Sunday 28 April 2024

cafรฉ rouge (11. 520)

Often performing in the title nightclub of the Hotel Pennsylvania in midtown Manhattan along with other Big Band ensembles that the spacious venue could host, Glenn Miller and his orchestra recorded his instrumental version of the tune (originally by Jerry Gray with lyrics by Carl Sigman—Numbers I’ve got by the dozen, everyone’s uncle and cousin but I can’t live without buzzing…) on this day in in 1940 at the RCA Victor Studios in New York. One of the oldest telephone exchanges still in use, the accommodations closed permanently in 2020 during the COVID pandemic and lost efforts to declare the building as a candidate for historical preservation (the club itself converted into a basket ball court in its final decade), currently being demolished to make way for new skyscrapers on Penn Plaza. Only Sigman’s refrain was retained after the telephone sound effect, shouted by band members. The foxtrot hit would go on to be recorded by many other artists, with homages and parodies, including Transylvania 6-5000 and Weird Al’s Plumbing Song with the number “Roto-Rooter 6-5000.”


one year ago: a pocket phonograph plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: Rome’s Cinecittร  plus more links to enjoy

three years ago: the impasses of Paris, antique furniture trade cards plus the animated Dutch version of Lord of the Rings

four years ago: wargaming the next US civil war

five years ago: Ukrainian Easter, the stained glass hall of fame of The Champion pub plus mutiny on the Bounty

Sunday 7 April 2024

7x7 (11. 474)

my dad is dracula (and a very good dog): the funny webcomic by Jason Poland—via Miss Cellania  

good night george: a last nostalgic look the Glasgow hotel featured in Trainspotting, Taggart and with other cameos in television and film—via Nag on the Lake  

volcanic vortex rings: Mount Etna is sending out smoke signals, a phenomenon never before documented on film  

penny hike: instructions to create a lodestone for mindful, distraction-free wandering, using AI, to return you to where you started—via Web Curios—it has a certain resonance but I’ll give you a magic pebble to keep in your pocket so you don’t get too lost 

spyware: the secret weapons of Cold War espionage  

carmel-by-the-sea: a historic hotel known as the birthplace of the Apple Macintosh restored  

bug bytes: US government created comic books to fight disinformation and increase media literacy fall rather flat of their goals appealing to old tropes—via Hyperallergic

Saturday 24 February 2024

flag carrier (11. 375)

From 1965 to 1967, JAL—once the jet age was firmly established and the airline had a full schedule of international routes, launched a marketing and public outreach campaign and printed a series of thirty-two pamphlets for passengers on all aspects of Japanese and Asian Pacific culture and industry. Entitled “New Views,” they have absolutely frame-worthy covers. More at Present /&/ Correct at the link above.


one year ago: an Ibsen premier (1876), more beautiful infographics plus how uu became w

two years ago: a Midnight Moment in Times Square

three years ago: your daily demon: Belial, assorted links to revisit, a Monteverdi premier (1607) plus architectural illustrator Margarethe Frรถhlich

four years ago: common areas of Hong Kong housing, the Battle of Los Angeles (1942) plus revisiting I, Claudis

five years ago: the Icelandic calendar plus a Ukrainian folk band

Tuesday 13 February 2024

comet and cupid (11. 347)

Via fellow internet peripatetic Messy Nessy (much more to dsicover there), we are introduced to the eighteenth century artist Michelangelo Maestri and his school through his series of water-colours of putti, cherubs driving chariots pulled by various creatures as an allegory to depict different types and stages of love—agape, eros, xenia, philia. Inspired by the frescos of Ancient Rome, especially the then recent excavation of well-preserved examples in Herculaneum and Pompeii, his studio’s works were extremely popular and produced en masse and were often purchased as souvenirs by those on their Grand Tour.


one year ago: spec scripts for Star Trek: TNG plus a webring to check out

two years ago: more Excel art, West African musical artists plus separated by a common language

three years ago: assorted links to revisit, a dinosaur park plus animation techniques

four years ago: more links to enjoy

five years ago: out-of-place archaeology, Sony World Photography winners, Mandombe script plus more links worth revisiting

Saturday 10 February 2024

willie loman (11. 340)

Premiering on Broadway on this day in 1949, the two-act drama by Arthur Miller (previously) set in Brooklyn was largely informed and inspired by the playwright’s chance encounter two years prior with his uncle Manny Newman in a theatre lobby in Boston showing one of his own pieces. Rather than congratulating his nephew on his success, the struggling travelling salesman immediately launched into an update on how well his cousins were faring, appearing in the play as Happy, Biff and Ben, and how despite his poor prospects and barely surviving life constantly on the road with a hustling subsistence that’s echoed contemporarily with the allure and disappointment of the gig-economy his uncle was building a legacy for his fail-sons, aspiring to the successful but departed, haunting presence of the eldest Ben. Father and Biff, a would be professional football player, in the course of the day try to secure more stability in their careers and realise the American Dream, with Happy sacrificing and long-suffering but a womaniser like Loman, but it plays out as a Greek tragedy. Winning a Tony and a Pulitzer prize, many critics consider it among the best plays of the twentieth century. The first cinematic adaptation came two years later in 1951 with direction from Lรกszlรณ Benedek.

Thursday 8 February 2024

dew drop inn (11. 332)

We quite enjoyed this collection of vintage hotel and luggage tags from all around the world through this curation of some choice Japanese accommodations put together by Present /&/ Correct. The scans are small and the ryokan (ๆ—…้คจ, a traditional Japanese inn, often associated with hot spring resorts and baths) section seems most complete—I hope that this project wasn’t just abandoned as too ambitious, there being a lot of place-holders, though optimistically those marked as Up are up—with floor plans, maps and other ephemera associated with the lodgings. India, Singapore, the UK and Norway are represented also.


one year ago: stochastic parrots, unsanctioned matrimony (1973) plus more AI Valentines

two years ago: Mother Josephine plus Right Said Fred (1989)

three years ago: The Birth of a Nation plus Trump quits the Screen Actors’ Guild

four years ago: a daytrip to the mountains plus an evergreen flower

five years ago: German consumer advocacy watchdog sics Facebook, places in painting plus incriminating photos

Saturday 3 February 2024

flakturm iv (11. 317)

Reminiscent of the transformation of the Colossus of Prora into luxury vacation properties, we learned that there has been a similar rehabilitation effort in the works for a decade to crown the one of the landmarks of the past of Hamburg, the air-defence bunker in Heiligengeistfeld in St Pauli (see previously), too difficult to demolish and built as nearly impenetrable, with an extension in the form of a boutique, green hotel with a lush rooftop garden. The accommodations open in April, which includes an in-house memorial and information centre about the indestructible structure’s Nazi past, after a three year delay in construction.


one year ago: assorted links to revisit plus Crocodile Rock (1973)

two years ago: more links to enjoy plus more on Tulipomania

three years ago: more links worth revisiting plus a Bauhaus chessboard

four years ago: Setsubun, the Benelux (1958) plus antique school notebooks from all over the world

five years ago: The Day the Music Died (1959)

Friday 13 October 2023

9x9 (11. 055)

the witch of positano: a portrait of Bohemian original Vali Myers who inspired Tennessee Williams and danced for Donovan’s signature song, charging one Nubian goat for her performance  

hotel california: legacy luxury in Kabul now jointly run by the Taliban and their quiet dissenters—via Web Curios  

the mysterious land of the grimaults: another look at The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent  

the rest vs the west: proven tech ventures that rival occidental offerings 

my coffee with niles: a meta episode of Frasier remade in the style of one hundred thirty animators and filmmakers  

watermeal: world’s smallest flowering plant could play an outsized role in interplanetary exploration  

don’t crash the pips: the Canadian Broadcasting Company discontinues the long dash time signal—see also  

unauthorised build: this “illegal” LEGO construction bends conventions  

nightclub school: The New Romantics and 80s youth subculture  


one year ago: another MST3K classic,  the world’s first personal data protection law plus assorted links to revisit

two years ago: your daily demon: Focalor, The Style Council plus a psychedelic design collective

three years ago: a fashion show with puppets plus Witchtok community doing the Lord’s Work

four years ago: the introduction of the Ampelmรคnnchen (1961), more links to revisit plus more mushroom finds

five years ago: democracy by lottery, vintage Sainsbury’s packaging plus a music video from Bob Sinclar

Tuesday 20 June 2023

hojo’s (10. 822)

Having previously written about the marketing tie-ins for the 1968 film, we enjoyed learning more about this promotional menu from the once ubiquitous hotel-restaurant chain Johnson’s for 2001: A Space Odyssey, featured as the hospitality brand for the Earthlight (named for another novel by Arthur C Clarke) orbital suite. While the children’s bill of fare does include iconic scenes from the movie, the narrative and activity pages are focused more on a family that goes to its gala theatrical premiere. More at the links above.

Thursday 8 December 2022

we are programmed to receive (10. 371)

Released by the label Asylum on this day in 1976, the Eagles’ fifth studio album would go on over the years to become one of the highest ranked records of all time, certified twenty-six times Platinum in the US alone and selling over thirty-two million copies worldwide and within the year alone winning several Grammy awards and bested only by Fleetwood Mac’s Rumours, the title track as well as “New Kid in Town” and “Life in the Fast Lane” receiving many accolades. The concept album features a throughline of songs, lyrics chiefly written by Don Henley with contributions from Glenn Frey, that explore ideals realised and thwarted and the loss of that sense of naivetรฉ that things balance out in the end. Despite remarkable commercial success, the band’s best selling album remains Their Greatest Hits (1971 – 1975).

Saturday 4 June 2022

das rollende hotel

Given the continued popularity of touring coaches especially in Germany and river cruises that offer similar sleeping berths, we were delighted though not completely surprised to learn of this hybrid experience (see also), a hotel on wheels, Rotel, first conceived by Gerog Hรถltl in the late 1941 to trek passengers through the Bavarian Alps, expanding as far afield as pilgrimages to Israel, journeys across the Sahara starting in 1969 and a two month voyage to India. No artefacts relegated to the past, one can still book tours through Europe, Africa and Asia. More from Messy Nessy Chic at the link above.

Saturday 29 May 2021

santa bona

Early eleventh century Augustinian nun venerated on this day, Bona of Pisa, helped conduct pilgrims on their journeys and is considered the patroness of tour guides, couriers, flight attendants as well as her well-touristed home town. Her father a Crusader in the Holy Land, Bona made no fewer than four sojourns there to visit him and see to his well-being and after being taken hostage by pirates and necessitating a ransom and rescue by her compatriots, redirected her focus to the route of Santiago de Compostela, undertaking the arduous trip ten times and leading others along the way.

Tuesday 13 April 2021

capsule house k

Though familiar with his iconic Nakagin capsule hotel in Tokyo, which was also happily conserved and revitalised, until learning about efforts to save Kisho Kurokawa’s (้ป’ๅท ็ด€็ซ ) retreat in the woods of Karuizawa completed in 1974 we had not appreciated the philosophy behind the movement called Metabolism (ๆ–ฐ้™ณไปฃ่ฌ, shinchintaisha—a literal translation of the biological process of a more poetic concept of the exchange of energy between the interior and exterior world) that attempts to harmonize skyscrapers and other monumental architecture and civil engineering with organic growth, embracing the principles of sustainability, human-clustering, modularity, mobility and transience. Learn more at the links above.

Friday 25 December 2020


Perhaps best known for her debut hit song that despite being sung in entirely French circumvented the language barrier and charted across Europe Voyage, voyage, the performer Claudie Fritsch-Mentrop was born this day in Paris in 1952. Plus loin que la nuit et le jour (voyage, voyage).

Saturday 28 November 2020

the great bed of ware

Via Strange Company’s Weekend Link Dump, we are directed to one unusual artefact of the Victoria & Albert Museum collection in the monumental and for the time of its acquisition in 1931 for a princely sum of four thousand pounds budget-breaking piece of furniture.

Originally housed in the White Hart Inn in the town as sort of a tourists’ draw for the stopping off point a day’s journey outside of London to points north, the massive four-poster bed—at three metres wide big enough to accommodate four couples—and was built by carpenter Jonas Fosbrooke in the last decade of the sixteenth century with Renaissance style marquetry and ornament inspired by Hans Vredeman de Vries—and to add to its history and provenance, couples have carved their names or initials in the headboard to mark their stay and is mentioned by name in Twelfth Night (circa 1601) and works by Ben Jonson and Charles Dickens.

Wednesday 25 November 2020

dantooine is too remote to make an effective demonstration

Conservationists and connoisseurs of Brutalist architecture have found allies in Star Wars fandom—whether or not the iconic outline of the Hรดtel du Lac of Tunis directly informed the sandcrawler of the Jawas on Tatooine (some sources disagree, saying that Ralph McQuarrie had come up with the mobile fortress well before location scouting) to help preserve the historic structure from perhaps imminent destruction. Scenes of the first instalment of the saga were in any case filmed in the deserts of Tunisia, the name and ancillary building style of the moisture farm after the governorate of Tatouine, Tiแนญแนญawin, โตœโต‰โตŸโตŸโดฐโตกโต‰โต. The presently abandoned (closed to guests since the early 2000s) and in a severe state of disrepair structure was built in the early 1970s and designed by Italian architect and painter Raffaele Contigiani (*1920 – †2008) as an inverted ziggurat and those room windows have their blinds strategically drawn to spell out Non ร  la demolition (ู„ุง ู„ู„ู‡ุฏู…) in Arabic.

Wednesday 11 November 2020


langue and parole: a poly-lingual whistle-stop tour illustrating what foreign languages sound like to non-speakers   

a critical tourism map: whilst most visitors’ guides are irrepressibly positive about their attractions, this revealing map of the Norwegian capital hopes to make people think about the darker side of the past—via Big Think 

in this world: an hour of cool Soviet era jazz

test pilots: first human passengers take a ride in the experimental, levitating hyperloop (previously) in the desert of Nevada 

ohrwurm: you’re welcome—see previously    

mnemosyne: an iterative technique to vastly improve recall (see previously)—from the illustrious Mx van Hoorn’s curio cabinet

the ephemeralist: selecting random pages from archives of thousands of old publications, this bit of coding seems as good a substitute for social media as any—via Kicks Condor

the word rooster is an eighteenth century American invention to avoid saying the word ________:  an educational and invigorating swear quiz from Helen Zaltzman

Friday 6 November 2020


photos veritables: antique pre-prepared vacation picture albums  

necessitous men are not free men: FDR’s 1944 second, more equitable Bill of Rights 

conformal cyclic cosmology: Nobel winning astrophysicist Roger Penrose shares his Universe origin hypothesis 

la sape: Tariq Zaida documents the fashion of the sapeurs and sapeuses of Brazzaville and Kinshasa—reminding me of this other subculture  

author, poet, composer: the amazing virtuosity of Gordon Parks 

das neue europa mit dem dauernden frieden: revisiting an early proposal for the European Union, divided into Kantons converging on Vienna (previously

dss43: Deep Space Communication Complex re-establishes link with Voyager 2 

scarfolk & environs: a road & leisure map for uninvited tourist

Sunday 25 October 2020

a la ronde

Inspired by their decade-long tour of the continent, two independent cousins, Jane and Mary Parminter, heiresses of a Devon vintner, set about in 1795 to build accommodations for themselves and to house their many souvenirs with their self-conceived hexadecagonal country retreat in Exmouth.

The central storey contained the living quarters with a central octotagonal corridor as a spoke opening on to eight outer chambers—each room with communicating doors so one could chase the sun throughout the day, moving from nook, library and parlour from east to west before entertaining and retiring. The interior is fitted with folding and collapsing features that minimises loss of usable space to the cottage’s angles.  Learn much more about this remarkable property at Amusing Planet at the link above.

Thursday 15 October 2020


mega project: unrealised plans from the 1930s to divert the Thames and reclaim land in central London—via Things Magazine  

messiner effect: researchers achieve room-temperature super conductivity with a novel metallic hydrogen alloy—via Kottke 

crying wolf: a misinformation training exercise (see also) in Nova Scotia goes awry—via Super Punch  

sea of seven colours: a tour of a pristine island reserve off the coast of Colombia 

minuet: ะšะพั€ะพะฑะตะนะฝะธะบะธ was not Tetris’ only theme tune  

karlลฏv most: deconstructing and rebuilding a fourteenth century bridge in Prague to span the Vltava