Thursday 4 July 2024

๐Ÿฅ— (11. 661)

On this day in 1924, the Caesar salad was invented in Tijuana by restaurateur of Italian-extract Caesar Cardini, from Baveno on the shores of Lago Maggiore, in his eponymous dining establishment. Caught unprepared by the large number of Americans crossing the border to legally purchase liquor otherwise unavailable during Prohibition for the long holiday weekend, Cardini improvised to stretch his food supply by mixing a large salad in the middle of the main dining hall, making due with what he had a surplus of on hand with the addition of tableside tossing by the proprietor for some dramatic flair. Several food columnists and Julia Child, who sampled the original sometime in the 1920s, helped popularise the dish whose reputation proceeded it, with the latter celebrity chef helping to codify the recipe with the help of Cardini’s daughter in the 1970s, romaine lettuce and croutons dressed with lemon juice, olive oil, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, black pepper, Dijon mustard, anchovies (substituting capers and tahini for a vegetarian version) and Parmesan cheese. 


one year ago: the US national anthem (with synchronoptica), David Bowie’s trans-Siberia railway journey plus Uncle Sam’s predecessor

seven years ago: a botched memorial

eight years ago: a space probe arrives in Jupiter’s orbit plus the chemistry of a candle

nine years ago: pyrotechnic effects 

ten years ago: hyper-capitalism plus anti-migrant sentiment

Tuesday 18 June 2024

9x9 (11. 636)

who is this imposter: AI ruins classic, static reaction memes with animation  

๐Ÿฅ–: the bygone baguette boxes of French Polynesia—via Messy Nessy Chic  

quantum compass: London Underground hosts trials for a subatomic sensor that could supplement satellite navigation  

crystal lake: the preponderance of 1980s horror movies set at summer camp  

ball & chain: Nag on the Lake shares a special memory from Festival Express, the touring show of Monterey Pop, when the musicians came to Toronto

message in a bottle: the dozen times humans have tried to communicate with extra-terrestrial intelligences—see previously here, here and here  

encarta: the short, happy reign of the multimedia CD-ROM as part of Fast Company’s 1994 Week—via Slashdot  

casa bonita: a 1974 amusement park restaurant reopens under new management and with a monumental wait-list 

 surgeon general’s warning: US top doctor urges health notices for social media


one year ago: an AI’s take on emoji (plus synchronoptica), assorted links worth revisiting, a human computer plus Adsense (2003)

five years ago: Sweden’s alcohol monopoly, the UK Carbon Brief plus more links to enjoy

six years ago: a Banksy gallery opens, first issue magazine covers, the War of 1812, a space slingshot, more links worth the revisit plus Trump and Merkel

seven years ago: the US withdrawal from the Paris Treaty plus even more links

nine years ago: tobacco introduced to the Old World, more links, Hocus Pocus plus the nobiliary particle

Saturday 15 June 2024

8x8 (11. 632)

anabolics: the mainstreaming of casual steroid use  

cover model: the identity of the individual on the iconic Duran Duran album revealed four decades on—via Miss Cellania  

rank and file: a woodland-themed chessboard that rolls up into a log 

the imitation game: researchers claim that GPT-4 has passed the Turing Test—see previously 

london underground: spelunking through the strata of the ancient city  

non-playable character: determinism versus emergence and the question of free will  

ticino: a cache of five-thousand photographs spanning from 1900 to 1930 taken by a poor seed-peddler captures life in a remote, Italian-speaking Swiss canton  

food that makes you gay: stereotypes and gender in what we eat—via Web Curios

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

Thursday 23 May 2024

a compilation of reliable recipes with a casual culinary chat (11. 576)

Originally self-published in 1931 as means of coping with the loss of her husband, the jacket design which captured the popular poster, cut-out style of the day was created by the author’s daughter Marion Rombauer Becker, who helped write subsequent editions. The Art Deco cover features Martha of Bethany, the patron saint of Home Economics, vanquishing the dragon of domestic drudgery—according to the Golden Legend, the Tarasque, a fearsome chimera that tormented the people of Gaul, that Martha tamed with her faith, though once obedient and docile was unfortunately beset by angry villagers with rocks and spears until it died. Rombauer Becker was the director of the Art Department of a school in Ohio and the typeface is inspired by a Cassandre specimen of the contemporaneous excess of the decorative font Bifur. In print continuously since with over twenty-million copies sold, it is considered the quintessential American cookbook, its popularity sustained by Julia Child, and is a snowclone for many topical overviews.

Wednesday 1 May 2024

7x7 (11. 527)

the function of colour: more scans from a beautiful 1930 volume on design in schools and workshops

sporulate: scientist create a plastic first strengthened then digested by bacteria  

wck: resuming their mission of feeding people in Palestine, Josรฉ Andrรฉs’ cookbook is nominated for a prestigious gastronomical award  

aim high in creation: a survey of North Korea’s popular culture  

barnard 33: JWST captures a sharp image of the iconic Horsehead Nebula of Orion  

dead reckoning: the history of the Etak Navigator and other cartographical innovations  

architectural renderings: the Art Deco illustrations of Charles Perry Weimer—via Messy Nessy Chic

Friday 19 April 2024

est! est!! est!!! (11. 498)

The unusual triplicate name of the wine region of Montefiascone in Lazio (Latium) originated in a possibly apocryphal legend from the twelfth century when in April of 1111 bishop Johann Fugger, a noted gourmand and member of a house of prominent bankers and venture capitalists from Augsburg who supplanted the Medici family and controlled much of the economy of Europe through the seventeen hundreds, travelled to Rome to witness the coronation of Henry V, King of Italy, Germany and Burgundy, by Pope Paschal II and sending ahead his prelate, possibly called Martin,  as majordomo to scout out places along the route offering the best wine, instructed to write in chalk “there it is” on the doors of the finer establishments serving vinum bonum, and so impressed with the offerings of one local tavern punctuated his rating with urgency for the entourage. Though not heavily exported, the name has certainly proved as good marketing for the Etruscan Montefiascone and with the final resting place of Fugger in the commune’s main church of San Flaviano, with the inscription, “Est est est ∙ Propter nimium est ∙ Johannes de Foucris ∙ dominus meus ∙ mortuus est” (Here, here, here [a common epitaph, or possibly cause of death was ruled too much Est]—because it is too much, my master is dead) it is reported that Fugger decided to stay and not continue the journey. The wine pairs particularly well with Roman cuisine like fried artichokes and calamari.


one year ago: technological anti-solutions, a classic from Blondie (1980) plus Neil Agarwal gives us a stratospheric tour

two years ago: another MST3K classic, persistent COVID denialism plus renovating the Kodak R&D building

three years ago: the Salyut programme (1971), more MST3K, a Google Earth time lapse, shelters build after San Francisco’s 1906 earthquake plus the changing interiors of the Oval Office

four years ago: the Lada, keeping up with the news, Mambo No 5 (1999), more McMansion Hell, Animal Crossing tarot, St Expeditus, a pioneering virologist, failed attempts at wildlife photography plus a goatforsaken place

five years ago: an extended weekend, Mid-Century Modern  maps, the bees of Notre Dame, more accidental art plus an optical illusion to parse

Tuesday 9 April 2024

8x8 (11. 480)

chambre de bonne: disappearing top-floor tiny apartments of Paris  

semifreddo: the origin of Neapolitan ice cream  

the united states of division: a prescient 2004 release by Prince & The New Power Generation  

court dress: the pink sleeves of the supreme courts of Labrador and Newfoundland are in deference to the former summer robes for sittings in England and Wales—via Super Punch  

geoengineering: Tennessee legislature outlaws (see also) so called chemtrails 

bpm: Chechnya announces ban of music considered too fast or too slow  

backsplash: mosaic of the day  

warehouse-to-loft-conversion: a tribute to the last of New York’s artists’ dwellings—via Messy Nessy Chic

Friday 22 March 2024

off his meds (11. 443)

Via TYWKIWBI (indeed), we learn that Dr Lecter’s famously creepy quip from Silence of the Lambs, the psychiatrist turned cannibalistic serial killer consulted for insight to help catch another, “A census taker once tried to test me—I ate his liver with some fava beans and nice Chianti” is more than a memorable quote but also a subtle joking admission that he’s not presently adhering to his prescribed pharmacological regimen. The fictional doctor’s most aberrant tendencies could be managed with a class of drugs called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (a rather blunt instrument from the 1950s used to treat a whole range of disorders with various levels of success), which Lecter would of course know as well as the contraindication of this particular repast, all noted for having high levels of tyramine (as well as blue cheese) and could cause dangerous side-effects—the kind of adverse chemical reactions that the poor grapefruit usually gets blame for. In the novel by Thomas Harris that the 1991 film is adapted from, mostly faithfully, the better-paired wine is Amarone is mentioned but was presumably substituted for cadence in delivery by Anthony Hopkins and as something audiences would be more familiar with.

Sunday 22 October 2023

11x11 (11. 070)

post-amazon era: monopsonic retailer’s workers’ are writing about the dystopian company to fight back—via Slashdot  

sublet: tech startups are relinquishing office space office space back to their landlords  

stop making sense: negative manifestos, rule-breaking and by defined by what one is not  

deci-lon 10: an outstanding collection of slide rules curated by the analogue computer’s appreciation society—named after their seventeenth century inventor, William Oughtred of Cambridge—via Web Curios  

dancing delicacies: 3-D printed plate and nano technologies promise interactive meals  

primer simposium tecno: a 1981 electronic music concert in Madrid  

piramida: updated plans for the restoration of Tirana’s Brutalist landmark  

destroilet: an automatic combustion plumbing solution popular in the 1960s and 70s 

down in the underground: agencies of the subsurface 

fiver: a new adaptation of Watership Down as a graphic novel 

proposition m: San Francisco passes a punitive tax of vacant housing speculation  

the faanmg index: the blush has worn off Amazon’s rose—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lot’s more to explore there)


one year ago:  brittle egos bristling at Karen’s Garden plus modern sundials

two years ago: the International Meridian Conference of 1884, The Last Picture Show plus an early alternative currency

three years ago: the father of psychophysics, red food dye, another failed doomsday prophecy plus the Humument series

five years ago: the US Gun Control Act of 1968, the WWII bombing of Kassel, the spread of disinformation, anticipatory libraries for other worlds plus RIP to the inventor of the Little Library

Thursday 12 October 2023

mixed nuts (11. 053)

Via Colossal, we are directed to the latest ambition of Uli Westphal (previously) his current series photographic taxonomy of all the world’s edible seeds—so far collecting and shooting with the portrait studio treatment around four hundred of the estimated three-thousand cultivated and wild botanical parts ranked highly palatable. Much more at the links above.  


one year ago: the lingua cosma of SETI, assorted links to revisit plus building the fake, composite bridges shown on euro bill

two years ago: typographical ornament, a plan for Italy to be annexed by the US plus Jesus Christ Superstar

three years ago: an AI makes memes, Free-Thought Day and other celebrations, a Khrushchev colouring book plus foliage studies

four years ago: ร‰tienne de Silhouette,  the founding of Iran plus social media’s sins of omission 

five years ago: more links to enjoy, mapping returns on solar panels plus the miniature world Tatsuya Takana

Wednesday 27 September 2023

9x9 (11. 028)

space lab: a 1992 futuristic glass room with modular rooms that can be rearranged along its spine  

overburdened, overscheduled: the anti-homework movement is picking up momentum—found especially resounding the editorial comment: as a blogger I’m still doing homework  

star the glaze: an 1860 dictionary of contemporary English slang, cant and vulgarities—with a gloss of two secret argots  

memorandum of agreement: the contents of the Writer’s Guild of America’s draft deal with the studio seems like a decisive victory and a Hollywood ending

i am worth billions more than my very conservatively stated financial statements, and therefore could not have defrauded the banks, who all made money & were all: a New York judge rules that Trump exaggerated his worth in order to secure more financing  

felt a bit violated, really: a viral account using facial recognition is doxxing random individuals to the amusement of viewers—via the new shelton wet/dry  

drank the kool-aid: Big Tobacco’s legacy comfort foods 

 do you have information about permanent people: more questions pulled from the New York Public Library system reference desk—see previously 

vertical villages: unbuilt utopian hi-rise communities—via Messy Nessy Chic


one year ago: for the Queen to use, the Discovery of the True Cross, Marimekko Oyj plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: France’s TGV goes into service (1981) plus a change in UK license plates post Brexit

three years ago: Art Povera, pet diplomacy plus Trump’s latest nominee to the US Supreme Court

four years ago: the flag of China plus US-Germany relations

five years ago: more links to enjoy plus the economics principle of chartalism

Saturday 2 September 2023

let’s call the whole thing off (10. 978)

With possibly the winningest URL of all time, Waxy directs our attention to a collaborative contribution project that has been running for seventeen plus years which has somehow missed our notice until now—vis a vis another recent post.
Artist and enterprise originator Clara Bahlsen solicits for anthropomorphised images of mascots, food eager to be cannibalised or collaborate it the act and other offerings collected and indexed in a huge searchable images that can be sorted by category and kind. Browse (the cursor is a potato) though and share the oddities that you find or add your own.


one year ago: more spurious quotations,  Madonna’s Music (2000) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: your daily demon: Gaap plus the Second Triumvirate forms (31 BC)

three years ago: more links to enjoy, the global race for a vaccine, the Stuttgarter Metro Map plus Wikipedia as an agent of cultural vandalism

four years ago: improvised campers,  a visit to the Cap d’Erquy, a new presentation of Euclid’s Elements, the abbey of Beauport plus the stop-motion short Matrioska

five years ago: a ban on pesticides that harm pollinators, the fight to save coral reefs, some special weeds plus an AI tries to name shopping malls

Wednesday 19 July 2023

6x6 (10. 895)

tijuana brass: Herb Alpert and Lani Hall cover “Maniac” from Flashdance for the Oscars (1984)  

choose your own adventure: the rise and fall of type-in narrative games, an addendum to Fifty Years of Text Games (previously)—via Waxy 

collective nouns: a group of butterflies is properly a kaleidoscope, whilst a swarm of caterpillars is an army—see more 

tayme that crabbe: a medieval guide to food presentation 

the blobs are happy in their new, hand-build wizzinator and that’s all that’s important to me right now: experimenting with a fun physics sandbox—see also  

jennyanydots: a favourite Mountain Goats’ character returns

Monday 3 July 2023

9x9 (10. 853)

lost animals: a short story by Geoff Manaugh who exorcises haunted houses with mundane equipment  

clippit: discontinued Microsoft Office Assistant resurrected as a ChatGPT add-on—see previously  

space10: IKEA reimagines a line of flatware encouraging the use of abundant, locally sourced materials—see also 

all-domain anomaly resolution office: newspapers of record passed on the bombshell story of US government programme to reverse-engineer captured extraterrestrial technology—via Slashdot 

i do not want my name to be a thing: John Hancock explains his outsized signature on the Declaration of Independence—see also 

duty to bargain: Google joins Meta in pulling its headline aggregators from Canada over the so called “link tax” 

not to put too fine a point on it: the origins of a selection of hackneyed idioms 

the ganzfeld procedure: a cheap, easy and effective sensory-deprivation technique

short fiction: six-word sci-fi prompts

Friday 23 June 2023

8x8 (10. 828)

never change: a gallery of US high school annuals from the 70s and 80s—via Web Curios 

oceangate: executive piloting the submersible tourist vessel on its fateful descent has a familial connect to those who went down with the Titanic—more here  

mechanical turk: many of the human tasked to train AI are recursively outsourcing their work to AIs—see more, see also

reform club: the advent and eventual demise of Bellamy’s Refreshment Rooms that catered to Parliament’s schedule—see also—via Strange Company  

rocket lab: a visit to Norton Space Props, a junkyard full of salvage and surplus items from the Space Race 

scene together: the 70s craze of his and hers matching fashions—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

atoms for peace: a tour of the nuclear-powered cruise ship, the NS Savanna—see previously  

katakana: the vintage signage of shops and restaurants in Japan captured as digital fonts—also via Web Curios


one year ago: My Sharona (1979), Logan’s Run (1976) plus the Sterling Area (1931)

two years ago: sustenance from CO2 plus St John’s Eve

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, satisdiction plus another most favoured word, acnestis

Wednesday 21 June 2023

8x8 (10. 825)

the restaurant of mistaken orders: a pop-up establishment in Japan serves a lesson in compassion along with its dishes  

specimens of fancy turning: these late nineteenth century lathe patterns look like spirographs 

dwarf fortress: an interview with the author of 50 Years of Text Gamessee previously 

mercurial: more on the found and lost planet Vulcan  

monk parakeets: over a decade living in Wiesbaden, these invasive birds went from rare, doubtful sightings to absolute flocks  

area sacra: assassination site of Caesar and since taken over by semi-feral cats opening to the public 

รฑ: the origins of the letter with a diacritical tilde  

evergreen appeal: once considered dire sustenance only, pine-based cuisine in Nordic countries is becoming fine-dining

Tuesday 20 June 2023

hojo’s (10. 822)

Having previously written about the marketing tie-ins for the 1968 film, we enjoyed learning more about this promotional menu from the once ubiquitous hotel-restaurant chain Johnson’s for 2001: A Space Odyssey, featured as the hospitality brand for the Earthlight (named for another novel by Arthur C Clarke) orbital suite. While the children’s bill of fare does include iconic scenes from the movie, the narrative and activity pages are focused more on a family that goes to its gala theatrical premiere. More at the links above.

Friday 16 June 2023

7x7 (10. 812)

sister act: a serendipitous find of a bawdy collection of Renaissance era songs leads to a trove of research on bad nuns  

slow tv: Pennsylvania governor sets up a live stream so the public can view the progress on rebuilding the main traffic artery (previously) the eastern seaboard  

whichcraft: a look at the usage and abusage of the relative pronoun  

⛩️: an urban exploration of Toyko’s hidden Shinto shrines 

freshies: a look at what’s on the menu at the South Pole and other in-person observations (see previously)—via Strange Company  

gullinhjatlti: stunning three-thousand year old bronze sword unearthed in Nรถrdlingen  

oude doolhof: a a late Renaissance labyrinthine pleasure garden on the outskirts of Amsterdam

Sunday 4 June 2023

9x9 (10. 786)

folkocracy: the latest from Rufus Wainwright  

old hollywood: one property management company dedicated to preserving Los Angeles’ vintage homes and apartments 

ladies’ ordinaries: a look at how gender got on the menu—see also 

cultivating a creative community: Tina Roth Eisenberg on “How I Built This”  

ologies: a comprehensive chart of the medical disciplines and how they fit together—also a good podcast  

purchasing power parity: mapping the cheapest Big Macs  

morbid passion for one of the opposite sex: the recent invention of heterosexuality  

controspazio: a photographic tribute to the recently departed post-modernist architect Paolo Portoghesi  

what a wicked thing to do—to let me dream of you: Tenacious D kicks off their next tour with a cover of the 1989 Chris Isaak hit