Tuesday 16 April 2024

mnemonic movements (11. 492)

Via fellow internet peripatetic Messy Nessy Chic, we discover a 1983 self-defence manual authored by Australian Bob Jones—a martial arts instructor who invented (along with fellow consultant, fight choreographer and stunt artist Richard Norton) his own technique called Zen Do Kai a decade earlier and which is still in practice and chief security detail for the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, Joe Cocker, ABBA, David Bowie and Fleetwood Mac—inspired by protection and training he had provided for Christine McVie and Stevie Nicks during their world tours. Learning of her bodyguard’s side project with this book based on a series of reflexive, subconscious kicks and thrusts perfected as second nature under threat by repetition and recitation, Nicks immediately agreed to contribute and helped demonstrate, appearing in a spread of photographs throughout the volume as well as on the cover. It is unclear whether it was Nicks’ stage-routine that influenced some of these actions or the other way around. More at the links above. FEAR—that is, false estimate of the actual reality.

Monday 15 April 2024

das rennsteiglied (11. 489)

First performed on this day in 1951 in community hall of the Hirschbach (presently the Hotel Zum goldenen Hirsch) of Suhl by local musicians Herbert Roth and Waltraut Schulz, the hymn extolling the joy of wandering in nature (see previously here and heresee also) has become an auxiliary state anthem and better known than the official, Thรผringen, holdes Land (Fair Country). 

The refrain goes: “I often walk this path to the Hรถhn (apparently a picturesque high hill with the ruins of Fischberg castle on top that we will make it a priority to see) , the little song birds singing / If I am far away, Thuringer Forest, I only long for you!”


one year ago: Samuel Johnson’s dictionary (1755), General Dynamics’ playing cards plus assorted links to revisit 

two years ago: more links to enjoy, the Universal Day of Culture plus AI Easter eggs

three years ago: your daily demon: Valefor, more Star Fleet uniforms plus Canada’s Olympics closing ceremony costumes

four years ago: a North Korean holiday plus a prescient comic from 1990

five years ago: more on the cannibalisation of the Old Web plus the art collective messy modernism

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

Sunday 7 April 2024

she’s the kind of girl you read about in newsweek magazine (11. 475)

Featuring the tracks “Give It to Me Baby” and Grammy-nominated “Super Freak,” the fifth studio album from punk-funk founder Rick James was released on this day in 1981 by Motown’s Gordy Records. Billboard’s Record of the Year, the album was certified Gold in sales in Canada, the UK and the US, all songs—including a duet with Teena Marie—have enjoyed a legacy of numerous homages and sampling (Pretty Fly for a White Guy, MC Hammer’s Can't Touch This), topping dance charts in all incarnations.

Saturday 6 April 2024

mamma, we reap what we sow (11. 471)

Via our faithful chronicler, among many other events of pith and circumstance, Annie Lennox (previously) released her debut solo Diva album on this day in UK markets in 1992, following a hiatus from performing after the dissolution of the Eurythmics two years prior and spawning five hit singles including “Little Bird” put out as a double A-Side with “Love Song for a Vampire” made for the soundtrack of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. The accompanying music video, shot while Lennox was eight months pregnant with the MC outfit reminiscent of Cabaret tailored to conceal her baby-bump, features a cast of personae from previous songs portrayed by impersonators and drag-artists vying for the spotlight.

concours eurovision de la chason (11. 470)

With the finale held on this day fifty years ago, held in the arts venue the Dome of Brighton with veteran television personality and presenter Katie Boyle—winner of the 1973 contest Luxembourg having declined the honour of hosting the event consecutive years in a row due to cost constraints for their public broadcaster, Compagnie Luxembourgeoise de Tรฉlรฉdiffusion, some of the more memorable acts of the Eurovision Song Contest (previously) with an iconic and transporting recognition owing to the winners’ costuming and performance include an interlude by the Wombles, Olivia Newton-John, Mouth and MacNeal and entrant Pooky from newly admitted Israel, whose prog and jazz fusion would prove enduring. France did not participate that year out of respect for the national mourning period for the death of president Georges Pompidou, withdrawing a few days before, and contest was not aired until several months afterwards for fear that the country’s own submission, “Sรฌ” finishing in second place, might have influenced votes on a confusingly worded nation referendum on whether to keep or rescind newly introduced legislation (see above) that allowed for divorce in country—“yes” being the ballot initiative to outlaw the recently enacted liberty.


one year ago: the UK tax year plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: artist Raphael, fungal communication plus playing around with a text-to-image generator

three years ago: Ping-Pong Diplomacy, the first Tony Awards, the Debatable Lands, plans to build the World Trade Center, duelling songs plus the modern Olympic Games (1896)

four years ago: more true facts from Ze Frank plus a cute typing tutor

five years ago: the Bavarian Socialist Republic (1919) plus a community Spring Cleaning

Wednesday 3 April 2024

9x9 (11. 464)

avis de rรฉception: Gertrude Stein first draft of her manuscript for The Making of Americans returned by a publisher  

greener pastures: ranchers embrace the benefits of virtual fencing  

แผ€ฮบฯฮฑฯƒฮฏฮฑ: philosophers weigh in on why we do things against our better judgment—via Kottke  

classroom setting: The Function of Colour in Schools and Hospitals (1930)  

haute couture: McDonald’s fashion in France  

heliopause: a NASA-endorsed app designed to photograph the North American total eclipse 

rhapsody in green: warm earth music for plants… and the people who love them 

could’ve been a contender: for what would be his hundredth birthday, some screen highlights of Marlon Brando

peer review: the Journal of Universal Rejection


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Planet of the Apes (1968)

three years ago: musical hypercards, more links to enjoy, missionary cats plus Blue Moon (1961)

four years ago: vintage railway memorabilia plus drawing elephants sight unseen

five years ago: the Marshall Plan (1948), more links worth revisiting plus conserving Soviet Almaty

Thursday 28 March 2024

encore une fois (11. 456)

Compiled in recognition of the approaching fortieth anniversary of Neunundneuzig Luftballons in translation for international audiences, a full year after its original release as a single in March of 1984, we appreciated this playlist, surely courting controversy for what’s left out, of the best of Euro Pop by UK charts. The rankings include Falco (see above), Enigma (see also), Trio and Desireless plus some of those outside the golden age of the genre, like O-Zone and Iceland’s Sigur Rรณs. Which energy complements yours?


one year ago: an abecedarium of American foodways, AI images of the Pope plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: social murder plus Gilbert and Sullivan on the battlefield

three years ago: heritage pasta, pirate radio plus the year of the five emperors

four years ago: more links to enjoy, the asteroid Pallas plus a classic Oldsmobile

five years ago: a darker side of cherry blossoms, Istanbul not Constantinople (1930) plus a time lapse of the distant future

Wednesday 27 March 2024

i want to run, i want to hide (11. 454)

Shot atop a liquor store in downtown Los Angeles in reference to the Beatles’ final concert on this day in 1987, eventually attracting crowd control although police interference was somewhat exaggerated with safety protocols built in and not exactly impromptu and filming extensions granted, U2’s opening track on The Joshua Tree album, released later in August, was composed in response to the suggestion it was possible to assign demographics to an individual based on their address, particularly for residents of Belfast. Producer Brian Eno reconsidered his initial decision to erase the recordings due to difficulties in studio and the song went on to critical and commercial acclaim. The theatrical sign for The Million Dollar Hotel, a film conceived by Bono around the same time about transients in the city with widely differing backgrounds and circumstances, though not released until 2000, was rebuilt to attract attention ahead of the performance in case no one showed.

Sunday 24 March 2024

11x11 (11. 448)

inauspicious beginnings: a rift opens up in a group of official astrologers employed by the Sri Lankan government to pick ideal dates for new years rituals  

disco arabesquo: record label Habibi Funk aims to introduce Middle Eastern vintage music to wider audiences 

typecraft: a transformative font foundry in India 

the allegory of the cave: on the twenty-fifth anniversary of the film’s premiere, we may be still trapped in the Matrix 

banjaxed and bockety: two curious Irish terms 

der buch der hasengeschichten: Tom Seidmann-Freud’s 1924 collection of hare fables 

working for tips: bizarrely robot baristas will accept gratuities, in a service sector landscape already fraught with insecurity and precarity—via tmn  

the juice is on the loose: a sequel thirty-six years in the making, reuniting the original cast—via Miss Cellania  

international system of typographic picture education: an archive of the pictograms of Gerd Arntz—see previously  

pocket full of kryptonite: the preponderance of alternative rock songs about Superman in the 1990s, 2000s 

prosopometamorphopsia: a new study on generalised social anxiety disorder tries to see from the perspective of those with a rare condition that causes faces to appear distorted, demonic—via the New Shelton wet/dry

Saturday 23 March 2024

wall of sound (11. 446)

First debuted on this day in 1974 for a concert by the Grateful Dead (previously) at the venue of the California State Livestock Pavilion (the Cow Palace, an indoor arena on the outskirts of San Francisco), the monumental acoustic reinforcement system, consisting of some six hundred speakers and drawing twenty-six thousand watts of power, fulfilling lead designer Owsley “Bear” Stanley’s search for a self-correcting way to amplify the experience to an audience of a hundred-thousand projecting over a significant field of attendance without distortion (the audio crew could monitor what the crowd heard). Although the technical achievement was itself retired by October due to logistics involved in moving and reassembling the array, the advancement in fidelity led to an improved experience for all, made more practical and efficient once the Grateful Dead resumed touring in 1976.

Monday 11 March 2024

free to be… you and me (11. 414)

Courtesy of our faithful chronicler, we are reminded on this day in 1974, ABC first broadcast the award winning children’s television special conceived and produced by Marlo Thomas and friends, adapted from a record album with activity book published sixteen months earlier. The songs and stories sung or acted out by contemporary celebrities including Carol Channing, Dustin Hoffman, Roberta Flack, Diana Ross, Alan Alda, Harry Belafonte, Cicely Tyson, Rosey Grier, Shirley Jones, Michael Jackson and Mel Brooks champion values of inclusion, individuality and comfort with one’s identity and reject gendered stereotypes, hailing that anyone can achieve anything, despite or because of the circumstances of their birth and was inspired by an uncomfortable incident in a bookstore where Thomas wanted to show her niece that it was acceptable and encouraged to flaunt traditional roles but only found materials reinforcing then—namely in a picture book that suggested boy grown up to be pilots and girls stewardesses, doctors, nurses, etc. Though predictably it drew criticism from certain circles at the time for indoctrination and emasculation, but the special and recording have endured, garnering both an Emmy and Peabody award, going Platinum within two years of release. A sequel, co-produced in the both the Soviet Union and the US—the first such primetime variety show collaboration, Free to Be… a Family, aired in 1988—featuring a new cast including Robin Williams, the Muppets, Lily Tomlin, Russian children’s television host Tatyana Vedeneyeva, JonBon Jovi and the magicians Penn and Teller.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, Queen Anne’s army plus the Lend-Lease Act of 1941

two years ago: The Kick Inside (1978) plus a pioneering photographer

three years ago: your daily demon: Dantalion, more links to enjoy,  a Van Gogh up for auction, Oprah interviews other princesses plus a gallery of bad and misleading book covers

four years ago: more phonetic spelling alphabets plus more links worth revisiting

five years ago: a flag supercut, even more links plus scripturiency

Saturday 9 March 2024

8x8 (11. 411)

๐Ÿšซ: the origins of the circle-and-slash prohibition symbol, its adoption as an ISO standard coinciding with 1984’s Ghost Busters  

return to sender: as part of the Prize Papers Project, a pristine Faroese hand-knitted sweater was discovered in an impounded parcel from 1807 

electronic labyrinth: the 1967 student film from George Lucas that would be later reworked into the feature  

snowdrops: Robert Marsham’s Indications of Spring (1789)  

clairaudient: more on Rosemary Brown with other classical compositions from beyond the grave  

if it doesn’t exist on the internet, it doesn’t exist: as of the beginning of the year, the venerable repository, the Ubuweb whose founder Kenneth Goldsmith is famous for the axiom, of the avant-garde has gone into archive-mode—via Web Curios 

sella rotalis: Paul de Livron crafts beautiful wooden wheelchairs, including one for the Pope

belinda new: exploring the typography of Oscar nominated films

Thursday 7 March 2024

synchronise (11. 405)

Via Miss Cellania, we are directed towards the latest project from GMUNK (see previously, artist and director Bradley G Munkowitz) in the form of a music video produced for the Folktronica duo Milky Chance hailing from Kassel. Harnessing cutting edge technical developments in the digital arts for decades, GMUNK and team have created a rather brilliant rendered, dynamic landscape to accompany the song. Learn more about the human-AI collaboration to create effects not possible just a short while ago at Colossal at the link above.


one year ago: Gone with the Wind’s Rainbow Script

two years ago: the Comet of the Century plus more odonymy

three years ago: Seven Nation Army (2003),  Die Sendung mit der Maus (1971) plus wandering words

four years ago: the Battle of Remagen (1945), broadening the search for extraterrestrial life plus pandemic hoarding

five years ago: Van Life

Friday 1 March 2024

8x8 (11. 392)

unauthorised avatar: Ukrainian individual discovers her likeness from her self-help videos have been cloned to sell Russian goods, friendship with China  

criterion collection: a curated series of great moments from the film company’s archive of Closet Picks  

il galateo, overo de’ costumi: the age of impoliteness—an influential sixteenth century Venetian treatise of delicacy and manners  

the weeknd stroke psa: a song parody about signs and symptoms of a cerebrovascular incident  

@smalin: graphic artist Stephen Manlinowski creates beautifully animated classical and jazz score—via Web Curios 

the hero’s journey: “the chosen one,” coming of age narratives of Dune, Star Wars, Harry Potter are mostly about adolescent boys coming to grips with their sexuality—via tmn  

dark currents: a 1992 public access occult soap opera from Marrawamkeag, Maine inspired by Dark Shadows, Twin Peaks  

thimblerig: internet retailer’s financial shell game and predatory pricing enabled it to create an untenable monopoly not thought sustainable

Monday 26 February 2024

wanna be starting something (11. 382)

Having been ratified by the Guinness Book of World Records earlier in the month as the best-selling album of all time, Michael Jackson’s sixth studio album, produced by Quincy Jones, reached number one on the US charts on this day in 1983, holding that position for an unprecedented thirty-seven weeks. With conflicted and at times contradictory themes that foreshadow Jackson’s later career, Thriller has a motif of paranoia, addressing feeling preternaturally cursed, possessed and railing against obsessive fandom and the tabloid press and gang violence—and its perception—and features the first instance of moon-walking as well as establishing his signature vocal hiccup. The album’s success afforded Jackson iconic status and an entrรฉe into the mainstream of culture that caused its definition in many respects.


one year ago: the invention of radar (1935) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, The Fall of the Damned plus Russian threats against the International Space Station

three years ago: friendly computer demons, more links worth revisiting plus pixelated birds of Japan

four years ago: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari (1920)

five years ago: more mass transit upholstery, an ambitious Moon Shot plus the establishment of US National Public Radio (1970)

Sunday 25 February 2024

11x11 (11. 380)

sure, write stuff for free—but write it for yourself: maintaining one’s creativity in the bleak media sector brickwalling and the loss of journalistic records  

rage-baiting: viral Tik-Tok couple troll influencer culture with such precision most don’t realise it’s satire—via Super Punch  

the paint explainer: a primer on the twenty-seven amendments to the US Constitution—via Memo of the Air 

dark dimensions: there’s a new theory about where dark matter might be hiding  

the sony smartwig: a 2016 patent granted for a connected hairpiece one pairs with their phone for tactile feedback 

the navel on an orange is a mutation that created a conjoined twin: weird information to dispense on a first date—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links 

the riker manoeuvre: small towns with monuments to Star Trek characters—via Marginal Revolution  

selectric funeral: the Boston Typewriter Orchestra hopes to appear in NPR’s Tiny Desk Concert with this submission  

awful yet lawful: US Supreme Court to entertain grievances on social media moderation for deplatforming hateful and dangerous content  

multi-level marketing: a supercut of huckster Donald Trump’s merchandising scams 

you can out-buzzfeed buzzfeed after all: media group in takeover talks with UK’s The Independent—see previously

land der berge, land am strome (11. 379)

Adopted as the national anthem a few months prior, the official lyrics were announced on this day in 1947, the verses penned by poet Paula von Preradoviฤ‡. With the end of World War II, the country wanted to replace the state anthem, the so called Kernstock-Hymn which substituted the words to Hayden’s “God Save the Kaiser” set to the tune of the “Deutschlandlied” (supplanting the imperial substitute following the Anschluss), performances of both outlawed since the defeat of the Third Reich—soliciting for ideas. Upon hearing of the selection of their mother’s ode to the natural wonders of Austria, Preradoviฤ‡’s son, Otto and Fritz, immediately composed a parody (see above) of “Land of Mountains, oh, Land of Rivers,” to the same rhyme as Land der Erbsen, Land der Bohnen, Land der vier Besatzungzonen… satirising the post-war rationing and austerity and the occupation by the Allied Powers and became a popular version recited in schools.


one year agoArmenia’s radio-telescope plus the transcendental claymation of Art Clokey

two years ago: NFT graffiti

three years ago: a walk through the woods and fields 

four years ago: Rubber Duckie (1970), the dissolution of Prussia (1947), Khrushchev’s secret speech (1956) plus the Fight Between Carnival and Lent

five years ago: assorted links to revisit, a useful Dutch term, 1969 in pictures plus mysterious stream-of-conscience fiction


Wednesday 21 February 2024

what a lady, what a night (11. 369)

Reaching the top of the UK singles charts on this day in 1976, the Four Seasons’ song by Bob Gaudio and Judy Parker, showcasing the band’s drummer Gerry Polci and vocalist Frankie Valli, the lyrics were originally set three decades prior in 1933 to 5 December, marking the end of Prohibition in the US. The group however revolted against the juxtaposition of such a good disco, doo-wop groove with an obscure historical reference, and it was decided that it should be shifted forward to capture the spirit of Americana as a jukebox favourite circa the early 1960s.

til she finds another (11. 367)

Released as a single on this day in 1984 in UK markets, the duet by Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire and Phil Collins, originally a solo for Bailey and his most successfully performance outside of the group, was a chart-topper in the US, Canada, Ireland and the Netherlands besides. The accompanying video that won an MTV Award and was nominated for a Grammy poked fun at the process of producing a music video, en route to Etward Studios in London and was directed by Jim Yukich, whose other credits include Debbie Gibson, Steve Guttenberg, Kenny Loggins, REO Speedwagon, Iron Maiden and Richard Marx.