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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
From Our Abecedarian Blog . . .

Today — October 22, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Note the word "dirt" in the cloudy reaches of this as-is scan from the Internet Archive.  It recalls the Hermetic maxim, "As above, so below."  From St. Nicolas magazine, 1873.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
. . . read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Here's the "outraged husband" trick from Mysteries and Miseries of America's Great Cities, Embracing New York, Washington City, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and New Orleans by James William Buel, 1883.


. . . read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .


Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From Fifty "Bab" Ballads written and illustrated by Willian Schwenck Gilbert, 1881.


. . . read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
One of the Earl of Sandwich's closest allies was the Earl of Mayo.  From The Land of Temples (India), 1882.


. . . read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Presumptive Conundrums (permalink)
Today we celebrate seven wonders of the world, but in the richness of the past there were nine.  From Across Three Oceans and Through Many Lands by Fred Reynolds (1898).  The caption reads: "One of the nine wonders of the world—the Taj Mahal."


* Learn more about Presumptive Conundrums at Amazon.com.
. . . read more from Presumptive Conundrums . . .


Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"The Sick Wind": an illustration from Red Apple and Silver Bells by Hamish Hendry (1899).


*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
. . . read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .


Is Today The Day? (permalink)
22
October 2014

“Today is the day to get in touch with it.”

Motorcycle Illustrated, 1919

From the outrageous to the inspirational to the hilarious, here’s a daily reminder to break out of the old grind and do something unexpected, for the fun, the challenge, or the heck of it.

If today simply isn’t your day, click here to have a different day.


Music Box Moment (permalink)
Do you deserve a nostalgic breather?  Through the delicate workings of the music box, even the most dramatic compositions seem to play only for you.  You’ll hear even a very familiar piece in a whole new way.  Courtesy of home recording pioneer Ken Clinger, here’s today’s music box selection.  It will sound surprisingly good even through built-in computer speakers, and it will cut through the ambient noise of the office without being distracting.

Featured in Today’s Music Box:
Etude #1 (Carcassi)
performed by Ken Clinger
If you could use another Music Box Moment, choose a piece:


There’s a Signpost Up Ahead (permalink)
One's life path is marked by crossroads and signposts.  If you are confronted with making a choice today, perhaps the signpost displayed here will help to characterize your situation and guide you to make a decision.  If you need more guidance, refresh this page for another symbol.  If both signs are the same, perhaps any choice will lead to the same outcome.

The signs are inspired by a system of symbols entitled "Spiritual Diagnosis," developed by Dr. Robert McNary of Montana.  Dr. McNary actually creates nine-faceted mandala charts for people and interprets the symbols with uncanny accuracy.  Dr. McNary's web site is RockyMountainAstrologer.com.
> view a larger version of your signpost . . .
Yesterday — October 21, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)

Are such genealogical searches for foundations themselves evidence of the proverbial nonsense on stilts? —William Rasch


Genealogical research has some mysteries and paradoxes that nobody really likes to talk about. (We merely hint at them in our controversial Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy.) But we were delighted to encounter Scottish playwright N. F. Simpson's revelation that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, in his precursor to Get Smart, The Cresta Run. The vital passage runs as follows:


Harker: Claims to have had two parents, I see.

Cask: That's right, sir.

Harker: One father, one mother. Seems as if they both had two, as well.

Cask: That's what he maintains, sir. Four grandparents.

Harker: And eight great-grandparents, by the look of it.

Cask: Yes sir.

Harker: The further you go back, the more people seem to have been involved. Eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, a hundred and twenty-eight. Goes on doubling up indefinitely, as far as I can see.

Cask: We did work it out, actually, sir. On the computer.

Harker: And what did you arrive at?

Cask: Well — the figure we were left with was somewhere in the region of eighteen million at the time of the Norman Conquest.

Harker: Eighteen million? But that's completely and utterly ridiculous, Cask. In 1066 the entire population of the British Isles couldn't have amounted to much more than a million and a half. At the very most.

Cask: That's rather how it struck us, sir, too.

Harker: Just doesn't add up, does it?

Cask: It's just possible that the other sixteen million or so were out of the country at the time, sir.

Harker: If they were, I'm not sure that it doesn't raise more issues than it settles, Cask.

Cask: I know what you mean, sir. . . . Eighteen million at the Norman Conquest — what must it have been at the time of Christ?

Harker: Astronomical, I should think, Cask.

Cask: Let alone the Garden of Eden.

Harker: How many people do you understand there to have been in the Garden of Eden, Cask?

Cask: Well — just the two, sir. So far as I've always understood.

Harker: Yes. That's what I thought. Discrepancy somewhere.


Indeed, the math simply doesn't work out, and one must confront a mind-blowing possibility. The thing is, when we trace our predecessors back, we invariably run into dead ends: thrice-great grandparents who seem not to have had two parents, to put it bluntly. There are so many folks in the tangled branches of the tree who defy further investigation. Were they not who they said they were? or where they extraterrestrials? or did they suddenly pop into existence like the virtual particles of quantum physics? These dead ends suddenly begin to make sense, mathematically. They can't all keep doubling, because world population surely diminishes in Prospero's "dark backward and abysm of time." For the math to work out, a whole, whole lot of our predecessors must have no origin. One can't help but to think of particle-antiparticle pairs. (Note that even allowing for postmodern interpersonal relationships and non-nuclear ["No nukes!"] family models, the data still tends toward exponential growth of predecessors by generation.) (As my co-researcher concludes, the walls are there for a reason, to protect us from what's on the other side.)

. . . read more from This May Surprise You . . .


On One Condition (permalink)
Yes, you may . . . on one condition:

"Never, in life or death, are you to tell anyone that I retreated and withdrew from this peril out of fear." —Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
. . . read more from On One Condition . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Chinese joss-house at San Francisco," from America Revisited by George Augustus Henry Fairfield, 1882.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
. . . read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Belial's Burdens, or, Down with the McWhings, written and illustrated by James Frank Sullivan (1896).  The caption reads: "The spectral visitants."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
. . . read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .



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Copyright © 2014 Craig Conley