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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June 30, 2015

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt suggests "Postmodern fiction gimmick #835: I envision a novel, set in an office, which is printed on loose sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 'memo' paper, with each chapter in a separate manila folder.  Footnotes could be on Post-Its.  The whole thing is (not) bound in a big green Pendaflex hanging file folder."

> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
Chicken Road

"People think that a sense of humour is to do with being able to recognise at a glance what is funny and what is not.  It is nothing of the kind.  It is a recognition that everything is funny if you look at it in one way rather than another.  And one of the ways of making things seem funny to other people is, for some reason, to do an almost, but not quite, exact imitation of them.  And this is a matter of noticing mannerisms, and reproducing them with a slight element of caricature.  Verbal mannerisms as well as behavioural ones.  People call these clichés, and go on about them as if it were some mark of near-illiteracy to make use of them.  So what is life supposed to be — an unremitting process of spontaneous creation?  Everybody resorts to clichés: how would would speech, or life itself, be possible? ... [I]t is part of one's sense of proportion to recognise that everything, however seriously it may deserve to be taken in one context, is inherently absurd in another.  It is particularly salutary to do so in those moments when the human race is on its high horse about being some superior form of creation — than which no spectacle could well be more laughable to anyone in a laughing mood." —N. F. Simpson's highly recommended Most of What Follows is a Complete Waste of Time: Monologues, Dialogues, Sketches and Other Writings

> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Franz Josef I und Seine Zeit by Theodor Schiff, 1878.

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

Here's the secret to handling any book with glaring omissions:

"There is no way of emending a confused book, but everything may be supplied in the case of books with omissions.  For my own part, when I read one of the latter type I am not bothered a bit.  What I do, on arriving at the end, is to shut my eyes and evoke all the things which I did not find in it.  How many fine ideas come to me then!  What profound reflections!  The rivers, mountains, churches, which I did not find on the written page, all now appear to me with their waters, their trees, their altars; and the generals draw swords that never left their scabbards, and the clarion releases notes that slept in the metal, and everything marches with sudden soul.  The fact is, everything is to be found outside a book that has gaps, gentle reader." —Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro

> read more from Uncharted Territories . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a peek into life before Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.  From Imprisoned in a Spanish Convent by Eustace Clare Grenville Murray, 1886.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Harvesting anxiety from tomorrow's forebodings, 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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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
One of the Carrollian twin cities, surnamed Dee and Dum.  From Het Hartzgebergte en de Rijnstrom by Arend Ludolf Wichers, 1839.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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June 29, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Pillsbury Doughboy, 57 years before his television debut.  From Ye Butcher, Ye Baker, Ye Candlestick-Maker by Robert Seaver, 1908.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Journeys through Bookland by Charles Herbert Sylvester, 1922.

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

* 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The little grey man and the fairies," 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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Down—certainly, relentlessly down!"  From The Pit and the Pendulum, in The World of Romance, 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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Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
Q: A horse is a horse?
A: "Of course, of course."  (The Three Boots by William Henry Stacpoole, 1892)
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .
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Book of Whispers (permalink)
"The is the secret of Hall-in-the-Wood," from The Mystery of Hall-in-the-Wood by Rosa Mulholland, 1893.
* 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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June 28, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

Ceylon (Sri Lanka) is a precursor to paisley.


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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

Here's how to invert any yearbook photo without using a blade, from How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook, our controversial exploration of how college annuals are profoundly occult objects.


*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 Art and Nature Sonnets by Francis P. B. Osmaston, 1911.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"There is something of which I am fearfully afraid.  It is called outer darkness."  From An Evil Spirit by Richard Pryce, 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)
"Thy decrees are in truth mysterious," from The Secret of the Magian by André Laurie, 1892.  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 Fate in Arcadia by Edwin John Ellis, 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)
"Mark begins to be jolly under creditable circumstances," from The Letters of Charles Dickens, 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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June 27, 2015

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

For fans of the 60s cult TV show The Prisoner and the Welsh fantasy village of Portmeirion, our Tarot of Portmeirion deck is now carried by The Game Crafter.  (See Bonnie Cehovet's review of our deck over at Aeclectic Tarot.)

> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to a lyric in "Esperantolando" by Ken Clinger and Herr Purpur (from the album KCollab.01): "Speaking with a carrot, the carrot answers 'no.'"  In this earlier variety, the carrot answers, "Certainly."  From The Land of Ram by H. Rose, 1890.  (By the way, we've collaborated with Ken on songs and even entire albums for nearly two decades, and it still stings just a little that the creators of the Ken Clinger tribute album, Till Next, didn't ask us to contribute.  No matter how exclusive any circle, that circle is actually a cone with echelons.  One cannot reach the uppermost echelons without shutting others out.  And so we take some comfort — if our exclusion made someone else feel that much more elite, then how could we begrudge?  Technically, our last 17 years have been an expansive, elaborate Ken Clinger tribute, and the thought of somehow "containing" our appreciation for him on a single disc is frankly too small-minded for us to comprehend.)

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

Here's the imp of the overturned goblet, doubling as an ornate capital S, from The Oxford Thackeray.  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)
"One of the ancestral ghosts at Duncaid Castle," from Leslie's Fate; and Hilda, or the Ghost of Erminstein by Andrew Charles Parker Haggard, 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 Charles Kingsley's Water Babies, via St. Nicholas magazine, 1915.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"You've had no bad news, I hope?"  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.
> read more from No News Is Good News . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Le Physionomiste by Giambattista della Porta, 1808.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 great apotheosis," from Belle and the Dragon by Arthur Edward Waite, 1894.  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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June 26, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Guildenstern is famously not the very button on Fortune's cap, and we're pleased to reveal the very button in question, from an 1877 advertisement.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)

We don't know how to submit a guest post to Frog Applause, but here's our homage to Teresa's style.

> read more from Only Funny If ... . . .
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Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)

[From our guest blog for Thematic Tarot]:

The School of Hard Knocks: Five Tips on Designing a Reading Deck for Someone Else

Being asked to design a divination deck for a third party might sound fun, likely feels flattering, and possibly will prove to be profitable.  However, the hardest lesson of the process is an abstraction until it begins to feel all-too real: when you create cards for someone else, you're ultimately not in control, no matter how profoundly connected you find yourself to the cards in the process.  Perhaps as with any form of art, when you create a reading deck that's worth anything, your very soul goes into the work.  If the project ultimately gets caught up in limbo or permanently shelved, you're left in an excruciatingly uncomfortable position with little to no recourse.  I'll offer a crucial checklist for prospective card designers, but first a brief background on my latest experience working for a big name in the industry.

In early 2013, I was approached by world-renowned mind-reader Kenton Knepper to design a special deck of cards.  If you've heard of magicians like Doug Henning, Derren Brown, or David Blaine, you've seen Kenton's innovations in action.  He's a stage magician who doubles as an honest-to-goodness wizard (as well as maestro of the crystal bowls), and his goal isn't to trick people but to initiate and facilitate genuine, life-changing insights based upon his life-long study of the Mystery traditions.  Now Kenton didn't quite contact me from out of the blue — we'd been acquaintances for years, first coming onto each other's radar when Weiser Books published my Magic Words: A Dictionary, which is a complement to Kenton's Wonder Words study course.  One day I felt inspired to work up a little visual gift in his honor, to express my ongoing admiration of his expertise.  Here's what it looked like:

Knepper

 
So I had put a little energy out there, and on the very same day Kenton returned that energy with an offer:  "Maybe you are the person to collaborate with me in creating a system of polarity and metaphor in images.  The idea is to help people come to their own conclusions, and making more 'wide awake dreams' with simple imagery.  Climbing a ladder with a ceiling underneath, falling up stairs with a leg tied to a balloon, that sort of thing.  Interested in this?"

I was most definitely interested, especially in the idea of a card system that would be "self-intuiting" and thereby allow a subject to decode his or her own insights, with the reader acting not as a professor who does all the talking but as a facilitator who listens to what the subject sees in the cards and asks questions as prompts when necessary.  I responded to Kenton: "Yes, indeed!  I might try to work up card imagery for the two examples you shared (climbing a ladder with a ceiling underneath, falling up stairs with a leg tied to a balloon), to see if my approach feels right for what you're envisioning with this project.  If we're in sync, let's definitely do this!  I love the concept -- it's very much my 'thing,' so ... yes!"

Kenton added that he was envisioning an "occult science feel" for the designs (as is typical of my work), with a rationality on display but also an aura of strange mystique.  Five days later, I submitted my drafts of his initial card ideas:

Polarity cards

 

I had taken pains to make the imagery visually "work" either upright or reversed (so that the person drawing the card could instantly apprehend the symbolism at a glance).  For the ceiling ladder card, my initial thoughts were:

Upright: A figure climbs a ladder on the ceiling.  A folk proverb references Newton's 2nd law: "What goes up must come down."  Every step "higher" apparently goes lower, yet toward another way out.

Reversed: A figure climbs a ladder in topsy-turvy environment.  An old Mexican proverb: "You can't get up without falling down first."  Sometimes digging down is the most expeditious way up.

And for the card about falling up the stairs, I brainstormed: 

Upright: A figure takes a tumble yet is buoyed just the same and gains a higher vantage.  At the foundation is access to a cellar — a crypt? a vault? a cantina?  An ancient Buddhist proverb: "The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Reversed: A figure rises fast (too fast?) and is presented with the flip side: another way beyond the steps taken.  An ancient Taoist proverb: "Be like the water; seek the lowest place."  (An image reflected in the clouds is known as a Brocken spectre and is typically the magnified shadow of the observer.)

Kenton was pleased with the designs, though I was surprised to hear that he wasn't concerned about reversals.  He explained that from the perspective of his Mystery School training, "Reversal is simply a reflection, not necessarily an opposite at all.  I do however appreciate greatly how your drawings, when they have reversals in them, are powerful polarities that help people find their own inner wisdom and meanings at any given moment."  And he had his own card interpretations to add, of course.  For example, for the ladder card, he noted: "In secret ancient symbolism, going up is going in.  You cannot be raised higher without going into the depths of yourself."

And so, freed from taking extra pains regarding card reversals, I proceeded to follow up on eight additional card ideas from Kenton.  These were:

  • A heart on water, broken but with the space filled with water, fire rising out of it, and bandages and stitches implying healing of the heart as well. 
  • A person thinking so much that the head separates from the body.
  • A picture of someone with her heart in her head and her mind in her heart area.
  • A person electrified and shining a light out of himself, only to have it reflected back as a spotlight on him.
  • A person growing like a flower out of the ground, but feet first coming up as the "bloom."
  • A staircase a person is climbing that leads to the sky or clouds only, and perhaps the ocean reversed.
  • A clock where the hands actually form an infinity symbol, and the hands are set to 8.
  • A Merry-Go-Round inside someone's head, with the center pole going out the top of the head, connected to a Sun.

I don't have room here to display all of the designs I came up with, but here's the broken heart on the water (and the leaf motif in the heart was my own contribution to the concept):


At this point in the process, my Muse began suggesting ideas, so I began adding new cards alongside Kenton's suggestions, just in case they matched his intentions.  Luckily, we seemed to be in sync, and he welcomed my ideas as they were or suggested modifications.  After four months of nearly daily back-and-forths, we found ourselves with 52 cards, and I ordered a jumbo-sized proof deck from TheGameCrafter.com.  Kenton expressed enthusiasm that not only card readers and mind-reading magicians would find this deck useful but the general public as well, since the cards didn't require a facilitator.  I won't say that cartoon dollar signs began to ca-ching before my eyes, but I did have reasonable expectations that something might indeed come of this deck.

And then limbo set in.  For over two years, the deck saw no release whatsoever.  Kenton regularly showed off the cards at underground magical gatherings in Las Vegas, but he seemed content to keep the deck as his own best-kept secret.  The cards got talked about, and they acquired the street names of "Waking Dream Cards," "Metaphor Cards," "Subconscious Communication Cards," "Transformation Cards," and "K-Kards."  But their official name remained "[Self-Intuiting] Polarity Cards."  Then — horror of horrors — I heard inklings from mutual friends that Kenton was on the verge of retiring from mentalism, and cartoon alarm bells began ringing in the space between my ears.  If Kenton packed it in, the Polarity deck would be doomed to obscurity, and four months of solid work would evaporate into the ethers.

Attempting to play it cool, I drafted an e-mail to Kenton, marveling that it had been over two years since we had completed the deck, and being careful not to mention that every single day of those two years had felt like an eternity to me.  I asked if there was anything I might be able to do to move the project out of limbo, such as drafting a booklet of card interpretations, designing a box for the deck, and finalizing the various technical issues with fulfilling orders through TheGameCrafter.  Luckily, Kenton was now amenable to offering the deck to the general public, and it's belatedly available through TheGameCrafter.

So if you're approached to design a card deck for a third party, here's a checklist to consider:

  1. Does the client know your work well enough that your style is sure to be a fit for the project?  The last thing you'd want to happen is to deliver a draft of the first card and find the client out of sync and looking for another designer.

  2. Can the client offer a timeline so that you'll know exactly when to expect the deck to be released?  If there's no set date, that means the project is amorphously waiting for some time in the future, and that's nearly equivalent to "never."

  3. Is the client open to an organic process, willing to hear your own suggestions along the way?  Designing cards is such a personal experience that you'll most certainly have your own brainstorms.  Also, any art project tends to develop a life of its own and may grow in its own directions.  Both the artist and the client need to be open to going with the flow, at least to a degree, even as the artist strives to maintain within the client's previously-set parameters.  Whenever an aspect of the project begins to veer off the original path, the artist is responsible for finessing the situation.  Spend time tactfully handling the change so that it does not present as a surprise.  It's probably never wrong in a divination deck to credit your intuition for slight alterations in the existing plan, as intuitiveness is woven into the very concept of card reading.

  4. Is the client willing to offer payment in advance of the deck's release?  Even if you have negotiated a percentage of the sales, an advance on those royalties will be the only insurance that you'll see any money whatsoever.

  5. Are you willing to take on this project no matter what might go wrong and no matter if the deck never sees the light of day?  This is the toughest question of all, but it's vital to consider it since you won't be in total control.  The answer may very well be Yes -- your spirit may jump at the chance to work on a particular deck, come what may.  And, truthfully, there's no such thing as wasted effort.  Even if a deck you've designed never gets released, the very process of creating each card was part of your own spiritual refinement.  A completed but unreleased deck becomes like a dream, and how much of daily life is illusory anyway?  If it's all a dream, let it be a lucid one that you learn and grow from.

 

> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to N. F. Simpson's brilliant satire Was He Anyone, from A Princess of Chalco by Alfred Henry Wall, 1892.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
They say you can't take it with you, and here's why, from The Dance of Death, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Sanitary News, 1886.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, 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.]
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June 25, 2015

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)

[Someone should write] "a novel which consists only of irregularly torn pieces of paper, a narrative, a soliloquy, spoken by the lone, unlonely protagonist whose mind is actually a collection of irregularly torn pieces of paper, a narrative, a soliloquy, etc..." —William Keckler

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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)

Did you know that musical scores can have drop caps, too?  These are from Robin Hood: A Collection of Poems, Songs, and Ballads by Joseph Ritson, 1884.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Harry Lorrequer by Charles James Lever and illustrated by Phiz, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Book of Whispers (permalink)
The devil whispers a great secret to a cow, from Blasts From the Ram's Horn, 1902.
* 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"A winter nosegay," from The Choice Works of Thomas Hood, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From A Book of Ballads by Alice Sargant and illustrated by Ailliam Strang, 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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June 24, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From The Davenport Brothers, 1869.  This should be of interest: Seance Parlor Feng Shui.

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

"'Absurd, indubitably absurd,' he said.  'Absurd' was the word for today.  'Indubitably' was yesterday's word.  Mr. Phelps said that if you used a new word three times, it was yours." —Ernest Hebert, The Dogs of March  [If you wish to know what Friday's word was, highlight to view: .]

*If Merriam (or Webster?) is correct that indubitably is not the kind of word that gets used in everyday conversation, except perhaps for humorous effect, then insert comedy drum roll here.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

If you must tumble down the stairs, for goodness' sake do it lovingly.  The caption reads, "We rolled down most lovingly together."  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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)

At the end of a story, the characters are collected into a locked trunk.  From The Oxford Thackeray.

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This May Surprise You (permalink)

"Machines of most types change or disappear; even institutions die; the clock is unchangeable and eternal.  The last man, when he says farewell to the cold, exhausted sun, will consult his watch in order to know the exact time of his death." —Machado de Assis, Epitaph of a Small Winner

> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
"Up flew his holy body," from The World of Romance, 1892.
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 23, 2015

Presumptive Conundrums (permalink)

You do the math: "Two stockings and two shoes added together make a great many when one has the dawdles."  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.

* Learn more about Presumptive Conundrums at Amazon.com.
> read more from Presumptive Conundrums . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"Portraits of lemons," from The Oxford Thackeray.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)

Yes, this was written by a batty individual: The Insanity of Over-Exertion of the Brain by J. Batty Tuke, 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 ghost of old Sir Giles," from The World of Romance, 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)
"She taught me the secret," from Leslie's Fate; and Hilda, or the Ghost of Erminstein by Andrew Charles Parker Haggard, 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)
"She took down her Shakespeare," from White Poppies by May Kendall and illustrated by R. A. Bell, 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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June 22, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to "photobombing," in which a stray figure on the left pulls focus from what is Through the Eye of a Needle (by L. Trelyven Creole, 1892).

> read more from Precursors . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)

The quest to decode the individual letters in a name goes way, way back.  Our research triggered a realization that every name encodes an ancient Egypitan poem.  As the original publication of our findings is freshly out of print, and as it was originally intended exclusively for professional magicians and mentalists, we were inspired to offer a revised and expanded edition containing twice the number of example readings, so that anyone can perform the technique for friends.  No memory or guesswork is required.  You’ll understand the hidden Egyptian meaning of your name instantly, and you’ll be able to dramatically interpret friends’ names.  You don’t have to be a poet or expert on symbolism to shine with our technique.  You’ll simply say aloud what you secretly know the letters to mean.  Here are the details.


> read more from The Right Word . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here is revealed one of our secrets of time bending — bribing Father Time with New-Year Caraway Cakes, the recipe of which appears in St. Nicholas magazine, 1910, p. 285.

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

Q: What is the purpose of this spoiler/disclaimer?  When I was a kid, our jack-in-the-boxes didn't warn us.  No way, no how.  If you were going to have a heart attack, you were just going to have a heart attack when the evil troll that lives in that box came for you at an astonishing rate of speed.  Plain and simple.  But now there are warnings on the damn thing.  The funniest part is I don't think too many two-year-olds read.  So the point is...? —William Keckler

A: It's conceptual art. —William Keckler

> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From before it was cool to chill out: "We were all alarmed, but we were not chilled."  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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"She stopped and looked as far as the gloaming would let her," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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)
Does this necklace complement her ephemerality?  From The Dance of Death, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 21, 2015

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

From our outpost at Tumblr:

This is a nifty 8-page satirical story by Jonny Chance about a fictionalized doppelgänger of comedian Paul Lynde who is not an alcoholic but rather "save[s] alcohol for occasions catered by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."  At first I thought the book was presented as a Burroughs-style cut-up, but the top of each page features commentary by the author about what inspired the story, trying to handle the delicate balance of mocking Christianity when religion isn't technically the subject, and the goal of shattering illusions in a truly challenging way without merely congratulating the already-converted (à la The Matrix and Fight Club).  At the bottom of each page is the Paul Lynde story itself.  The Clarion Journal will take you to a page with a link to the pdf, which is here: http://www.clarion-journal.com/files/paullynde.pdf.


> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)

Here's how any blank piece of paper is actually a magic trick with a false bottom:

Gentlemen, observe this piece of paper.  An ordinary sheet of paper, no watermark, no false bottom.  And now I'd like to ask someone for an ordinary pencil.  Thank you, sir.  In the meantime you can talk, play little games, do what you like, it won't make any difference to me.  And he sits down and begins to write.  Anyone can write.  There is no shortage of words.  And off he goes with them.  Now he shows whether there's anything in him or not, now he gives it all he's got.  And when we read his story, we forget this dreary reality, we discover in our own room a secret door that we had never noticed before, behind which all sorts of strange and unheard-of things go on.  It's not such an ordinary bit of paper after all; there is a false bottom, and there is a watermark which no one can forge. —Ernst Kreuder, The Attic Pretenders

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
You've heard of "cooking the books."  Here are "manuscript recipes" from One Hundred and One Desserts by Mary E. Southworth, 1907.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)
"Plucking the long grass, I tried to cover myself with it."  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Mr. Nadgett breathes, as usual, an atmosphere of mystery," from The Life and Adventures of Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 20, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"Keeping [one's] seventy" is the new "keeping one's forty."  From The Old Looking-Glass by Maria Louisa Charlesworth, 1878.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Now Isoline, remember, you are the 'Queen of the Night,'" from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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)
"Chanted a long incantation," from The Secret of the Magian by André Laurie, 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)
"Before, I had only heard of the mystery, NOW I feel it!"  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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)
Princess Ice-heart: "she shall be known for what she is," from Studies and Stories by Mrs. Molesworth, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 clergyman making the experiment whether animals will drink intoxicating liquors," from Cobb's New Sequel to the Juvenile Readers by Lyman Cobb, 1852.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 19, 2015

Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

In honor of the phenomenon that is Floating Head Friday, here's a page from our latest project, How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook, which explores exactly why college annuals are chock full of severed heads, skulls, cauldrons, black cats, and devilish figures.


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

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The Only Certainty (permalink)

"The only certainty that is there is you. Why?—because even to doubt yourself, you have to be there." —Osho, Mindfulness in the Modern World

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"A professor of the humanities," depicted in Here and There in Our Own Country, 1885.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
"A most convivial meeting," from Handley Cross by Robert Smith Surtees, 1892.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Father Time is on the bottle again, from Le Guincaillier, 1907.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the "hundredth monkey effect" (not to be confused with the infinite monkey theorem), from St. Nicholas magazine, 1904.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

An illustration for the "nightlife" chapter (?) of The New Guide for Strangers and Residents in the City of York by William Hargrove, 1838.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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June 18, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

When you're being chased by wolves down a frozen river, have skates and a kite handy and see for yourself what a difference they make.  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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How to Believe in Your Elf (permalink)
* 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.

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This May Surprise You (permalink)

"There are a number of ideas present in water." —William Keckler

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Trust in the dark," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's the latest religious fashion 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Books and Bookmen, 1899.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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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.]
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June 17, 2015

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

This book answers its own rhetorical question in its frontispiece.  From Whither? by M. E. Francis, 1893.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

This fairy on a bunny appears in a book entitled Yachts and Yachting, by Frederic Schiller Cozzens (1887), which proves that one really needs no excuse to work in bunny-riding fairies.  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.]
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Call it a Hunch (permalink)

"'Call it a hunch.'  'That's about all you can call it.'"
Jayne Ann Krentz, Deep Waters

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Puzzles and Games (permalink)

How can you tell that these letters are for a newscaster?  Because they spell out .  (The answer is in black text on a black background.  Highlight to view.)


Our image is from St. Nicholas magazine, 1903.  The answer is our own to a question unknown.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Lady Luck reigns from within a horseshoe, as we see in Pariserliv i Firserne by Richard Kaufmann, 1885.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)
"Lucy gave way for a short time to the memory pictures which floated before her mental vision," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1883 issue of The Quiver magazine.  The caption reads: "He was suddenly seized with the most awful terrors."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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June 16, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Harpo Marx under the bed in 1929's The Cocoanuts, from Too Clever by Half by John Lang, 1878.

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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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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

You've seen the cliché of a frustrated writer tossing away page after crumpled page, but here's one tossing the ink, too.  From Colorado College Nugget yearbook, 1909.  See How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

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

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Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I see in one glance—one sharp, quick glance—TWO FIENDS ALWAYS NEAR YOU, urging you on to murder!"  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From The Funny Side of Physic by Addison Darre Crabtre, 1874.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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June 15, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Information Regarding Knitted Suits by James McCreery, 1890.

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

"She got up and staggered towards an old mirror."  (If you ask us, there's no better way to approach an old mirror than to stagger.)  From The Dove's Nest and Other Tales, 1886.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

Q: Why do photographers love windows?

A: Every window [is] crushed between two frames of time. —William Keckler

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"No account of Piccadilly is complete which leaves the goat out of the picture, an unexpected rural figure in the foreground."  From The Great Streets of the World, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Note the sideways A in the caption above the story's title.  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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.]
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the haunted bendy door in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, from Ladies' Home Journal, 1948.

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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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June 14, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's an oldie but a goodie, from Deportmental Ditties by Harry Graham, 1900.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 say that war affects everyone in some way.  From The American Legion Weekly, Dec. 23, 1921.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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This May Surprise You (permalink)

It's rarely mentioned, but one challenge of a wooden leg is that it unwittingly serves as a dowsing rod.  We find our evidence in Wonderful Ching-Ching by Edwin Harcourt Burrage, 1886.  The caption reads, "The wooden leg of Eddard went up into the air with a sudden jerk."

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Bonanza Rule Illustrated, 1883.  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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The aged priest invited them by signs to enter."  From An American Emperor: The Story of the Fourth Empire of France by Louis Tracy, 1897.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Favourite English Poems and Poets, 1870.  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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The wigwam was a failure," from Two Little Savages by Ernest Thompson Seton, 1911.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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June 13, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's a vintage Rube Goldberg machine in the wild, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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Precursors (permalink)
The old foot-stuck-in-a-seashell gag (though it's a Googlewhack!), from St. Nicholas magazine, 1904.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Tom Burke of "Ours" by Charles James Lever and illustrated by Phiz, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"For one moment the dark figure, with its white-robed, lovely burden, was outlined in shadowy form amid the weird rose-haze."  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Look out for future fire," from Through Hell with Hiprah Hunt by Art Young, 1901.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From The Monk and the Hangman's Daughter by Ambrose Bierce, 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.]
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June 12, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"Mimica expostulates with her uncle," though mostly repeats what he says, surely.  From Courtleroy by Ann Neale, 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.]
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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Ruth Tearle's affirmation that "Every bubble has a different personality" (Blackboards Bubbles & Cappuccinos, 2005), from St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Winged noses flock around stinky perfumes, from Historie and Guide to Leverpoole by Triplets, 1886.

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

 As Ken Blanchard notes in Playing the Great Game of Golf, "examine where your pluses fall."  Our illustration is from Prodigiorvm ac Ostentorvm Chronicon, 1557.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
Limping along on credit, from The Man in the Moon, 1820.
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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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Shakespeare as a Physician by Jesse Portman Chesney, 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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June 11, 2015

Indubitably (?) (permalink)

Debate over the Bible's facticity indubitably misses the crucial question: "Is it art?"

Joedirtrules disagrees:

That’s simply not true. Examining the text (in conjunction with archeological finds) to research the origins of the Bible, and thus, subsequently asses the authenticity of it’s purported accounts, had lead to discovering the contrasting rhetoric employed by the authors–amalgamated into the old testament.  They are: J (or Yahwist), E (calling God “Elohim”), P (priestly), and D (deuteronomy). J, is characterized by the vast detail and emotion, and the fact that God speaks directly to people. While, E, writes of mediation between God’s words and the intended recipient.   Point being, it was the very admission of the Bible’s artistic aspects that was asserted in discussions of its facticity.

*If Merriam (or Webster?) is correct that indubitably is not the kind of word that gets used in everyday conversation, except perhaps for humorous effect, then insert comedy drum roll here.
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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.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Up-to-Date Primer by John Wilson Bengough, 1896.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a pair of respectable witnesses from The Royal Letter-Bag, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 "The Spectre of Tappington," in The World of Romance, 1892.  The caption reads, "He whipped his legs into them in a twinkling."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)
"Explained," from Abraham Lincoln's Personality, 1920.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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June 10, 2015

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

I'm nearing the point of obsession.  I can’t look away, and don’t want to.  Like Tarot cards, but with built-in illumination, and much more fun. Brilliant, says I! —Jeff Hawkins 

A few years ago, we collaborated on a deck of "wide-awake dreaming" cards for the celebrated mentalist Kenton Knepper.  Kenton occasionally demonstrated this deck at gatherings of the magical underground in Las Vegas, and that's how the cards got the street names of "Waking Dream Cards," "Metaphor Cards," "Subconscious Communication Cards," "Transformation Cards," and "K-Kards."  But their official name is "[Self-Intuiting] Polarity Cards."  The deck long-remained one of Kenton's best-kept secrets, but we can now reveal that they're finally available to anyone who wishes to experience a mind-blowing insight that they verifiably didn't have before.  Unlike Tarot cards or other well-known reading decks, Polarity Cards are wholly free of dogma and therefore allow for fresh, intuitive understandings that are neither influenced nor hindered by preconceptions.  Deeply rooted in coded principles from the Mystery traditions, the cards also work as powerful meditational tools, unlocking a greater sense of harmony and well-being.  Lots more information about the deck is at TheGameCrafter.

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No News Is Good News (permalink)

"News doesn't exist" —a line from "Old Man Harper Remembers" by Gary Barwin

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Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt suggests that someone should write a book or paper entitled Double Talk: A Deep-Structure Analysis of Binary Repetition Patterns in Anthropomorphized Animal Imperatives within English-Language Juvenile Formulae.  [For example]:

"Ladybug, ladybug [fly away home]"

"Pussycat, pussycat [where have you been]"

"Teddy bear, teddy bear [touch the ground]"

 

 

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's the track of the fox to the woods, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1903.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 the devil's looking-glass, 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.]
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

From the Halcyon yearbook of Swarthmore College, 1895.  See How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

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

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
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June 9, 2015

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

Here's what books looked like before the "Me generation."  From 1893.


> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"Address to the Deil," from The Complete Works of Robert Burns, 1886.  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)

You've heard of "bubbling humor," but here's where it all happens.  From The Black and Gold yearbook of Richard J. Reynolds High School, Winston-Salem, North Carolina, 1925.  See How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

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

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
From Walt Mason: His Book, 1916.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"If I let him drink his water pure, who knows but what I might lose him."  From "Weighed and Wanting" by Syndey Watson, from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 8, 2015

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)

William Keckler promises the "instant, zinger success of a book titled Dumb Autopsies."

> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's a fun bit of unintentional incongruity: a reference to motoring in a cactus forest, on a ship sailing the high seas.  From an ad in St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.  (We say "unintentional" because the ad features several ships' sails as frames for the titles of upcoming publications.)

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 advice columnist Dear Abby, from The Boy-God by Edward Melville Lynch, 1892.


> read more from Precursors . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)

5x5 magic word squares are incredibly rare, with the Pompeiian Sator / Arepo / Tenet / Opera / Rotas being the best known by far.  (Futility Closet featured the Revel / Evere / Veoev / Ereve / Lever grid, which reads as a palindromic sentence though not as a magic square.)  But there are three other 5x5 word squares explained in The Young Wizard's Hexopedia, including this one: Balam / Avada / Labal / Adava / Malab.  Balam is a name for supernatural intuition, derived from the diviner called Balaam in the Torah.  Avada is an Estonian word that means "open."  Labal is the occult name for the revealer of all the mysteries of the Earth (described in The Lesser Key of Solomon).  Adava is a Marathi word for a winding road.  And Malab is a Somali word for honey, which is a code for "alchemical gold," which itself is a code for immortality.  Woven together into a grid, these words form a charm that conjures magic insight so as to reveal the mysterious pathway toward everlasting light.

> read more from The Right Word . . .
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No News Is Good News (permalink)
"The news!  Have you heard the news?"  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.
> read more from No News Is Good News . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Librarianship was a cutthroat business back in the day.  From The Man in the Moon, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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June 7, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's Tom Thumb and his so-called wife, though it's as plain as the nose on your face that they're a same-digit couple.  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.

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

Traditional math aside, Goldilocks had forebears.

Also ...

Even before Darwin, everyone had forebears.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's the night sky as a cosmic peacock's fan, from The Sirens Three, written and illustrated by Walter Crane, 1886.

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

Here's a buffalo mandala from an ad in Free Niagara, 1886.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"How she wrote it, she could never quite tell.  It was written with hot, dry eyes, and face as white as death."  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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 The Letters of Charles Dickens, 1893.  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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June 6, 2015

This May Surprise You (permalink)

You've heard the idiom that "blood is thicker than water," but what does water have to do with anything?  Rather, it's oil, as we see in this diagram from An American Text-Book of Physiology by William Henry Howell, 1897.


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Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)

Illustration by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.

[Jonathan Caws-Elwitt suggests that someone should write] "a humorous midlife-crisis novel called Coffee Name, about someone who gives a barista a fake, 'easy' name with his or her drink order (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is sometimes called a 'coffee name')... and then, catching the eye of an attractive stranger and acting on a crazy impulse, assumes the coffee name 'for real,' along with a radically different identity and personality, and begins indulging in an exuberant fantasy lifestyle he/she never dared pursue before.  So, basically, the old 'new identity' formula, with a cute new premise/title.  [For example]:

"Oh!" she said.  "Sorry."

"No problem, Blake," he replied cheerfully.

Blake?  Oh, right, Clotilde reminded herself, that's what I just gave as my coffee name.  And, wow, was this guy nice looking when he smiled.  She'd seen him almost every day at the cafe--they'd even exchanged pleasantries--but she'd never noticed how cute he was.

Why wasn't it socially acceptable to just ask for a relative stranger's phone number in line at a coffee joint on a Monday morning?  Why did it have to be a bar on a Friday night?

Maybe if she were really a woman called Blake, instead of Clotilde the harried corporate accountant, she'd do things like that.  Maybe if...

The impulse overcame her before she had the opportunity to resist it. "Hey, could I maybe call you next weekend?  I'll be down on Cape May painting a mural all week, but I'll be back on Friday."

A chill ran through her as soon as the words were out of her mouth.  Clotilde knew damn well she didn't have an artistic bone in her body.  Where the hell had this Cape May painter stuff come from?  If she was going to lie in order to impress a hot guy, surely she could have found an easier way to do it than faking a mural.

"I'd love that, Blake."  His smile broadened.  "Wow, an artist, huh?"

"Yeah, an artist," Clotilde answered, with a manic giggle.  There was no turning back now.

> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .
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Precursors (permalink)

The first definition of a fractal is credited to Karl Weierstrass in 1872, but that didn't stop the builders of York Castle's tower in the early thirteenth century.  Our proof appears in The Martial Annals of the City of York by Caesar Caine, 1893.

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

The traditional version of "Jack and Jill" cuts off early.  In truth, falling down the hill was the least of their problems, as we see in St. Nicholas magazine, 1903.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From The Up-to-Date Primer by John Wilson Bengough, 1896.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
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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June 5, 2015

Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to a Talking Heads song.  The caption reads, "Dancing around the burning house."  From The Light-Ship Hand by Henry Frith, 1893.

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

In honor of the phenomenon that is "Floating Head Friday."  From Saito Musashi-bo Benkei by James Seguin De Benneville, 1910.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Imprisoned in a Spanish Convent by Eustace Clare Grenville Murray, 1886.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to marriage equality, from 1892.  The title reads, Our Marriage Barrier.
> 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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June 4, 2015

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

How's this for a concept: the book of Genesis turned the past into a mental construct.  "If not for its intercession, today we would perhaps be dealing with the past as simply one more reality, like any other object of perception" (César Aira, The Literary Conference).  Aira also says of Genesis: "The mere idea of Adam and Eve's existence, of humanity (the species) retroactively reduced to a single couple, gives rise to genetics.  I would even say that it is as far as the imagination can go in this field.  Genetics is the genesis of diversity.  But if diversity has nobody on whom to spread itself out, it turns on itself, gets tangled up in its own general particularity, and therein the imagination is born."

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)

Here's a saintly jackdaw aware of its own halo, from Illustrated British Ballads, Old and New, edited by George Barnett Smith, 1886.

Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
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Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
Q: "Is this a joke?"  (The Secret of the Magian, or, the Mystery of Ecbatana by André Laurie, 1892)
A: Neigh!
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Book of Whispers (permalink)
"Yes, I know the hidden secret," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

This is the best rabbit-poking-a-jack-o'-lantern-with-a-stick we've seen all year!  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1904.  [For Gordon Meyer.]

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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June 3, 2015

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

Here are two classic Egyptian symbols as letters (from Un Tour de Méditerranée, de Venise à Tunis, par Athènes, Constantinople et le Caire by Paul Jousset, 1893), but did you know we uncovered a way to decode Egyptian symbols in the letters of any name?  We share the discovery in the "Egyptian Name Reading System" (described in detail over at Wonder Wizards).  Our system includes an exclusive technique for automatically reciting an Egyptian poem as you gaze upon the letters of anyone's name (seriously), as if channeling a spirit from antiquity.  We only belatedly learned that our system was hailed as one of the top mentalism innovations of 2012 ... but you don't have to be a magician to use it, and it's actually not a trick.

> 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 Gremlins, from Fors Clavigera by John Ruskin, 1886.

> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I was obliged to send her to prison to save myself."  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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 The Queen's Matrimonial Ladder, illustrated by George Cruikshank, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
The sun as an egotist, from Oculus Hoc Est by Christoph Scheiner, 1619.
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .
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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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June 2, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Did you know that the slapstick of turnstiles is as old as turnstiles themselves?  From Plucked: A Tale of a Trap by Hawley Smart, 1886.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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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)
"'What is it you see?' she gasped," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.   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)
"The Spectre and Cupid," from Fables in Verse, 1810.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"His name's the Doctor," from The Man in the Moon, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
From The Pharmaceutical Era, 1887.
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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June 1, 2015

The Right Word (permalink)
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"On reaching the top he found himself in the presence of a skeleton," from Ned Kelly, the Ironclad Australian Bushranger by Edward Kelly, 1887.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Then she prayed, 'Lead, Kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom," from Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

From A Little Tour in Ireland by Samuel Reynolds Hole, 1892.  (See our hand-colored version, too.)

*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 Queen's Matrimonial Ladder, illustrated by George Cruikshank, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
From Mr. World and Miss Church-Member by William Shuler Harris, 1903.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.