Sunday, 28 May 2023

moonbird (10. 773)

Our gratitude to Fancy Notions for the re-introduction to the life and portfolio of animator John Hubley (with credit to his contributing creative partners and family members), who left Disney after Fantasia and the 1941 Animators’ Strike, dissatisfied with the direction the company was going, joined up with UPA, was investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee and essentially blacklisted before starting an independent studio, Storyboard, through his Academy Awarding winning cartoon from 1959, that illustrated a secretly recorded discussion between his two sons (his wife Faith taping the imaginary adventure shared by Mark and Hampy). More to discover at the link above.

Tuesday, 11 April 2023

9x9 (10. 667)

pass****123: a visualisation of pilfered passwords aggregated from various leaks and breaches

event horizon: a streak of young stars may be the wake of a supermassive black hole ejected from its host galaxy  

pop: speeding locomotives in an animated short by Yoji Kuri—see previously  

you sank my battleship: leaked NATO plans for bolstering Ukraine’s military were first circulating on a Minecraft gaming forum—more here  

what, me worry: a celebration of the long life and career of cartoonist Al Jaffee 

bierpulver: the Neuzeller Klosterbrรคu, known for other innovative libations, introduces a dehydrated beer that one needs only add water to   

example handshake: a look at the squelch of the dial-up modem  

trapezoidal flux deviation: an alternative proposal for the non-existence of exoplanets—via the New Shelton wet/dry  

a generator and a discriminator: AI can crack most users’ passwords in under two minutes—via Dam Interresting’s Curated Links

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

Sunday, 5 March 2023

the jaywalker (10. 591)

Milton Muffet, a confessed poor pedestrian—is addicted to the “most awful, habit-forming vice” that man fall prey to: jaywalking, in this 1956 UPA instructional short by Robert Cannon, Edwin P Hicks and story adaptation by T Hee. The Oscar-winning animated subject portrays Mr Muffet’s behaviour as becoming manic, verging towards obsessive and a personal challenge but these regulations which privilege motor vehicle traffic above pedestrian has limited jurisdiction and was just recently decriminalised in California though remaining an infraction most other places in America.

Saturday, 25 February 2023

gumby dharma (10. 573)

The always excellent Fancy Notions directs our attention to a 1977 psychedelic stop-motion short from Art Clokey (previously) meant as a visual metaphor for “evolving human consciousness.” Produced over the course of three years, it was a family collaboration, the sequences shot in their basement in Topanga, California. Tragically Clokey’s daughter took her own life aged 19 after witnessing a friend killed by a lighting strike and Mandala is informed by and dedicated to Ann’s memory.

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, 25 September 2022

sip (10. 167)

Via tmn, our attention is again directed towards bespoke, luxury fallout shelters, bunkers, panic rooms flogged (also a punishment for criminal offences for the not so well-appointed) to the rich and powerful—only this time, the glamorous, underground residences, replete with fake skies over courtyards with swimming pools, private theatres, wine cellars, conference centres and showcase galleries and garages, or anything else the client can imagine, are being pushed on the influx of multi-millionaires resettling in the United Arab Emirates. What do you thinK? The firm offering such fantastical and secure retreats is a Swiss company called Oppidum—the Latin term for a fortified city. I thought only pharaoh in his pyramid could only be so entombed.

Wednesday, 21 September 2022

down in the underground (10. 155)

Via Boing Boing, we are referred to a curator of one of our own, older obsessions—manhole covers in this site that has meticulous catalogued, though far from complete, these manifestations of the extensive infrastructure of suburbia, numbering over eight thousand examples from over five hundred cities all across the globe.

Sunday, 22 May 2022

oom papa

The always exquisite Fancy Notions directs our attention to a delightful classic cartoon from UPI and storyboard artist and writer T. Hee about generational clashes and the fear of being made obsolete with Pops Tuba discouraging son from experimentation and stern warnings against falling in with the wrong crowd. “And Orville and his friends thought they had the hippest sound—until Steel Johnny Six-String and his pals Fuzzpdal and Fenderstack came to town.”

Tuesday, 31 August 2021

a smattering of spots

Our thanks to Fancy Notions for referring us to this reel of cartoon commercials from the animators at Storyboard, Incorporated, the studio of John Hubley (*1914 - †1977, creator of Mister Magoo and under the employ of Disney painted backgrounds for Snow White, Fantasia and Bambi as well as director for the animated adaptation of Watership Down) with a cavalcade of 1950s advertising—no product endorsement intended or implied.

Tuesday, 29 June 2021

t. hee

With a bit of a nod to acquired nominative determinism (previously) we learn the identity of the writer and animator with a rather distinctive style through his 1953 Christopher Crumpet cartoon, courtesy of Fancy Notions, Thornton Hee (*1911 - †1988)—always credited as T. Hee. Starting his career with the studios of Leon Schlesinger Productions in the mid-1930s as a character designer, Hee came up with many celebrity caricatures for Merrie Melodies. Following a brief stint with Disney, notably directing the Dance of the Hours interlude of Fantasia, Hee resumed work back in a more comic vein (Gerald McBoing Boing being a stand-out work) and was also a titlist and made opening animated segments for sitcoms.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

television and the public interest

The titular speech given on this day in 1961 by the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chair Newton N. Minow (previously) to a convention of the trade and lobby group the National Association of Broadcasters, compared to the Golden Age of TV in the 1950s, contemporary programming of violence, cartoons, Westerns, commercials and game shows was assuredly a “vast wasteland.” Acknowledging that when television is good, nothing—not theatre nor any other forms of media—is can surpass it in terms of quality and potential to engage, Minow went on to advise his audience that “television and all who participate in it are jointly accountable to the American public for respect for the special needs of children, for community responsibility, for the advancement of education and culture, for the acceptability of the programme materials chosen, for decency and decorum in production—and for propriety in advertising. This responsibility cannot be discharged by any given group of programmes, but rather only through the highest standards of respect for the American home and applied to every moment of every programme presented. Programme materials should enlarge the horizons of the viewer, provide him with wholesome entertainment, afford helpful stimulation and remind him of the responsibilities which the citizen has towards his society.” Reforms brought about in reaction to the address led to the creation of US Public Television and National Public Radio.

Friday, 5 February 2021

liquid television

Via the venerable Cardhouse, we are invited to indulge in a bit of forgotten nostalgia in the complete mini-series—the arc of narrative with cliffhangers clocking in at just over six minutes—of The Esperanto Family airing on MTV, with other cartoon friends including ร†on Flux, Beavis and Butthead who unjustly received more attention thanks to the network’s doting, in 1990 from the brilliant Joe Horne, creator of The Specialists and Stevie & Zoya. The narrator is John Joseph Lydon—also known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols.

Saturday, 30 January 2021

pigs is pigs

The Friz Freleng short first released on this day in 1937 relays the seemingly insatiable gluttony of one Piggy Hamhock (Porky’s brother, though last seen in this cartoon) and the hardship it has caused the family.

Falling into a food coma after receiving chiding and warnings from his mother that he needs to reform his eating habits, Piggy has a fugue-like dream that he is lured into the laboratory of a mad scientist, who subjects Piggy to a force-feeding by a tireless machine. Piggy waddles away but on the way out the door, takes a drumstick, which proves too much. Awakened from the dream, Piggy is relieved that he is back home and unharmed but devours breakfast without restraint—apparently none the wiser for his experience. Though Freleng’s cartoon shares the same name it does not tell the same story about a rapidly reproducing pair of guinea pigs whose numbers soon grow out of control from a 1905 Ellis Parker Butler work—which went on to inspire a Disney animation in 1954 and the 1967 “The Trouble with Tribbles.”

Thursday, 7 January 2021


Via Waxy, we make the acquaintance of a namesake (a portmanteau of the Pixar character and Salvador Dalรญ) neural network that generates, using Open AI, images from captions. It’s still too brittle, its minders say, for free-text (see also) but one can play Mad-Libs with a certain string of prompts to get an idea of its virtuosity and capabilities. 

This first array of images is in response to the cutline a triangular, yellow manhole cover. The second, poetically, is a fox—made of voxels—sitting in a field. The network even demonstrates learning in geographical facts, fashion and dating styles and technology, though some seem better informed than others. 



Tuesday, 10 November 2020

adventures in music

The award-winning sequel to Walt Disney’s first three-dimensional animated Technicolor romp in rhythm and melody (receiving the Oscar for Best Short Subject)—initially intended to span an entire series but ended here, Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom premiered on this day in 1953. The characters reprised as part of a compromise with RKO Radio Pictures—Disney’s distributor—in response to their desire to enter into the nature documentary business that the studio strongly opposed wanting Disney to focus on cartoons, Professor Owl returns to his schoolhouse full of bird pupils to present a lesson on the different sections of the orchestra and how respectively the brass, woodwind, strings and percussion work together.

Thursday, 5 November 2020

rebel rabbit

Though we suspected the well-circulated GIF to be an authentic one if not a bit too on the nose for comfort, we had forgotten the context and provenance of the gag of Bugs Bunny sawing off the State of Florida and so appreciated the review of the motivation to carve out a higher bounty on his hide and proclaim himself a domestic terrorist. Though these critical antics which included in the same cartoon physically accosting senators, returning the island of Manhattan to the Native Americans, making the Panama Canal free for all trade traffic as well as unmooring the peninsula, shouting “South America, take it away!,” might have only been well-received for the brief window in which the short appeared (1949) when the United States was not at war with someone between World War II and Korea. Perhaps rectifying some of what had gone so astray with the nation wouldn’t be appreciated until just under a half-century later the decision to suspend the Florida recount and punt democracy to a supreme court packed with justices appointed by a political dynasty. More at MEL magazine—including the cartoon in its entirety—at the link above. Rascally rabbit indeed!

Sunday, 16 August 2020


Debuting in theatres on this day in 1930 along with the feature presentation King of Jazz, a musical revue of the genre, Flip the Frog’s piano duet with a spider and later performance with a rather familiar looking mouse, the animated short marks the first cartoon from illustrator Ub Iwerks (*1901 – †1971, creator of Mortimer/Mickey Mouse and Oswald the Lucky Rabbit) since he split with Disney studios. After a brief stint as a free agent before working with Leon Schlesinger and Columbia Pictures, Iwerks returned to Disney, working with them until retirement in 1965. Significantly, this departure was the first animation screened in Technicolor. The cartoon is also featured in the music video for Eminem’s The Real Slim Shady.

Saturday, 18 April 2020


paracosm: Things Magazine digs through its rough drafts to bring together a montage of private homes that represent the complete, the self-contained

your scientists were so preoccupied with whether or not they could, they didn’t stop to think if they should: researchers isolate a sample of possibly viable dinosaur DNA, via Slashdot

ursine alignment chart: lockdown coping levels gauged by cartoon bears

ะฒะตั‡ะตั€ะธะฝะบะฐ ะฝะฐ ะฑะฐะปะบะพะฝะต: solo techno raves are the latest challenge in Russia under social distancing rules

covid corridor: absent leadership on a national level, new names proposed for regional alliances forming in the disunited states

domus: Sony World Photography Awards winners and runners-up announced in the category of architecture—via Coudal Partners’ Fresh Signals

Monday, 23 September 2019


Via her excellency Nag on the Lake, we discover that the infamous fatberg of Whitechapel (previously) has been memorialised with a special manhole cover.
The one hundred-thirty tonne blockage discovered beneath the east London district was comprised of an unsavoury amalgamation of wet-wipes, cooking oil and other items that are not meant for the sewer system—sort of like the problem of aspirational recycling whose good intentions can spoil the whole batch which can prove overtaxing for even the best engineered though ageing infrastructure.