Friday 10 November 2023

laterne, laterne, sonne, mond und sterne (11. 107)

In anticipation of the Feast of Saint Martin and the tradition of a lamp-lit procession, welcoming rather than ushering out the darkness and gloam of autumn formerly having roughly corresponded to the first of the month and a continuation of Halloween celebrations prior to calendar reform, we enjoyed this small sampling from a catalogue of chromolithographs of paper lantern designs from 1880 from the Tรผbingen booksellers Riethmรผller—which still sells paperware and party favours. More at the links above.


one year ago: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) plus Radiation Baby

two years ago: sinking nations plus Chaka Khan (1984)

three years ago: Toot, Whistle, Pluck and Boom, the US election, the Friends theme song, expecting more from America, voting irregularities plus an early edition

four years ago: an Art Nouveau printmaker, more Inktober maps, film composer Carlo Savina, a racing bar chart of the biggest musicians plus the debut of Sesame Street

five years ago: more unbuilt architecture, AI writes news copy, The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T plus a historical film lot consumed by wildfire

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 18 August 2023

reach out, touch faith (10. 950)

Via the ever-excellent Web Curios, we are directed towards an onslaught of AI applications and burgeoning projects including this “divine connection” in one’s pocket (see also) replete with testimonials and the disclaimer that “this app is a tool for reflection and learning, not a replacement for prayer or personal faith” offering a lifeline to the Great Come-Again Christ. This opportunity is coming as some are calling Jesus’ approach too woke and subversively suspect, and recalls an epilogue from a rather incongruous work seminar that I attended ages ago about “Living in the New Normal” which concluded that rather the inevitability of inventing God that maybe we as a society become worthy and create one, though probably not to be parsed as the canonical one. In addition to Jesus which certainly draws from rubric, premium subscribers can also choose other biblical personalities as interlocutors including members of the Holy Family like Mary or foster-father Joseph, who was admittedly kind of long-suffering save for the bit about siring the royal houses of Europe through Jesus’ half-siblings, and didn’t seem to have a lot of wisdom to dispense outside of carpentry, plus the Apostles including Judas and select figure from the Old Testament ๐Ÿ™


one year ago: St Helen,  a 1922 gliding competition plus a bubble-wrap instrument

two years ago: your daily demon: Forneus, disfluent fonts, culture wars at school board meetings, School House Rock! maths shorts, more phonetic spelling proposals plus Mid-Century Lithuanian illustrators

three years ago: Roman emperors reconstructed with AI, Michelle Obama at the DNC, Women’s Suffrage in the US (1920), a new American Gothic, constructed languages, aesthetic data visualisations plus Hamlet variations

four years ago: canons for spawning fish,  more odonymy, more McMansions, a visual vernacular in architectural element plus the Lost of Colony of Roanoke

five years ago: a mid-70s vision of future space stations, an Icelandic word for a break from the heat, Wikipedia’s gift shop, making frozen treats heat resilient plus an early AI image maker

Tuesday 15 August 2023

mariรค himmelfahrt (10. 946)

Observed on this day as either the Feast of the Assumption in the Latin Rite or the Feast of the Dormition in Eastern Orthodox tradition, Christians celebrate the translation of the Virgin Mary, either wholly, bodily taken up or having gone to sleep without suffering a mortal death. While this elevation to eternal life has some singular aspects (Mary is said to enjoy the fullness and autonomy of the afterlife that the other saints will only experience after the Last Judgment), there are other instances of the phenomenal honour in Judaism and Christianity, with Jesus and Enoch, the patriarch and father of Methuselah “who walked with God: and was no more” and the prophet Elijah and Pharaoh’s Daughter (see also) who found Moses (himself taken up after his remains were fought over by Satan and the Archangel Michael) amongst the reeds with other instances of being raptured in other traditions. Many figures in Hinduism, kings and swami, are said to have merged with God, essentially dematerialising, Islam teaches that Muhammed was similarly taken up into Heaven and Hellenistic tradition recognises ascendant masters like the thaumaturgist and philosopher Apollonius, a wandering sage who travelled in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia and drew many latter day comparisons to the reincarnated Christ.

Sunday 30 July 2023

chick tracts (10. 914)

99% Invisible turns our attention to a strange and virulent form of evangelising in the form of an oddly collectible and exhaustive series of Christian comics from erstwhile cartoonist and Born-Again Jack Thomas Chick. First published in the 1960s from its headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California and continuing through to today, this pocket-sized artefact of conservative mainstream Protestant theology that’s become a self-parody veered at times to hate-speech and attacked Catholics, Masons, queer-people, socialists, Communists, drug-users, trick-or-treaters (collect them all!) and denounced non-conformists and non-Christian faiths as devil-worshipping as well as stoking ugly conspiracy theories and paranoia. The back-panel of each tract includes a blank spaces for churches to stamp their name and contact information as well as a bespoke salvation prayer for sinners to recant their ways. More at the links above. 


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the Norse goddess Freyja plus recreating classic screen-savers

three years ago: the microcars of Robert Hannoyer, pioneering oceanographer Marie Tharp, special edition Canadian coins,  fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto (RIP), St Hatebrand plus the rich tradition of Japanese souvenirs

four years ago: algorithmically-directed decisions and the architecture of choice, disruptive jewellery plus non-overlapping magisteria

five years ago: Outsider Art from Austria, BBC’s sound archives plus building a Martian base in situ

Saturday 29 July 2023

you will always have the poor among you, but you will not always have me (10. 913)

Fรชted on this day along with her siblings Lazarus and and Mary (often conflated with Mary Magdalene), Martha of Bethany, patron saint of hospitality workers, domestics and try-hards, is characterised in the Book of Luke as being conscientiously preoccupied with the task of hosting Jesus when he came for a visit.

Both sisters lamenting that had Jesus arrived earlier he might have healed their brother and prevented his death, Martha came out of mourning to receive their guest, while Mary waited and wept for her departed brother. Jesus wept. Moved by Mary’s emotions (whose patronage includes Spiritual Studies), Jesus resurrected Lazarus, restoring him to life after four days dead in a tomb. Later, the siblings hosted Jesus again for a in celebration and gratitude of Lazarus’ return with Mary in the course of the feast anointing the feet of Jesus with an entire vial of expensive perfume and wiped his feet with her hair. Many of the other other disciples were upset by this ostentatious display, especially Judas who argued that this costly albastron represented a year’s wages and could have been sold to benefit the poor—to which Jesus rebutted the above (somewhat confusingly as parables are not always the best didactic tools in one’s quiver) that Mary was saving the perfume for his burial, suggesting that she somehow sensed his imminent capture, trial and execution.  


one year ago: departing Scotland
two years ago: St Olaf,  fighting runaway inflation with video game money, The Adventures of Tom Bombadil plus some philosophical captchas
three years ago: a collection of conchs, more Universal Everything, the wedding of Charles and Diana (1981) plus Trump’s medical advisors
four years ago: more consequences for America leaving the Universal Postal Union plus a feline fragrance
five years ago: the birth of NASA (1958) plus the portfolio of photographer Joshua Blackburn

Saturday 22 July 2023

the magdalene (10. 898)

Fรชted on this day as the patron protector of converts, glovers, milliners, perfumeries, apothecaries, penitent sinners and sexual temptation, Mary of Magdala, which gives us the name Madeleine, travelled with Jesus and the apostles and was regarded as the only disciple that truly understood Jesus’ message, garnering the jealousy of Peter and the others—and according to some persistent extra-canonical traditions, the bride of Christ, having journeyed to Gaul to start a family. Her depiction as a reformed prostitution began in the late sixth century with a sermon by Pope Gregory I that conflated an unnamed “Sinful Woman,” later identified as Mary of Bethany, who is deigned to anoint the feet of Jesus, which the Catholic Church didn’t officially dispel until thirteen hundred years later with Pope Paul VI’s calendar reform but has proven another persistent association. Elaborated and romanced during the medieval period through modern times, Mary Magdalen was upheld as a example of redemption, though her popular cult was ignored by authoritative theologians, and it was said that seven demons were exorcised from her which became embodiments of the contemporary idea of the Seven Deadly Sins, and from the late Middle Ages to the Renaissance is often depicted as rather hirsute by dent of her newly acquired modesty, iconographically publicly nude (vulgaris meretrix) but not obscured with a fig-leaf or Daryl Hanna Mermaid-style with strategically placed plaits but rather lycanthropically in full body hair (like this painting in Gdaล„sk or Tilman Riemenschneider’s altar ensemble in Mรผnnerstadt), like the so called ‘feather tights’ affect given to angelic figures, a costume of scales aligned with the fashion and sensibilities of the time. Elevated from a memorial feast to a liturgical one in 2016 by Pope Francis directed Mary Magdalene be hailed as apostolorum apostola, the “Apostle of the apostles.”


one year ago: more adventures through the Scottish Highlands, a hit from Take That (1991) plus driving along the North Coast 500

two years ago: Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959) 

three years ago: the origins of the depiction of Jesus as a white European

four years ago: and whitey’s on the Moon plus assorted links to revisit

five years ago: the search for Dark Matter, assorted links worth revisiting, on eggccorns and oronyms plus the smell of rain

Sunday 25 June 2023

confessio ausgustana (10. 835)

Presented to the public on this day in 1530, the primary confession of faith of the Lutheran Church was drafted during the previous summer (as the Articles of Schwabach) by Martin Luther, Philipp Melanchthon and Justus Jonas as a summary of the faith to be given to the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V, who decided to convene a diet in the city city of Augsburg, calling on the princes and free states to advocate and explain their religious convictions in an attempt at reconciliation—aimed at restoring political unity within the empire and present a united opposition to counter Ottoman incursions in Austria and prevent a repeat of the ultimately unsuccessful Siege of Vienna. The twenty-eight articles of faith were read out by the rulers of the territories where Protestantism was the majority and consisted of twenty-one positive teachings (theses)—chief tenets of the confession, and seven negative (antitheses)—representing their split with Catholic doctrine and ceremony, mostly do to with dietary proscriptions (XXVI: On the Distinction of Meats) and the requirement for confession (XXV) to a priest for absolution of sin. At the conclusion of the diet, the Lutheran princes concurrently entered into a military pact called the Schmalkaldic League, an alliance of mutual protection should the emperor make untoward demands of their domains, which eventually petitioned for official recognition of the faith in the empire under the Peace of Augsburg in 1555 under the principle of cuius regio, eius religio, “whose realm, his religion,” where the confession of the ruler became the state religion and all of its subjects.

Friday 16 June 2023

7x7 (10. 812)

sister act: a serendipitous find of a bawdy collection of Renaissance era songs leads to a trove of research on bad nuns  

slow tv: Pennsylvania governor sets up a live stream so the public can view the progress on rebuilding the main traffic artery (previously) the eastern seaboard  

whichcraft: a look at the usage and abusage of the relative pronoun  

⛩️: an urban exploration of Toyko’s hidden Shinto shrines 

freshies: a look at what’s on the menu at the South Pole and other in-person observations (see previously)—via Strange Company  

gullinhjatlti: stunning three-thousand year old bronze sword unearthed in Nรถrdlingen  

oude doolhof: a a late Renaissance labyrinthine pleasure garden on the outskirts of Amsterdam

Sunday 11 June 2023

6x6 (10. 800)

reagan candy: the Taiwanese term for jelly babies  

treuhand: the privatisation of East Germany and the long reach of its consequences—via Maps Mania

mexico filter: the cinematic colour scheme applied to movie set in the “Global South” evokes corruption and pollution is the tinge of New York City (previously) now—plus lots more from Hyperalleric’s Required Reading—see also  

tag yourself: what your favourite classic rock band says about you—from Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

ekd: hundreds of parishioners attend a Lutheran service in Fรผrth delivered by an AI—see previously—via Slashdot 

lu xun: the memes telegraphing generational disillusionment in China—see also

Sunday 21 May 2023

dux croatorum & dux sclavorum (10. 757)

Granted recognition as an independent state by the Holy See when Duke Branimir (see previously) received blessings from Pope John VIII on this day in 879 (letter postmarked 7 June), overseeing reform and reorganisation of the former Roman province of Dalmatia and in return for this legitimising gesture, swore obedience to the ecclesiastical authority of the bishop of Rome rather than Patriach Methodus I and Constantinople, and maintaining its sovereignty whilst sandwiched between the expansive aspirations of the Carolingian Empire to the west and Byzantium to the east. The day is observed as Croatian Diplomacy Day with 30 May, from 1991 to 2001 and since 2020, being Independence Day, formerly the Day of the National Parliament.

Friday 19 May 2023

pro bono (10. 750)

Law student in Paris (attending with Roger Bacon and Duns Scotus) before switching from the civil courts to study canon law and secure an appointment as an ecclesiastic judge in Rennes, Franciscan Ivo of Kermartin, patron of attorneys, Brittany, abandoned children and called “Advocateof the Poor,”—advocatus, lawyer—is fรชted on this day, on the occasion of his death in 1303 (*1253). An accomplished rhetorician, Ivo was well known and respected for defending the rights of orphans and widows and continued championing equal justice, refusing bribes when it was customary for magistrates to accept gifts) and practise law after ordination into the priesthood at Guingamp.

Saturday 13 May 2023

sancta maria ad martyres (10. 738)

Gifted to Pope Boniface IV by Byzantine Emperor Phocas and rededicated as a Christian basilica in honour of St Mary and the Martyrs on this day in 609, the ancient Rome temple, built half a millennia earlier by Hadrian and commissioned to replace an earlier structure that had burnt down during the reign of Marcus Agrippa (hence the inscription, M·AGRIPPA·L·F·COS·TERTIVM·FECIT, “son of Lucius made [me] during his third term as consul,” is unique for its rotunda and oculus skylight (telling the time like a sun-dial but with light instead of shadow) and counted among the best preserved works of Roman architecture by dint of its continuous use. Though probably not a shrine sacred to the every deity since it was prescribed that temples should be devoted to a single god or goddess lest a single building be struck by lighting or be otherwise desecrated and probably a popular nickname for the many statues that lined the portico or for the vaulted ceiling that opened up to the heavens. In order to dispel pagan demon worship and sanctify the space, twenty-eight cartloads of remains—said to be Christians put to death during the Diocletian Persecution—were brought up from the catacombs and reinterred in a porphyry tomb beneath the altar and stripped the interior of its decoration, shipping the ornaments off to Constantinople. Used also as a final resting place for members of the House of Savoy, the interior niches have been richly decorated over the centuries and structurally is one of the most architecturally influential buildings, typifying the neo-classic style and echoed in many government buildings and public institutions.

Thursday 4 May 2023

sankt florian (10. 719)

Fรชted on this day on the occasion of his martyrdom by drowning in the River Enns in the year 304, Florianus from the ancient Roman outpost of ร†lium Cetium—modern day St Pรถlten, in the province of Noricum north of the Danube—is the patron-protector of Linz, Oberรถsterreich and Poland as well as soap-makers, brewers, firefighters and chimney sweeps. Rising in the ranks to commander of the imperial army, Florian had the extra detail of organising fire brigades (there no long being a monopoly on public safety) but once rumours spread that Florian was not enforcing restrictions against practising Christianity among his soldiers, Diocletian opened an inquiry. Summarily, the emperor’s ombudsman ordered Florian to be burned at the stake for defy the edict, but after scoffing at a death by fire, the executioners instead tied a millstone around his neck and tossed him into the water. Invoked against fire, flood and the pains of Purgatory—in Austria and Germany used as the universal call sign for a fire emergency—a saying, Sankt-Florians-Prinzip, in the Sprachraum has developed following the sentiment of the fantastic word ฮŸแฝฮบแพฐฮปฮญฮณฯ‰ฮฝ out of a slightly ironic prayer “O heiliger Sankt Florian, verschon’ mein Haus, zรผnd’ and’re an”—that is, Saint Florian, spare my house and set another alight.

Friday 14 April 2023

9x9 (10. 673)

photo booth: a self-meme generator that uses AI—via Web Curios  

1up: the Super Mario Brothers’ theme inscribed in the US National Recording Registry—via Miss Cellania 

martin chuzzlewit: Dickens’ illustrators  

acta et vita: today is the feast of Lidwina, patron saint of chronic illness and ice- and roller-skaters 

spring break: a look at the highdays and holidays of Old London—via Strange Company 

jubilee: US Supreme Court ruled against blocking cancellation of student loan debt—see previously  

the real macguffin: the Holy Grail of grail stories—with plenty of references to pop-culture  

double-feature: raw footage from a video rental store on a Friday night in 1987—what titles would you have picked?  

robo boys: an untethered large language model builds on a college years group chat with insights on the process of AI fine-tuning—via Waxy

Tuesday 11 April 2023

thrilla in megillah (10. 668)

We enjoyed this introduction to collage caricaturist Hanoch Piven and his found allegory of accidents, elements and sacraments through his latest project assaying the figures of the Old Testament with character profiles and an eclectic iconography, like here with fun-time gal and accomplished rhetorician Esther. Read more about Dream Big, Laugh Often and More Great Advice from the Bible at Print Magazine at the link above. What found objects might you use to create a similar three-dimensional tableau?

Tuesday 28 March 2023

pontiflex (10. 641)

Reposted and propagated without context, the images of Pope Francis sporting a Balencia-style puffer jacket—plus several viral variants, as actual photographs of His Holiness (see previously), despite once past cursory observation that most detection protocols miss as well the mangled details give it away—prompting discussions on labelling, the allure of plausibility and entertaining the virtuosity of one’s imagination as well as the dangers of such fabrication, particularly when it is dismissed as harmless or worse yet resignedly immaterial.

Sunday 26 March 2023

an account written by the hand of mormon upon the plates taken from the plates of nephi (10. 636)

First published on this day in Palmyra, New York on the tenth anniversary of Joseph Smith’s first series of prophetic visions in 1820, the foundational gospel of the Latter Day Saint movement is a chronology of God’s dealings with the ancient, pre-Colombian contact of the inhabitants of the ancient Americas through roughly a millennium of guidance from 600 BC to 421 AD. Recorded originally in unknown but intuitable characters called “reformed Egyptian” (the stele of the Rosetta Stone was first transcribed in French in 1822), Smith was called by an angel either to translate the scriptures or at least take dictation for this other Christian testament. Despite anachronisms and its freighted association with works like Pilgrims’ Progress and ancient aliens theories, the composition is a present and self-aware text that stands as a compelling saga on its owns and in the context of the time that extends and inculcates social justices and reforms to indigenous and non-white people left out of the narrative with both emphasis on universal salvation and personal revelation.

Wednesday 22 March 2023

8x8 (10. 628)

springfield, usa: a map of places in America with the same names with a locus of which locality most likely meant—via Kottke  

koล›ciรณล‚: modern and Brutalist churches of Poland  

panspermia: researchers studying samples from the Ryugu asteroid find traces of a RNA component, supporting theories that the building blocks of biology were incubated in space 

before karen, there was nellie oleson: the propagandising of homesteading in Little House on the Prairie  

gemรผths- und augen-ergรถtzung: the microscopic illustrations of Martin Frobenius Ledermรผller  

reliable sources: Microsoft and Google’s chatbots are using each other as professional references, calling into question the ecosystem of the internet’s information 

quo vadis: a monastic brotherhood outside St Stephan’s in Vienna has set up a tattoo parlour—see also  

bracket: a more relatable March Madness