Saturday 6 January 2024

8x8 (11. 249)

the gift of the magi: the 1952 classic adapted from the O Henry short story 

ed people: Belgian dancer travels the world asking others to teach him their favourite moves—via Waxy

diminishing returns: the Golden Age of solar eclipses is receding  

all i know about magnet is this, give me a glass of water, let me drop it on the magnets, that’s the end of magnets: Trump rally in Iowa  

amicus brief: US Supreme Court agrees to review a ruling by a lower court that disqualified Donald Trump for his participation in the insurrection, could have implications for Maine’s ban

kodachrome: artist Jessica Brill invokes nostalgia by painting found photographs  

my fellow peripatetics: research confirms the therapeutic value of walking 

 kinder der berge: Liechtenstein’s singular domestic feature film—via Strange Company

Tuesday 4 July 2023

contrafactum (10. 855)

Lyrics written by Andover, Massachusetts seminarian Samuel Francis Smith to the melody of the British royal anthem, God Save the King, the above adaptation reworking the tune from a symbol and trapping of monarchy to a statement about American democracy, “My Country, ’Tis of Thee,” was first performed for Independence Day celebrations in 1831 and became one of the two de facto national anthems (along side the patriotic number “Hail Columbia”—the march of the vice-president) until the adoption of the “The Star-Spangled Banner” exactly a century later. The implementation of the tune and musical salute (which also exists in Latin, peace-time and Republican—God save the Guillotine—versions) for another national song, however, was not new and contrafacta arrangements were used, usually connected with royal ceremony, and still used in Liechtenstein (Oben am jungen Rhein), Norway (Kongesangen) and Switzerland (Rufst du, mein Vaterland, until 1961 when replaced the National Hymne) formerly used in the kingdoms of Prussia, Saxony, Bavaria and imperial Russia.


one year ago: nebulas were known as guest stars

two years ago: Occupied Austria (1945) plus flowers in the woods

three years ago: American Top 40 (1970), Nixon’s Honor America Day (1970) plus more on spelling conventions

four years ago: Annual Reminder (1969) plus the Sky Disc of Nebra discovered (1999)

five years ago: more adventures on Lake Garda

Saturday 2 January 2021


The Alemannic holiday celebrated generally on this day in Liechtenstein and certain Swiss cantons and strongly associated with Rauhnรคchte traditions has contending etymologies and pedigrees including a late twelfth century abbot, a storied hunting expedition undertaken around the same time by a like-named duke or to the alpine pagan protectoress of wild things called Perchta (*Brehtaz, Bertha) and leader of the entourage of the hunting party. This final candidate is the most interesting and compelling, the figure a cultural continuity from pre-Christian influences and was given the role of upholding totem and taboo, reinforcing ritual fasting and the prohibition of working on the holidays, Sabbaths and monitoring the progress of servants and craftspeople to make sure that they were keeping up with the productivity quotas—later transferred to winnowing the naughty from the nice (see also) like her male counterpart Krampus—with the good and upstanding rewarded with a silver coin the next day in a shoe or pail and the recalcitrant would be eviscerated and have their innards and the contents of their bellies replaced with straw, flax and pebbles.

Sunday 19 May 2019

ad mensam

SchloรŸ Hollenegg (DE) outside of Graz (the summer residence of the House of Liechtenstein) is no stranger to hosting unique exhibitions and the latest installation by curator Alice Stori Liechtenstein is no exception—with twenty-one site specific pieces throughout the castle’s sculleries and dining hall that explore table manners and dining etiquette as a social wedge that goes beyond the act of nourishment to afford all the chance to gather together and a place at the table (the Latin title). Much more to explore and chew over with Dezeen at the link above.

Sunday 22 April 2012

visa visum

The careless rhetoric of political campaigns can certainly re-phrase backwards proposals as something benign. The European Union is a striving towards perfection through integration and cooperation, and while though it may still have hard battles ahead of it (exacerbated by the economic climate and political scapegoating), one should approach the subject of closing boarders with extra caution. To have reinvented an entire continent of some four-hundred million people as an entity with no internal border control is a hallmark of the EU, extended even to more people than use the euro.  Citizens of Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and Liechtenstein also enjoy this privilege, though the Irish and the Anglo-Saxons did not fully agree to the terms of the treaty and still exercise elements of border controls with the rest of the EU.

Freedom of movement and the consequent right of abode and right to seek employment is one of the founding principles of the EU, and France and Germany, by proposing to exercise a seemingly innocent closing of their borders for a temporary period (not to exceed thirty days), are pandering to the fear of xenophobes and those who imagine their particular work-ethics to be sacrosanct. Some factions of the governments of France and Germany who would like the option to suspend the Schengen Accords are squarely blaming those outlying members, like Italy, Greece and Spain, for not better policing their external borders. The arrangement states that the first country to receive migrants are responsible for ensuring that the immigration process is carried out or that they leave once over staying their welcome, but these frontier lands are accused of lax controls and of sending on their arrivals to neighbouring states—i.e., France and Germany. I doubt that this characterization is entirely accurate, but given the financial hardships imposed on these same countries, so called austerity-programmes that have decimated funding for such public-sector affairs, I would not be entirely surprised if this situation was developing. Maybe there does need to be reforms and the terms of the treaty does allow for member states to protect their interests, but it does seem rather disingenuous and to confirm some of the criticisms of the skeptics who argued that the Schengen Zone is somewhat a one-way street, facilitating vacations for holiday-makers but less open and forthcoming for local-colour infringing on home-territory.