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 Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
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Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
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Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
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Indubitably (?)
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
October 31, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
How to quadruple your witchcraft, from Wehman Bros.' New Book of One Hundred and Fifty Parlor Tricks and Games, 1905.
[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 ornate capital O from The Virginians by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1858.
[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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Images Moving Through Time (permalink)

Here are some creepy old portraits from Broadstone Hall and Other Poems by William Edward Windus, with illustrations by A. Concanen, 1875.  One's canine or skeletal, one's feline, and one's avian or alien.  Note also the dimensionality of the portraits — the standing figure looks like he's ready to step right out into the room.  And even the drapery at the right is haunted.  

> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Illustration by Henry Holiday for Lewis Carroll's The Hunting of the Snark (1876).
[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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Sociable Ghost by Olive Harper (1903).  The caption reads: "But you must join us."  [By the way, this image is by far our most popular posting at our Tumblr outpost.]
[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)
"Allhallows' Eve": an illustration from an 1885 issue of Little Wide Awake 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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October 30, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The silent groves, from Sibyl Falcon by Edgar Alfred Jepson, 1895.
[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)
[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)
[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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Don't Take This the Wrong Way (permalink)
"Don't take this the wrong way, but you're not very frightening."
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Apropos of Nothing (permalink)
This "apropos of nothing" moment occurs in the British comedy series Dead Boss.
> read more from Apropos of Nothing . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1881 issue of Little Wide Awake 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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October 29, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Where we do what cats may do," from The Virginians by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1858.
[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)
From Folk Songs edited by John Williamson Palmer, 1867.
[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)
"'Show us a picture,' said the boy.  'Tell us where to look.'"  From The Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.
[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)
"George Washington could not tell a lie, but he was sometimes remarkably dexterous with the truth." —Dr. Boli
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Puzzles and Games (permalink)
"It's such a comfort to play an ace, isn't it." —Ermentine Poole Long

Our illustration appears in Uncle Chesterton's Heir by Joséphine Blanche Colomb, 1884.
> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Night Side of Nature": an illustration from The Man in the Moon (1847).
[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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October 28, 2014

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

"Repairing a broken hour requires three score of the 'gold-dust of time' —Colfax Burgoyne Harman."  [For Karl.]
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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It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating — the New Game must involve everyone."
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Doctors differ," from On a Mexican Mustang Through Texas by Alexander Sweet, 1884.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Exceedingly comfortable," from A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain.

[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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Indubitably (?) (permalink)
"The world is indubitably one if you look at it in one way, but as indubitably is it many, if you look at in another."
Mark Twain and Human Nature by Tom Quirk, 2013
*If Merriam (or Webster?) is correct that indubitably is not the kind of word that gets used in everyday conversation, except perhaps for humorous effect, then insert comedy drum roll here.
> read more from Indubitably (?) . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the hot topic of immigration reform, from Face to Face with the Mexicans by Fanny Chambers Gooch (1890).  The caption reads: "Your American customs are too hard on me."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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October 27, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)
Many have speculated about the origin of the alphabet, but the truth is quite literally far-flung: like meteorites, the letters were excavated from the highest mountain peaks, as we see in The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile, 1895.  The caption reads, "And they found the same letters."
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

"Mummies are dehydrated & they long for the blood of living words." —Peter Lamborn Wilson, Abecedarium (published by Xexoxial Editions)

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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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"Following the invention-of-tradition logic, monks’ consciousness about their musical tradition would disqualify it as genuinely traditional. This is problematic (read: nonsense), to say the least." —Tore Tvarnø Lin, The Past Is Always Present

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"He goes and comes with silent feet.  He sobs amid the rain."  From Red Apple and Silver Bells by Hamish Hendry and illustrated by Alice B. Woodward, 1899.
*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)
From The Baby's Museum by Uncle Charlie, 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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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
"The bewitching Scylla": an illustration from Comic History of Greece from the Earliest Times to the Death of Alexander the Great by Charles Snyder (1898).
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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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It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating that we will never be less transparent, will never have less information, and will never be less connected than we are today."
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .
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October 26, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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)
"Four and twenty skeletons were in sitting posture round the table." From The Sphinx-like Head by J. Harry Sugden, 1896.
[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)
"'Pluto's chasm,' Luray caves," from Journal of a Tour in the United States, Canada and Mexico by Winefred Mary Howard, 1897.
[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)
"There are some things that can't fully happen.  They are too grand and magnificent to fit into an event." —The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973, Poland)

> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from A Diplomatist's Wife in Japan by Mary Crawford Fraser (1899).  The caption reads: "Out for a walk."
[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 The City of Gold by Edward Markwick (1896).  The caption reads: "There in the blackness of the night I saw two gleaming eyes."
[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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October 25, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Buddha's Crystal and Other Fairy Stories by Yei Theodora Ozaki, 1908.
[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)
"Tosses them up to the ceiling," from Emma by Jane Austen and illustrated by Hugh Thomson, 1896.
[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)
From Zigzag Journeys in Northern Lands by Hezekiah Butterworth, 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 Woman's Courage by Frederick Wicks (1892).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Princess Sarah and Other Stories by John Strange Winter (1897).  The caption reads: "You have only one idea in your head, and that is writing rubbishy stories that nobody will ever want to buy!"
[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 The Child's Own Poetry Book by Horace George Groser (1887).  The caption reads: "They called me a destructive child."
[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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October 24, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)

The text reads:

If this little world to-night
  Suddenly should fall through space
In a hissing, headlong flight,
   Shrivelling from off its face,
As it falls into the sun,
   In an instant every trace
Of the little crawling things—
   Ants, philosophers, and lice,
Cattle, cockroaches, and kings,
   Beggars, millionaires, and mice,
Men and maggots all as one
   As it falls into the sun—
Who can say but at the same
   Instant from some planet far
A child may watch us and exclaim:
   "See the pretty shooting star!"
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .
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Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
An illustration from Through the Dark Continent by Henry Morton Stanley (1899).
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Novels of Captain Marryat (1897).
[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 Earthquakes by Arnold Noscowitz (1890).  The caption reads: "The scourge—an allegory."
[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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October 23, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's time lord Gene Wilder as he appeared in Felttogene, 1848, 49, 50 by Vilhelm Holst, 1852.
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Einstein’s space is no closer to reality than Van Gogh’s sky.  The glory of science is not in a truth more absolute than the truth of Bach or Tolstoy, but in the act of creation itself.  The scientist’s discoveries impose his own order on chaos, as the composer or painter imposes his; an order that always refers to limited aspects of reality, and is based on the observer’s frame of reference, which differs from period to period as a Rembrandt nude differs from a nude by Manet."

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Mandarin saving the sun when eclipsed," from Social Life of the Chinese by Justus Doolittle, 1867.
[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)
"The inside dog generally starts it," as we learn in While the Billy Boils by Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson, 1897.
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A Rose is a ... (permalink)
Lancaster RoseA rose may be a rose may be a rose, but orgasms also come in a variety of colors and styles.
> read more from A Rose is a ... . . .
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Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from On a Mexican Mustang Through Texas by Alexander Sweet (1884).  The caption reads: "Nobody had removed the relic."
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's some vintage praise for what we'd later see on Twitter, from an 1889 advertisement.  "Very Original English!"
[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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from The Child's Book of Poetry (1886).
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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October 22, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Note the word "dirt" in the cloudy reaches of this as-is scan from the Internet Archive.  It recalls the Hermetic maxim, "As above, so below."  From St. Nicolas magazine, 1873.
[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)
Here's the "outraged husband" trick from Mysteries and Miseries of America's Great Cities, Embracing New York, Washington City, San Francisco, Salt Lake City, and New Orleans by James William Buel, 1883.
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From Fifty "Bab" Ballads written and illustrated by Willian Schwenck Gilbert, 1881.
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
One of the Earl of Sandwich's closest allies was the Earl of Mayo.  From The Land of Temples (India), 1882.
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Presumptive Conundrums (permalink)
Today we celebrate seven wonders of the world, but in the richness of the past there were nine.  From Across Three Oceans and Through Many Lands by Fred Reynolds (1898).  The caption reads: "One of the nine wonders of the world—the Taj Mahal."
* Learn more about Presumptive Conundrums at Amazon.com.
> read more from Presumptive Conundrums . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"The Sick Wind": an illustration from Red Apple and Silver Bells by Hamish Hendry (1899).
*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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October 21, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)

Are such genealogical searches for foundations themselves evidence of the proverbial nonsense on stilts? —William Rasch


Genealogical research has some mysteries and paradoxes that nobody really likes to talk about. (We merely hint at them in our controversial Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy.) But we were delighted to encounter Scottish playwright N. F. Simpson's revelation that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, in his precursor to Get Smart, The Cresta Run. The vital passage runs as follows:


Harker: Claims to have had two parents, I see.

Cask: That's right, sir.

Harker: One father, one mother. Seems as if they both had two, as well.

Cask: That's what he maintains, sir. Four grandparents.

Harker: And eight great-grandparents, by the look of it.

Cask: Yes sir.

Harker: The further you go back, the more people seem to have been involved. Eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, a hundred and twenty-eight. Goes on doubling up indefinitely, as far as I can see.

Cask: We did work it out, actually, sir. On the computer.

Harker: And what did you arrive at?

Cask: Well — the figure we were left with was somewhere in the region of eighteen million at the time of the Norman Conquest.

Harker: Eighteen million? But that's completely and utterly ridiculous, Cask. In 1066 the entire population of the British Isles couldn't have amounted to much more than a million and a half. At the very most.

Cask: That's rather how it struck us, sir, too.

Harker: Just doesn't add up, does it?

Cask: It's just possible that the other sixteen million or so were out of the country at the time, sir.

Harker: If they were, I'm not sure that it doesn't raise more issues than it settles, Cask.

Cask: I know what you mean, sir. . . . Eighteen million at the Norman Conquest — what must it have been at the time of Christ?

Harker: Astronomical, I should think, Cask.

Cask: Let alone the Garden of Eden.

Harker: How many people do you understand there to have been in the Garden of Eden, Cask?

Cask: Well — just the two, sir. So far as I've always understood.

Harker: Yes. That's what I thought. Discrepancy somewhere.


Indeed, the math simply doesn't work out, and one must confront a mind-blowing possibility. The thing is, when we trace our predecessors back, we invariably run into dead ends: thrice-great grandparents who seem not to have had two parents, to put it bluntly. There are so many folks in the tangled branches of the tree who defy further investigation. Were they not who they said they were? or where they extraterrestrials? or did they suddenly pop into existence like the virtual particles of quantum physics? These dead ends suddenly begin to make sense, mathematically. They can't all keep doubling, because world population surely diminishes in Prospero's "dark backward and abysm of time." For the math to work out, a whole, whole lot of our predecessors must have no origin. One can't help but to think of particle-antiparticle pairs. (Note that even allowing for postmodern interpersonal relationships and non-nuclear ["No nukes!"] family models, the data still tends toward exponential growth of predecessors by generation.) (As my co-researcher concludes, the walls are there for a reason, to protect us from what's on the other side.)

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On One Condition (permalink)
Yes, you may . . . on one condition:

"Never, in life or death, are you to tell anyone that I retreated and withdrew from this peril out of fear." —Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Don Quixote
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Chinese joss-house at San Francisco," from America Revisited by George Augustus Henry Fairfield, 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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Strange Dreams (permalink)
An illustration from Belial's Burdens, or, Down with the McWhings, written and illustrated by James Frank Sullivan (1896).  The caption reads: "The spectral visitants."
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Monographien Zur Deutschen Kulturgeschichte by Georg Steinhausen (1899).
[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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Don't Take This the Wrong Way (permalink)
"Don't take this the wrong way, but I've never seen you looking so ... normal."
—Jamie Guy Germain, The Way She Smiles
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October 20, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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 exercise undoubtedly has its drawbacks and precautions." —Naheed Ali, Diabetes and You
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
"It is a fine line between the servant becoming the master and the exchange of one master for another."
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Peter Ibbetson by George Du Maurier (1892).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Batman's residence at Stately Wayne Manor.  From Victoria and its Metropolis Past and Present by Alexander Sutherland (1888).  The caption reads: "Batman's dwelling on the Yarra."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Always Remember (permalink)
Always remember: nothing risqué, nothing gained.
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October 19, 2014

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We're delighted to learn that the Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room has acquired our dictionary of one-letter words.  In a lovely bit of time warping, it's on the third floor with "new books."  Meanwhile, pictured below is the logic alphabet and chess pieces exhibit from the Museum of Jurassic Technology, courtesy of Moira Clunie.

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

"To photograph unspoken words, employ a camera obscura.  Note that only ambigrams will develop."  [Inspired by and for Jim Girouard.]
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.
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to crowdfunding, discovered by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt in Bill Nye's Cordwood (1887):

Kansas.—Dear Sir: Not having enough room under our present arrangements, and wishing to make the Roller-Towel House the recognized head-quarters for traveling men, we desire to enlarge the building. Not having the money on hand to do so, we make the following proposition: If you will advance us $5, to be used for the above purpose, we will deduct that amount from your bill when stopping with us. We feel assured that the traveling men appreciate our efforts to give them first-class accommodations, and as the above amount will be deducted from your bill when stopping with us, we hope for a favorable reply. Should you not visit our town again the loan will be repaid in cash.

     J. Krash Towel, Proprietor Roller-Towel House.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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)
An illustration from Poems Via the Author, Third Series, Political (1888).  The caption reads: "But here you shall more secrets gain, / And never need be fooled again. ... Explanation of the Colours."
* Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour. In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes. Try to guess the exact hue of each. Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words. Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue. Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.
 
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The Only Certainty (permalink)
But what is the point? Despair is the only certainty here.

Even so, recall "yonder beam" from previously.
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October 18, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the expression, "Hey, four-eyes."  From A String of Chinese Peach-Stones by William Arthur Cornaby, 1895.

Speaking of which, a fraternity exclusive to nerdy glasses-wearers might be called Iota Iota Iota Iota.
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Gary Barwin's Yiddish for Pirates (Random House Canada, 2016), a novel narrated by a parrot.  The caption reads, "The very parrot was a participator."  From Annals of the Parish and the Ayrshire Legatees by John Galt and illustrated by Charles Edmund Brock, 1895.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
From Sketch-Book of the North by George Eyre Todd, 1896.
*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)
The original modular shelving was designed for storage of ancestors.  From A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain.  You can actually trace your own ancestry to at least one of these skulls -- it's explained in Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from A Social Departure by Sara Jeannette Duncan (1890).  The caption reads: "But the young Baboo sat in the drawing-room and waited a long time for his ice."
[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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Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
The bliss of oblivion and the phantom, burden, and chain of memory—these are two sides of the same thing, two dimensions of the conditio humana.
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
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October 17, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"I became an artifact in the proverbial nonsense of my mind." —Atlas Captain, "A Fraudulent Tradition"
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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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Unicorns (permalink)
From A Book of Scotish Pasquils, edited by James Maidment, 1868.  This should be of interest: A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from The Experiences of a Forty Niner During Thirty Four Years Residence in California and Australia by Charles Ferguson (1888).  The caption reads: "A race with a shower."
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Cornhill Magazine (1866).
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"On the far side of words there is a poem writing us." —Stein Mehren, Fire & Ice: Nine Poets from Scandinavia and the North
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October 16, 2014

The Right Word (permalink)
We disagree with [The Magnetic Fields'] Stephin Merritt that "do-re-mi-fa-so-la-ti-do ... are nonsense syllables." We also disagree that "There are only two, arguably three, one-letter words" (as we elaborately demonstrate in our dictionary of one-letter words). But live and let live. And his book, illustrated by the illustrious Roz Chast, is called 101 Two-Letter Words.  (Pictured below, Prof. Oddfellow measures magnetic fields in honor of Stephin Merritt.)
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Precursors (permalink)
Pictured first is an ancient precursor to the Rabbit-Duck Illusion (1892), excavated from the Hopewell Mound City Group in Ohio and depicted in The Antiquarian (1897).


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Uncharted Territories (permalink)
Here's a blank map of the White Sea, from This Giddy Globe by Peter Simple and illustrated by Oliver Herford, 1919.  For a most unique collection of unmappable places, see The Carte Blanche Atlas: 75 Uncharted Territories for Off-the-Beaten-Pathfinders.  (Thanks, Jonathan Caws-Elwitt!)
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Midsummer Eve by S. C. Hall, 1870.
[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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Baby's Museum by Uncle Charlie, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The fatal door and landing," from The Victoria Hall Disaster, 1883.
[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)
Here's a precursor to the 'couch potato' phenomenon of the 1970s, from Bachelor Ballads and Other Lazy Lyrics by Harry Spurr and illustrated by J. Hassall (1899).
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A Rose is a ... (permalink)
York RoseA rose is a rose or a nose: A deficit in initial letter identification.
—K. Patterson & B. Wilson, Cognitive Neuropsychology (1990)
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October 15, 2014

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
Q: What happened to the moon in 1740? (asks Gary Barwin, author of the celebrated Moon Baboon Canoe)

A: In 1740 a pamphlet was published that seriously argued that swallows migrated annually to the moon (T. A. Coward, The Migration of Birds, 1912, p. 117).  Your chart depicts the stir of a multitudinous (if not loon-y) flock of flyers.
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"On a topographical map of Literature Nonsense would be represented by a small and sparsely settled country, neglected by the average tourist, but affording keen delight to the few enlightened travellers who sojourn within its borders." —Carolyn Wells, A Nonsense Anthology, 1910 (via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt)

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Lays and Legends of the Weald of Kent by Lilian Winser and illustrated by Margaret Winser, 1897.
[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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Call it a Hunch (permalink)
Call it a hunch, call it paranoia, call it what you like.

A still from the classic Young Frankenstein.
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
From Nasby in Exile by David Ross Locke, 1882.
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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
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Precursors (permalink)
A close encounter with a Grey from Eaglehawk and Crow A Study of the Australian Aborigines by John Mathew (1899).

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October 14, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
"Party animal" traces back to 1982 (if you trust Merriam-Webster), but here are some true party animals depicted in Broadside Black-letter Ballads, Printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, edited by John Payne Collier, 1868.
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"I told you to get into pictures!" Heffy huffed.  "Not this nonsense."
Mariel spoke up.  "Look, Sid, someone has to provide the nonsense, now that you’ve been called to a higher art."
Jeremy Edwards, The Pleasure Dial

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby, 1881.
[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)
Before the facile inspirational quotation craze, simple 'happy thoughts' sufficed.  From Old Father Christmas by Lizzie Lawson (1888).
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Does the spirit of Vaudeville wear a novelty hat?  From Bachelor Ballads by Harry A. Spurr, 1899.  [For Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.]
[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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October 13, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Bonnie and Clyde being riddled with bullet holes, from Film Flashes: The Wit and Humor of a Nation in Pictures, 1916.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The lady with a pig's head, from The Book of Days by Robert Chambers, 1864.
[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)
"Sing, or by Heavens I'll shorten your nose," from Snarleyyow by Frederick Marryat, 1897.
[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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"It is nearly eleven o'clock, and the cold thin rain, which has been drizzling so long, is beginning to pour down in good earnest."  From The Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.
*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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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
An illustration from The Tantalus Tour by Walter Parke (1896).
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from An African Millionaire by Grant Allen (1897).
[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 "Things are funny if and only if they're not sad."
Introducing Symbolic Logic by Robert M. Martin, 2004
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October 12, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the flamboyant Cockettes (founded 1969), from the medieval land of contraries, Cockayne.  From Carols of Cockayne by Henry Sambrooke Leigh, 1874.
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt: Remember the nineties, when everyone was putting out those little 'zines?  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Petit_Journal_des_Refus%C3%A9es

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The Right Word (permalink)
From our one-letter words department, here's the letter T meaning "tea."  Our illustration appears in Gazetteer and Business Directory of Rutland County, Vt., for 1881-82.
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
You've heard of waifs and strays, but here's what they look like.  From Waif and Stray: The Adventures of Two Tricycles by Chilosà, 1896.
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels (1974), from The Merry Ballads of the Olden Time (1880).
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Doctor Nikola by Guy Newell Boothby (1896).  The caption reads: "I climb the wall. ... I let myself drop."

[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 The Prisoner of Chiloane by Wallis Mackay (1890).
[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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October 11, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a genie bottle from St. Nicholas magazine, illustrated by Rachael Robinson Elmer.
[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)
We confided in tech wizard Gordon Meyer that this photo breaks a rule, as we learn in E. J. Gold's Slime Wars: "See, one of the Rules of World Domination and Control is that you can't actually do anything to change anything, or you'll lose total control. Of course it goes without saying that you can't tell anyone that you're in total control of everything or you'd lose total control by one mind, which is exactly enough to louse it all up. The thing I hate most about Total World Domination and Control is that there's no one with which to share it, to actually know and appreciate it all, to see and take part in the enormity of it all, to appreciate the good job I'm doing here at the Very Center of It All."
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

The mysterious white hand, from The Great Jekyll Diamond by John Lawton Owen, 1897.

[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)
Here's a precursor to Dorothy and Toto, eight years before the first Oz book was published, from Old Plaistow by John Spencer Curwen (1892).
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A'beckett (1897).
[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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October 10, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Le Chemin des Écoliers by X. B. Saintine, 1861.

[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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"Soon there was a regular storm," from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain.
*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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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, 1883.  The caption says, "We read aloud."
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
This is why plumbers reap such high fees.  From Wanderings of a War Artist by Irving Montagu (1889).  The caption reads: "A sort of drain demon."
[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 Zigzag Journeys in the Antipodes by Hezekiah Butterworth (1889).
[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)

William Keckler suggests that someone should publish an extremely large anthology of poetry entitled Too Cool for Relevance.

> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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October 9, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The bellman of Holborn," from The Book of Days by Robert Chambers, 1864.
[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)
[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 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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Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out (permalink)
Momus suggests that there are "few tales which would not be improved by the addition of the phrase 'suddenly, a shot rang out.'"
Decide for yourself as we alter the opening line of . . .

The Thing About Men by Elizabeth Bevarly

"What do you mean the chicken is still alive?"  Suddenly, a shot rang out.

(Thanks, June!)
> read more from Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out . . .
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No News Is Good News (permalink)
An illustration from Springhaven by R. D. Blackmore (1888).  The caption reads: "After that, there is nothing more to be said."
> read more from No News Is Good News . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Belial's Burdens, or, Down with the McWhings by James Frank Sullivan (1896).  The caption reads: "Chittabob was at the wheel."
[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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October 8, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"Sweet day, so calm, so cool, so bright," from The Pyrenees by Henry George Blackburn, 1867.
*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)
From Το Ἐνυπνιον by George Gordon Byron.
[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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The Right Word (permalink)
"'Defamation' was the last word enacted, the second syllable of which, with some liberty taken in the orthography, is represented in the annexed sketch.  Hay (for 'A')."  From Thirty-eight Years in India: From Juganath to the Himalaya Mountains by William Tayler, 1881.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
A full moon from L'Expédition du Tegetthoff by Julius von Payer, 1878.

*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)
An illustration from The Return of Peter Grimm, Novelised From the Play by David Belasco (1912).  The caption reads: "'Sleep well,' said Peter Grimm.  'I wish you the very pleasantest of dreams a boy could have in this world.'"

[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 1884 issue of Little Wide Awake 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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October 7, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Beauty’s Awakening: A Masque of Winter and of Spring, illustrated by W. Strang, 1899.
[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)
From L'Espace céleste et la nature tropicale, description physique de l'univers by Emmanuel Liais and illustrated by Jean Édouard Dargent, 1866.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Am I only dreaming that the death-sleep is over?"  From The Romance of Golden Star by George Chetwynd Griffith, 1897.
[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 The Jorrocks Edition by Facey Romford (1892).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "A joke is funny if and only if you laugh at it."
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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October 6, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Following the Equator by Samuel Langhorne Clemens, 1897.
[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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"Spectres of the brocken," from The Harz Mountains: A Tour in the Toy Country by Henry George Blackburn, 1873.
*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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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
"We all raised a tremendous shout," from A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Cranford by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1898).  The caption reads: "Armed with a footstool."
[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)
Here's a precursor to the aborted high five prank, from The Talk of the Town by James Payn and illustrated by Harry Furniss (1885).  The caption reads: "The other, instead of taking his hand, drew himself up."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from With the Jungle Folk: A sketch of Burmese Village Life by Edward William Dirom Cuming (1897).  The caption reads: "Bewitching the water."
[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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October 5, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[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 moon emerges once more from behind the cloud, and lights up the pure, pale face."  From Mona St. Claire by Annie E. Armstrong, 1897.
[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 The Bashful Earthquake written and illustrated by Oliver Herford (1899).
[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)
"Anarchy Arrived": an illustration from Comic History of Greece From the Earliest Times to the Death of Alexander the Great by Charles Snyder (1898).
[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 The Kitchen Maid by J Bernard Partridge (1896).
[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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October 4, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From St. Nicholas magazine, illustrated by Rachael Robinson Elmer.
[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)

The "four corners of the world" technically meet at the center, as we see in this diagram from Grundzüge der mathematischen Geographie und der Landkartenprojection by Anton Steinhauser, 1857.

> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Alpine Memories by Emile Javelle (1899).  The caption reads: "A Dragon in the Alps.  (From Scheuchzer's Ouresiphoites Helveticus, Zurich, 1723.)"
[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 Diplomatist's Wife in Japan by Mary Crawford Fraser (1899).  The caption reads: "The rabbit and the monkey who live in the 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 . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Social England under the Regency by John Ashton (1890).  The caption reads: "A clown and a grasshopper."
[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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October 3, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby and illustrated by George Cruikshank, 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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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
"Dancing under difficulties," from The Innocents Abroad by Mark Twain.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
From A Thousand and One Gems of English Poetry by Charles Mackay, 1875.
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Misfortunes of Elphin and Rhododaphne by Thomas Love Peacock (1897).  The caption reads: "And strikes up 'I'd be a butterfly.'"
[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 Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
An illustration from Laughing Ann by Alan Patrick Herbert (1925).
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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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The Right Word (permalink)
"We board the frail vessel words are, sailing to the world's end to find the one word that would render all words superfluous." —Stein Mehren, Fire & Ice: Nine Poets from Scandinavia and the North
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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October 2, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I presented my trophy and treasure-trove to the fairylike Miss Wee-Wee."  From Baboo Jabberjee by F. Antsey and illustrated by J. Bernard Partridge, 1897.  [For Jeremy Edwards.]
[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)
"Curtain": an illustration from The Bashful Earthquake and Other Fables and Verses by Oliver Herford (1899).
[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 Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
"A vision from the sea": an illustration from The Fate of Fenella by John Seymour Wood (1892).  The caption reads: "He shook his clenched hand in the air."
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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 Világtörténelem a Polgári Fiúiskolák Számára by Gyula Kozma (1888).

[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 Incwadi Yami or Twenty Years' Personal Experience in South Africa by Josiah Wright Matthews (1887).
[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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1884 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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October 1, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
The expression about letting the cat out of the bag is commonly traced to a 1760 issue of The London Magazine, but we've followed it all the way back to Fulvia, the first non-mythological woman to appear on Roman coins.  We find her letting the cat out of the bag in The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett and illustrated by John Leech, 1897.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I will go and look," from A Handful of Silver by Elizabeth Thomasina Meade, 1897.
[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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"No droschke to be had again!"
"Of course not; no one in his senses cares to go out driving this wretched weather."

From Berlin Under the New Empire by Henry Vizetelly, 1879.

*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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"We shall have a fall of some kind."  (Circa 1874.)

*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)
An illustration from Rank Doggerel by James Hewson (1892).  The caption reads: "They were tiny and neat."
[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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It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating that chocolate as we know it—that smooth and silky blend of sweetness and earth—is as much a product of the Industrial Revolution as steam kettles and newsprint."
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.