Sunday 10 March 2024

counter culture (11. 413)

The revitalised linkroll of Mx Tynehorne’s cabinet of hypertext curiosities reminds of another venerable old school Wunderkammer, very much en vivant and worth checking out on a regular basis, in the aperiodic blog of Peter Blinn, Curious Notions. Covering anniversaries and superlatives and obscure but useful tools in the main, it’s easy to get lost down a rabbit hole of shifting and surprising facts, which is undoubtedly a good feature for this sort of curation. Starting with a Monty Python-inspired cheesemongers’ survey of the rarest and most precious varieties just published for us turophiles, we learn that the among the most dear are traditionally caciocavallo—that is, transported by horseback, and derived from the milk of donkeys, derived from a tiny herd in the Balkans, a small-batch production influenced by folkways and the fact that the milk of an asinine jenny is counted as one of the leanest in the mammal family and produce sparingly compared to bovine sources.

Friday 9 February 2024

lady wonder (11. 334)

Born on this day in 1924 and later adopted as a weeks’ old filly by Clarence and Claudia Fonda of Richmond, Virginia, and trained by Mrs Fonda with children’s lettered wooden blocks before graduating to an oversized custom typewriter in hopes of establishing equine-human communication—see also—Lady Wonder was one of a number of famous clairvoyant horses, making several predictions for a massive visiting public over the course of the mare’s long life. The outcome of boxing matches, turns in the stock-market, presidential elections (credited with picking the winner for everyone for nearly three decades except Truman’s victory over Dewey, which pollsters and prognosticators couldn’t have guessed were popular subjects but also participated in police investigations, helping lead authorities to missing persons and solving cold cases. Though some skeptics concluded otherwise, parapsychologist J B Rhine assessed Lady Wonder’s psychic abilities, finding that telepathy and extrasensory perception were the only possible explanations. In 1952, the horse shared a by-line in Life magazine on an article about herself and other gifted animals.


one year ago: colour-coding the Periodic Table plus an omnibus of Olympic pictographs
two years ago: assorted links to revisit, a 1982 hit from Trio plus more of the shorthand of Charles Dickens

three years ago: your daily demon: Andrealphus plus more links to enjoy

four years ago: an ancient game piece plus “splendid isolation

Saturday 27 January 2024

horsey horseless (11. 299)

Through his 1899 patent for the above automobile mast or grill that fronted the steed of a horsed-carriage to cause less distress in mixed traffic, we are acquainted with the figure of Uriah Smith, Seventh Day Adventist minister, hymnodist, inventor and abolition and pacifism advocate. Disillusioned and disabused from religion following the Great Disappointment when the world did not end as foretold in prophesy but later joining the administration of the Advent church, contributing significantly to its theology and writing their own End Times eschatology, remaining in Battle Creek until expiring on his way to the office in 1903.

Sunday 2 April 2023

7x7 (10. 651)

spyvibe radio: The Man Called Flintstone and other cartoon-espionage crossovers  

hosanna, hin-nam: Palm Sunday from the donkey’s perspective—see previously  

made to order: a huge font specimen of a wide range of borders—see previously 

a1: a centenary of road numbering for the Ministry of Transportation 

rather fetching: canine portraits at London’s Wallace Collection  

sparkie williams: a very talkative budgie and other loquacious birds  

rabbit hole: new Kiefer Sutherland secret agent film channels vintage intelligence dramas

Saturday 18 March 2023

7x7 (10. 617)

aquifer: new research suggests that rocky exoplanets may have ways to sequester and protect their water until their host stars stabilise 

blogoversary: a very happy twenty-fifth to Kottke—home of fine hypertext products 

icc: the Hague issues an arrest warrant for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and accomplice over child trafficking, forced adoptions from Ukraine to occupied territories  

hee-haw: an appreciation of donkeys—by any name—see previously  

the jabalaires: the gospel group active from the 1930s to the 1950s that helped inform the development of rap music  

๐Ÿ‘: a selection of funny posts from Super Punch  

hot neptune: astronomers watch as an exoplanet has its atmosphere and ocean stripped away

Sunday 8 January 2023

if only they could talk (10. 397)

Based on the title novel by Glasgow veterinary surgeon Alf Wight (writing under the pseudonym James Herriot), Bill Sellars’ comedic drama series All Creatures Great and Small premiered on the BBC on this day in 1978. Running for a total of seven seasons and then rebooted in 2020, the show is set in 1930 Yorkshire uplands, it portrays the triumphs and challenges of a rural veterinary practise of Siegfried Farnon and the pseudonymous author.


Wednesday 15 June 2022

sallie gardner at a gallop

Using a battery of dozen cameras capturing a single image in rapid succession, shutters activated once an object crossed a trip wire and broke the electromagnet circuit, Eadweard Muybridge (previously) created the first motion picture at the race track of the Palo Alto Stock Farm. The horse belonged to former governor, businessman and philanthropist Leland Stanford and the site of the photo session is now part of the campus of his namesake university who had commissioned Muybridge to document his estate and to prove his theories on equine locomotion—that in fact all four hooves are off the ground at the same time. Projected later with his zoopraxiscope, Muybridge’s technical achievement inspired Thomas Edison to create the kinetoscope, an early type of movie camera.

Sunday 22 May 2022

per my last email

Courtesy of JWZ, we are treated to another campaign from Visit Iceland (see previously here and here) that invites travellers to relax and back up that Out-of-Office auto-reply by Out-Horsing one’s email and truly disconnect and enjoy vacation. Select equine understudies are equipped with giant keyboards to prance and stamp on and answer all one’s work inquiries. The tourism authorities campaign also highlights some of the outstanding natural beauty of the island and the their native breed of horses. More at the link above, including some video demonstrations.

Monday 9 May 2022


Whilst we wouldn’t forget that .horse is a viable web domain owing to the landing-page of the excellent Carrie Poppy (see previously), we appreciated being referred by Web Curios to this compendium of all websites registered with this particular suffix and anthology to explore. Unfortunately many are re-directs or seem to be moribund but that just means that a lot are still available, though sadly not

Sunday 24 April 2022

never look a gift horse in the mouth

Though this kind of exact date for something semi-legendary, laden with cultural baggage and millennia hence is notoriously hard to pin down, the attestation by among others Eratosthenes, polymath and librarian of Alexandria who calculated the circumference and axial tilt of Earth to a remarkable degree of accuracy (thanks in part to his access to extensive geological data at the library), traditionally places the Fall of Troy, the end of the decade-long siege of the impenetrable city by the Achaean armies when they were let into the gates, hiding inside a wooden horse, a ruse thought up by Odysseus—a creature sacred to the Trojans, on this day in 1183 BCE. Left on the beach as an offering for their return home, the Greeks had apparently decamped. Many were suspicious, including Cassandra and Laocoรถn—with of course no one listening to the former and the latter being devoured by a sea serpent along with his sons sent by Athena to keep the priest’s mouth shut but they ultimately decided to keep the horse and celebrated the end of their long blockade with an evening of drunken revelry. Most of the population was massacred in their sleep as the Greeks sacked the city—save for Aeneas who went on to found Rome in some traditions, with most of the Greeks also denied a safe homecoming by the gods for their atrocious behaviour as victors and for their desecration of temples and holy sites and were doomed to wrack and ruin.

Wednesday 24 November 2021

his grooms and companions, the autobiography of a horse

Though considered the foundational work of pony fiction--that genre of juvenile novels involving teens and learning equestrian skills—Anna Sewell’s final work published on this day in 1877 by Jarrold & Sons, Black Beauty, the first non-human memoir was not necessarily targeted to an audience of children. Instilling sympathy and respect for animals as well as people, the enduring best-seller recounts the stages of the narrator's life--first as a foal, a colt, then a working-horse pulling cabs whose hardships and experiences reflect those of his drivers and passengers in London before being put out to pasture for retirement.

Tuesday 1 June 2021

your daily demon: eligos

This fifteenth spirit on the demonological calendar is this infernal grand duke that presents in the form of a handsome knight armed with a lance, ensign and sceptre. With a smattering of strategy, Eligor knows the outcome of future wars and the encounters of armies. Depicted sometimes sat a gee, his ride (going by the variant name the Steed of Abigor) is a gift of Beelzebub and is reconstituted from one of the horses of the Garden of Eden after the Fall. Governing from today through 5 June, Eligos contols sixty legion and is opposed by the cherubim Hariel.

Thursday 14 January 2021

festum asinorum

On this day, medieval Christendom—though most popular in France—commemorated the Holy Family’s Flight into Egypt to with a celebration to honour all beasts-of-burden and donkey-related stories in the Bible, possibly as an extension of a Roman holiday called Cervula which had similar themes of inversion.

There were processions and plays including portrayals of Balaam and his Ass and associated prophesies, as well as general praise and reward for our asses—our friends’ obscure etymology in donkey and jenny likely an American aversion from the nineteenth century to say anything untoward and made up substitutions, see also. The day’s mass was concluded with the priest declaring instead of the customary Ite, misse est—it is done, you are dismissed to which the congregation replied Deo Gratias, from the pulpit the priest would bray, hinhannabit, three times with the response “Hinham, hinham, hinham.”

Saturday 5 December 2020

hobby-horse and the hoodening

Via the always intriguing Strange Company we are directed towards one explanation of the common apirition in the southern Welch Yuletide custom called Mari Lwyd (Y Fari Lwyd) of parading around a horse’s skull on a pole whilst draped with a cloak decorated with ribbons and sashes as an aspect of wassailing and ritual entreaties to one’s neighbours for food and drink—a sort of call-and-response called the pwngco. You’ve been pwn’d.  Some conjure it represents a remnant of once widespread mystery plays that featured a popular subgenre regarding Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt, with Mari Lwyd representing the donkey that bore Holy Mary—one proposed etymology, though this is disputed, with Grey Mare being more likely, especially given the preponderance of similar hooded animal parades spread across the British Isles that reflect a syncretion (see also) of ancient, pre-Christian rites. Much more detail about this custom at the link up top.

Tuesday 1 December 2020

รฉloi de noyon

Also known as Saint Eligius, the namesake of the hospital of the US television series St. Elsewhere (the nickname being a professional slang term for the practise of diverting less wealthy patients to poorly funded care centres and not in reference to the legendary surgery below), the patron most celebrated as protector of horses and those who work with them is venerated on this day, on the occasion of his death in 660 (*588). Chief counsel to Merovingian king Dagobert I, ร‰loi rose to prominence through virtuosity demonstrated in metalwork, richly framing members of the aristocracy and sepulchred dead with finery—also earning him the sponsorship of gold- and silversmiths, coin collectors and mechanical engineers—though reportedly eschewed any luxury himself and gave away all his wealth to the poor and used his court favour to distribute more alms. In his capacity as a blacksmith, ร‰loi once had to shod a recalcitrant horse who refused to cooperate. Convinced the horse was possessed by a demon, ร‰loi accomplished the task by miraculously dismembering each leg one at a time and reattaching them afterwards.

Saturday 12 September 2020

grotte de lascaux

Discovered by eighteen-year-old Marcel Ravidat and three friends when his dog, Robot, fell into a hole on this day in 1940, the four companions descended the fifteen-metre-deep shaft into the underground gallery believing it might be the legendary secret entrance to Lascaux Manor and were astounded to find the ancient cave paintings covering the walls.
The depictions dated at around seventeen thousand years old are produced with pigments that suggest an advanced knowledge of deriving colour compounds as well as an understanding of scale and perspective and include human activities, abstract symbols and a host of animals, felines, horses, bears, deer and aurochs. The site has been closed to the public since 1963 once it was determined that the influx of visitors was causing the rapid deterioration of the paintings though many at scale replicas have been created.

Friday 21 August 2020

castagno dei cento cavalli

In one of the first official acts recognising and treasuring the environment, the Royal Court of Sicilian Heritage (Tribunale dell’Ordine del Real Patrimonio di Sicilia) inscribed the Hundred Horse Chestnut into rolls of protected property on this day in 1745.
The four-thousand-year old tree on the eastern slopes of Mount Etna (perhaps owing its longevity to rich volcanic soil—all the more so because of its precarious location) is believed to be the oldest in existence. Recorded as having the greatest girth—having split into a grove multiple trunks above ground, the tree received its name after local lore relating that when Queen Juana I of Castilla (called La Loca) passed through with her large entourage of knights, the entire company was able to shelter under its boughs during a thunderstorm. This venerable tree is a sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa), whereas a horse chestnut is a close-cousin.

Sunday 15 March 2020

graffito blasfemo

Believed to be among the earliest surviving depictions of Jesus was rediscovered in 1857 through excavation work on the Palatine Hill of Rome at a site that was the palace of Caligula prior to becoming a finishing school and it during this phase of the structure’s history some pupil presumably etched the graffiti into the wall plaster depicting a young man prostrating to a donkey-headed figure on a crucifix with the caption, apparently meant to mock a fellow student, ฮ‘ฮ›ฮ• ฮพฮ‘ฮœฮ•ฮฮŸฯน ฯนฮ•ฮ’ฮ•ฮคฮ• ฯ‘ฮ•ฮŸฮ “Alexamos worships [his] god.” The standard method of execution until abolished by Constantine in the fourth century, Roman society found it incredulous that Christian would follow a figure so basely undone, conflated with the belief by contemporary Romans (around the second century) believed that Christians and other religious minorities practised onolatry—that is, donkey worship. In the next chamber, there is a seeming retort with no accompanying image but the inscription in Latin and by a different hand—presumably the victim of this ridicule: ฮ‘ฮ›ฮ•ฮพฮ‘ฮœฮ•ฮฮŸฯน FIDELIS—that is, Alexamenos is faithful.

Friday 8 November 2019


a gender-neutral zombie: representation is important, via Kottke’s Quick Links

flotsam and jetsam: an ingenious barrier of air bubbles traps plastic waste in Amsterdam’s canals

ok boomer: a powerful and withering epithet

rurikids and romanovs: traditional Russian female garb, via Everlasting Blรถrt

book of dreams: Argos back-catalogues from 1974 on, via Things Magazine

merijรครค: a combination of rare weather conditions converged to cover a beach on Bothnia bay with ice eggs

equine anatomy: rating every horse emoji across different platforms (see also), via Waxy

Wednesday 12 June 2019

now that’s a horse of a different colour

Though the title idiom is much older than what Dorothy exclaimed upon entering the Emerald City and pertains to horse-trading and how the coat can change colour as the animal matures and what’s listed in a registry may not match what’s before one’s eyes and is first cited as “a horse of that colour” by the duplicity maid Maria in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night (1601), we nonetheless enjoyed reading about the 1926 caper that a horseman of Scottish extraction nearly got away with at a race-track in Chicago.
Referred to as ringing in gamblers’ circles, the horseman, possessed of a special and nonpareil talent (sadly squandered on grift and crime) for a quick and convincing dye and rise, bleached and painted the thoroughbreds so that the track stewards and jockeys failed to notice when their horses were switched, handicapping the odds and virtually guaranteeing a big win. Targeting small, remote racing operations at first, the horse painter was able to skip town and evade repercussions once the truth was realised but luck eventually ran out with Pinkertons in hot pursuit.  Discover more hidden histories at Narratively at the link above.