Tuesday 14 February 2017


apex and apogee: the spacecraft graveyard at Point Nemo

thar she blows: conservation efforts to restore the longest painting in America, a scrolling panorama of whaling on the high seas around the world, via Nag on the Lake

pepijn en merjn: a Dutch suburb that’s styled itself after characters of Middle Earth

swaddling: cocooning technique from Japan purporting to alleviate pain and stiffness   

รคitiyspakkaus: Finnish style cardboard bassinets are being issued to new parents in New Jersey, via Super Punch

curiouser and curiouser: anamorphic, mirrored pieces sculpted to commemorate the publication of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland

homersexual: how John Waters’ cameo on The Simpsons (twenty years ago) kicked off an inclusive revolution on television, via Kottke

Saturday 13 February 2016

eros and agape

Valentine’s Day in its received format has a pretty interesting history of conflation, segregation and outright confusion. As the Roman Empire was filling its calendar with holidays, the day preceding the Ides of February became sacred to Juno (Hera), the long-suffering spouse of Jupiter (Zeus), who was among many other attributes and kennings, the patroness of marriage and newly-weds. Accordingly, this date began a favoured time for nuptials and young boys and girls, whom were normally strictly separated throughout the rest of the year, in anticipation for the coming feast distributed ballots, lots with their names on them and later—during the following feast of Lupercalia, pairs were drawn and the two youths would be “married” for the duration of the festivities before being parted again, to be later married off under more customary, strategic conditions arranged by their parents.
I do not know if any of these sweethearts pined afterwards but graver unimpassioned measures were to be introduced during the first decades of the three hundreds when, according to legend, there was a backlash against the recalcitrant Christian community, under the reign of Aurelian (and later repeated by Diocletian) who was distrusting of their anti-social behaviours in not observing the rites of the Empire and aside from tossing them to the lions forbade marriage (but this may have also been a more general-order, irrespective of affiliation) since matrimony was not conducive to going off to war. A hero was produced, as is often the case (and another during the Diocletian persecution with the same cognomen and guilty of the same crimes against the state), in the person of Valentino, who performed in cognito wedding services in accordance with Church customs. This underground community was infiltrated and an unrepentant Valentine (and his later incarnation) were thrown in prison. One of the Valentines had an audience with the Emperor (Claudius Gothicus, according to some) who was sympathetic to his cause at first, but the Valentine got a little too preachy and the Emperor had him executed anyway. Both martyrdoms took place at the head of Lupercalia and as a symbol for fidelity and family—though I suppose there could only be one Valentine with that sort of patronage. Though Valentine greetings were sent first in the late Middle Ages, it was not until Victorian times that the spirit of the holiday recaptured that original sense of the lottery and flirtation—and continued admiration. Happy Valentines’ Day everybody!

Thursday 12 February 2015


my precious: a brilliant equation of the One Ring to the allures of technology

love token #9: a look at Victorian forget-me-nots for Valentine’s Day

i-spy: nickle-tour of some of the grandiloquent bastions of espionage

reboot: how the TV show Friends might look today

reaction faces: dramatic gesticulations from a nineteenth century guide

Sunday 1 February 2015

jenny don’t change your number, i’m gonna make you mine

Although the object of his affection extolled in rather cheesy verse was won over as a woman to be respected in her own right and a constant companion in the fight for his cause, the love poetry—looking forward to Saint Valentines’ Day, that Karl Marx penned for his beloved, Johanna Bertha Julie Jenny von Westphalen can make anyone proud and secure in his or her romantic overtures.

As a philosopher, author and theatre-critic (recalling how Marx later expounded, ideally, that every man ought to have the luxury after an honest day’s labour to be a critic in the evening) in her own right, Jenny Marx was swooned by such lines:
See! I could a thousand volumes fill,
Writing only “Jenny” in each line,
Still they would a world of thought conceal,
Deed eternal and unchanging Will,
Verses sweet that yearning gently still,

Thursday 14 February 2013

eros, agape, xenia, storge, philia

Tuesday 14 February 2012

pedigree pelecanus

There was a happy and romantic friend waiting to abush me in the shower for Valentine's Day when I got home.