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.
July 31, 2014

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We contributed this item to Futility Closet:

The Epworth Instigator, a monthly publication in Santa Monica, edited by Saml. Carlisle, has probably the smallest sworn circulation statement of any paper in the United States. According to the sworn statement, Forrest Harris, the business manager, says that the number of copies printed and circulated for the month of August, 1907, was one.

The paper is published in the interests of the Epworth league here, and the only copy is taken to the meeting and read aloud, advertisements and all.

Printers’ Ink, Oct. 16, 1907

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from Shafts from an Eastern Quiver by Charles Jodrell Mansford (1894).  The caption reads: "Headlong down the abyss."
[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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No News Is Good News (permalink)

An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).  The caption reads: "I am the bearer of evil tidings."

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July 30, 2014

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

Says lyricist Howard Dietz, "I bought two ... speed boats, one with a top to ward off the rain, and one without.  They were called 'Stuff' and 'Nonsense.'  'Nonsense' had been owned by Fred Astaire."

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt notes: "Nonsense" was presumably Astaire's name for the boat (which Dietz presumably built on in dubbing "Stuff" thusly)--because it's considered bad luck, isn't it, to rechristen a boat?  I mean, how could it not be 'bad luck' to rechristen a boat?  Pretty much everything is 'bad luck' to the nautical mind, unless it's one of the very specific things deemed to be 'good luck.'

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
You've heard of "forced perspective," but we call this unusual effect "horsed perspective."  From Across France in a Caravan by George Nugent Bankes, 1892.

> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Where am I?"  An illustration from Bill Nye's History of the United States (1894).
[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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July 29, 2014

Uncharted Territories (permalink)
Here's a contentless book scanned by Google and spotted by TheArtOfGoogleBooks.  It's technically Essays by Oliver Goldsmith (1756).

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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Heather Has Two Mommies (1989): Two Mothers of One by Roof Roofer a.k.a. Rufus Randell, 1896.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Exquisite things are invariably surrounded by fairies.  From A Tramp Abroad Etc. by Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1897).  The caption reads: "An exquisite thing."
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Death's Ramble": an illustration from Humorous Poems by Alfred Ainger (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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July 28, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to how literally now means figuratively, from Doctor Nikola by Guy Newell Boothby (1896).  The caption reads: "We literally flew."
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Humorous Poems by Thomas Hood (1893).  The caption reads: "He seemed a dog adrift."
[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 Our English Cousins by Richard Harding Davis (1894).  The caption reads: "People one knows take one for a butler."
[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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July 27, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Century of Louis XIV by Emile Bourgeois (1896).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Genom Sveriges Bygder by Johan Herman Hofberg (1896).
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a question we ask almost every day.  "Great Heavens! What has happened?" Found in Illustrated Penny Tales From the Strand Library (1894).
[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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July 26, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from In Borderland by Matthew Robert Smith Craig and illustrated by John Wallace (1899).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).  The caption reads: "Mysterious installation of Mrs. Pinch."
[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 When Life is Young by Mary Elizabeth Dodge (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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July 25, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The World of Romance (1892).  The caption reads: "A live devilkin!"
[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 by Frederick C. Gordon from A Doctor of the Old School by Ian Maclaren (1895).  The caption reads: "Death after all was victor."
[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 Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  The caption reads: "Mrs. Bennet was privileged to whisper it to Mrs. Philips."
* 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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July 24, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Lavengro by Augustine Birrell (1896).  The caption reads: "There's the wind on the heath, brother; if I could only feel that, I would gladly live for ever."
*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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Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
"An extemporaneous No-Popery Dance."  An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .
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July 23, 2014

Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)
We're pleased to debut a new, rather elaborate online oracular thingamajig.  William Keckler got the scoop, and he blogs about it here.  Our favorite comment so far: "I just expected this 'yes' or 'no' and I got that treat like going to the carnival.  I love this as conceptualist art and how the 'answer' turns out to be a hall of mirrors that just leave you so confused and almost sorry you asked ... a metaphysical rebuke.  So brilliant."  Meanwhile, here's a sample report for the question, "Is wonder more powerful than mystery?"

Prof. Oddfellow consults his favorite Tesla-inspired machine, the mysterious "Professor Conrow's Psychical Predictor Apparatus."  Physicists cannot explain exactly how the device works beyond theorizing that quantum fluctuations are detected by the device’s scattered green light and twin iron pyrite crystals.  The results from this machine form part of the report from Oddfellow's "Augural Agglomerator."
> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"A theory that is marginally nonsensical will always perform well against complete and utter nonsense."
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from On Blue Water by Edmondo de Amicis (1898).  The caption reads: "Grinding out curses."
[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 Vikram and Vampire by Charles F Burton (1893).  The caption reads: "There he found the Jogi."
[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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July 22, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Sparking Fluid": an illustration from Ask Mama by Robert Smith Surtees (1892).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Artful Anticks by Oliver Herford (1894).  The caption reads: "Alas, for castles in the air!— There's no delusion anywhere."
[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 sharks can be rendered harmless fairly easily — you just flip them upside-down." —BBC Wildlife
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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July 21, 2014

This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
An illustration from The Fate of Fenella (1892).  The caption reads: "He was awakened by the sound of oars."
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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)
"They have great ears": an illustration from The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile (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 The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile (1895).  The caption reads: "Their eyes and their mouths be behind in their shoulders."
[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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July 20, 2014

Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
An illustration from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works (1884).  The caption reads: "They all broke through the window at once."
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

This image inspired an additional caption: "Back in my day, even taking a break was miles away."  From Through Connemara in a Governess Cart by Edith Somerville, 1893.


> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Tom Chester's Sweetheart by Joseph Hatton (1895).  The caption reads: "That's me—the renowned alibone chick."
[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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July 19, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"On account of the air": an illustration from Face to Face with the Mexicans by Fanny Chambers Gooch (1890).
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
An illustration from Tavistock Tales (1893).  The caption reads: "He moves in a maze of half-blindness, half-delirium."
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Black Ladies": an illustration from A History of Tong, Shropshire by George Griffiths of Weston under Lizard (1894).
[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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July 18, 2014

It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"It bears repeating: learn how to file properly and do it at the end of each day."
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Do you wear pants?"  From A Ramble Round the Globe by Baron Dewar (1894).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the German band Nena's song "Neunundneunzig Luftballons" (99 Red Balloons), from La Vie des Boulevards by Georges Montorgueil (1896).

> read more from Precursors . . .
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July 17, 2014

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 . . .

Desire by Lindsay Ahl

I have such a craving for one of those small cold bottles of Concord grape juice that I leave Michael's house at around six in the morning and head toward the 7-Eleven, which is always open twenty-four hours a day.  Suddenly, a shot rings out.

(Thanks, June!)
> read more from Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Revelations of a Sprite by Auber Melville Jackson (1897).  The caption reads: "'Hum,' said the owl."
[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)
"Are we to descend?"  An illustration from The Secret of the Court by Frank Frankfort Moore (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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July 16, 2014

Disguised as a Christmas Tree (permalink)
> read more from Disguised as a Christmas Tree . . .
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
"It seemed to Elma ... that the sea moaned in an unreasonable and very dreadful manner."  From Wild Kitty by Elizabeth Thomasina Meade, 1897.
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
"He looked surprised, displeased, alarmed."  (From Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.)
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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July 15, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in a honey pot, from The Camp Fires of the Everglades by Charles Edward Whitehead (1891).

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Le Louvre et Son Histoire by Albert Babeau (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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Precursors (permalink)
For fans of the game Clue/Cluedo, here's a precursor to "Col. Mustard in the drawing room with the candle stick," from Illustrated Penny Tales From the Strand Library, 1894.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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July 14, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Terror": an illustration from Otto of the Silver Hand, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle (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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The title page to Robert Greene's "Groundwork to Coney Catching," reproduced in The Highway of Letters by Thomas Archer (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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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Ornate capitals have physical counterparts.  For example, this is the U of Ulram Chapel as it appeared before 1876.  It is preserved in Holderness and Hullshire Historic Gleanings, 1886.

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July 13, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
Here are some vintage mock moons from American Explorations in the Ice Zones by Joseph Everett Nourse (1884).
*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)
"Hell mouth," from Bygone Warwickshire by William Andrews (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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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
It's only funny if he says so.  The caption reads, "Extremely amusing, I do assure you."

From Paddington to Penzance by Charles George Harper, 1893.
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July 12, 2014

The Right Word (permalink)
"Kerblinkity-blunk": an illustration from B. C. 1887: A Ramble in British Columbia by James Arthur Lees (1889).
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Bill Nye's History of the United States (1894).  The caption reads: "Opening of the witch-hunting season."
[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 (permalink)
David Levin has said that "The real contest is how we play against ourselves.  There's always that other side of each of us, pulling us down."

The caption of our illustration reads, "He was annihilated every game."  It's from A Ramble Round the Globe by Baron Dewar, 1894.

> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .
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July 11, 2014

Only Funny If ... (permalink)
An illustration from The Conquest of the Moon by Andre Laurie (1889).  The caption reads: "Oh! you needn't laugh."
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from At the Rising of the Moon by Frank James Mathew (1893).  The caption reads: "Dark Andy and the headless 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
What was the Vitruvian Man's animal familiar?  You guessed it — the Vitruvian Giraffe.  (Our illustration is from Artful Anticks by Oliver Herford, 1894).
[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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July 10, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from A Strange Manuscript Found in a Copper Cylinder by James De Mille (1888).  The caption reads: "'This,' said Layelah, 'is the way we have of escaping.'"
[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 Bill Nye's History of the United States (1894).  The caption reads: "Oil the gearing of the solar system."
[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)
It's little known that between hither and thither is this:

From The Book of the Poets, 1886.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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July 9, 2014

Disguised as a Christmas Tree (permalink)
Here's a "strokhr" (small geyser) disguised as a Christmas tree in The Land of Thor, written and illustrated by J. Ross Browne, 1867.
> read more from Disguised as a Christmas Tree . . .
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"Wikipedia recognizes eleven genres of literature.  Not only are 'erotic' and 'nonsense' among them, but they're listed side by side.  Suddenly I feel very validated as a writer, haha." —Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Menke Katz's line about how "Even time is tired here of night and day" ("Old Manhattan," Rockrose, 1970).  This tired Father Time appears in Illustrated Poems and Songs for Young People, edited by Lucy Sale Barker, 1885.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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July 8, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Through the Year (1887).  The caption reads: "Small clouds are sailing.  Blue sky prevailing."
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Dawn of the XIXth Centruy in England (1886).  The caption reads: "Theatrical doctors recovering Clara's notes."
[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 all golfers, from Ben Hogan to Hulk Hogan, actually strike the ball with the club in a decelerating mode." —The Impact Zone: Mastering Golf's Moment of Truth
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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July 7, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's an example of crowd-surfing from back in 1940, courtesy of Charlie's Big-Hearted Aunt:


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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

From our blog on Magic Words & Symbols Spotted in the Wild:

"Where is truth to shelter, where is it to find asylum if not in a place where nobody is looking for it: . . . stamp albums?" —Bruno Schulz

Can a stamp album serve as a mystical guidebook to the entire universe? The visionary Polish writer and fine artist Bruno Schulz certainly believed it could, as he explains in Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass. His ruminations on postage stamps as "handy amulets" forming "a book of truth and splendor" inspired us to piece together a Tarot deck of stamps from around the world. We reveal and explain the work in progress here:

The Stamp Album Tarot

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"Of course it is nonsense, but I am defensive about it and insist on exposing it to others. Surely it is very important nonsense for me." —Bob Neale, Wondering for Magicians

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Mr. Midshipman Easy by Frederick Marryat (1896).  The caption reads: "Mr. Easy was busy with a plaster cast of a human head."
[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)
Sleeping in the grand piano: an illustration from an 1884 issue of Puck magazine.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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July 6, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith (1888).  The caption reads: "'Now,' cried I, holding up my children, 'now let the flames burn on, and all my possessions perish.'"
[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 The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "I find such quantities of strange toys about the house."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A spirit photograph is made even eerier by blocking out the faces of the sitters from the Journal of the American Society for Psychical Research, vol. 16 (1922).  The caption reads: "The photograph by Mrs. Deane. (Faces of sitters obliterated.)"
[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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July 5, 2014

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1841 issue of Punch magazine.  The caption reads: "Don't mention it I beg."
[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 1922 issue of Scribner's magazine.  The caption reads: "It was in the night, in the moonlight, in the road ... or the forest—it was everywhere!"
[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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July 4, 2014

Disguised as a Christmas Tree (permalink)
"But, though he looked like a Christmas tree he still didn't feel any different." —"The Happy Christmas Tree," Instructor, Vol. 67 (1957)
> read more from Disguised as a Christmas Tree . . .
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"Nonsense, Hal, I don't believe a word of it. ... Tell me just everything."  From A Girl's Loyalty by Frances Charlotte Armstrong, 1897.
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The "standard sheet" flag was a revolution against the king-size.  (Our image is from The National Hand-book of American Progress by Erastus Otis Haven, 1876.  The caption reads, "Forever float that standard sheet.")
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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July 3, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"It was here," I said, reverently, "that the Swan of Avon was hatched!"
Baboo Jabberjee, B.A. by J. Bernard Partridge, 1897
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Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"Thank goodness it's never too early for nonsense." —Kathleen Bradean, via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Don't Take This the Wrong Way (permalink)
"Don't take this the wrong way, but it seems to me that a certain respect for the institution of marriage should be necessary in order to do a good job as a wedding planner." —A Christmas to Remember (2013)

[For Cassandra.]
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July 2, 2014

This May Surprise You (permalink)
The folks at Scribd recently named our One-Letter Words: A Dictionary as the #5 best e-book for short daily commutes.  The folks at Mashable covered the story.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

Courtesy of literary scalawag Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:

"My meditation coach and I just couldn't get along. Last week I got really annoyed with him, and yesterday he said he thought it would be best if we terminated the relationship."

"Oh, that's too bad. I hope there weren't any hard feelings."

"Well, I'm not so sure. His last words to me were, 'As you exit this phase of your life, be mindful of the space between the gate into the next part of your journey and that part of yourself which trails behind.'"

"So?

"So... I think that translates into, 'Don't let the door hit your ass on the way out.'"

> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
It's little known that Aesop couldn't resist sneezing at dust mites, but 'allergy' and 'allegory' have the same Greek root. From Comic History of Greece by Charles Snyder (1898).
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1905 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "A sheep's a sheep—unless you turn him into a haycock."
[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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July 1, 2014

It Bears Repeating (permalink)
"Consistency is so important, it bears repeating."
> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Death's-Head Moth": 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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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road "It is funny only if one can avoid being slightly nauseated by the carefree exhibitionism of its personal revelations."
The New English Review (1947)
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.