(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘sign

“A city that was to forge out of steel and blood-red neon its own peculiar wilderness”*…


A woman and her work


Las Vegas– and the world– lost two icons of neon sign design on April 19th: Betty Willis, seen above with the iconic “Welcome” sign that she designed, and Brian “Buzz” Leming, creator of many of the Strip’s most memorable marquees, passed away within hours of each other.

Leming’s “Hacienda Horse and Rider”


Willis and Leming both worked at the Western Sign Company, where they struck up a friendship.  Many of their creations are preserved in the Neon Museum’s outdoor “Boneyard,” where it stores its relics.

The Neon Museum’s Boneyard


More at “Two Designers of Las Vegas’s Iconic Neon Signs Died on the Same Day.”

* Nelson Algren (writing about Chicago, though it’s surely apropos of Las Vegas as well)


As we switch on the lights, we might send forbearing birthday wishes to Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus; he was born on this date in 121.  The last of the Five Good Emperors, Marcus Aurelius is also considered one of the most important Stoic philosophers; his Meditations, written on campaign before he became emperor, is still a central text on the philosophy of service and duty.



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April 26, 2015 at 1:01 am

“God made the integers; all the rest is the work of Man”*…



From Alex Bellos: the results of his global online poll to find the world’s favorite number…

The winner?  Seven—  and it wasn’t even close…

Leopold Kronecker


As we settle for anything but snake eyes, we might send symbolic birthday greetings to John Pell; he was born on this date in 1611.  An English mathematician of accomplishment, he is perhaps best remembered for having introduced the “division sign”– the “obelus”: a short line with dots above and below– into use in English.  It was first used in German by Johann Rahn in 1659 in Teutsche Algebra; Pell’s translation brought the symbol to English-speaking mathematicians.  But Pell was an important influence on Rahn, and edited his book– so may well have been, many scholars believe, the originator of the symbol for this use.  (In any case the symbol wasn’t new to them:  the obelus [derived from the word for “roasting spit” in Greek] had already been used to mark passages in writings that were considered dubious, corrupt or spurious…. a use that surely seems only too appropriate to legions of second and third grade math students.)


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March 1, 2015 at 1:01 am

“Her hat is a creation that will never go out of style; it will just look ridiculous year after year”*…


An opportunity to get in at the very beginning of a fashion trend…

“Le Grand” is a new hat concept: a hybrid between the baseball cap and the top hat! Help us bring a new fashion icon into reality!

Le Grand

* Fred Allen


As we cover our crowns, we might recall that it was on this date in 1910 that French chemist, engineer, and inventor Georges Claude switched on the first public display of neon lights– two large (39 foot long), bright red neon tubes– at the Paris Motor Show.  Over the next decade, Claude lit much of Paris.  Neon came to America in 1923 when Earl Anthony purchased signage from Claude, then transported it to Los Angeles, where Anthony installed it at his Packard dealership…  and (literally) stopped traffic.

Claude in his lab, 1913




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December 3, 2014 at 1:01 am

Times of the Signs…

From Smashing Magazine, culled from over 2,500 entries in 51 categories, the results of their “World Of Signage Photo Contest.”

As we give in to the guides, we might recall that it was on this date in 1888 that the first issue of National Geographic Magazine was published, nine months after its parent, The National Geographic Society, was founded.


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September 22, 2010 at 12:01 am

The Journal of Omens and Signs, Volume 666…

The giant 62-foot tall “King of Kings” Jesus statue– also known as “Big Butter Jesus” and “Touchdown Jesus”– located at Solid Rock Church near Monroe, Ohio, just north of Cincinnati on I-75, was stuck by lightning and destroyed during a thunderstorm on Monday night. The church’s pastor says that they plan to rebuild the statue.

Before (source)

After (source)

Via the ever-riveting Laughing Squid.  More details– and photos– at Dayton Daily News.

As we ponder the portents, we might recall that it was on this date in 618 that Li Yuan became Emperor Gaozu of Tang, initiating three centuries of Tang Dynasty rule over China.

Emperor Gaozu of Tang

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