Thursday 21 December 2023

reply-all (11. 202)

On this day in 1989, US vice-president James Danforth Quayle dispatched some thirty-thousand auto-pen (a machines usually reserved for authorising signatures or autographs and not without controversy) Christmas missives to family, friends and backers with the word “beacon” misspelt as “beakon.” Quite notably, Quayle’s team did not apparently use this as a learning opportunity to prevent later grammatical gaffes.

Monday 26 December 2022

the duchess and the dirt water fox are calling (10. 362)

Originally telecast on this day in 1992 with the MST3K treatment—having previously attained somewhat of a cult following by its inclusion in Elvira’s Movie Macabre in 1984, the 1965 scif-fi movie from the Woolner Brothers (also with the credits Hercules Unchained, Hercules and the Captive Women, Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman and Hillbillies in a Haunted House) follows the plot of a mysterious agent, Dr Kolos, of the Intergalactic Council tasked with replacing prominent human scientists with android doppelgรคngers in order to take over the Earth. The alien plan is foiled by intervention from the US National Intelligence Service.

Saturday 12 November 2022

abfab (10. 298)

The BBC2 sitcom based on the comedy duo French and Saunders singular sketch “Modern Mother and Daughter” (originally Adriana and Saffron) had its broadcast premiere on this day in 1992 with the pilot episode “Fashion.” The premise of the series (previously) follows the misadventures of two co-dependent career women of the London life-style and trend-setting scene who direct considerable time and financial resources to recapture their idealised self-images as swinging Mods, influential and indulgent and garnered an immediate and enduring cult following.

Monday 29 August 2022

drizzle, drazzle, druzzle drome—time for this one to come home (10. 094)

Alternately titled St George and the Dragon and The Seven Curses of Lodac, the 1962 adventure fantasy by Bert I Gordon (King Dinosaur, The Amazing Colossal Man, Village of the Giants, etc.) loosely based on the legend of St George and his conquests was subjected to the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment, airing for the first time on this day in 1992. Our hero in this version, George (Gary Lockwood, later Lieutenant Commander and navigator Gary Mitchell on the Enterprise and astronaut Frank Poole in 2001: A Space Odyssey)—of royal parentage but fostered by a sometimes ineffectual sorceress played by veteran actor of stage and screen Estelle Winwood—embarks on a quest to rescue the princess Helene and prevent her from being fed to the dragon of the evil wizard Lodac, played by the equally esteemed Basil Rathbone.

Monday 1 August 2022

i am the hellenistic ideal (10. 031)

First aired on this day in 1992, the 1959 sword-and-sandal pastiche Ercole e la regina di Lidia by Ennio De Concini and Pietro Francisci—featuring Steve Reeves reprising the title role—was given the MST3K treatment and is regarded among the cast’s favourites. Whilst journeying across Attica with a young Odysseus and his new bride Iole, Hercules is asked to settle a rival between two counter-claimants to the throne of Thebes after the abdication of Oedipus and taking a sip from Lethe—the river of forgetfulness—and becomes captive of the Queen of Lydia, Omphale, who keeps men until she grows weary of their company and transforms them into statues. The trio eventually escape and Hercules regains his memory and help ensure that Thebes gets a just ruler.

Wednesday 15 June 2022

standing firm

On this day in 1992, whilst attending a spelling bee at the Muรฑoz Rivera elementary school in Trenton, New Jersey, vice president and former senator from Indiana Dan Quayle (see previously) corrected one pupil’s answer from potato to add an erroneous e at the end. Subject to widespread ridicule for this mistake (part of a long series of gaffes), in his memoirs Quayle blamed written material given to him in advance by the school. During the presidential campaign later that year, the incumbent facing challengers Al Gore and Vice Admiral James Stockdale (RET) for his office, Quayle declaimed to reporters that he believed that homosexuality was a choice, and “the wrong choice.”

Thursday 19 May 2022

long island lolita

Prompting three separate made-for-television dramatisations of the incident starring in chronological order of release date (all within a year afterwards) Noelle Parker, Alyssa Milano and Drew Barrymore, seventeen-year-old high school student Amy Fisher, increasingly jealous of the wife of the thirty-five year old auto mechanic she was hoping to sustain a relationship with that had been going on since two years, shot Mary Jo Buttafuoco in the face on this day in 1992. Fisher confronted Buttafuoco when she answered the door of their house in Long Island and informed her that her husband was having an affair with Fisher’s imaginary younger sister—offering a tee-shirt from her husband’s auto body shop as proof. The situation escalated quickly when Buttafuoco demanded that Fisher leave the premises and fired at her with a pistol. Buttafuoco survived, divorced her husband (albeit a decade later, coming to the realisation through writing her memoir that this man who had committed statutory rape against a fifteen year old girl is a manipulative sociopath) and became a motivational speaker.

Wednesday 20 April 2022

curtail call

On this day, Easter Monday, in 1992 Wembley Stadium, broadcast live to an estimated global audience of one billion spectators, hosted a tribute concert to Freddie Mercury (previously), whom had died of AIDS-related complications the previous November with proceeds launching an AIDS charity trust. The first part of the concert featured musicians performing short-sets of songs influenced by Queen and the latter section featured performances with the remaining members of the band, including Elton John on piano for “Bohemian Rhapsody” the iconic duet of Annie Lennox and David Bowie singing “Under Pressure.” The final number, “We are the Champions,” was led by Liza Minnelli and included everyone who had participated in the concert.

Wednesday 2 March 2022

pridnestrain

Coinciding with the intensified fighting of the Transnistrian conflict that marked the beginning of the Moldo-Russian war between Russian supported separatists and pro-union Moldovan military and police forces, that country along with San Marino and fellow former Soviet republics Armenia, Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan join the United Nations on this day in 1992 during the forty-sixth session of the General Assembly.

Tuesday 8 February 2022

r·s·f

The pop duo that the Fairbrass brothers formed in 1989, named after a novelty song from the early 1960s about moving house, had their breakthrough hit acknowledged by reaching number one and number two on the US and UK charts respectively (having the distinction, shared with Father Abraham’s Smurf Song of being on the charts for the longest stretch of weeks without attaining the top spot) on this day in 1992—the debut single recorded and released in July of the previous year. Running a fitness studio in London on the side, the concept for the song came about as their way of poking fun at all the casual posing and narcissism they witnessed, especially by aspiring models who would patronise their gym.

Tuesday 1 February 2022

we come not as enemies but as allies

Following the announcement from their respective presidents that Russia will stop targeting the United States and her allies with nuclear weapons and the US responded with the same pledge plus a concerted effort on both sides to reduce the stockpile of warheads down to no more than twenty-five hundred, Boris Yeltsin meets with his American counterpart, George H. W. Bush, on this day in 1992 at the country retreat of Camp David to make the formal declaration that the Cold War was over—expanding on an announcement first made during the Malta Summit in 1989 between Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev just weeks after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

Friday 3 December 2021

short message service

First in used in pagers that used standarised telephonic protocols as defined, reserved and allocated under the Global System for Mobile Communications in the mid-1980s, the first test missive was sent on this day in 1992 when an engineer named Neil Papworth of the Franco-German SEMA telecommunications group (now defunct) texted from his computer a Christmas greeting to a colleague at Vodafone. Though billions of such SMS circulate daily, it was initially slow to be adopted with rival carriers not allowing cross-communication until 1999―with the uptake exponential and a far more generous character-limit, albeit that these curbs IMHO compelled some real lexicographical creativity.

Thursday 25 November 2021

i killed that fat barkeep!

First airing as a Turkey Day—Thanksgiving special on this day in 1992, preceded by a classic episode of the soap opera General Hospital, Mystery Science Theater 3000 assayed the 1960 teensploitation crime film by Paul Frees (see previously, his first and only directorial credit) The Beatniks, shot in 1958 under the working-title Sideburns and Sympathy. A petty thug is discovered—during a stick-up of a small diner for beer money—for his vocal talents, but his success, appearing on television and an over-night sensation, earns the jealousy of his former partners in crime and try to drag him back down to their level and reconstitute the old gang, ruining our protagonist’s chances for a career. Shut up, Iris.

Friday 9 July 2021

animorphs

Before the internet came along to satisfy one’s past-life regression curiosities and fulfil other needs of course, there were toll hotlines such as the one featured from 1992 which, by answering a few basic questions on one’s telephone keypad, promised to reveal what historical personage one’s pet was the reincarnation of. What a delightful theological view on the transmigration of souls. More bizarre 900 number advertising spots to be found at the sub-reddit Obscure Media at the link above.

Monday 10 May 2021

grunge speak

Courtesy of a fascinating conversation about the role that jazz lingo contributed to the English language and the possibly too poetic to be in common parlance quality (see also) of some of the phrases—like “half-past bad luck” referring to just after midnight and aligned with the improvisational nature of the genre however broadly or granularly one defines it—we are reminded of the hoax perpetuated as how the cool kids talked when a receptionist for the record label that championed Mudhoney, Soundgarden and Nirvana was called upon by a New York Times reporter to expound on a derivative lexicon in 1992. The interview yielded the fictitious definitions including bound-and-hagged for staying in on the weekend, cob nobbler and lamestain as a loser and rock on for a parting salutation. At least one of the terms took on an independent existence with the way to describe a bummer of a situation, harsh realm, referenced in other works.

Sunday 7 June 2020

7x7

hello, little friends: Ryoji Akiyama transversed China in 1981 and 1982 capturing images of young people in a rapidly changing country

a class divided: a powerful, pivotal lesson in discrimination revisited

the plot to overthrow america: a round-up of fear-mongering ploys baited by Trump’s declaring an acronym a terrorist group, plus a case of deicide

simrefinery: Chevron commissioned the makers of SimCity to make a training programme for workers at their petroleum plants back in 1992

little green men: investigating the anonymous, unaccountable army policing Washington, DC—via Pluralistic

subjective cityscapes: Natalie Christensen focuses her lens on the intersection of architecture and automobiles in the US Southwest—via Plain Magazine

heavenly palace: more details surface regarding China’s space station, with construction beginning next year

Tuesday 26 November 2019

racing stripes

A clever artist at a forum dedicated to the aesthetics of Vaporwave (previously) has made the Cybertruck a bit friendlier and less severe with a splash of Solo Jazz, a 1992 teal and purple design pattern created by Gina Ekiss, having since achieved cult status, for paper cups and plates.

Thursday 18 July 2019

les horrible cernettes

Sharing their initials with the future Large Hadron Collider and with office chart-topping hits such as “Antiworld,” “Mister Higgs” and “Strong Interaction” the trio, the Horrible CERN girls, became the first music group to have its image on the world wide web when this cover became one of the first images (originally as a GIF) posted there—the photograph taken on this day in 1992 and then scanned at the request of Tim Berners-Lee so he could publish them on some sort of information system he’d just invented. Sticking together for two decades before disbanding, the members got back together five years afterward for an anniversary reunion concert in Geneva in the summer of 2017.

Monday 20 August 2018

canonical consent

Though possibly polyandrous on the actress’ part in light of her earlier, coerced nuptials with Betelgeuse, we learn that the co-stars of the 1992 Francis Ford Coppula adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula—Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder—might have actually been married during the movie’s production.  Shot in Romania, the ceremony was reportedly presided over by an authentic priest who may or may not have understood his role on set. While the likelihood of a marriage considered legal and binding without the backing of substantiating documents strikes one as the stuff of sitcom tropes, it’s nonetheless a fun bit of trivia to consider and speculate if there are instances of fictional matrimony having legal consequence.

Friday 25 August 2017

pogrom und pulverkessel

Twenty-five years ago this week and just separated by double the amount from World War II in 1992—a couple of years into the reunification, the Lichtenhagen district of Rostock experienced horrendous xenophobic riots. Despite thousands of by-standers applauding the attack of a hi-rise complex sheltering asylum-seekers with Molotov-cocktails and stones, no one was killed but the onslaught that lasted several days and tragically inspired parallel attacks was nonetheless a very dark moment in recent German history and seemingly one whose lessons were squandered.  Ignoring early rumblings that indicated the tensions in the city between residents and refugees were growing, government and law-enforcement authorities carry much of the blame for their inaction.  The focus of the pogrom, the first act of its kind since the war, was the so called Sonnenblumenhaus, which the state government had designated for the sheltering of some three hundred asylum-seekers per month while their applications were vetted.  As the world came to terms, however, with the new realities of a collapsed Soviet Union, the system soon became overwhelmed with over eleven-thousand individuals, mostly Roma from Romania, living in the building and camped out on the surrounding grounds.  Instead of increasing support, services were cut and living conditions soon became intolerable.  Police were inattentive to maintaining the peace and provocateurs grew emboldened, going so far to recruit outsiders that also haboured such feelings of hatred.  Unfortunately these episodes have become frequent occurrences and the culpability falls on all of us.