Monday, 23 January 2023

6x6 (10. 492)

zhengyue 2: the second day of the Lunar New Year is considered the birthday of all dogs 

only took the m’f’er fifteen tries: Randy Rainbow lampoons Kevin McCartney with a parody of ‘Master of the House’ from Les Misรฉrables 

i shot the serif: US Department of State drops the typeface Times New Roman in favour of the more legible Calibri font  

yellow magic orchestra: watch performances by the Japanese group that created some of the most innovative and influential acts in electronic music  

odonymy: more open etymological street maps—see also  

tet: a short, hand-drawn game about cooking and serving a Vietnamese holiday meal—via Waxy

Saturday, 21 January 2023

7x7 (10. 484)

between two ferns: chats with “historical figures” have been regrettable—see previously

this concludes our broadcasting day: an alternate HBO signoff announcement (see previously) emerges  

nuscale for scale: US authorities approve design for the first generation of small, modular reactors  

all things bright and beautiful: a compelling argument to enjoy the All Creatures Great and Small reboot  

circular sun house: Frank Lloyd Wright’s final completed project (see also) on the edge of the Phoenix Mountains Nature Preserve goes on the market  

closed captioning: as a bilingual family, we always relied on subtitles and appreciated this primer on why we’re not alone  

content mill: CNET magazine suspends automated articles after an embarrassing disclosure

Saturday, 14 January 2023

this is fine (10. 416)

Via Waxy, we are directed to portfolio of webcomic author and cartoonist KC Green and their reflections on a decade since the “On Fire” featuring the dog (Question Hound he’s called) panel first appeared—originally in a series called Gunshow—and how when something becomes a meme, an idea that usually does not age well (anniversaries are bad for the internet, like cheugy was for a class of aesthetic) unlike other aspects of culture that become more refined with time, and as pervasive as this image and its statement, it’s become something for history and not a single byline any longer. Though at times harrying and overshadowing, Green is still able make a living doing what they prefer. This is fine.

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.

 

Sunday, 1 January 2023

oh don’t be stupid, darling—i’m sure they could send over a selection and i could pick one (10. 378)

There’s been a paucity of posts lately, but for a good reason: H and I adopted a New Year’s Baby from the animal shelter after a couple of weeks nearly daily visits to the Tierheim for walkies and a couple of day-excursions to get used to her new home. Animal welfare authorities in Germany take this business seriously and inspect future living arrangements to make sure they’re appropriate for the type of canine and decide by panel on prospective human parents.
She’s a rescue originally from Romania—my Mom made a reference to that episode of Absolutely Fabulous where Eddie threatens to adopt a Romanian baby to call Saffy’s bluff and forgets to stop proceedings—and we’re keeping the name the home gave her since it fits and she seems to respond to it, at least the cadence—but we’re not, in the interest of not having a future password breached, disclosing it other than to stay the staff picked a Street Fighter character as namesake.

Monday, 14 November 2022

antecedent and order of precedence (10. 304)

Having speculated on this oddly ridged yet unwritten rule on adjectival order in English which is not always intuitive for non-native speakers, we were quite taken with this obvious exception to the rule juxtaposing “big dumb hat” and “dumb little dog” posed to the Help Desk at Language Log. It’s a nuanced and complex answer to why “little dumb dog” sounds so out of place having to do mostly with stress and syllable count and constraints of subjectivity, a speaker’s tendency to want to distance more biased terms from what’s being described.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

8x8

turnspit: eccentric, utilitarian canine breeds that have passed out of fashion but could be revived—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see there) 

ball-and-chain: this leashless ankle weight system to control one’s toddler will only make baby invincible—via Super Punch  

miss spirit world 1960: a pageant sourced in spectral photography of the departed  

something—that if true, you couldn’t handle it: a close reading of the recently indicted QANon Shaman’s manifesto  

on รฉcrit aussi ielle: the authoritative French language Petit Robert adds a third, gender-neutral personal pronoun—a concatenation of the masculine and feminine forms (see also)  

the midnight special: eight hours of footage from David Bowie’s television programme the “The 1980 Floor Show,” an episode guest-curated by the artist  

hocus-pocus: the hidden overhauls happening the faรงades of Russian construction sites (see also)  

yes, this is dog: a video phone that allows apartment-bound dogs to call their humans

Saturday, 28 August 2021

8x8

letraset press: a collection of instant lettering dry-transfer sheets (see previously) from Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals 

the woman who stared at the sun: the circumstance and contributions to astronomy of Hisako Koyama who helped hone our understanding of solar cycles 

a good walk spoiled: an in-depth look at how golf course exacerbate the housing shortage  

couch gag: a clever individual shares their construction of a miniature replica of the Simpsons’ purple television set that plays random episodes 

one week supply: a podcast discussing Damn Interesting’s curated links section 

the china syndrome: a super-tunnel simulator that illustrates the quickest, shortest routes to connecting points around the globe—see also  

tartu snail tower: the spiralling skyscraper in Estonia’s second city  

the art of letters: a typographical study from Mark Gowing

Friday, 9 July 2021

animorphs

Before the internet came along to satisfy one’s past-life regression curiosities and fulfil other needs of course, there were toll hotlines such as the one featured from 1992 which, by answering a few basic questions on one’s telephone keypad, promised to reveal what historical personage one’s pet was the reincarnation of. What a delightful theological view on the transmigration of souls. More bizarre 900 number advertising spots to be found at the sub-reddit Obscure Media at the link above.

Thursday, 1 July 2021

the starlight barking

Via Messy Nessy Chic not only are we given an appreciated reading tip in the comforting writing style of I Capture the Castle and One Hundred and One Dalmatians author Dodie Smith (*1896 - †1990) we moreover learn that Smith also penned a sequel to the 1956 novel—which has nothing to do with the Disney adaptations. A bit reminiscent of the Jellicle cats, Lord Sirius (the Dog Star) comes to Earth after putting humans into a deep slumber and granting canines supernatural powers in order to prevent nuclear war.

Thursday, 10 June 2021

pups unlimited

Having recently learned about one individual’s ahead of its time efforts to create an all puppy cable channel for relaxing active viewing or comforting background noise that unfortunately never had its day though has been later realised a hundred-times over with a sorts of niche sites and moments of indulgence, we could appreciate arriving at this one venue via Pasa Bon! that fulfils the original vision. The platform allows one to cycle through the looping footage of dozens of dogs and puppies behaving in characteristically cute and charming ways. Below was the proposed station identification jingle for the sadly never established Puppy Channel.

Wednesday, 12 May 2021

dogs would be terrible poker players

Via the New Shelton wet/dry and introduced by the above irony that canine companions would have far too many tells to be successful gamblers, we are presented with the prejudice of our perceptions and the readiness of many to dismiss our feline friends as aloof despite a domestic bond—the only successfully asocial interspecies friendship we’ve managed—that’s endured for untold generations. Given the typical feline social structure and humans wanting to impose and expecting to imprint on our housemates, it’s little wonder that we misinterpret their signals and signs of affection. More relationship advice from the BBC at the link above.

Sunday, 27 September 2020

panda diplomacy

Via Nag on the Nag’s expertly curated Sunday Links (always a lot to explore here), we are introduced to the latest obsession, research rabbit hole from the contributors of Artsy magazine in this 1861 portrait of a pedigree Pekingese by German transplant painter Friedrich Wilhelm Keyl, who specialised in the subject and received many commissions from the court of Victoria and Albert. Though living a contented to all appearances and happy eleven more years in the lap of luxury, there’s a dark side to little Looty and her role as a political prop—sort of like Nixon’s Checkers speech.

Charmingly called after the diminutive for the spoils of war by the queen, this example of the exclusive companion breed reserved for the Imperial family of China was one of five Pekingese dogs found guarding the corpse of a lady who took her own life in 1860 as an Anglo-French exhibition force advanced on the Old Summer Palace (The Garden of Perfect Brightness and royal residence) and under the orders of Lord Elgin in retribution for an earlier failed peace treaty began to ransack the place at the height of the Second Opium War. The plunder and destruction took a force of four thousand men three days to carry out, owing to the palace’s monumental size. The sentimental portrait takes on new meaning when looking at it through the fraught historical context of colonialism and is still a matter that the European powers are coming to terms with. Not to be outdone by his father that stole the Marbles, Elgin’s (who also served as governors of Jamaica, Canada and India) wanton act forced the capitulation of the Qing Emperor and ceded the rest of the Kowloon Peninsula to the crown colony of Hong Kong. Posing before a Ming vase that was surely also part of the pilfered treasure, you can detect a hint of saudade and longing her eyes. We’d like to give back Looty her old name as well.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

saint guinefort

Venerated on this day and celebrated since the thirteenth century until the 1930s despite multiple and vehement prohibitions by the Church, this holiday marks our third recent iteration of dog-related saints (see previously here and here), albeit this one is our first actual canine.
The faithful greyhound of a knight living in the Dombes near Lyon, the knight left his infant son in Guinefort’s care one day when he needed to go on a hunting expedition. Of course the dog was a good and capable baby-sitter but there was a tragic misunderstanding: like the tale The Brahmin and the Mongoose, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, the knight returned to find the baby missing and Guinefort with bloody jaws. Assuming the worse, the knight smote Guinefort, realising only too late that the dog had saved the child, taking him to a secure spot and killed a viper. To make amends for their error, they interred Guinefort in a well and transformed it into a shire, a grotto with a grove of trees. Several miraculous interventions that saved infants and small children from harm are attributed to Guinefort and new parents often brought their children to be blessed at the well.

Monday, 6 April 2020

qwerty or ๐Ÿฆ†๐Ÿˆ๐Ÿ„๐Ÿฟ️๐Ÿฆƒ๐Ÿข

To our delight we discover that in the mid-1930s—in order to raise qualified typists Smith Corona introduced a portable unit with animals on the keys to make the exercise more kid-friendly plus a set of nine rings—one for each finger and the right thumb to drum the space bar, to teach touch-typing and reinforce and associate letters with their rows through muscle-memory—knowing that one should use the birdie finger, doggie finger, etc, rather than by hunting and pecking. The most ambitious tutorial toy of its age, the typewriter looked to have promising Christmas sales the year it premiered but the Great Depression rather put a damper on further production and idea was abandoned to be championed later in other forms.