Sunday 26 November 2023

7x7 (11. 143)

sonic deconstructions: 1950s radio broadcaster’s album of Foley art, “Strange to Your Ears”  

onfim’s homework: a Wikipedia rabbit hole inspires an individual to get a tattoo of an eleventh century Novgorod pupil’s writings and illustrations discovered preserved on birch bark—via Hyperallergic’s Required Reading  

year in review: Time magazine’s one hundred top images of 2023—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to explore here) 

amaterasu: scientists detect an ultra-high energy cosmic ray—the most powerful in thirty years of observation 

<!--: a collection of historic HTML innovations—see also  

kenough: the story of Denny Fouts, hustler and literary muse for Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and Christopher Isherwood  

pie hole: a silly twenty-year-old vocal exercise that holds up

Friday 10 November 2023

welcome to the pleasuredome (11. 109)

Released at the end of October and assured a chart entry due to advanced sales of over a million records, the debut studio album of Liverpudlian synth-pop group Frankie Goes to Hollywood climbed to the top spot in the domestic market on this day in 1984, coinciding with their first US television appearance on Saturday Night Live, performing the tracks “Two Tribes” and “Born to Run.” Though incredibly commercially successful, the record drew some criticism for being heavy with remixes and cover versions (“Relax”) of their repertoire that had already received a lot of airplay, songs like the below ballad have given the album enduring, iconic status.

Friday 27 October 2023

9x9 (11. 078)

page rank: the SEO trend of naming establishments X Near Me seems to actually drive customers—via Waxy  

cyanea pohaku: a species of tree discovered right before it was driven to extinction

saint eom: the psychedelic compound of folk artist and fortune-teller Eddie Owens Martin outside of Buena Vista in the US state of Georgia and listed on the National Register of Historic Places  

usonian homes: a pair of Frank Lloyd Wright (see previously) houses on the market in Kalamazoo in the US state of Michigan  

saob: the official Swedish dictionary published after one hundred forty years of work

the united states of guns: another sadly evergreen post about how an armed society is not a free society   

happiness hotel: a luxury kennel once occupied the grounds of New York City’s Lincoln Center 

report of my death having been most industriously circulated by several of the london daily newspapers, would the times permit me to contradict the same through your valuable columns and refute the account: sculptor John Ternouth, designer of the plinth for Nelson’s Column, was surprised to learn of his premature demise—via Strange Company  

i am altering the deal—pray i don’t alter it any further: Amazon’s Alexa is ending inoperability support with severe punishment for those who try to hack their way around it

Sunday 1 October 2023

claire rayner’s casebook (11. 033)

Accomplished nurse and prolific author, the broadcaster is probably best known for her public advocacy and outreach in the form of her advise column, frank and often controversial in dealing with taboo subjects in a non-judgmental fashion that encouraged dialogue. Graciously sharing a rare Betamax find after sifting through hours of old video tape, Curious British Telly introduces Rayner through an episode originally airing during the first week of October of 1983 on the subject of homosexuality, featuring her own son—which although dated and a product of its time, is still insightful and relevant. More Ben Ricketts at the link above.

Monday 11 September 2023

galvanic response (10. 997)

Via the New Shelton wet/dry, we learn that from 1950 to 1973 the Canadian civil service, to include the Mounties and the armed forces, amid the general moral panic applied to different lifestyles and the notion (reenforced by social pressures to hide one’s identity) that gay men were susceptible to honey-pot operations and recruitment by Marxist espionage utilised a device called the “fruit machine”—a pejorative yet re-appropriated term—to screen out homosexual candidates and eliminate government workers (see also). Test subjects were sat in a dentist’s chair and made to view a series of pictures, ostensibly to rate stressors, but from the pedestrian to the pornographic gauged pupillary (eye dilation) to other involuntary responses as a proxy for erotic thoughts with a deeply flawed set of assumptions that potentially (funding was withdrawn in the late 1960s but the technique was still employed) cost up to nine-thousand individuals their careers.

Monday 4 September 2023

fireworks (10. 982)

Filmed on a sixteen millimetre camera received as a birthday gift from his grandmother and a significant upgrade from his former hand-cranked camera at his home in Beverly Hills whilst his parents were away for a long weekend in 1947, the debut short from Kenneth Anger (previously) was one of the first works in this media to focus on a homosexuality as a subject. Inspired by witnessing a group of US sailors attacking men with Mexican heritage during the Zoot Suit Riots, which is manifest in dreamer of Fireworks—the filmmaker to later add that “this flick is all I have to say about being seventeen, the United States Navy, American Christmas and the Fourth of July”—and is scored with the tone poem Pines of Rome by Ottorino Respighi. American sexologist Alfred Kinsey bought the film’s original print, and although the first cinema owner who screened it was arrested on obscenity charges, the case was overturned on appeal by the Supreme Court of California, ruling that homosexuality—even overtly referenced—was a valid theme for artistic expression.

Thursday 10 August 2023

7x7 (10. 934)

latent stage—this is where boys and doing boy stuff, girls are doing girl stuff and most children typically purchase their second firearm: the state of Florida’s revised psychology advanced placement curriculum

songs in the key of z: a documentary about outsider musician Peter Grudzien who recorded one of the first gay country albums  

savey meal-bot: a frugal-minded grocery store app gives out a recipe for deadly chlorine gas  

the judgment of cambyses: documenting the thirty-eight luxury vacations that other billionaires have treated US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas to—via Kottkesee previously  

lฤhainฤ: wildfires engulf the historic royal capital of Hawaii with dozens killed on the island of Maui 

the green m&m: Steven Miller of America First Legal complains that Kellogg’s is sexualising its products, violating federal statues by promoting diversity in its workforce—see previously 

handmaid’s tale: professors and teachers’ union challenge laws that forbid the teaching of reproductive rights

Sunday 30 July 2023

chick tracts (10. 914)

99% Invisible turns our attention to a strange and virulent form of evangelising in the form of an oddly collectible and exhaustive series of Christian comics from erstwhile cartoonist and Born-Again Jack Thomas Chick. First published in the 1960s from its headquarters in Rancho Cucamonga, California and continuing through to today, this pocket-sized artefact of conservative mainstream Protestant theology that’s become a self-parody veered at times to hate-speech and attacked Catholics, Masons, queer-people, socialists, Communists, drug-users, trick-or-treaters (collect them all!) and denounced non-conformists and non-Christian faiths as devil-worshipping as well as stoking ugly conspiracy theories and paranoia. The back-panel of each tract includes a blank spaces for churches to stamp their name and contact information as well as a bespoke salvation prayer for sinners to recant their ways. More at the links above. 


one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago: the Norse goddess Freyja plus recreating classic screen-savers

three years ago: the microcars of Robert Hannoyer, pioneering oceanographer Marie Tharp, special edition Canadian coins,  fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto (RIP), St Hatebrand plus the rich tradition of Japanese souvenirs

four years ago: algorithmically-directed decisions and the architecture of choice, disruptive jewellery plus non-overlapping magisteria

five years ago: Outsider Art from Austria, BBC’s sound archives plus building a Martian base in situ

Sunday 23 July 2023

9x9 (10. 901)

effective altruism: FTX lobbyist tried to purchase the island nation of Nauru as a doomsday bunker and create a genetically enhanced human species  

getting drunk at a disco: 1977 found footage of an evening not necessarily going downhill 

this is not a love poem: a round-up of favourites that are not all lovey-dovey—via tmn  

rambler: a collection of illustrated exteriors of California ranch homes—see also

1975: Kuala Lumpur authorities shut down the Good Vibes festival after headliner Matty Healy criticised Malaysia’s anti-LGBTQ+ laws  

point of no return: time is running out on the Climate Clock  

stooping: trend adopted by Chinese young people involves decorating with cast-off furniture left by the curb 

smokey, this is not ‘nam—this is bowling, there are rules: Big Lebowski (previously) inspired bowling alley via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to explore there) 

typoglycemia: bypassing chatbot’s ethical subroutines using word scrambling and transposed letters

Friday 30 June 2023

nacht der langen messer (10. 847)

Beginning on this evening in 1934 and lasting through 2 July, Hermann Gรถring and Heinrich Himmler urged Chancellor Adolf Hitler to pursue a series of executions in order to consolidate power and legitimacy and eliminate the Sturmabteilung (SA), the autonomous stormtroopers who protected Nazi assemblies and disrupted meetings of opposition parties under the leadership of Ernst Rรถhm, replaced by the group carrying out the killings, the Schutzsaffel (SS) under instigator Himmler.

Though Rรถhm was loyal to the end, the murders were presented in response to an imminent coup (Putsch) by the SA. Though useful idiots, their thuggish (and homosocial and homosexual behaviour) and often resorting to street violence was seen as bad public-relations and the regular army which saw this paramilitary organisation as rivals, and the purge resulting in the murder of some eighty-five individuals was undertaken, expanded to eliminate critics and loyalist to the old order with hundreds arrested and detained, Hitler personally paying a surprise call at the resort outside of Munich where Rรถhm and many of his were staying. Justifying his extrajudicial killings in a speech broadcast from the Reichstag, Hitler defended his actions: 

If anyone reproaches me, and asks why I did not resort to the regular courts of justice, then all I can say is this: In this hour I was responsible for the fate of the German people, and thereby I became the supreme judge of the German people. I gave the order to shoot the ringleaders in this treason, and I further gave the order to cauterise to the raw flesh the ulcers of this poisoning of the wells in our domestic life. Let the nation know that its existence—which depends on its internal order and security—cannot be threatened with such impunity by anyone! And let it be known for all time to come that if anyone raises his hand to strike the State, then certain death is his lot.

The association of treachery and retribution has been associated as such since the fifth century when an Anglo-Saxon settlement was attacked by a local warlord during a peace discussion which resulted in massacre and became the oft-cited metonym twyll y cyllyll hirion or the Deceit of the Long Knives.

biden v nebraska (10. 846)

In a succession of more punching down, the US Supreme Court has struck down the Biden administration’s signature student loan forgiveness programme meaning millions of indebted borrowers burdened. Along the political leanings of the justices, they ruled that federal law does not authorise the Department of Education the right to reduce or discharge loans taken out to cover tuition fees that have become exorbitant, impacting the personal economies of some one in eight citizens, some forty million Americans. The suit, the plaintiff being one of the largest student debt servicers, alleged that erasing the financial obligations would impair its ability to offer future aid to college students and was a “direct injury to the host state itself.” The dissenting argument pointed out that the states (mostly Republican dominated ones that wanted to kneecap this perceived concession to young voters for transparently political reasons) did not have a right to sue and the court was overreaching its mandate by hearing it at all. Repayments are expected to resume in October.  In the same session, the court also struck down a law preventing businesses from discriminating against LGBTQI+ individuals.


one year ago: the standoff at Snake Island, International Asteroid Day, document 5 (1972) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more links worth the revisit, leap seconds introduced (1972) plus the history of stereotype

three years ago: French video-text service (1980),  happy birthday Kate Bush and Emily Brontรซ, the first dada exhibition (1920), a car by Raymond Loewy plus more Japanese yลkai

four years ago: burning draft cards plus a Thunderbirds hotel in Slough

five years ago: Marybel the Doll that Gets Well plus mothballed commemorative statues of the US presidents

Saturday 24 June 2023

zeg de mensen dat homoseksuelen niet per definitie zwakkelingen zijn (10. 829)

Through his portfolio, Europeana presents a profile in Zivilcourage from the very open author and artist Willem Arondรฉus, who designed murals for various Dutch city halls and redesigns of coats-of-arms as well as illustration work before turning his interests towards poetry, writing and reporting and eventually turning his talents to the anti-Nazi resistance movement under the occupation, forging identity papers and establishing an underground periodical. He worked in concert through much of this period with conductor, cellist and prominent lesbian Frieda Belinfante. In March of 1943, Arondรฉus joined a conspiracy to bomb the Amsterdam public records office to thwart the Nazis ability to identify Jews and others. The group was apprehended months later and thanks to Arondรฉus’ guilty plea and accepting blame for the entire plan may have spared some of the members from execution, a few remanded to custody, but Arondรฉus himself and thirteen others were tried and sentenced, murdered by the Nazis on the first of July, with his last defiant words (wanting it to be known that he and two other co-conspirators were gay) relayed as, “Tell people that homosexuals are not cowards.” The liberated government of the Netherlands honoured him through a posthumous medal to his family in 1945 with broader recognition in the decades to follow.


one year ago: Germany lifts abortion restrictions as US Supreme Court overturns Roe v Wade plus a river cruise on the Rhein 

two years ago: the works of Robert Rotar, a Roman holiday, the Lullus bell cast in 1038, assorted links to revisit plus Cubist cars

three years ago: a concert for houseplants, the Battle of Bamber Bridge (1943), COVID-era travel restrictions plus Ford’s Futurama (1939)

four years ago: the Canadian National anthem (1880) plus more on warming stripes

five years ago: places not to die, the camera used in NASA missions—in LEGO form plus David Bowie as sea slugs

Monday 19 June 2023

come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab (10. 819)

Preview performances given at a couple of other venues earlier in the week, the B-movie, schlock horror musical—see previously—by Richard O’Brien opened on this day in the experimental space, “upstairs,” at the Royal Court Theatre in Chelsea, under the direction of Jim Sharman, renowned stage producer for his earlier work on Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. The show ran for seven years, approaching three thousand performances, and the original cast whom crossed over into the 1975 cinematic adaptation included the starring roles of Tim Curry as Dr Frank N Furter, Patricia Quinn as Magenta the Usherette and O’Brien himself as Riff Raff.


one year ago: Juneteenth, assorted links worth revisiting, Saints Gervasius and Protasius plus an early home office set-up 

two years ago: rendered realities plus generated fabric patterns

three years ago: ecclesiastical courts, more dazzle camouflage, Trump censored for his social media posts plus a queen bee’s performance

Sunday 18 June 2023

human computer (10. 817)

Despite a posthumous and four-decade late official acknowledgement by the world records authority, Shakuntala Devi (เฒถเฒ•ುಂเฒคเฒฒಾ เฒฆೇเฒตಿ), nonetheless a celebrated author, mental calculator, political opponent to Indira Ganhdi in parliamentary elections after her prime-ministership and astrologer—without any formal education (though born into the Brahmin caste her father was a circus performer, a trapeze artist and lion tamer before taking his prodigious daughter on tour), achieved her record setting calculation on this day in 1980 at Imperial College, London, multiplying two randomly-generated thirteen digit numbers in under half-a-minute, rivalling the processing times of contemporary computers. In addition to authoring several books on arithmetic to teach people some of her methods for simplifying and intuiting solutions, including Figuring: The Joy of Numbers, Devi also wrote several cookbooks, crime novels and a rather controversial though suppressed and not widely and first study on homosexuality in India (which possibly delayed recognition by Guinness), written in order to understand her gay husband and to better understand the community.

Saturday 17 June 2023

drag race (10. 813)

Spotted earlier and thought even for corporate inclusively and arguably once-a-year rainbow washing it was too good not pass up, especially considering the frothing assault directed towards other companies for their Pride Month campaigns—but learned that this promotion was from last summer. Though apparently more subdued (we can’t recall the furore), it wasn’t received with out controversy from dismissal to outrage and without explicitly addressing the contemporary developments, the outreach was believed to prompted by inviting the governor Greg Abbott to officiate pre-race rituals and waving the the green starter flag for the All-Star Rally at the Texas Motor Speedway just following his announcement directly state agencies to investigate gender-affirming therapies for transgender individuals, a decision which NASCAR later recanted. Still an ongoing and escalating attack, I hope they’re launching a bigger one this year.


one year ago: the continuing voyages of Star Trek: The Animated Series, the Watergate Break-In (1972), plus assorted links worth revisiting 

two years ago: Iceland makes it easier to change one’s matronymic, patronymic and gender markers, the introduction of ASCII (1963), Sons of Kemet, plus calendar conventions

three years ago: the East German Uprising of 1953, the US judiciary’s agenda against LGBTQ+ individuals, Beyond the Valley of the Dolls (1953), plus a Prayer for Relief

Saturday 10 June 2023

8x8 (10. 799)

within the wok’s embrace, the dance begins, as secrets blend with savoury sins: Scott D Seligman asked ChatGPT for a pad thai recipe in the style of Emily Dickinson and got an epic 

dockhands: the latest line from Faith O’Hare is inspired by the workwear of the shipyards of the Cylde

hongmeng project: China’s space agency is placing a ring of telescopes in orbit around the Moon to explore the cosmic Dark Age just after the Big Bang  

take care now: inclusive Pride post by Cracker Barrel provokes conservative fury over the loss of this family-friendly bastion—see previously 

reference material: Ars Technica contributor Benj Edwards purchased a copy of the only encyclopaedia still in print  

supergranulation: Parker probe exploring the Sun offers science clues on the origin of solar wind 

blitz kids: a celebration of the fashion of Gary Kemp and Spandau Ballet—previously here and here

 expandart: B3ta community teaching AI how to think beyond the frame—see previously—via Waxy

Wednesday 7 June 2023

6x6 (10. 792)

extremadura: BBC Reel has more on the disappearance of the Tartessos civilisation—freighted with myth and legend—at the edge of the known world

uspto: strengthening the case for junk patents could severely stifle innovation in America—see also—via the new shelton wet/dry  

crowbox: an experimental platform for the autonomous education of corvids—see previously 

l’agence tous risques: the title them for the A-Team on French television had jaunty little lyrics—see also—via Super Punch 

know before you go: the Human Rights Campaign joining others in declaring a state of emergency and issuing travel warnings for LGBTQ+ people in the US  

pogostemon cablin: ancient vial of Roman perfume identified as patchouli oil

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

Friday 2 June 2023

7x7 (10. 782)

court of last resort: Propublica presents a guide to potential imperilled rights in the US—via Waxy 

e. o. 9066: George Takei recalls growing up in a Japanese-American internment camp—see previously

velben goods: the concierge to the world’s rich and powerful—see also  

mermen: the increasing popularity of underwater performances in China—see previously 

stumbling block: in a simulation, an AI-controlled drone kills its human handler because that individual was thwarting its achieving mission objectives, later apparently walked back  

rainbow crusaders: a more inclusive examination of heroism during World War II 

legislate guns not makeup: a roster of state houses poised to adopt bans on drag performers

Sunday 28 May 2023

7x7 (10. 771)

schachtรผrke: a fraudulent chess-playing automaton launched the AI debate in 1770 

bart: the San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit has new anime mascots—each of the characters has a backstory 

pattiegonia: facing the expected backlash from staunch conservatives after featuring a drag star in their ads, the North Face refused to back down—this is not a white flag 

beyond the yellow brick road: the reading that The Wizard of Oz is a Populist political allegory is kind of an incoherent mess, suggested over six decades after it was written—via Strange Company  

buena vista social club: a restored, enhanced 1972 tour of Disney World 

priority road: one individual’s quest to document the unusual, confusing traffic signs of Japan  

lexus nexus: lawyer turns to ChatGPT for help in finding precedence a client’s case, citing a wholly fabricated disputes and settlements—via Waxysee also