Thursday 23 May 2024

aerophone (11. 577)

Officially recognised and granted a patent for his invention on this day in 1829, Armenian extract working in Vienna the accordion (from the German Akkord for concord of sounds) of Cyrill Demian (ิฟีตีธึ‚ึ€ีฅีฒ ิดีฅีดีตีกีถ) and sons was only half of modern version with bellows and a single button board but was considered distinct enough for court authorities from the portable klezmers and harmonicas available for vocal accompaniment. Numerous variations followed and there is some debate amongst historians who credit Friedrichroda native Christian Friedrich Ludwig Buschman with the innovation but the accordion of Demian’s was clearly based on a common prototype called the Handรคoline with a lot of competing models being introduced at the time (see also), and Garfield’s dad Jon, an attested aficionado, states in the comic strip that Demian is his hero, making it cannon.

Sunday 21 April 2024

10x10 (11. 503)

knock, knock, knock—who’s there: the authorship debate between William Shakespeare and Ben Jonson over the joke format  

charlotte braun: the untimely demise of the Peanuts’ foil to Charlie Brown 

yay, newfriend: more on the ELIZA experiment and AI paramours 

io: Juno space probe reveals a gigantic lava lake on the Jovian satellite’s surface 

he mad: Trump has to sit quietly through court proceedings 

occult chemistry: a 1908 theosophical text by Annie Besant and Charles Leadbeater with diagrams by Curuppumullage Jinarajadasa 

captive market: private equity comes after US prison commissaries 

democracy dies in darkness: news media and the paywall dilemma 

the colour of pomegranates: more on Armenian filmmaker Sergei Parajanov 

is this a red flag: the Jane Eyre edition


one year ago: more efforts to offset Labour Day plus a hitch-hiking companion on a Martian rover

two years ago: another classic from Prince (1985), the burial place of the Red Baron plus Disney and the culture wars

three years ago: the Tomorrow Show with special guest, duplexes in the Rรผhrhgebiet plus a mystery photo

four years ago: the Principality of Hutt, the founding of Rome (753 BC), a curatorial showdown, MS DOS coding, oil prices go negative, Texas exploits a crisis plus the Sabre Dance

five years ago: Easter greetings plus a return visit to the Völkerschlachtdenkmal

Sunday 18 February 2024

saut de chat (11. 360)

Via Fancy Notions, we are introduced to the career and filmography of pioneering Soviet Armenia animator Lev Atamanov (ิผีฅึ‚ีธีถ ิฑีฟีกีดีกีถีตีกีถ) and director through his 1969 collaboration with composer Alfred Schnittke, Ballerina on the Boat, with choreography help by members of the Bolshoi. Teaching the sailors to be more graceful, the passenger saves the ship during a storm with her moves.  After founding studios in Yerevan, Atamanov later joined Soyuzmultfilm, adapting many classic fairy tales and creating narratives of subtle satire with gentle humour and positive characters.

Saturday 25 February 2023

rot54 (10. 572)

Radio Free Europe reports on the efforts of Arevik Sargyan trying to salvage and resurrect an impressive scientific legacy started by her uncle by restoring the research hub constructed on the slopes of Armenia’s highest massif, Mount Aragats as part of the campus of the Orgov Radio-Optical Telescope. Built in the decade from 1975 to 1985, it halted operation for a period in 1990 and mothballed in 2012, though its status as a registered monument has afforded the site some protection, the facilities are falling into neglect, but this latest campaign to preserve and restart the project conceived by astronomer and engineer Paris Herouni (ีŠีกึ€ีซีฝ ี€ีฅึ€ีธึ‚ีถีซ) championed by his niece is gaining traction.

Friday 30 December 2022

cccp/cpcp (10. 371)

While recognised as a union of soviet republics since 1919 with a federated, central government based in Moscow, the Soviet Union as it existed (though borders were not static during the seventy-two year period) until its dissolution in 1991 came into being effective this day in 1922 after the signing of the Treaty on the Creation of the Union Soviet Socialist Republics (ะ”ะตะบะปะฐั€ะฐั†ะธั ะธ ะดะพะณะพะฒะพั€ ะพะฑ ะพะฑั€ะฐะทะพะฒะฐะฝะธะธ ะกะพัŽะทะฐ ะกะพะฒะตั‚ัะบะธั… ะกะพั†ะธะฐะปะธัั‚ะธั‡ะตัะบะธั… ะ ะตัะฟัƒะฑะปะธะบ), negotiated and approved by delegations from the Russian, Byelorussian, Transcauscasian (containing Georgia, Azerbaijan and Armenia) and Ukrainian SSRs. The preamble and twenty-six articles outlines the imperative of forging a union as a counterweight to the political ideology of responsible for the Great War through exploitative capitalism, colonialism cultural hegemony with a transnational society based on mutual trust, solidarity and cooperation.

Tuesday 5 July 2022


First issued on this day in 1922 under sanction of the League of Nations—and officially designated as passports for stateless persons but quickly became popularly known for their chief champion, polar explorer, polymath and statesman Fridtjof Nansen (previously)—these travel documents were a way of mitigating the turmoil in Europe after World War I which lead to a crisis of displaced persons, refugees resulting from the overthrow of governments, redrawn national boundaries, and advanced ultimately by the announcement by the newly constituted Soviet Union that it would be revoking the citizenship of Russians residing abroad—applying also to the nearly one-million individuals who fled during the civil war. Two years later, Nansen in his role at the League of Nations as High Commissioner for Refugees (earning him a Nobel Peace Prize), expanded the arrangement tto include former areas of the Ottoman Empire and help Armenian and Turkish migrants. While issuance halted in 1938, under the auspices of the United Nations certificates of identity and refugee travel documents continue to be a necessity. Notable bearers of Nansen passports include Igor Stravinsky, Elvis Presley’s agent Colonel Tom Parker, shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis, Marc Chagall and Sergei Rachmaninoff.

Sunday 24 April 2022


Founded and headquartered in the The Hague in 1991, the Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organisation was constituted to champion the marginalised with membership made of indigenous peoples, minorities and unrecognised or otherwise occupied territories with an aim of achieving political autonomy and self-determination with the rejection of violence and terrorism as tools of policy. Current localities and groups on its rolls (not without controversy and in-group dispute) are Abkhazia, Bretagne, Catalonia, the District of Colombia, Guam, the Hmong, Savoy, Sindhudesh and Tibet. Former members Palau, East Timor, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia and Armenia have attained full statehood and independence.

Wednesday 2 March 2022


Coinciding with the intensified fighting of the Transnistrian conflict that marked the beginning of the Moldo-Russian war between Russian supported separatists and pro-union Moldovan military and police forces, that country along with San Marino and fellow former Soviet republics Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan join the United Nations on this day in 1992 during the forty-sixth session of the General Assembly.

Thursday 17 February 2022

to know wisdom and instruction—to perceive the words of understanding

Venerated as a saint in multiple faith traditions, Mesrop Mashtots (ี„ีฅีฝึ€ีธีบ ี„ีกีทีฟีธึ), early medieval linguist, theologian and statesman, passing away on this day in 440 (*362), was the inventor of the Armenian alphabet—the first phrase rendered in that new script said to be the above passage from the Book of Proverbs. Further credited by some scholars as the creator of the Caucasian Albanian and Georgian forms of writing, Mashtot’s contribution first in royal court in service to the king and later after taking holy orders ensured that Armenian literature and identity was preserved rather than being absorbed by its larger neighbouring empires of Persia and Syria. Finalised around the year 405, the Greek-modelled system endured in its original form of thirty-six letters until the twelfth century when three additional ones were added—for f- and o-sounds, the Armenian word for alphabet, aybuben (ีกีตีขีธึ‚ีขีฅีถ) comes from the first two letters, ayb (ีก) and ben (ีข).

Tuesday 21 April 2020

do the sabre dance

A short movement in the final act of his ballet Gayane, premiering in Moscow in 1942, composer and choreographer Aram Khachturian (*1903 – †1978, the Georgian artist’s music later denounced by the state as “anti-people”) lamented how this one section based on an Armenian folk dance deflected from the rest of his repertoire, in 1948 becoming a jukebox hit in the United States and elsewhere and being reinterpreted by various charting artists, including a lounge and boogie version in the early 1960s.

Friday 3 June 2016

system of a down

Far worse than the potential dictatorial stance of the likes of the Free World under the yoke of a Trump regime or the sprawling tin-pot nation of Fฤรงbรผkฤฑstan, our friends in Turkey are facing the insufferable under the endless presidency (it seems like few politicians can go gracefully into retirement, and it is convenient to swap the offices of president and prime minister) of ErdoฤŸan.
The latest dillusory stunt is Ankara’s recall of its ambassadorial mission to Berlin (restored, apparently after pulling out recently over a satirical song by a German comedian) is over the German parliament’s resolution to designate the Ottoman Empire’s killing and persecution of Armenians (and other minorities) during World War I as genocide (Vรถlkermord). Turkey is rebuffing criticisms both internal and external and accuses Germany of being provocative—but pledges that in no way will this grave and unfortunate decision affect the deal with the EU to siphon refugees first through its borders, discouraging the dangerous overseas crossing.  If Turkey is truly earning a place within the European Union community with such gestures, one would think it would play this leverage with more strategy.  With this resolution, Germany is joining a chorus of voices, including the Pope, but there was some tremolo-heroics behind the symbolic vote (which was just as likely to have not occurred), with some top government officials conspicuously absenting themselves from the assembly.