Thursday 21 March 2024

eo 9835 (11. 439)

Also knowns as the “Loyalty Order” and instituted to combat supposed communist infiltration in the echelons of the federal government, the executive order was issued by US president Harry S Truman on this day, primarily in response to criticism that the Democrat administration had been too lax about suppressing Soviet influence, fuelled by ongoing investigations by the House Un-American Activities Committee. Although Truman hoped that this move might placate his dissenters, it quickly snowballed, leading to the creation of the Attorney General’s List of Subversive Organisations and a sweeping FBI inquiry of all three million federal employees—three hundred were ultimately dismissed as security liabilities—warranting further research if the subject was disposed to disloyalty in the form of sabotage, espionage, treason, sedition or advocacy thereof. The order was ultimately revoked in stages by Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter and repealed entirely under Bill Clinton in 1988, eliminating fealty in favour of allegiance, which had become entrenched as discriminatory hiring policies that barred gay individuals from foreign service positions and that required that gay charitable and educational organisations applying for a tax exempt status with the Internal Revenue Service publicly disclaim that homosexuality was a “sickness, disturbance or a diseased pathology.”

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

Wednesday 31 January 2024

nichts der homosexuelle ist pervers, sondern die situation, in der er lebt (11. 308)

Having premiered at the at the Berlin International Film Festival the prior year, Rosa von Praunheim’s It Is Not the Homosexual Who Is Perverse But Rather the Society in Which He Lives was broadcast for the first time on the television network Westdeutschen Runk on this day in 1972, the exposure to a wider audience considered emancipatory and resounding globally helped informed the Lesbian and gay rights movements in Germany and the rest of Europe and encouraged individuals, particularly following the liberalisation of Section 175 in 1969 of the German Criminal Code (see previously), to come out of hiding and be seen in a society becoming more tolerant and accepting. Despite criticisms that the film itself was not very good or revelatory (since reappraised for its historical and socio-political influence)—the narrative of a country boy meeting a city boy that in the capital is honest but perhaps not the most ingratiating with promiscuity thwarting attempts to copy the heteronormative lifestyle, though ultimately leading to community activism—it has had an enduring and impactful legacy. Watch the entire film with English subtitles here.


one year ago: the first McDonald’s in Moscow (1990) plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: more on the International Geophysical Year, St Geminianus plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: advocating a base-eight system, the Winter Soldier Investigations (1971) plus the first chimpanzee in space (1961)

four years ago: ancient aliens and the Gorn Hegemony, the UK leaves the EU, hidden thread plus Primal Scream (2000)

five years ago: a monument to Scrabble plus division bells

Tuesday 16 January 2024

latrinalia (11. 272)

Via the peripatetic online explorations of Messy Nessy Chic, we are referred to the doodle books, Klotterbรถckers—a five volume collection, of Stockholmer Bengt Claudelin, professionally an assistant to a wealthy art-collecting countess (whom eventually bequeathed her collection along with Claudelin’s research to the state though first censored then forgotten in the archives), of the graffiti in public conveniences, documented in his free time. There’s the usual toilet humour and bragging (see also for another ethnographic study) but an overwhelming preponderance of propositioning and profusion of male prostitution. Although the entries (often illustrated which Claudelin faithfully copied) are anonymous—one group in particular stood out: soldiers, for whom it was not uncommon almost a century earlier to offer sexual favours for sale, particularly given the low wages and dearth of obligations during the duty week, to have some extra spending money for the weekend and a proper date. Claudelin’s patron, Wilhelmina Hallwyl, donated her home and collection on the condition that it would remain unchanged and always kept together in 1922, offering like her secretary’s hobby, a unique insight into the lifestyle of the Swedish nobility of the era.

Saturday 6 January 2024

you can get yourself clean, you can have a good meal, you can do whatever you feel (11. 247)

Topping out at number two on Billboard around the same time, the Village People’s only single from their 1978 studio album Cruisin’ reached number one on the UK charts on this day in 1979. Rhythmically complex and with lyrics full of double-entendre, the singer-songwriter Victor Willis has affirmed that the song is to be understood on many levels and not just a celebratory anthem but also praising the diversity that the organisation fostered, the boarding house function originally founded in the 1880s to provide affordable rooms for people from rural areas coming into the cities to look for work had by the time the song was composed had seen a demographic shift to the unhomed urban population and displaced youth cohabitating with the older, more typical tenants, with a not insignificant proportion who were gay. Initially, the YMCA was going to sue the band for besmirching their name but later settled and came to embrace the enduring number for singing the praises of the institution. Inscribed by the US Library of Congress into the National Recording Registry as culturally important and “proof that disco never truly died,” the number and routine is a popular cheer for sporting events and over the eventual objection of The Village People, featured in Donald Trump’s campaign rallies—see also. Once defeated, YMCA was adopted by supporters of his challenger Joe Biden and was blasted on loudspeakers as Trump boarded Air Force One for the last time to leave Washington ahead of the inauguration of his successor.


one year ago: assorted links worth revisiting plus FDR’s Four Freedoms (1941)

two years ago: a figure skater assaulted (1994), Soylent Green (1973) plus the Night of the Big Wind (1839)

three years ago: your daily demon: Amy, photographer Ute Mahler, more links to enjoy, the South Sea Bubble, an airline safety campaign, the Bad Drawing Club plus the US Capitol stormed

four years ago: US threatens Iran, First Nations’ custom emoji plus artists’ final works

five years ago: more links to visit

Friday 22 December 2023

one summer never begins, one summer never begins (11. 206)

Featuring the acting talents of Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and Katherine Hepburn, the cinematic adaptation of Tennessee Williams’ play of the same name (screenplay by Gore Vidal), the last in a trilogy to get the treatment for the silver screen of works dealing with homosexuality, following A Streetcar Named Desire and A Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, premiered on this day in 1965, as our faithful chronicler informs. Under the direction of Joseph L Mankiewicz, special dispensation was granted by the National Legion of Decency and the Motion Picture Production Code administration to depict—decidedly off-screen—the perversion of one of the main characters since it dealt with the lifestyle choice as a tragic flaw and leading to his own downfall. Reviewed by some as one of the more bizarre films to come out of Hollywood, the narrative centres around a prospective lobotomy (to hide the embarrassing truth) for the niece of a wealthy young woman after witnessing the violent and inconvenient death of her cousin whilst vacationing in Spain the previous holiday season. Her cousin uses her as bait to attract young men in desperate situations as his own conquests to much success. When planning to depart, however, the fleeing visitors are pursued by a gang of past lovers until finally her cousin is cornered only to be ripped apart and consumed. Despite somewhat similar themes of loss and transformation and coincidentally released during the same month as Williams’ death in 1983, the Motels—having never seen the movie nor the play—chose the title for its alliterative quality.

Monday 18 December 2023

looking for his love and mercy should not be subject to an exhaustive moral analysis as a precondition to receiving it (11. 192)

Reversing a 2021 ruling that characterised such relationships as not conforming with God’s plan for matrimony and family, the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith expounding on a missive sent to two conservative cardinals by the Pope which suggested that blessings could be offered by priests to same-sex couples—and those in “irregular situations”—in limited circumstances decreed that such benedictions, at the discretion of ordained ministers, could be offered freely and without stint (see also) provided that conferring of them could not be confused with the sacrament of marriage and resemble the rituals associated with it. 


one year ago: a Paul Rand Christmas

two years ago: Assassins (1990), St Winibald plus pingxiety illustrated

three years ago: St Sebastian, The Nutcracker (1892) plus a special Nativity Scene for the Vatican

four years ago: the moons of Saturn plus the self-injuring Anglo-Saxons

five years ago: postage art, a clock that requires maths plus a miniaturising ray

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