Well, here we are. I feel like the below really encapsulates how everyone I know is engaging with each other, which is weirdly positive? I feel like folks are checking in with each other, and even though we are all Getting Through It, we’re still giving each other grace & supporting each other.
Relatedly: an aquarium in Tokyo is asking people to video chat their eels who “have started forgetting about humans.” Which honestly: same. They’re setting it up for May 3-5, so get ready with your iPhones. Look at these babies!
The New York Times investigated the books that are behind celebrities who show up on video calls, which is precisely the kind of deep investigative reporting I want! Surprising no one, Prince Charles has a biography on Stubbs, who is most known for just painting horses super well.
There was a ghost town for sale a few years ago in California annnnnd the guy who bought it is now isolated there during coronavirus and it’s haunted! (He’s ok, and he did the good thing which is head there to relieve the property manager who needed to be with his wife in Arizona)
The Pitt-Rivers Museum in Oxford has made their crazy weird cabinet of curiosities-like space free to wander online and I LOVE IT (it’s very old school, I’m super curious to see how their interpretation has been updated!) Messy Nessy Chic has a neat little overview of the history of the collection and how it’s organized.
Duncan Fyfe wrote this masterful piece on the origins and history of Mastermind (13 min) which I realized I had… never thought about board games (other than, say, Monopoly) were invented. Also, this angle:
Ault confirmed to the Tampa Times that a sexual element was also very much in play. “A male and female locked in combat in a tense game can create an emotionally charged situation,” the Times summed up. “Marketing tactics, such as the outer covers on games that feature a man and woman facing each other across a table with knowing looks, exploit the sexual turn-on theme.”
But it’s so much more than that! There are ups and downs that one does not expect from the story of a board game being invented, go forth. I need to talk to people about this!
The author of this piece: “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Vintage Snooker,” wrote on Twitter that they wanted to write a piece that would have been published in The Awl (RIP), and I’m so happy they found a home. I knew nothing about snooker except the name and that it was billiards-adjacent before this piece and I am blown away learning things like the combination of color TV (with colored balls, it wasn’t great on black and white TVs) and a 22-year-old hotshot combined to make it incredibly popular in the 80s. Also:
Ever since, big characters and silly nicknames have been bywords for the sport, which contains an odd mix of class signifiers: Pros play competitions in evening dress, and the referees wear white gloves, but public billiards halls are traditionally the domain of teenage boys and working men, not toffs.
This Pathé tour of the first Legoland in 1968 is great, especially the modernist buildings (1:33) and the train (2:29).
I am also delighted by these Renaissance-style busts with modern twists:
Hunter Harris has started a column about what lines from films repeat on a loop in her head, and I love them all, especially the one on “You best start believin’ in ghost stories, Miss Turner, yer in one!” because it contains lines like this:
Like every woman who has ever had to endure the monologue of a man, Elizabeth Swann looks on, rather nonplussed by this information. They are cursed men, but we are cursed by men, so it’s hard to muster up a lot of empathy whether you are being held captive, as she is, or just a woman living in New York City, as I am.