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.
December 31, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"One day, future scientists will look on this current crop with the same disdain that the legions of scientists who enthusiastically plied their trade for the Nazis or the Soviets are regarded today, the eugenicists and phrenologists, the Stalinized scientists and so on." —Christopher Loring Knowles, author of Our Gods Wear Spandex and The Secret History of Rock 'n' Roll
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Someone should write a book about all the different complex flavors of patronizing behavior toward patrons."
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
Did you know that Santa, back when he was svelte, used to deliver presents on New Year's Eve and not Christmas Eve?  This illustration is from The Family Magazine, 1840.


> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .


A Rose is a ... (permalink)

"A rose is a rose is a rose because innately there is a mechanism whereby the mind understands that a unit, in spite of its individual characteristics, belongs to a composite."
Ilan Stavans, Return to Centro Historico (2011)
> read more from A Rose is a ... . . .

December 30, 2012

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
"Monsieur Oiselle."

(That's a Googlewhack, as of this posting.)

(Thanks, Mike!)
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of The Windsor 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 . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Marguerite Duras, when asked if death frightened her, said, "I don't know know anything anymore since I've reached the sea." Enrique Vila-Matas said, "What terrifies me about the idea of eternal death is to never be able to see the sea again, the waves breaking in winter on deserted beaches."


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

December 29, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of The Windsor magazine.  The caption reads: "Was it you that spoke?"


[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 . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"This might surprise you a little bit, but I would look for someone who had a quality that I call winsomeness."
Bill Hybels, New Identity
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1899 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Of course tears followed."


[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 . . .

December 28, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
One hundred and eighteen years before Twitter, the immature gathered out of doors to exchange "five minutes' stories."  (The illustration is from Five Minutes' Stories by Mrs. Molesworth, 1888.)


> read more from Precursors . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of The Windsor magazine.  The caption reads: "On and on they sailed."


[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 . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"This may surprise you and you may not even know this, but when you leave your power and influence leaves with you."
Davidson L. Haworth, The Wizard of Prali (2011)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .

December 27, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Eighty-two years before Coldplay proclaimed, "It was all yellow," everything was turning yellow in The Panama Plot by Arthur Benjamin Reeve (1918).


The caption reads: "Suddenly there was the sharp cry of a woman. 'Yellow—everything is turning yellow!'"
> read more from Precursors . . .


Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
Statistics [and we realize that with good cause we've lost most of you after using that horrible, horrible word] tell us that "The weather today clearly depends on yesterday's weather.  It might also depend on the weather two days ago but as a first approximation we might assume that the dependence is only one day back" (Larry Wasserman, All of Statistics: A Concise Course in Statistical Inference, 2003).
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1905 issue of The Windsor magazine.  The caption reads: "It was the crux ansata, the Symbol of Life itself."


[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 . . .

December 26, 2012

The Right Word (permalink)
Did you know that Santa's nightmare word is "unfilled"?  We find proof in Life, 1918.


> read more from The Right Word . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1895 issue of The Canadian magazine.  The caption reads: "And thus he passed into the night again for evermore."


[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 . . .


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

"The truest answer is simply: 'If you go, then I'll miss you . . . terribly.'”

Julia Hoban, Willow (2010)

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

December 25, 2012

Always Remember (permalink)
"Always remember that a house of merriment is better than a house of mourning."
A Manual of Fire Department Equipment and Practice

Pictured below: "Bringing in the Lump of Coal," from a 1918 issue of Life magazine.

If you got a lump of coal for Christmas, here's how to change it — one letter at a time — into the "Jelly of the Month Club" (the gift that keeps on giving):

COAL, COWL, COWS, CAWS, JAWS, JAMS


> read more from Always Remember . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Every Year, Every Month, Happy Days!":  an illustration from a 1916 issue of Collier'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 Life magazine.  The caption reads: "Christmas Night.  Ancestral Greetings."


[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 . . .

December 24, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Christmas Eve Parade":  an illustration from Told After Supper by Jerome K. Jerome (1891).


[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)
Santa is haunted by children of the poor in this illustration from Life, 1918.

We guess he might be dreaming of something like this:

"No more laps, just some weightless floating." —Bronwyn Jameson, Beyond Control (2004)


[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 1894 issue of Century Illustrated magazine.  The caption reads: "XMAS"


[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 . . .

December 23, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
A precursor to a key scene in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, from Punch, 1859.


> read more from Precursors . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Time-traveling through old magazines, one truly does experience Einsteinian relativity.  Take, for example, this illustration of "a modern home" from 1893 (Cosmopolitan Magazine).  We also love how old magazines regularly long for the return of traditional holiday celebrations.  Even though the holiday trappings of the 1800s meet our current ideal of olde worlde authenticity, there was a time when all that was newfangled.  We can just hear the older generation back then, granting that the yule logs, holly wreaths, mistletoe, and snow effigies seem pagan enough, but if the kids only knew how things were really done back in the day!  Every olden time had its own olden time, and we're left with nostalgia for nostalgia.


A modern home?  It's all relative.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
Staring into the depths: an illustration from an 1890 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "Looking intently into the heart of the fire."


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

December 22, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
There are people who genuinely prefer My Fair Lady to The Sound of Music.


Pictured is Iain Connell of the brilliant Scottish comedy series Burnistoun.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Lady North Wind" by Albert Hughes (1857).


[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 . . .


It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating that letting 'things be' should not be confused with indifference."
Claude Cernuschi, Barnett Newman and Heideggerian Philosophy
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .

December 21, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Nearly a century before Dr. Seuss's Grinch stole Christmas and over a century before Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas, witches were doing it in Punch (1862).


> read more from Precursors . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1884 issue of Belgravia magazine.  The caption reads: "When you see her next, give her my curse."


[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 . . .


It's Really Happening (permalink)
"It's really happening!  You knew it and they're proving it!  Congratulations!"
Arthur Phillips, The Tragedy of Arthur (2012)


The foreground photo of this collage is from the extraordinarily brilliant comedy series Arrested Development.
> read more from It's Really Happening . . .

December 20, 2012

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
Did the children make the snow Buddha, or was he self-realized?  From Parley's Magazine, 1842.


> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .


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

"The answer is simply: 'To have fun.'”

The Laughing Jesus (2005)

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


The Only Certainty (permalink)
"The only certainty ... is that you'll never know if you could be one of them unless you try."
Sherryl Woods, The Summer Garden (2012)
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

December 19, 2012

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
A doll possesses a "dim, vague, blurred, vicarious, secondary consciousness of a soul embodied in an intensely loved but inanimate companion" and looks forward to encountering "the legendary doll of dolls" (John Cowper Poyws, Porius).

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads, "Dolls never contemplate the past (except for those in a vacuum).  Figurines suspended in a vacuum, like the theorems of mathematics, are outside of time."
Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Intriguingly, freshly fallen snow can actually store sounds as well as project them with clarity.  A carefully gathered snowball is like a library of sounds stored on crystalline shelves.  When held to the ear like a seashell, it may whisper the secrets it has absorbed.  Ergo, composer and music theorist John Rahn describes "a little snowball of sounds” (Perspectives on Musical Aesthetics, 1995).  Snow expert Nancy Armstrong explains that "When snow is newly fallen, sound waves are absorbed into its soft surface.  Later, when the surface has hardened, sounds may travel further and sound clearer, because the snow reflects sound waves, sending them more quickly through the air” (Snowman in a Box, 2002).  Barbara Blair concurs: "snow is a wonderful substance to enhance awareness” (Communing with the Infinite, 2006).  [The preceding is an excerpt from our Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound.]


Listening to a snowball, from Guernsey's magazine, 1882.
> read more from Book of Whispers . . .


Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
Perhaps the sin and the penance
are one and the same,
two sides of the same coin.
—Julija Šukys, Epistolophilia:
Writing the Life of Ona Simaite
(2012)


> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .

December 18, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"In truth, everything is already healed right now."
Doreen Virtue, Daily Guidance from Your Angels (2008)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


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

"The answer is simple but takes much work. Are you ready for the answer? Can you handle the truth? Sit down relax and let me give it to you straight. You must learn that it is not about you.”

Lynette Edwards, Take Off the Mask (2012)

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


Call it a Hunch (permalink)
"'Call it a hunch, if you want,' I said, 'but—'  'I don't want to call it anything,' he said."
Raymond Chandler, The Thin Man


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

December 17, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Acclamation and Acclimation Marks

We don't necessarily "take requests," but truth be told we rarely turn down a fun challenge.

A friend, Dorothy, saw "exclamation point" malapropped as "acclamation point." Another friend, Jonathan, wished there were an acclamation point. "It would come in handy when a bunch of readers wanted to applaud somebody's blog post, or whatever." Dorothy further suggested an "acclimation mark, for when you finally get the hang of something. Someone should make those marks. And do a blog post on them."

Voilà!

We felt it important that the acclamation and acclimation points be typeable and not merely artist's renderings. So we'll note the Unicode entity identifiers for each mark.

Acclamation Mark 2Let's begin with our favorite acclamation point — complete with a demonstrative waving flag. Type a regular exclamation point, then a triangular dingbat next to it. Superscript the dingbat to raise it up the flagpole. The dingbat we use is Lucida Grande #8227.


Acclamation Mark 3Another acclamation point represents a martini glass raised in a toast (the Y portion is like the cross-section of a glass). It's Lucida Grande #7924.


Acclamation Mark 1A third acclamation point communicates vocal approval. A big circular mouth engulfs the dot. It's Lucida Grande #0664.

Different from the acclamation point is the acclimation point — indicative of becoming accustomed to new conditions. There are two acclimation points:

Acclimation Mark 2The first acclimation point signifies Dorothy's concept of "getting the hang of something." It features a dot at both the top and bottom, as if the mark were hanging from itself. It's Lucida Grande #7883.


Acclimation Mark 1The second acclimation point represents acclimatization as symbolized by an umbrella. It's Ludica Grande #7788.
For copy/paste convenience, below are each of the marks:
!   Ỵ   ʘ   ị   Ṭ
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Always Remember (permalink)
"Always remember that there is a photo in every situation, it's just a matter of how closely you look to find it."
PHOTOVIDEOi (Feb. 2007)


Photo by Ryan Gallagher.
> read more from Always Remember . . .


Apropos of Nothing (permalink)

photo by Cobalt 123
"[A]propos of nothing.  'It always happens in threes.'"
Catherine McKenzie, Spin (2012)
> read more from Apropos of Nothing . . .

December 16, 2012

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

A negative potato.
Geof Huth contends that "There is no opposite of potato."  He may be correct, and we'll be open to agreement once we're finished peeling all these "negative potatoes" (a.k.a. "antipotatoes).
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from an 1873 issue of Peterson'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 . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Get the snowball rolling, and it may surprise you how fast it grows."
Michael Ellsberg, The Education of Millionaires (2011)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .

December 15, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Haunted House":  an illustration from an 1879 issue of Peterson'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 . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from an 1887 issue of Life 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 . . .


Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

I dreamed again about a coordinating conjunction.  It said the clauses in our sentence were long and contained internal punctuation used to separate long items in a series.  This was what I wanted to hear: it meant that I belonged in the sentence.  But for some reason I felt certain that the conjunction was lying.

I also dreamed that I had dinner and drinks with Michael Tomasky, who said: "If I were linguistic emperor, not only would semicolons be mandatory, but we’d all be writing like Carlyle: massive 130-word sentences that were mad concatenations of em dashes, colons, semicolons, parentheticals, asides; reading one of those Carlyle sentences can sweep me along in its mighty wake and make me feel as if I’m on some sort of drug.  What writing today does that?  Some, maybe even a lot, in the realm of literature; but not much in non-fiction, alas.”
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .

December 14, 2012

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
[And this may surprise you:]  "Your mood today is often a response to yesterday's weather." —Weekly World News, May 4, 1999.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .


It Bears Repeating (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


This piece is dedicated to Teresa of Frog Applause.
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from an 1879 issue of Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine.  The caption reads: "He grew into a fashion of dropping his pen, or holding it idly in his fingers, and picturing dreamily sketches not written out for mortal ken, but only for his heart's comfort."


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

December 13, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the self-referential prose fictions of postmodernism: "The Story of a Story" by Helen W. Pierson, from Frank Leslie's Sunday Magazine, 1884.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"'Someone should write a book about the dedicatees of the great poets."
James Runcie, Sidney Chambers and the Shadow of Death (2012)
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Above: An illustration from an 1894 issue of Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine whose caption indicates that the faces of the subject's companions were transformed.
Below: An illustration from Niels Klim's Journey Under the Ground (1767) by Baron Ludvig Holberg.



[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 . . .

December 12, 2012

Strange Dreams (permalink)
We so often assume that our waking life influences our dreams, but Jeff Hawkins knows it's the other way around.  He notes: "Funny that my dreams can so powerfully influence my waking life, while my waking life has so little influence over my dreams."  We couldn't resist a diagram.

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


> read more from Strange Dreams . . .


Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
Bleeding ink and Google's scanning machine combine to form an aptly titled "Pairing."  The illustration is from Peterson's magazine, 1877.


> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1895 issue of Life 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 . . .

December 11, 2012

Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)

We've been keeping one of our latest publications under the radar, lest it fall into the wrong hands.  But we felt safe sharing it with Clint Marsh (of Goblinproofing One's Chicken Coop fame)From his review in The Pamphleteer:
A master of practical esoterica, Prof. Oddfellow (a.k.a. the inimitable Craig Conley) follows in the footsteps of magicians throughout history in tracing his lineage to a potent fabulous ancestor, in this case Elizabeth of York, the mother of Henry VIII and the woman immortalized as the Queen of Hearts in the familiar deck of playing cards we've all seen.  Instead of climbing the family tree back toward Elizabeth, though, Conley begins with her and comes down through history toward himself.  This approach makes perfect sense to anyone bent on establishing a blood connection to a particular figure from the past, and it seems to involve less risk of falling down the wrong genealogical rabbit hole.  ... [Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy is] a wonderful new addition to his teeming brood of bibliomantic offspring.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .


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

"Write a novel in which a cryptozoophile kills himself at the end, unable to physically consummate his relationship to his objects of desire." —Stefan, of The Kelayah Objective
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)


Here's a strange moment in the pitch-perfect Scottish comedy series Burnistoun.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from an 1888 issue of Century Illustrated 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 . . .

December 10, 2012

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Somebody should write a book someday about the silences in Scripture."
Frederick Buechner, Secrets in the Dark (2007)
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
The perfect antidote to a sunny day at a crowded beach.  (These young Goths — precursors to Wednesday and Pugsley Addams? — are from Peterson's magazine, 1888.)


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


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Genealogical Ghost":  an illustration from an 1886 issue of Life 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 . . .

December 9, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1916 issue of Green Book magazine.  The caption reads: "His fingers ran about the keyboard and seemed to meet her fingers there as before.  She was at his side, her hands crossing his, his fingers lingering on hers.  He turned to clasp her . . . but his arms found only emptiness."


[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 1894 issue of Century Illustrated magazine.  The caption reads: "There was a whir, whir, whir."


[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 1898 issue of Cosmopolitan 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 . . .

December 8, 2012

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "If you find a dying echo and promise to build an altar for it when it is dead, you can persuade it to tell you all manner of extraordinary things." —John Cowper Powys, Porius
Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1870 issue of Peterson'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 1894 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 . . .

December 7, 2012

Book of Whispers (permalink)
The hippogriff gains the secret.  From The Floating Prince and Other Fairy Tales by Frank Stockton (1930).  (Via OldBookIllustrations @ Tumblr)


> read more from Book of Whispers . . .


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

"Often the answer is simply: It is not for you to know. This is a hard answer, but sometimes it is the only answer.”

Tony Woodlief, Somewhere More Holy (2010)

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 1908 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "The puzzling black marks on the white pages spoke to us."


[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 . . .

December 6, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Eighty-four years before Tim Burton introduced Jack Skellington in The Nightmare Before Christmas, L. Frank Baum's The Road to Oz featured another pumpkin-head named Jack.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
We're devastated to report that the piece on "Forecasting Yesterday's Weather" in NewScientist (Sept. 20, 1979) doesn't live up to its fascinating title.  We had so hoped that predicting past atmospheric conditions would be more accurate than predicting future ones, but it would seem that meteorologists can't even correctly describe current conditions.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1876 issue of Peterson's magazine.  The caption reads: "Oh! Pitiless! Pitiless Moon!"


[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 . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Children's staring contests with animals were apparently all the rage in the late 1800s, if these illustrations from Peterson's magazine are any indication.


This child staring at a dog is from Peterson's magazine, 1889.

This child staring at a turkey is from Peterson's magazine, 1889.

This child staring at a rooster is from Peterson's magazine, 1860.

This child staring at a dog is from Peterson's magazine, 1876.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

December 5, 2012

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
[With apologies to Zen koans everywhere.]

If William Makepeace Thackeray's "Mahogany Tree" falls in the four rests and there's no one to hear it, is it compositionally sound?


(Score from Putnam's, 1907.)
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Precursors (permalink)
This precursor to the great Charles Fort (complete with a shower of frogs) appears in Punch, 1867.


> read more from Precursors . . .


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

"The answer is simple: you can't.”

Jonah Lehrer, Imagine: How Creativity Works (2012)

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

December 4, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Here's the opening piano solo from the film The Exorcist (1973) being played back in 1877 (London Society magazine).  Totally tubular!


> read more from Precursors . . .


Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1898 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "Were chewing sailor boots in 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 . . .

December 3, 2012

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:
Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1919 issue of Everybody'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 . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
An illustration from a 1901 issue of McClure's magazine.  The caption reads: "Filled my bosom full of smothered language."


> read more from The Right Word . . .

December 2, 2012

Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
"Every bubble is the product of some form of irrational exuberance."
Matthew Bishop, Essential Economics: An A to Z Guide (2009)

"Underlying every bubble is what I call a Big Truth."
Peter Atwater, Moods and Markets: A New Way to Invest in Good Times and in Bad (2012)

"Every bubble is coming from the atman, soul, your being."
Paramahamsa Nithyananda, Guaranteed Enlightenment (2009)

"Most bubbles are very friendly."
David Lewman, SpongeBob SquarePants Survival Guide (2002)

[Our illustration is from Nursery Nonsense, or Rhymes Without Reason by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson, 1864.]


> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .


Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
Everybody's doing this now.  From Punch 1849.

(For Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.)


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


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1898 issue of Cosmopolitan 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 . . .

December 1, 2012

Puzzles and Games (permalink)
This puzzle encodes a familiar expression. Can you decode it?

Hint: The expression originated in the armed forces.

Answer: "All present and accounted for." The circle represents "all." The wrapped gift is a "present." And the fingers are "a-counting four." (The answer is in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)


From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook.
> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1896 issue of Munsey'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 . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from a 1914 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Many a day she must have sat there, just thinking."


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



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