Friday, 8 September 2023

tos, tas (10. 990)

Four years after the original series was cancelled and on the anniversary of its 1966 debut, Star Trek (previously) returned with animated continuing voyages, voiced by most of the principal cast, airing as a Saturday morning cartoon on this day in 1973. Despite winning an Emmy, the revival was cancelled after two seasons although it helped sustain interest in the franchise and provided impetus to reunite the characters again for a feature film by 1979.  Referred to as the “Rec Room” and only appearing in one episode but considered canonical, the animated series introduced the concept of the holodeck. 

one year ago: Perry Rhodan, assorted links to revisit plus the death of Queen Elizabeth II
two years ago: the debut of Star Trek (1966), Ford pardons Nixon (1974), Just So Stories and printing conventions, a teaser for the upcoming Matrix sequel plus more on the evolution of language
three years ago: Hopi kachina, a Maltese rebellion (1775), a six-wheeled sedan, more links to enjoy plus photographer Manfred Thierry Mugler
four years ago: a very venerable blog, a member of the US armed services comes out (1975) plus the Day of Open Monuments
five years ago: the South East Asia Treaty Organisation (1954-1977) plus outsider artist Howard Finster

Sunday, 20 August 2023

wattstax (10. 953)

The name a play on the Woodstock festival, the benefit concert to commemorate the seventh anniversary 1965 Watts Riots and help the community and organised by Stax Records with all the label’s biggest stars took place in the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on this day in 1972, selected for coinciding with the thirtieth birthday of major talent Isaac Hayes. Spanning the musical genres of soul, funk, blues and jazz and included sets by Kim Weston, The Staple Singers, Eddie Floyd, Rufus Thomas, Ernie Hines, Hayes and The Bar-Kays. Invocation and various speeches were given by civil rights leader Jesse Jackson. Tickets priced at a suggested donation of one dollar so everyone could attend, the festival was filmed by David Lloyd Wolper (the producer by the television mini-series Roots, North and South, and the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1984 LA Olympics) and released the following year to high acclaim.


one year ago: a visit to a potash mine

two years ago: Davy Jones & The Lower Third (1965), more miniatures from Tatsuya Tanaka plus links worth revisiting

three years ago: more words of Shakespearian coinage, quality control officers, the August Coup in Russia (1991) plus the ravens of the Tower of London miss the tourists

four years ago: a classic from Miles Davis (1959), a disembodied hand dominates the skyline in Wellington plus the plague of e-scooters

five years ago: dawn in the woods, the logos of Paul Rand, an on-screen marriage ceremony that may have been legally binding, winning-streaks plus Soviets crush reform attempts in Czechoslovakia (1968)

Sunday, 13 August 2023

(pronounced 'lฤ•h-'nรฉrd ‘skin-'nรฉrd) (10. 940)

Released on this day in 1973 some nine years after the southern and blues rock band formed, their debut studio album contains some of their best songs—including “Free Bird,” which elevated their profile to stardom. Most of the tracks were already well established in the band’s repertoire in their circuit of the Florida and Georgia music scene but the record exposed the work of Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Bob Burns and Larry Junstrom to much wider audience and a subsequent tour as the opening act for The Who propelled their success, with the correctly IPA pronunciation guide rendered as /หŒlษ›nษ™rd หˆskษชnษ™rd/, saw the album certified Gold by December 1974 and Double-Platinum by the summer of 1987. The 1973 original recording was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008 and has become a snowclone for audience requests and encores (famously with MTV’s Unplugged 1993 of Nirvana), regardless of the artist or style of music being performed.

one year ago: KC and the Sunshine Band plus the Angelus prayer

two years ago: your daily demon: Astaroth, building the Berlin Wall (1961), assorted links to revisit plus a flying Winnebago
three years ago: the Roman holiday Vertumnus, Saint Cassian, the Inception Sequel, The Hunting of the Snark, luring a cautious public back to the movies, an isolation odyssey plus pandemic border restrictions
four years ago: the design of the Japanese flag, Italian car design plus the script of the Saanich people
five years ago: an update on the TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport

Wednesday, 2 August 2023

you chicken fink! after all we did to get accepted? (10. 921)

Before going into general release in cinemas in the US, American Graffiti premiered at the Locarno International Film Festival on this day, the director and writer George Lucas, disappointed by the financial performance of THX 1138, was challenged to make a nostalgic, coming-of-age movie by producer Francis Ford Coppola that more audiences could relate to and was inspired by recollections of teenage experiences “cruising” in Modesto, California. 

Set during the last night of summer vacation, matriculating seniors and recent graduates about to depart for college out of state spend the evening driving from one end of town to the other, with a cast including Richard Dreyfus, Harrison Ford, Mackenzie Phillips, Ron Howard, Suzanne Somers and Cindy Williams and an omnipresent soundtrack sourced from its decade earlier setting (DJ’d by Wolfman Jack), this second attempt is heralded as among the most profitable films of all time with a world-wide boxoffice of over two-hundred million, giving Lucus the seed money to finance his long-planned space opera.

one year ago: assorted links to revisit

two years ago:your daily demon: Ronovรฉ, the dead man’s hand, the letter that encouraged the Manhattan Project plus more links worth revisiting

three years ago: a notorious piratess, Blessed Basil of Moscow plus more on malapropisms
four years ago: vintage sporting posters, the worst examples of gerrymandering turned into a font, terms for animal markings plus a weird vintage McDonald’s ad
five years ago: preserving process, skill and institutional know-how,  more on Foley artists and sound design plus welcome to the Anthropocene Era

Tuesday, 11 July 2023

operation sober popeye (10. 872)

Also known under the codenames Motorpool and Intermediary-Compatriot and repudiated as an unacceptable tactic in warfare after leaks in the Pentagon Papers and unwelcome press coverage with a US Senate resolution passed on this day in 1973, the military cloud-seeding program carried out from 1967 to 1972 attempted chemical modification of the weather with the aim of extending monsoon seasons and disrupting the North Vietnamese supply-chain along the Ho Chi Minh Trail by soften road surfaces and causing landslides. Operations in secret extended over Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. Despite its highly classified nature, the 54th Weather Reconnaissance Squadron, the unit chiefly responsible for the tests, publicly and prominently used the slogan “make mud, not war.” The American people deciding that such measures had no place on the battlefield, weather disruption falls presently under the auspices of the Environmental Modification Convention.  


one year ago: the Hollywood Bowl (1922), Avogadro’s Number (1811) plus Fischer v Spassky (1972)

two years ago: Fleetwood Mac by Fleetwood Mac (1975) plus a megalithic stone ship in Sweden

three years ago: a visit to the Ehrenburg on the Ehrbach

four years ago: a delayed release of “Space Oddity” (1969), the uncontrolled deorbit of Skylab (1979) plus France approves a digital services tax scheme

five years ago: a collection of samurai clan banners, a disclaimer on social media that comes too late, America’s garbage politicians sit for a family photos plus Trump attends a NATO summit

Monday, 3 July 2023

ziggy played guitar (10. 852)

After one hundred eighty two concert performances and eighteen months of touring, David Bowie, with only bandmate and guitarist Mick Ronson knowing in advance, announced on this day in 1973 during live show at Hammersmith Odeon in London that he would be retiring, just before the final song “Rock ’n’ Roll Suicide,” “Of all the shows on this tour, this particular show will remain with us the longest, because it is not only the last show of the tour, but it’s the last show we’ll ever do”—only to clarify to shocked fans and the rest of his band that he meant the persona of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars backing band. This final concert for Stardust was the subject of a documentary by D A Pennebaker and later released as a motion picture a decade on.

Wednesday, 21 June 2023

the miller test (10. 824)

Issuing a landmark five-to-four decision in the case of Miller v California, a mail-order business specialising in adult materials that sent out graphic and explicit catalogues that opened by the owner and his mother of a beachfront restaurant and reported the offending brochure to authorities, the US Supreme Court formulated a three-pronged standard used as a benchmark for determining whether or not material material is obscene and therefore not a category of protected speech under the First Amendment. For a work to be obscene, it must meet all three conditions: whether “the average person, applying contemporary community standards” would find it overall an appeal to prurient interests, whether in a patently offensive manner it depicts sexual conduct, and whether over all is lacking in any serious literary, political, scientific or artistic value. The dissenting opinion worried because the test called for serious value, merit and allowed for community standards—without definition or the purview to set one—that this precedent would enable greater censorship. 


one year ago: a pioneering parachutist (1913), the US Supreme Court weighs in on flag burning plus assorted links worth revisiting 

two years ago: the Stonehenge Free Festival (1974),  LPs introduced (1948) plus Return to Oz (1985)

three years ago: International Yoga Day, machine designed fragrances, a wrongful accusation righted, a tapestry generator, fighting Facebook’s hegemony plus the Satellite News Channel (1982)

four years ago: Midsommar traditions plus vintage Hungarian stationary

Monday, 19 June 2023

come up to the lab and see what’s on the slab (10. 819)

Preview performances given at a couple of other venues earlier in the week, the B-movie, schlock horror musical—see previously—by Richard O’Brien opened on this day in the experimental space, “upstairs,” at the Royal Court Theatre in Chelsea, under the direction of Jim Sharman, renowned stage producer for his earlier work on Jesus Christ Superstar and Hair. The show ran for seven years, approaching three thousand performances, and the original cast whom crossed over into the 1975 cinematic adaptation included the starring roles of Tim Curry as Dr Frank N Furter, Patricia Quinn as Magenta the Usherette and O’Brien himself as Riff Raff.


one year ago: Juneteenth, assorted links worth revisiting, Saints Gervasius and Protasius plus an early home office set-up 

two years ago: rendered realities plus generated fabric patterns

three years ago: ecclesiastical courts, more dazzle camouflage, Trump censored for his social media posts plus a queen bee’s performance

Wednesday, 24 May 2023

the judgment of paris (10. 763)

Aptly alluding to the myth of a scorned guest and chaos agent, Eris, the goddess of Discord—who was not invited to the marriage ceremony of Greek hero Peleus and sea nymph Thetis and tossed a golden apple into the wedding party to be awarded to the fairest, a bone of contention that sparked the Trojan War, an international jury of wine experts convened in the French capital on this day in 1976 to carry out a blind-tasting—ultimately rating varieties of Napa Valley wines as superior to the historically more esteemed French vineyards. The results of course sparked controversy—top honours going to a 1973 chardonnay from Chรขteau Montelena and a cabernet Sauvignon from Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars whereas the opposite outcome was rather a foregone conclusion, and marked a pivotal moment in the California industry (see previously) with a follow up match in 2006 on the event’s thirtieth anniversary that re-certified the standings.

Thursday, 11 May 2023

executive branch (10. 734)

On this day in 1973, US president Richard abandoned his plans to reorganise government with the creation of a “super cabinet” consisting of three appointed secretaries who would over the the running of federal departments and agencies, having met staunch resistance from Congress and the broadening of presidential purview through delegated powers and the creation of an imperial post by dint of past failed attempts. Fresh from roundly defeating George McGovern to secure re-election, Nixon announced on 5 January, the inauguration, an “administrative” cabinet shuttle proposed during his first term (not without precedent as Harding, Taft, FDR and Truman had tried subject to legislative veto) to create a council to overstep consciousness bureaucracy. Although corrected by the press to the American spelling convention, Nixon’s orders and communiques named counsellors, senior advisors, equivalent to a minister without portfolio in the British system, a sinecure posting that had plentipotent, encompassing responsibilities and therefore none as a special conduit to the chief executive and so a triumvirate beholden to none. The Watergate scandal having brought this reshuffling to an ignominious end when exalted staff tendered their resignations but had this experiment continued one wonders what now might be considered executive overreach and regard for competent authorities.

datalagen (10. 731)

Enacted on this day in 1973 by Riksdag and going into effect in July of the following year, Sweden’s was the world’s data protection law passed on a national level (see previously) created a privacy protection authority to issue permits to information systems that handled personal information. Already Five decades ago, use of electronic file storage and communications in the country were quite advanced and Swedish society upheld the importance of access and transparency and a commission was established in 1969, returning its recommendations to the government three years later on the state of computers, future trends and how that intersected with the press and private lives—particularly in terms of creditworthiness. Subject to amendments and evolving as technology changed and spread, the law eventually was replaced the Personuppgiftslagen (Personal Data Law) in 1998 modelled after the European Union’s Data Protection Directive following its ascension to the EU.

Sunday, 23 April 2023

8x8 (10. 692)

caspar milquetoast: Public Domain Review presents Shy Guy (1947)—starring Dick York—via Nag on the Lake  

wicksy’s cocktails: a selection of non-alcoholic drinks from a 1986 Easter Enders’ cook book  

birdsite: the continuing rapid unscheduled disassembly of the platform  

here is a map to give you pleasure, a town reduced to your mantel’s measure: poetry on maps—via the Map Room  

ganja & hess: an under appreciated vampire film reexamined on its fiftieth anniversary  

smigadoon: virtual ghost villages in the clouds that have become the haunts of tourists  

rolling through the produce and said, now that’s a better buy: Toni Basil’s “Shopping from A to Z” 

schools of the air: a retrospective look at broadcast continuing education—see previously

Friday, 24 March 2023

jeff’s collie (10. 632)

Rather incongruously airing since 1954, the final, five-hundredth ninety-first episode of the Lassie franchise was broadcast on this day in 1973. Over nineteen seasons, the arc of narrative is broken generally into five segments—“The Miller Years,” “The Martin Years”—based on ownership with Lassie later the ward of forest rangers, on her own in 1970 without explanation traveling the country and helping out other animals and the final two years of programming in syndication—cancelled later that same year of wandering as part of the so called “rural purge” of network television to unburden themselves from still popular yet perhaps patronising, nostalgic shows set pointedly outside of urban and suburban settings, including Green Acres, The Beverly Hillbillies, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, Hee Haw and Petticoat Junction—taking place at the Holden Ranch for troubled children.

Tuesday, 21 March 2023

goodwill sample displays (10. 626)

Reversing his tone from a wide-ranging and contentious press conference delivered five days before that forbid the Federal Bureau of Investigations from turning over its findings to a special congressional committee investigating the Watergate burglary and threatened to re-enter the Vietnam War and eliciting such a negative public response that a law was passed prohibiting the US from engaging in conflict in Indochina without the approval of Congress, Richard Nixon on this day in 1973 distributed fragments of lunar rocks to the fifty states of American and every country of the world collected during the final Apollo mission. Presented on wooden plaques with a miniture flag that went into the orbit around the Moon and back, each gift (see also) included a message of peace, acknowledging that the exploration of our satellite was an international effort and than humankind could surely achieve harmony on Earth.

Thursday, 2 March 2023

kรฉpzelt riport egy amerikai popfesztivรกlrรณl (10. 581)

Set in Montana but giving a fictionalised recounting of the Altamont Free Concert, the musical by Gรกbor Presser, Anna Adamis and Sรกndor Pรณs—based on the novel of the same name by Tibor Dรฉry—An Imaginary Report on an American Rock Festival premiered in Budapest on this day in 1973. The production team portrayed the plot of a young Hungarian couple that defected to the West with themes violating taboo subjects of homosexuality, illicit drug use and the war and the Holocaust to the Department for Agitation and Propaganda as a criticism of hippie culture and were granted permission to go on with the show. Resonant among its target audience, many musical numbers became hits and the musical (see also) toured throughout Eastern Europe.

Wednesday, 1 March 2023

gui (10. 579)

Offered with a portrait-oriented monitor matching a sheet of paper and the first commercially available for lease with a graphical user interface after the desktop metaphor, the Xerox Corporation released its Alto model on this day in 1973. Prohibitive costs ($32 000 for a basic version) meant that only around two thousand units were produced but were ahead of the rest of the market by a decade in terms of its operating system. Apple Computer personnel received exclusive demonstrations from Xerox PARC (Palo Alto Research Centre) in exchange for the company to option Apple stock. Several peripheral devices were created for the Alto, including a mouse, a television camera, a printer and a parallel port.

Saturday, 18 February 2023

king biscuit flower hour (10. 554)

The syndicated radio show that featured concert performances debuted on this day in 1973, broadcasting Sunday nights through 2005, the programme taking its name from the earlier, pioneering Blues segment sponsored by the King Biscuit Flour Company—with a tip of the hat to “flower power.” This first show featured a line up of Blood, Sweat & Tears, Bruce Springsteen and the jazz ensemble the Mahavishnu Orchestra. Although associated with classic rock, much air time of the programme was given to emerging artists and genres and still exists as a digital station with much of its archive available for streaming.

Wednesday, 8 February 2023

verdens fรธrste bรธssebryllup (10. 534)

Though not accorded legal sanction by the Kingdom of Denmark for more than sixteen years later, the Danish Evangelical-Lutheran Church became the first Christian communion in modern times to recognise gay marriage on this day in 1973 when radical priest—semi-retired for advocating social anarchy and protesting against NATO upbuilding but not defrocked—Harald Sรธbye, at the suggestion of a tabloid journalist who was one of the grooms, presided over the world’s first gay marriage. The reporter had met a florist at a discotheque in Vesterbro and asked Sรธbye to do the honours. From then to 1989 when civil unions were legally recognised, Sรธbye performed over two hundred blessings or full matrimonial ceremonies. The Church of Denmark in 2012 decided not just to bless and accept same-sex marriages (see also) but to moreover administer the vows and host the celebrations as well.

Friday, 3 February 2023

learning fast as the weeks went past (10. 520)

Recorded in the studios of Chรขteau d’Hรฉrouville during the previous summer and put out as a pre-release for the forthcoming sixth studio album Don’t Shoot Me—I’m Only the Piano Player, the lead single by Elton John and Bernie Taupin climbed to the top of the charts in the US on this day in 1973—becoming the duo’s first number one hit in America—holding its position for three weeks. Played on a Farfisa (Fabbriche Riunite di Fisarmoniche) electric organ—derisively to imitate the nostalgic sounds of songs that sounds better in our memories though a popular instrument for Led Zepplin, Blondie, Pink Floyd and the B-52s—‘Crocodile Rock’ is a tribute to the Australian group Daddy Cool’s ‘Eagle Rock’ as a fun side project. While acknowledgedly derivative and escapist (and a number he stopped enjoying performing), John didn’t expect it to prove so popular and even rising to a lawsuit alleging plagiarism from the estate of the writer of the Pat Boone novelty song ‘Speedy Gonzales’ for the chord progression and falsetto. The matter was settled out of court.

Wednesday, 1 February 2023

la cage aux folles (10. 514)

The farce, “The Cage of the Mad Women,” by playwright Jean Poiret portraying the comedy of errors that ensues when the son of a Saint Tropez night club operator and his gay boyfriend invites his fiancรฉe’s conservative parents to meet their future inlaws had its debut this day in 1973 at the Thรฉรขtre du Palais-Royal, running for over eighteen-hundred performances. After being adapted as a Franco-Italian film—a trilogy ultimately, in 1978, it became a musical with book by Harvey Fierstein and music by Jerry Herman, with later cinematic premiere as The Birdcage in 1996.