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, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)
It's commonly thought that there are no corners on a globe, yet here's one from Man and Nature on the Broads by Arthur Henry Patterson (1895).  The caption reads: "A quiet corner."
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
How spirit writing appears on slates during a seance, from Psychography: Marvelous Manifestations of Psychic Power Given Through the Mediumship of Fred P. Evans by J. J. Owen (1893).  This should be of interest: Seance Parlor Feng Shui.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1901 issue of The Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "'Hush', she whispered, 'it is clearing now.'"
[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, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Architecture within architecture from The Cruise of Her Majesty's Ship Bacchante, 1879-1882 by John Neale Dalton (1886).  The caption reads: "Section of the great pyramid, from north to south."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1883 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road It's "funny only if you remember those times, when the wondrous could be something very simple."
Tempo: Indonesia's Weekly News Magazine (2008)
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April 28, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).  The caption reads: "Mr. Moddle is both particular and peculiar in his attentions."
[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 1877 issue of The Quiver 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 Crystal Ball": an illustration from a 1901 issue of The Lady's Realm 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, 2014

Uncharted Territories (permalink)
"Towards the Unknown": a illustration from Great Explorers of Africa (1894).
> read more from Uncharted Territories . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1881 issue of 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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April 26, 2014

Uncharted Territories (permalink)
"Benighted": an illustration from The Portsmouth Road and its Tributaries by Charles George Harper (1895).
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Haunted Nursery": an illustration from an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours 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)
Closing his ears to the Demon's Dirge, from Youth December (1904).  Also very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
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April 25, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from A Bid for Fortune by Guy Newell Boothby (1895). The caption reads: "Could this be the solution of the whole mystery?"
[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 Revel Under the Fairy Oak": an illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of The Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "This magician carried them at will from world to 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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April 24, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
A precursor to the gingerbread house: Scone Palace. From Scotland Picturesque and Traditional by George Eyre Todd (1895).
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
"The original blighted being": an illustration from an 1855 issue of Punch magazine.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1877 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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April 23, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a scarecrow in its natural habitat, from Sing Song: A Nursery Rhyme Book by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1893).
[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 an 1858 issue of Punch magazine.
*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 a 1903 issue of The Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "She thought that soft voices spoke to her from the shadows."
[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, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Shafts from an Eastern Quiver (1894).  The caption reads: "It again emerged."
[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 1873 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "The haunt of rook and raven, bat and owl. Drawn by A. H. Wall."
[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)
An illustration from Young Israel (1874).  The caption reads: "Here, take the key."
* 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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April 21, 2014

Strange Dreams (permalink)
An illustration from The Jorrocks Edition by Robert Smith Surtees (1892).  The caption reads: "All sorts of dreams."
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1860 issue of Cornhill 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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Something, Defined (permalink)
An illustration from a 1901 issue of The Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "The mysterious something was dancing slyly in her eyes.  His own fired suddenly."
> read more from Something, Defined . . .
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April 20, 2014

Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to episode 29 of Twin Peaks, in which Agent Cooper's cup of the coffee in the Otherworld turns out to be viscid.  In a scene cut from Olsen & Johnson's Crazy House, "They find [Hans Conried] reclining on a divan, sniffing a rose, and painting blindfolded.  Roco explains that he is endeavoring to paint the scent of the rose—its very essence.  Another scene has Roco offering the boys a cup of coffee, then pulling it out of a painting on the wall depicting the same.  To their disgust, the liquid turns out to be paint.  An unfazed Roco says, 'I'm an artist, not a magician!'" (Hans Conried: A Biography by Suzanne Gargiulo).  [Thanks, Jonathan!]


Agent Cooper in the Black Lodge with a solid cup of coffee.  From Twin Peaks, episode 29.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"A man shot by a rabbit," from Peter Penniless: Gamekeeper and Gentleman by George Christopher Davies, 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 1901 issue of The Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "I stepped back as she passed."
[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, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Kate Carnegie by Ian Maclaren (1896).  The caption reads: "It's a difficult key to turn."
[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 Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "She tore the paper into a thousand minute fragments."
[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 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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April 18, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to how "some states inflate their books to make themselves look better" (Democracy and Leadership by Eric Thomas Weber, 2013), from Western Wilds and the Men Who Redeem Them by John Hanson Beadle, 1878.

The caption reads, "California agricultural report."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Something, Defined (permalink)
From Kayvan Novak's hilarious Fonejacker series 2 (unseen footage).
> read more from Something, Defined . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  The caption reads: "The story of a haunted room. —'In less time than I can take to write it, an unearthly vaporous fire spring from the wrist.'"
[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 17, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Bill Nye's History of the United States (1894).  The caption reads: "Not paid their debts for years."
[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 Gymnastic Grammarian": an illustration from an 1884 issue of Puck magazine.  The caption reads: "He ought to be muzzled. —Every time he opens his mouth he puts his foot in it."
[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 Fairy Tales, written and illustrated by Alfred Crowquill, 1857.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 16, 2014

Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from Clear as the Noon Day by Ethel Penrose (1893).  The caption reads: "Paul tried to peer into the gathering darkness."
[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 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  The caption reads: "'Will you not speak to me?' said the presence, softly.  I sprang to clasp her; only the air remained.  Still she was there!"
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road It's "funny only if you've lived it."
Rachel Lloyd, Girls Like Us (2011)
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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April 15, 2014

Unicorns (permalink)

Unicorn Sonnet, by Gary Barwin

I send you this email. I am no unicorn. You ask the number of my horns. A hundred? A thousand? Perhaps they are uncountable, considering body surface area and thickness. Needle-like, perhaps they mirror flesh in slivers, a silver aura of pixels or data points, a fiber optic network of breath or light.  Perhaps they are beams sent from the cemeteries of distant stars, or broad as trees, root you to the ground while reaching toward a rhizomatic sun. 

I reply: No, I have no horn. Unscrewed from my forehead, I keep it in my desk at work, my mother, father, sister, son. Springtime a shopping cart or unicorn, moving air and light in its chrome matrix. Soft familiar music from everywhere, winter, its white pelt & warm skin now also in a desk. I am no unicorn, but send this email. I am a spammer of friends and of feelings that bud like sticky leaves now unfolding.

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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Not only is light both a particle and a wave, but so is time.   From Castle Rackrent and The Absentee by Maria Edgeworth (1895).  The caption reads: "If you could stand still for one single particle of a second."

 
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt notes: "Professor Oddfellow unearths the missing link between 19th-century garment fitting and 20th-century quantum theory."
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1894 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "Mrs. Clarke displayed her latent powers of abuse."
[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 14, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.  The caption reads: "'It's charcoal,' he cried."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1877 issue of Cornhill 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1868 issue of The Tomahawk 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 13, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Dismal Family": an illustration from The Leisure Hour (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)
An illustration from an 1874 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "The future mocks the present."
[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 began wondering": an illustration from an 1899 issue of The Lady's Realm 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 12, 2014

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
"Lyrics no longer have the power they used to." —Shindō Kazuma

Nor did they in 1891.  Or did they?  You be the judge:

From Dramatic Works and Minor Poems by Henry John Smith, 1891.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1870 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "Mr. Dalrymple had to carry off his jelly in a kind of defeat."
[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 1854 issue of Arthur's Home magazine.  The caption reads: "Good and evil animals."
[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 11, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Before the cursed videotape that caused viewers to die seven days after watching it (in Hideo Nakata's Ring), it was a mere photograph that proved deadly (In the Forbidden Land by Arnold Henry Savage Landor, 1898).  Please view the image at your discretion.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1844 issue of Punch magazine.  This should also be of interest: How to Believe in Your Elf.
[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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April 10, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)

Forget the (hilarious) twelve meals of Britain.  We learn in the British comedy series Fonejacker that plumbers and builders enjoy an additional eight tea breaks per working day: 10:30 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 2:00 p.m., 2:37 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 3:30 p.m., and 4:03 p.m.

But they also enjoy no fewer than sixteen biscuit breaks, at 10:30 a.m., 10:50 a.m., 11:45 a.m., 11:52 a.m., 12:01 p.m., 12:30 p.m., 1:00 p.m. (lunch), 2:00 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., 3:14 p.m., 3:30 p.m., 3:41 p.m., 4:03 p.m., 4:06 p.m., and 4:13 p.m.

We've included a picture of "as many tea breaks as you like," also courtesy of Fonejacker.

[For Jonathan.]

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1917 issue of Saturday Evening Post.
[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 1907 issue of The Reader 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 9, 2014

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Pollen was once considered fairy gold.  "Did you ever wish with it?  Just touch your finger to the pollen, and then wish.  After you wish, blow hard twice to get the pollen off.  If it goes, your wish will come true, but if not, you will not have your wish" (E. M. J., "A March Ramble," Primary Education 1906).  Our illustration of the pollen fairy appears in Blossoms by the Way by Carrie Adelaide Cooke, 1882.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Strange Dreams (permalink)
"What about what happens to words when you're asleep?": a still from the extraordinary Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle, series three.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
[For Allan.]  Here's a precursor to Jerry Lee Lewis, from Paris Herself Again in 1878-9 by George Augustus Henry Fairfield, 1882.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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April 8, 2014

Presumptive Conundrums (permalink)
"The number ninety-nine should not be taken too literally." —Anthromorphic Depictions of God (2012)

Our illustration of a wizard wielding two nines appears Bachelor Ballads and Other Lazy Lyrics by Harry Spurr, 1899.

* Learn more about Presumptive Conundrums at Amazon.com.
> read more from Presumptive Conundrums . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)
While this illustration isn't literally a simile, it's (ahem) very like one.  From The Argonauts of California by Charles Waldo Haskins, 1890.

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from an 1890 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "No waterproof or umbrella for me!"
*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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April 7, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Disneyland's submarine lagoon.  The Disney version appears to have been inspired by the Grande Cascade Waterfall at Bois de Bologne, Paris, created by Baron Haussmann in 1852.  Our illustration appears in Fra Det Moderne Frankrig by Richard Kaufmann, 1882.

Disneyland submarine photo via Jim Hill Media.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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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 lines of . . .

Gain by Richard Powers

Day had a way of shaking Lacewood awake.  Slapping it lightly, like a newborn.  Rubbing its wrists and reviving it.  Suddenly, a shot rang out.

(Thanks, June!)
> read more from Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

We've looked at tens of thousands of vintage illustrations in the course of our research, but this is the very first portrait we've encountered that identifies what the portrayed is doing!  The caption puts this portrait ... ahem ... head-and-shoulders above the rest!  Luckily, we can mentally search and replace all the captions we've seen to date with "sight-seeing."  So very much of what our beleaguered eyes have seen makes better sense now!  Whew!


From New York's Chinatown by Louis J. Bock, 1898.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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April 6, 2014

The Right Word (permalink)
Here are two rather excruciating vintage names: Grisette and Orthodocia.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Devil Tree": an illustration from an 1883 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1854 issue of Arthur's Home magazine.  The caption reads: "Private practice in homeopathy."
[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, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Haunted Major by Robert Marshall (1902).  The caption reads: "I saw the cardinal blow with might and main."
[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 1906 issue of The Reader magazine.  The caption reads: "Mother Borton moved the candle back and forth before my 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 The Mahatma and the Hare: A Dream Story by H Rider Haggard (1911).  The caption reads: "The great white road."
[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 4, 2014

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
Our resident organ grinder, of Music Box Moment fame, has a brand new set of compositions for all who deserve a nostalgic breather. Also, he now takes requests: listeners may select from the 807-track repertoire.  Here's the link again: http://www.oneletterwords.com/weblog/musicbox.php.

Fans of mechanized music may also enjoy our exclusive clockwork recordings of Silly Pillows' euphoric Come in the Evening, Story of the Running Wolf's transcendent Stratospheric, and Abbi Spinner's timeless Die and Be Reborn.

Meanwhile, here's the music box from the Sound Art Module at Berlin's Theater Kapelle:
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
"I would that this dear path might type my way" (1870): a precursor to Charles Dizenzo:

"Imagine if I had an electric at my command: I could type my way around the world at jet speed!" (A Great Career: A One-Act Play, 1966).

An illustration from The Quiver, 1870.
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Book of Whispers (permalink)
"The Riddle of the Sphinx": an illustration from The Gate Beautiful by John Ward Stimson (1903).
> read more from Book of Whispers . . .
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April 3, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
From Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, 1883.
*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 Past, Present and Future by James E. White (1909).  The caption reads: "Falling, gently falling. —Scene at Denver, Colo. / A Dangerous Power. —Scene at South Bend, Ind."
[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 Crystal Ball:" an illustration from a 1901 issue of The Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "With sudden fury he seized the crystal and flung it through the window with all his force."
[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 Flying Death by Samuel Hopkins Adams (1908).  The caption reads: "Great God of Wonders!"
[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, 2014

Staring at the Sun (permalink)
"But yonder beam forbids me to despair": from Sir Walter Raleigh: A Tragedy by William John Dixon, 1897.
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from an 1894 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "'Surely you are not going out in this rain?' she cried."
*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 an 1876 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "A mansion of the past."  Jonathan Caws-Elwitt adds: "and of the future—when it gets used as a stock exterior in various BBC series."
[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, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"The Lady of the Weather": an illustration from The Marches of Wales by Charles George Harper (1894).
*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 an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  The caption reads: "I endeavored to command speech, but something in the cold statuesque form froze every faculty."
[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 Lady's Realm magazine.  The caption reads: "'I have come,' it said, 'and I was once great.'"
[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.