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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 — August 1, 2014

Puzzles and Games (permalink)
Kirsan Ilyumzhinov calls chess "a human activity which brings together the human brain and the competitive spirit."  But we humbly beg to differ and cite The History of Egypt from the Earliest Times till the Conquest by the Arabs A.D. 640 by Samuel Sharpe, 1859.


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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from The Capitals of Spanish America by William Eleroy Curtis (1888).


*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the deadly salmon mousse in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, from Humorous Poems by Thomas Hood (1893).  The caption reads: "Don't sup on that 'ere Cod."


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Is Today The Day? (permalink)
1
August 2014

“Today is the day for you to take revenge.”

—Ming Cher, Spider Boys, 1995

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:
Piano Sonata #12 - movement 1 (Beethoven)
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 — July 31, 2014

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We contributed this item to Futility Closet.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"The Sick Wind": an illustration from Red Apple and Silver Bells by Hamish Hendry (1897).


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


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from Shafts from an Eastern Quiver by Charles Jodrell Mansford (1894).  The caption reads: "Headlong down the abyss."


[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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No News Is Good News (permalink)
An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).  The caption reads: "I am the bearer of evil tidings."


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July 30, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

Says lyricist Howard Dietz, "I bought two ... speed boats, one with a top to ward off the rain, and one without.  They were called 'Stuff' and 'Nonsense.'  'Nonsense' had been owned by Fred Astaire."

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt notes: "Nonsense" was presumably Astaire's name for the boat (which Dietz presumably built on in dubbing "Stuff" thusly)--because it's considered bad luck, isn't it, to rechristen a boat?  I mean, how could it not be 'bad luck' to rechristen a boat?  Pretty much everything is 'bad luck' to the nautical mind, unless it's one of the very specific things deemed to be 'good luck.'

. . . read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Under Nordlysets Straaler by Sophus Tromholt (1885).


[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 . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
You've heard of "forced perspective," but we call this unusual effect "horsed perspective."  From Across France in a Caravan by George Nugent Bankes, 1892.


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