Tuesday 22 February 2022


orientation: Ivan Reitman’s (RIP) student film

times contrarian: Neil Young (previously) publishes his own digital newspaper

le docteur qui: Bill Bailey (previously) reinterprets Dr Who theme as swinging Belgian jazz  

twosday: a once in a life-time quirk of the calendar—be sure to celebrate this mirror day 

a notoriously unpredictable english tetragraph: all the different ways to say -ough  

genehmigung gestoppt: German halts approval process for pipeline (previously) bypassing Ukraine after Russia invades 

 mother-in-law-doors: elevated thresholds in Newfoundland have a questionable origin (see also)—via Miss Cellania’s Links

Tuesday 4 January 2022


media archive for central england: browse tens of thousands of amateur films—via Things Magazine  

el vaquita: a small town in Chile staged a fake protest to persuade a dog to visit the veterinarian—via Super Punch 

fluid dynamics: cloud waves in the skies of Tenerife 

watery fowls: an unaired pilot (see also) for the 1978 US adaptation of Fawlty Towers, starring Betty White and Harvey Korman  

different realities: American democracy in crisis—via Miss Cellania 

public domain revue: hundreds of thousands of audio recordings made prior to 1923 are free to use as one sees fit

Friday 12 November 2021



Monday 6 September 2021


circumhorizon arc: a rare Fire Rainbow photographed—via TYWKIWDBI 

mars & beyond: Walt Disney’s robot pal Garco takes us on a speculative journey in search of extraterrestrial life 

rip: legendary NBC weather man Willard Scott has passed away, aged eighty-seven  

escape artist: immersive exhibits speak to our communal sensory experience  

valley of the dolls: Peerless Playthings pretend pills  

cloudspotting: the World Meteorological Organisation added aspertias as a supplementary feature in 2017 Cloud Atlassee also

Monday 23 August 2021

weather it

Unaccustomed to this particular topolect and formation meaning it is raining outside, we quite enjoyed the discussion parsing the ambient it of “it rained out”—first construed as something akin to a rain-cheque then followed by interlocutors owning that they think that they would say rather than being absolutely definitive—like with being pressed one how one would pronounce a word, and while richer for knowing it and given that such questions are descriptive rather than prescriptive, we found the hyperlocal, additive admonition to “close the door when you leave out” rather astonishing. What do you think? The pronoun of the title phrase refers to the argument by imminent thinker Noam Chomsky that the it isn’t a dummy subject but a proper, controlling agent when talking about those conditions we withstand.

Sunday 27 June 2021


This feast day marking the legend of the Seven Sleepers, a group of companions who hid in a cave outside of Ephesus to escape Roman emperor Decius’ persecution of Christians and emerged three-centuries later, also recalls one of the oldest and widespread artefacts of forecasting and weather lore (see also here, here and here) stemming from medieval Europe. The conditions on this day are supposed to be preview of how the skies and temperatures will be for the rest of the summer. I’d say, judging from here and now, we have a fine season ahead of us.

Sunday 20 June 2021

for the nonce: nubivagant

This rare, obsolete adjective, used first in 1656 from the Latin for clouds, nubes, plus the vagant, vagus for wandering describes something emerging from the clouds or moving through the sky. Though not among the shameful paucity of subsequent citations of the word—only three lexical occurrences since the mid-seventeenth century, it does evoke William Wordsworth’s 1804 sentiment for all of us with our heads in the clouds and not fully grounded: 

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Tuesday 11 May 2021

ice saints

Sainted fifth century bishop of Vienne in Gaul Mametus is venerated on this day as the first of three feast days that fall on the last possible—according to forecasters’ lore—frosty nights of the year—heralding the full onset of Spring and marching towards should we weather this last cold snap. Usually falling just before the Feast of the Ascension, Mamertus is credited with establishing the traditional Rogation Procession, a parade leading up to major holidays and is considered a ritual to stave off earthquakes and other natural disasters.

Friday 23 April 2021

twenty skies

Usually when taking a picture of clouds or the sunset, the last things one wants to see is the fimbriation of power-lines breaking up one’s vista but after seeing this clever collage, like a stained-glass window, building on such disruptions from Alex Hyner, I feel inspired to go out and look for a utility mast with cables breaking up the frame and add in some composite firmament (see also) from other times and places. More to explore at the links above.

Friday 15 January 2021

presque vu, jamais vu

In the spirit of those spirit guides that direct the curious to something never before seen (see also here, here and here), a sort of negative view count, London’s Science Museum—with only about a quarter of its vast
holdings documented—has a digital docent that scours the archives to bring forth an artefact, from the mundane to the mysterious, that has not really seen the light of day since accessioning and a suite of tools to curate and adopt these special exhibitions. Let us know what wonder you are the first to see.

Tuesday 15 September 2020


Researchers—with due restraint and caution—have made the announcement that the concentration of the toxic gas phosphine (phosphane, PH3) in the Venusian atmosphere, which should not be present at the levels they have detected in accordance with known chemical and geologic reactions, consistent with the presence of anaerobic bacterial life suspended (see also) at a tolerable zone within the thick atmosphere. There’s a selection of nice primers and more details of the unexpected finding at Phil Plait’s Bad Astronomy at the link up top.

Saturday 4 January 2020

happy little accidents

Messy Nessy Chic correspondent Francky Knapp stumbled across the vintage 2012 art lesson, Yellow Scream, from South Korean painter and instructor Kim Beom and shares her experience encountering the antithesis though no less effective and perhaps empathetic and approachable than Bob Ross’ method. Kim, a selection of his works exhibited at the MoMA and in other galleries, paints viscerally, the strokes evoking the spectrum of his cathartic cries but the technique, rather than alienating the audience with a tortured display of the misunderstood or unknowable artist, instead invites the student in with decorous abandon to consider how rage is best channeled through art therapy. Be sure and visit Messy Nessy Chic at the link up top to see and extended demonstration of Kim’s talent as an artist and a patient teacher.

Thursday 5 December 2019

suncave parry arc

Via Kottke, we are given a nice lesson on the atmospheric phenomenon of ice crystal halos and the exacting collusion of conditions that must take place in order to be a privileged witness.  I am very much an enthusiast as well for the dazzling Alpine displays of reflection and refraction that are not only confined to colder and am consoled by the seeming penchant of weather formations (and have my camera ready in anticipation) to partake in the Baader-Meinhof syndrome (see also)—the frequency illusion and actually seem to manifest more often once one can name them, which feels very much the case with unusual clouds, sundogs and double-rainbows.

Monday 15 July 2019

happy little clouds

Painted in triplicate for each episode of The Joy of Painting’s eleven year run, over a thousand originals of Bob Ross’ landscapes exist.
Lovingly curated, however, the paintings are not part of the behemoth art market, turning masterpieces into stores of wealth without patronage but are rather stored in a central repository in Virginia with plans to put some on display at a national gallery. Not tempted to break-up the collection by present pressures, the caretakers of Ross’ legacy are confident that he’d much rather inspire emulation and imitation to create something by one’s own hand over being a sought-after acquisition.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

รฆronomic phenomena

Whilst exploring the foothills of Aeolis Mons, Curiosity took a pause to look into the twilight skies and caught an amazing glimpse of wispy clouds sweeping overhead, conditions being just right to illuminate the microscopic ice crystals that make up this special classification (see also) called a noctilucent (“night shining”) cloud.
During the balance of the day, the Martian sky has a butterscotch hue but at dawn and dusk, it appears blue, the opposite situation than here on Earth, due to dust in the air and the lack of an ozone layer. It’s not the first observation of clouds in the thin atmosphere of the Red Planet and they flank the promontory of towering volcanic mountains and have been seen to gather elsewhere but it is certainly an inspiring, otherworldly sight.

Friday 8 March 2019

cumulonimbus or blue plate special

We enjoying reading this appreciation of the London heritage Blue Plaque scheme that shows the city’s affinity and relationship with historic personalities and properties and were delighted to learn that some commemorations have a decidedly poetic and flair.
For instance, take the plaque that marks the Tottenham home of Royal Society fellow Luke Howard hailed as “the father of meteorology” for his assiduous record keeping of early nineteenth century climate patterns but is instead given the epithet “Namer of Clouds” recalling his role in scientific nomenclature. “Clouds are subject to certain distinct modifications, produced by the general causes that affect all variations of the atmosphere; they are commonly as good visible indicators of the operation of these causes, as is the countenance of the state of a person’s mind or body,” Howard wrote, inventing a Latin-based and modular convention for identifying formations. The new stadium of Tottenham Hotspur has stands named “Stratus East” and “Stratus West” in Howard’s honour.

Thursday 30 March 2017

cloud atlas

For the first time in three decades the World Meteorological Organisation, Kottke informs, has added several new formal classifications for cloud formations—called species, and their supplementary features. The gallery of images is quite striking and worth perusing. First published in 1896, these compendia were important training tools for predicting the weather and developing a standard nomenclature to communicate forecasts without always having the pictorial key at hand, much like the complex and exacting language of vexillology.

happy little clouds

Via Nag on the Lake, we learn about a dedicated curator has compiled an unofficial site which features all four hundred and three landscape lessons taught by Bob Ross in thirty-one seasons on PBS’s Joy of Painting.
Formerly a master sergeant in the US Air Force, Ross often found himself in screaming-matches and situations that called on him being anything other than meditative and reflective. One day, however, he caught an episode of the Magic of Painting that inspired him to champion the same cause and vowed never to raise his voice in anger again. Named after the two inch background brush that was the go-to brush in the artist’s quiver, the site is not only a fine nice tribute to those awed by the creative process and his calming demeanour but also a resource for those aspiring to learn to paint.