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.
November 30, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Parents and Children (1873).  The caption reads: "In a moment Maurice was on fire!"
[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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Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from Etidorhpa, or The Strange History of a Mysterious Being and the Account of the Initiate's Remarkable Journey by John Uri Lloyd (1895).  The caption reads: "Facing the open window he turned the pupils of his eyes upward."
[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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November 29, 2013

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Nothing like an emotional roller-coaster ride followed by a crying jag.  Someone should write a book about it; it could be the new fitness/exercise craze."
Louisa Edwards, Can't Stand the Heat
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Autobiography of a Man O' War's Bell by C. R. Low (1875).  The caption reads: "I stepped forward, eagerly seized a paper, when oh, horror! there appeared before my eyes, as I hastily opened the slip, the single word—Death!"
[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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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "It's only funny if you've heard it a million times."
Cheesie Mack Is Cool in a Duel
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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November 28, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Other Stories by E. H. Knatchbull Hugessen (1880).
[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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"You may find it difficult to believe that photography is a form of energy reproduction and that every photograph contains energy."
Wayne W. Dyer, The Power of Intention: Learning to Co-Create Your World Your Way (2010)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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November 27, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Etidorhpa, or The Strange History of a Mysterious Being and the Account of the Initiate's Remarkable Journey by John Uri Lloyd (1895).  The caption reads: "Suspended in vacancy, he seemed to float."
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Flying from death to death": an illustration from Benita: An African Romance by Henry Rider Haggard (1906).

[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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November 26, 2013

This May Surprise You (permalink)
1983's song "Safety Dance" by Men Without Hats says "Everybody look at your hands." It's a lucid dreaming technique for dancing one's fantasies clear-headedly.


(This is from our former outpost at Twitter.)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Rambles in the Footsteps of Don Quixote by H. D. Inglis (1837).
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A halo of hair from a 1900 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 . . .
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November 25, 2013

Book of Whispers (permalink)
"After an unparalleled research we are now able to reveal the great Secret of Geography.  The secret is that without Geography you would be quite lost." —W. C. Sellar and R. J. Yeatman, And Now All This
* The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.  No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition—cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.
> read more from Book of Whispers . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Grettir the Outlaw: A Story of Iceland by Sabine Baring Gould (1890).  The caption reads: "Grettir sees a tall dark figure standing in the doorway."
[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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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "Comedians are only funny if the audience laughs."
—Frank Suskin, Spitting Out Poetic Tales (2012)
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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November 24, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Man Who Was Dead by Arthur Williams Marchmont (1907).  The caption reads: "It was a sweet memory to take into the land where nothing counts."
[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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"You may be quite surprised to find that what seems like a fair deal on the surface is decidedly unfair when you factor in taxes."
Esther M. Berger, Money-Smart Divorce (1996)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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November 23, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Bill Toppers by Andre Castaigne (1909).  The caption reads: "Powerful rays shot out to every side."
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from An Amiable Charlatan by Edward Phillips Oppenheim (1916).  The caption reads: "Ladies and gentlemen, if you please!  Nothing has happened."
[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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November 22, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We bemoan the rampant demythologizing of our culture, yet the trend began with our founding fathers.  Originally, the immortal declaration was that all men are created eagle (a vestige endures in the word egalitarian).  "The entire conceptual castle of our mind relies on this creation of abstractions by metaphor from the foundations of our bodily experience in the world" (Piero Scaruffi, The Nature of Consciousness, 2006).  The eagle has landed as Apollo has fallen, leaving a hollow nest egg.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Demon Rum": an illustration from a 1907 issue of Puck 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 . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "It would only be funny if the people watching knew of the erotic scene Brando took part in in the film Last Tango in Paris." —Brad Ashton, How to Write Comedy (1983)
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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November 21, 2013

This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
"There is a point where the proud waves of the sea must be stopped."
Richard Polwhele, Traditions and Recollections (1826)
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
> read more from This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1908 issue of Putnam's magazine.  The caption reads: "He had been kicked by the King's 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 . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
"Honking Headgear": an illustration from a 1909 issue of Puck magazine.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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November 20, 2013

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Calories, after all, are units of energy, and so are words." —Julia Cameron, The Writing Diet: Write Yourself Right-Size (2007)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1890 issue of The Home-Maker magazine.  The caption reads: "'The Sky!' gasped Esmeé."
[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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Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
"If you want to find out if someone is indiscreet you tell him under a vow of secrecy something that isn't true.  If you then hear the story from another source you know that that person broke his vow of secrecy." —Alec Waugh, The Mule on the Minaret (2011)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .
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November 19, 2013

A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
The many thin lines exist.
Things That Exist

Many thin lines photographed by Dendroica cerulea.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1901 issue of Puck 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 . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "It's only funny if it's a little thing, not a life and death matter."
Deb Schwarz Hirschhorn, The Healing Is Mutual (2012)
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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November 18, 2013

The Right Word (permalink)

We're delighted to be a part of Melbourne's Little Library:

Find more meaning in x's and o's with linguist Craig Conley's 'One Letter Words, a Dictionary'. Covering scarlet letters, medieval branding marks, bra sizes, blood types and more, this handy guide offers over 1000 definitions for those 26 letters and is on the shelves at the Little Library on Level 2.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Apropos of Nothing (permalink)

photo by Cobalt 123
"'Or she,' I added, apropos of nothing. ¶ Orshee looked up, confused.  This was his line. Had he missed an opportunity to say it?"
Richard Russo, Straight Man: A Novel (2011)
> read more from Apropos of Nothing . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from She by Henry Rider Haggard.  The caption reads: "I saw the fire run up her form."
[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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"You may find it difficult to believe, but absolutely everyone here is dressed from head to foot in corduroy."
Frank Key, We Were Puny, They Were Vapid (2009)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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November 17, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1886 issue of London Society Illustrated magazine.  The caption reads: "A night with a blackbeetle."
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1908 issue of Putnam's magazine.  The caption reads: "What did she mean when she said 'Do we Pivot?'"
[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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November 16, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1878 issue of London Society 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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1881 issue of Frank Leslie's Sunday magazine.  The caption reads: "The paraselenae, or mock moons, that appeared over Denver, Colorado on Feb. 14, 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 . . .
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November 15, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The eater of dreams from Kottō, Being Japanese Curios, with Sundry Cobwebs by Lafcadio Hearn (1910).
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1883 issue of Lett's Illustrated Household 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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A deep-sea diver encounters a thriving community of merfolk, from Punch, 1866.
[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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November 14, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1888 issue of Puck 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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1865 issue of Mrs. Grundy magazine.  The caption reads:

One Puff, to mean: "Fellow-Citizens"—or "Hail Coumbia"
Two Puffs: "I am no speaker"—or, "Westward the star of empire takes its way."
Thee Puffs: "This is the proudest moment of my life"—or, "Long may it wave."
Four Puffs: "Good-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 . . .
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
Too few pick up a cornet, and fewer still seize it.  "Norman seized his cornet": To-Day magazine, 1873.

> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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November 13, 2013

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Perhaps someone should write a diet book called The Cooking Smells Diet.  It would be enormously popular because it didn't involve restricting yourself to beans, or searching for a constant supply of fresh pineapple, or even doing aerobic exercise."
Imogen Parker, The Things We Do For Love
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Sunday magazine.  The caption reads: "Through the white streets, while the pitiless storm raged around her."
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"You may be quite surprised by the cacao sauce."
Le Petit Futé Geneva (2009)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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November 12, 2013

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
I have a pronounced Adam's apple.  It's pronounced "'adəms ˈapəl."
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1908 issue of Putnam's magazine.  The caption reads: "A mysterious influence emanates from those wonderful columns.  Not only the sight of them as you approach from London, but the queer, almost uncanny way in which they permeate the whole place.  They follow you through the station, and into the train, and not for many miles can you get out from under the presence of those perfect shapes."
[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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Precursors (permalink)
Nearly seventy years before Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, we find "Death on the rail" in Mrs. Grundy, 1865.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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November 11, 2013

This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
Hungry, pitiless, murderous sea!
Oh, what wild shrieks hath terror sent o'er thee!
    How many millions, dead,
    Lie waiting in thy oozy bed,
Till the last trumpet sound, and Death no more
Shall revel 'mid thy rage and maddening roar!
—Nicholas Michell, "Ocean's Changes" (1867)
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
> read more from This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1874 issue of London Society Illustrated magazine.  This should be of interest: Seance Parlor Feng Shui.
[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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"You may find it difficult to believe that communication without words or sounds is possible."
Wayne W. Dyer, There's a Spiritual Solution to Every Problem (2003)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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November 10, 2013

Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from an 1874 issue of London Society Illustrated magazine.  The caption reads: "They held the door partly open, and peered out into the dark night."
[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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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)

Seven flats!  From London Society, 1864.
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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November 9, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1875 issue of London Society 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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's an Escheresque castle in the air from a 1909 issue of Puck 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 . . .
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November 8, 2013

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
Here's the patron saint of lone rainclouds, courtesy of Victor Moragriega.

Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1909 issue of Putnam's magazine.  The caption reads: "Jail is the most fashionable resort of the London smart set."
[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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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "The spectacle of a man trying not to laugh at something can only be funny if we are ourselves laughing."
Sight and Sound (1957)
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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November 7, 2013

The Right Word (permalink)
"Why don't you call those phrases what they really are, cliches?" —Bewitched, season six
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Dykwynkyn is the pseudonym of theatrical maskmaker Richard Wynne Keene 1825 1887.  From an 1870 issue of London Society 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 . . .
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Book of Whispers (permalink)
THE INNER LIFE

Thoughts of mine, so wildly pressing
Through the mystery of my soul,
While my calm face, unconfessing,
Keeps the solemn secret whole.
          Oft I ponder,
          With vague wonder,
Whence ye come—and what ye mean;
Visions of my world unseen!

(London Society, Jan. 1864)
* The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.  No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition—cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.
> read more from Book of Whispers . . .
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November 6, 2013

This May Surprise You (permalink)

* * * * *

A row of asterisks is the most elegant way to explain human reproduction.

"In the novels I had read whenever a lovely woman stooped to folly she had a baby.  The cause was put with infinite precaution, sometimes indeed suggested only by a row of asterisks, but the result was inevitable" (W. Somerset Maugham, Cakes and Ale).

As Laurence Sterne put it, "A thousand of my father's most subtle sylogisms could not have said more for celibacy" (Tristram Shandy).
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1884 issue of Penny Post 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 . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Orson Welles' Lady from Shanghai famously features a shootout in a hall of mirrors.  A 1901 issue of Puck shows a gunslinger using his looking-glass reflections as decoys.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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November 5, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1909 issue of Putnam's magazine.  The caption reads: "What is a mollusk, Mr. Hardin?"
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Upon his arrival in hell, fresh off the Styx Ferry, the soul of a reporter is accosted by demons full of inane questions.  "How do you like Hades?  Did you have a pleasant voyage?  What do they think of us on earth?  How do you like the climate?  Is this your first visit?  Are you going to stay long?"  From Puck, 1907.
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Life magazine.  The caption reads: "Guarding the Northern Passage."
[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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November 4, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Here's a Kafkaesque retroactive lifetime goal: a centipede has been "temporarily waysided" from opening our dictionary of magic words.  Technically and poetically, it's a "human centipede with 2 legs for a hundred spines."  And the centipede's name is Pearl.  Here's the entire list of unopened books into which the centipede may or may not make headway.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Open Sesame!"  An illustration from an 1874 issue of London Society 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 . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"You may find it difficult to believe, but each of us, deep down, has an innate knowledge of our personal needs, physically as well as emotionally."
Lettie Vantol, Crystals (2007)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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November 3, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a precursor by many decades to the useless information craze, from a 1909 issue of Puck magazine.  The caption reads: "Piffle's Cyclopedia of Useless Information."
[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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Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Write a novel in which so many uncanny things happen, that when one normal thing occurs, everybody is freaked out and psychologically destroyed. I suppose this could be a war novel."
William Keckler
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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November 2, 2013

This May Surprise You (permalink)
The seventh best toilet trivia book: that's how our dictionary of magic words was recently ranked, even though we offer only a single reference to a toilet plunger!
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine.  The caption reads: "In exchange for a Soul."
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Seven sisters wander through the echoing crypts of a castle, opening four hundred doors in their search for daylight; in one locked door they find a golden key but, afraid to open it, they knock instead: an illustration by Charles Doudelet for Maurice Maeterlinck's "Three Songs," reproduced in The Critic (1902).

[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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November 1, 2013

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The proverbial "elephant in the room" hasn't been seen since Houdini's untimely death.

By the way, we did some digging and verified that every elephant in the room is descended from the Maharaja's beloved "Raj" (of "Five Blind Men and an Elephant" fame).  It's surprisingly little-known that the Maharaja also cherished an 800-pound gorilla.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A vaudeville comedy tragedy mask, from a 1909 issue of Puck 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 . . .
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A Rose is a ... (permalink)

A still from the perennially hilarious Addams Family.  Morticia is referring to the model of rare harpsichord that Lurch plays.
> read more from A Rose is a ... . . .
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.