Wednesday 29 May 2024

9x9 (11. 590)

priority seating: an account jammed packed with patterns for mass-transit upholstery—see previously—via Kottke 

ux: in the age of AI, perhaps it’s time to retire the term “user” 

voter turn-out: historically high temperatures in parts of India may skew election results 

๐Ÿ™‚‍↔️: this year’s bracket for most misinterpreted emoji  

described herein as a beverage carrying assembly: a patent for a beer puppet for festivals and sporting events  

the second soul: a thoroughgoing essay by Anton Howes on the history of salt—via Clive Thompson’s Linkfest  

instructions to the jury: closing arguments in the Trump trial and deliberation begins  

wasteful by design: digital technology and internet habits are becoming major contributors to the climate catastrophe 

transakcja: an endearing animation on courtship rituals in 1950s rural Poland

Sunday 19 May 2024

pfingstsonntag (11. 566)

Courtesy of H’s fancy drone piloting we had a nice bird‘s eye view of the grounds but we were soon sharing the airspace with avian friends (I had never heard the belching cries of swans or the clapping of a stork before) and craft launching from a nearby strip built for model airplanes which could really do some impressive stunt maneuvers—none of which I could manage to capture, not for the lack of trying. 

Later we took a longer hike in the opposite direction through a stand of forest to a Biergarten outside of Oberreichenbach and back again.


one year ago: St Ivo, The Phantom Menace (1999), assorted links to revisit plus more medieval collective nouns

two years ago: Amy Fisher (1992), St Dunstan, an altarpiece by Titian plus the zine of William Blake

three years ago: a birthday wish (1962), an animated stratified map, a classic by Paul Simon plus the stadio typeface

four years ago: the UK public terror alert system plus unsustainable arbitrage

five years ago: the Dutch Venice, etiquette as a social wedge, a tardigrade stress-ball plus flora and fauna of the New World charted out

Wednesday 20 March 2024

toddy and crank (11. 437)

Via Nag on the Lake and Weird Universe, we are referred to a delightful reprint (circa 1941) of an advertisement for a Colonial Williamsburg public house called Chowning’s Tavern whose verso gives a scale of the temperance or intemperance of various potables from the drinks menu from 1789. “A moral and physical thermometer small beer, grouped with water and milk, disposes one to “Health, Wealth, Serenity of mind, Reputation, long Life and Happineลฟs.” Whereas Gin, Anniแบ›eed and Rum has the attendant vices of Swindling, Perjury and Burglary leading to the Diseases Dropลฟy, Madneลฟ and Melancholy and the Punishments of the Poor-houลฟe, Jail and Whipping. We are all on the spectrum and can have maladies without picking one’s poison—see if you can tag yourself.


one year ago: middling large numbers

two years ago: World Storytelling Day plus Easter origins

three years ago: Leipzig’s boy choir,  the science of pasta, Roman Emperor Thrax, reflections of dadaism plus St John of Neopmuk

four years ago: the Spring Equinox, assorted links to revisit, pandemic payments plus cats and dominos

five years ago: Bed-In for Peace (1969),  Apollo press kits, exercises in root system domestication, EU copyright reform, calls to expel the US ambassador to Germany, myth retold through physics plus creating landscapes with AI

Monday 4 March 2024

product placement (11. 400)

Though a bit averse to reposting content from Twitter, this cultural artefact was too good to resist, learning—via Super Punch—that circa 2003 when Chilean television first broadcast the original Star Wars trilogy, sponsors were keen on not taking the audience out of the experience and commercials breaks were subtly (or not so subtly) stitched into the film. This is rather ingenious and wish more networks did the same. Here is an example dubbed in English.  Much more at the link above.


one year ago: Don’t Stop the Beat (2002), Anti-Flirt Week (1923), cult cinema classics, more puzzling emoji plus Trump’s January Sixth charity recording

two years ago: the high cost of mineral extraction, customised browsing plus Jesus Christ Price

three years ago: Nosferatu (1922), more on the 1918 Influenza Pandemic, a visual search engine, American state birds plus Icelandic names

four years ago: stream-climbers plus Robert Mugabe elected (1980)

five years ago: outsider artist Adolf Wรถlfli, closed Italian shops, music from a Bosch triptych plus a Brexit phone booth to call Europe

Thursday 22 February 2024

totally and utterly carparked (11. 370)

We enjoyed this essay on the supposition that most any English (or foreign for that matter) word can be turned into a posh, polite euphemism or intensifying drunkonym, which piqued the interest of linguists in Chemnitz and Erlangen to assay the subject and prove the adage, compiling an impressive five hundred synonym list in common parlance, following a long tradition of glossing terms, which includes contributions by Benjamin Franklin among others. There are the standards like blotto, totalled and gazebo’d, tosspots and more colourful, improvised for the nonce examples like tangled-legged, zozzled and slug-nutty. More from Jennifer Ouellette at the link above and let us know your favourites.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus the Florida Purchase (1819)

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus National Cat Days

three years ago: more links worth the revisit, the throne of St Peter, delightful idioms plus Navajo Star Wars

four years ago: Pope Sanbinian, a virtual news anchor, division bells plus a daytrip to the Milseberg

five years ago: Mister X and the Long Telegram, Rihanna’s fashions as a guiding compass plus racing ranks of Big Tech

Sunday 11 February 2024

sarah t—portrait of a teenage alcoholic (11. 341)

Also featuring the acting talents of Dallas’ Larry Hagman and Star Wars’ Mark Hamill, the made for television movie starring Linda Blair of The Exorcist (previously) in the title role was first aired on the NBC network on this day in 1975. Dealing with isolation and loneliness, a fifteen-year-old takes after her estranged father, drinking to cope with feelings of inadequacy and begins to surreptitiously raid her mother’s liquor cabinet, having associated inebriation with greater social stability. Having passed out whilst babysitting and numerous interventions, Sarah can’t admit she has a problem until a near-fatal horse-riding accident (mortally wounding the horse, who is euthanised) and joins Alcoholics Anonymous. 


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Planet Money Valentines

two years ago: an AI reimagines sci-fi comics panels, the Internet Sacred Text Archive plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: more links worth the revisit, bar sounds plus a unique file naming convention

four years ago: political engagement, Merkel’s would be successor steps down, gravity wells plus European emergency numbers

five years ago: the American Petrol-State, anosmia, medals for the Tokyo games to be made out of recovered specie from electronic waste plus the art of Andy Dixon

Friday 2 February 2024

stag & nag (11. 316)

The apparatus of a seagoing vessel’s box compass was suspended in alcohol in order to prevent freezing and the magnet from seizing up, and through this rather incredible punitive process imposed on a serial offender with a particular craving for tapping the navigation of ships, we encounter an impressive clipping’s introductory copy—cited without the aid of a ready resource like a Wikipedia stub—on an etymology which with we weren’t familiar. Whilst acquainted with the likely disappointingly spurious folk roots of the Elephant & Castle, more authentic instances of canting as branding like ‘spread-eagle’ (in reference to the imperial arms of the Reichsadler) to indicate an establishment where German wine and beer was sold, the public backlash against publicans’ paired namings as early as the start of the eighteenth century with often incongruous results, as opposed to patronage or services provided, like the cheese inn of Stilton. The not uncommon pub name “Goats and Compasses,” (see above) may come from, like “Pig and Whistle” the corruption of a benediction, piggin wassail in Anglo-Saxon and might be derived from a mishearing of ‘God encompasses [us]’—either that, of the canting arms of two guilds, the Worshipful Companies of Cordwainers and Carpenters, each with three of the domesticated livestock and three compasses, the drafting instruments rather than the navigation aid. More on the recidivist James Wishart Lyon and his unusual compulsion at Weird Universe at the link up top.

Sunday 24 December 2023

the shot (11. 212)

With echoes of this other accidental Renaissance painting of New Year’s revelry captured by Joel Goodman on the streets of Manchester in 2015, this scene captured by Dimitris Legakis in Swansea on the Friday before Christmas recalls to some students of art history the lifeboat ensemble from The Raft of the Medusa, the visceral depiction of the writhing survivors of the tragic and scandalous wrecking of a frigate off the coast of Mauritania in 1816—which by foreshortening the tumult of figures on this massive canvas by Thรฉodore Gรฉricault appear more than life-sized.

Tuesday 28 November 2023

9x9 (11. 146)

the big easy: Bonapartist diaspora had designs for Napoleon to retire in New Orleans—via Messy Nessy Chicsee also courtesy of Super Punch  

holiday emporium: Kottke’s annual gift guide returns after a hiatus  

triple word score: players and lexicographers are a bit mortified with Scrabble’s new tournament rules  

colophon: the rise and fall of Borders Books 

moonlight towers: during the infancy of electric lighting, there was a predecessor to serial lamps  

pump and dump: insurance companies are exacerbating the climate crisis 

fiat: during the bank strikes of Ireland in the 1970s, pubs stepped in to fill their function—via the new shelton wet/dry  

ai garage sale: haggle with robots for real items—via Waxy  

pas de goulots d’รฉtranglement dans la production: a strange 1940 diagram from linguist Benjamin Lee Whorf presenting French as a factory assembly line

Friday 15 September 2023

9x9 (11. 002)

you deserve to sit: a comedian’s silly song about their favourite inactivity  

๐Ÿ˜ธ: visit a random feline friend featured on Wikipedia—via Pasa Bon!  

& let it stonde .1. nyght or .2.: a medieval recipe for mead  

montage: the animated collages of Alice Issac  

shrinkflation: a French supermarket chain displaying advisory labels to alert consumers 

word alienation and semantic satiation: one of the laureates of the thirty-third Ig Noble Awards—see also here and here  

consult our extensive archives: veteran broadcaster—and BBC’s first podcaster, Melvyn Bragg celebrates one thousand episodes  

pagliacci: a pizza chef turns melodramatic over a cursed request


one year ago: Our Lady of Sorrows plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: forest mascots (1971) plus a Star Trek: TAS classic

three years ago: more Trek with “Amok Time,” illustrations from the children of Charles Darwin, rousing public sentiment following the Gunpowder Plot, life signs on Venus plus a COVID movie-night

four years ago: more on Jupiter’s moons, a hot Colonel Sanders, public crucifixes, Lovecraft in the style of Dr Seuss plus Graphis Press

five years ago: an AI names apples, the Ig Noble Awards, the Great Recession’s Lost Decade plus legalising marijuana confounded by travel regulations

Sunday 27 August 2023

best in show (10. 967)

During a grouse hunting party four years earlier, the managing director of the brewery Sir Hugh Beaver became involved with a shooting companion over the identity of the fastest game bird in the region—owing to his having missed his quarry ostensibly—and realising that there was no easy way of settling this debate without recourse to experts saw an immediate niche in the reference book market. Beaver employed a London fact-finding agency run by brothers Norris and Ross McWhirter (both boasting encyclopaedic memories) compiled The Guinness Book of Superlatives and gave away a thousand copies to associates and to bars licensed to serve the beer. Due to its surprise popularity, a two-hundred page edition was bound the following year, released on this day in 1955 and became best-seller in the UK immediately, prompting a second edition before Christmas and entered the international market. Beginning in the early 1970s, the annual began to include record feats of strength and stamina by human individuals as well as facts about the natural world and is considered one of the best-selling books of all time.


one year ago: happy birthday George Jetson, St Monica of Hippo, experiments with OpenAI plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the eruption of Kraktoa (1883), a clever, interactive CV and help wanted ad plus the origin of the word antidote

three years ago: the Zugspitze surveyed and summitted (1820), home shopping with Harrod’s, an abundance of caution, the Hatch Act (1939) plus a seventeenth century friends book

five years ago: pulp covers reimagined by Todd Alcott plus the Kellogg-Briand Pact against future wars (1928) 

six years ago: a pocket Wikipedia

Sunday 13 August 2023

sunday drive: talsperre lรผtsche (10. 941)

On the way back from some window-shopping, we took a detour through the Geratal to Frankenhain for a stroll around the second biggest artificial lake in the region (previously). Dammed in 1935 by the Deutschen Reichsbahn in order to provide a source of water for stations in Erfurt and Arnstadt, by the time the reservoir (Stausee) was completed steam-powered locomotion was being superseded and it was converted to hydropower—and today the same supply-system to cool data centres in Neudietendorf and for brewery operations connected to the train stations that have repurposed the cisterns. The tributary rivers have their source near the winter sports destination Oberhof, whose ancient volcanic composition of quartz porphyry were also the quarry for the retaining walls. Used primarily for recreational activities currently, it was certainly a nice walk down to the beach and good to visit the area again.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

church key (10. 862)

From the shifting onus of mass-delivered single-use that incentivised disposing of one’s beverage container properly to the technological innovations that allowed beer from a can to be palatable and not compromised in the filling and distribution process while being easily and readily accessible, to follow-on safety concerns about the opening mechanism and wide-spread pull-tabs, which led to engineering that we are familiar with today, we are directed towards the design history of the aluminium can. Learn more from Tedium at the link above—with plenty of top-popping detail.

Tuesday 16 May 2023

9x9 (10. 745)

speak-easy: the Chicago Sun-Times bought a bar in 1977, staffed with undercover reporters to investigate city government corruption—via Messy Nessy Chic  

mapbacks: Dell pulp mysteries back covers featuring crime scene schematics—via Things Magazine 

team delft: a hydrogen-powered bubble car is setting records  

lรถwenzahn: the linkages between dandelions and human history—see previously 

global town square: for Silicon Valley capitalists “bringing people together” is value-neutral 

no static at all: automakers removing AM radio, in part because electric engines can interfere with the reception—see more, see previously

a free-speech absolutist: Twitter acquiesced to a selective purdah just prior to the ballot in Tรผrkiye—more here  

hey maga: Randy Rainbow savages Florida governor and presidential hopeful with “Welcome to DeSantis”—a parody of “Welcome to the Sixties” from Hairspray  

upworthy: the downfall of American reporting through clickbait and catchpenny tactics

Friday 28 April 2023

8x8 (10. 703)

iter vestrum: a journey to the ends of the Roman Empire with contemporary routing guides—see previously 

the bartender’s travelling book: the secret history of the drinks recipe anthology that has crossed the globe 

eigengrau: a colour palette of what people report to see with their eyes closed—see previously—via Web Curios 

chirper: a social media network only for AI—via ibฤซdem  

casas del turuรฑuelo: first figural representations of the Bronze Age Tartessian culture found, an Iberian people spuriously linked to the myth of Atlantissee also 

aurabesh: a very thorough Star Wars inspired typeface—see also—via Kottke 

toby mug: an assortment of East End brewery labels  

bradshaw’s guide: a travelogue of modern Europe with a Victorian era itinerar—check out Messy Nessy’s new look

Saturday 22 April 2023

10x10 (10. 690)

shave and a hair-cut: a collection of personalised nineteenth century barber shop occupation mugs

culture wars, cola wars: of course that anti-woke beer is just a huge pandering grift  

architecture in music: the photography of Charles Brooks makes the interiors of instruments appear like megastructures  

million dollar homepage: tout your website for one second of the day—via Web Curios  

knit grotesk: a sewable font

yes, virginia, there is a santa claus: the adaptation of Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret does not disappoint  

intuitive daily stitching: Karen Turner’s knitted visual diary infographics: compelling visualisations that changed public opinion and scientific consensus 

high life: directed by the Comitรฉ, Belgian customs officials crushes a shipment of two-thousand cans of Miller over its “Champagne of Beers” motto 

hairdressers: a BBC videography library on different aspects of the industry

Tuesday 11 April 2023

9x9 (10. 667)

pass****123: a visualisation of pilfered passwords aggregated from various leaks and breaches

event horizon: a streak of young stars may be the wake of a supermassive black hole ejected from its host galaxy  

pop: speeding locomotives in an animated short by Yoji Kuri—see previously  

you sank my battleship: leaked NATO plans for bolstering Ukraine’s military were first circulating on a Minecraft gaming forum—more here  

what, me worry: a celebration of the long life and career of cartoonist Al Jaffee 

bierpulver: the Neuzeller Klosterbrรคu, known for other innovative libations, introduces a dehydrated beer that one needs only add water to   

example handshake: a look at the squelch of the dial-up modem  

trapezoidal flux deviation: an alternative proposal for the non-existence of exoplanets—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

a generator and a discriminator: AI can crack most users’ passwords in under two minutes—via Dam Interresting’s Curated Links

Tuesday 13 December 2022

9x9 (10. 381)

deep field: JWST scans the skies  

mar1d: in-game action as our protagonist would experience the Mushroom Kingdom—like Flatland—via Kottke  

ny๐ŸŒณ: the City’s popular tree map updated to include a hundred thousand park residents—via Map Room  

even a cat can look at the queen: an exhibition of fine feline art 

tumbleword: a daily challenge from Jer Thorp—via Waxy  

math and the mechanics: the surprising origin story of the Cura Calculator 

cervoise: brewer informed by ancient herbal and unhopped beer predecessor  

world in motion: New Order’s 1990 World Cup anthem—via Digg  

splash down: Artemis’ Orion capsule (previously) returns after a perfectly executed trial run

Sunday 16 October 2022

7x7 (10. 229)

symphony of the birds: CBS Radio director Jim Fassett’s 1960 experimental arrangement  

home row: Google Japan develops a long, horizontal keyboard for messy desks—reminded us of the iPhone Taller that doubles a guitar  

benevolent dictator: a profile of President Kevin Baugh and his micronation of Molossia—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

kunstradfahren: a graceful bicycle ballet by a skilled practitioner of this 130 year old sport  

barcalounger: ten homes whose decor is tied together with classic Eames chairs—see previously

unreliable narrator: microbrews and hipster beer names  

peer-reviewed: birdsong helps alleviate human anxiety and paranoia

Monday 19 September 2022

last post

Whereas the B♭ version might be more familiar, the E♭ variation is employed by the State Trumpeters of the Household Cavalry and the particular flourish was acquired by British troops garrisoned in the Netherlands (see also), drawing on an older Dutch custom called taptoe—root of a military tattoo or send-off and the North American version of “taps”—signalling the end of the duty day, the solemnity of the taptoe itself adopted as an extension of last call, Doe den tap toe—a reminder to make sure that the beer spigots were closed before shutting down for the evening. More coverage of the historic state funeral, including this ceremony, from the BBC and the Guardian