Sunday, 22 November 2020

iron lady

Triggered by the resignation of her duty 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

idahot

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

7x7

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

Monday, 4 May 2020

6x6

artbreeder: a fascinating, generative branching experiment that makes unique, derivative art from participant’s choices—via Things Magazine (a lot more to explore there)

may the fourth be with you: a disco tribute to the first film of the franchise (see previously)

topocom: mapping a better tomorrow – a 1971 US Army short

econowives: the trailer for a 1990 adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale (previously) starring Patricia Quinn, Elizabeth Montgomery, Faye Dunaway and Robert Duvall that’s a strange reverse case of the Mandela Effect (I feel I ought to have known about this yet have no memory of it)—via Messy Nessy Chic

wpa: a look at how the US government funded the arts during the Great Depression

such car: machine learning’s mixed meme metaphors, via Imperica

Saturday, 25 April 2020

hst

Carried aloft by the Space Shuttle Discovery mission that launched on the day prior, the Hubble Space Telescope, namesake of Edwin Powell Hubble (*1889 - †1953) pioneering astronomer who established the discipline of observational cosmology—leading to the conclusion along with Georges Lemaรฎtre that the Universe is expanding—was successfully deployed into stable low Earth orbit on this day in 1990. Versatile and becoming a public-relations boon for space exploration and the sciences in general with its unprecedented imagery and succession of discoveries, its operators estimate it could remain in service another two decades at least with its successor, the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST, named for the NASA administrator that oversaw the Apollo programme), scheduled to be brought on-line in March 2021.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

a chicken in every pot

In these days when the overwhelming majority of Americans are either experiencing grave job insecurity with housing and healthcare all bundled together or a hero and a hostage to a broken, exploitative medical delivery system that’s been pared back to maximise profits by eliminating any sort of buffer, Jamie Zawinski—proprietor of San Francisco’s legendary DNA Lounge, a dance hall and live music venue—shares a long dormant memory of a comic panel from 1990 called Give Me Liberty with the president doling out a Christmas turkey for all.
The recollection doubtless jarred awake by the insistence of Trump that his signature block and auto-pen appear on the physical stimulus cheques mailed out to the underbanked (a problem exacerbated by first restricting the fiduciary role of the postal service’s geographical spread and now threatening the institution with insolvency to further isolate and disenfranchise) that will cause a delay in receipt of this much needed, be it insufficient relief—twice the amount that the Obama administration distributed but to remedy a crisis untold magnitudes greater than the recession precipitated by the sub-prime mortgage bubble. It’s a tragically apt vignette of self-promotion and deflection as surrogates for leadership and cohesion. …And two cars in every garage.

Tuesday, 14 April 2020

autostadt

Via Things Magazine we discover that adjacent to the flagship Volkswagen factory in Wolfsburg there are two museums, ZeitHaus, one dedicated to the brand’s greatest automotive hits with pavilions full of Lamborghini, ล koda, Bentleys as well as their own cars—with the other wing surely worth the visit as well, is filled with prototypes, test models and show cars that never went into production for the driving public. Exhibits include the 1990 Vario, a concept, a transitional buggy test-marketed prior to the introducing of the new Beetle. See more unrealised roadsters at the link above.

Sunday, 12 April 2020

garysaurus

His massively popular and curatorially acclaimed colossal sculptures having already attracted quite a following as they were paraded, fully assembled in cross-country processions and on display in-situ became the backdrop of the 1986 sci-fi comedy Howard the Duck, Jim Gary (*1939 – †2006) was the only artist invited to present a solo exhibition at the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History, opening on this day in 1990, and featuring dozens of Twentieth Century Dinosaurs, stegosaurs, triceratops, tyrannosaurs, pterodactyls fashioned out of salvaged automobile parts and brightly lacquered in car paint.
When not touring, the dinosaurs resided in Gary’s garden or were on loan to his favourite cafes and restaurants (hence the appellation for one installation, the dinersaur), sort of like those art cow statues (called CowParade and conceived by Swiss artist Pascal Knapp) of its day. The term above was an encomium to Gary in an obituary by biographer and reporter for The Guardian Andrew Roth, coining the neologism to describe his creations.

Saturday, 4 April 2020

bauhinia × blakeana

In anticipation of a post-colonial Hong Kong with the banner being first hoisted and flown during the transfer ceremony that took place 1 July 1997 onwards, on this day in 1990 the National People’s Congress approved the design for a new flag featuring a stylised five-petal flower of an orchid tree on a China red background to replace the defaced Union Jack on display since UK acquisition in 1843 after the Opium Wars. The design was submitted by a member of the selection committee, local architect Tao Ho (*1936 – †2019), whom unsatisfied with the entrants he had reviewed so far was inspired by a bauhinia blossom he found in his garden for its symmetry and dynamism.

Sunday, 1 March 2020

roll for perception

Founded a decade prior and six years after the establishment of role playing games as popular platform with Dungeons & Dragons, Austin-based Steve Jackson Games saw success with several genre-based games of strategy with dice, cards and table tops games as well as popularising the idea of creating and decorating miniature models of the enemies and playable characters became the subject of a sting operation culminating in a raid and seizure on this day in 1990 by the US Secret Service.
The impetus for monitoring and investigation was based on a rather spurious, tenuous concern that a proprietary document on how 911 emergency numbers (see previously) operated shared on a BBS (bulletin board system) in Chicago subsequently appeared on one in Texas for whom an SJG employee was webmaster (yell for the SysOp). The dragnet warrant consisted of nothing but over-reach and compounded three company computers along with over three hundred floppy disks, including the master programme for the firm’s computer version of its most popular game due to be released shortly but delayed in a fashion that crippled their business. Steve Jackson Games took the Secret Service to court and successfully sued them to recuperate some of their financial losses and encourage the agency to not be causal and sloppy about their justification. This suit and the Secret Services failure to amend their ways in a string of similar but unrelated operations (Operation Sundevil, a crackdown on perceived illegal hacking activities) during the same year that reflected the government’s learning curve when it came to technology were the catalyst for the establishment of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international digital rights group that champions internet civil liberties.

Friday, 3 January 2020

o snap!

First released on this day in 1990, the dance hit “[I’ve got] The Power” by Frankfurt-based creative collective Snap! quickly climbed the charts to reach highs of number two in Germany and the US and number one in the UK, Canada, Greece, Spain, Zimbabwe, the Netherlands and Switzerland. Their third collaboration on a single, it was composed by Michael Mรผnzing with Luca Anzilotti to showcase the vocal talents of rapper Turbo B and Penny Ford—with back-up from Jackie Harris.
First hearing the song I am confident that I did not know that the singers were German much less how my brain processed the enigmatic and dissonant (but I suppose also easily elided over) opening lyrics: “ะะผะตั€ะธะบะฐะฝัะบะฐั ั„ะธั€ะผะฐ Transceptor Technologies ะฟั€ะธัั‚ัƒะฟะธะปะฐ ะบ ะฟั€ะพะธะทะฒะพะดัั‚ะฒัƒ ะบะพะผะฟัŒัŽั‚ะตั€ะพะฒ ‘ะŸะตั€ัะพะฝaะปัŒะฝั‹ะน ัะฟัƒั‚ะฝะธะบ,’” meaning the American firm Transceptor Technologies has begun the production of the Personal Companion computer—referring to a company then recently founded in Ann Arbor Michigan that specialised in accessibility options for the visually impaired and distributed a voice-controlled console that downloaded editions of the USA Today newspaper and would read out selected articles. A strange segue but I suppose those sort of accommodations and interventions are in the spirit of enfranchisement and empowerment celebrated in the verses and bars to follow.

Monday, 30 December 2019

you can turn the clock to zero, honey—i’ll sell the stock, we’ll spend all the money

Via fellow internet caretaker Miss Cellania, we learn the backstory to those novelty New Year’s glasses, concocted on one stoned evening in January of 1990 and put into production in time to herald in the next year by revelers and for the following years to come.
The duo behind the iconic variations, Richard Sclafani and Peter Cicero of Seattle, were schooled in the patent application process and realised that there was essentially no safe means of protecting one’s design from being knocked-off by competitors—yet they did register pairs of glasses for the next fourteen years and did have a good and profitable stint of success, until when the final year of the twentieth century appeared on the horizon with 2000 and too many opportunists saw the potential for easy profit. Those sales diminished and their marketing efforts undercut, both behind the phenomenon are grateful for their good run and the smiles they brought to people counting-down. Designers will again, after 2020, be challenged to come up with more clever frames.

Thursday, 3 October 2019

zipfelbund

Since the inception of the holiday, the date of formal reunification rather than events leading up to it chosen in 1990, the chief celebrations have cycled through several host cities, usually state capitals.
Wiesbaden was the setting of 1999’s festivities and created the Compass Confederation, settlements that represent the geographical extremes (see also) of Germany:
the cardinal points being List on the Island of Sylt in the North, Selfkant in the West, Gรถrlitz in the East and Oberstdorf in the South, the towns honoured annually as co-celebrants. Though it took decades longer for the German map to have these extremes and present borders, the most westerly municipality of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Selfkant, was annexed by the Netherlands as war reparations in 1949. The allocation of this single district was the much diminished outcome of an original demand for Aachen, Kรถln, Mรผnster and Osnabrรผck, pared down significantly when the Dutch failed to garner support from the US for it. After three years of negotiations at the Hague, the territory was returned to West Germany (see also the Kleine Wiedervereinigung) in August 1963—with the exception of a hill and surrounding glade called Duivelsberg/Teufelsberg which the Netherlands retains and maintains as a nature reserve.