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.

Tuesday 20 February 2024

10x10 (11. 365)

royal mews: King Charles’ one of a kind electric Jaguar up for auction—via Miss Cellania  

ppe: the portable nuclear bomb shield, patented by Harold Tiff  

got clearance clarence: after embarrassing blunder over bad travel advice, Air Canada advocates personhood (and limited liability) for its chatbot customer representative 

1776 days: Julian Assange’s long detention and fight against rendition to the US for Wikileaks

that which you call hardee’s, we call carl’s junior: food deserts, prevalence and distribution of casual dining chains in the US 

tigers blood: new singles from Waxahatchee 

daddy daughter day: breakdancing, bitcoin father revealed as a veteran of member of the Christian Coalition and conservative speech writer 

the second in line: Swedish illustrator Mattias Adolfsson—via Messy Nessy Chic  

body armour: Casimir Zeglen, the priest who invented the bulletproof vest  

motorcade: Joe Biden’s Cadillac sedan for sale—via tmn


one year ago: artist creates a prosthetic extra digit plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links to enjoy, the subterrene (1972) plus The Shape of Things to Come (1936)

three years ago: introducing the Jeep (1941), a Nyan Cat NFT plus a suite of Japanese pictograms

four years ago: more mass-transit upholstery, RIP Larry Gordon Tesler who invested copy-and-paste, superannuated map styles, the possible extradition of Julian Assange plus the new US ambassador to Germany

five years ago: all the presidents’ meals, a secret meeting between industrialists and the Nazi government (1933), more links worth the revisit, the US emergency broadcast system (1971), vintages mazes plus the bokeh technique

Sunday 18 February 2024

colonel sanders’ tijuana picnic (11. 361)

Via Good Internet, we are treated to a travelling exhibition of the worst album covers on display presently at the Alnwick Bailiffgate Gallery in Northumberland, featuring some four hundred aesthetically challenging vinyl sleeves from the collection of Steve Goldman, amassed over the years from bin sales and charity shops with the purchasing, inclusion criteria of it being laughably bad—nothing mean spirited but rather when choices went awry, irrespective of music quality—see also judging a book by its cover, via Web Curios. Select tracks from the collection will also be playing, with visitors invited to dance a bit and vote for their favourites, ranging from education, promotional, devotional, obscure artists and more well-known musicians. The pictured cover for the 1979 album from Peter Rabbit was what inspired Goldman’s hobby and share his obsession.

Thursday 15 February 2024

opus 314 (11. 352)

Premiering on this day in 1867 with a performance of the Vienna Men’s Choral Association, the waltz by Johann Stauss II was originally met with a rather tepid response from the audience but has since become one of the most enduring compositions in the classical repertoire and an unofficial anthem for Austria—the national hymn “Land der Berge, Land am Strome” a tune by Mozart. The lyrics were added after the orchestral part was finished about a year earlier by the Mรคnnergesang-Verein’s resident poet Joseph Weyl as a carnival song, with eleven satirical verses lightly lampooning the country’s loss in the recent Austro-Prussian War:

Weit vom Schwarzwald her
eilst du hin zum Meer,
spendest Segen
ostwรคrts geht dein Lauf,
nimmst viel Brรผder auf:
Bild der Einigkeit
fรผr alle Zeit!
Alte Burgen seh’n
nieder von den Hรถh’n,
grรผssen gerne
dich von ferne
und der Berge Kranz,
hell vom Morgenglanz,
spiegelt sich in deiner Wellen Tanz

Prevalent in popular culture, in Austria, it is played at midnight on New Year’s as well as being the traditional sign-off tune for the end of the broadcasting day, a coda sung to Mexican birthday gatherings as “Queremos pastel, pastel, pastel” to serve the cake and played during the 1970s and 1980s over the PA systems of Chinese domestic flights as reassurance to passengers on landing. Die Donau so blau, so blau.


one year ago: Amerika, a 1987 mini-series 

two years ago: assorted links to revisit plus the fist demonstration of closed-captioning (1972)

three years ago: Decimalisation Day (1971) plus another Roman holiday

four years ago: harnessing the power of falling rain, Japanese business jargon plus a trip to castle ruin Henneberg

five years ago: Trump sends troops to the Mexican border plus introducing OpenAI

Sunday 11 February 2024

8x8 (11. 343)

๐Ÿ˜ถ: a Good Internet cross-posting of Good Music, featuring a mix of tracks from Wilco, Kim Gordon, the Beths and many more  

nato backstab: in a Drudge Report style headline, the Huffington Post reports Trump at a campaign event that he might encourage Russia to attack ‘deadbeat’ allies 

internal monologue: philosophers explore new field of the inner voice at the intersection of psychiatry  

compliance moats: anti-anti-monopolists and data-brokers wrangle over regulation 

story-walk: using olfaction with narrative to simulate reflection and retention  

certificate of honourable discharge: explore the best-preserved Roman military diploma (constitutio) in a new 3D exhibit  

grand bargain: US Supreme Court seems poised to keep Trump on state ballots but deny him blanket immunity 

i’m only sleeping: a Grammy winning painted music video of the Revolver track from Em Cooper

Saturday 10 February 2024

7x7 (11. 338)

caught between the moon and new york city: taking a harrowing subway ride in 1981  

homing: Nikola Tesla’s love for pigeons and telepathy—via Strange Company 

 : more on the interrobang—see previously  

stringe-watching: the opposite of binging a series to indulge in the experience  

hash mark: the works of artist Ding Yi coinage: TikTok has seen an (irritating) explosion in linguistic novelties to promote niche microtrends—via Miss Cellania  

in the aeroplane over the seas: Neutral Milk Hotel covers for the album’s anniversary 

castro street: Bruce Baillie films Riverside, California in 1966


one year ago: assorted links to revisit, Tapestry (1971) plus a pioneering hypertext novel

two years ago: the Dread Pirate Roberts plus a geographical challenge

three years ago: the Simpsons’ intro, the feast of St Scholastica, vernacular ceramics, no fly free zones plus profiting from conspiracy

four years ago: more Orange Menace

five years ago: more links to enjoy

Friday 9 February 2024

national jukebox (11. 336)

Via Web Curious (a lot more to explore there), we enjoyed poking around the playlists of this project from the US Library of Congress that streams over ten thousand historic recordings and growing produced by the Victor Talking Machine Company (the ascribing labels, OKeh Records, Columbia, RCA, now subsidiaries of Sony Music Entertainment—but the clearinghouse granted a free license to the library to make them publicly available…) from 1901 to 1925. We especially liked the recommendation algorithm and a feature that’s grouped what was recorded on a particular day of the year. Look around and see what old-timely tunes you can discover.

Thursday 8 February 2024

the tough get rough (11. 333)

Starting a four-week run on the top of the UK singles charts on this day in 1986, the Billy Ocean song was the theme of The Jewel of the Nile, the Michael Douglas and Kathleen Turner vehicle and sequel to 1984’s Romancing the Stone. A global hit, it was eventually unseated by Whitney Houston’s “How Will I Know,” the accompanying video was initially refused by Top of the Pops for the cast’s lip-syncing, not being members of the Musicians Union, with Danny DeVito’s miming as a saxophonist, like the August rendition of “You Can Call Me Al,” considered a violation of the guild’s rules for non-member performers.

Sunday 4 February 2024

i never did believe in miracles but i’ve a feeling it’s time to try (11. 321)

Swapping out the working-title of Yesterday’s Gone, Fleetwood Mac—during a turbulent time in the band’s career with non-stop touring for their last album, drug use and relationship breakups for many of the members as well as changes for personnel—released on this day in 1978 their eleventh studio album on this day in 1978, an instant worldwide success of a soulful and confessional nature and features some of the group’s most enduring tracks. Teased as singles “Don’t Stop,” “Dreams,” “You Make Loving Fun” and “Go Your Own Way,” all dominated the charts for weeks at a time and taken as an anthology of the members’ anguish and optimism is considered one of the greatest records of all time.

Saturday 3 February 2024

9x9 (11. 319)

thinking of you. i mean me. i mean you: a new exhibition on the artist Barbara Kruger advances her legacy up to the present—see previously  

hi neighbour: Johnny Costa introduced jazz to Mister Rogers along with his audience  

una vincenzo, the lady troubridge: fashion icon, sculptor, translator and unashamed, power lesbian  

baud per second: Eclectic Method’s dial-up modem song  

unexcused absences: obstructionist state senators cannot run for re-election in Oregon after constitutional amendment—via Super Punch 

unwatering: researchers find the solution the Richard Feynman’s hypothetical reserve sprinkler  

amateuraufnahmen: colour footage of Berlin, Leipzig and Bad Schandau from the 1960s  

please don’t try to print it: unlocking the page dimensions in Adobe to create a PDF larger than the entire Universe—via Kottke  

friend or foe: Clownfish count stripes to keep out adult interlopers from their territory—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links—see also strange sex lives of the species

transcendental aesthetic (11. 318)

A direct ancestor of the Laserium light show (collaborating with Henry Jacobs for his display at the Morrison Planetarium), we quite enjoyed this short 1961 abstract, experimental animation on 16mm film from Jordan Belson, a prolific artist, often with a nonobjective (his career was kicked off by a sustaining grant from the Museum of Non-Objective Painting, which later became known as the Guggenheim) but spiritual bent, who created an extensive portfolio of works over the course of six decades. Evoking a mediative, introspective experience like many of his works, in 2011, the US Library of Congress inscribed “Allures” in the National Film Registry.

Friday 2 February 2024

me and my arrow (11. 315)

Via our faithful chronicler, we learn that on this day in 1971, The Point! was first aired as the ABC Movie of the Week. Based on the eponymous sixth studio album by Harry Nilsson (previously), the animated adaptation from director Fred Wolf (also behind Free to Be… You and Me) features the voice talents of Dustin Hoffman, Paul Frees, Mike Lookinland (Bobby Brady) and June Foray and tells the fable of a boy named Oblio, born with a round head and made to wear a pointed cap to hide his “pointless” condition from his pointy-headed peers. After dishonouring the son of a wicked count, Oblio finds himself banished and encounters many strange characters in the Pointless Forest that show him that everything has a purpose, though it may not be obvious at first glance.

the ลฟecond part, to the ลฟame tune (11. 314)

Having felt a bit cheated by a news article about chart-rankings for seventeenth century English ballads over missing ourselves a link to the project, we appreciated the extra digging from Web Curios and the chance to take a second look and visit the collection of top pop broadsides, complete with sheet-music and actual recordings and historical context as well as insights into the industry and artists. With a wide range of themes ranging from knaves and knights, to kings and kidnapping, vis-a-vis the preceding post, one is sure to find something resonant and engaging. Sorted by popularity, the number one hit from the era is a much covered retelling of The Aeneid, the “Wandring Prince of Troy.” Much more at the links above.


one year ago: Groundhog Day, never a poem as lovely as a tree plus a Nutcracker tradition

two years ago: Candlemas plus problematic portrait artist Charles Frederik Goldie

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, the Great Comet plus free market capitalism

four years ago: the Lake District in Limburg, outsider artist Madge Ethel plus Cynthia the Mannequin

five years ago: suggestion boxesZuckerberg in Congress plus more on Candlemas

Thursday 1 February 2024

heptarchy (11. 313)

Whilst regularly reviewing what was posted three and four years ago, I can’t say that I haven’t given the bardcore trend any thoughts recently, but we were nonetheless pleased to have come across this medieval-style cover of the White Stripe’s anthem. Though as the songwriter Jack White retells, the title comes from a childhood memory of mishearing “Salvation Army,” the lyrics could indeed refer to the seven petty kingdoms of Anglo-Saxon era England, which were eventually subdued, consolidated and united, with some notable resistance, by the ninth century under Alfred the Great.

Wednesday 31 January 2024

my, my, how can i resist you? (11. 310)

Coincidentally sharing some of the same lyrics (Mamma mia, let me go!), on this day in 1976 ABBA unseated Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” from its nine-week run at the top of the UK singles charts with the opening track on their eponymous third studio album. Resistant to the idea of promoting the song for fear of over-exposure (and due to the composition being shopped around before it was offered to the group), it was first trialled in the Australian market but the overwhelming positive reception prompted ABBA to release it as a single in Britain, soon becoming an international hit. The B-side of the UK version had the instrumental track “Intermezzo № 1” with variants including “Hey, Hey Helen” and “Tropical Love Land.”

Tuesday 30 January 2024

8x8 (11. 307)

1,44mb: some Japanese ministries are phasing out the requirement of submitting official documents on physical media 

forensic linguistics: language experts and crime-solving 

jurassic lark: Poseidon’s Underworld recaps the 1960 cinematic experience Dinosaurs!  

painting with plasticine: Olive Harbutt, daughter of the medium’s inventor, creates art in this 1958 short  

: Letraset fill patterns—see previously 

throwing eggs: popular Chinese card game Guandan may receive sanction for the classroom  

esperantido: linguist Manuel Halvelik created an auxiliary diglossia to make translations sound more archaic 

omnichord: Suzuki brings back the portable music-maker from 1981