain liberties taken in her mission reports to higher headquarters. Cyborgs (Roboter) are also prominently featured as guards and domestics but their use is shown to be problematic and prone to malfunction. Other fictional technologies include the Astroscheibe, which serves the same function as the view screen on the bridge of the Enterprise, Lichtweferbatterie—-photon-torpedos, รœberlichtantrieb—Warp Drive, and while no transporter capabilities exist (famously improvised as a way to cut out the expense of depicting launch and landing scenes), the Orion often docks at deep-sea bases, modern and beautiful cities built underwater. The main antagonists were an extraterrestrial species referred to as Frogs. Despite the series’ short run, it quickly achieved cult-status with re-runs and novelisations continuing the story and limning out the characters. The entire run is available online with subtitles.