Friday 10 November 2023

laterne, laterne, sonne, mond und sterne (11. 107)

In anticipation of the Feast of Saint Martin and the tradition of a lamp-lit procession, welcoming rather than ushering out the darkness and gloam of autumn formerly having roughly corresponded to the first of the month and a continuation of Halloween celebrations prior to calendar reform, we enjoyed this small sampling from a catalogue of chromolithographs of paper lantern designs from 1880 from the Tรผbingen booksellers Riethmรผller—which still sells paperware and party favours. More at the links above.


one year ago: Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973) plus Radiation Baby

two years ago: sinking nations plus Chaka Khan (1984)

three years ago: Toot, Whistle, Pluck and Boom, the US election, the Friends theme song, expecting more from America, voting irregularities plus an early edition

four years ago: an Art Nouveau printmaker, more Inktober maps, film composer Carlo Savina, a racing bar chart of the biggest musicians plus the debut of Sesame Street

five years ago: more unbuilt architecture, AI writes news copy, The 5000 Fingers of Doctor T plus a historical film lot consumed by wildfire

Monday 30 October 2023

6x6 (11. 085)

popular superstition: how belief in ghost became a class-marker and high-society aspired to more refined practises with spiritualism and horoscopes 

late night horror: the obscure 1970 UK anthology nearly consigned to oblivion  

jack skellington: a massive pumpkin mosaic sets a new world record  

sql: the infamous database “Halloween Problem” that reveals weaknesses in common information architecture  

very very scary: a 1990s rebroadcast of Nick at Nite vintage television seasonal specials—complete with commercials  

jimi halloween: the tradition of costumes so mundane they need to be explained continues—see previously 


one year ago: drawing with Ed Emberley plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: another MST3K classic—The Brain that Wouldn’t Die, more links to enjoy plus artist William-Adolphe Bourguereau

three years ago: the first residents board the International Space Station (2000), more on murderous dioramas, a wizarding curriculum from 1925 plus star charts for the yet to be born

four years ago: East German counter-programming, Brexit postponed plus the lost dative case

five years ago: stochastic terrorism, folksonomy, corporate fairy tales, birthright citizenship plus “Egyptian” Rocky Horror

Sunday 29 October 2023

the devil’s ball (11. 084)

With introductory remarks on how artists are rebelling against having their works and style scraped and assimilated often without attribution or respect and are fighting back, Fancy Notions directs us to a spooky Halloween treat, fever dream in the form of the uncut animated short from pioneering stop-motion storyteller Wล‚adysล‚aw Starewicz from 1933. The original was considerably edited for length prior to release and many of the film segments are lost but using AI to help fill in the gaps, the original story of this le Fรฉtiche (the Mascot) series has been restored. The surreal cast of creepy toys and re-animated bones (Starewicz’ earliest experiments used dead insects articulated with wires, which reviewers believed were expertly trained bugs) coming to life and vie for a prize orange. Later filmmakers, like Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mister Fox (Starewicz’ most acclaimed work was Le Roman de Renard) or Tim Burton’s Nightmare before Christmas, pay homage to the artist’s influence.

Thursday 26 October 2023

fun-sized (11. 076)

Our trusted AI wrangler Janelle Shane has been running experiments on generating trick-or-treating goodies (see previously) and sorting them by what one might like to keep or swap, to gauge the capabilities of various platforms and monitor improves, both marginal and significant. The latest iterations are much improved and are generally more accurate and less glitchy with the printed word but still have some way to go. In what’s described by Shane as the ‘kitten effect,’ where one specific example might turn out passably accurate, all these models tend to seize up and degrade when asked to produce multiple individuals—one cat as opposed to a basket of kittens. It’s nonetheless a relief that there’s some weirdness left in the wrappers. Smndy or Cearbiers might be good to try, but the best houses give out the full-sized candy bars.  Much more at the links above.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

8x8 (11. 074)

hilma af: a planned towering gallery for the Swedish artist realised as a virtual reality experience  

papercraft: gorgeous moderne four palette architectural models to make 

the book of hallowe’en: a 1919 illustrated, syncretic study of the appropriated holiday in the spirit of the Golden Bough  

swarm charms: a go-to guide of medieval bee spells 

trainspotting: an omnibus post on avoiding rail collisions including a nineteen century timetable still in use 

reconstruction: the sounds of ancient languages—see also 

the logo is formed from minifig hands: the new LEGO Dune playset  

flow-chart: a study on the abandoned shopping-carts of America  

you may touch the artefacts: a gallery of early internet relics from Neal Agarwal—see previously


one year ago:  further adventures in Crete

two years ago: the US Invasion of Granada (1971)

three years ago: a hexadecagonal country retreat, SS Crispin and Crispinian plus pandemic gods and heroes

four years ago: a lyrical headline (1924), a video game atlas plus the world’s first erotic boutique proprietress 

five years ago: The Master Key of Futurity, virtual restaurants and ghost kitchens plus programming a more ethical Pac Man

Tuesday 17 October 2023

6x6 (11. 064)

narnia: the wardrobe portraits of Sarah Ainslie 

there’dn’t’ve: an exploration of contractions—both the probable and the practical  

ghost swing: Louie Zong returns with another spooky symphony—via Waxy  

an mj winkler production: the Independent film studio behind the centenary of Disney  

compound pejoratives: the affixes of insult and their pattern distribution—see also 

 murphy tub: a folding bath from the 1930s—via Messy Nessy Chic

Monday 9 October 2023

7x7 (11. 047)

haus zum walfisch: explore horror film shooting locations of 1970s and 1980s classics, including Suspiria filmed in a townhouse in Freiburg im Breisgau  

concrete feats: a tour of Italy’s Brutalist architecture  

rapid electric vehicle retrofits: an Australian student wins James Dyson Award for an inexpensive conversion kit to make gas-powered vehicles hybrid 

earthshapes: fantastic geography from pilot Joseph N Portney 

larva convivialis: the miniature dancing skeletons of Roman banquets—via Strange Company 

jungian individuation: the Swiss psychoanalyst on the predictive power of Tarot cards 

tune-on: veteran television producer and director on the revival of his Laugh-In spin-off five decades afterwards  

31 days: a month long celebration of the Spooky Season from Laura E Hall—via Waxy


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, World Postal Day plus to slander one’s good reputation

two years ago: more links to enjoy, happy birthday John Lennon, Karl-Marx-Stadt, drag queen tarot plus a visit to the Osterburg

three years ago: The Watcher in the Woods, more Phantom plus more links worth revisiting

four years ago: major military exercise in Germany planned by US forces plus other European trade colonies in China

five years ago: Trump’s legacy of failed businesses, more on the fight to save an ancient woodland plus moving Tokyo’s historic fish market

Sunday 1 October 2023

disco triceratops incident (11. 032)

Continuing an annual tradition of using the latest state-of-the-art artificial intelligence available generate sketching prompts for the Month of October, this year (see previously) proved to be a bit more challenging
for our faithful AI wrangler as the dominant large language models learning off of each other were coming up with rather tame and predictable suggestions—until dialling up the chaos factor and drawing from ideas of year’s past. Although some choice prompts emerged, most were still pedestrian and not in keeping with the weirdness of previous instalments. How would you draw “pants for salad,” “a resplendent,” “a ghost of a teapot” or “televised toast” but make them more spooky? Much more from Janelle Shane at the links above. 
one year agoThe New People (1969), discovering a devilish beach house, presenting the public face of generative text-to-image technology plus disco Star Wars
two years ago: Botober sketch prompts, assorted links to revisit, irregular verbs, CAT scans (1971), synthetic dyes plus Night of the Living Dead (1968)
three years ago: more links to enjoy plus an in depth look at Albrecht Dรผrer’s self-portrait
four years ago: Denmark recognises same-sex marriages (1989) plus Swedish sea-fortresses recommissioned

five years ago: passive cooling, Bohemian Rhapsody in the style of Gershwin, Trump lampooned in Beirut plus documenting London’s poor


Tuesday 1 November 2022

8x8 (10. 261)

allhallowtide: the artwork of Mike Egan that references elements of Dรญa de Muertos—via Everlasting Blรถrt  

famous artist dies penniless and all alone: the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s archives of artists’ obituaries   

fps: visualizing sweeping across the globe at the speed of light  

forma: Federal Occult Range Management Administration  

mapping out the month: the thirty day charting challenge returns  

eleiรงรตes gerais: Brazilian artists herald the return of President Lula  

ghost bride: a centuries-old tradition practised in some communities in Kerala  

ofrenda: a guide to making an altar to celebrate the lives of loved ones who’ve passed

Sunday 30 October 2022

8x8 (10. 258)

♄iii: a 1980 Kirk Douglas, Farrah Fawcett sci-fi vehicle about colonising Triton by Star Wars set designer John Barry  

le forme variabili: a comprehensive guide to pasta selection  

christ stopped at eboli: an abandoned village in Basilicata—via Things Magazine  

the consent of the governed: as a platform, Twitter is a train wreck despite itself 

sessile by nature: Charles Darwin documents movement in plants—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Linkssee previously  

here an anteater that also appears to be some sort of quail in a sweater: an AI virtually, humanely dresses up cats in costumes for Halloween—see previously  

dead man’s body buffet: spaghetti is the creepiest food  

earth minus zero: a 1996 “Honey I Shrunk the Kids” with Sam Jones, Pat Morita and Joey Travolta

how-to-draw (10. 257)

Via the always excellent Present /&/ Correct, we were delighted for the introduction and sketching exercises to be found in Ed Emberley’s 1973 Little Drawing Book of Weirdos, the prolific illustrator and graphic designer especially lauded for his children’s picture books. Believing anyone can learn to draw, that not everyone has the calling or necessarilily needs to be an artist but no one should ever feel inadequate in their attempts to represent or convey, Emberley’s style of instruction employs letters, shapes and numbers and titles include Green Says Go, Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll, Suppose You Met a Witch and Glad Monster, Sad Monster.

Saturday 22 October 2022

we’re a culture, not a costume (10. 245)

City Hall of the town of Prossler in the state of Washington with a supreme lack of awareness ordered an Halloween display gently ridiculing the class of entitled white women whose litany of complaints and slights run from minor perceived offences to using law enforcement officials as their own personal racism concierges taken down after a Karen found the installation to be incendiary and a personal attack. The effigy, the Kare-Crow, while not meant to be a Karen-cature of certain individual felt singled out for public humiliation and in response, municipal authorities pledged there would be mandatory trainings as to why such statements were insensitive and offensive to the community. That’s ghastly and pretty terrifying.

Wednesday 19 October 2022

7x7 (10. 239)

actually: summoning the Candymansplainer 

doktor semmelweis i presume: how it took three decades to convince surgeons to wash their hands in the context of contemporary inconvenience  

kessler syndrome: more on orbital space junk—see previously  

one-dimensional: construction starts on the linear megacity in the desert—see previously  

woodpeckers in space: an 80s Danish hit 

not alone: most kanji readers cannot read it in cursive—see also  

based on a true story: horror classics inspired by actual events

Tuesday 18 October 2022

the portrait of dorian grey (10. 236)

The writing staff at Hyperallergic to spookify iconic works of art for the scary season—like Christina’s World (here’s another frightful adaptation) as imagined she’s hiding from Michael Meyers—and is a bit regretful about what nightmares that they’ve conjured into existence. What costume would you give a work of art? More to explore at the links above.

Saturday 15 October 2022

catoweny (10. 225)

There’s a phenomenon circulating around the internet reliant on statistical white-noise to amplify small differences in order to proclaim one search term, soft drink, fast food franchise the most popular in each American state, which while it has negligible ethnographic value we were delighted how our AI wrangler Janelle Shane (previously) had harnessed this exploit to hilarious and often opaque effect in this unlocked omnibus bonus post (consider subscribing and becoming a patron of AI Weirdness for more quality content) of the most popular candy, state-by-state, as conjured up by Dall·E2, unbagged and certified safe for Trick-or-Treaters. Sometimes reality seems to seep in, as with Burt Mint (like Burt’s Bees products) for Maine but most (and there are too many to choose from) are inscrutable and flexibly legible, like the pictured top treat in Michigan. Share your favourite with us.

Friday 14 October 2022

save it for later (10. 224)

Released as the lead single from the ska, jangle pop group’s third and final studio album (premiering this month in 1982) Special Beat Service, the song is one of the Beat’s (known in Canada and the US as the English Beat) most popular and enduring tracks, thanks to a catchy and unique chord progression by guitarist Dave Wakeling. The music video is really quite something as well. Run away, run away and let me down.

Friday 7 October 2022

7x7 (10. 203)

silphium: an ancient superfood of the Mediterranean world thought extinct possibly rediscovered in Turkey—via Strange Company 

unsung heroes: a LEGO diorama depicts a crew keeping the sewers unblocked—with more links to fatbergs  

mlle musidora: reviving a forgotten icon of the Belle ร‰poque—see also  

centaur chess: machines can handily beat grand masters but a computer-human team is unstoppable  

the legend of sleepy hallow: the wild ride behind the Headless Horseman

pendant lighting: Ambience Studio upcycles LEGO bricks into a colourful lamp  

pommes bleu: the annual optical spectacle that the intersection of the sun and these stained glass windows of the chapel of Rennes le Chรขteau draws pilgrims

Saturday 1 October 2022

castillo del diablo (10. 184)

While visiting Rosarito in Baja California, friend of the blog, Fancy Notions, stumbled upon a most usual six-storey beach house bedecked with gargoyles and monstrous statuary and crammed to the brim with antiques that is yet uncompleted obsession of a real estate developer called Tony Wells. This Gothic residence chocked full of period furnishings, coffins and chandeliers has become quite the draw for tourists and there are plans to convert property into a museum, relenting to the throngs of visitors who wanted a peek inside. Much more at the link above.

Tuesday 19 April 2022

you are not drinking a piรฑa coladas at trader vic’s, young man, you’re just not old enough

First aired on this day in 1997, the 1957 b-movie I Was a Teenage Werewolf starring Michael Landon (Bonanza, Little House on the Prairie, Highway to Heaven) as troubled youth Tony Rivers was lampooned by MST3K. A fight in school garners Tony (Landon) the attention of the local detective who persuades him to speak with a staff psychologist who proposes a regimen of hypnotherapy to help deal with his bouts of anger.  Reluctant at first but then convinced he needs to seek help to curb his violent (often dairy-based) inclinations after another brawl during a Halloween party, Tony submits to seeing the doctor, who has the patient pegged rather as the ideal test-candidate for an experimental serum developed to regress personality and bring out primitive instincts. One side-effect of the treatment is of course lycanthropy.

Sunday 31 October 2021

7x7: happy halloween edition

robert the doll: Key West’s most cursed object—see also—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see here)  

zombie jamboree: Harry Belafonte’s actual ghoulish calypso number—notwithstanding the associations with the Banana Boat Song 

la calavera catrina: a sugar skull puppet presents a primer on Dรญa de los Muertos  

westsonality: enjoy Paul Lynde’s 1976 Halloween Special with a cavalcade of guest stars  

respect the sabbath: periodic movements in the US to hold no Halloween on Sundays  

main title theme: the score for John Carpenter’s classic horror film Halloween 

lovecraft country: welcome to my metaverse—see previously