CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
April 30, 2015

How to Believe in Your Elf (permalink)

Though few people believe in elves outside of Iceland (where the majority entertains the possibility that the "hidden people" exist), elfish mischief afflicts every high-tech society that has traded the Otherworld of folklore for the virual world of computers.  We call a sudden malfunction a "glitch," an acronym for "gremlins loose in the computer housing" (Nigel P. Cook, Practical Digital Electronics, 2003.  Similarly, Safire's Political Dictionary defines a glitch as "the mischief of a computerized gremlin").  Gremlins are, of course, troublemaking sprites, namesakes of those pesky unexplained characters that appear in text documents.  One might be tempted to posit that the folk of fairyland believe in themselves, even if non-Icelanders daren't allow for the possibility (all evidence to the contrary).  Meanwhile, let us recall this nuggest of wisdom from How to Believe in Your Elf: "Know the enemy and know your elf."


* There is a vast world of reality into which science can no more enter than an elf can be Santa Claus.  We regret to observe that rather than face it, and confess its inability to measure it, science turns its back upon it.  Life is not always every-day life, and the insolvable mysteries are correlated not to formal rules but to spirit and inspiration.  Are bits of wisdom liable to dwarf the subject?  Indeed — and rightly!  James Howell described the ingredients of a good proverb to be "sense, shortness, and salt."  May Howell's cry resound through this present collection of maxims on believing in one's elf.

> read more from How to Believe in Your Elf . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)

Describing our Hexopedia, Jim G. confirms that the book is some sort of magical object: "the writing style reminds me of a sort of kaleidescopic array of letters and words and images, almost as if it is in motion.  The effect is totally unique — draws you in."  

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Life of George Barnwell by Edward Litt Leman Blanchard, 1841.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A soul thirsting for the ideal, from Belle and the Dragon by Arthur Edward Waite, 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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Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
Someone should "write an epic of Hell on the sky in letters of sulphurous fire." —Beachcomber, By the Way (1931)
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out (permalink)
Momus suggests that there are "few tales which would not be improved by the addition of the phrase 'suddenly, a shot rang out.'"
Decide for yourself as we alter the opening lines of . . .

Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk

Tyler gets me a job as a waiter, after that Tyler's pushing a gun in my mouth and saying, the first step to eternal life is you have to die.  Suddenly, a shot rings out.

(Thanks, June!)
> read more from Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out . . .
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April 29, 2015

Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)

Thanks to The Unmutual, dedicated to the cult TV series The Prisoner, for highlighting our unusual Tarot prediction for the ambitious musical event "Festival No. 6," held at Portmeirion, Wales.  Our Tarot spread follows the Do Re Mi Fa So La Ti Do song from The Sound of Music.

 

* Historians must reconstruct the past out of hazy memory.  "Once upon a time" requires "second sight."  The "third eye" of intuition can break the "fourth wall" of conventional perspectives.  Instead of "pleading the fifth," historians can take advantage of the "sixth sense" and be in "seventh heaven."  All with the power of hindpsych, the "eighth wonder of the world."  It has been said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  Therein lies the importance of Tarot readings for antiquity.  When we confirm what has already occurred, we break the shackles of the past, freeing ourselves to chart new courses into the future.
> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Prince song "Alphabet St.," from What was the Gunpowder Plot? by John Gerard, 1897.  (Q: Did you spot the doubled letter in the illustration?)

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a bit of advice from the devil: "Wait till tomorrow."  From Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.  Speaking of which, what exactly are a snowball's chances in hell?  See A Snowball's Chance in Hell.
[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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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

Here are some vintage forensics from the Mirror yearbook of Bates College, 1921.

*For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Choice Works of Thomas Hood, 1881.  The parlor game of Klexographie inspired the famous Rorschach inkblot test, and here's our online widget for using inkblots to answer deep questions.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 28, 2015

Unicorns (permalink)

You may recall our 5-minute canoe journey on a frozen lake in search of unicorn sounds, but we just added subtitles to the video (four years late, but who's counting?).  Be sure to click on YouTube's "Subtitles/CC" button, because the audio is often somewhat murky due to environmental sounds as well as mumbling:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ZoaAFmCdW4

> read more from Unicorns . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here are some ghostly presences from Peter Ibbetson by George Du Maurier, 1892.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Do you understand now why you could not make terms for Russia?"  From The Angel of the Revolution by George Chetwynd Griffith Jones, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a toast to gambling, from Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.
[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 wizard used his powers to conjure sixty lemon pies, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1921.  Jonathan notes: "And it looks like when you order a full five dozen, they come with a pieman!"   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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 27, 2015

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

The phrase, "if you've seen one toe" delivers zero Google results, so we presume nobody has "seem 'em all."  Our illustration is from Kantner's Illustrated Book of Objects and Self-Educator, 1879.  (Via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.)

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The tenant of the treasure house, from Jethou by Ernest Richard Suffling, 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)
From La Morale Merveilleuse by P. Christian, 1844.   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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Midsummer Eve by S. C. Hall, 1848.  This should also be of interest: How to Believe in Your Elf.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Love Lyrics and Valentine Verses by Charles Maurice Davies, 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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The Right Word (permalink)
Fortune-telling by means of words, from China: A History of the Laws, Manners, and Customs of the People by John Henry Gray, 1878.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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April 26, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

There was a time before the Internet axiom, "What has been seen cannot be unseen."  We find proof in Seen & Unseen, or Monologues of a Homeless Snail by Yone Noguchi, 1897.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

The phrase "Love is self-devouring" delivers but a single Google result!  Here's the uroboros encircling Cupid, from Sir Walter Ralegh: A Tragedy by William John Dixon and illustrated by N. C. Bishop-Culpeper, 1897.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

When we learned that our favorite website, Long-Forgotten Haunted Mansion, was drifting into a peaceful slumber, our first wish was that the site forever spook but never petrify.  (See our anagram.)  But the site's intrepid investigator, HGB2, offers some anagrams of his own:

As Long-Forgotten slumbers on in a state of hibernation, you may begin to feel melancholy and alone. I would suggest going out into that serene and lovely front yard, letting the grass and the trees restore your spirits. In other words, if you yourself feel long forgotten, our advice is: Go to front glen.

On your way out, as you leave the building, you might mutter absentmindedly—and with perhaps with a hint of bitterness—the cliché, "Last person out, turn off the lights," forgetting that there's no electricity in the world of the Mansion. Amused, we remind you: No front toggle.

If we allow it, this may recall to our minds that it isn't the technology that charms us, but simple, timeless tricks and illusions. So easily we forget that it's an old-fashioned magic show: Forget not long.

(See why we shudder at the thought of Long-Forgotten going on hiatus?!)

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Colorful Allusions (permalink)
"You are my very lost, precious 'Snowflake.'"  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.  But as comedian Lewis Black reminds us, "We are all like snowflakes."
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)
"A sentence should be so constructed that the writer's thought shall produce the strongest impression of which it is capable." —Practical English Grammar and Correspondence, 1889

Here's what an impressive sentence should do, from The Letters of Charles Dickens, 1893.  The caption reads, "After the sentence."
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"O hold your tongue, my pretty parrot, lay not the blame upon me."  From Illustrated British Ballads, Old and New, 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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April 25, 2015

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

"This nonsense must be stopped, he said."  From An African Millionaire by Grant Allen, 1897.

> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Wenceslao Moreno's "Señor Wences" act, from A History of Advertising from the Earliest Times by Henry Sampson, 1874.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The great transformation from Belle and the Dragon by Arthur Edward Waite, 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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Strange Dreams (permalink)
"How could they trust a man who has 'a special wire' in his dreams?" exclaimed Macdougal, from Miss Parson's Adventure by William Clark Russell, 1894.
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)
From Vegas Reise omkring Asia og Europa by Nils Adolf Erik Nordenskiöld, 1881.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Scores of strange beasts hurried out from under them," from Fifteen Hundred Miles an Hour by Charles Dixon, 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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April 24, 2015

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

Here's a precursor to the song "The Man in the Moon (is a Lady)," in the musical Mame (1966).  From Astronomy for Amateurs by Camille Flammarion, 1904.  See our previous proof that the craters of the moon line up exactly with the Mona Lisa's facial features.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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It Bears Repeating (permalink)

"It bears repeating.  Reading a good poem once is rarely enough."
—Paul Hostovsky, Eat This Poem: A Literary Food Blog

> read more from It Bears Repeating . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I fell at the foot of one of the large trees," from Phantastes by George MacDonald, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The perfected discovery," from Crooked Places by Edward Garrett, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Goddelycke Wenschen, 1629.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 23, 2015

The Right Word (permalink)

We're delighted that the distinguished poet Gary Barwin has lexiconjured two pwoermds in our honor (and we like the asterisks, too!):


> read more from The Right Word . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

We found what sounds like the perfect summation of what magicians are ultimately striving to do.  All a magician wants is for someone to come "Face to face with the crowning wonder of his series of mysteries."  Put that way, it sounds so simple, so reasonable.  From The Mystery of Hall-in-the-Wood by Rosa Mulholland, 1893.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Greymare Romance by Edwin John Ellis, 1891.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"Hold my hand tight.  Which do you prefer, wetting your head or your feet?"  From Seven Xmas Eves, 1894.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From the Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina, 1919.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 22, 2015

The Right Word (permalink)

Thanks to Tom Sarbeck for saying this of our hard-to-find dictionary of one-letter words:

Compiler Craig Conley says, "In Shakespeare's time, R was called littera canina, 'the dog's letter,' because it sounded like a dog's growl."

There may be word lovers who won't read stuff like that; I'm not one of them.

Conley provided me with more motivation to buy his dictionary's Kindle edition; he said that since he wrote its first edition he hasn't had to buy a single drink.

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
What are these mysteriously named musical notes from Supplement to Spons' Dictionary of Engineering, Civil, Mechanical, Military, and Naval (1879)?  We're uncomfortably reminded of the nineteen "forbidden notes" of the Boîte Diabolique, revealed in the hilarious British comedy series Look Around You.
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Colorful Allusions (permalink)

The aurora flashed crimson in The Icelander's Sword by Sabine Baring-Gould, 1894.

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Strange Dreams (permalink)

From the Mirror yearbook of Bates College, 1921.  (For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.)

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)
"Come down sir, will you, and take my skin off."  From A Plunge into the Sahara by G. Demage, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 21, 2015

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

Here's acclaimed poet and photographer William Keckler's delightful take on our Hexopedia:
 
This manual seems to titularly announce its target demographic, but don't let that fool you. It's like reading Lewis Carroll. No matter how much weariness there is in your bones, the sprite of your mind will fly with and to these words.
 
It's lavishly illustrated by the author with all sorts of abraxases and magic squares and mystical beasts whose mix-and-match bodies were the precursors of today's recombinant, genetic portmanteaux.
 
How much ... a delight it is ... to simply enjoy the uncommon truths of these eldritch spells coiled upon themselves and their secrets like wonderful chambered nautiluses. 
 
The book elevates sound (and its magical properties) to the same level the Theosophists did, but in a much more playful way.  It is a preposterous work, in the best sense of that word.
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Colorful Allusions (permalink)

A synaesthete told us we're like a flexible acrylic notebook cover of translucent cyan blue.  "Translucent cyan" is an anagram of "uncanny clatters," so it all begins to make sense.


Prof. Oddfellow's translucent cyan spirit exits a stone door in Portmerion, Wales.

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Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
How things have changed.  Today we're encouraged to drink lots of water, but back in 1911, when drinking water was considered irresponsible, "if you just must drink water," then at least let it be bottled.  From Polk-Husted Directory Co.'s Oakland, Berkeley and Alameda Directory.

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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Contrary to popular belief, dropped H's don't fall but rather fly.  From La Morale Merveilleuse by P. Christian, 1844.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[For Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.]

"A man who can chalk an eel like that deserves to be encouraged."  From The Cap Becomes a Coronet by Frederick Bingham, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Before the Battle of the Books," from The Works of the Reverend Dr. Jonathan Swift.
[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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April 20, 2015

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

Literary Sandwiches  (for June, inspired by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt)

The Henry James: juxtaposes Old World cheeses (corrupt and alluring) with New World heirloom tomatoes.  The sandwich is presented brashly open and facing abuse.  It is served with its ghost-doppelganger (not shown) so as to nurture alternate American and European lives.  The sandwich comes with suspicions that it is gay.

The William James: so enormous that diners may, through free will, request an abridged serving.  The William James asks, do we run from an enormous sandwich because we are afraid, or are we afraid because we run?  (Spoiler: we are afraid because we run.)  Note that only the sandwich's material self is provided; the social self, spiritual self, and pure ego are available with our other self-service condiments.

The Alice James: for those knowing neither hope nor peace, this sandwich invites you to "abandon the pit of your stomach" in the struggle between the body of this meal and your moral power.  This is a sandwich you'll write about in your diary.

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Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)

"But danger and opportunity are two sides of the same coin!"  From Kamen Rider Wizard.

* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)

The lionized poet William Keckler scooped this page from The Young Wizard's Hexopedia on Flickr, where the spell has found a very appreciative following.

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The morning toilette lasted for some time."  From A Plunge into the Sahara by G. Demage and illustrated by P. Crampel, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a certain Mr. X from the Atlanta City Directory, 1913, p. 61.
[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)
"Company of Fays on their phantom-horses (assistant to Jaculus), skimming the marshes, in the last of twilight, on their inroad into the Giant's Hold."  From One of the Thirty: A Strange History, Now For the First Time Told by Hargrave Kennings, 1873.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 19, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Life of George Barnwell by Edward Litt Leman, 1841.
[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)
A tip of the hat to nobody in particular, from The Principles of Advertising Arrangement by Frank Alvah Parsons, 1912.
[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)
"Occupying herself in mixing me an effervescing draught in a great crystal goblet," from Jewel Mysteries I Have Known by Max Pemberton, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's an ornate capital A from La Morale Merveilleuse by P. Christian, 1844.
[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)
"Whisper the one word, dearest."  From The Cap Becomes a Coronet by Frederick Bingham, 1894.
* 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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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to centralized parking, from 1920.
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April 18, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

If only they all came with warning signs.  From School Architecture by the Georgia Dept. of Education, 1911.  The caption reads, "Don't use this."

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

Anonymous asks, "If I may, I was told I have to find my voice.  Any ideas?  Suggestions?"

This vintage diagram explains all.  [Its context is technically unrelated (you may or may not recognize its original purpose), but no matter.]  We see the form of a lower-case i, and that's crucial.  Note that the lower-case i has a head on its shoulders, unlike the capital I, which is merely a construct (a girder and two beams, eh?).  And so the capital I/ego decapitates the genuine expression of the little i.  The dot of the i makes this diagram a universal "You are here" map.  One's voice can never to be "found," for it's impossible for it to go missing.  It's always here, at ground zero.  The question can only be, what has been overlaid and is hiding that dot?  Is it a respected voice one has been emulating?  Is it an artificial attempt to meet perceived requirements or expectations?  Emulations refer to the past, and expectations allude to the future.  It's only in the eternal present moment that one's unique voice resonates.  In terms of writing projects, it's perhaps most difficult to express one's true voice in an assignment or an homage.  The key is to work on a project so idiosyncratic that there are no precedents.  (For example, we recently challenged ourselves to come up with a guide to The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board.  Nothing even remotely like it had ever been written, so it was unexplored territory where no other voices echoed.)  That's the key, but it's a trick key, and the trick is to allow yourself to get so caught up in the current of writing that your capital I gets left behind.  But forget all that -- the vintage diagram says it better.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
A lie never stops to put on its hat, as we learn in Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
From St. Nicholas magazine, 1921.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"It's like singing to a lot of 'ap'ny ices!"  From Under the Rose by F. Anstey, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The haunted spinet from Belle and the Dragon by Arthur Edward Waite, 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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April 17, 2015

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

Q: Why doesn't palindrome spell the same backward?! —Cindy Marten, Word Crafting

A: A word is not the thing it represents.

> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Letters of Charles Dickens, 1893.  Speaking of clockwork, here's a link to our vintage timepiece recordings, hailed as a brand new musical genre by a critic in Sweden: https://profoddfellow.bandcamp.com/album/clockwork-remixes.
[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 could see nothing but a series of stony ledges."  From Kerrigan's Quality by Jane Barlow, 1894.
[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Staring Into the Depths . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Goddelycke Wenschen, 1629.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 16, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Puzzles and Games (permalink)
Here's a roll of the dice from Diccionario Enciclopedico Hispano-Americano de Literatura, Siencias y Artes, 1887.  See also our guide to Astragalomancy (finally released from private circulation in the magical underground), which reveals for the first time the secret meanings of 21 discrete dice throws.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From New Pictures in Old Frames by Gertrude M. Bradley, 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.]
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Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
Q: From London park to ancient Nile.  What is it after all?  Is it a million miles or the span of a fairy's wing?
A: Neither.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Baby's Museum by Uncle Charlie, 1882.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The Enchanted Cat": an illustration from Prince Dorus by Charles Lamb (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.]
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April 15, 2015

Something, Defined (permalink)

"What’s there?  Cloud.  Fly.  My square eye.  Something something something." —Gary Barwin (see entire piece here)

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

"Thinking should be finer than the thinnest gas in the world, so that it can seep through the gaps in this so-called reality and reach the unknown.  For that's where true reality begins, in the world of dwarfs and dragons.  We knew that as children without having to understand it.  Only when we lost the ability to act unreasonably did we lose the true, that is the unreal, reality.  There is no return.  There is also no progress.  No going forwards or backwards.  Cheers.  In each case it's only a superficial impression we can make on this hard-boiled reality of ours.  For at very best it's only an optical illusion.  If a drunkard sees a row of houses swaying, that's serious.  Not for the drunkard, but for the houses.  They just won't stand up if one's vision methodically sets out to bring them down.  Isn't the whole world based on vision?  A long look into one's glass and one's vision rocks and sways.  But that's all by the way.  It's possible to make the world dissolve without the help of a bottle of schnaps.  It's all a matter of practice." —Ernst Kreuder, The Attic Pretenders

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"'Pray be seated yourself,' said the ghost simply."  From The King of Schnorrers by Israel Zangwill, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Come, Heavenly Powers! primeval peace restore!  Love!—Mercy!—Wisdom!—rule for evermore!"  From The Poetical Works of Thomas Campbell, 1843.
[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)
We like this as-is scan from the British Library as a visual poem.  The text reads, "were unable to discover to whose memory it."  From An Aide-de-Camp's Recollections of Service in China by Arthur Augustus Thurlow Cunynghame, 1844.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Strange Dreams (permalink)
The cave of sleep, from The Oracle of Baal by J. Provand Webster and illustrated by Warwick Goble, 1896.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
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April 14, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"Almost every world map you've looked at has been wrong," some say, but not this one from Chambers's Alternative Geography Readers, 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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Staring at the Sun (permalink)
"Up, up, up in the air I went, so that I counted the spots on the morning sun."  From In the Green Park by F. Norreys Connell and illustrated by F. H. Townsend, 1894.
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Unicorns (permalink)
From La Morale Merveilleuse by P. Christian, 1844.  This should be of interest: A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Haunted House of Ben's Hollow by A. M. Stein, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
They had left the road of ice, and were flying through the air.  From The People of the Mist by Henry Rider Haggard, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 13, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

They say that "you can't kid a kidder," but that's because a kidder comes prepared.  From Fra Det Moderne Frankrig by Richard Kaufmann, 1882.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road

The most scathing joke in the comedy series Absolutely Fabulous will never be listed with the show's best gags, because it is wholly implied.  In the episode "Jealous" (27 April 1995), P.R. consultant Eddy loses the speech she was to deliver at an industry meeting.  In a panic, she explodes into a tirade against the public relations profession's insincerity, dishonesty, unoriginality, and vapidity, accusing them of "skimming a neat profit off the whole of human misery."  She finally storms out yelling that in spite of their global guilt-mongering, life "may not be all great and good but it ain't that bad, so cheer up world, it may never bloody happen!"  Yada yada yada, the tirade gets Eddy the Prozac campaign.  And the implied joke [spoiler alert] is that a P.R. person couldn't possibly make a genuinely impassioned statement about anything, so Eddy's tirade was lauded as a new slogan.

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

Thanks to magic experience designer Ferdinando Buscema (who shares the final secret of the Illuminati in this Boing Boing presentation) for tweeting that our Young Wizard's Hexopedia is "an enthralling book, offering a uniquely participatory reading experience."

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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It's Really Happening (permalink)
"It's happening.  It's really happening.  Actually, it's starting with just two robots."

The foreground of this collage is from the extraordinarily brilliant comedy series Arrested Development.  The background is courtesy of Paul Lloyd.
> read more from It's Really Happening . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Before the dirigible was the air ship of 1608, reproduced in History of the Parish Church of Saint Michael and All Angels, Chipping Lambourn by John Footman, 1894.
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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)

The text reads, "At the center of a helix lies a pitchfork.  (An unretouched diagram of a wireless telegraph receiving system, 1883.)"
Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .
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April 12, 2015

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

Thanks to acclaimed illusionist and fastest-fingers-in-the-world record holder Jeff McBride for tweeting about our Young Wizard's Hexopedia.  He tweets, "Writer Craig Conley, his books re-enchant our world!"


The background photo of our Jeff McBride collage is a black-and-white version of a still from the movie Demo.  Our overlay says that in the eye of the beholder is the overlapping of one's intention, focus, and action.

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

"So much for joy."  From Family Devotions For Every Morning and Evening Throughout the Year, 1849.  This strikes Jonathan Caws-Elwitt as a precursor to Picasso and/or Saul Steinberg.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Histoire d'Angleterre by Alfred Mainguet, 1844.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I shuddered from head to foot," from 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Oh, gee, will you look at the time!" [we imagine her saying] in As We Sweep through the Deep by Gordon Stables, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The Devil in Richmond Park, from The Spook Ballads by William Theodore Parkes, 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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April 11, 2015

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

We're honored that Gordon Meyer (of Smart Home Hacks fame and a creator of haunted bells and genie bottles) likens our Hexopedia to what Harry Potter might have been had that series been carefully considered:

Hexopedia: A review

I was fortunate to see an advance copy of The Young Wizard's Hexopedia: A Guide to Magical Words & Phrases. It's a terrifically fun book, and a peek at what Harry Potter might have been like if it were a little more, well, thoughtful. Here's the reviewer's blurb I provided:

"Craig Conley's Hexopedia not only surprised and delighted me, it changed my opinion about what young adult books could be. What a treat!"
If you have a young person in your life who might enjoy it, please do check it out.

Gordon Meyer and his scissors of mysterious power.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Taking my clue with me, I dived."  From Lost on Du Corrig by Standish James O'Grady, 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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No News Is Good News (permalink)
A wood engraving of a fortune teller from The Vicar of Wakefield by Oliver Goldsmith, 1845.
> read more from No News Is Good News . . .
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
"An Aeolian harp, only that it was played indifferently."  From In the Green Park by F. Norreys Connell and illustrated by F. H. Townsend, 1894.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I see a hand you cannot see, which beckons me away."  From Illustrated British Ballads, Old and New by George Barnett Smith, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 10, 2015

The Right Word (permalink)

The story of how The Young Wizard's Hexopedia came to be is just about as unlikely as the book itself.  One November morning, a stranger wrote from out of the blue, asking for assistance with an extraordinary book of magic.  The stranger turned out to be the CEO of a publishing house specializing in the world's quirkiest subject matter, in search of a grimoire that didn't technically exist.  His own research had somehow determined that I was the one with the know-how to bring this lost book back from the depths.  It seems that he had seen a window display of an esoteric bookshop and had noticed that the lost book in question wasn't there.  The problem was that no surviving copies of the book are known to exist.  My task was to rediscover and recreate the entire document from quotations and implications in magical literature.  The stranger provided me with some crucial scraps, trusting that the whole work might be holographically contained within the parts.  Knowing the title and a rough idea of the table of contents, I set to work hunting through cryptic volumes in private libraries of magic (whose locations I'm not at liberty to reveal, though I can say that I visited Hollywood's Magic Castle).  Suffice it to say, I left no philosopher's stone unturned.  The process was very much like putting together a jigsaw puzzle in a dark room, with only a flickering candle for illumination.  To my own surprise, the lost book began taking shape almost immediately.  Restoring fragments into sentences and arranging them into paragraphs proved less challenging than one might suppose.  For example, you can surely divine what the last word of this sentence will [...].  Whenever a passage seemed to have something almost tangibly missing, like the absence of a vital book in an esoteric shop window, I knew to keep digging.  The moment it was clear that the entire Hexopedia was restored, I verified the accuracy of my work with three highly gifted wizards of words: a playwright in New Hampshire, a poet in Pennsylvania, and a teacher of magical arts in Nevada.  Then I sent the restoration to the stranger, who flabbergasted me by suggesting that the book should not come back into print at all but rather remain hidden in shadowy slumber until a more enlightened era.  (Apparently the trickster merely desired a copy for his personal use!)  Having worked so intimately with the text for so long, I felt convinced that the world was ready once again for the Hexopedia ... that it shouldn't rest only in the private library of one megalomaniacal* publisher.  And the rest, as the former, is history.  Here's a random page from The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.

*Note that "megalomaniacal" is an anagram of "ole magi almanac," so it all seems to be part of some mysterious tapestry, eh?

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

 It popped into our head that the celebrated poet Gary Barwin can write both of his names in one go, if he employs the bee-gee and the double-y.  The top half of the letters read "gary" and the bottom half read "barwin."

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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the social media phenomenon: "He told her everything that he had already told her friends."  From Love Me For Ever by Robert Williams Buchanan, 1883.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, in honor of "Floating Head Friday."

[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 Basil Fawlty and Polly discovering Manuel in a laundry basket (in the episode "The Kipper and the Corpse"), from The Works of Henry Fielding, illustrated by George Cruikshank, 1845.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From Paris Herself Again in 1878-9 by George Augustus Henry Sala, 1800.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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April 9, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

Here's what looks like a precursor to the novelty mouth-shaped toilet, from The Anatomy, Physiology and Pathology of the Human Teeth, 1854.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
When salmon swim up the Buttermilk Falls to spawn, that's the origin of cream sauce for fish.  From Historical Collections of the State of Pennsylvania, 1843.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Old House of West Street by Thomas Peckett Prest, 1846.
[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)
"You, who have been the evil genius of the world!"  From Olga Romanoff: or, the Syren of the Skies by George Chetwynd Griffith Jones and illustrated by E. S. Hope, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Knock loudly; he's home.  From Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.   Speaking of which, what exactly are a snowball's chances in hell?  See A Snowball's Chance in Hell.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Elements of Physical Geography by John Brocklesby, 1870.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 8, 2015

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

As of this post, "raining varnish" delivers just one Google result.  The text reads, "how well I know the smell of varnish!"  From Cruises in Small Yachts and Big Canoes by Harry Fiennes Speed, 1883.

*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

If it's true that a lack of specificity in characterization creates the stereotypes that evoke the intuitive knowledge upon which a work relies for its emotional effect and thematic meaning (as per Erich Segal: A Critical Companion), then these stills from Kamen Rider Kuuga speak for themselves.

Or, to quote from the Gervase Fen mystery we're currently reading, "Characterisation seems to me a very over-rated element in fiction.  I can never see why one should be obliged to have any of it at all, if one doesn't want to.  It limits the form so." —Buried for Pleasure by Edmund Crispin




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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
Rain in Piccadilly.  From Fra det moderne England by Gustaf Fredrik Steffen, 1894.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Self-righteousness is pummeled by "all sorts of temptations," from Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a rather targeted question from Jewel Mysteries I Have Known by Max Pemberton, 1894.  The caption reads, "I wanted to ask you about the bull's-eye."
[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 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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April 7, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

We complain that today's culture is vapid, but here's "a beggarly account of empty boxes" from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

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Ampersands (permalink)
Ampersands are held together by sections of chain and screws, as we see in this illustration from 1886.
* A manual for typographers published in 1917 acknowledged that there are many beautiful forms of the ampersand, yet it forbade their use in "ordinary book work."  Extraordinary books are another matter.  Our lavishly illustrated Ampersand opus explores the history and pictography of the most common coordinating conjunction.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
"Nothing but ice, ice to the horizon.  7 April. 1895."  From Farthest North by Fridtjof Nansen, 1898.
*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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby, 1881.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1903 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "Disguised himself as an Italian quack doctor."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 6, 2015

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

Q: How can a bug become horse armor?

A: With determination!

Kamen Rider Kuuga (2000)



> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .
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Uncharted Territories (permalink)
Here's a blank map of Scotland, from an 1822 census report.
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Precursors (permalink)

"People Have Been Complaining About This Longer Than You Think" dept.:

"The automatic typewriter, the telegraph, and the penny postal card have done much to cause a gradual decline in the gentle art of correspondence." —Donald Ogden Stewart, Perfect Behavior (a mock etiquette book from 1922, via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt)

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

Viewed under a microscope, religions are composed of ions.
Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Begins dearly beloved & ends in amazement!"  From The Sisters, or the Fatal Marriages by Henry Cockton, 1851.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
From Two Knapsacks in the Channel Islands by Jasper Branthwaite and illustrated by Victor Prout, 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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April 5, 2015

Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)

From the home office of Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:


 

(Literary scalawag Jonathan Caws-Elwitt’s plays, stories, essays, letters, parodies, wordplay, witticisms and miscellaneous tomfoolery can be found at Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0.  Here you’ll encounter frivolous, urbane writings about symbolic yams, pigs in bikinis, donut costumes, vacationing pikas, nonexistent movies, cross-continental peppermills, and other compelling subjects.)

> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to The Flintstones, from A Lord Mayor's Diary, 1906-7 by William Purdie Treloar, 1920.

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This May Surprise You (permalink)

Time travel is possible because Father Time's soap bubbles of the years linger.  From Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.  [In honor of Marja Lingsma's photos [a & b] of her parents blowing bubbles.]

> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Santa Claus is really the Easter Bunny, as revealed in St. Nicholas magazine, 1915.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Eat, sleep, talk, from Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.
[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 magic cane that polished many a clown," from Knaresborough Castle Yard, 1879.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 4, 2015

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Warholian soup can values, from World Survey by the Interchurch World Movement of North America, 1920.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a spooky moment from Moreton, or the Doomed House, 1847.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's another precursor to the famous finale of Dr. Strangelove or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb, this time from Az 1848-49-iki Magyar Szabadságharcz Története by György Gracza, 1894.  [Previously, and better, here.]

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
"The sea, Floy, what is it that it keeps on saying?"  From The Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 3, 2015

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

We're honored that acclaimed poet Gary Barwin has offered a foreword to our new guide to The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board.

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
Inside "the book that has never been opened" is a pressed flower, according to T. S. Eliot in "The Dry Salvages."

[Pressed flower not shown.]
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to an AA meeting.  "And each as they sat by that bogwood fire told by turns his name and his history," from Illustrated British Ballads Old and New by George Barnett Smith, 1894.
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

When we encountered this line, "My Diet Coke tasted like it'd fallen off the back of a very old truck," we recalled the failed ad campaign: "Have a Coke and a simile."

> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Goddelycke Wenschen, 1629.
[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)
Killing time, from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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April 2, 2015

The Right Word (permalink)

The Surprising Meanings of the All-Vowel Word OOO in the Televisual Treasure Kamen Rider OOO

Arguably the greatest television show ever fashioned (but unfairly obscure outside its native Japan), Kamen Rider OOO (2010-11) charms from moment one with the intriguing word "OOO" in its title.  This all-vowel word has a surprisingly diverse array of meanings within the context of the series.  In no particular order:

  1. infinity with an additional circle or infinity times the letter O (as written in cake icing in episode one of the series; referred to in the theme song as "Skip the addition—multiply your way up").
  2. the unstoppable progression of the idiom "anything goes" (referred to in the theme song as "Anything goes, goes on: ooo's, ooo's, ooo's, ooo's").
  3. one thousand (the letter O's symbolizing zeros, as the series sports the one-thousandth episode of the Kamen Rider franchise).
  4. three medallions (referring to an ancient coin-shaped technology for artificial life that acquired consciousness; the three coins are inserted into the hero's belt to trigger a transformation).
  5. the name of a masked hero (sometimes also spelled Os, pronounced like the oes in goes).
  6. multiple kings (from the Japanese pronounciation Ozu).
  7. a joyous bouquet (an allusion to the idiom that "everything is coming up roses," referred to in the theme song as "Coming up OOO").
  8. the "three of pentacles" in the Tarot (symbolizing coordinating with others, finding all the needed elements, functioning as a unit, cooperating, meeting goals, knowing what to do and how to do it, and proving one's ability, as per Learn Tarot).
  9. rarity (as in the old Celtic "Chant of Arcady" sung at harvest gatherings: "I'll sing the three O's.  What means the three O's?  Three, three's the rare O!" —A. S. Harvey, Ballads, Songs and Rhymes of East Anglia, 1936, page 107).
  10. a winning move ("A single line of three 'O's is worth more than anything because a move that produces this result is a winning move!" —Mike James, Artificial Intelligence in Basic, page 30).
  11. omnipotence, omniscience, and optimization ("The three O's, omnipotence, omniscience, and optimization ... continue to appear in modern times in the way we conceive of ourselves through the social sciences.  Mortal beings figuring out how to act in the world are routinely modeled as if they have unlimited computational power, possess complete information about their situation, and compute the optimal plan of action to take." —Peter M. Todd & Gerd Gigerenzer, Ecological Rationality: Intelligence in the World, pp. 496-7).
  12. outflanked, outfoxed, overwhelmed ("The 'Three O's': a defence must be either Outflanked, Outfoxed, or Overwhelmed." —Current Research on Peace and Violence, 1987, page 129).
  13. continual practice ("Whenever anyone asks why our name is spelled with three O's, we remind them that to be good at picking there is no other path than to practice Over and Over and Over again." —Deviant Ollam, Practical Lock Picking, 2012, page xi).
  14. the possibility of different combinations ("The three O's tempt the reader to explore the possibilities of different combinations." —Guillaume Apollinaire & Anne Hyde Greet, Calligrammes, 1908, page 407).
  15. decimalization ("For every three O's added to the given number, we shall have one place of decimals.  And, in general, since the nth power of ten has no O's we shall always have, in extracting the nth root, one place of decimals for every n O's added to the given number." —Silas Totten, A New Introduction to the Science of Algebra, 1836, page 225).
  16. a belt, as in the three stars of the constellation Orion.  ("The three o's [are part of a] densely woven mesh of triplets [that] constellates this moving poetic object." —Michael Golston, Poetic Machinations, 2015).
  17. rising to a challenge ("As soon as the ball is served, the three O's come out to challenge." —Jacob Daniel, The Complete Guide to Coaching Soccer Systems and Tactics, 2004).
  18. seizing the day; embracing the world ("The three o's are a circular microcosm of the day, or, of the world." —Robert Greer Cohn, The Poetry of Rimbaud, page 60).

 


The letter O and the lemniscate form the all-vowel word OOO in Kamen Rider OOO.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
On bended knee before the W, from Blasts from The Ram's Horn, 1902.  This might be why:

"W is the only letter of the alphabet formed from two letters, U and U, two equals.  It is both a co-equal, and a concordant one.  In union they are the U U, the two in one, the single one" (Sir Francis Bacon's Own Story by John Elisha Roe, 1918).
[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)
"And to think that all this comes out of the brains of chaps like you," from Mr. Meeson's Will by Henry Rider Haggard, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"One, Two, Three, and Under," from The Comic History of England by Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett and illustrated by John Leech, 1847.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
*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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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April 1, 2015

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

We say that "apples and oranges" can't be expressed as a ratio, and that's because mathematics is citrus-based and prejudiced against apples.  Note that "tangerine" and "tangent" share the same Latin source, "tangere" ("touching"); "satsumas" and "summations" are derived from the Latin "summa" ("highest"); "lemons" and "lemniscates" both come from the ancient Greek island of Lemnos.  It's worth pondering ("ponder" has the same Latin root as the Ponderosa lemon ["weigh"]) just how Ugli the citrus bias is, my little Clementine.

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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Woman With No Name from David Lynch's delirious farce "On the Air" (1992), from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

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Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

I dreamt I met the author of six asterisks.

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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

Here's an April fool caught in a shower, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1903.

*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
The spirit of April, from New Pictures in Old Frames by Gertrude M. Bradley, 1894.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.