Monday, 10 January 2022


curiosity cabinet: virtually explore the museum house of Sir John Soane (previously)—via Things Magazine  

glitchy terrain: users and clients report bugs in fly-over features (see previously)—via Super Punch  

debate club: let’s thrash out these ongoing arguments once and for all  

low, heroes, lodger: a look at the Eastern European literature that influenced David Bowie’s Berlin trilogy and beyond  

medico-mechanical gymnastics: the nineteenth century work-out regiment of Gustave Zander—see previously 

 ex libris: a look into some of the great libraries of Germany, Switzerland, Italy and Austria

Thursday, 6 January 2022

triple axel or i, tonya

On this day in 1994, figure skater Nancy Kerrigan was assaulted and bludgeoned with a police baton after practise by hitman Shane Stant in an ice rink arena in Detroit, the attack arranged by Jeff Gillooly, the ex-husband of rival skater Tonya Harding with the intent of stopping Kerrigan from competing in ongoing championships and out of the Winter Olympics and improving Harding’s chances for success. At first Harding denied any knowledge of the conspiracy to take out the competition but later admitted to trying to conceal the attack in its aftermath, eventually disclosing more involvement. Kerrigan recovered in time for Lillehammer, with both skaters competing in the Winter Games. Later, Harding was disciplined with a life-long ban from participating in figure skating events. The incident and drama is summarised in Weird Al Yankovic’s 1994 parody of the Crash Test Dummies’ “Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm,” “Headline News”:

Once there was this girl who
Swore that one day she would be a figure skating champion
And when she finally made it
She saw some other girl who was better
And so she hired some guy to
Club her in the knee cap.

Friday, 10 December 2021

fuzzwords of the year

Differentiated from buzzwords as something intentionally euphemistic or vague and so perhaps under the radar of censors and above a certain level of reproach, we enjoyed learning some of the current slanguage vocabulary of China. We especially liked the Mandarin / Putonghua near equivalent for the English acronym GOAT—that is, greatest of all time—in yว’ngyuวŽn de shรฉn (ๆฐธ่ฟœ็š„็ฅž) YYDS, “eternal god” and used to heap praise for excellence. As the author points out, the same transliterated, four-letter initialism is also employed for yว’ngyuวŽn dฤnshฤ“n (ๆฐธ่ฟœๅ•่บซ), essential “forever single”—so context counts. Much more at Language Log at the link above.

Friday, 12 November 2021

he’d fly through the air with the greatest of ease

Lawyer, cycling pioneer, acrobat and aerialist who popularised the gymnastic wear singlet that’s his namesake (see also) and inspired the song “The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze,” Jules Lรฉotard premiered his signature somersault (Salto) routine on three bars high above the audience on this day in 1859 at the Cirque Napolรฉon in Paris. Touring the world and writing vaudeville acts and other theatre pieces (preparing to retire from the riskier portions of his act as he grew older), the life of this Toulouse native was cut short in 1870, after Lรฉotard contracted smallpox or cholera in Spain.

Monday, 30 August 2021

live at five

This 1979 industrial (as in in the trade) theme music anthology really revs one up for the network news, coming in strong with the familiar-sounding opening track by Craig Palmer Energy, a masterpiece of the genre. There are multiple volumes of Palmer’s works, both for syndication and for one-off events, though we were unable to find out more about this rather prolific and pervasive composer unfortunately—though not everyone wants a biopic and we can appreciate letting one’s works speak for themselves—that formed the soundscape of televised reporting and sports coverage (see also) in the 1980s. More bracing openings and interstitials coming up in the panel below.

Monday, 23 August 2021


Held annually to propitiate the deity with bonfires and sacrifice at a time when crops and granaries were most prone to burning, the Roman fastus to Vulcan falls on this day in what was originally Sextilis and was part of a larger cycle of agrarian holidays of the summer and the beginning of the harvest season, a human commission as opposed to placating untamed Nature observed in July. Games were held with the additional rituals of hanging clothes on a line out-of-doors and beginning to work after sundown by candle-light darkness already coming noticeably sooner and harnessing the potentially destructive nature of fire for something productive. The tubilustria ceremonies were also held at this time—the ritual purification of trumpets and similar instruments which were considered sacred to Vulcan.

Thursday, 12 August 2021

all night long (all night)

For the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Summer Olympiad this evening in 1984, Lionel Richie gave a live performance of his signature calypso song to a global television audience of some three billion.

Though most of the lyrics are in English, there are some faux patois lines, namely—tam bo il de say de moi ya, hey jambo, jumbo—like Waka, Waka—This Time for Africa from the 2010 World Cup. The modified verses for Team USA leave out we’re going to party, karma, fiesta forever (see previously), the middle term being a Swahili borrowing for feast, banquet and also used in the context of Kwanzaa celebrations.

Friday, 6 August 2021

citius, altius, fortius

After learning that Olympians towel off with special shammies, that US unincorporated territories are recognised by the IOC as their own teams and that team Russia is not allowed to represent their country but rather their country’s Olympic Committee and are played out to Piano Concerto Number One rather than the national anthem, I found myself on sort of a sports trivia kick and enjoyed this extended rundown of factoids and growing list of questions answered from NPR. We especially liked learning more about air-horns, whistles and other alarms are used in swimming competitions and changes to the scoring conventions.

Saturday, 31 July 2021


Discouraged from being shown openly and in general taboo in Japanese societies, stigmatised for their associations with organised crime (see also), tattoos—of the commemorative variety especially, were widely on display during the Olympics, the athletes’ bubble meant no mingling with the public. See a whole gallery from the Associated Press’ photo pool, via ibฤซdem. The motto of the Games, Citius, Altius, Fortius (Faster, Higher, Stronger) is a famous example of the above Greek figure of speech แผ“ฮฝ ฮดฮนแฝฐ ฯ„ฯฮตแฟ–ฯ‚, “one through three,” a phrase where three words express one idea. This year the committee added a fourth term, “Communiter,” Latin for Together.

Saturday, 29 May 2021


Though it never occurred to us that such equipment needed inventing and a champion—despite the fact that every exercise and intervention does, we enjoyed learning of the contributions of avid gymnast and promoter George Peter Nissen (*1914 - †2010) who developed the trampoline and made the sport and pass-time an enduring world-wide sensation through this rather arresting feat of man and kangaroo. Inspired by the safety nets of trapeze artists and having toured fairs and carnivals of North America after university studies as a performer and learning the word trampolรญn—springboard, Nissen registered a trademark for his bouncing apparatus. Having petitioned for the sport to be included in the Olympics for decades, Nissen finally succeeded with trampolining added to the Sydney Games in 2000. The stunt however was captured in 1960.

Monday, 24 May 2021


television memories: John Hoare reflects on his birthday by tracking down what was on BBC at the moment he was born 

hijack: a Belarusian fighter jet diverts a commercial airliner in order to apprehend a dissident blogger  

greatest of all time: legendary gymnast Simone Biles has a rhinestone goat on her leotard  

please sir, three of your finest cocaines: a pharmaceutical advertisement from 1912  

europigeon songbird contest: the grand prix goes to Turdus (see previously) Philomelos 

 stardust: a collection of micrometeorites and a guide how to hunt for them  

omnibus programming: a revue of fifty obscure British comedy series from the 1980s

Friday, 23 April 2021

you can’t stop us

Courtesy of Colossal, we were quite impressed with the precision, seamless editing behind this split-screen montage of athletes, which references the concatenated splicing work of Donato Sansone, whose juxtaposition speaks to the resilience and compelling camaraderie of sports. More at the links above.


Friday, 12 June 2020


Splicing together hundreds of gymnastic sequences into one continuous leap, imaginative artist Donato Sansone (see previously) further explores the choreography of concatenation with this footage of athletes energetically bounding and diving through frame after frame.  Much more to explore at the links above.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020


kรณrsafn: Bjรถrk collaborates with an technology company to produce background music that changes with the weather and seasons

de arte gymnastica: Ask the Past prescribes an exercise regimen from a 1560 volume

: a centenary celebration of filmmaker Federico Fellini

langmuir waves: a sonic sample of the solar winds

blogoversary: Boing Boing enters its third decade for the second time (see also about its earlier incarnation)

godunov, badenov: the Russian succession crisis and the curious case of the false Dmitris

how to teach your cat to do tricks: uncovering the art studio behind WikiHow‘s signature illustrations, via Super Punch

Saturday, 16 March 2019


The 2020 Tokyo Games pictogram family is in homage of that same venue’s 1964 designs to appeal to an increasingly international gathering of athletes and audiences as we’ve previously explored, and now Present /&/ Correct refers us to a document from the Centre of Olympic Studies that profiles all fourteen intervening sets (like this 1988 version for Seoul) and the artists who created them.

Sunday, 8 April 2018

schwedische haus-gynastik

In an era before animation or interactive video, we found this German physical education manual’s use of double-exposure to capture motion and the steps of an exercise routine to be quite clever.
Looking a bit like an incarnation of Shiva, author Theodore Bergquist demonstrates various exercises through multiple super-positions based on a discipline developed by Pehr Henrik Ling, a medical doctor from Smรฅland, who recognising the role that physical activity and preventative measures played in overall health, Ling conceived of a studio equipped with parallel bars, wall beams and the vaulting horse for daily practise. Bergquist above was also the director (Hofrat) of the spa retreat at Bad Wรถrishofen, also known for popularising hydrotherapy and the Kneippbad was developed here. As innovative as the pioneering Ling was, his association with the invention of Swedish massage is somewhat of a misattribution, with the term only existing in a limited Sprachraum and going by classical massage everywhere else, the standardised practise (to include tapotement—the word used for when they vigourous beat you) first described by Johann Erst Mezger, though Ling was the first to incorporate elements of Asian massage (awakening the subtle body or the nervous system) techniques and importantly lent the ideas of massage and exercise scientific credence.

Friday, 12 January 2018


On the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, The Atlantic’s senior editor Alan Taylor regales his readers with the gift of retrospective covering the events and attitudes of the year of his birth.
If anything, a survey of 1968 lends perspective and insight on the times that we’re living through presently with violent protests erupting in France, Germany, Czecho- slovakia, Mexico and the United States, the Vietnam war, the absence of civil rights and social justice, disruptive technologies, assassinations and the Moon landing—all told in powerful images, in chronological order.

Tuesday, 9 February 2016

6x6 link-roundup: after-school edition

puppet on a string: the laudable, laughable efforts of the FBI to steer youth away from being radicalized

mimir and vanir: some of the bizarre scenarios of Norse mythology

penmanship: three-dimensional calligraphy that rolls off the page

war on drugs: when defence-contractors try their hand at directing (anti-drugs) films

planned-parenthood: from Dangerous Minds’ extensive archives, Donald Duck lectures on contraception

gymnastique suรฉdoise: lovely illustrations from the 1920s for a domestic exercise routine