Killer Role

Still no response to the last trivia contest, so here's a new one. You're going to love this.

Tell me the name of any full-length movie drama (not a short or documentary) that stars an actor or actress who was later executed for murder in real life.

There's at least one correct answer to this question.

The Virgin Through X-Ray-Spex

It's been a long time since we had a cultural trivia contest. Tell me who (1) (probably) painted this Virgin, and (2) who then painted over it, and what they painted.

Hint. The answer to #1 is moderately famous; the answer to #2 is very famous.

Good luck!

Guess this

Trivia Contest Solved: The Dragon is a Watermark

Nobody correctly guessed the answer to the trivia contest, which was to explain what this dragon was:124133 The correct answer is that the dragon was a watermark used by a printer in Ulm, Germany in 1449.
The image comes from the Piccard Database, an online collection of watermarks. Paper was first created in Europe in Moorish Spain toward the end of the 11th century, the first paper mills in Italy date to the 12th century. Watermarks like the one above were created by twisting wire in to the shape of the watermark, then placing it on the sieve where the paper was pressed into sheets. The wire made the paper slightly thinner, tracing the shape of the watermark as faint lines. The exact purpose of late-medieval watermarks is disputed; one theory was that they signified the class of paper.

Watermarks are particularly important for dating manuscripts. Generally, the run of paper bearing a particular watermarks would be used up completely within two years, permitting researchers to date various works and sections of works by finding exact matches of watermarks. The problem is, there were thousands of similar marks being used. Therefore, scholars, including Charles-Moise Briquet and Gerhard Piccard (g) set about collecting databases of them. Upon his death in 1989, Piccard had a collection of 95,000 watermark tracings, most of which are now online in the Piccard Database of the State Archive of Baden-Württemberg. Most of this information, by the way, comes from an article by Sven Limbeck on pp. 46-47 of this fascinating publication (g) which I picked up at Wiblingen Monastery.

Perhaps this contest was a bit too hard; I decided to cut out only the shape of the dragon, thinking that its 'wiry' form might be clue enough. Anyway, thanks to everyone for throwing their hat in the ring.

Obscure Cultural Trivia Contest: The Demon

I just got back from the Allgäu and/or upper Swabia, and quite enjoyed it. Some comments as time permits. For now, your mission is to identify this object:

Ye Gods, my tongue has been fused to my lower jaw!!

A few hints: it was made in 1730, and has a very specific purpose in the manufacture of a pretty common thing that is still very much in use today.

UPDATE: Kudos to Mathias Warkus, who correctly identified this as a spout for bran during the milling process. During the milling, the bran, which nobody wanted to eat in their bread back in 1730, was pushed to the side and fell out of this demon's mouth. The German name for this object is Kleiekotzer, 'bran-puker.' I spotted it in the German Bread Museum in Ulm, one of the many ludicrously specific small museums in Germany (including the German Packaging Museum in Heidelberg and the German Blade Museum in Solingen).

Obscure Cultural Trivia Contest Vol. II

Been a while since we had one of these! So, honors to the first commenter who can tell me where this image comes from:

UPDATE: Hmm, nobody's even tried to guess yet. So maybe a clue is in order — but what sort of clue can I provide without — in the age of Googlepedia — giving everything away?

OK, here's the clue: This is a still image from a movie. The movie was financed by a wealthy European nobleman who was threatened with excommunication by the Catholic Church for having financed it.

I hope that was helpful. Somebody better guess right soon, because I'm not posting anything else until someone gets it!


A Tale of Two Horkheimers

I give you two great men. One German, one American. One notoriously grim, the other irrepressibly cheerful. One analyzes the social forces that shaped the terrifying, hideous twentieth century, the other analyzes the gravitational forces that shape the terrifying, hideous vacuum of outer space. One critiques advanced capitalism, the other critiques…well, nothing really.

But they share one thing: the name Horkheimer (Middle High German: "gall-bladdermonger"):

What, you say, you're waiting for the obscure cultural trivia contest? Here it is. Horkheimer number one, as will be familiar to the more philosophically-inclined readers, was a leading figure in 'critical theory' in the mid-20th century. Critical theory is a left-wing school of thought with a complex and ambiguous stance towards socialism and revolution (we'll save that for another post).

But the second video also features a link to Communism. No, it's nothing Jack says or does. But in the video somwhere, there is something that associates the video with a Communist ruler, however tenuously and (presumably) unintentionally. Anyone who can correctly identify this ridiculously obscure association will have this blog named after them for an entire week, if they so choose.