Saturday 4 May 2024

xavier roberts (11. 538)

Somewhat cognisant of the strange lore surrounding the adoption process surrounding the dolls introduced in 1983, though we were completely taken aback by this account—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links—of attending the “live birth” experience at Babyland General Hospital (a nursery and gift shop in rural northern Georgia, an area tragically underserved in terms of actual clinical care with the procedure at the maternity ward described unironically as “planned parenthood”) of a Cabbage Patch Kid. With truly unexpected ritualistic gravity, like something out of The Handmaid’s Tale, the visiting public is summoned to witness Mother Cabbage, truly the object of devotion for a mystery cult like some plaster-cast oracle of Delphi, presided over by a pretend nurse who also plays the role of high priestess urging the children in the room to help with the labour. More on this unbelievably strange ceremony at Thrillist at the link above.

progress without pollution (11. 537)

Opening on this day with the above motto with the park grounds divided amongst the islands of Canada and Havermale and the adjacent south bank of the Spokane River, Expo ’74 was the first environmentally themed World’s Fair, distancing itself from the tech-centric events of the past (another first for not looking to a utopian future but instead addressing present and emergent issues), drawing a sizeable crowd and hosting several UN symposia to address regional and global environmental concerns. Whist mostly foregoing the established tradition of debuting new innovations like the telephone, escalator, video games, the waffle and the ice cream cone, the Washington World’s Fair did showcase the first IMAX theatre (screening Man Belongs to the Earth) and had pavilions cooled without air-conditioning, as well as demonstrating telecommunications relay services and previewed the roll-out of a national emergency 911 service.

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Flatiron building (1902), assorted links worth revisiting plus Saint Florian

two years ago: Dave Brubeck Day, Gaslight (1944) plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: default fonts, Margaret Thatcher and Star Wars plus more links to revisit

four years ago: the Kent State Massacre (1970), the formation of Greenpeace (1972), even more links plus more Star Trek: TAS

five years ago: May the Fourth Be With You, Always

Monday 29 April 2024

7x7 (11. 522)

diddly doodly: a live action, 1950s version of The Simpsons in the works

trylon and perisphere: rides and attractions of the 1939 New York World’s Fair  

so your property has been banksyed—now what: conserving the artist’s murals and the difference between the studio and the street 

unfrosted: Netflix’s Pop-Tarts movie from Jerry Seinfeld  

the aethererius society: the London cab driver who became the voice of the Interplanetary Parliament in 1954  

the complete mashography: DJ Earworm takes on Taylor Swift  

anti-social network: Aaron Sorkin plans a sequel to the Facebook film, blaming the social media giant for the January Sixth Insurrection

synchronoptica

one year ago: the Roddenberry Archive, custom game cartridges plus the fired Florida principal gets to visit the David

two years ago: a Martian probe encounters the wreckage of an earlier mission plus viewing tectonic shifts

three years ago: International Dance Day with Colin’s Bear plus deepfake satellite imagery

four years ago: the evacuation of Saigon, the Golden Hat of Schifferstadt, daily constitutionals, zen toast plus assorted links to revisit

five years ago: the inspiration for Thanos’ power glove plus not taking God’s name in vain

Thursday 21 March 2024

adventureland (11. 440)

This was a fascinating time capsule and reminded me of the trip we took to the Orlando attraction and kept a travelogue of the vacation aged eleven. Sponsored by Scotch brand cellophane tape, the Barstow family of Wethersfield, Connecticut were one of twenty-five lucky families to win an all expenses paid vacation to the recently opened Disneyland in July of 1956 and documented their adventure, which included excursions to Hollywood, the Universal Studios lot, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica, with home movie, 16mm camera footage, narrated and shared as a thirty-minute video on the occasion of fortieth anniversary of the park’s 1955 opening. It makes me want to revisit those snapshots that underpin the memories of vacations past sometimes locked away by time and format. Disneyland Dream by mother and father Meg and Robbins Barstow was inscribed by the Library of Congress for preservation in the National Film Registry in 2008 not only for its perspective on Southern California in the mid-1950s but also for its contemporary depiction of the American middle class.

Tuesday 2 January 2024

splendid china (11. 237)

The thirty-hectare property in Four Corners Florida now host to the Margaritaville Resort, it was a originally developed as a miniature park in 1993 featuring scenery and monuments of the mainland was first conceived by a former educator from Taiwan after the successful prototype in Shenzhen outside of Hong Kong. That same year the attraction was taken over by the travel and tourism branch of the Overseas Chinese Affairs Office, eventually ousting the founders and was accused of becoming an instrument of propaganda, with protests ensuing over the new exhibitions on Tibet, Mongolia and Eastern Turkistan and a ban on school field trips to the site in the proximity of Disney World. The miniatures were looted after its closure a decade after its founding. More at Weird Universe at the link above, including a video tour of the grounds from 1996.

Tuesday 5 December 2023

luna luna (11. 167)

Virtually lost and obscure since its 1987 exhibition of modern art presented as a fun-fair featuring the works of Keith Haring, Roy Lichtenstein, Dalรญ, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sonia Delaunay and David Hockney among others, the amusement park originally installed in Hamburg under the direction of curator Andrรฉ Heller has been restored and will be a travelling-circus with its first stop in Los Angeles. Among the some thirty original attractions will return albeit as non-functioning rides include a carousel by Haring and a Ferris wheel by Basquiat and a fun-house maze designed by Lichtenstein. The planned revival is sponsored by performer and entrepreneur Drake and his DreamCrew team.  More from designboom at the link up top.

Thursday 29 June 2023

robot roll call (10. 843)

Via Super Punch comes confirmation from a Disney imagineer that the theory that the rather poor likeness of Donald Trump added in 2017 to Disney World’s Hall of Presidents attraction—a non-thrill ride from 1971 with all the US commanders-in-chief past and present brought together in Philadelphia’s Independence Hall to extol, uncannily the virtues of American governance and democracy—was in fact a hastily repurposed Hilary Clinton audio-animatronic, assuming like many that she would be the victor. As with all new incumbents, the exhibit shut down for six months in preparation for the presidency of Joe Biden to design and choreograph and Trump reappeared with a more refined, sculpted look which is distinctly less like Trump’s face stretched over Clinton’s cranium but as the park has a tendency to recycle suggests that she might be waiting in ambush as an extra in the Haunted Mansion or Country Bears’ Jamboree.

Wednesday 28 June 2023

10x10 (10. 840)

⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️ ⚫️: Neal Fun’s (previously) infuriating password game  

ceiling cat: the European Souther Observatory in the Chilean mountains discovered a feline nebula

bad odds: wagering on climate change to bring the danger and risk to present and personal 

backstage: newsletters (from 1962 to 1980) published for Disneyland crew members, scanned in full—via Super Punch  

homage to magritte: a 1974 tribute in five vignettes to the Surrealist artist 

independent legislature theory: US Supreme Court strikes down suit that would cut checks and balances and judicial review of laws passed 

monkey bars: the first jungle gym (see previously) was built in hopes of teaching children about three-dimensional space and Cartesian coordinates 

magma: mining volcanoes could provide a more ecologically-friendly way to extract metals  

power of ten: NASA’s coding commandments focused on testability, readability and predictability that keeps critical systems safe and running in outer space  

goodnight phone: an interactive web comic for our shared present—via tmn

synchronoptica 

one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus a surprise session of the January Sixth hearings on the US Capitol Insurrections

two years ago: body language, the UN International Criminal Court (1993), Miss Continuous Towel and other spokesmodels plus Pitman shorthand

three years ago: a corporate typeface, a performative masculine simulator game, Martian meteors plus cataloguing one’s possessions

four years ago: the Stonewall Riots (1969), surveying Titan plus bringing back the chestnut tree

five years ago: Paul Simon on Sesame Street, silent cooking videos, assorted links to revisit plus combating fake product reviews

Thursday 27 April 2023

atomgrad (10. 701)

A closed town founded in 1970 to serve the neighbouring Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station but not restricted like other cities and a showcase of Soviet engineering and innovation, Prypriat (ะŸั€ะธ́ะฟสผัั‚ัŒ) was evacuated on this day in 1986 following the disaster and has remained, within the exclusion zone, a time capsule slowly being reclaimed by nature and a draw for urban explorers. One particular attraction is the amusement park, slated for a grand opening for May Day celebrations in a state of abandon and ruin, with the iconic ferris wheel (ะšั€ัƒะณะพะฒะพะน ะพะฑะทะพั€, circular overview) photographed as a symbol of the catastrophe and the delayed announcement of the danger, a population of some fifty thousand imperilled by high radition exposure for over thirty-six hours since the initial fire and steam explosion.

Wednesday 26 April 2023

8x8 (10. 700)

a is for anarchist: a counter-culture abecedarium—see previously  

man o’war: thousands of by-the-wind-sailors (Vellela vellela) wash ashore in California  

runway-zero-one-left: views of random airport exteriors—via Pasa Bon!see previously

manicule: Punctuation Personified: or, Pointing Made Easy (1824)—see also  

pepperoni hug spot: an AI made an intriguingly nightmarish TV commercial 

 jefferies tube: a survey of secret passages—including the ulitidors at Disneyland  

roaring forties: remote Gough Island is hiring 

yon zircle: final-born member of the Bowlin alphabet family passes away, aged 94

Friday 17 March 2023

9x9 (10. 614)

telegeography: the current map of submarine cables connecting the world  

blogoversary: a belated birthday greeting to Fancy Notions 

rightish: Microsoft touts AI’s factual errors as “usefully wrong”  

goldenes buch: German communities’ official, historic guest logs are a chronicle of the times and Zeitzeugnisse  

media matters: if journalists cannot call out propaganda—what’s even the the point of coverage—via Kottke  

gว’utรณu mฤo nรญng—literally dog’s head, cat’s meow: cute Chinese animal transcriptions for English salutations  

seoul ring: the world’s largest spokeless ferris wheel being built in South Korea  

linkrot: more thoughts on three broken links and internet conservation  

mappa mundi: the thirteenth century chart of the mundane and exalted—see previously

Sunday 5 February 2023

tomorrowland 2055 (10. 526)

Due to budget cuts which already limited the number of planned attractions, Disneyland reluctantly opened up its last themed land to commercial sponsorship, becoming something of a showcase of corporate America, including Dutch Boy Paint, the agrochemical giant Monsanto and its Hall of Chemistry and General Electric with its Carousel of Progress. Space Mountain was proposed initially as a functioning space port for Disney World in the vicinity of Cape Canaveral.

Sunday 18 September 2022

boardwalks, beaches and boulevards (10. 146)

Prominent and influential street photographer and educator, Harold Feinstein (1931 - 2015) had an enduring attraction to New York at the community of Coney Island where he was born. Thanks to a Redditor, we are introduced to Feinstein’s extensive portfolio through one composition that frames those perched above Brighton Beach as musical notation. Feinstein’s work also enjoyed commercial ubiquity, IKEA’s White Rose poster (see also) being one of the most widely distributed homeware artistic photos. Much more to explore at the links above.

 

Saturday 20 August 2022

erlebnis bergwerk (10. 073)

Decommissioned since 1993 but revitalised since as a living museum and working mine and venue, I had a chance to visit with H’s father the salt and potash (Kalisalz, used as an important agricultural fertiliser) extraction operation near the village of Merkers on the Werra river not far from Bad Salzungen.  

 Aside from the long history of mining and a comprehensive lesson on the enterprise and geology that bores under the Rhรถn mountains, the location is also the hiding spot for hundreds of tonnes of gold, silver and paper currency (amounting to around eighty percent of the holdings of the Reichsbank at the end of the war) and many priceless works of art looted by the Nazis, discovered per chance by the advancing United States army (tipped off by slave labour transporting treasures to the mine) who then worked quickly to clear it out of Soviet occupied territory before the borders were demarcated.

After being lowered in safety gear—like actual miners beginning their shift—in a hoisting cage that descended into the dark, and driven in flatbed transports from five to eight hundred metres below the surface through a network of tunnels that covers an area the size of Munich. 








Though the vehicles were only taking the dips, curves and ascents at under twenty kilometres an hour, the darkness, wind and narrowness of the shaft made it seem much faster, like a roller coaster ride stretched out for some two hours, with intermissions, lastly in the above Goldraum, a pair of excavated former bunkers that now serve as a machine exhibit, theatre and a concert hall with uncommonly good acoustics and unique crystal grotto with accompanying bar for refreshments—the deepest in the world.  

It was definitely worth the visit and would drag H along next time.
 

Tuesday 24 May 2022

ancient aliens

Opened to the public on this day in 2003 (bankrupt and shuttered three years later and three years after that rehabilitated as a children’s theme park—named Jungfrau after the alpine mountain it is framed by), Mystery Park in Interlaken was designed by Chariots of the Gods? author Erich von Dรคniken and included several pavilions featuring what the pseudoscience proponent described as the great unsolved mysteries that could only be explained by the theories he espoused on paleo-contact and ancient astronauts, including the Mayan calendar, the pyramids of Egypt and monoliths like Stonehenge explaining how the achievements of the primitive past must be linked to extraterrestrial encounters, his showmanship being chiefly responsible for the popularity of this rather narrow and dim view of a world just beyond record.

Thursday 21 April 2022

reedy creek improvement district

In retribution for the Magic Kingdom’s public stance against legislation passed and enforced by the state of Florida and suspension of political donations in response to the so called “Don’t Say Gay” bill that bars instruction that is not “age or develop-mentally appropriate” as a form of indoctrination and makes it taboo to talk about gender identity or sexual orientation, the Republican governor, with the backing of the legislature, is proposing to strip Disney properties of its own private governance. Accorded by Florida in 1967 to make it more attractive for the entertainment giant to establish its resorts and theme parks (see also)—and originally a planned city of the future, Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, that reverted back to another attraction, the special jurisdiction has its own law enforcement and security, environment standards, building codes and zoning laws as well as its own tax regime. Authorities warn that its dissolution will burden neighbouring counties with much higher property taxes and further alienates the state’s largest employer.

Saturday 19 February 2022

7x7

a fistful of manicules: Shady Characters explores several font specimens of the typographers’ mark—see previously  

la conquรชte du pain: an anarcho-communist bakery going strong in Montreuil  

peeping tom: Facebook’s demise following that of mySpace  

storyliving: Disneyland pre-retirement communities—via Web Curios 

erste jahrzehnten: German Design Awards marks its first decade with a special exhibit  

sold for sol 1800: it appears that Melania Trump purchased her own NTF—via New Shelton wet/dry 

i shot the serif: foundry Neubau Berlin pays homage to Mid-Century international fonts

Sunday 6 February 2022

easy listening monster orchestra—e.l.m.o.

Courtesy of the Awesomer and this Muppet quintet, here’s some light jazz for your Sunday afternoon (see previously). Performed in 1989, these interludes were produced for Sesame Place (already sounds sophisticated) theme park, which opened in 1980 in the outskirts of Philadelphia

Saturday 23 October 2021

7x7

floh u. trรถdel: couple’s costume ideas—via the ever excellence Everlasting Blรถrt 

boutonniere: Harriet Parry’s flower arrangements reproduce iconic fine art and classic tarot card designs—via ibฤซdem

microface: a quick quiz to identify whether the subject is a font or a Marvel character (see previously)—via Kottke’s Quick Links  

์˜ค์ง•์–ด ๊ฒŒ์ž„: Squid Games Funko-Pop characters—see also 

pyrrhic victory: the rules of play for a variant called Atomic Chess allows a pawn crossing the breadth of the game board promotion to a scale that would instantaneously annihilate all pieces—of both sides

rollercoaster tycoon: Saudi Arabia transforms a decommissioned drilling platform into an extreme amusement park  

hell no: a sensible horror film

Friday 28 May 2021

8x8

pier 54: Thomas Heatherwick’s Little Island on the Hudson off NYC’s Meatpacking District opens to the public 

al fresco: limited edition Rolls-Royce Boat Tail to take picnicking 

cosmism: the cosmic religion of Nikolai Fyodorov that inspired and informed Soviet space-faring aspirations  

astronomicum cรฆsareum: a beautifully illustrated scientific text from 1540  

circle of friends: a visualisation of the intimates that one can socially maintain—see previously  

rollercoaster tycoon: an engineer explains the different types of amusement park rides  

pole of inaccessibility: plotting when the ISS crew are one’s closest neighbours when one lives near Point Nemo  

project plywood: non-profit Worthless Studios transforms discarded materials used to board up storefronts from inclement weather and civil unrest into art