Tuesday, 31 January 2023

the golden arches theory (10. 512)

On the anniversary of the opening of the first McDonald’s establishment in Pushkin Square in 1990—an earlier earnest effort was undertaken by the Canadian master franchise for the 1980 Summer Olympic Games, famously boycotted by America, realising the host city offered no fast food options, arranged to open two pop-up restaurants by the main stadium but the plan was vetoed at the last minute by Moscow’s mayor, it’s a good occasion to visit the above adage of globalisation from Thomas Friedman that no belligerents both host McDonald’s. This conflict prevention measure is flawed, however, with the US invasion of Panama, the bombing of Serbia, Lebanon, the annexation of Crimea which shut down Russian outlets temporarily and the divesture of the company following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Nearly forty-thousand guests were served that day, queuing in the cold for hours.

Thursday, 22 December 2022

rzฤ…d rzeczypospolitej polskiej na uchodลบstwie (10. 354)

Established in 1939 after the invasion and annexation by the Nazis in September 1939 and exerting considerable influence diplomatically and militarily throughout World War II and subsequent occupation by German and Soviet forces which effectively ended the Second Polish Republic, the government-in-exile, first based in Paris and Angers and following the Fall of France, continued its caretaker role—albeit it with waning internation recognition after the formation of the Provisional Government of National in 1945, opposed by the majority of the diaspora as demonstrative democracy and the chance for Communists to assert power—a suspicion that proved correct, until its dissolution on this day in 1990, when president in exile Ryszard Kaczorowski passed the responsibilities, constitution and state seals to Lech Waล‚ฤ™sa of Poland’s Third Republic during a special ceremony at the royal palace of Warsaw.

Thursday, 27 October 2022

stay tuned to 6-40 and 12-40 on your dial—now back to clutch cargo (10. 251)

Preceded by an episode of the multi-chapter 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps starring Bela Lugosi, the main feature getting the MST3K treatment, Rocket Attack U.S.A., aired for the first time on this day in 1990. The 1958 propaganda movie also marketed as Five Minutes to Zero by Barry Mahon—later of adult film fame—follows spy John Manston as he infiltrates the Soviet Union but is ultimately unsuccessful at preventing a nuclear attack (premised on telemetry gathered by Sputnik), with New York City destroyed. The dialogue throughout is hilarious arch and earned it cult-status even before being rediscovered by the mad scientists of Deep 13 and captors on the Satellite of Love. “This is my skull—stick around to see how that happened.”

Saturday, 8 October 2022

the power generation (10. 204)

In the face of more energy austerity and with the prospects of a long, cold winter for many and the prospect of rolling blackouts, we were quite elated to be directed towards arguably one of the greatest cross-overs of all time, this circa 1990 advert where National Power and Powergen use a high production value Star Trek (a famously post-scarcity society) short to flog shares in symphony with the move to privatise the UK electricity market. More at Dirty Feed at the link above.

Thursday, 21 July 2022

die wand ⚒⚒⚒ (10. 007)

To commemorate the fall of the Berlin Wall eight months prior, Roger Waters of The Who joined The Scorpions, Cyndi Lauper, Sinรฉad O’Connor, Joni Mitchell, Van Morrison and others and held a concert on this day in 1990 in Potsdamer Platz—attended by some three hundred thousand spectators in person and telecast live around the world.

Saturday, 18 December 2021

something just broke

Opening to expected and welcome controversy over the taboo subject in general and some vocal members of the theatre-going public dismissing it as inappropriate for a musical, the Stephen Sondheim and John Weidman collaboration Assassins had its debut on this day in 1990 at the Off-Broadway venue the Playwrights’ Horizons. Despite negative initial reception, the revue-style piece that explored the real and imagined lives, motivations and self-justifications of those who tried (attempted and successful) to kill US leaders, presidential victims and tertiary characters associated perpetrators, the show was reprised many times and during a 2004 revival on Broadway and the West End ultimately won five Tony Awards. The cast of characters include John Wilkes Booth, John Hinckley Jr, and Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme and Sara Jane Moore, president Gerald Ford’s would-be assassins.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

i will kill you!

At the risk of over-explaining the gag, the seventh episode of the second season of Mystery Science Theater 3000, airing for the first time on this day in 1990, is one of the first incidents of the above often repeated threat or pledge throughout the show’s run which is itself a reference to Sting’s portrayal of Baron Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen in Dune (1984) delivered to Paul Atrides and they both try to usurp power from the Padishah Emperor, during their treatment of the 1967 William Grefe film Wild Rebels in which a retired stock car racer is engage by the police to infiltrate a biker gang called Satan’s Angels, who are terrorising southern Florida with a crime spree, undertaken not for financial gain but rather “kicks.” Below is a short preview of the lampoon as the full episode wasn’t yet available for watching.

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

aw, she’s the ginchiest—life does begin at forty

Broadcast for the first time on this day in 1990 and reattaining its reputation as a minor cult classic with the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, the 1961 horror film Ring of Terror, following the trials of a young medical student portrayed by a significantly older actor, Lewis Moffitt, twenty-two, played by George E. Mather, then forty-two, who submits to hazing before he is able to join a fraternity. Despite a haunting childhood trauma that involved an incident with a corpse, our protagonist Moffitt puts on a brave face for his first autopsy. His initiation ritual, which involves him retrieving a ring from a dead body, proves far more frightening and reveals his past. Universally panned for its pacing and casting choice that marked the beginning of the trope of old teenagers. The only episode of MS3K to have the short after the feature, it concluded with another chapter from the 1939 serial The Phantom Creeps.

Thursday, 30 September 2021

heil honey, i'm home!

Mercifully cancelled after the pilot with seven episodes remaining unaired, the titular situational comedy spoofing conventions of the American format and conventions of the fifties, sixties and seventies and the perceived willingness to capitalise on any premise, no matter how dumb, was aired for the first and the last time by the Galaxy network, an affiliate of British Satellite Broadcasting on this day in 1990. Set in 1938 Berlin, Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun live next door to a Jewish couple, the Goldensteins. The intent of the creators was not to shock or sensationalise but rather broach the policy of appeasement through parody but the subject matter was too grave for audiences and programming directors.

Saturday, 12 June 2021


Called the Day of the Adoption of the Declaration of State Sovereignty of the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic (RSFSR, a transitional state during the dissolution of the USSR) or Russia Day for short, this national holiday of the Russian Federation commemorates the passage of structural reform by the First Congress of People’s Deputies on this day in 1990, establishing primacy of the constitution, equal rights for all citizens and political parties and the separation of powers among three co-equal branches of government: the executive, legislative and judicial. The acclaim is not universal with quite a lot of ambivalence towards celebrating this declaration but the holiday is generally marked with awards assemblies, firework displays, parades and concerts.

Friday, 26 March 2021


The 1989 animated short (Trickfilm) by twin brothers Wolfgang and Christoph Lauenstein Balance won an Academy Award in that category for the following spring’s Oscars, on this day in 1990. Five individuals confined to a floating platform must cooperate lest their world tips over, complicated by the introduction of a mysterious, heavy chest. The Lauensteins have gone on to work on feature length animation and commercial works including station idents for MTV.

Friday, 5 February 2021

liquid television

Via the venerable Cardhouse, we are invited to indulge in a bit of forgotten nostalgia in the complete mini-series—the arc of narrative with cliffhangers clocking in at just over six minutes—of The Esperanto Family airing on MTV, with other cartoon friends including ร†on Flux, Beavis and Butthead who unjustly received more attention thanks to the network’s doting, in 1990 from the brilliant Joe Horne, creator of The Specialists and Stevie & Zoya. The narrator is John Joseph Lydon—also known as Johnny Rotten of the Sex Pistols.

Sunday, 22 November 2020

iron lady

Triggered by the resignation of her deputy prime minister over her firm stance against European integration, open borders and a common currency that prompted a challenge to her leadership of the Conservative Party by pro-trade member Michael Ray Dibdin Heseltine, Margaret Thatcher (*1925 – †2013) failed to win the re-nomination outright during the first ballot two days earlier and was persuaded to withdraw from the second vote and announced her intention to resign her position as Prime Minister on this day in 1990, ending a reign of eleven years. The cabinet recognising that the stewardship of Baron Heseltine would further divide the party, they threw their support behind the candidacy of John Major, who ultimately won the contest on 27 November.

Saturday, 3 October 2020

juristische sekunde

Having recently been privy to a consequential and precedent-setting discussion on the nature of deadlines and what legal leeway there is between a late submission and being in just under the wire, we were reminded of the above legal fiction—otherwise described as a logical second—that denotes, according to the Roman system of jurisprudence that German law is heir to, a period between two simultaneous events as to make them successive with the latter in the chain being the intended effect of the former.

The most famous modern example of invoking this imaginary instance of transitional time occurred at the stroke of midnight 3 October 1990 during the Reunification of Germany (Deutsche Wiedervereinigung, see previously here, here, here, and here) which first replaced East Germany by reconstituting its constituent states (Lander—not without some derision calling them collectively die Neulander) so that the constitutional Basic Law (Grundgesetz) came to apply to the united federation of states in the same way for all. State elections were held there on 14 October to form parliamentary bodies and gain anatomy and self-determination within Germany.

Friday, 2 October 2020

twenty-first century digital boy

Via fellow-internet caretaker, Miss Cellania, we discover that the Hood Internet (previously here) has returned with their latest musical anthology mashing-up the top sixty hits from the year 1990 in a clever three-and-a-half-minute medley. I admit too that I had trouble placing these songs in the right decade. What are some of your favourites from thirty years ago that still sound fresh? I don’t know how to live but I’ve got a lot of toys. 


Thursday, 10 September 2020

my life got flipped—turned upside down

From the always enthralling friend of the blog, Nag on the Lake, we learn that the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is being rebooted as a hard drama, the news coming just in time for the just in time for the thirtieth anniversary of the show’s first broadcast on NBC on this day, according to our faithful chronicler, in 1990. The two-season arc won’t be available for streaming until next year, however.

our lady peace

With high dome and colonnade inspired by St. Peter’s, le Basilique Notre-Dame de la Paix, among the largest churches in the world, in Yamoussoukro, administrative capital of Cรดte d’Ivoire, was consecrated on this day in 1990 by Pope John Paul II.
It was designed and built from 1985 to 1989 under the supervision of Lebanese-Ivorian architect Pierre Fakhoury. A basilica minor, the distinction from a cathedral is one in terms of rank, conferred in writing by a papal breve and certain privileges to display the baldachin and bell—that is, the canopy (conopaeum) of state and the right to wear special vestments during Divine Office. Most basilicas receive the designation for housing a shrine meant to be a pilgrimage destination.

Friday, 7 August 2020

even keel

Having recently noted the anniversary of the passing away of the tradition of the rum ration with Black Tot Day (31 July 1970)—the abolishment of the daily allotment aboard vessels of the Royal Navy in the UK, though lasting under the admiralties of Canada and New Zealand until 1972 and 1990 respectively, we enjoyed learning about the term “splice the mainbrace
—originally an emergency directive to undertake one of the most difficult emergency rigging repair jobs, it became over the years an allowance for a taking a celebratory toast or dispensing an extra ration to the crew. Since the institution ended, only the Queen, Admiralty or another member of the Royal Family can issue the order, sometimes with the supplementary command to “Mend and make clothes,” in other words to take half a day off. Compare to the “:59 Minute Rule” that’s observed in the US military that allows commanders to dismiss staff early without charge to leave, since it falls beneath the threshold that requires it.

Sunday, 17 May 2020


Originally in deference to a subsection of German Basic Law and penal code § 175 with colloquially homosexuals sometimes referred to as einhundredfunfundsiebsiegers (twice the fun, see previously) and the association reinforced by the decision of the World Health Organisation to declassify homosexuality as a mental disorder on this same date in 1990, since 2005 and expanded in 2009, a human rights coalition has commemorated this 17 May as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia to mobilise and raise awareness of discrimination and repression of individuals in that community.

In solidarity, many national celebrations and legislative reforms are observed and enacted around this day, with Massachusetts holding the first lawful same-sex ceremonies in the United States in 2004, France in 2009 to normalise transgender identification and Taiwan in 2019 to legalise gay marriages.

Monday, 11 May 2020


great railway journeys: POV footage of Swiss trains racing through the countryside accompanied by techno music

day-o: a family in lockdown recreates dinner party scene from Beetlejuice

starfish and coffee: Prince is the opening act for the latest Link Pack from Swiss Miss

down to gorky park: an in depth investigation into whether the 1990 Scorpions’ power ballad was a US was soft power ploy by the intelligence services

oslo maps the world: visit dozens of global festival venues virtually, via Maps Mania

novas: a mirror universe mixtape of 1982—one of the 1982s, via Kicks Condor

sun dance: a mesmerising percussion set paired with high resolution footage from the Solar Dynamics Observatory