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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Always Remember
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Disguised as a Christmas Tree
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Forgotten Wisdom
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Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
June 30, 2014

Puzzles and Games (permalink)
Here's a Bingo game for a visit to your local art museum, courtesy of our esteemed satellite. 

> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
A prerequisite to a physician's bedside manner is a love seat manner.  From Social England Under the Regency by John Ashton (1890).  The caption reads: "A Physician."
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
An illustration from Past, Present and Future by James E. White (1909).
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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June 29, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
See Jonathan Allen's A Bad Case of Animal Nonsense.
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Imaginary Companions": an illustration from Echoes from the Rocky Mountains by John Clampitt (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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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
"The Real Music of the Future": an illustration from an 1888 issue of Punch magazine.  The caption reads: "Signor Fohhorni, the Great Hibernian Basso-Tenore Robusto-Profondo, is so disgusted at the frivolity of contemporary musical taste (which is not ripe enough to appreciate him), that he gives up all attempts to please the present generation: he buys a phonograph instead, and devotes his energies to singing for posterity.  By applying his ear to this marvellous instrument immediately after signing into it, he not only hears his song echoed back to him out of the dim future, but he also hears the rapturous applause of Unborn Millions!"
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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June 28, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The ghost of the king's daughter, 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 an 1867 issue of Punch magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Confessions of a Medium (1882).  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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June 27, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"Nonsense is, technically, done a disservice by its own name.  After all, nonsense is so much more than the absence or even antithesis of sense. It is the presence of superlative silliness!  That said, I love the word 'nonsense' in its own right, and wouldn't want to see it changed." —literary scalawag Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Puzzles and Games (permalink)
"Watching the skittle players," from In the Ardennes by Katharine Sarah Macquoid, 1881.

Interestingly, we sent this image to a games aficionado, but he wasn't convinced that the pig was truly spectating skittles players.  He felt that the pig's expression was inscrutable, and the so-called skittle players are out-of-frame.  Yet the caption tells us what we're seeing; "case closed" as far as we're concerned.  To paraphrase René Magritte, this is not a pig, anyway.  If we can't roll with it, we'll never knock down any pins.
> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
"The Reciter's Motto": an illustration from The Aldine Reciter by Alfred Henry Miles (1888).
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.

Is she perhaps threatening "No Skittles?"  (See this 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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June 26, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"Nobody, of course, who enjoyed the pleasure of intimacy with him, expected him to talk anything but nonsense, but he need not, she felt, have descended to such utter nonsense, as that of which he had been guilty last night." —P. G. Wodehouse, Spring Fever, via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Spa Histoire et Bibliographie by Albin Body (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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
This is the best "foodstuffs with humanoid legs" item we've seen all week + n.  The stout and the bread are musicians (why not the rum?  Well, reggae traces back only to the 1960s), while Sir Loin sits out the dance and reads a paper.  We do note one inaccuracy -- the butter in the U.K. is much bigger than that.  Note the one foodstuff that costs 3 d/2 -- is it perchance mutton dressed in lamb prices?  From The Dawn of the XIXth Century in England, 1886.
[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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Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them? The ten-letter word may take some time to unscramble.

• 7-letter words: 15
• 8-letter words: 8
• 10-letter words: 1

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .
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June 25, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
Dostoyevsky on nonsense, from Crime and Punishment:

Do you suppose I’m going on like this because they talk nonsense? Rubbish! I like it when they talk nonsense! Talking nonsense is the sole privilege mankind possesses over the other organisms. It’s by talking nonsense that one gets to the truth! I talk nonsense, therefore I’m human. Not one single truth has ever been arrived at without people first having talked a dozen reams of nonsense, even ten dozen reams of it, and that’s an honourable thing in its own way; well, but we can’t even talk nonsense with our own brains! Talk nonsense to me, by all means, but do it with your own brain, and I shall love you for it. To talk nonsense in one’s own way is almost better than to talk a truth that’s someone else’s; in the first instance you behave like a human being, while in the second you are merely being a parrot! The truth won’t go away, but life can be knocked on the head and done in. I can think of some examples. Well, and what’s our position now? We’re all of us, every one of us without exception, when it comes to the fields of learning, development, thought, invention, ideals, ambition, liberalism, reason, experience, and every, every, every other field you can think of, in the very lowest preparatory form of the gymnasium! We’ve got accustomed to making do with other people’s intelligence — we’re soaked in it! It’s true, isn’t it? Isn’t what I’m saying true?

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
You've heard of whistling the face of adversity, but here's what to do in an encounter with cannibals, from Among Cannibals: An Account of Four Years' Travels in Australia by Carl Lumholtz (1889).
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1893 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "Out of the darkness behind her was slowly growing a human face."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1881 issue of Cornhill magazine.  The caption reads: "They always fly at me, and nobody else."
[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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June 24, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"Of course that was complete and utter nonsense, but still . . . when he looked at her like that, well, it made utter nonsense seem a lot less . . . nonsensical." —Donna Kauffman, The Great Scot
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
Someone should write a book entitled Finesse, and a Parachute.

(Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.)
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1889 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)
The majestic front of eternity has vanished and left only ephemeral time (to paraphrase James Henry Snowden).

This one is from Punch, 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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June 23, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"I'll thank you not to talk utter nonsense," she said.  So I stopped talking utter nonsense... but later on, after I'd gone home, I realized she never thanked me.  Cheated out of nonsense, again!  —Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
An illustration from Premiers Voyages Au Pays Des Glaces by Charles Baye (1888).
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
> read more from This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  Also very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
[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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Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them?

• 7-letter words: 9
• 8-letter words: 3

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .
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June 22, 2014

Strange Dreams (permalink)
"The Process of Wakenin": an illustration from Legal and other Lyrics by George Outram, illustrated by William Ralston (1887).
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)
"Driven Mad by Birds": 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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"Thanks to the Thunder": an illustration from an 1865 issue of Cornhill 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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June 21, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Illustrated British Ballads: Old and New by George Barnett Smith (1886).  The caption reads: "Bar the door! Put out the light, for it gleams across the night."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1884 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "Again she was writing a letter which involved a giving up."
[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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Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them? The 9-letter word is most mysterious.

• 7-letter words: 17
• 8-letter words: 6
• 9-letter words: 1

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .
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June 20, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1888 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)
Like a stopped clock, she was correct twice a day.  (The caption reads, "She stopped, like a clock.")  This bit of time suspension is from Cornhill, 1875.
[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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June 19, 2014

Presumptive Conundrums (permalink)
In French, the equivalent expression to "If I've told you once, I've told you a thousand times" is "Si je l'ai dit une fois, je l'ai dit trente-six fois." Can you prove that the two numbers are indeed equivalent?

Answer: Thirty-six and one thousand are equivalent for very small values of one thousand and very large values of thirty-six. (The answer is in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)

---
Re: the French expression, Jonathan Caws-Elwitt writes:

Thirty-six times! What moderate hyperbole! In some cases, it might even be an underestimate.
* Learn more about Presumptive Conundrums at Amazon.com.
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It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating that most of the standards in the Great American Songbook started life in some musical or revue."
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1875 issue of Wide World magazine.  The caption reads: "Light-heart, dissolving."
[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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June 18, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)
There are places lower than the orchestra pit.  From Danmarks Riges Historie by Johannes Christoffer Hagemann Reinhardt Steenstrup (1897).
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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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 it arouses anxiety and at the same time relieves it."
Vera M. Robinson, Humor and the Health Professions (1991)
> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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June 17, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Peaks and Pines: Another Norway Book by James Arthur Lees (1899).  The caption reads: "Vanished like pale phantoms in the whirling clouds."
*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 1914 issue of Saturday Evening Post magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"But then perhaps it's true for all of us; if the paradox is that it's our hopes and aspirations which imprison us, then maybe in the end we're all women." —People Like Us, series 2
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June 16, 2014

Disguised as a Christmas Tree (permalink)
A person disguised as a Christmas-type tree, from Die Deutschen Kolonieen by Carl Hessler (1889).  The caption reads: "Dud=Dud."
> read more from Disguised as a Christmas Tree . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Haunted Photograph by Ruth McEnery Stuart (1911).  The caption reads: "The cat glaring at the picture."  This should also be of interest: How to Be Your Own Cat.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
"The surprising truth is that bleaching, coloring, or even perming your hair will not increase your risk of hair loss." —Colette Bouchez, Your Perfectly Pampered Menopause
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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June 15, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Echoes from the Rocky Mountains by John Clampitt (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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from an 1870 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "In the face of the wind I fought my way."
*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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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
[For JC-E.]

With this diagram, Punch (1841) pokes fun at phrenology by classifying the four great divisions of the stomach.  Amazingly, the spoof is perfectly accurate!  The "Sustaining Faculties" at the lower belly take cognizance of those staple foods which are essential to the sustenance of animal life.  The "Affections" govern the more delicate appetites gratified by the contemplation of finer meals to come.  The "Superior Sentiments" at the center "direct the stomach to the investigation of sauces, French cookery, and other abstruse subjects."  The "Intellectual Taste" at the top of the belly is "the faculty of reasoning and reflecting upon the abstract qualities of olives, the Italian salads, of comparing Stilton with Gruyère cheese, and tracing the relation between turtle-punch and headache."
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June 14, 2014

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)

"It's St. Dennis, the patron saint of clip show hosts.  St. Dennis protects against any damage befalling your clips show." —Harry Hill's exquisitely funny TV Burp

Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Confusion": an illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  The dialogue reads:

Pater (fuming) — "Don't look at me, sir, with—ah—in that tone of voice, sir!"
Filus — "I never uttered a—"
Pater (waxing) — "Then don't let me see—another syllable, sir!"
[Exeunt]
[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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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
Threading glass beads by candlelight reveals the (archaic, chiefly literary) rarefied substance that permeates all space, the [a]ether.  Our illustration appears in The Quiver, 1895.
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June 13, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration by Hugh Thomson for Northanger Abbey and Persuasion by Jane Austen (1897).  The caption reads: "He attended to her large, fat sighings."
[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 Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors.  The caption reads: "Advancing absently, scissors in hand" (The Quiver, 1894).
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Precursors (permalink)
"Watch this spot!"  A precursor to the animated gif craze (requiring low-tech imagination), from The Mystery of June 13th by Melvin Linwood Severy (1905).
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June 12, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's an 1887 precursor to Batman's villain The Human Magnet (1952), from Zwischen Donau und Kaukasus by Amand von Schweiger-Lerchenfeld.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1844 issue of Punch magazine.  The items named include: "Moon, clouds, smoke, skeleton hunt in the air, blue fire, rocks, red fire, lightning, infernal regions, snakes, his hat, his feather, his rifle, birds of prey, monsters, goblins, imps, reptiles, Zamiel, alligator, the ghost, the owl, skeleton, stump of tree, witch, wolf, toad, skulls, grate, 7th bullet, lizard, boa, bear, and frog."
[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 context for this illustration is rather lovely.  A Jewish mystic fixes a precious opal in a frame "not unlike that of a looking glass," hangs it on a silk thread attached to the ceiling, and then opens a window to allow in a stream of sunlight.  "It was never known what the old Jew said, but he whispered to the stone just as if it could hear, and then said to his son, 'Thou seest that that crystal focuses the light from heaven, and thou seest that the focus is at the end of this silken thread.  Now, this precious opal will go forth in search of truth, and it will tell thee whether this marriage, if it be undertaken, will be for thy good or not.  Thou must sit with closed eyes at the other side from the crystal; the rays from the sun will fall direct upon the gem when it is at rest; then when I tell thee to open thine eyes, mark well the colour thou first seest, and, according to that, we will settle how this matter is to be.'"  The mystic then swings the gem to and fro, like a pendulum, then leaves it to itself.  "Gradually its oscillations became less and less, until at last, just as he was getting somewhat impatient, the young man heard a quick, sharp word, 'Look!' and he opened his eyes and fixed them upon the stone.  A blue blaze of fire met his eye, blue as the heavens, bright as the sun in those heavens."  Yellow would have indicated gold.  Red would have been danger.  Blue meant: "Prize above all its heavenly hue; It guides to what is just and true."  (The Quiver, 1889, p. 871.)
[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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June 11, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Merriam-Webster suggests that the first known use of slumgullion (a meat stew reminiscent of the slime [slum] from a cesspool [gullion]) was 1890.  We can do better than that, with this one from 1872, in Mark Twain's Roughing It.
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
It's been said that war is not a comfortable subject, General Pillow notwithstanding.  From The History of Mexico and Its Wars by John Frost, 1882.  [For The Silly Pillows.]

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)
Inspired by the caption of this illustration from The Quiver, 1878, here's an alternative to the phrase, "As I live and breathe!": "As I stand and read!"
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June 10, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the Energizer Bunny.  The caption reads, "A walking battery."  From Roughing It by Mark Twain.
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Though we don't exactly sit on a coffin waiting for someone to support our creative endeavors, we actually have on more than one occasion sensed the earth yawning beneath our feet.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Hegel's "bovine darkness"* is depicted in The Quiver, 1875. The caption reads, "Everything seemed to grow dark about him."

*Compare to Schelling's Indifferenzpunkt, the night in which all cows are black.
[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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June 9, 2014

Strange Dreams (permalink)

An illustration from Na úsvitě nové doby by Josef Jakub Touzimsky (1898).  Speaking of which, what exactly are a snowball's chances in hell?  See A Snowball's Chance in Hell.

If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Haunted House": an illustration from The Leisure Hour (1881).  The poem reads:

O'er all there hung a shadow and a fear;
A sense of mystery the spirit daunted,
And said, as plain as whisper in the ear,
The place is haunted.
[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)
"Cod [with a C] is love": note that in this unretouched image from The Quiver, 1875, it's a large marine fish with a small barbel on the chin that is love.

David Watmough explains: "COD IS LOVE seemed more germane ... as a source to pray to than obeisance to some remote and distinctly unfishy deity" (The Moor is Dark Beneath the Moon, 2002).

[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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June 8, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"You can open the hidden doors," from Songs of Near and Far Away, illustrated and written by E. Richardson, 1900.  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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Originally, the E of e-mail stood for eagle. From What Was the Gunpowder Plot by John Gerard (1897).  The caption reads: "The gallant Eagle, soaring up on high."
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Riding on spirit instruments, fleeing a seance: an illustration from an 1865 issue of Punch magazine.  This should be of interest: Seance Parlor Feng Shui.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 7, 2014

Only Funny If ... (permalink)
An illustration from The Oxford Thackeray.  The caption reads: "Without his hat. ... In his comic hat."
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1879 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "And then the mystic tide between us rolls."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Wide World magazine.  The caption reads: "He saw by the corner of the tomb the flaming head of a 'Bhut.'"
[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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June 6, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
This "old-fashioned break-down," from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi (1883), predates by three years Sigmund Freud's private practice specializing in nervous disorders.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"More wind than is pleasant": an illustration from The Oxford Thackeray.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Ayn Rand, from The Quiver, 1875.  The caption reads, "I really cannot take upon myself the burden of your support."
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June 5, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
The more climates change, the more things stay the same.  This melting glacier dates back to 1873's The Story of the Rocks by Joel Dorman Steele.
*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)
Although fables do not have to contain animals, animals are repositories of fables.  Also, did you know that a swan song can be a story told to a swan?  From Little Loving Hearts Poem Book by Margaret Elenora Tupper, 1882.  The caption reads, "Come and tell me your story."
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Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
Q: What are the wild waves saying?
A: Go back, go back, go back.  (The Leisure Hour, 1873.)

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June 4, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the dual suns of Star Wars' Tatooine, from Object Lessons in Geography for Standards I, II, & III by Thomas Francis George Dexter (1899).
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
An illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Who is the biggest?  The man, most people would say.  But the man is really the smallest, and the little girl is the biggest.  We find proof in a perspective illusion from The Book of Knowledge (1912, pictured right).

Image on left is from The Quiver, 1883.
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June 3, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Great Britain's firewall censorship of esoteric websites, from Poets' Wit and Humour by William Henry Wills, 1882.
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Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
Prof. Oddfellow gazes into the obsidian mirror at the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle, England.  What the mirror revealed is a subject for another time.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I wonder what book she can have fallen asleep over."  (From The Quiver, 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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June 2, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)
There's only one picture on the internet of a badger on bamboo, and that picture was printed upside down in its source -- Young Americans in Japan by Edward Greey, 1882.
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It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating: pay close attention to intensity."
Fit By Nature (2013)
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
The last non-deceiving mirror was manufactured in 1835, just before German chemist Justus von Liebig developed a process for silvering the rear surface of glass.  No silvered mirror's reflection can be trusted; only polished discs of bronze or copper or small glass mirrors backed by lead, tin, or antimony neither flatter nor deceive.

"My looking-glass is a true friend, and neither flatters nor deceives": an illustration from The Quiver, 1888.
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June 1, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Misfortunes of Elphin and Rhododaphne by Thomas Love Peacock (1897).  The caption reads: "This slap is recorded in the Bardic Triads as one of the Three Fatal Slaps."
[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 Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  The caption reads: "A mysterious character. —'What a curious effect of sunlight!' Dr. Tcherkaseff exclaimed, pointing to a ray of blue which hovered over the dying man.'"
[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)
"She saw no gleam of brightness anywhere" (The Quiver, 1890, pictured top).

"Now is a time of darkness, but great futures are planned in the darkest hours" (Congressional Record, Vol. 98, Pt. 9, 1952).

"Don't you see that silver light far away there?" (The Quiver, 1888, pictured bottom).
[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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