Saturday 20 April 2024

seskleur (11. 501)

Proclaimed on this day in 1994 and officially adopted and flown for the first time a week later by president F W de Klerk (Nelson Mandela would succeed him in May, selected in the same general elections that incorporated the new design), and a synopsis, homage based on the Union Jack, the Dutch flag and the flag of the African National Congress (the political party, the ANC) and other elements of national banners of the country’s history, South Africa’s new flag, replacing the “Oranje, Blanje, Blou” of the apartheid era and—not including emblems and charges—is the only six-colour national flag. No universal symbolism is ascribed to the colours in order to allow personal attributions, with only the Y shaped element specifically meant to convey the convergence of diversity and unity going forward. Intended only as an interim rallying emblem, another contest was held in 1995 but it was decided, by popular acclaim, to keep the one that heralded justice and reconciliation.

Sunday 5 November 2023

i look at this slush and i try to remember at one time i made good movies (11. 099)

Including a short before the feature presentation on good hygiene practices and organising one’s shoe-shine paraphernalia and host segments on showers and sabotaging the Satellite of Love, the 1960 Ed Wood (see previously) crime drama The Sinister Urge was subjected to the MST3K treatment on this day in 1994. Law enforcement attempts to stop a ring of pornographers (the “smut picture racket”) connected to a larger crime syndicate including the distribution of snuff films. After raiding an affiliate studio, the investigating officers are petitioned by a local businessman demanding to know why his tax dollars are being wasted in the prosecution of harmless deviancy, prompting the police to prove the more serious conspiracy. Patronising a nearby pizzeria, one of the investigators witnesses an altercation between two lower-level peddlers and gain entry into the overarching network and distribution channels. Interstitial scenes show how arousal can quickly transform into murderous rage. This was the last mainstream walk-on role for Wood, who despite his ostensibly critical take (though perhaps as invective on American puritanical attitudes) the porn industry, only directed, produced and acted in exploitation and adult films, though like in the above treatment only rose to the level of matronly lingerie modelling.

Sunday 6 August 2023

i don’t listen hard—i don’t pay attention to the distance that you’re running (10. 928)

Originally conceived in 1990 with the intent of selling it to Hall and Oates for an anthology album, “Stay” (I Missed You) by Lisa Loeb & Nine Stories (named after the J D Salinger collection of short fiction) as the lead single from the Reality Bites soundtrack—included in the scoring after neighbour and friend Ethan Hawke heard the song and recommended it to the film’s director Ben Stiller—began a three-week run at number one on the US charts on this day in 1994. The below accompanying music video, that completes the piece’s status as an artefact of a very specific time—running over the movie’s end credits—was shot in Loeb’s New York apartment and features Hawke’s cat, Mardot, who also directed the video.  So I turned the radio on—I turned the radio up.


one year ago: the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire (1806) plus assorted links to enjoy

two years ago: Klaus Nomi, the banners of the Akan people, Olympic trivia plus unworthy subjects

three years ago: more street photographyanime Spongebob plus some poorly translated Latin

four years ago: a Martian meteorite, highly agglutinative languages plus more on endlings, the last of their kind

five years ago: more links worthy of a revisit, the US Voting Rights Act (1965), Japanese terms for rain plus more computer cameos

Sunday 23 July 2023

perhaps booze would alleviate this situation (10. 899)

Preceded by the educational short A Date with Your Family promoting good etiquette at the dinner table, the 1952 Alfred E Green Cold War drama set in a desultory Manhattan bar peopled by a demographic cross-section of Americans was given the Mystery Science Theater treatment on this day in 1994. Drinking brandy from a conspicuously large snifter, a mysterious pollster, gadfly assesses the attitudes of various patrons including a news presenter, an industrialist, rancher, socialite and congress member regarding international relations and foreign policy, whom to a person express their weariness of bad news from abroad and although treasure their safety and security, appear to have little will to be engaged participants. On cue the expository news channel reports that the US has been invaded by a foreign power (unnamed but ostensibly the USSR) and the situation quickly escalates into a nuclear conflict—mostly with incongruous stock footage of combat training. The guests rush to return to their lives with a more patriotic posture and do what they can for the war effort. As strikes continue unabated, the cadre suddenly find themselves back in the bar, the brandy-drinker having freed them from his hypnotic trance with a changed outlook, which ironically is to suborn their individual concerns for the good of the collective. Composer and music director Albert Glasser also scored The Saga of the Viking Women and their Voyage to the Waters of the Great Sea Serpent, Teenage Caveman and a number of other MST3K classics and the film was a critical and commercial success, one of the few 1950s movies to gross a box-office of over a million dollars.


one year ago: some hidden places in Scotland plus Highlands moorlands

two years ago:  your daily demon: Glasya Labolas, a Roman holiday plus Telstar I (1962)

three years ago: assorted links worth revisiting 

four years ago: abstract drone photography,  a near universal paper format plus a large format camera

five years ago: a visit to the Playmobil factory plus Alexander Gerst aboard the ISS

Friday 9 September 2022

interstate love song (10. 119)

Released on this day in 1994 and topping the US charts just a week later, the Stone Temple Pilots single ranks as one of the best hard rock songs of all time. Borrowing chord-progression from the 1973 Jim Croce hit I Got a Name, the power ballad dealt with the singer and songwriter Scott Weiland (*1967 - †2015) hiding his heroine addiction and how those who cared about him would receive his cover-up: “Waiting on a Sunday afternoon for what I read between the lines—your lies—feeling like a hand in rusted chain, so do you laugh or does it cry? Reply!”

Thursday 4 August 2022

local group (10. 036)

The relatively nearby and sizable galaxy called Dwingeloo 1 evaded detection until this day in 1994 owing to its location in the so called Zone of Avoidance—Zone of Galactic Obscuration, that part of the sky covered up by the light and dust of the plane of the Milky Way—by an operation ran out of a radio observatory in the northeast Netherlands called the Dwingeloo Obscured Galaxy Survey (DOGS) which filled in more gaps in the map of the firmament by filtering by differing radio wavelengths (the foreground stars and dust clouds absorb visible light). Two other more massive and close by galaxies that occupy this same blindspot were discovered in 1968 by pioneering infrared astronomer Paolo Maffei—whom has two namesake galaxies in the constellation of Cassiopeia which if not blocked by our ZOA would be among the brightest and biggest objects in the night sky.

Thursday 9 December 2021


Perennially indebted to our faithful chronicler, we are reminded that on this day in 1994, that US Surgeon General under Bill Clinton, VADM Dr. Minnie Joycelyn Elders, was forced to resign for expressing her views frankly on what at the time was considered taboo topics of discussion including drug legalisation, distributing contraception in public schools and most controversially introducing masturbation (on World AIDS Day) to sex-education curricula. Championing control of reproductive rights and decriminalisation of drug offences during her sixteen month tenure, Elders’ ideas for visionary for a stage in American cultural that pivoted particularly in the prudish direction, though rather than being about what’s discussed in polite company was never the issue but instead the societal norms and strictures put in place to uphold and perpetuate the patriarchy and class-structure.

Friday 22 January 2021

the food of the ducks

Loosely based on the 1904 H. G. Wells story The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth with small parts and cameo-appearances by young Ron Howard (a precocious inventor who takes on the part of Professor Redwood in the book who experimented with raising colossal chickens), choreographer and performer Toni Basil plus scenes of the courthouse square popularised by the Back to the Future and Gremlins franchises as well as the neighbourhood used for the establishing shots of the Leave It to Beaver and the Bewitched homes, the 1965 teen movie vehicle Village of the Giants was first lampooned by Mystery Science Theatre 3000 on this day in 1994. The afore-mentioned Genius accidentally discovers a growth serum—the ‘goo’ (Wells’ Herakleophorbia IV)—which is stolen by a group of out-of-town delinquents who ingest the substance to take over the city. The episode segments outside of movie-sign are in memoriam to the recently deceased Vincent Frank Zappa—though ostensibly about the recently made-redundant side-kick to mad scientist Doctor Clayton Forrester, TV’s Frank, temporarily replaced with recurring character Torgo.

Tuesday 16 June 2020

captain picard day is one of the children’s favourite activities—they look forward to it all year

Celebrated annually on this Stardate 47457.1 (based on the Julian epoch, referencing noon on a fixed date in the fifth millennium before the common era and believed safely out of range for recorded history) and first introduced in the season seven, episode twelve broadcast of The Pegasus, involving a salvage attempt of an advanced experimental vessel to prevent the technology from falling into Romulan hands, first airing in January 1994 though set in 2370. Though disdaining the attention generally, the captain along with senior crew participated in the judging and events and the celebration (see also) and its artefacts were carried forward throughout the franchise.

Friday 5 June 2020

someday i’ll have a disappearing hairline, someday i’ll wear pajamas in the daytime

Released this month in 1994, Crash Test Dummies’ “Afternoons and Coffeespoons,” the third single from the album God Shuffled His Feet (the cover art is Titian’s 1523 Bacchus and Ariadne with band members faces on the figures) considered to be the most popular song according to the alternative rock band’s fanbase and was among the highest charting in their repetoire references the 1915 T. S. Eliot verse “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock”—I have measured out my life with coffee spoons. This interior monologue of reflection and lament on estrangement, isolation and disillusioning realisation of morality resounding in both works takes on an especially resonant meaning in the latter musical tribute in these times.

Maybe if I could do a play-by-playback
I could change the test results that
I will get back
I’ve watched the summer evenings pass by
I’ve heard the rattle in my bronchi…