Monday 5 February 2024

good boys (11. 325)

Via Nag on the Lake and Memo of the Air, we enjoyed these collection of canine figurines from ancient Assyria, circa 650 BC, with the dogs’ names inscribed on them, and they are some rather epic monikers, including Muลกฤ“แนฃu Lemnลซti, “Expeller of Evil” and Dan Rigiลกลกu, “Loud is his bark,” probably carved in the Ashuriscript rather than the older cuniform. While perhaps more to the point than these other pet names, we liked contrasting it with this list of medieval ones for one’s furry companions.

 synchronoptica

one year ago: a Chinese spy balloon in US skies, the border reopens between Gibraltar and Spain (1985), Tomorrowland, assorted links worth revisiting plus graphing calculator emulators

two years ago: Laker Airways, more links to enjoy, Telegram Sam (1972) plus more AI Valentines

three years ago: a Bubble Palace, more Tulip Mania, MTV’s Liquid Television plus the @-sign

four years ago: the State of the Union,  one hundred years of the Greenwich Time Signal plus outsider artist James Edward Deeds, Jr

five years ago: United Artists (1919),  more links worth the revisit plus snow-rollers

Monday 1 January 2024

spoiler alert (11. 235)

Turning our attention to past movies set in the then future of our present (hopefully not prophetic), the first round goes to the 1975 darkly, problematically comedic post-apocalyptic adaptation of the Harlan Ellison novella of the same name. A teenager portrayed by Don Johnson (Miami Vice) scavenges through the wastelands of the US southwest following a nuclear war accompanied by his telepathic dog (voiced by Tim McIntire). Orphaned at an early age with no formal education or socialisation, the adolescent is focused on survival, interested solely in food and sex—conquests secured with the aid of his canine companion in exchange for meals as the genetic modifications that bestowed super-intelligence leaves him incapable of tasks like hunting. After numerous run-ins with bandits, mutants and rogue androids, the teenager is eventually recruited by an aristocratic scout of a subterranean colony as a stud to help with low viable breeding population. A preview and links to the whole movie available at Weird Universe above.  Most other selections seemed to be based in 2024 for purely arbitrary reasons and only two to three years behind when they were produced—with the exception of the 1999 Josef Rusnak and Roland Emmerich vehicle that was overshadowed by the similarly themed Matrix and was a victim to the strange echo-phenomena of “twin films”that sometimes happens in Hollywood (due to screenplay shopping and submission to multiple studios, industrial secrecy and espionage), like the asteroid flicks Armageddon and Deep Impact, Dante’s Peak and Volcano, 1981’s The Howling, Wolfen and An American Werewolf in London, Olympus Has Fallen and White House Down, or on stage Godspell and Jesus Christ Superstar. A multibillion dollar computer company in then present-day Los Angeles is experimenting with a virtual reality simulation of the city in 1937 populated by individuals unaware that they are part of a program. Entering the simulation in order to solve the mysterious death of the company CEO, the protagonist and heir to the enterprise (and a prime suspect) finds clues that lead to the revelation that thousands of parallel virtual worlds exist but there is only one reality whose inhabitants have developed a virtual world of their own, but having a pocket metaverse within another does not necessarily result in privilege or insight. The protagonist disconnects and emerges into reality advanced a quarter of a century.

Friday 22 December 2023

copycat (11. 205)

Born on this day in 2001, the product of a collaboration between researchers at Texas A&M (Agricultural and Mechanical College) University and Genetic Savings & Clone, Inc, a brown tabby kitten called CC was the world’s first clone pet. A demonstration project to see if it was commercially viable and safe, CC—pictured with her genetic donor, Rainbow (bottom centre), displays an interesting discrepancy in the calico pattern due to random differences in tortoiseshell phenotypes from epigenetic re-programming on implantation (having dispensed with the usual determinants of fertilisation), lived a healthy and happy life, a perfectly normal feline giving birth to her own litter of kittens in 2006, dying aged eighteen years in March of 2020, still residing in the laboratory in College Station with her human caretakers.

Sunday 5 November 2023

9x9 (11. 097)

falling for fall: an epic attempt to capture the Christian Girl Autumn aesthetic—via the morning news  

paradox: NASA climate group issues a bleak warning on climate change—controversially suggesting that a reduction in aerosol pollution will accelerate warming 

the hunting of the earl of rone: one individual’s quest to catalogue the folkways and traditions of the United Kingdom  

they’re all good dogs: the winners of the annual world canine photography award presented—plus a bonus vocabulary term for one who is favourably disposed to dogs—via Nag on the Lake  

ja-da, ja-da, ja-da, jing jing jing: a soothing 1918 jazz standard covered for decades after  

mechanical turk: exposing autonomous cars’ vast human support network to maintain an illusion of safety, reliability 

roll on: a clever phonophore logo for a transport and logistics company in Hong Kong 

cape canaveral: a 3D animated billboard recounts the chronology of the Kennedy Space Centre 

momiji tunnel: a stunning section of the Eizan railway showcases the turning foliage—via the ever excellent Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links

 synchronoptica

one year ago: the Gun Powder Plot, a Commodore accordion, more McMansion Hell plus a Wikipedia list of common fallacies

two years ago: the Saint Felix Flood (1530) 

three years ago: a tri-lingual dictionary (1499), a flashpoint labour strike (1916), a sรฉance on a wet afternoon plus the Rebel Rabbit GIF

four years ago: more on Guy Fawkes, Voyager 2 leaves the Solar System, ghoulish guacamole plus Facebook’s shift to the right

five years ago: representative Shirley Chisholm, an ancient boardgame, photographer Denise Scott Brown, words for the Winter Blues plus mapping the US mid-terms

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

Saturday 27 May 2023

pompon (10. 767)

Whilst only expected to fetch about five thousand dollars at auction, a portrait of one of favourite canine companions by Jacques Barthรฉlรฉmy Delamarre (the eighteenth century painter whose portfolio limited to pictures of this dog with shaved hindquarters and few other studies of cats and rabbits and not to be confused with Joseph Ducreux—though equally meme-worthy) commanded over a quarter of a million. Not much is known about either the artist or the subject, that is believed to be a Cavalier King Charles—other than the French queen kept a menagerie of pets and this one is as elaborately coiffed as their human, though unclear if they shared the same political views, see also.

Monday 1 May 2023

8x8 (10. 711)

time in a bottle: individuals turning turning care and attention into currency  

composition as explanation: daily it’s harder to decide if AI is a collaborative tool or a time bomb  

zoonomia: researchers sequence the genome of sixty-five hundred species—plus Balto, the heroic sled dog of the 1925 Serum Run 

back to the drawing board: researchers at Linkรถping University have engineered a functional wooden resistor—see previously—via Damn Interesting’s Curated Links  

occupancy rate: a tour of the empty City of London  

so for you, it’s insects, tap-water and celibacy: examining how bad ousted Fox News host Tucker Carlson was for the environment and speculation on who might take up that mantle next 

deep dreaming: on chatbot hallucinations and the first usage of the sense in 1540 by the ryght rodolent & rotounde rethorician R Smyth  

worth1000: a time capsule camera that composes a detailed written description of ones photos with a ticketed invitation to revisit them at a future date

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

Friday 24 March 2023

jeff’s collie (10. 632)

Rather incongruously airing since 1954, the final, five-hundredth ninety-first episode of the Lassie franchise was broadcast on this day in 1973. Over nineteen seasons, the arc of narrative is broken generally into five segments—“The Miller Years,” “The Martin Years”—based on ownership with Lassie later the ward of forest rangers, on her own in 1970 without explanation traveling the country and helping out other animals and the final two years of programming in syndication—cancelled later that same year of wandering as part of the so called “rural purge” of network television to unburden themselves from still popular yet perhaps patronising, nostalgic shows set pointedly outside of urban and suburban settings, including Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Hee Haw and Petticoat Junction—taking place at the Holden Ranch for troubled children.

Sunday 19 February 2023

7x7 (10. 559)

wolf-whistle: the lexical corpus of canines and US supreme court justices  

deportment: how to act around books  

meres, lochs and llyns: regional variations in names for alleys and narrow walkways in the UK  

linkboy: living in a Dark Sky area, we enjoyed reading about the first town’s to be certified embracing that honour—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links—which is also the source of the expression ‘cannot hold a candle to’ 

official state crap: legislature of New Mexico introduces a bill to create a state aroma, the first of its kind 

cher and charo: a duet of “America” from West Side Story—see previously  

nachtrรคglichkeit: Jude Stewart on sticking with German and the pursuit on bilingualism

Sunday 5 February 2023

9x9 (10. 527)

famous one hundred twenty-three metre spire of salisbury cathedral: Polish coast guard rescues divers near critical infrastructure who were searching for amber 

macroagression: some GOP members in the US congress have switched their American flag lapels for tiny assault rifles—see also  

backbox: watch composer and sound designer Suzanne Ciani, Diva of the Diode, create a soundscape for a pinball game  

donks: a new animated short from Felix Colgrave explores lost cargo, avatars and adaptive bottom feeders  

mastodon flock: find your following—via Waxy  

cel-ray: a peppery, celery soda that one can still find for sale  

rosetta stone: two trilingual ancient clay tablets rediscovered help scholars decipher a lost Canaanite script  

brought down by the left-wing economic establishment: Liz Truss attempts to revive her political career with a long screed in the Sunday Telegraph  

sรฆstrengur: Iceland developing contingency plans in case the undersea cables connecting it to the rest of the world are severed

Saturday 4 February 2023

gassi gehen (10. 522)


After a long walkies to the top of the Hohe Schuhe—previously, along the prehistoric trail that leads through the woods from an ensemble of ancient burial mounds and along the former border for a perspective from the promontory overlooking Bavaria and Thรผringen from the puppy was treated to another surprise with her first encounter with the neighbourhood peacock

 It went better than expected with both looking fairly enchanted but glad it happened through a barrier however.

Friday 3 February 2023

6x6 (10. 519)

good boy: a thirty year old dog in Portugal beats a century-old record for oldest in the world  

bb-8: a small security robot that rolls about the premises  

eternity’s pillar: late night variety show produced by Turiyasan-gitananda—see previously  

studio fong leng: a look at the Dutch fashion designer who dressed Kate Bush and socialite Mathilde Willink  

can’t do hands: an atrocious sign language guide imaged by an AI—see previously  

catgpt: a feline version of the scarily smart chat bot—via Waxy

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.

Monday 12 September 2022

nosewise (10. 127)

Courtesy of the latest edition of You’re Dead to Mesee previously—and the panel discussion on animals in the Middle Ages, ranging from superstitions, scientific inquiry to animals standing trial, ecclesiastic courts usually trying wild creatures, excom-municating a swarm of locust for instance, whereas civil courts hearing cases involving domestic animals, we learn of the fifteenth century hunting treatise by Edward Norwich, Second Duke of York, The Master of the Game, a position the duke held in the court of Henry V. The volume not only includes several chapters devoted to different quarry, techniques and canine-care, it moreover includes a listing of nearly eleven hundred names that would be appropriate for such working animals, All Manner of Hounds, including the above, Nameles, Clenche, Bragge, Tullymully, Flithe, Honyball, Synfull, Garlik and Troy. His lordship, however, forbade anyone naming a pet Norman—presumably after the recently lost duchy, which does seem like a good name for a good boy. Here is the whole list within the manuscript for you to tag your pet—or yourself.