Sunday, 26 July 2020

dum spiro spero

The global observance of Esperanto Day (Esperanto-Tago, see previously) falls on this the anniversary of the publication of the first book (Unua Libro) in the constructed auxillary language by author, activist and linguist Ludoviko Lazaro Zamenhof in Russia in 1887 under the pseudonym Doctor Esperanto. Before the end of the year, there were also Polish, French and German versions of this grammar which attempted to resolve international problems by couching them in a common and intelligible language.

Wednesday, 8 July 2020

kilian and his companions colmรกn and totnan

Martyred on this day according to tradition along with two of his associates for reproaching the Count, Hedan II of Thรผringen, that his marriage to his brother’s widow was against Church doctrine and therefore would not be considered legitimate—angering the bride-to-be Geliana to the point where, in Hedan’s absence, she summoned this meddlesome priest, called
Apostle to the Franconians having sojourned from his native Ireland, and company to the market square of the city of Wรผrzburg (see previously here, here, here and here) in 689. Three years prior, Kilian travelled from County Kerry to Rome to receive missionary instructions from Pope Conon, who dispatched his troupe to East Francia to convert Duke Gozbert and his subjects, whom still practised pagan rituals.

Sunday, 5 July 2020


tรฉlรฉvision ล“il de demain: a prescient 1947 short about the future ubiquity of screens

zeus mode: alternative phone casings featuring accessories including a built-in stun gun

harvey wall-banger adjacent: click on grid mode to see how these cocktail ingredients compare—via Nag on the Lake’s always excellent Sunday Links

corona cosplay: understanding Americans’ aversion to wearing masks—via Duck Soup

we’ll celebrate once we have a reason to celebrate: revisiting (see also) Fredrick Douglass’ 5 July 1852 speech

ipertesto: Agostino Ramelli’s sixteenth century bookwheels recreated by modern designers

Wednesday, 1 July 2020

bl 23

Ostensibly to prevent interference in territorial affairs and required under the twenty-third article of the Special Administrative Region’s Basic Law, police authorities had the chance to inaugurate the newly enacted security legislation by conducting mass arrests of demonstrators marking the anniversary of the transfer of sovereignty of Hong Kong (see previously) from the UK to China in 1997.
Protesters were arrested and detained for unlawful assembly and for advocating for Hong Kong independence. Globally the response to what is perceived as heavy-handed encroachment in reaction to ongoing civil unrest that began around March 2019 over proposed changes including extradition to the mainland for those accused of sedition and other crimes to stand trial instead of facing justice in local courts has been one of consternation with UK pledging to fast-track citizenship for residents born under British rule who seek to leave.

Monday, 29 June 2020


Fรชted on this day on the occasion either of their martyrdom or on the translation of the relics, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul is widely observed across Christendom though only has the status of a public holiday in Rome—for their dual patronage, certain cantons in Switzerland, Peru and Malta, where it is known as the above—the small island country celebrating the most holidays (though the abundance does not apply in every jurisdiction and grant workers a day off) of any in Europe. In Malta, February is known as Saint Paul’s Month—ix-xahar ta’ San Pawl—with the tenth commemorating the patron and protector’s shipwreck there en route to Rome to stand trial for his crimes, exercising his right to “appeal unto Caesar” rather than face the court in Jerusalem.

Saturday, 27 June 2020

out of the closet and into the street

A year to the day after the Stonewall uprising—with several other antecedents including systemic workplace discrimination among civil servants and work-camps for Cuba for homosexual men, the last Saturday of the month, the Chicago Gay Liberation organised the first Pride March from Washington Square Park up Michigan Avenue.
What was to become an annual ceremony was seen as a matriculation for younger members coming to terms with their identity to come together and celebrate a chain of tradition and struggle to understand the past and what was overcome. Other parades, put together by chapters of so-called homophile societies, soon followed across the country, including on the very next day in New York City, Los Angeles and Philadelphia and quickly thereafter proliferated to many places worldwide.

Sunday, 21 June 2020


Celebrated annually since 2015 after its nomination and adoption by the United Nations General Assembly the year prior, this day has been set aside for reflection on the ancient practise and its practitioners of healthful and mindful, spiritual aspects of yoga. It is an occasion to perfect one’s exercise and perform essential asanas—poses—and the meditative quality of the session. See if you can improve your form and awake body and mind.

Wednesday, 17 June 2020

volksaufstand vom 17. juni 1953

Observed annually as a public holiday in West Germany up until reunification as a sign of solidarity with the strikers, the East German Uprising of 1953 began with group of construction workers at two sites in East Berlin, Stalinallee Block Forty and Hospital Friedrichshain, whom were left betrayed and confused by contradictory announcements to shift away from heavy industry and the privations that that strategy had precipitated to more balance and consumer goods which despite relaxation of the command economy in some sense, developers would still be allowed to impose an expectation of more productivity on them with no equal compensation.
The demonstrations quickly spread to over seven hundred locations all over the capital and beyond to the DDR’s larger cities. Soviet tanks were deployed once local authorities were unable to contain the marchers with the protests finally subsiding after a week. Many became disillusioned with the party and the labour movement once they realised the lengths that the government would go to in order to suppress the strike action to include deadly force (thirty-four demonstrators and bystanders were killed as well as five security personnel), although to an extent the protests achieved their aims and quality of life standards and wages improved. The holiday in the Bundesrepublik was known from 1954 until 1990 actually as German Unity Day (Tag der Deutschen Einheit) until translated to October to commemorate the Wiedervereinigung.

Friday, 12 June 2020

loving day

Commemorating the unanimous 1967 decision of the US Supreme Court to strike down prohibitions nationwide on interracial marriage, celebrations are held in honour of the victorious plaintiffs Mildred (nรฉe Jeter) and Richard Loving, whom wed in Washington, DC, legally, but found out that they were outlaws once they had returned home to Virginia. Charged with “cohabitating as man and wife against the peace and dignity of the Commonwealth,” the young couple pled ignorance to avoid incarceration and agreed to twenty-five years’ exile for clemency. Securing US Attorney General Robert Kennedy as champion, justice prevailed and the recognition and acceptance of mixed-race couples was advanced in America.

Thursday, 11 June 2020


Provocatively and with more than a wink-and-a-nod to his racist elements in his camp—which honestly cannot be less than one hundred percent of them at this point—the reelection committee announced that Trump’s rallies are to resume not only prematurely and putting thousands (and untold numbers more through secondary infections, making his supporters some sort of buffoonish bio-weapons) with an event in Tulsa, Oklahoma on 19 June, falling on the day America commemorates the emancipation and the manumission of formerly enslaved individuals.
The proclamation was announced by Lincoln on New Year’s Day 1863 but very belatedly delivered to the affected communites in Texas in early summer of 1865. The venue is especially cruel and divisive as the it was also the site of the Greenwood Massacre and race riots, taking place between 31 May and 1 June 1921, when a mob jealous white residents attacked the affluent and prominent business district—which was known as the Black Wall Street. On the pretext of an alleged assault of a young white woman by a black entrepreneur, a violent spree of murder, looting and arson ensued, destroying the neighbourhood. No one was compensated for their losses and the rioters and killers, rather than being brought to justice, were allowed to appropriate and rehabilitate the property and the city was able for the most part to omit these atrocities and apartheid from its history for decades. A park and monument dedicated to truth and reconciliation is in view of the convention centre.

Thursday, 4 June 2020

l’appellation d'origine protรฉgรฉe

Known to his subjects both as the Beloved (le Bien-Aimรฉ) and the Mad (le Fou), on this day in 1411 (see previously) sage Charles VI of the Valois dynasty, in the midst of civil war and trying to win over allies, granted to the town of Roquefort-sur-Soulzon the monopoly to sell cheeses with the designation of “Roquefort”—to include the caves wherein the cheese is ripened (affinage). This exclusive right, still upheld today, is one of the earliest and love-lived instances of legal protected and enforceable designation of origin.

Monday, 1 June 2020

vita s. ronani

Venerated since at least the tenth century, Irish pilgrim and founded of the eponymous hermitage in western Brittany and co-patron of the city of Quimper, the feast of Saint Rรณnรกn is celebrated today (and then again in July) with a procession called Petite Tromenies (la grande Tromรฉnie happening once every sixth year) around the village—demarcating the grounds of the priory as a place of sanctuary and refuge—hence pardon or in Breton (brezhoneg) Tro Minihi—the tour of the retreat.

Several miracles—both in life and posthumously—including restoration of speech and curing lycanthropy, are attributed to Rรณnรกn and curried trust with the semi-legendary King Gradlon and his subjects.

Saturday, 23 May 2020

now off i go

The term epidemic is derived from the Ancient Greek แผฯ€ฮฏ- (on top of) and -ฮดแฟ†ฮผฮฟฯ‚ (the people) but interestingly came by way of a French borrowing, which was itself introduced to the vocabulary not with a strictly medical sense in the nineteenth century but rather in the terminology associated with theophany—that is, the gods becoming incarnate and revealing themselves to their followers, traditionally during festivals or services but also in grilled cheese and manifested in suffering and pestilence. At the beginning of such celebrations epidemics were the sacrifices of thanksgiving offered to greet their arrival. Conversely apodemics were offerings on departure to either bid their return or as often as not to keep them at bay. The gods and their scourges not permanent residents and just visiting like the itinerant cult of Hippocratic healers, the case notes, medical histories (see previously) on patients kept by journeymen physicians charting the course of a disease and its response to various interventions was referred to as epidemics.

Thursday, 21 May 2020

it is a dark time for the rebellion

Sharing its anniversary with many other things great and good, as our faithful chronicler records, the sequel (now Part the Fifth) to the highly successful space opera Star Wars: A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back, had its general release in cinemas in the United States (Memorial Day Weekend) and the UK on this day in 1980 (as it had an earlier debut at Washington, DC’s Kennedy Center on 17 May, it also had a special showing the day prior at London’s Odeon Theatre, for Commonwealth Day, formerly known as Empire Day)—story by-line George Lucas and directed by Irvin Kershner.  Busy with other projects including Raiders of the Lost Ark and handling the finances of the franchise, Lucas relinquished control on this instalment of the saga, critically parsed and well-received, winning numerous industry and fan accolades and consistently rated by audiences among the best films ever made.

Monday, 11 May 2020

gangolf der heiliger

In honour of the Burgundian saint’s feast day, 11 May, whom has developed quite a local cult following, we’re sharing a few impressions of the nearby chapel of Gangulphus (Gangolf and Gangolfskapelle, see previously) on the foothills of the Rhรถn over looking the town of Fladugen.

First consecrated by the archbishop of Wรผrzburg in 1496, razed during the Reformation and Peasants’ Revolt and rebuilt in 1597, the Gothic structure with semi-circular apse is decorated inside in Roccoco style and the grassy knoll rests a top an ornate and flowering Marian Grotto (Mariengrotto)—the shrine well-tended and filled with the objects of devotion, votives and prayers of pilgrims.

Saturday, 9 May 2020


Celebrated discontinuously on today, the eleventh and the thirteenth, the Roman performed annual rites into order to exercise malevolent spirits of the dead that had taken up residence in their house during the previous year whom might be lured away with offerings of beans.
The Vestal priestesses whose chief patronage was for hearth and home, cultivating a sacred fire that symbolically burned for all and was never to be extinguished, baked all the mola salsa used throughout the year, salted flour cakes that were much like communion wafers and were burnt offerings themselves as well as given to sacrificial animals—for the whole city and for Lemuralia made a special batch made with the first ears of grain of the season to help appease the restive dead. According to contemporary scholarship by Ovid, the observance was derived from an older ritual called Remuria instituted by the founder of Rome himself to atone for the death of his brother, Remus.
Incantations included the head of the household (paterfamilias) rising at midnight and pattering around the chambers barefooted and tossing black beans over his or her shoulder, favomancy—see above, and repeating Haec ego mitto—his redimo meque meosque fabis (These I dispatch; with these beans I redeem me and mine) with the rest of the family and domestics banging pots and pans. Though All Saints and All Souls Day for Western Christianity has been advanced toward the end of October and beginning of November (Halloween right now? Yes please), for the Eastern Catholic and Oriental Orthodox church, they are celebrated on the Friday following Easter as perhaps a syncretism of this Roman custom. Because of the vacating of noxious ghosts, the month was considered an inauspicious time to wed, and hence the proverb: Mense Maio malae nubunt—Bad girls get married in May.

Friday, 1 May 2020

joseph the worker

Venerated as the patron and protector of labourers and the institution of the Church and intercessor for a happy death as he died surrounded by friends and family, Jesus and Mary included, Joseph is celebrated four times during the year: 19 March—the Feast of Saint Joseph (Josefstag, not to be confused with the Feast of the Ascension, which is also celebrated as Fathers’ Day in some countries) for his role as husband and guardian, the third Wednesday after Easter—the Solemnity of Saint Joseph for his role as spouse and patronage of the Catholic Church, this Memorial as role as a Worker (since 1955 as a reflection of and solidarity with the broader movement for social justice and labour reform that had been observed on the first of May since 1890)—a carpenter, and the first Sunday after Christmas for coming to terms with his situation. His extended patronage includes the pontificate of Pope Francis, Sicily, Austria, Belgium, the Americas, the Philippines and Vietnam as well as being the champion of explorers, pilgrims, immigrants, real estate agents and engineers.

Thursday, 30 April 2020

speak of the devil

Founded on the principle of religious scepticism and gravitating towards the devil in the sense of adversary and ideological foil to theism, the Church of Satan was constituted in the Black House of California Street, San Francisco on this day, Walpurgisnacht, by musician, actor and occultist Anton Szandor LaVey (*1930 – †1997) in 1966.
Explicitly not espousing a belief in the Christian characterisation of the Great Dissembler or in fact any other deity for that matter, the orientation’s high priest saw the value in and reduplicated the organisation and the hierarchy, though as a counterpoint to the control and validation that the Abrahamic faiths demanded and by extension the share of evangelical prosperity that they tout. The Church also recognised the intrinsic value and co-opted some symbolism and ritualistic elements as cathartic and therapeutic—so called lesser magic with the possibility of greater, supernatural magic that was outside the limits of human comprehension yet only ahead of scientific understanding. Learn more about the Church’s history and tenants at the link to their website above.

Monday, 27 April 2020


Instituted and enshrined (quite literally as there was a state-sponsored temple in which the party was held) during the late Republic and on advice of the Sibyl after a rather devastating drought, the festival dedicated to the goddess Flora commenced on this day with the celebration for the masses—a distinctly plebeian character as opposed to the austere obligations of most patrician holidays—lasting for six days marked by processions and competition, Ludi Florรฆ, The Games of Flora, her mystery cult, referred to as the Arval Brethren, a priesthood dedicated to the spiritual and superstitious maintenance of agriculture, opened up for a brief period to allow public veneration and revelry.
The time was marked with special theatrical performances, spectacles including circuses and acrobatics, pelting one other with lupins, floral costumes and dressing of wells, and ceremonial hunting of hares and goats, considered salacious creatures and portents of a fertile year. The ancient rites are reflected in customs associated with May Day (see previously here and here).

Saturday, 25 April 2020


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.