Sunday, 30 October 2022

how-to-draw (10. 257)

Via the always excellent Present /&/ Correct, we were delighted for the introduction and sketching exercises to be found in Ed Emberley’s 1973 Little Drawing Book of Weirdos, the prolific illustrator and graphic designer especially lauded for his children’s picture books. Believing anyone can learn to draw, that not everyone has the calling or necessarilily needs to be an artist but no one should ever feel inadequate in their attempts to represent or convey, Emberley’s style of instruction employs letters, shapes and numbers and titles include Green Says Go, Flash, Crash, Rumble and Roll, Suppose You Met a Witch and Glad Monster, Sad Monster.

Wednesday, 11 May 2022


homo loquax: Futility Closet refers us to an expanded listing for the taxonomical name sapient human with some choice Latinate adjectives to describe us 

crate-digging: Jimmy Carter’s grandson is exploring the White House’s surprisingly hip vinyl collection—via Messy Nessy Chic  

le bestiaire fabuleux: a 1948 artists’ collaboration of a surreal and abstract menagerie—see also  

sabbatical: Jason Kottke takes a break from blogging and poses the questions that probably haunt everyone in this community—come back soon  

mรถrkrets makter: the very different (though retaining the epistolary format) unauthorised translation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula familiar to Icelanders  

stratification: exploring the historic map layers of London—via Things Magazine  

word-horde: daily vocabulary lessons in Anglo-Saxon words

Sunday, 20 February 2022

the shape of things to come

Via our faithful chronicler, we are informed that on this day in 1936, the adaptation of the H.G. Wells’ dialectical novel Things to Come had its cinematic debut, outlining the social and political predictions set forth by his 1933 work from the perspective of a twenty-second century diplomat examining the consequences of a nascent second world war continuing well into the 1960s with belligerents having well forgotten what’s at stake and what they are fighting for. With civilisation exhausted and entering a new Dark Age (with zombie plague included, a generational feud of the Passworthys versus the Cabals), a technocracy of fighter pilots struggle to preserve and advance human knowledge, leaving the confines of this globe for the wider Cosmos.

Sunday, 31 October 2021

7x7: happy halloween edition

robert the doll: Key West’s most cursed object—see also—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links (lots more to see here)  

zombie jamboree: Harry Belafonte’s actual ghoulish calypso number—notwithstanding the associations with the Banana Boat Song 

la calavera catrina: a sugar skull puppet presents a primer on Dรญa de los Muertos  

westsonality: enjoy Paul Lynde’s 1976 Halloween Special with a cavalcade of guest stars  

respect the sabbath: periodic movements in the US to hold no Halloween on Sundays  

main title theme: the score for John Carpenter’s classic horror film Halloween 

lovecraft country: welcome to my metaverse—see previously

Friday, 1 October 2021

this ain’t no sunday school picnic

Having garnered quite a bit of experience and reputation in the Pittsburg market making television commercials, industrials and educational shorts with their production company The Latent Image, George A. Romero (previously) and John Russo resolved to make a full-length feature responding to audience interest in the genre of horror, realising their ambitions on this day in 1968—as our faithful chronicler informs, with the premier of the classic featuring a growing horde of the cannibalistic undead surrounding a group barricaded in a farmhouse in Pennsylvania. Though establishing the rules and conventions for future films of this type, zombies are never mentioned, and like all good monster movies allegorically tracks and critiques contemporary social mores including Cold War paranoia, Western hegemony and domestic apartheid.

Monday, 14 June 2021

the incredibly strange creatures who stopped living and became mixed-up zombies

Airing for the first time on this day in 1997, Mystery Science Theater 3000 lampooned what was billed as the first “monster musical” and universally panned by critics and audiences as one of the worst films ever made. Released in 1964 in “hallucinogenic hypnovision,” three friends visit a seaside fun fair and encounter a group of occultists and mutilated monsters. Under threat of lawsuit by Columbia Pictures due to the title’s passing similarity with Dr Strangelove, it is the second longest-titled horror movie to Roger Corman’s Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent.

Sunday, 18 October 2020

the pharmacological merits of apotropaic magic

Just as drills for a zombie apocalypse is a useful heuristic for disaster-preparedness in general, so too are models of the inevitable vampiric saturation of run-away predation verses a more managed approach a tool for understanding contagion and immunity. Deferring to science, Dracula will always best our superstitions and folk-interventions.

Wednesday, 3 June 2020


Doubting that their audience would have the appetite for any more dystopian vignettes that depict the hollowing out and collapse of societies, the showrunners of Black Mirror (previously) had announced weeks ago a hiatus for the show. As reality is already starting to feel like an episode, however implausible and with writing not up to their usual standards, the network has put out an advertising installation inviting one to experience the next series, anytime, anywhere—though not the message, running the campaign in Madrid seems particularly tone-deaf and insensitive. I’ve been feeling all our pop culture training with apocalyptic and zombie movies have failed us and haven’t made nimbler and wiser in the face of multiple calamities.

Friday, 8 November 2019


a gender-neutral zombie: representation is important, via Kottke’s Quick Links

flotsam and jetsam: an ingenious barrier of air bubbles traps plastic waste in Amsterdam’s canals

ok boomer: a powerful and withering epithet

rurikids and romanovs: traditional Russian female garb, via Everlasting Blรถrt

book of dreams: Argos back-catalogues from 1974 on, via Things Magazine

merijรครค: a combination of rare weather conditions converged to cover a beach on Bothnia bay with ice eggs

equine anatomy: rating every horse emoji across different platforms (see also), via Waxy

Wednesday, 19 July 2017


For World Emoji Day earlier this week (we’re still on the hunt for whoever is behind these endless and arbitrary celebrations) Apple released a preview of the way it’s rendering some of the cache of newly approved icons from the late June meeting of the Unicode Consortium—in case some of this seems familiar, it ought to. Though it was mostly squeezing some extra mileage out of old news, there was one fine coda to the story that no one could have anticipated by reminding the world that added to our visual lexicon, there’s now a zombie—coinciding with the death of the filmmaker George A Romero who famously gave culture its undead touchstone first directing the independently produced Night of the Living Dead (zombies were never mentioned in that movie, only ghouls) in 1968 and five subsequent spin-offs plus hundreds of homages. Thank you for all the nightmarish inspiration and requiescat in pace (seriously, do that), Mister Romero.