Sunday, 13 March 2022

6x6

choose your own adventure: the character-driven photography of Grzegorz Kurzejamski invites the viewer to create a narrative for them  

warp and werf: the Scottish Register of Tartans welcomes a new Ukrainian pattern  

(oh what a night): reaching number one on American charts on this day in 1976, the Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons hit was originally called “Fifth December 1933” and about the end of Prohibition 

cat naps: Hosei University researches what humans can glean from feline sleep patterns  

toad town: an exhaustive collection of level maps from many video game franchises—via Things Magazine  

photovoltaics: the photographic portfolio of Catherine Canac-Marquis

Saturday, 12 March 2022

7x7

w / n / p / a/: the beauty and brutality of the natural world—via Web Curios   

fly around: a happy tune from Bill Wurtz—via Waxy 

skramm-ellegepladser: what Scandi culture can teach the world about fun and playfulness 

 theatrum orbis terrarum: the first modern world atlas, created and published in Antwerp in 1571 by Abraham Ortelius 

llรชn gwerin: illustrated Welsh cats from 1910  

grand tour: visit the great cities of Europe all within the confines of Ohio—see also  

best in show: a selection of the superlative entries for the 2022 Sony World Photography Awards—some are quite accidentally like a Renaissance painting

Tuesday, 22 February 2022

i like crunchy, i like meaty, tender centres satisfy completely

Observed on this day in Japan (8 August in Canada and the UK and 1 March in Russia) due to the date’s resemblance to the feline vocalisation nyan, nyan, nyan, National Cat Day is celebrated to raise public awareness for the welfare of cats and promote cat adoption, and kept since 1978, traditions include posting pictures of cats with their humans and restaurants serving cat-themed cuisine.

Sunday, 6 February 2022

9x9

platinum geezer: our London correspondent reflects on the Queen’s jubilee by the numbers  

snow-drifting: artist Alexander Deineka’s celebration of winter sports in the USSR  

nunsexmonkrock: Nina Hagen’s (previously) legendary masterpiece extolled as it deserves  

definitely did not used to be a pizza hut: an investigation into the camouflage (see previously) of franchise blight—via the morning news  

biblioclasm: more books, press outlets, educators under fire as potentially subversive, challenging  

king of the mountain: fours goats play on a sheet metal shelter  

celebrity-ntf complex: the race is on to find the remaining marks and rubes before the bottom falls out

cockney cats: vintage feline photos collected by Spitalfields Life  

hrm: Pietro Annigoni’s 1969 portrait of the Queen

Friday, 31 December 2021

the electrical life of louis wain

Our gratitude to Strange Company for the introduction (well, the association of the artist to his delightful deranged felines rather) in Louis William Wain (*1860 - †1939), whose extensive body of works (one for every topic practically) are well and loving curated in the public domain and is the subject of a recent biopic, portrayed by Benedict Cumberbatch. Wain’s first publish sketch in 1886, “A Kittens’ Christmas Party” in the Illustrated London News struck the right notes and proved very popular—along with other anthropomorphic portrayals—in Victorian England and became a quite prolific artist over the next three decades and was a champion of various animal charities and human societies, including one called the Governing Council of Our Dumb Friends League—as they couldn’t speak for themselves. Though the diagnosis remains disputed, the onset of Wain’s apparent schizophrenia which saw him confined to an asylum for the remainder of his life may have been triggered by toxoplasmosis, a parasitical disease that cats can pass to their humans. Some professionals claim to be able to track Wain’s deteriorating mental state through the succession of his paintings (see also here, here and here) though that assertion and its citation in popular psychology remains controversial.  The cat model that inspired his art throughout was called Peter and originally was the pet of his wife who encouraged Wain to get his drawings in print.


Friday, 21 May 2021

your daily demon: beleth

Ruling from today until 25 May this thirteenth spirit is an infernal king who presents as a feline riding a pale horse with a retinue of bewitching musical instruments. The exorcist must accord this demon due deference accorded to his high rank and office and must maintain courage though Beleth will try to frighten the summoner. Citing the Pseudomonarachia Dรฆmonum, the first conjurer to call on him was Noah’s son Ham after the Great Flood, who then co-authored a treatise on mathematics. Beleth commands eighty-five legion and is opposed by the angel Iezalel.

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.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

when cats are maddened by the midnight dance

Based on a poetry anthology by T.S. Eliot, the musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber premiered at the New London Theatre on this day in 1981. The two act narrative portrays one night in the lives of the members of a tribe of semi-feral felines cast their “Jellicle choice” and decide which cat—sort of echoing the 1976 cinematic adaptation of Logan’s Run—would ascend to the Heavyside Layer and be reincarnated. As the first mega-musical blockbuster, Cats introduced the strategy and template for productions to follow and arguable raise the bar for entry for less well financed endeavours.

Saturday, 3 April 2021

married to the sea

Via Strange Company, we were introduced to the missionary felines of the Seamen’s Church Institute of New York and the cats were delights in themselves of course, brave Bosun, Seaweed and her family and other seafaring companions, but the history of this organisation with its fleet of floating churches would be engrossing enough in itself.
Established in 1834 by the American Episcopal Church and still in operation, it is the biggest advocate for sailors, longshoremen and merchant mariners providing educational, legal, union representation, hospitality and pastoral services for the ports of New York and New Jersey, sending chaplains and sponsoring events such as Christmas at Sea (more recently shopping and arranging supplies through gangway exchanges for those stranded by COVID-19) and training and safety programmes and supporting studies on more effective ways to approach piracy, stowaways, refugees and shore leave. More at the links above.

Saturday, 20 March 2021

the french word for hobbyhorse

Via Colossal, we are introduced to the extensive portfolio of Glasgow based artist and illustrator Lola Duprรฉ through her didgitally distorted portraiture and other painterly compositions informed by the dadaesque movement of a century ago. Her cat Charlie is featured prominently in her repertoire, many impossible angles suggesting mirror reflections but other means of doubling and reduplication as well. More at the links above.



Saturday, 21 November 2020

⛩️

Reminiscent of this earlier modular feline environment, we are quite enjoying these cardboard shires for cats in the Shinto style for the further deification of one’s worshipful beloved. With a variety of configurations possible, one can easily adapt the housing in a number of ways for the safekeeping of the sacred. Learn more at Spoon & Tamago at the link above.

Friday, 20 November 2020

meow, meow, meow

Whilst not much is known about the fifth century Cornish missionary and saint (see previously) venerated on this day who is often conflated with Saint Felicity or Felix of Dunwich, what is reputed to Felec of Cornwall, his miraculous ability to communicate with cats, lions and other felines more than makes up for his overall obscurity.  How would you limn out Saint Felec’s acta and vita?

Thursday, 11 June 2020

vox in rama

First dispatched to Emperor Friedrich II and his son King Heinrich of Germany on this day in 1233, with many other furnished courtesy-copies later, the papal decretal, A Voice in Ramah (a village in Palestine with several Biblical citations), issued by Gregory IX established an inquisition commission to combat heresy and Gnosticism (which the Church defined as devil worship), eventually precipitating the Bosnian Crusade.
The letters patent which carried the legal force of a bull, a public decree, included detailed descriptions of initiation rites and the satanic familiars enlisted to do their dark master’s bidding and increase the numbers of the congregation—specifically shape-shifting toads and black cats. Not only did the directive sew distrust among neighbours and led to violence and plunder, the zealous prejudice against felines is strongly believed to be amongst the chief driving forces of the spread of the plague throughout Europe, with no cats to keep the rodent population under control, the fleas they bore were more readily able to infect human populations.

Friday, 20 March 2020

chain reaction

Via Pasa Bon!, we present a veritable Rube Goldberg montage of cats and dominos from Cat Navi Desk, an act, collective responsible for quite a few feline interventions well worth your time and attention. Find out more at the links above.

Wednesday, 29 January 2020

une chatte connue pour avoir รฉtรฉ envoyรฉe dans l'espace et rรฉcupรฉrรฉe vivante

Via Mental Floss we learn that after nearly sixty years of languishing relative obscurity, thanks to a vigorous campaign, the contributions and the legacy of the first and only feline in space, Fรฉlicette, are finally being recognised and commemorated with a proper monument. Unveiled with fanfare last month and sharing an exhibition space in Pioneers’ Hall of the International Space University, l’Universitรฉ spatiale internationale (though one might hope for a more public and accessible memorial) in Strasbourg with a bust of Yuri Gagarin—the first human in space, the bronze of the cat on a plinth represents more of the untold story behind scientific advancement. Much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 13 November 2019

pavlovian response

Though sadly his predictions about being up to our necks in bugs did not come to pass and by losing the insects we are losing the song birds as well and we’d prefer this method of conditioning feline instincts, I think that it was a pretty noble notion on the part of inventor and erstwhile actor Desmond Slattery to save our avian friends from our domestic ambush by associating a poaching with a violent and memorable explosion through a treacherous decoy that did exactly that. Debuting his prototype in 1968, Slattery hoped that cats and birds would going forward coexist in harmony.

Monday, 29 July 2019

jovan musk

Weird Universe informs that one fragrance, Calvin Klein’s Obsession, has the particular endorsement of individuals of the feline variety, having near aphrodisiac qualities. Cats are keen on this scent due to one of its signature ingredients that make up the bouquet, a chemical compound called civetone, a pheromone originally distilled from the scent glands of the African civet that can be re-created synthetically with the chemicals found in palm oil. The cologne has allure for both domestic and wild cats.

Friday, 19 July 2019

jennyanydots

I think we are all this film review of the upcoming “live,” demented deep-dreaming nightmare adaptation of the musical Cats. So many questions that dare not seek answers.
The 1981 piece is based on a collection of epistolary poetry that T. S. Eliot (previously) composed to entertain his godchildren in the 1930s—presenting a sociological tract on a tribe of felines and their nomination of one of their members to ascend into a paradisaical afterlife and be reincarnated, and the new production, starring an ensemble cast of screen and stage luminaries projected onto cat-sized avatars, is seemingly riding the coattails of attempting to revive old properties with live-actors aided by digital graphics, dispensing the need for imagination and suspension of disbelief, illustrative of what happens when creative outlets are not constrained by a budget and no one has the courage of conviction to say when a project is going in the wrong direction.

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

free to use & reuse

Via the always resourceful Kottke’s Quick Links, we are directed once again to the growing archives of the Library of Congress (previously), whose curatorial staff—like any of us—appreciates a good image of the feline variety (go here to read about proto-meme-maker and cat fancier Harry Whittier Frees) and expects the readership to put these cats back out into circulation. This is also a good gateway and point of departure for exploring the stacks and discovering more of the library’s collections.


Tuesday, 20 February 2018

corrugator

My Modern Met refers us to a line of attractive and reasonably-priced modular feline furniture, conceived by a couple of human architects attuned to the shelter and comfort of the cats that share their living space. Not only is the design from A Cat Thing expandable and adjustable to hold one’s companion’s attention for longer, it is also expendable should you or your cat grow bored and dismissive of the whole cardboard ensemble and prefer a cosy sock drawer or a laundry hamper (here’s an award-winning thesis on the accommodating nature of the feline form), the material is fully recyclable.