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.
April 30, 2013

The Right Word (permalink)

"Sorry, I’ve had a complete blank there.”  A still from Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle bonus interviews.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1869 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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The smoky couple!"
"Long live smoke!"
"And all things that go up in smoke."
Aldo Palazzeschi, Perelà: The Man of Smoke (1936)

This illustration of a smoky couple is from Graham's magazine, 1854.

[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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April 29, 2013

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

The text reads: "Keep a mind straight on a thought, and you will see how it bends down, just ever so slightly, at the horizon. —Geof Huth"
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Author Jeremy Edwards answers the age-old question, "to flirt or not to flirt?"  He backs it up with science and suggests wearing it as a button: "Game theory says I should flirt with you."

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
"I could have sworn I heard a violin playing 'The Last Rose of Summer.' In waltz time, no less."
Eugenia Riley, Waltz in Time (1997)

This maritime serenade appears in Arthur's Home Magazine, 1887.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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April 28, 2013

Precursors (permalink)
Before the walrus was Paul, the walrus was Lewis Carroll.  (Thanks, JohnnyDiego!)

"The time has come," the Walrus said,
"To talk of many things:
Of shoes--and ships--and sealing-wax--
Of cabbages--and kings--
And why the sea is boiling hot--
And whether pigs have wings."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1869 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 . . .
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April 27, 2013

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
Before the invention of MIDI, programmed music required meticulously timed grandfather clocks, and every performance ticked at 60 bpm. In the tradition of the original "old school," our Clockwork Remixes feature vintage timepieces.

Clockwork photo courtesy of Third Angel.
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Though there are famously two Darrins in the classic sitcom Bewitched, history ignores a third actor who played the character before Dick Sargent took over.  The context is that Endora secretly grants Darrin three wishes, which he mindlessly squanders.  His third wish is to be his boss, Larry Tate, for a day.  And so David White plays Darrin for half an episode.  York—White—Sargent: the three Darrins are in reverse alphabetical order, just as magic reverses what's considered normal.



But, improbability aside, could there have been yet a fourth Darrin?  Yes!  When Dick York's Darrin has to cancel a vacation in Miami due to work commitments, Endora splits him into two Darrins: happy-go-lucky Darrin and workaholic Darrin.  The fun Darrin goes on holiday with his wife while the serious one keeps his nose to the grindstone.  So Dick York actually plays the fourth Darrin as well as the first.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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April 26, 2013

Precursors (permalink)

A Yorkshire girl named Diot Coke was born in the year 1379.  Futility Closet spills the details.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1869 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 . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
[For Jeff Hawkins.]

We stumbled upon the phrase, "When the pyramids were young."  Further research indicated that young pyramids endure their adolescence in small caves:

"There is a little grotto and a cave, and a spring of water bubbling over some rock work, and a juvenile pyramid."
Edwin Hodder, Old Merry's Travels on the Continent (1869)

Left to right: a newborn pyramid, a juvenile, an adult, and a "great."
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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April 25, 2013

The Right Word (permalink)
"So, yes, the paragraph is arbitrary, but so is the sentence, and the word, and the phonemes within the word, and the connections we intimate between those phonemes and those arbitrary shapes we call letters." —Geof Huth

Illustration from Anthony Earnshaw's Seven Secret Alphabets.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1869 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 . . .
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
"What the well-dressed instrument is wearing ... Here's a well-known instrument in modern dress."
Instrument Practice, 1951

This "scarf for upright piano" appears in Arthur's Home Magazine, 1887.  It's described as "One of the most unique scarfs for an upright piano I have seen in a long time."  We can say without hesitation that it's the first scarf for an upright piano we've ever seen!
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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April 24, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"If you take a High Weirdness approach to creativity, you see strange entities lurking in corners behind the work of great artists (Max Ernst is a perfect example of this).  This applies to the sciences as well as the arts, as inconvenient as it may be to the plodders and mediocrities that populate organized skepticism." —Christopher Loring Knowles
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Always Remember (permalink)
"Always remember that no one can waste your time without your consent."
Barry B. Gallagher, The Secrets of Life Power (2008)

The illustration is from Told After Supper by Jerome K. Jerome (1891).
> read more from Always Remember . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1909 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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April 23, 2013

This May Surprise You (permalink)
I believe the e-mails I send will always be answered immediately.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1903 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "Hello, ol' Never Sleep, that you?"
[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 1915 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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April 22, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Why does humankind still grapple with the greatest questions?  Why can we ultimately know nothing?  And what, then, shall we occupy ourselves with?  All is revealed here:

"I have always been interested in the oddities of mankind.  At one time I read a good deal of philosophy and a good deal of science, and I learned in that way that nothing was certain.  Some people, by the pursuit of science, are impressed with the dignity of man, but I was only made conscious of his insignificance.  The greatest questions of all have been threshed out since he acquired the beginnings of civilization and he is as far from a solution as ever.  Man can know nothing, for his senses are his only means of knowledge, and they can give no certainty.  There is only one subject upon which the individual can speak with authority, and that is his own mind, but even here is surrounded with darkness.  I believe that we shall always be ignorant of the matters which it most behoves us to know, and therefore I cannot occupy myself with them.  I prefer to set them all aside, and, since knowledge is unattainable, to occupy myself only with folly." —William Somerset Maugham, The Magician
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
A precursor to the cult television series The Prisoner episode "Arrival" from Metropolitan Magazine, 1905. The caption reads, "The light flooded the apartment. It was almost a replica of my own studio."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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April 21, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Fantazius Mallare: A Mysterious Oath by Ben Hecht.
[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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April 20, 2013

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
William Keckler suggests that someone should "write a novel about a 'haunted house' in which the one haunted is actually the house, which dimly perceives the family which inhabits it--which feels them as a sort of infestation by ghosts."
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "High above the sea, the road leads you to this fairyland."
[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)
I-eye:  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 . . .
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April 19, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"It is characteristic of the imagination to always consider itself to be at the end of an era.  ... But the apocalyptic has always been there, in every era.  ... It exists in every civilization. ... [I]n our time the apocalyptic can only be dealt with parodically.  ... The apocalypse demands a lack of seriousness.  ... Any crisis, after all, is just a projection of our existential anxiety.  Perhaps our only privilege is to be alive and know we're all going to die together or separately. ... In the end ... the apocalyptic has a splendid fictional veneer, but it shouldn't be taken too seriously, because actually ... what it offers ... is the joyful, emphatic, and happy paradox of ... something to do in the future." —Enrique Vila-Matas, Dublinesque

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1905 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "'Why hasn't Haunting told upon you?' I asked."
[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)
"Step by step, nearer, nearer, until he touched airy hands that clung, that drew him to the heart of mystery."  From Amélie Rives's The Ghost Garden, 1918.

Airy hands in the ghost garden.
[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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April 18, 2013

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook, secretly in honor of a certain K.

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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 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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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Hermann Rorschach was here ... in an index to The Rotarian magazine, 1920.  Granted, we may be reading too much into this.

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April 17, 2013

The Right Word (permalink)
"But why did you say Boulogne when you means Bologna?"  A still from Dear Ladies, series one.

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Crystal Evening": an illustration from a 1909 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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Strange Dreams (permalink)
"Last night she dreamed she was wandering through a labyrinth of teeth."
Cai Emmons, His Mother's Son (2002)

This section of a labyrinthodon tooth appears in Cosmopolitan Magazine, 1892.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .
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April 16, 2013

Uncharted Territories (permalink)

Photo courtesy of Ano Lobb.
"Nothing tells us where we are and each moment is a place we have ever been." —Enrique Vila-Matas, Dublinesque
> read more from Uncharted Territories . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from an 1898 issue of Scribner's magazine.  The caption reads: "The sense of infinity is heightened by the floating mist."
*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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Look there!"  From The Mystery of the Sycamore by Carolyn Wells (1921).

[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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April 15, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
What a weird experience: my "fundial" doodad (which I discovered via Bernie DeKoven) was kaput, but then I realized that the only moving part was my own index finger.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1851 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 . . .
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Simple Answers (permalink)
Difficult Question? Here's a simple answer

"The answer is simple—learn to touch.”

Gary Chapman, Happily Ever After (2011)

If this is not the answer you’re looking for,
click here for a different answer.
> read more from Simple Answers . . .
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April 14, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
No two are alike:  an illustration from Fantazius Mallare: A Mysterious Oath by Ben Hecht.
[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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April 13, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Rhyme and Reason by Lewis Carroll (1884).
[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 1903 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "The Crack in the Wainscot"
[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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April 12, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
a hole in something
what a card trick does to fingers

Gary Barwin, "Because Birds"

To our knowledge, only one person has thoroughly described what a card trick does to a magician's fingers.  With each magical performance, the digitations are aroused to "borrow" or "liberate" according to new yearnings.  Some fingers steal people's secrets, under the delusion that possessing elements of a personal life makes them one's own.  Some steal other people's names, leaving in their wake individuals without any knowledge of who they were, forced to trust in the testimony of friends and relatives.  Some steal time, with the logical intention of prolonging their days; they steal past time when in the mood to dwell upon memories; they steal present time when feeling constricted by immediate limitations; they steal future time out of the very lives of children when hard hit by the panic of impending dissolution.  Some steal dreams, leaving others' sleep blank and uncharacterized.  Some steal sleep itself so as to hibernate like a bear, leaving victims staring, on the verge of despair and madness, night after night in the indifferent dark.  Some steal others' hope, though always leave just enough to keep them from suicide.  We find these insights in Wendy Walker's masterpiece The Secret Service (1992), which we have here paraphrased.

Thanks to Craig Blush and Flavio for the elements of this collage.
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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
Here's a quotation from our Spotted in the Wild blog that we wished to share here, too:

"What else is the world than a figure? Life itself is but a symbol. You must be a wise man if you can tell us what is reality." —William Somerset Maugham, The Magician
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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1876 issue of Arthur's Home magazine.  (It also appeared in Beadles Monthly, 1866.)  The caption reads: "Faces in the 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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Colorful Allusions (permalink)
"Golden sunshine, golden wine, golden hair, golden coin.  There is a magic charm in yellow, m'sieur.  Ah, but there is.  I know.  Red is bewitching; it is daring, inspiring.  But yellow—it enthuses, tantalizes, lulls."
—Izola L. Forrester, "The Yellow Domino," The Idler (1904)

> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .
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April 11, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
When Stephen Hawking hosted a party for time travelers but sent out invitations only afterward, he posited that he'd proven time travel isn't possible because no one turned up.  But perhaps all he proved is that he gives lousy parties.  (Seriously, for such a smart guy, he's a sucker for logical fallacies.)
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Told After Supper by Jerome K. Jerome (1891).  The text reads: "Now is the Very Witching Time of 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Is it a tear in space that hangs in the air, shifting and shimmering?"
Michelle Belanger, Psychic Dreamwalking (2006)

This torn illustration is from Harmsworth magazine, 1900.
[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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April 10, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Now here's a concept, courtesy of the wag (Jonathan Caws-Elwitt):

The New York State Thruway service-area map lists which concessions inhabit each service area. Well, I'm calling them "concessions"... but apparently, in turnpike corporatese, a Starbucks or a McDonalds in a service area is called a "concept." Thus, the map's legend informs us that "24-hour concepts" appear in bold lettering.

So if you ever wake up in the middle of the night and you can't find the insightful paradigm, penetrating theory, or brilliant idea you came up with earlier in the day... maybe what you have there is a concept that's limited to bankers' hours or standard retail hours. (And if the concept comes and goes at peculiar times of day... well, maybe it's operating on a British pub-licensing schedule!)
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1902 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "'It's arrival" [sic].
[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)
"This may surprise you, but I do have a life beyond this office!"
Jessica Hart, Temporary Engagement (2011)
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April 9, 2013

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
We've long collected summations of the meaning of life, and we couldn't resist sharing this marvelous one by the immortal John Cowper Powys in his novel Porius.  Note that he distills the meaning of life down to one key word:

What an absurd nonsense it all was!  Why couldn't people see that the whole business was a lively, amusing, horrible, comical, pitiful, cruel Incomprehensibility?  For that was what it was.  Not a tragedy, for it was too pitiful.  Not a farce, for it was too cruel.  Not a mystery, for the physical was too tick, and our capacity for response to everything else too quickly at its limit.

It clearly couldn't be very serious or matter very much.  We were all comparatively soon dead; and meanwhile life could be deliciously pleasant and appallingly unpleasant.  It could be endurable.  It could unendurable.  It could be first the one and then the other.  Good and evil in it were hopelessly mixed up, as also were justice and injustice.

An Incomprehensibility—that's the only word for it!  And what applies to men applies to the gods also.  "If I could magic myself into an eagle of Zeus and carry all the people up through those black clouds into the moonlight on my wings, would I do it?" he thought.  "No, I would not do it!  Why should I do it?"

It would only be from one incomprehensible dream into another!
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A refutation meant to be whistled:  melody from an 1899 issue of Harmsworth's magazine.  The lyrics read: "There's nothing in it.  Rot."
[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 portrait of a British novelist at home:  an illustration from an 1899 issue of The Idler 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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April 8, 2013

Strange Dreams (permalink)
I woke up with various TV specials swimming in my head, on the theme of Being John Malkovich.  These are the ones I can remember:

No Shirt, No Shoes, No Malkovich!
Wicked mentalist Derren Brown hypnotizes three bedraggled homeless people into believing they're legendary actor John Malkovich.  First one to be asked for a celebrity autograph wins three days and two nights in The Address hotel at Dubai Marina, a haven for the discerning traveller.

To Be John Malkovich
Legendary actor John Malkovich and three "nobodies" who genuinely share his name vie to accept a lifetime achievement award in Hollywood, Florida.  Trouble is, the thespian is the only one without identification.

Stars in Their Id's
Prescription for disaster: an unwitting psychiatrist accepts five patients who all "believe they're John Malkovich," including the legendary actor.  By the end of group therapy, will the real John Malkovich get carried away?

Finding John
Deepak Chopra, Mick Fleetwood, Akiva Goldsman, Catherine Hardwicke and Joseph Campbell (archival footage) are just a few of the people who offer their insight into how we are all John Malkovich.  "We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned so as to have the life that is waiting for us. Follow your Malkovich!"
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"There's more to childhood memories than liverwurst sandwiches." —Jeff Hawkins

The exception that proves the rule: the Earl of Sandwich's earliest memories were all covered in seasoned meat paste.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1922 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 . . .
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April 7, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of Harmsworth's magazine.  The caption reads: "The statue lives!  On its mighty limbs the great muscles twitch and quiver."
[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)
"There is No God!": an illustration from a 1920 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 . . .
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April 6, 2013

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1893 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "A hot sickness touched him with its finger."
[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 a scarecrow from a 1918 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 . . .
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April 5, 2013

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"Up to six crows are called a 'murder,' but seven or more are called a 'strategic interdiction.'"
Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1892 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "You shall see me call the dead."
[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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Simple Answers (permalink)
Difficult Question? Here's a simple answer

"The answer is simple: because we are inherently social creatures.”

Miklos Sarvary, Gurus and Oracles (2011)

If this is not the answer you’re looking for,
click here for a different answer.
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April 4, 2013

Something, Defined (permalink)

"It's beans, beans, beans, beans."  A still from a bonus interview in Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "The Listening Sphinx by S.H. Sime."
[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 Wide World magazine.  The caption reads: "Padre Sanchez cautiously opened the upper part of door of the confessional."
[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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April 3, 2013

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

The text reads: "Blind thumbsucking never produced the great American novel. —Jeff Hawkins."
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1905 issue of Wide World magazine.  The caption reads: "She slammed the dish of hot potatoes full in his face."
[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 1896 issue of The Idler magazine.  The caption reads: "Shadow of a Soul by Alan 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 . . .
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April 2, 2013

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt gleefully adds to the misquotation epidemic:

> 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 1900 issue of Wide World magazine.  The caption reads: "A dark-robed, white-veiled figure seemed to gather itself together from the misty gloom at the entrance of my tent."

[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 1920 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 . . .
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April 1, 2013

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We always imagine that there's got to be somewhere else
better than where we are right now; this is the Great
Somewhere Else we all carry around in our heads. We
believe Somewhere Else is out there for us if only we
could find it.
Brad Warner, Hardcore Zen

Here in America's oldest city, a common answer to the standard "How's it going?" or "What's new?" is a non-ironic "Livin' the life!"  I love that "Riley" is understood, that we're all-encompassing Irishmen.  (Don't all the best umbrella terms emigrate from rainy climes?)  Granted, Saint Augustine is a quaint seaside village with picturesque harbors and Old European architecture, and its long history makes it unique in the nation; even the circling beam of its lighthouse seems to demarcate a Venn diagram with no overlaps.  But the age-old question in My Dinner With Andre begs itself: is a Himalayan mountaintop (as it were) a better spot for finding one's bliss than one's Lower East Side apartment?  Saint Augustine is one spot among oh-so many on a spinning sphere, so why do migratory Rileys come down to avoid riling up?  It would seem that by collective though technically unspoken agreement, New Yorkers (mostly) have decided that this is the place to escape, thereby creating an Otherworld, a B in contradistinction to A.  Sure, everybody leads a life, in the sense of "hypothetical."  But to live the life is to direct one's own script and also be one's own location scout.  Sure, it's chic to delegate, but Rileys know better.

Pictured: In the foreground, Prof. Oddfellow (Riley is understood) checks the GoPro camera while Michael focuses on a sundial at the center of historic Saint Augustine.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"A savant thawed."  This illustration from Jules Verne's The Fur Country (1874) reminds us of a concept from Theosophy, that an enlightened fraternity secretly preserves the ancient universal wisdom through humanity's dark ages.  Or, as explained in Annie Besant's The Masters,

At certain times in human history, in serious crises, in the transitions from one type of civilization to another, members of the Occult Hierarchy, Masters and even loftier Beings, come out into the world; normally although incarnate, they remain in retired and secluded spots, away from the tumult of human life, in order to carry on the helpful work which would be impossible of accomplishment in the crowded haunts of men.

Indeed, that's what "a savant thawed" reminded us of.
[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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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.