Tuesday 5 October 2021


heir apparent: after over a century, Russia hosts a royal wedding for a member of the Romanoff family

9m²:a luxury apartment in Tokyo that makes very efficient use of space—at more than twice the size, my work-week flat feels rather sprawling and and ilunder-utilised 

pandora’s box: a trove of leaked records, following on from the Panama papers shows how the wealthy and connected hide their riches 

faux mcdoo: a fake McDonald’s in Los Angeles for filming purposes, via Messy Nessy Chic 

tx-33: new lows attained in gerrymandering and voter-marginalisation 

full circle: a retrospective exhibit of Judy Chicago  

deuce court: a demonstration of medieval tennis  

вызов: cast joins crew aboard ISS to film scenes of the first movie shot in microgravity

Sunday 12 September 2021

from marathon to waterloo in order categorical

Though probably two separate epic long-distance races are being conflated, most scholars date the Battle of Marathon, a pivotal moment for Western civilisation in which the coalition of Greek armies defeated Persia and rebuffed their attempts at invasion, to this day in 490 BCE with the event preserved in the popular imagination by its feat of athletic endurance.
An Athenian scout called Pheidippides is dispatched from the city-state to Sparta to rally support for the battle—covering a distance on foot of over two-hundred-twenty-five kilometres in the span of a day, and then when the Greeks prevailed ran from the battlefield back to Athens to announce nenikēkamen, νενικήκαμεν, Joy to you—we’ve won and promptly dying of exhaustion before the city’s magistrates is probably a bit of romanticising and capitalising on the story for the reboot of the modern Olympics in 1896 that included such a long-distance run that matched the track from Marathon. Assailable as it was without a melodramatic death, the event was to become a staple for the games and controversially in 1908 London Games with the United Kingdom adding some three-hundred yards to the race in order to place the finish-line at Windsor Castle from the originating stadium. By the time of the 1924 Paris Olympics, the committee had declared this distance canon.

Thursday 12 August 2021

all night long (all night)

For the closing ceremony of the Los Angeles Summer Olympiad this evening in 1984, Lionel Richie gave a live performance of his signature calypso song to a global television audience of some three billion.

Though most of the lyrics are in English, there are some faux patois lines, namely—tam bo il de say de moi ya, hey jambo, jumbo—like Waka, Waka—This Time for Africa from the 2010 World Cup. The modified verses for Team USA leave out we’re going to party, karma, fiesta forever (see previously), the middle term being a Swahili borrowing for feast, banquet and also used in the context of Kwanzaa celebrations.

Monday 9 August 2021


form follows function: a Bauhaus poster generator—see previosly—via Kottke 

reddy made magic: a gallery of images plus the Walter Lantz theme song for mascot and industry shill, Reddy Kilowatt   

dining car: vintage railway menus (see also) illustrate the evolution of American cuisine—via Nag on the Lake’s Sunday Links  

δ δ δ, can I help ya, help ya, help ya: a guide to joining the right sorority this fall  

jeux de la xxxiiie olympiade: the upcoming Paris games will be sustainable and moderately priced—see also  

attention k-mart shoppers: Americans emerge from the pandemic less patient, less empathetic than before and the service industry culture that fuels the cruel fantasy  

cycles pour animaux: a 1907 patent for a bicycle for horses to amplify their speed and le cheval-vapeur 

divergent association task: help science gauge creative reflexes by thinking up ten words as different as possible (in English only for now)  

betaplex: colourful retro cinema space in Ho Chi Mihn City recalls Saigon’s Art Deco architecture

Friday 6 August 2021

citius, altius, fortius

After learning that Olympians towel off with special shammies, that US unincorporated territories are recognised by the IOC as their own teams and that team Russia is not allowed to represent their country but rather their country’s Olympic Committee and are played out to Piano Concerto Number One rather than the national anthem, I found myself on sort of a sports trivia kick and enjoyed this extended rundown of factoids and growing list of questions answered from NPR. We especially liked learning more about air-horns, whistles and other alarms are used in swimming competitions and changes to the scoring conventions.

Sunday 20 June 2021

spirit of the games

Featured in part in Leni Riefenstahl’s documentary Olympia, we learn from Futility Closet second-place winner of the 1932 Los Angeles pole vault competition for the Japanese national team, Shuhei Nishida (西田 修平) repeated the feat during the 1936 games held in Berlin but tying by overall scores with his teammate and friend Sueo Ōe (大江 季雄). When the two declined to compete further against one another to end the stalemate, the decision was up to the team, who awarded Nishida the silver and Ōe the bronze (see also) as the former cleared the height, an impressive and record-setting four metres and fifteen centimetres, in fewer attempts. Once back home, the pair had their medals cut in half and then spliced together by a jeweller as unique friendship medals, alloyed half bronze, half silver.

Friday 18 June 2021


here fishy, fishy, fishy: a tale of a talking fishing lure and sixty counts of mail fraud  

goldenrod: behind-the-scenes footage of droids C3PO and R2-D2 trying on their costumes  

plastic tracker: monitor the likely course of one’s discarded waste to the seas—see also—via Maps Mania 

discothek: a commercial photographer captured the golden age of nightclubs with all their eccentricities and exuberance  

juneteenth: America gets a new federal holiday to commemorate the end of chattel enslavement in the United States  

downfall: dégringolade n. a rapidly deterioration of circumstance or position, from the French to take a sudden tumble 

foreign exchange: a beautiful animated short of grains of sand and fiat currency explores the tenuous, specious agreements that underpin capitalism and the global economy  

the most compact, neatest, cheapest, and durable reel on the market: advertising niche that distresses and antiques modern sundries

Saturday 29 May 2021


Though it never occurred to us that such equipment needed inventing and a champion—despite the fact that every exercise and intervention does, we enjoyed learning of the contributions of avid gymnast and promoter George Peter Nissen (*1914 - †2010) who developed the trampoline and made the sport and pass-time an enduring world-wide sensation through this rather arresting feat of man and kangaroo. Inspired by the safety nets of trapeze artists and having toured fairs and carnivals of North America after university studies as a performer and learning the word trampolín—springboard, Nissen registered a trademark for his bouncing apparatus. Having petitioned for the sport to be included in the Olympics for decades, Nissen finally succeeded with trampolining added to the Sydney Games in 2000. The stunt however was captured in 1960.

Sunday 9 May 2021


Via Cynical-C, we learn of a new (to us) sporting activity that combines gliding with falconry (previously), developed in 2001 with a round-the-world trip starting in Nepal to soar with birds of prey who graciously share the airspace with human interlopers and guide them to thermals and updrafts that keep their flightless companions aloft.

Friday 23 April 2021

you can’t stop us

Courtesy of Colossal, we were quite impressed with the precision, seamless editing behind this split-screen montage of athletes, which references the concatenated splicing work of Donato Sansone, whose juxtaposition speaks to the resilience and compelling camaraderie of sports. More at the links above.


Thursday 15 April 2021

tragically hip

Though without the spectacle and international audiences and whether it can even be safely executed even with the most stringent health and hygiene precautions, some fashionistas are citing the planned apparel that the Canadian national team will don for the Closing Ceremony in Tokyo as an overpowering reason to cancel the Olympics. I endorse these bespoke, graffiti clad jean jackets and think it’s going to be a statement that we’ll later pretend to have always been behind—like a twist on the so called Canadian Tuxedo—if not not at least remember. One can peruse the rest of the uniform and kit-up from Hudson’s Bay here.

Tuesday 6 April 2021


Courtesy of our faithful chronicler, we are reminded how on this day in 1896, Charles Pierre de Frédy, Baron of Coubertin revived the Olympic Games, held for the first time since they were banned by Roman Emperor Theodosius I upon his decree that pagan practises be eliminated.&Held every four years at the sanctuary of Zeus in Olympia, the festival (Ὀλυμπιακοί Ἀγῶνες, agony—that is, contest) was a religious and athletic event imbued with a mythological origin and significance held among all Greek city states. While untrue that there was a general secession in fighting whilst the Games were held, there was a truce and pilgrims were allowed free-passage through belligerent lands to attend. Legendarily, a race of ten spirit males called the Dactyls or Daktyloi were spontaneously generated when the Great Mother Rhea dug her fingers into the earth as she prepared to give birth to Zeus. These lesser gods who taught the arts of metal smithing and healing were also happy to help entertain the infant Olympian with sports competitions. Different traditions exist with multiples thereof but the hand of the Idaean Dactyls (see also) pitted Herakles, the thumb, against his brothers Aeonius (forefinger), Epimedes (middle finger), Iasus (ring finger) and Idas (little finger).

ping-pong diplomacy

Marking a significant improvement in Sino-American relations and enabling a visit by Richard Nixon the following year, the US Table Tennis team competing for the world championship in Nagoya, Japan received an official invitation on this day in 1971 to come to Beijing. Aside from delegations of eleven members aligned with the Black Panther political party (W. E. B. DuBois, Huey P. Newton) that followed Maoist principles who visited from 1959 through the early 1970s, these players and entourage of journalists—arriving on the tenth—were the first US citizens to enter the PRC since 1949, due to an embargo imposed by America that cut all diplomatic and economic ties over its involvement in the Korean War. Using this friendly competition as a segue to thaw relations, China opened and America was receptive, hoping to win over China as an arbitrator for the war in North Vietnam, and China was hoping to find a counterbalance for increasingly strained dealings with the Soviet Union.

Tuesday 23 March 2021

phys ed

From Weird Universe we learn that in 1943 the University of St. Louis added utility pole tossing to the curriculum as a general conditioning exercise, demanding strength, rhythm and coordination as a group to pass around these ninety kilogram logs. The coach who instigated this regiment was inspired by the Highland Games and the traditional caber toss, said to have been developed out of a need to throw timber over streams and ravines in order for lumberjacks to cross them. More at the link above.

Sunday 14 February 2021


Powered by a waterwheel, a simple tow-line pulling patrons to the top of the slope, the first skilift, the invention of hotel handyman Robert Winterhalder had its debut to the public on this day in 1908 at a resort in Schollach bei Eisenbach. Another impetus for its creation was the clientele that the guesthouse caterer to: those suffering from asthma and allergies who sought refuge and healing in the clean air of the countryside. Winterhalder wanted those guests to be able to experience the thrill of downhill skiing without the distress and exertion of climbing first. Up a gradient of some thirty metres over a distance of a quarter of a kilometre from the valley to the mountain hut, users were pulled upwards on a continuous loop. Residents re-enacted the centenary of its premiere, albeit with decidedly less snow in 2008.

Wednesday 16 September 2020

zen den

As a bonus, through the final act of the most recent episode of This American Life, we are acquainted with the delightful yoga instructional videos (see previously) and classroom lesson plans from the studio of Cosmic Kids. The enthusiasm is contagious and some exercise routines are based on based on fairy stories, nursery rhymes and the contemporary re-tellings, and for this movie night themed show, they had the instructor take on a film for grown-ups, Thelma & Louise—not presented here but rather a quick regiment of basic poses (asanas) to practise and limber up to.

Monday 7 September 2020


We are really enthralled and excited about every last detail of the new promotional campaign for Egypt’s 2021 hand-ball tournament of champions that’s receiving due hype and cheer a year out. The logo is a stylised ankh, the Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphic symbol meaning key of life, and the official national team mascot is the sky god Horus. Check out more from Super Punch at the link above.

Monday 31 August 2020

roll for perception

Though we are a bit deflated to realise that holiday creep is one of the few things immune to COVID-19, we were delighted nonetheless to not only be reminded, via Super Punch, of the 1983-1985 run of the CBS animated series Dungeons & Dragons and pleased also to learn that there’s a Dungeon Master Halloween costume, which is appropriate for the home office and chairing, officiating remote role-playing adventures.
I can remember very much looking forward to this cartoon—almost to the exclusion of all others—on Saturday morning, identifying mainly with Presto the Magician, though in retrospect to find that he was a diligent but ineffectual try-hard, sort of like Schmendrick, was a bit of a blow, and only might be lured onto a roller coaster ride with the prospect that I might be transported to another realm. Bobby the Barbarian and his pet unicorn were dumb.  Victim of the moral panic that gripped the US at the time over the game and the dark arts (plus that Tom Hanks movie—Rona Jaffe’s Mazes & Monsters), only three seasons were produced with the concluding episodes scripted but animated.

Sunday 30 August 2020

truly, madly, deeply

Via Things Magazine, we very much enjoyed this bit of lockdown spelunking into the fantasy worlds that people are creating in their basements and for what it lacks for in photographs of the interlocutors’ sub-levels and rumpus-rooms, I consider it more than making amends by recalling us to the fact that Barbara Streisand has a whole town in her cellar with boutique stores to display her wardrobe. Do you have a little nook of your own to escape to or project on? Much more to explore at the links above.

Monday 10 August 2020


Using surplus modern construction materials in combination with antique glass, handmaid locally in the1950s, and ceramic ornamental elements, the design duo Folkform—we discover via Dezeen—created a beautiful mural for the public bath of the community of Spånga (Dolph Lundgren’s hometown) outside of Stockholm whose ordered mosaic is informed by the village plan as seen from above. Upcycling such elements in a public and shared milieu is hoped to inspire others to apply the practise to their own designs.