Tuesday 6 February 2024

8x8 (11. 328)

the scholar & his cat: a resonant ninth century reflection by Pangur Bรกn 

bring your own beach owl: mimicry and semi-automated genre fiction—via Kottke  

riverwalk: a one kilometre-long museum that undulates with the reservoir it crosses in Shandong province

steelmaster: a 1966 office furniture catalogue  

television stone: the unique optical properties of the mineral ulexite 

๐Ÿ›‹️: the Eames Archive open to the public—see previously 

vesuvius challenge: a trio of researchers share the honorarium for deciphering charred scrolls from Herculaneum with the help of AI  

ombre: Alexander Pope’s card game

synchronoptica

one year ago: Facebook’s social engineering experiments plus a ska version of the Tetris theme

two years ago: multiple zoom maps, Computerwelt, Sesame Street light jazz plus assorted links to revisit

three years ago: quotation marks, Zardoz (1974), more links to enjoy, the founding of Liberia, I Ching in melting snow plus barbarian tongues

four years ago: Deciminisation Days, Trump acquitted, classical architecture plus photographer Eliza Ruhamah Scidmore

five years ago: Anguilla independence, the Irish border, dress uniforms plus Orson Welles on creeping intolerance

Tuesday 30 January 2024

8x8 (11. 307)

1,44mb: some Japanese ministries are phasing out the requirement of submitting official documents on physical media 

forensic linguistics: language experts and crime-solving 

jurassic lark: Poseidon’s Underworld recaps the 1960 cinematic experience Dinosaurs!  

painting with plasticine: Olive Harbutt, daughter of the medium’s inventor, creates art in this 1958 short  

: Letraset fill patterns—see previously 

throwing eggs: popular Chinese card game Guandan may receive sanction for the classroom  

esperantido: linguist Manuel Halvelik created an auxiliary diglossia to make translations sound more archaic 

omnichord: Suzuki brings back the portable music-maker from 1981

Friday 26 January 2024

12x12 (11. 294)

brownstone: Gotham Gothic rowhouses as playing cards  

wall of eyes: Radiohead spinoff artist Jonny Greenwood’s latest album 

scrabblegram: a form of constrained writing using all one hundred tiles of the game  

blackula: a look at the brave inversion of exploitation cinema  

research purposes: profiles in the pornographers of Wikimedia who image and caption—see also—human sexuality, via Web Curios  

parks & rec: a map of sites in the US funded by FDR’s New Deal programme—via Waxy 

best laptop 2024: readership, AI and the collapse of media outlets  

nullification: Texas governor, alleging the US federal government has failed to protect the country from an immigrant invasion, hints at secession  

the compaynys of beestys & fowlys: revisiting how animal groupings (see previously on the subject of venery) received such colourful names—via the morning news  

schluckbildchen: sixteenth century edible devotionals  

mixtape: Kim Gordon, formerly of Sonic Youth, raps her grocery list in new song Bye Bye 

ephemerama: a growing archive of modern illustrations from circa 1950 to 1975—via Things Magazine

synchronoptica

one year ago: more trompe l’oeil paintings, assorted links to revisit plus pie-chart studies

two years ago: morphing logos plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: zorbing, the Council of Trent (1545), Australia Day, more links worth the revisit plus Tubman on the twenty

four years ago: modular, prefab kiosks plus the first television demonstration (1926)

five years ago: the longest government shutdown in US history, architect Sir John Soane plus all the world’s writing systems

Monday 8 January 2024

gin rummy (11. 253)

Via the New Shelton wet/dry, we are referred to a vintage but still actively and updating resource that catalogues the rules of play for hundreds of traditional, propriety and invented card games from all around the world and in several languages with detailed instructions and diagrams like this initial setup for a racing to discard hand called Peanuts, Squeal or Scrooge. There are a lot of historic games, some for play with specially suited decks, that sound intriguing like Ruff and Honours, Seven-Toed Pete, the Victorian pastime Pope Joan, Jemima Puddle Duck and Canadian Salad. There are also listings by number of players, available equipment. Try and pick up a new game to play with friends and family.

 
synchronoptica

one year agoMan with a Movie Camera (1929), All Creatures Great and Small (1978) Fourteen Points for Peace (1918), the chemistry of bread plus an insurrection in Brasilia

two years ago: I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing (1971), more rogue planets, French Roswell plus the breakup of Ma Bell

three years ago: some loyalists denounce Trump, assorted links to revisit plus more conspiratorial thinking

four years ago: the last of the Beothuk,  posters for the Tokyo Games plus more links to enjoy

five years ago: no longer existing urban rail routes,  a family-run pizzeria, an artificial moon, songs in minor keys plus cryptic complaints about a lapse in appropriations

Sunday 31 December 2023

la montaรฑa sagrada or a funny thing happened on the way to enlightenment (11. 231)

Via a New Year’s obscure filmic tradition, we are re-introduced to the spectacle of Alejandro Jodorwsky’s (previously) 1973 Holy Mountain and considering a re-watch. The sacrilegious, surrealistic movie produced by Beatles manager Allen Klein with financial backing of John Lennon and Yoko Ono relates the narrative of a thief marketed as Jesus returned and collaborates with an alchemist (played by Jodorwsky) to transmogrify and transfix himself along with a constellation of characters representing the houses of the zodiac, ultimately breaking the fourth wall and give up this quest. Prior to filming, principal cast members underwent three months of spiritual training drawn from various practises including the I Ching, yoga, Zen Buddhism and the Kabbalah as well as communal living prescribed dosages of LSD and psilocybin. After premiering in Cannes, the Holy Mountain was screened in limited-release in New York and San Francisco in November and was not widely available until three decades later.

Monday 18 December 2023

high hand (11. 194)

Courtesy of Spoon & Tamago, we are introduced to the portfolio of artist Yuni Yoshida, whose compositions tend to avoid digital manipulation and enhancement and rely instead on poses, forced perspective and meticulous arrangements, through this recent exhibition reimagining the iconography of playing cards, the entire deck—all thirteen ranks of four suits, with engaging and creative still-life photographs of everyday objects ranging from food, to flower petals to hair curlers. Much more at the links above.

Wednesday 13 December 2023

operation red dawn (11. 187)

Codenamed after the 1984 World War III invasion scenario of the US by a coalition of the Warsaw Pact and Latin American countries—starring Jennifer Grey and Patrick Swayze as resistance-fighters—a task force of American soldiers apprehended deposed Iraqi president Saddam Hussein on this day in 2003, having disappeared and gone into hiding shortly after the US invasion, discovered in his hometown of ad-Dawr near Tikrik, holed up in a foxhole or spider-whole with guns and three-quarters of a million dollars in cash. The site where Hussein was captured, Wolverine 2, is also a reference to the teenaged band of guerrilla fighters of the movie. Put before a special tribunal called by the provisional authority and interim government (which many characterised as a creature of American jurisdiction and a show trial not representative of an independent Iraq) six months later and found guilty of crimes against humanity for genocidal campaigns against the Kurdish and Shiite populations during the war with Iran and subsequently executed at the trial’s conclusion and having exhausted appeals in November of 2006.

Friday 24 November 2023

top of the deck (11. 136)

Fellow peripatetic and committed flaneur Diamond Geezer is celebrating the milestone of his ten-thousand post, mini-essays since starting blogging back in 2002. We especially appreciate the data analysis that’s typical of his content, showing trends and distribution over the years, unlike my deportment, counting the quick missives and links (increasingly dead ones) and the tendency lately to fudge the dates, use placeholders and shift things around a bit so PfRC doesn’t seem so neglected. Crunch the number, so to speak, he compiled a rather resonant and relatable list of common tropes (not labels) characteristic to his blog: 

• I went for a walk

• I went on a journey
• I went sightseeing
• I went somewhere seemingly mundane
• I visited disjoint linked locations
• I spotted something unusual
• I invented a silly challenge
• I attended an event
• I see TfL have done something
• I wouldn't have done it like that
• I disapproved of some marketing
• I considered the human condition
• I dug into some data
• I made some lists
• I scoured a map
• I made a quiz
• I looked back in my diary
• I was inspired by today's date
• I reacted to the news
• I am being sarcastic

The blogosphere congratulates Diamond Geezer on this achievement and speaking on behalf of quite a few of us, we are grateful to the Blogger platform for its consistency and dependability over the years.

Tuesday 7 November 2023

9x9 (11. 101)

dark universe: Euclid space mission to map the Cosmos and glean insights into the mysterious majority of matter and energy composing it  

the earth dies screaming: an effective but bare-bones 1964 British apocalyptic horror flick from 1964  

go fish: the (possibly apocryphal) origin of the name of the city of Slow Low, Arizona  

qr-monster: the artistry of AI prompters—see previously  

๐Ÿš‰: a teaser for a Backrooms-like game taking place in the Tokyo metro Shinjuku station 

lignum vitae: looted leaves of the Golden Tree of Lucignano recovered 

purity pals: new US Speaker of the House of Representative announces that he and his seventeen year old son monitor each other’s web consumption  

future imperfect: a strangely engaging 1974 series of filmstrips warning against the utopian novel and utopian-thinking orbital plane: an exoplanet’s singular path around a binary star system—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

synchronoptica

one year ago: Operation Able Archer (1983), Ukraine to change the date on which Christmas is observed plus a gallery of bad Jane Austen book covers

two years ago: a documentary on picking the wrong venue, a bombing in the US capitol plus the Riace bronzes

three years ago: your daily demon: Bifrons,  awaiting US election results, the collection point for cataloguing art looted by the Nazis plus the first female US vice-presidential candidate announced

four years ago: an unused deck of tarot cards by Salvatore Dalรญ

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, Nixon’s concession speech (1962) plus more from the Center for American Politics and Design

 

Monday 9 October 2023

7x7 (11. 047)

haus zum walfisch: explore horror film shooting locations of 1970s and 1980s classics, including Suspiria filmed in a townhouse in Freiburg im Breisgau  

concrete feats: a tour of Italy’s Brutalist architecture  

rapid electric vehicle retrofits: an Australian student wins James Dyson Award for an inexpensive conversion kit to make gas-powered vehicles hybrid 

earthshapes: fantastic geography from pilot Joseph N Portney 

larva convivialis: the miniature dancing skeletons of Roman banquets—via Strange Company 

jungian individuation: the Swiss psychoanalyst on the predictive power of Tarot cards 

tune-on: veteran television producer and director on the revival of his Laugh-In spin-off five decades afterwards  

31 days: a month long celebration of the Spooky Season from Laura E Hall—via Waxy

synchronoptica

one year ago: assorted links to revisit, World Postal Day plus to slander one’s good reputation

two years ago: more links to enjoy, happy birthday John Lennon, Karl-Marx-Stadt, drag queen tarot plus a visit to the Osterburg

three years ago: The Watcher in the Woods, more Phantom plus more links worth revisiting

four years ago: major military exercise in Germany planned by US forces plus other European trade colonies in China

five years ago: Trump’s legacy of failed businesses, more on the fight to save an ancient woodland plus moving Tokyo’s historic fish market

Tuesday 26 September 2023

tarotic art (11. 025)

We appreciated this introduction to surrealist painter and social justice activist Leonora Carrington through her esoteric series inspired and informed by the iconography of the Major Arcana, whose symbolism is reflected everyone when one is ready for it. First exposed to the movement in the works of Max Ernst at the International Surrealist Exhibition, both artists later met, bonded and married, collaborating on projects and supporting one another’s work. Having settled outside of Paris, French authorities arrested the German Ernst with the outbreak of World War II as a “hostile alien.” Remanded to Germany, Ernst was taken into custody again by the Gestapo as a promoter of degenerate art. Dealt quite a hand and inconsolable over the detention of her husband (Ernst later was able to escape and flee to the US with the help of Peggy Guggenheim) and on the verge of a psychotic breakdown, Carrington agreed to a course of treatment in an asylum in Spain and underwent a regiment of electroshock therapy and powerful drugs. Carrington’s parents decided to then send her to a sanatorium in South Africa for continued care. Escaping en route in Portugal, Carrington sought refuge at the Mexican consulate and arranged a marriage-of-convenience to the ambassador so as to be liberated from the custody of her family and given the diplomatic immunity to travel. Ernst married Guggenheim, with Carrington joining a community of exiles in Mexico, where she was also a champion of women’s rights. Carrington’s body of work reflects Mesoamerican folkways and matriarchal traditions that whose points of departure limn her own biography. More from Hyperallergic at the link up top.

Friday 2 June 2023

hinter den kulissen (10. 782)

H doesn’t recall watching but we rented Stanley Kubrick’s sumptuous 1975 period drama Barry Lyndon (based on the William Makepeace Thackeray novel about the gentleman gambler and social-climber) several years ago. 


Set in Ireland, England and Prussia in the 1750s during the Seven Years’ War, the title rogue travels across Europe calling in debts through various scams, scenes and establishing shots were filmed in Dublin, County Wicklow, Schloss Ludwigsburg outside of Stuttgart, Sanssouci in Potsdam and as we just learned, in between these two locations at around the fifty-three minute timestamp, Lyndon’s regiment on the march, in our very own little village on the Bavarian-Thรผringen border, uncredited but confirmed by Redditors

 
Not much has changed (the roads are paved now however) and we’ll need to do a re-watch soon.

Saturday 15 April 2023

❤️♣️ (10. 675)

We are appreciative to the reintroduction to the portfolio of Swiss graphic designer and illustrator Erik Nitsche courtesy of No Brash Festivity through this deck of playing cards commissioned by General Dynamics (see previously). 


These space cards from 1964 tell the long history of humanity’s progress in freeing themselves of the bounds of gravity—with the iconography of the suit of hearts representing the human aspect, clubs the sciences, spades technical applications (I especially like this sequence from bows and arrows to rockets and satellites) and diamonds modern elements of aerospace exploration. More at the links above. 


 

Friday 21 October 2022

you know what thot means, right? (10. 243)

During the upheaval of the French Revolution in 1789, an application was submitted for a translation of Livre de Thot,
the French translation promising to reveal the practise of ancient Egyptian magic through tarot (see previously). Engravings by Pierre-Franรงois Basam, Jean-Franรงois Alliette under the pseudonym Ettellia (reversing his surname), they helped introduce cartomancy to the wider population. The first known occultist making a living off of their readings, Attiette issued one of the first comprehensive guides, and is considered foundational to the study of tarot.

Wednesday 5 October 2022

liber null & the psychonaut (10. 196)

Courtesy of Boing Boing, we are given a chance to revisit artist, occultist and acolyte Austin Osman Spare through a campaign to reprint the tarot, cartomancy deck of his design. Spare’s fusion of the mystic and the symbolic prefigure—to some—the surrealist movement, and considered a foundational figure in the realm of Chaos Magic, Spare used magical techniques including automatic drawing and sigilisation as a heuristic to explore how the conscious and unconscious mind inform and influence one another. A growing disdain for Aleister Crowley and his Thelemite followers issuing from what Spare saw as ceremonial and performative magic caused him to split from that side of the occult and focus his studies on psychoanalysis and meditation, triangulating those fields with his particular theories on evolution that freighted much on desire, repression and aspiration. Much more on Spare’s cartomancy and other forms of divination at the links above.

Monday 8 August 2022

7x7 (10. 046)

chorizo: prominent French scientists apologies after posting a sausage slice and claiming it was an image from the JWST—via the always excellent Everlasting Blรถrt 

gall stereographic projection: D’Arcy Thompson’s mathematical transformations and correspondent biological speciation—see also 

chapel of sound: otherworldliness of a monolithic amphitheatre with views of the Great Wall accentuated with a film short that evokes the landscape of Prometheus (see also)  

a bridge too far: there are no crossing over the Amazon—via the New Shelton wet/dry (at a new home at the New Inquiry)  

casino clock: a flip-face time-keeper sourced from a card deck  

scenic route: a navigation device that emphasises fun and adventure—via Swiss Miss  

when the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie: the Solar System rendered as food items (with the help of Midjourney—Mercury as a cookie looks a lot like the Disc of Nebra)—via Super Punch

Tuesday 12 April 2022

7x7

mutually intelligible: interlocutors with no common language gravely overestimate the success of their getting the message across 

let’s have church: mystery artist of gospel album covers—via Nag on the Lake  

partygate: Prime Minister and cabinet members fined for violating lockdown protocols 

toto, i have a feeling we’re not in kansas anymore: watch an Iowa television station transition from monochrome to living colour  

coin-op: a comprehensive look at Gachapon (ใ‚ฌใƒใƒฃใƒใƒณ) across Japan  

1-bit: summon demons with this slightly racy tarot reading  

light verb variation: why some people make decisions and others take them

Friday 4 February 2022

traho fatis

The Latin motto—drawn by fate—echoes through this intriguing Renaissance tarot deck called Sola Busca, limned with an anachronistic marshalling of ancient heroes, medieval bestiaries and then contemporary weapons and armour. Housed presently in a museum in Milan and the earliest known deck to illustrate the complete suites of the major and minor arcana—probably engraved in Ferrara in 1491 and later hand-coloured in Venice—the allegory of iconography informs later iterations, including the familiar Smith-Waite design.  Nebuchadnezzar II, Gaius Marius, the uncle of Julius Caesar and several members of the Greek and Roman panthea.  Peruse the entire deck and learn more about the provenance at Public Domain Review at the link above.

Thursday 11 November 2021

9x9

silent haitch: the voicing of this letter is “still a significant shibboleth”—a look at h based on modern usage and notes on wh by Alfred Leach  

kinship and pedigree: genealogical mapping shows historic spread and retreat of surnames for British Isles and much of Europe 

rural free delivery: a superb, thematic collection of vintage picture postcards—via Things Magazine  

zeta reticulans: a tarot deck from Miguel Romero features the history of UFOlogy  

ั‚ะต ัะฐะผั‹ะต ะบะฐั€ั‚ะธะฝะบะธ: collection of avant-garde children’s book illustrations from the USSR 

retromod: Hyundai brings back its 1986 luxury Grandeur with a fully electric powertrain 

trebuchet: another start-up envisions flinging satellites into space via spinning centrifuge—see previously  

get lost losers: a rock band flotilla entertaining the cargo crews stuck in the seemingly insurmountable backlog waiting to unload containers at the ports of Los Angeles

agent of chaos: agnotology, the study of deliberate spreading of confusion

Wednesday 3 November 2021

6x6

fought and sold: the evolution of military recruitment advertising campaigns 

modern classics: in the vein of abstract vintage paperback cover art, eighty-four works of literature as postage stamps 

sleight of hand: objects from the Ricky Jay collection—more here, via Things Magazine 

20/20/20: revisiting a retrospective of the work of Afrofuturist Bodys Isek Kingelez 

every time they hear der bingle croon: episode two of Radiolab’s Mixtape miniseries explains why early entertainment was live and not Memorex  

america’s moveable fighting man: new G.I. Joe action figures available for pre-order