CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.

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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
October 31, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1862 issue of Punch magazine.


[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 a 1907 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.


[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 . . .


Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
The moon's nose is responsible for arching the Hallowe'en cat's back.  The illustration is from Life Magazine, 1884.


> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1903 issue of Life magazine.  The caption reads: "Hallowe'en and candle-light.  Show me my true love to-night."


[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 . . .

October 30, 2012

The Right Word (permalink)
From our blog on magic words and symbols spotted in the wild:
We're honored that our Magic Words: A Dictionary is cited several times in "A Treatise on Vowel Symbolism" by Joannes Richter.

Meanwhile, here's Chris' take on vowels:


> read more from The Right Word . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Ghost teeth (what Goethe called Geisterzahn) are neutral entities, neither quite divine nor satanic, equally good and bad.  "Their realm may be beyond human rationality, but it is not inaccessible to human experience.  [Ghost teeth] have their home in the imagination.  Neither concrete, i.e. empirically verifiable, nor rational, they inhabit the above and below of human rationality.  They are a concrete experience of the non-concrete in the mind, an imaginary concretisation of extra-rational phantoms" (Maike Oergel, Culture and Identity: Historicity in German Literature and Thought 1770-1815, 2006, p. 241).

We wrote a macabre tale about ghost teeth, and it appears in the Spooky Tales ebook.

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


For Gary Barwin.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.  The caption reads: "The ceremony of 'Berrying' the Ghost.  Observe the berries in the children's hands."


[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 an 1892 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Hey, black cat!  Hey, my pretty black cat!"


[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 . . .

October 29, 2012

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
Write a novel which is composed of only the shadows of people on grass.
William Keckler


> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"This might surprise you, but beautiful fall foliage can be found in all 50 states."
Peter Greenberg, The Complete Travel Detective Bible
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1897 issue of The Strand magazine.  The caption reads: "The human obstacle."


[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 . . .

October 28, 2012

Simple Answers (permalink)
Difficult Question? Here's a simple answer

"The correct answer is simply a restatement of the first sentence.”

Master The Firefighter Exam (2009)

If this is not the answer you’re looking for,
click here for a different answer.
> read more from Simple Answers . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1912 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "In a great illumination of the spirit he trembled and was astonished."


[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 . . .

October 27, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1914 issue of Century Illustrated magazine.


[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 a 1916 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "There stood a tiny, an altogether improbable little woman."


[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 . . .

October 26, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"A routine traffic stop is complicated by an uncooperative driver." —TV Guide synopsis of a Cops episode (2000).

Thanks to Dan, who shot this paradoxical sign in San Jose, 1989.


> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Don't Take This the Wrong Way (permalink)
"Don't take this the wrong way, but don't you think it might be worthwhile for you to take a holiday—a week or two in the country to unwind and get your breath?"
Brian Garfield, The Villiers Touch
> read more from Don't Take This the Wrong Way . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1890 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "I think his satanic majesty himself sends a special messenger sometimes to preside over a woman's toilet."

Dedicated to Teresa Burritt.


[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 . . .

October 25, 2012

Call it a Hunch (permalink)
Jonathan spotted this one in the wild.


> read more from Call it a Hunch . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Star of Dawn:  an illustration from an 1856 issue of Godey's magazine.


[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 an 1892 issue of Century Illustrated magazine.  The caption reads: "Conjuring back the buffalo."


[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 . . .

October 24, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Did you know the "sexy nun" costume goes back at least to 1879?  From Punch.


> read more from Precursors . . .


A Rose is a ... (permalink)
"A rose is a rose is an onion."
Ernest Hemingway, For Whom the Bell Tolls (1940)


An onion rose from Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook.
> read more from A Rose is a ... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A ghostly illustration from an 1883 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "The apparition."


[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 . . .

October 23, 2012

Always Remember (permalink)
"Women are, after all, extremely emotional people, so you must always remember that."
Jonathon Jones, Dating ISN'T for Dummies

Emotionless woman image by Scott.


> read more from Always Remember . . .


Precursors (permalink)
A precursor to the 2001: A Space Odyssey monolith, from Punch, 1851.


> read more from Precursors . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"It is surprising, but true, that the bulk of the best things we have were not introduced from the best motives."
George Gunton, Trusts and the Public (1899)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .

October 22, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Death of Death":  an illustration by Cyril Goldie in an 1899 issue of Quartier Latin magazine.


[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 . . .


Call it a Hunch (permalink)
"Call it a hunch, call it a pipe dream."
George Harmon Coxe, Deadly Image (2011)


A still from the perennially delightful Young Frankenstein.
> read more from Call it a Hunch . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1896 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "The ball took the eye out of the portrait of our great-grandfather who came over the Mayflower."


[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 . . .

October 21, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
A Plethora of Westness

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
shares a little-known fact: The city of Northampton, Mass., is home to the East Pole.  From that location and that location only, every direction is west.

Jonathan adds: Believe it or not, the road to Easthampton was directly to my left as I took the picture—and, no kidding, it takes the traveler to Easthampton by proceeding in a somewhat westerly direction.


> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1894 issue of Pall Mall magazine.  The caption reads: "My library did not seem to afford him the kind of reading matter he craved."


[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 . . .

October 20, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1871 issue of Godey's magazine.  The caption reads: "Where is the night key?"


[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 a 1916 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Life itself is only a vision, a dream."


[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 . . .

October 19, 2012

Simple Answers (permalink)
Difficult Question? Here's a simple answer

"The answer is simple: by creating keyword lists.”

—Brad Geddes

If this is not the answer you’re looking for,
click here for a different answer.
> read more from Simple Answers . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Today, we might liken an experience to "something out of a movie."  But back in 1872, things were different. "'Why this is like a book, isn't it?' said she" (Century Illustrated).


> read more from Precursors . . .

October 18, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Once, flowers were used as telephones."
William Keckler
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
In the grand manner of spirit photography we see two spectral ladies join the pair when the Google scanner catches some sanguine bleed through.  Illustration from an 1847 issue of Godey's magazine.


[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 a 1901 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "So haunted at moonlight with bat and owl and ghostly moth."


[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 . . .

October 17, 2012

Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)

Photo by Jason Scott.
Are only women doing it?  Max Cryer explains:

The genesis of ["everybody's doing it"] can be traced to a Mozart opera of 1790, commissioned by Emperor Joseph II of the Holy Roman Empire and said to be based on a much gossiped about real-life incident in Vienna.  Mozart's librettist Lorenzo da Ponte entitled the story Cosí Fan Tutte — which translates as 'Everybody's doing it' (though purists will point out that 'tutte' can be seen as the feminine of 'tutti', and thus only women are 'doing it').

(Who Said That First?: The Curious Origins of Common Words and Phrases, 2012)
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
"The only certainty today is that one must be self-conscious."
John Elderfield, De Kooning: A Retrospective (2011)
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "Mr. Hunt observes the fate of the hypnotist."


[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 . . .

October 16, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Surprising but true, the avocado is not a vegetable, but rather an oil-rich berry, like the olive, albeit a bit larger."
Larry McCleary, The Brain Trust Program (2008)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from a 1903 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "So the night passed."


[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Staring Into the Depths . . .

October 15, 2012

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"I know whenever I mention 'you should write a book' there will be an inevitable 'who, me?' reaction. Yes, of course you."
ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of The Strand magazine.  The caption reads: "The carpet wants you to let it go to its old home."


[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 a 1915 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Lazar had forgotten everything but the sense of immortal ecstasy."


[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 . . .

October 14, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

Autumnal blues by Gideon Wright.
Here are twenty tips for overcoming autumnal blues, from a letter by Sydney Smith to Lady Georgiana Morpeth, Feb. 16, 1820:

Dear Lady Georgiana,– Nobody has suffered more from low spirits than I have done — so I feel for you.

1st. Live as well as you dare.

2nd. Go into the shower-bath with a small quantity of water at a temperature low enough to give you a slight sensation of cold, 75° or 80°.

3rd. Amusing books.

4th. Short views of human life — not further than dinner or tea.

5th. Be as busy as you can.

6th. See as much as you can of those friends who respect and like you.

7th. And of those acquaintances who amuse you.

8th. Make no secret of low spirits to your friends, but talk of them freely — they are always worse for dignified concealment.

9th. Attend to the effects tea and coffee produce upon you.

10th. Compare your lot with that of other people.

11th. Don’t expect too much from human life — a sorry business at the best.

12th. Avoid poetry, dramatic representations (except comedy), music, serious novels, melancholy, sentimental people, and everything likely to excite feeling or emotion, not ending in active benevolence.

13th. Do good, and endeavour to please everybody of every degree.

14th. Be as much as you can in the open air without fatigue.

15th. Make the room where you commonly sit, gay and pleasant.

16th. Struggle by little and little against idleness.

17th. Don’t be too severe upon yourself, or underrate yourself, but do yourself justice.

18th. Keep good blazing fires.

19th. Be firm and constant in the exercise of rational religion.

20th. Believe me, dear Lady Georgiana,

Very truly yours,
Sydney Smith

(via Futility Closet)
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1917 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.  The caption reads: "Shirts jumped out of my dreams with hoots resembling ghosts."


[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 . . .

October 13, 2012

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)

Write a novel purely about the nasopharyngeal colorings of desire.
William Keckler
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An accidental androgyne courtesy of the Google scanning machine:  illustrations from an 1877 issue of Godey's magazine.


[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 . . .

October 12, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to David Lynch's comic strip "The Angriest Dog in the World," about a dog "so angry he cannot move; he cannot eat; he cannot sleep; he can just barely growl; bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis."  This vintage angriest dog appears in Puck, 1886.


> read more from Precursors . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"It may surprise you just who considers himself an optimist or a pessimist."
The Everything Guide to Self-Esteem (2011)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1890 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "It was like a black worm swaying its blind head to and fro."


[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 . . .

October 11, 2012

Staring at the Sun (permalink)
"I think I've decided I now want my epitaph to read, THE SUN WAS IN MY EYES. Imagine a sprawling cemetery where every epitaph was only a variation on that, a different excuse on every tombstone? I'd love to visit." —William Keckler


> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1906 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.  The caption reads: "She tried it, but the boy cried."


[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 an 1899 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "The soul-ship moved out with the tide."


[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 . . .

October 10, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Over a century before they called Shaggy "Mr. Boombastic," General Boombastes commanded the dancehall.  From Punch, 1892.


> read more from Precursors . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Surprising, but true.  Living in trust turns out to be virtually the opposite of being naïve: you become more perceptive, not less."
Go-Givers Sell More (2010)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1910 issue of Hampton's magazine.


[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 . . .

October 9, 2012

The Right Word (permalink)
We're delighted to be referenced more than once in this Irish Times article about the popularity of the letter E.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
It's been said that like a poet, a golfer is born and not made.  It may all boil down to a baby's affiliation with fairies.  The illustration is from Punch, 1892.


[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 . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
"The only certainty is it is almost impossible to please both audiences at the same time.
Deacon Bill Rich, Joy: The Journey Home (2012)
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1869 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "The wise man's home changed."


[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 . . .

October 8, 2012

Puzzles and Games (permalink)

(The following is our Guest Blog post for DeepFun.com)

The classic hand game of Rock-Paper-Scissors has a shadow side — quite literally. It’s played partially in the dark. Each move casts shadows on the wall. And the rules are reversed to whimsical results.

Requirements:

  • a blank wall – a canvas for shadow-casting
  • a lamp easily turned off and on (the sole illumination in the room)
  • two handy players
  • one scorekeeper/storyteller (scorekeeping is optional, a player may act as scorekeeper, especially if the lamp has a foot-operated switch)
  • spectators (occupancy not to exceed fire marshall’s restrictions, of course) (also optional)

When the scorekeeper initiates darkness, each player opaquely forms one of three hand gestures in front of the lamp. At the count of three, the scorekeeper lets there be light, and the gesticulative shadows are writ large on the wall.

The so-called Rock is actually a Paperweight.

The so-called Paper is actually a Paper Doll (a butterfly, a bunny, a goat, or any other hand shadow figure the player desires)

The so-called Scissors are still cutting blades, but let’s call them Snippers just to be different.




Traditional Game
Shadow Game
Paper covers the Rock
Paperweight sensibly covers the Paper Doll and the Paperweight wins.
Scissors cut the Paper
Paper Doll is born of the Snippers and the Paper Doll wins.
Rock crushes the Scissors
Paperweight *sharpens* the Snippers and the Snippers win.

As a mnemonic, Snippers *need* to be sharp in order to fulfill their destiny, Paper Dolls *need* to be snipped in order to take shape and fulfill their destiny, and Paperweights *need* to rest upon Paper Dolls because everyone requires downtime to flatten out, relax, and recharge so as to fulfill their destinies.

There are three possible ties. In the traditional game, these are simply ignored. In the Shadow Game, these are celebrated as follows:


Both players throw
Both players act out
Paperweight
Shadow boxing
Snippers
Running with scissors
Paper Doll
The scorekeeper becomes a storyteller when two Paper Dolls grace the wall and interact as a shadow-puppetshow ensues


> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1907 issue of The Strand magazine.


[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 . . .


Call it a Hunch (permalink)
"'Call it a hunch.'  'A hunch?  You wouldn't happen to have anything solid to back that up, would you?'"
Kay Hooper, Out of the Shadows (2000), as if adding some wit to Young Frankenstein


A still from the perennially hilarious Young Frankenstein.
> read more from Call it a Hunch . . .

October 7, 2012

The Right Word (permalink)
"One letter words result in a sitting dog."  That seemingly absurd statement actually makes sense in the context of this unusual dachshund font (with duck, poodle, and chihuahua versions).  Please don't inquire about the period.


> read more from The Right Word . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"This might surprise you—it sure surprised me—but one hundred reps of anything really, really burns."
Charlotte Hilton Andersen, The Great Fitness Experiment
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Harper's magazine.


[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Staring Into the Depths . . .

October 6, 2012

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

Q: "Do the clouds want to chime in on how they think my day went?" (William Keckler)

A: No; however, clouds do want many things:
  1. The clouds want to know what they are. (The Journal of the Anthropological Society of Bombay, 1928)
  2. The clouds want to be your clothes. (Shidao Xu, Origins of Chinese Cuisine, 2003)
  3. The clouds want more elaboration. (Horatio Noble Pym, Odds and Ends at Foxwold, 1887)
  4. The clouds want to hide the sun. (Don Marion Wolfe, Language Arts and Life Patterns, 1972)
  5. The clouds want to rain on the parade; they have intentionality. (Jonathan C. Smith, Pseudoscience and Extraordinary Claims of the Paranormal, 2011)
  6. Clouds want to be fields. (Nichita Stanescu, Wheel with a Single Spoke: and Other Poems, 2012)
  7. The clouds want to play. (Kevin R. Fish, Poetic Justice For Nature, 2004)
  8. In general, clouds want a full baptism in the sea. (Gaius Glenn Atkins, The Godward Side of Life, 1917)
  9. The clouds want to go somewhere. (David Hicks, Ritual and Belief: Readings in the Anthropology of Religion, 2010)
  10. Clouds want to be platforms. (Curtis Franklin Jr., Cloud Computing: Technologies and Strategies of the Ubiquitous Data Center, 2009)
  11. Fragments of clouds want to align. (Paul S. Ropp, Banished Immortal, 2002)
  12. Clouds want to move things around, get a better view where noise comes from. (Devan Malore, The Churning, 2008)
  13. Clouds want to blow in and drop rain. (Marianne Sawicki, Crossing Galilee, 2000)
  14. Our clouds want to mingle and form an even bigger and better cloud. (Sol Gordon, How Can You Tell If You're Really In Love?, 2001)
  15. Clouds want more moisture in order to remain supportive. (Ham Kaima, My Arrogant Friends, 1992)
  16. The clouds want to be smoke circles blown over lips. (A. Van Jordan, Quantum Lyrics: Poems, 2007)
  17. Hovering dark clouds want to flatten the city. (Chinese Idioms and Phrases, 1977)
  18. The clouds want fire from the rocks. (Courtenay Malcolm Batchelor, Folklore, 1952)
  19. All clouds want a talent. (Dow Kump, Scooter's Sparking Stone, 2005)
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Morning Star:  an illustration from an 1852 issue of Godey's magazine.


[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 an 1877 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Almost unconsciously Sue sang to the night."


[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 . . .

October 5, 2012

Colorful Allusions (permalink)


A still from the Scottish comedy brilliance known as Burnistoun.
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Surprising, but true, you don't need to sew to make a pillow."
Faux Chic: Creating the Rich Look You Want for Less (2004)

(Dedicated to the Silly Pillows.)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1905 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "One of the new German kindergarten appliances."


[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 . . .

October 4, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Five years before the birth of the Elephant Man, Joseph Merrick, an elephant man appeared in Punch (1857).


> read more from Precursors . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
There's a fine line between excitement and anxiety.
Richard Brown & Patricia Gerbarg, The Healing Power of the Breath


> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A surrealist illustration from a 1906 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "A yawning chasm, to fall into which meant at least a broken neck."

Dedicated to Jordan Wright.


[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 . . .

October 3, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the song "Me and Mrs. Jones," who had a thing goin' on all the way back in 1857.  (Punch)


> read more from Precursors . . .


It's Really Happening (permalink)
"This is happening, it's really happening. So why doesn't it feel better than this?"
—Catherine McKenzie, Spin


The foreground photo of this collage is from the very funny Arrested Development.
> read more from It's Really Happening . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1902 issue of The Strand magazine.  The caption reads: "The sexton, a preternaturally solemn person, danced a hornpipe on the table."


[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 . . .

October 2, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Did you know we were recently [d]reamed out by the estate of Martin Luther King, Jr.?  Did you know that hackers are diligently trying to erase our life's work from the internet (and that we can hardly blame them?)  We reveal all sorts of things in our controversial interview with author Janet Boyer.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Precursors (permalink)
The "Cone of Silence," made famous in the Get Smart comedy series, first appeared over a century earlier, in Punch, 1857.

[For Jonathan.]


> read more from Precursors . . .


The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine (permalink)


Portrait from The Life and Letters of George Bancroft.
* The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine promises real ghosts, actual hauntings, and necromancy by proxy.
> read more from The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1907 issue of The Strand magazine.  The caption reads: "If you insist on denouncing me, you little know the consequences you will bring upon yourself!"

Dedicated to Gordon Meyer.


[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 . . .

October 1, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

"Miles and miles of dead leaves, either drifting, wayward and restless, like living things that are feverish and sick, or lying in piled-up heaps, corpse-cold and motionless, entering, it might seem, with some ecstasy too deep to betray itself by the faintest quiver, the huge dark dumb mysterious process, reeking with sepulchre-sweet rot and fetid with lust-satisfying decay, of the enormous vegetable dissolution, out of which, autumn by recurrent autumn, the organic life of the earth is renewed." —John Cowper Powys, Porius
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Precursors (permalink)
We discovered a precursor to the film A Cry in the Dark (1988).  A dingo took her baby in this image from The Wide World Magazine, 1900.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Indubitably (?) (permalink)
"We would pass a joint and suddenly everything about this world and our place in it seemed hilarious. Simple observations became impossibly profound. Indubitably so."*
John Grogan, The Longest Trip Home: A Memoir (2009)
*If Merriam (or Webster?) is correct that indubitably is not the kind of word that gets used in everyday conversation, except perhaps for humorous effect, then insert comedy drum roll here.
> read more from Indubitably (?) . . .



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Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.