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 25 February 2024

land der berge, land am strome (11. 379)

Adopted as the national anthem a few months prior, the official lyrics were announced on this day in 1947, the verses penned by poet Paula von Preradoviฤ‡. With the end of World War II, the country wanted to replace the state anthem, the so called Kernstock-Hymn which substituted the words to Hayden’s “God Save the Kaiser” set to the tune of the “Deutschlandlied” (supplanting the imperial substitute following the Anschluss), performances of both outlawed since the defeat of the Third Reich—soliciting for ideas. Upon hearing of the selection of their mother’s ode to the natural wonders of Austria, Preradoviฤ‡’s son, Otto and Fritz, immediately composed a parody (see above) of “Land of Mountains, oh, Land of Rivers,” to the same rhyme as Land der Erbsen, Land der Bohnen, Land der vier Besatzungzonen… satirising the post-war rationing and austerity and the occupation by the Allied Powers and became a popular version recited in schools.

synchronoptica

one year agoArmenia’s radio-telescope plus the transcendental claymation of Art Clokey

two years ago: NFT graffiti

three years ago: a walk through the woods and fields 

four years ago: Rubber Duckie (1970), the dissolution of Prussia (1947), Khrushchev’s secret speech (1956) plus the Fight Between Carnival and Lent

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, a useful Dutch term, 1969 in pictures plus mysterious stream-of-conscience fiction

 

Thursday 15 February 2024

opus 314 (11. 352)

Premiering on this day in 1867 with a performance of the Vienna Men’s Choral Association, the waltz by Johann Stauss II was originally met with a rather tepid response from the audience but has since become one of the most enduring compositions in the classical repertoire and an unofficial anthem for Austria—the national hymn “Land der Berge, Land am Strome” a tune by Mozart. The lyrics were added after the orchestral part was finished about a year earlier by the Mรคnnergesang-Verein’s resident poet Joseph Weyl as a carnival song, with eleven satirical verses lightly lampooning the country’s loss in the recent Austro-Prussian War:

Weit vom Schwarzwald her
eilst du hin zum Meer,
spendest Segen
allerwegen,
ostwรคrts geht dein Lauf,
nimmst viel Brรผder auf:
Bild der Einigkeit
fรผr alle Zeit!
Alte Burgen seh’n
nieder von den Hรถh’n,
grรผssen gerne
dich von ferne
und der Berge Kranz,
hell vom Morgenglanz,
spiegelt sich in deiner Wellen Tanz

Prevalent in popular culture, in Austria, it is played at midnight on New Year’s as well as being the traditional sign-off tune for the end of the broadcasting day, a coda sung to Mexican birthday gatherings as “Queremos pastel, pastel, pastel” to serve the cake and played during the 1970s and 1980s over the PA systems of Chinese domestic flights as reassurance to passengers on landing. Die Donau so blau, so blau.

synchronoptica

one year ago: Amerika, a 1987 mini-series 

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus the fist demonstration of closed-captioning (1972)

three years ago: Decimalisation Day (1971) plus another Roman holiday

four years ago: harnessing the power of falling rain, Japanese business jargon plus a trip to castle ruin Henneberg

five years ago: Trump sends troops to the Mexican border plus introducing OpenAI

Friday 22 December 2023

akademie (11. 204)

Held on this day in 1808 at the venue of Theatre an der Wien, the benefit concert—orchestral symphonies at the time referred to as academies and because of the year’s performance schedule and booked out concert halls (no summertime performances were held as the influential aristocracy left the city over those months for their country estates and space was given over to rehearsals for operas as the higher status productions during the winter with only the weeks of Advent and Lent available for purely musical concerts)—of Ludwig van Beethoven, conducted by the composer himself and incredibly debuting his Fifth and Sixth Symphonies, Choral Fantasy and Fourth Piano Concerto, for the musicians’ “deserving widows” fund was a four hour affair in the bitter cold of the theatre and suffered in terms of audience reception. Rather incensed with the shoehorning of so much new material into one block, Beethoven’s former teacher Antonio Salieri organised a counter-concert—on the same day—with proceeds going to the same cause, although the relationship between the two warmed again shortly afterwards—Beethoven’s fame spreading by those who had been in attendance and admittedly overwhelmed by the scope of the evening (too much of a good thing) and eager to have a chance to digest individual movements more slowly and at one’s leisure. The entire programme as performed as been recreated a number of times since.

Saturday 16 December 2023

8x8 (11. 190)

a portrait of justice: the iconography of Ruth Bader-Ginsburg’s judicial collars—see previously 

kreuz am bichl: a uniquely divided church in Carinthia  

oh little town of bethlehem: this year’s creche and other required reading—see more

location scouting: historical movies and filming sites mapped  

modern day umarell: Defector contributor unravels a construction mystery with the help amateur experts—see previously  

18¢ piece: making change, the Greedy Algorithm and the Shallit system of optimal coins  

penguin drama: two aquaria in Japan meticulously update a flow chart to document the changing relationships of their residents  

free mickeys: Disney’s flagship character (see previously) to enter the public domain following a US Supreme court ruling that copyrights cannot be extended with trademarks

 synchronoptica

one year ago: Kurt Cobain’s Unplugged session (1993), assorted links to revisit plus OpenAI authors Hallmark holiday specials

two years ago: a triple album from George Harrison plus the mental acumen of rarefied genius

three years ago: awards recognising the best of Quarantine Culture, the great apes, St Adelaide plus a classic spy story from John le Carrรฉ

four years ago: the seasonal designs of Jen Nollaig

five years ago: redundant acronym syndrome, Queen Medb plus the Moon on flags (and flags on the Moon)

Thursday 16 November 2023

edelweiss, edelweiss—every morning you greet me (11. 122)

Opening on Broadway on this day in 1959 after an eight-performance audition cycle in New Haven and Boston, the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical with book by Russel Crouse and Howard Lindsay was based on the 1949 memoir of the matriarch and lead character, The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, and the slightly fictionalised adaptation for the stage in set in Austria just before the Anschluss and annexation in 1938, we follow Maria, who vacillating on her decision to join a convent, has meanwhile become a governess to a large family. Maria is endeared to her charges as well as to their widowed father, Captain von Trapp. Opposed to the Nazi occupation, they all (now baroness) eventually flee Salzburg, with the help of the nuns, and escape to America. Musical numbers which have become show-tune standards include “My Favourite Things,” “Climb Every Mountain,” “So Long, Farewell” as well as the titular songs.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: the Arecibo Message (1974), an edible rescue drone plus the Artemis mission to return to the Moon

two years ago: the Feast of Saint Matthew

three years ago: Word of the Year: Lockdown, an architectural fancy-dress party, the Day of the Icelandic Language, the day before yesterday plus an early draft of Take on Me

four years ago: Word of the Year: Climate Strike, headlines from 2029 plus ugly Christmas sweaters

five years ago: assorted links to revisit plus Word of the Year: Toxic

Sunday 29 October 2023

il dissoluto punito (11. 082)

The two act masterpiece, commissioned after his successful tour of Bohemia and finished just the night prior, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s (see previously) Don Giovanni opened in Prague’s The Estates Theatre on this day in 1787. The adaptation of the centuries old Spanish legend of Don Juan, a haughty libertine and lecherous young noble, believes no one can resist his overtures or match his wit until encountering on that is unmoved and singularly unimpressed, the vengeful funerary statue of the angry father of his first sexual conquest, killed by Giovanni in a duel. Inspired by the character Il Commendatore (Don Pedro), a statue was installed in 2000 in the forecourt of the theatre, which still hosts performances of the opera.

synchronoptica

one year ago: places lived and just past through plus a last day in Crete

two years ago: Constantine’s victory at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge,  Orinoco Flow (1988), a Mario marathon, celebrating a Renault classic, a collection of horror GIFs plus the end of the Salem Witch Trials

three years ago: assorted links to revisit plus referring to parents by the names of their offspring

four years ago: the political alignments of Mario Kart characters

five years ago: Italy battles the EU over its fiscal policy, Merkel to not run again for party chair, synthetic traditional Chinese medicine plus more on Angela Merkel stepping down

Sunday 1 October 2023

hre (11. 034)

Having committed quite some thoughts on the subject and even echoed the quip from Voltaire myself without realising the provenance or shallowness of the observation—that it was “neither Holy nor Roman nor an Empire”—we appreciated coming across this encapsulation of an introduction by Eleanor Janega on the anniversary of the beginning of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 when representatives and stakeholders of the former political union met to reconstitute European order and long-term peace after the downfall of Napoleon Bonaparte, whose campaigns spelled its dissolution after eight centuries of existence. There is vast a amount of history to cover, from Charlemagne and Henry Fowler to extension under the Hohenstaufen and the Hapsburgs but Dr Janega does a yeoman’s job in summarising the polity, which like under the Roman Empire enjoyed a good share of autonomy and retained local customs and culture.

Thursday 7 September 2023

notices and diffusions (10. 988)

Founded on this day in 1923 after several earlier attempts that failed to gain international support in response to harmonise global police response in the face of increased travel and trade that was accompanied by attendant transnational criminal enterprises at the conclusion of a five-day congress in Vienna, Interpol under the presidency of the summit’s organiser, jurist, law enforcement official and former Austrian chancellor Johannes Schober was chartered with a mandate to investigate trafficking, political corruption and counterfeiting—into include copyright infringements and not as an supernational police force, despite popular conception, only liaising between jurisdictions. Interpol is, by its constitution, expressly forbidden to intervene in matters of politics or military, religious or racial matters and maintain neutrality—a stance that has garnered the organisation criticism over the years, leading to arrests of dissident refugees at their behest and their avoidance of pursuing war crimes.

synchronoptica

one year ago: St Elmo’s Fire (1985),  a powerful political ad (1964) plus the end of the 9€ ticket scheme

two years ago: more on the development of kitchen design, Wikipedia Commons (2004), a Muppets conspiracy theory, Dancing Queen (1976) plus more false Dmitris

three years ago: the Abbots Bromley horn dance, circumnavigating the globe by car (1929) plus a pretty keen sports mascot 

four years ago: the abbey of LandรฉvennecMidcentury Modern emoji, more on the Periodic Table, The Book of Kells plus Astro Boy (1963)

five years ago: lemons and the mafia, toxic-loving plants plus getting rid of plastic ring beer binders

Monday 3 July 2023

lux รฆterna (10. 854)

Ahead of the composer’s centenary tribute from the Proms, the Guardian profiles the life and career of influential, dissident virtuoso Gyรถrgy Ligeti whose work informed the likes of John Cage, Karlheinz Stockhausen and Radiohead, and rather infamously used by the director in 2001: A Space Odyssey to frame pivotal moments without the artist’s full permission, Stanley Kubrick opting not to use the work commissioned for the soundtrack and using public domain classic orchestral arrangements instead. 2001 is by far not his lasting legacy, having created many evocative and innovative works, like an arrangement for one hundred metronomes, but his plexiglass Ehrengrab (1923 - 2006) in Vienna’s Central Cemetery looks as if it could have been fashioned from the original Monolith. Read more about the progressive compositions of Ligeti at the link up top. Below is one of his final works, the 2003 reworking of the Hamburg Concerto with distempered tuning.

Saturday 1 July 2023

amtsblatt (10. 848)

Fresh off the announcement that National Geographic has let go its remaining staff writers after a storied history of one hundred thirty five years and is veering to a glossy legacy publication cobbled together from Wikipedia posts edited by freelancers, we learn also via Boing Boing, that after two republics, ten emperors and three hundred and twenty years of daily reportage, the Wiener Zeitung will end its print edition and severely reduce its operations to online, monthly reviews. Until yesterday the oldest still published newspaper in the world, was the official record of the government of Austria (founded in 1703 as the Wiennerisches Diarium and in 1857 nationalised by Franz Joseph I), a gazette publishing notices of the passage of laws and executive orders, but had editorial independence and featured stories of local and international interest and had a robust circulations in the tens of thousands. Meanwhile the Wiener Zeitung will establish a media hub for aggregating content and training journalist, prompting street protests in Vienna in response to the government’s decision to stop publication.

synchronoptica 

one year ago: one time collaborator turned critic priest Walter Niemรถller (author of “First They Came”) arrested by the Nazis (1937) plus the opening of the newly devolved Scottish Parliament (1999) 

two years ago: Tell Me You Love Me Junie Moon (1970), the bizarre sequel to 101 Dalmatians, assorted links to revisit, “The Message” by Grand Master Flash (1982) plus the holdings of the Vatican Library

three years ago: slavery abolished in the Dutch Antilles (1863), reforms to Hong Kong’s Basic Law, a new American Gothic, safeguarding statues plus license plates in Palau

four years ago: Denmark legalises pornography (1969), moving day in Quebec, assorted links to revisit, Lights at Sea plus the Coffer Illusion

Thursday 18 May 2023

6x6 (10. 749)

unartificial: city of Vienna is using AI feline-added artwork to promote its inspiration—via Miss Cellania  

paved paradise: the American obsession with car storage and its attendant ills  

world police: US military bases around the globe—see previously here and here 

sour grapes: the art of the sulk as a form of indirect communication and social-leveller  

bakerloo line: an incredible schematic of the Piccadilly Circus under- and overground by Renzo Picasso—see previously 

uhohlingo: a AI that generates language learning lessons—and tends to be notoriously wrong

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.

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

Saturday 14 January 2023

8x8 (10. 417)

mouldiness manifesto: a celebration of the architecture of Friedensreich Regentag Dunkelbunt Hundertwasser—see previously here and here 

olympus mons: detailed maps of Martian terrain from the United States Geological Survey 

cobra mist: a tour of the deserted Orford Ness, the UK’s Area 51 

the george santos special: disgraced congressional representative (see previously) has a really specific skill—via Super Punch 

yurt of invincibility: Kazakh community in Ukraine provides warm-banks, accommodations for those without power  

welcome to garbage town: or how three decades of social media urged us to stop talking and start buying things  

portland district: the US Army Corps has a collection of monumental felines with their engineering projects—for those not yet with their 2023 calendars—see previously 

triple aught foundation: revisiting Michael Heizer’s City in the Nevada desert—via Things Magazine

Saturday 17 September 2022

kleiner freiheitsbrief (10. 142)

Drafted and issued in the milieu of the conflicts between the great houses of the Holy Roman Empire and struggle for overlordship, Frederick Barbarossa signed the title deed known as Privilegium Minus that elevated the frontier march of Austria to the status of a duchy, separate from Bavaria and an inheritable fiefdom, on this date in 1156.This denotation is perfect contrast to the Privilegium Maius (der GroรŸer Freiheitsbrief), a forgery drawn up at the behest of Hapsburg duke Rudolf IV, a beneficiary and ruling by grace of the former proclamation, two centuries later in 1359 which not only raised Austria’s status higher to an archduchy, it was not intended to replace Barbarossa’s deed but rather supplant it by sourcing some of the documentation to Julius Caesar for the Roman province of Noricum (roughly modern day Austria). The original was conveniently lost and many courtiers found the new document suspect—including Petrarch, who openly declared it a fake. Any grumblings were for nought, however, with the election of Frederick III to the imperial office in 1452, who had the prerogative to confirm the authenticity, making fiction fact, and conferring in perpetuity the rights contained therein.

Saturday 6 August 2022

sacrum romanum imperium (10. 042)

Neither holy, Roman nor an empire in the cohesive sense yet in existence for more than a thousand years, the Heiliges Rรถmisches Reiches was defacto dissolved on this day in 1806 as an outcome of the Napoleonic Wars and the abdication of Francis II (dispatch to the royal ambassadors pictured) the House of Hapsburg who repaired to Austria and released all tenets and subjects from their oath and obligation. Regarded as the successor state to Rome because its emperors were also legitimised through the papacy, the decentralised empire without a coherent monetary system and unusual government of elected monarchs rather than hereditary rulers was on the decline for centuries and experienced its finally death knells after interfering in Revolutionary France, fearful that republicanism might spread, and the success of Napoleon in recruiting more client states into the sphere of influence of the Empire of France. The Peace of Pressburg (Bratislava) geographically cordoned extraterritorial claims and allowed some pocket principalities and city-states to be absorbed, effectively dividing the old Holy Roman Empire into Germany and Austro-Hungary.

Friday 13 May 2022

unvollstรคndigkeitssatz

Futility Closet relates an anecdote from the live of mathematician Kurt Gรถdel in residence at Princeton University Institute for Advanced Studies and his friendship with fellow resident scholars physicists Albert Einstein (previously) John von Neumann and economist Oskar Morgenstern, whom felt obliged to make sure their younger charge’s tendency for over-thinking remained an asset and not his undoing and monitored Gรถdel’s preparation for the US citizenship exam in 1947, Einstein himself naturalised seven years earlier. The prodigal and influential logistician widely settled the impossibility of formulating a self-consistent and complete set of rules governing all of mathematics at the tender age of twenty-five, Gรถdel assayed the project of his examination with signature tenacity and revealed to his wardens that in his research, he had uncovered a fatal-flaw in the American constitution that could led to dictatorship, the corruption and consequence of totalitarian democracy. Einstein and company implored him not to share this discovery and the test was actually a much simpler affair, though basic civics and recent history might have suggested otherwise. The proctor for the citizenship test inquired of Gรถdel his state of origin and its form of government—to which Gรถdel replied Austria and a republic, but owed that “the constitution was such that it soon become a dictatorship.” Despite the examiner’s insistence that the same could not happen in the USA and Gรถdel’s refutation with the offer of proof, the panel stuck to the business at hand and conducted the test. No mention was made in their collective memoirs what that finding might have been and we suppose won’t know it until it’s happened.

Tuesday 10 May 2022

und er lebt in der groรŸen stadt, es war in wien, war vienna wo er alles tat

The lead single from the artist’s third studio album with the eponymous title Falco 3 peaked on the UK charts on this day in 1986, holding top position for several weeks after hitting number one on the US Billboard Hot 100 at the end of March—still holding the sole German language title to have this achievement (99 Luftballons by Nena made it to the number two spot). Inspired by the popularity of the film Amadeus, the Neue Deutsche Welle number was initially released as an eight-minute version called the “Salieri Mix” before being trimmed to the more usual song length.

Wednesday 30 March 2022

8x8

plotto: the prolific, formulaic writing of William Wallace Cook—see also  

harry lime: a Third Man tour of Vienna—see previously  

pinscreen: Claire Parker and Alexander Alexeieff animate Nikolai Gogol’s short story The Nose (1963)

anti-social media: Facebook organised a smear campaign against TikTok through a GOP shill—via Waxy 

zone: Dyson to offer noise-cancelling headphones that also creates a pocket of purified air  

the fauvist: the art of Marguerite Zorach, an early proponent of Modernism in America—via Messy Nessy Chic 

love me, feed me, don’t leave me: the strange saga of a Garfield-themed restaurant  

floriography: cryptological communication by means of floral arrangement through their symbolic and emblematic meaning