CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
February 29, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The perils of leap year," from c. 1888.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Early fame."  From The New Hyperion, 1875.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
From The Pot of Gold and Other Stories by Mary Eleanor Wilkins Freeman, 1892.
*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)
"The ray of light."  From The Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 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 butterfly of science" from England Under the House of Hanover by Thomas Wright and illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Billy Dash Poems by Ward Sprague, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's how a mound (technically the mound in Rathbrenainn) is a sun when sketched from above, from the Journal of the Royal Society of Antiquaries of Ireland, 1849.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Contes en Vingt Lignes by Marguerite Burnat-Provins, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From The New Hyperion, 1875.

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

Here are two precursors to Reeves and Mortimer's "Tiny Hands" sketch.  The first appears in Nature's Revelations of Character by Joseph Simms, 1879.  The second appears in Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.

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February 28, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Nuclear Indicator": still from Gog, 1954.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

So we're reading surrealist painter Ithell Colquhoun's enigmantic novel Goose of Hermogenes and were delighted to encounter the Hermetic secret of drawing a straight line all the way to the horizon.  Before revealing that, here's the novel's official description: "The heroine of this story (described only as 'I') is compelled to visit a mysterious uncle who turns out to be a black magician who lords over a kind of Prospero's Island that exists out of time and space.  Startled by his bizarre behavior and odd nocturnal movements, she eventually learns that he is searching for the philosopher's stone.  When his sinister attentions fall upon the priceless jewel heirloom in her possession, bewilderment turns into stark terror and she realizes she must find a way off the island.  An esoteric dreamworld fantasy composed of uncorrelated scenes and imagery mostly derived from medieval occult sources, Goose of Hermogenes might be described as a gothic novel, an occult picaresque, or a surrealist fantasy."  (By the way, we disagree with the word "uncorrelated" in the description.)  (50Watts has discussed the novel and author here.)
Back to the Hermetic secret, from page 53:
And he dying near by, dying in life, living in death, spending and wasting and dying each time he was with me, each time a step nearer death and death a thought dearer.  He was hungry once with that phosphorescent look about him and asked to be kept alive and I gave him stony gifts; I heaped those stones above him, I laid him in that bed of boulders.  We were held together at last by slanderous bonds, by ridicule, hatred, contempt, but there were older bonds than those, the sulphur, the phosphor, the salt.  Now lying in a small graveyard near bones of kings and beaten gold, he is learning the length of the horizon and drawing perhaps where the worms twine a straighter line than ever before; drawing perhaps the straight wand of Hermes, with the snakes making spirals around it to right and left, the red and the blue, gyres that I must try to compas.  Lying there far from the shrine of a pillow, he is echoing that distant day when the first words he spoke were Listen to me!  And crying a far cry out of a six-foot cradle he is saying again Listen!
Indeed!
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the war on carbs, from 1914.  "The kitchen is the key to victory.  Eat less bread."  Scanned by the University of British Columbia LIbrary.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Reineke Fuchs by Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, 1857.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Sylvester Sound, the Somnambulist by Henry Cockton and illustrated by Onwhyn, 1844.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

Q: Who is the patron saint of Greek food? 

A: [Highlight to reveal:]

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

It's been said that "even a simple game of marbles can end in a broken window."  From an 1887 ad.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 awful ride," from The Wizard of West Penwith, a Tale of the Land's-End by William Bentinck Forfar, 1871.

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

"Who are the real?" from an 1886 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The Archfiend stepped into 'The Home of Lies,'" from The Modern Devil by Isaiah Mench Chambers, 1903.  Speaking of which, what exactly are a snowball's chances in hell?  See A Snowball's Chance in Hell.

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

From Timehri journal, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"I only want to get away somewhere, and forget, if I can, that all this has ever been."  From Open! Sesame! by Florence Marryat, 1876.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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February 27, 2016

The Right Word (permalink)
Can it be true that there's a "curse of one-letter words," as per this commentary piece by Michael Carley?  We can now affirm that there is, indeed, a curse of one-letter words.  We were victimized by it when the Barnes & Noble book chain refused to stock our One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, published by HarperCollins.  Our book is now out of print, except on Kindle, but if you encounter a hardcover copy somewhere in the world, we can assure you of one thing: though there is a curse of one-letter words, our dictionary does not constitute a demonic bible or otherwise forbidden reference.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
You're right — it's now illegal to use owls to hypnotize mustard shoppers.  Interestingly, we can credit this change not to consumers' rights activists but to raptor welfare initiatives.  This die cut trade card for Colburn's Phila. Mustard dates to ca. 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Andiron Tales by John Kendrick Bangs and illustrated by Clare Victor Dwiggins, 1906.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
Here's an unusual appearance of the Aurora Borealis, as obvserved by Captain Parry in his expedition to the Arctic regions, from the Encyclopedia of Natural and Artificial Wonders and Curiosities by John Platts, 1876.  (We previously discovered other precursors to If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow, which we showcased here and also here.)
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From England Under the House of Hanover by Thomas Wright and illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, 1868.

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

If they'd asked us, we'd have said that an opera without music is like an Arthur without a Merlin.

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Precursors (permalink)

P-A-C spells Pac, as in Pac-Man's ancestor from 1880's Mathematical and Physical Papers.


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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The lucky number," from Puttyput's Protégée by Henry George Churchill, 1872.

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

"Therese flies to the door," from The Evil Eye and Other Stories by Katharine Sarah Macquoid, 1876.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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February 26, 2016

This May Surprise You (permalink)
The Disease Triangle is, in actuality, a pyramid, and Time itself is at the apex.  From Agricultural Plant Pest Control, 1998.
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The Right Word (permalink)
"Profanity," from Character Sketches, or The Blackboard Mirror by George A. Lofton, 1890.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan and illustrated by Frederick Barnard, 1905.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Lectures on Roman Husbandry by Charles Daubeny, 1857.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

From The World's Almaniac [sic] for 1879 by Frederick S. Church, 1878.

*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)

You've heard the idiom about having "egg on one's face," but here's how it used to happen.  From The Black Highwayman by Edward Viles, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Olga Romanoff by George Chetwynd Griffith and illustrated by Fred Jane, 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 The Savoy, 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)

This is rather hazy, but perhaps appropriately so.  It's the House of Zoroastre of Jupiter, from a somnambulistic drawing by Victorien Sardou, via Mysterious Psychic Forces by Camille Flammarion, 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)

From The Dervishes or Oriental Spiritualism by John Porter Brown, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Vagrant Verses by George Staunton Brodie and illustrated by Wallis Mackay, 1876.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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February 25, 2016

Staring at the Sun (permalink)
"The land of the midnight sun": a view of Bolgen Mountain by Thorolf Holmboe, ca. 1907.  A scan by Nasjonalbiblioteket.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Little Mr. Thimblefinger and his Queer Country by Joel Chandler Harris, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"No cause for alarm," from St. Nicholas magazine, 1902.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 England Under the House of Hanover by Thomas Wright and illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, 1868.

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

"New Zealand idol," from The Picture Gallery of the Nations, 1870.

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

You didn't think modern art was genuinely modern, right?  From The Homes of Other Days by Thomas Wright, 1871.

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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

Living as we do in the lightning capital of the United States, we can confirm that this is indeed Adamastor, "a hideous phantom whose face is scarred by lightning and whose eyes shoot fire."  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1908.

*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)

"Thousands spent their time [with devil balloons] on the 'Boardwalk,'" from The Modern Devil by Isaiah Mench Chambers, 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)

Stormlight: A Story of Love and Nihilism by J. E. Muddock, 1888.

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

"All transformations occur without the least expediture of energy.  This is fundamental.  If effort were required, even the most minimal amount—and given that in a transformation the point of departure and arrival are identical, i.e. the 'transformed'—energy would be left over and would, in turn, inflate one end or the other of the universe, creating a bulge and returning us to the realm of the monstrous." César Aira (as translated by Katherine Silver), The Literary Conference

> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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February 24, 2016

Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)

Which is funnier: a dog or an oyster, a monkey or an amoeba?

Clue: This is according to a philosopher.
Answer:   (The answer is in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)

Citation: Paul McDonald, The Philosophy of Humor
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From Ward Seminary's Iris yearbook, 1911.   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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The last party of the season," from Among the Meadow People by Clara Dillingham Pierson and illustrated by Frederick Charles Gordon, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)

Held in Thrall by Bracebridge Hemyng, 1869.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Sleeping Beauty by Julia Corner and Charles Perrault, 1861.

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

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

A Tale of Madness by Julian Cray, 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.]
> 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)

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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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February 23, 2016

This May Surprise You (permalink)
Barrels of whiskey and moonshine are traditionally labeled with X's (one X being weakest and three X's being strongest, as we learn in One-Letter Words: A Dictionary).  But lesser-known is that coffee used to be roasted to a XXXX strength.  Our vintage coffee ad is from c. 1890.  The four X's on the vintage Coca Cola postcard below are, we think, unrelated.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The flower spirit," from The New Hyperion, 1875.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Luttrell of Arran by Charles James Lever and illustrated by "Phiz," 1873.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Demonology and Devil-Lore by Moncure Daniel Conway, 1879.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

Here's as good a "weather frognosticator" as we've found, from The World's Almaniac [sic] for 1879 by Frederick S. Church, 1878.

*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 England Under the House of Hanover by Thomas Wright and illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow, from Christmas Eve by Robert Browning, 1906.

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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

From St. Nicholas magazine, 1908.

*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)

"The Sea of Social Swirl," from The Modern Devil by Isaiah Mench Chambers, 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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The Right Word (permalink)

Who better than a Dormer (dormir, of course, meaning "to sleep") to write of a mesmerist's secret?

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Ye Butcher, Ye Baker, Ye Candlestick-Maker by Robert Seaver, 1908.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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February 22, 2016

Staring at the Sun (permalink)
Our fellow hermits are privy to the secret of how to "Enjoy the sun indoors."  Circa 1937.
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From The Cub yearbook of New Bern High School, 1921.  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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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)

"Sixteen-String Jack and Calude Duval follow the mysterious light," from The Black Highwayman by Edward Viles, 1868.

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

"Through Chinese eyes," from Overland Through Asia by Thomas Wallace Knox, 1870.

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

From Farmer's Magazine, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's a tipping table at a seance in Mysterious Psychic Forces by Camille Flammarion, 1907.  This should be of interest: Seance Parlor Feng Shui.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Letters from China and Japan by L. D. S., 1875.

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

From The Dragon of the North by E. J. Oswald, 1888.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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February 21, 2016

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
This is our sheet music and recording of "Clockwork Punctuation: [Andy Warhol's] a, A Novel as Beat Poetry," in answer to a call by Calgary's Poet Laureate Derek Beaulieu to set to music his erasure of Warhol's 1968 novel, in which Beaulieu leaves only the punctuation.  We fed the punctuation from page 2 into our one-of-a-kind, persnickety clockwork contraption, assigning the exclamation points to the voice of the cuckoo clock bird and other symbols to different chimes and mechanisms.  (Before the invention of MIDI, programmed music required meticulously timed Grandfather clocks, and every performance ticked at 60 bpm.  In the tradition of the original "old school," this clockwork recording features vintage timepieces.)  Here's a link to the mp3:
The mp3 is mirrored on Souncloud:
Thanks to the acclaimed poet Christian Bök (author of the astonishing Eunoia) for calling our recording "a beautiful clockwork sonata."
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We received a message that said "Grendel was what I couldn't recall."
We were reminded of the wisdom to know one's own monster.
—Karen E. Taylor, "No More Silver Mirrors," On Writing Horror
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From 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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Politische Zeichnungen by Franz Masereel, 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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From By Way of the Secret Passage by Lindsey Barbee, 1916.

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

"They compose a joint-stock poem (limited)," from The 5 Alls by Thomas Hood, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Savoy, 1896.

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

"He closed the book in a significant manner," from The Orphan and the Foundling by Emma Leslie, 1872.

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

How fast does light travel?  It barrels along, as we learn in More Light by U.S. Gutta Percha Paint Company, 1921.

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Staring at the Sun (permalink)
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .
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Colorful Allusions (permalink)

"The beams and pulses of the colored lights allowed us to see what was going on but not reconstruct it in our minds.  This is the astute discovery such night spots have made." César Aira (as translated by Katherine Silver), The Literary Conference

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February 20, 2016

The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine (permalink)

"Photography is inherently occult, a medium contacting the dead without contagion." 
—Gus Blaisdell (via Mitch Cullen)

This recalls our repository of ghostly images that were never meant to be, entitled The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine.  The specters were conjured unwittingly, through a mechanical process of book scanning.  Their portraits technically do not exist, except within this context.  To explain: in old books, frontispieces were typically protected by a sheet of translucent tissue paper.  So thorough is the Google Books scanning process that even this page of tissue paper is scanned.  The figure in the plate beneath the tissue—"beyond the veil,” as it were—emerges as from a foggy otherworld.  The frontispieces were never meant to be seen this way.  Their wraithlike manifestations have been artificially "fixed" in time by the scanning process. In essence, timeless phantasms of dead writers have been captured and bound into a new age.  And so we call this phenomenon "unforeseen art," as it constitutes an aesthetic expression without original intent.  Just as artists often credit their inspiration to a Muse, the accidental art herein is in the domain of real ghosts; every author here has departed to the Other Side.  We call it "necromancy by proxy," as the scanning machine serves as our "spirit medium" or shaman.

Pictured below, a page from our book featuring a portrait from The Confessions of a Beachcomber.  Note that the fisherman’s ghostly spear pierces the veil to make contact with the material realm.


* The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine promises real ghosts, actual hauntings, and necromancy by proxy.
> read more from The Ghost in the [Scanning] Machine . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Before Twitter, here's how people concisely communicated the entire range of the human experience.  Photo by Libby Welch.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Les Etoiles; Derniere Feerie by Joseph Mery and illustrated by Grandville, 1847.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Death's Doings by Richard Dagley, 1827.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 World's Almaniac [sic] for 1879 by Frederick S. Church, 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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)

Alas, the practical use of weather reports has not survived to our times, but back in 1871, things were apparently very different.


*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 Sleeping Beauty by Julia Corner and Charles Perrault, 1861.

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

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

When you order a double, you're invoking these two.  From Boons and Blessings by S. C. Hall, 1875.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From International Studio, 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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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February 19, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's the mysterious floating signage of Motel McNeive, exactly as it was scanned by the Boston Public Library.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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It's Really Happening (permalink)

The foreground of this collage is from the extraordinarily brilliant comedy series Arrested Development.
> read more from It's Really Happening . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Valentine Verses by Richard Cobbold, 1827.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)

"Terrific attack of the dreaded anaconda, or sea serpent," from The Frozen Crew of the Ice-Bound Ship, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 new monster," from England Under the House of Hanover by Thomas Wright and illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, 1868.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 leader of the butterflies," from St. Nicholas magazine, 1908.

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

Here's a precursor to a head with a coin slot in Kamen Rider OOO (2010), from The New Hyperion, 1875.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's a python showing off his new overcoat to some well-dressed rabbit musicians, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

The Wolf-Demon, or the "Red Arrow" of the "Far West," 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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February 18, 2016

The Right Word (permalink)

"Every language is bittersweet to those who don't know it." —Gary Barwin, Yiddish for Pirates
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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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 would I do if I didn't have this to keep me warm," from A Queer Family by Effie Woodward Marriman, 1891.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Brown's Standard Elocution and Speaker by Isaac Hinton Brown, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's an ornament from the History of the Virginia Company of London by Edward Diffield Neill, 1869.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Allan Quatermain by H. Rider Haggard and illustrated by C. M. H. Kerr, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Boons and Blessings by S. C. Hall, 1875.

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

"I was fascinated."  From Phantastes by George MacDonald, 1894.

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

From The Doctor's Family by Jules Marie Alfred Giradin, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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February 17, 2016

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

The Physics of Literary Allusion

When Ridley Scott chose to name his filmed adaptation of Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? after an unrelated novel, Alan E. Nourse's The Bladerunner, an "entanglement" was created.  Imagine a string connecting the two Blade Runners, transcending the Meaning-Context Perimeters of each work.  (In our diagram, the perimeters deliberately resemble Morse code, because beyond a literary work's context, meanings tend toward the cryptic and secret.)  That entangling string is vibrated or "enlivened" by the Meaning-Context Perimeters, very much like the string of a violin activated by a bow.  We see that the resulting resonance is interpenetrating — each work becomes colored by the other.  The significance is quasi-magical, as readers unfamiliar with Nourse's coinage of Bladerunner are yet taken by the word's glamour in Scott's usage (in its original sense, glamour meant enchantment/magic and was an alteration of the word grammar).  And vice versa, since the entangling string connects beyond time.  Each title is powerful in its respective year (1974 for Nourse, 1982 for Scott) because of that entangling string; in other words, the punch of Nourse's title is in anticipation of Scott's echo of it eight years later, and, paradoxically, Scott banked on the glamour "previously" inherent in Nourse's term.  (We of course recall that in terms of quantum physics, time does not exist in the way that we observe and metabolize it.)
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The reward of an inventor."  From The New Hyperion, 1875.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Rhetorical Answers, Questioned (permalink)
> read more from Rhetorical Answers, Questioned . . .
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Strange Dreams (permalink)
"I dream'd one night, as some have dream'd before."  From The Loyal Man in the Moon, 1820.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)

From Paris Qui Souffre by Adolphe Guillot, 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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Precursors (permalink)

Here's a precursor to King Moonracer, ruler of the Island of Misfit Toys in the Rankin/Bass television special Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.  From Thoughts on the Prophecies of Daniel by Uriah Smith, 1899.

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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)

Forget earworms — here's how music really gets into your head.  From The New Hyperion, 1875.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

You've heard of the Seven Dwarfs, but the Seven Corks are (left to right) Trippy, Frightened, Apoplectic, Choleric, Flummoxed, and (not shown) Thunderstruck and Witless.  From La Mujer magazine (Buenos Aires, 1899).  (See our previous Seven Corks item here.)

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

"Love not consumed in passion's heart but golden flamed & stedfast, sweet," from Queen Summer, written and illustrated by Walter Crane, 1891.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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February 16, 2016

This May Surprise You (permalink)
It's rare to encounter the Platonic ideal of a postcard.  A negative was made for a postcard of the post office in Jackson, Michigan, but the card was never printed.
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Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)
I dreamed of a winking face that reminded me of an emoticon I once knew.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Kinder und Hausmarchen by the Grimm Brothers, 1912.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
There's a fine line between profit and theft. —J. J. Pengilly, Blinkered (2015)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Yellow Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 1906.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 England Under the House of Hanover by Thomas Wright and illustrated by F. W. Fairholt, 1868.

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

Here's the "best part of the joke" from Roughing It by Mark Twain, 1873.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Salad for the Solitary and the Social by Frederick Saunders, 1872.

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

"Tommy on exhibition," from St. Nicholas magazine, 1877.


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

"It may surprise you to learn there are over 300 distinctive theories of psychotherapy in the world today." —Men Couseling Men

 

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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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February 15, 2016

This May Surprise You (permalink)
Once upon a time, the melting of icebergs was a sign of progress.
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Something, Defined (permalink)
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Boy Travellers in the Russian Empire by Thomas Wallace Knox, 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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The Right Word (permalink)
"Our proper bliss depends on what [that which] we blame."  From A Practical Grammar by Stephen Watkins Clark, 1847.
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Do-Re-Midi (permalink)

Here's the musical notation for "ouch," from Emmerich Manual High School's Booster yearbook, 1919.  (For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.)

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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

Here's some "mysterious stuff" from Phillips Academy's Pot Pourri yearbook, 1919.  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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's the true form of a clerk, from The New Hyperion, 1875.

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

From The Wasp, 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.]
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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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Top: an illustration from an 1878 issue of Frank Leslie's Popular Monthly magazine.  The caption reads: "The Five Alls: The Parson (I pray for all), The Lawyer (I plead for all), The Farmer (I maintain all), The Soldier (I fight for all), and The Devil (I take all)."

Bottom: an illustration from The 5 Alls by Thomas Hood, 1868.  Instead of a farmer and the devil, there is a king (I rule all) and a financier (I pay for all).

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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February 14, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Elevator to Valentine's."  Photo by Leslie Jones, date uncertain.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 this line: "It might be a case of, 'any chance of a baked potato?'" (Charlotte Williamson, "My Private Chef," The Guardian).  Our illustration appears in Joseph Breck's Annual Descriptive Catalogue of Seeds, 1896.
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The Right Word (permalink)
Our favorite month — Februgesy!  From Education, Personality & Crime by Albert Wilson, 1908.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
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 Le Chat Botté by Charles Perrault, 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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .
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Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

Inner vision can distinguish between the upper minor mysteries and the lower major mysteries.  [Thanks, Jim, for inspiring this one!]

Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Boons and Blessings by S. C. Hall, 1875.

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

You've heard of "love sickness," but here's how it happens: Cupid is poisonous.  From The Impudent Comedian and Others by Frank Frankfort Moore and illustrated by R. Sauber, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's an ornate capital S from Fra Lippo Lippi by Margaret Vere Farrington, 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)

"Ahabach appeared, on the back of an enormous scorpion," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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February 13, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Rarer than a Blue Moon: Postcards of the Witching Hour

Out of nearly 25,000 vintage postcards scanned by the Boston Public Library, fewer than 400 depict night scenes. These ultra-rare specimens are invariably intriguing for their auras of mystery. While moonlight gets good press by the romantics amongst us, the truth is that dark waters hide who-knows-what (serpents, at the very least), and shadowy corners of shrubbery may conceal skulduggery. And so a sense of foreboding precedes our curation of postcards of the night.
Why are fewer than 2% of postcards moonlit?
Simply put, the ancients avoided what we might call "lunacy triggers." Even a painted depiction of a full moon reflects light, just like its heavenly counterpart, and therefore was credited with the ability to engender madness (whether full-fledged mental illness, an eccentric variety of "mad genius," or mere foolishness).* So as to decrease culpability, postcard manufacturers of old perhaps went overboard in avoiding moonlit scenes. Surely 99% sunlight is an over-reaction to a fear of lunacy? And yet the fear was not unfounded, due to the fact that printer's ink is subject to lunar gravitational pulls. "It is not just the oceans that submit to the tides of the Moon. Anything liquid ... is subject to the effects of the Moon" (D. G. Farnsworth, Superstar Passage: The Reincarnation of Karen Carpenter, 2009). Hence, the microcosm of the postcard "closely connects with the larger world ... or cosmos of the universe" (ibid.).
*"The image of the moon ... gives rise symbolically to a double meaning of both lunacy (in its Western connotation) and enlightenment (in its Chinese etymological implication)" (Tina Ilgo, "The Moon as a Symbol and Central Motif in Lu Xun's Short Stories," Modernisation of Chinese Culture: Continuity and Change, 2014).
Why is every moon in postcards at its fullest phase?
Even when the moon is not visible in a postcard of the night, the scene is nearly always illuminated by full-moonlight. Artist Marcia Milner-Brage explains the phenomenon: "I'll never tire of trying to capture the night. And a full moon is irresistible." In two incredibly rare exceptions, there appears to be not a crescent moon so much as a lunar eclipse:
Why is every moon in postcards yellow-to-orange in color?
We presume that the postcard artists did not consciously much less collectively decide to eschew the moon's standard silvery-white. The predominant orange color suggests the harvest moon, which recalls pagan festivals. That's because "the lure of paganism will never die. ... [I]ts attraction is fixed in man's psyche. ... And it will recur, often in the most intellectual of times, till the end-of-time!" (Lawrence Murray, The Guardians, 2002). Modern societies continue to embrace Halloween, evidence that paganism has left its mark and indeed "will endure for many more millennia just the way it is currently" (Jeff Pierce & Frank Muller, "Paganism Vs. Christianity," 2012).
Nothing reflects moonlight like the Great White Sands:
A moonbow -- a rare phenomenon:
Searchlights in the sky:
The eerie night-bloom cactus of Florida:
From night trains to night waterfalls to the pagodas of Pennsylvania:
An evening star, of sorts:
Silent sentinels:
 
Out of the darkness into mysterious depths:
A Jersey toll plaza -- if this is a novelty postcard, it's presented deadpan:
A light in the tower:
The road to the moon:
Fire meets water: the night fountains:
A solarium at night:
Sometimes postcards wish to be moonlit when they aren't:
If our journey through the night has given you the heebie-jeebies, repeat to yourself that "It's only a movie":
Here's the rest of the collection of postcards of the night:
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
We learned in Curb Your Enthusiasm that "on no planet is a shoe caddy a good gift."  That includes planets that are shoes themselves, such as this one discovered c. 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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Precursors (permalink)
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Memoria Philosophica by J. R. Gayton, 1826.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Fables of Æsop by Joseph Jacobs, 1894.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

Everything is figurative
inside a daisy.
—William Keckler, "(it loves me, it loves me not)"

Meanwhile, here's our interactive "loves me, loves me not" daisy.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From the University of North Carolina's Carolina Magazine, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The sage and the shadow," from The New Hyperion, 1875.

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

From back when science magazines featured skulls coated with tin foil: Popular Science Monthly, 1872.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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February 12, 2016

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to anthropologist Amber Case saying our technology is changing us into cyborgs.  Circa 1890.
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
You're aware of the challenge of reading "microscopic kanji characters" (Craig Briggs, I Love Japan), but here are inchoate kanji as seen under a microscope.  Our illustration appears in Anales de la Academia de Ciencias Medicas, Fisicas y Naturales de la Habana, 1919.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Battle of the Frogs and Mice by Jane Barow, 1894.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Strange Dreams (permalink)
From Chimney-Pot Papers by Charles Brooks, 1919.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Harvard and its Surroundings by Moses King and Thomas Parker Ivy, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The hypochondriac" from Overland Through Asia by Thomas Wallace Knox, 1870.

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

Here's the Sphynx from Roughing It by Mark Twain, 1873.

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

Ironically, a spade's true nature is to take root, as we see in Boons and Blessings by S. C. Hall, 1875.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Morbid Fears and Compulsions by Horace Westlake Frink, 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