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.
May 31, 2016

Colorful Allusions (permalink)
What do "fifty shades of grey" have to do with the Wizard of Oz?  One might think that in the Oz spectrum, ruby (slipper) is connected to emerald (city) by yellow (brick road).  However, there are actually fifty shades of grey between ruby and emerald.  (Spoiler: it's the fifty shades of Toto's coat of many colors.)
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
A book that is conscious of its own existence?  Not only is that possible, but there's more than one of them.

Tic Tac Tome: The Autonomous Tic Tac Toe Playing Book not only knows your next move as you play a game with it, but when asked in the introduction if it's aware of its own existence, the book asserts its consciousness and then eerily tells the reader that the real question is whether the reader truly exists or is merely a manifestation of its paper-based imagination.  With every round of the game, the reader feels increasingly certain of the book's sentience.
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia reads the mind of its reader throughout, again and again predicting the reader's very next thought or opinion about the information.  In the first chapter the book divines whether or not the reader has begun reading in lieu of a pressing responsibility.  
Clive Barker's demon-narrated novel Mister B. Gone, which increasingly damns the reader's soul with every word read, begs its reader to close its pages and knows if the reader is still there.  The demon explains that this book will do the reader harm beyond description unless the reader does as asked and simply stops reading.  The book can tell whether the reader has trusted the demon and stopped reading.
More subtly, but of special interest to literary critics, in Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, the omniscient narrator weaves the reader's consciousness into the novel's by craftily using first-person plural pronouns to transform monologues into dialogues, thus uniting author and reader.  As one analyst has noted, "Suddenly the omniscient narrator reads the mind of the reader, moving beyond the limits of the facade of so-called reality and reminding readers that they too are part of the illusion of truth that a story pretends.  The alienation from the text as truth keeps them aware of the illusion.  The reader colludes with the writer/narrator in the success of the fiction" (Tom Robbins: A Critical Companion).  
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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Rhetorical Answers, Questioned (permalink)
Q: "I wonder if the rabbit visits anyone in Cal?"
A: Not without a license: "It is illegal in California for anyone to possess eggs ... without a license" (California Farmer, Vol. 274), possibly because "The urge to find and possess eggs has driven men to distant and dangerous places" (Joseph Kastner, A World of Watchers).
> read more from Rhetorical Answers, Questioned . . .
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Postcard Transformations (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click to lower the sun.

Geographical Center of North America, Rugby, North Dakota
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)

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This May Surprise You (permalink)
You knew that a hat is scaled to fit the head of the wearer, but here's how it's done.  From Daily Colonist, 1900.
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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)
"The death of the political hydra," from The Men in the Moon or The Devil to Pay, illustrated by George Cruikshank, 1820.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Rhyme and Reason by Lewis Carroll (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)
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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How to Believe in Your Elf (permalink)
* There is a vast world of reality into which science can no more enter than an elf can be Santa Claus.  We regret to observe that rather than face it, and confess its inability to measure it, science turns its back upon it.  Life is not always every-day life, and the insolvable mysteries are correlated not to formal rules but to spirit and inspiration.  Are bits of wisdom liable to dwarf the subject?  Indeed — and rightly!  James Howell described the ingredients of a good proverb to be "sense, shortness, and salt."  May Howell's cry resound through this present collection of maxims on believing in one's elf.

> read more from How to Believe in Your Elf . . .
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May 30, 2016

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Here's all you have to do:
  1. All you have to do is listen.  (Rob Kapilow, 2008)
  2. All you have to do is ask.  (Meredith Walters, 2007)
  3. All you have to do is be the middleman.  (Jay Abraham, Getting Everything You Can Out of All You've Got, 2000)
  4. All you have to do is win.  (Trent Frayne, 1968)
  5. All you have to do is glance at your calendar.  (Savitri Ramaiah, Lifestyle During Pregnancy, 2003)
  6. All you have to do is balance your weight.  (Edwin Burford, Skiing Made Simple, 2007)
  7. All you have to do is share your experience, strength, and hope.  (Robert Perkinson, The Gambling Addiction Patient Workbook, 2003)
  8. All you have to do is select items from a series of menus and the system does all the work. (Dinesh Maidasani, Comprehensive Information Technology)
  9. All you have to do is walk out your front door.   (Howard Wimer, Inner Guidance and the Four Spiritual Gifts, 2014)
  10. All you have to do is to hit the RIGHT target with the RIGHT weapon at the RIGHT time.  (J. C. Kemmerer, Tournament Sparring, 2011)
  11. All you have to do is be open.  (J. K. Ellis, Perfected Mind Control, 2006)
  12. All you have to do is to make it happen.  (Terence Hamilton-Morris, Spirit Rises, 2013)
  13. All you have to do is cut your calories and watch what you eat.  (Dag Albright, Chicks, 2007)
  14. All you have to do is sort out your own theory of direct mail.  (Tony Attwood, Education Marketing, 2005)
  15. All you have to do is think properly.  (Charles Mangua, Son of Woman in Mombasa, 1986)
  16. All you have to do is be still and tap into the energy.  (Danielle Garcia, Angel Blessings, 2008)
  17. All you have to do is put that down.  (Zane, Infinite Words, 2015)
  18. All you have to do is live the life.  (Angus Buchan, Now is the Time, 2014)
  19. All you have to do is decide what you want to change.  (Nevaeh Michael, Fall in Love Again, 2012)
  20. All you have to do is start.  (Leo Babauta, Zen to Done)
  21. All you have to do is send people to the offer and hope they buy.  (Tracy Repchuk, 31 Days to Millionaire Marketing Miracles, 2013)
  22. All you have to do is change your thoughts.  (Theron J. Houston, I Once Was Lost, 2009)
  23. All you have to do is have Ralph watched when he comes into your city.  (Jeff Inlo, Soul View)
  24. All you have to do is state firmly but in a friendly manner, "No thanks, I have other plans."  (Keys to Learning, 2007)
  25. All you have to do is get out of your comfort zone and be ready for new experiences.  (Romy Miller, How to Be the Man Women Want, 2009)
  26. All you have to do is find a sheet of words, the words being colours.  (Michael Robinson, 10 Ways to Enhance Your Mind and Become More Efficient, 2013)
  27. All you have to do is sit back and wait for the money to start rolling in.  (Marketing your Ebook)
  28. All you have to do is work backwards and precisely calculate what has to happen to make that journey.  (Getting Everything You Can Out Of All You've Got, 2013)
  29. All you have to do is circle all that apply.  (S. F. Berk, The Gender Factory, 2012)
  30. All you have to do is simply attend.  (Jonathan C. Smith, Relaxation, Meditation, & Mindfulness, 2005)
  31. All you have to do is list what you want out of life and then sign your name at the bottom.  (Alternate Gerrolds: An Assortment of Fictitious Lives, 2013)
  32. All you have to do is believe, let go of the past, and move forward!  (Tammy Lynn Robinson, Thoughts of the Heart, 2013)
  33. All you have to do is show up.  (Nancy Whitney-Reiter, Now is the Time to Do What You Love, 2009)
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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The Right Word (permalink)
"Uneedn't" is a rare word, but it's the name of a song by DJ G.K. Apsis.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
You've seen paisleys with geometric central elements.  These are armed citadels.  Our exemplifying collage shows the stronghold Fort Independence on the paisley Castle Island, Boston Harbor.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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The Only Certainty (permalink)
"The only certainty is that a decision must be made, leaving us with the dilemma of decision-making under conditions of great uncertainty." —Nico Stehr, Knowledge Politics
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Harper's Monthly, 1922.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Chimney-Pot Papers by Charles Brooks, 1919.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a tricky card from L'Oncle de l'Europe by John Grand-Carteret, 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)
Here's a centaur from Boletín Oficial de la República Argentina, 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)
From Life and Death or The Creeping Shadow by D. Lambden Flemming, 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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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
Here's "the last page" from Belmont College's Milady in Brown yearbook, 1909.

*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 apparition of the murdered lady," from The Skeleton Horseman or the Shadow of Death, 1866.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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May 29, 2016

Puzzles and Games :: Tic Tac Toe Story Generator (permalink)
In the farce Kid Curlers by Dorothy Waldo (1916), something that "looks like a game of tic-tac-toe" is mistaken for Japanese script.  (Spoiler: it's neither.)  We wondered which X- and O-like characters of katakana might make sense in a tic-tac-toe arrangement.  Here's what we came up with:
Reading right to left, up to down, we have a call for someone not to resign due to a particular circumstance:
ya me ro (stop)
ya me na (don't quit)
me na na (because of it)

> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Tic Tac Toe Story Generator . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
Long before the frogs were singing in the Budweiser ads, they were working for Ford Motor's Model T.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Brockton Fair, 1933.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Tse'-xo-be (Spider), life symbol of the Osage tribe's Hon-ga (sacred person) U-ta-non-dsi (isolated one) Gens (the earth)."  From the Annual Report of the Bureau of American Ethnology to the Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, 1915.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Out on a fly," from Photographic Pastimes by Hermann Schnauss, 1891.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From Smith College's 1917 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)
From Curiosités Médico-Artistiques by Lucien Nass, 1907.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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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 an 1887 ad in The Pharmaceutical Era.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a heading for astronomy from Science-Gossip magazine, 1899.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Wheel and Cycling Trade Review, 1898.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a watchman from The Cries of London by John Thmoas Smith, 1839.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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May 28, 2016

Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
Is it embarrassing to own a copy of our dictionary of one-letter words?  For Irish Times columnist Frank McNally, definitely so (but he bravely came out all the same in an article entitled To the Power of M: An Irishman's Diary on the Strange Appeal of the Alphanet's 13th Letter):
Far from bosoms, in fact, the original M was a pictogram for water. And according to my Dictionary of One-Letter Words (it’s sad, I know, but I really have one), the writer Victor Hugo noted that it could also visually represent mountains “or a camp with tents pitched in pairs”.
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

A real estate idea:

Sherlock Homes: the solution for your old dark house.

If you prefer an auction, go to Christie's and ask for Agatha.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The devil holds the kings of Spain and France together," 1779.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Carl Sandburg's Potato Face Blind Man from Rootabaga Stories.  It's "a supposed specimen of aboriginal art" discovered in New Brunswick, 1851, from the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1881.
> read more from Precursors . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Christian Iconography by Adolphe Didron, 1851.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From Hardware Merchandising, 1922.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Kokomo High School's Sargasso yearbook, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Parables and Tales by Thomas Gordon Hake and illustrated by Arthur Hughes, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Scientific Amusements by Gaston Tissandier, 1890.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here's "an initial difficulty" from Plain or Ringlets by Robert Smith Surtees and illustrated by John Leech, 1892.

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

Book of Whispers (permalink)
"The secret to being hip is often just adding an -o to words," as we learn in Robin and the Seven Hoods (1964), analyzed in Funny to Us by Ploeger, Bryant, & Hsieh.
* The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.  No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition—cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.
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Postcard Transformations (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click to tint the Cavendish Hotel, Eastbourne, Sussex, 1866.

Cavendish Hotel, Eastbourne, Sussex, 1866
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's an "actual reproduction" of the skyscraper sandwich.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Sick headache": an ad from The Daily Colonist, 1894.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Strange Dreams (permalink)
From Make Your Game by George Augustus Sala, 1860.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The magician saved from the wolves."  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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From La Normandie Romanesque et Merveilleuse by Amélie Bosquet, 1845.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 light disclosed — the skeleton horseman!"  From The Skeleton Horseman or the Shadow of Death, 1866.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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May 26, 2016

Postcard Transformations (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click to repaint the scene.

Silver Grill, Spokane, Washington
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From 1927.
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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)
From Chimney-Pot Papers by Charles Brooks, 1919.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a rare depiction of a gnome hatchling, from The Black Aunt by Clara Volkmann Fechner, 1848.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 Grafters of America by Clifton Wooldridge, 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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Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)
"You don't have to be a psychic to sell oriental rugs.  You only have to be a psychic to buy them."  From Raymond Chandler's "Killer in the Rain," 1964.
> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .
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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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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
> read more from This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Le Diable Amoureux, Roman Fantastique by Jacques Cazotte, 1845.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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May 25, 2016

Rhetorical Answers, Questioned (permalink)

Q: Do you ever wish you could read Harry Potter again for the very first time?

A: Yes, and here's how to do it.  There's both a physical and a mental (self-hypnosis-type) component to the technique.  We'll explain how the physical component facilitates the mental.  Acquire from another nation a copy of whichever Harry Potter novel you wish to read again; for example, if you first read an American edition and wish to stick with English, seek a copy of the book that was printed in the U.K., Australia, Canada, or so on.  This new copy will look and feel different from the one you first read, and that's crucial for truthfully telling your subconscious mind that you have never read this particular book.  Indeed, to read Harry Potter again for the first time will require a sly bit of auto-hypnosis, and it's far easier to begin by not lying to yourself but rather affirming that you truly never before have opened the book you are now holding.  Sitting comfortably with eyes half-closed, gaze upon the closed book in your lap and concentrate upon the "fact" that you have heard of Harry Potter but have never read any of the books.  Your willpower, focused for half an hour at a time, will lead your mind to believe that you are new to the Harry Potter saga.  Interestingly, there's a strong argument that authors like J. K. Rowling write their books in a state of self-hypnosis, due to the combination of intense concentration and the need to conquer the authorial ego so as to get in touch with the personalities of the story's characters.  "Every author knows the difficulty--in some cases impossibility--of dropping a story until it is finished.  He is under control of the idea, and can remove the obsession only by finishing the story.  Then he awakens, or partly awakes, for a time--until the next idea comes along" (Morgan Robertson, "The Self-Hypnosis of Authors," The Critic, 1906).  And so, like J. K. Rowling as she originally wrote her stories, you must concentrate and conquer the ego that believes it knows how it all turns out.  When Rowling was first inspired to write the original Harry Potter story, she had an outline in mind for how the events would unfold, yet when it came time to pen the very first word, to communicate the story properly she had to think like her future readers, unknowledgeable of how it would all turn out.  She had to approach the story in her head with what the Zen Buddhists call a beginner's mind.  If she could do this as the author of her own novels, you can do this as the reader.  You were once brand new to Harry Potter, and that mental state yet exists in your memory.  Make a concerted effort to reclaim that state of mind.  Tell yourself again, again, and again that you are a newcomer, until you're ready to open that new book.

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The Right Word (permalink)
"Dancey's [to this very day] a fairy word for gay."  Date uncertain.  Scan courtesy of Aimée Wheaton.
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Postcard Transformations (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click to bring on the night.

Collins Ave. looking south from 17th St., Miami Beach, Florida
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's the Queen of the 25 of Spades, c. 1905, scanned by the National Library of Ireland.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Beggar's Vision by Brookes More and illustrated by Tracy Porter Rudd, 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)
From Heads of the People, or Portraits of the English, drawn by Joseph Kenny Meadows, 1864.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Myths and Fables of To-Day by Samuel Adams Drake, 1900.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From St. Nicholas magzine, 1910.  The caption reads, "A strange-looking, cloaked figure, with a lighted jack-o'-lantern for a head, ushered them into the drawing-room."
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From the University of Maryland's Bones, Molars and Briefs yearbook, 1903.

*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)
From An American Family in Germany by John Ross Browne, 1866.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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May 24, 2016

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

Weather Proverbs for Cloud Computing

text and illustrations by Prof. Oddfellow (for Red Column magazine)

William Gibson's cyberpunk vision was prophetic: the fuzzy gray sky above us is "the color of television, tuned to a dead channel" (Neuromancer, 1984, p. 1).  Technology woven into the fabric of the heavens?  As in the Hermetic maxim, "That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above," and vice versa (The Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus).  Just as there are weather patterns in the atmosphere, there are weather patterns in what Teilhard de Chardin dubbed the noosphere.  Life, like the sky and "like the sea, has its storms and calms, its uproar and great vistas" (pseudo-Fourier, quoted in Maurice Halbwachs' The Psychology of Social Class, 1958, p. 9).  Indeed, there are many types of storms on many dimensions: "psychological, emotional, winds of afflictions, and winds of adversity" (Herbert C. Gabhart, The Name Above Every Name, 1986, p. 72).  We speak of "cloud computing," but a cloud can have any number of shapes, determined by the principal quantum number (Edward Edelson, Parents' Guide to Science, 1966, p. 63).  Looking up to the Neuromantic sky, we realize that we lack a language for prognosticating the climate of our cloudy computing.  The earliest records of weather among every culture are to be found in myths and folklore, which describe clouds and other natural phenomena in highly figurative language, referring them to supernatural agencies or astrological influences by way of explanation (Ralph Abercromby, Weather: A Popular Exposition of the Nature of Weather Changes from Day to Day, 1887, p. 3).  Over the centuries, the premonitory signs of good or bad weather became formulated into short sayings.  In the spirit of this tradition, we offer ten immemorial proverbs translated for Second Memory:

If the crow speak by night and the jackal by day, a torrent there'll be in an unusual way.

Flash memory never strikes the same address twice.

A rainbow at night is the admin's delight.

If latency 'fore seven, 'twill cease by eleven.

On St. Michaelmas Day, the devil puts his foot on the Blackberry.

If an Apple has a worm, the day lengthens.

The flapping of an Amazon butterfly's wings may set in motion a chain of events that culminates in a midwest outage.

If the sky beyond the iCloud is blue, be glad; there's a picnic for you.

What goes up in a FLOP comes down in a drop.

The full moon has the power to drive away the cloud.

—Prof. Oddfellow (a.k.a. Craig Conley) is the author of Seance Parlor Feng Shui, The One Minute Mystic, The Care and Feeding of a Spirit BoardThe Carte Blanche Atlas (of empty maps), Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical GenealogyThe Skeleton Key of Solomon, How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook, and many others.  His website is MysteryArts.com

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Note what's penciled at the top: "Reduce to 4 1/2 inches."  That recalls what happend with Stonehenge in This Is Spinal Tap.  "The Green Dragon sign" by George R. Tolman.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Les Jeux du Cirque et la Vie Foraine, illustrated by Jules Garnier, 1889.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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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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Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
"Suddenly I began to see myself in the depths of the mirror, as through a mist."  From Short Stories of the Tragedy and Comedy of Life by Guy de Maupassant, 1903.  And previously, there was this item.
[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 In Fableland by Emma Serl, 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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Rhyme and Reason by Lewis Carroll (1884).
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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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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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)

From the Monticola yearbook of West Virginia University, 1920.

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

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May 23, 2016

A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
There's a fine line between the Montana School of Mines and the Montana School of Mimes.
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The Right Word (permalink)
Here's a mollycoddle from 1909.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Contes Mauves de ma Mère-Grand, illustrated by Maurice Lalau, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Excuse me, Miss, but you have dropped your Waterfall."  From Harper's Weekly, 1865.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Tribune Popular Science by Louis Agassiz, 1874.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Flies in the "my good character" ointment speak evil, from The War Cry, 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)
From Shakespeare's The Tempest, illustrated by Robert Anning Bell, 1933.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
It was actually a cold, hard fact that sank the Titanic, as we learn in Wreck and Sinking of the Titanic by Marshall Everett, 1912.
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
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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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From The Year of the World by William Bell Scott, 1846.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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May 22, 2016

Puzzles and Games (permalink)

A Facebook session or a Spiritualist seance?  Can you tell the difference?
One wishes to make contact with a distant friend, lover, or acquaintance who has departed from one's life.  Via means one doesn't fully understand, one seeks a message, albeit oddly spelled or worded, or at least some sort of flickering notification that said entity possesses at least a modicum of sentience in that other place.
a: Spiritualist seance
b: Facebook
c: indistinguishable
[Hint: the answer, like the ocean of consciousness we seek to navigate and commune with, rhymes with the sea.]
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Precursors (permalink)
"Love's 'ALPHABET' you know so well, that over me you've cast your 'SPELL.'"  It's a precursor to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt's recording of "One-Letter Words."
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Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Jonathan Lethem's As She Climbed Across the Table (1997), from 1911.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Week by week the players got smaller and smaller and I felt less and less part of the club" (Mr Moon Has Left the Stadium).  Pictured: Al Schract, photographed by Leslie Jones.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Pinocchio, the Adventures of a Marionette by Carlo Collodi, 1904.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)

Our suggested tag line to introduce this recipe: "What would you give for ..."


From American Cookery, 1919.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Wilderness, written and illustrated by Rockwell Kent, 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)
From A History of British Star-Fishes by Edward Forbes, 1841.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From an 1889 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)
From Le Diable Amoureux, Roman Fantastique by Jacques Cazotte, 1845.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Hubert Ellio by Francis Davenant, 1866.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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May 21, 2016

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Pez candy dispensers, from 1907.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a reminder from The Aquarium, 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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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
Not to alarm you, but for every cloud (b) there is an anti-cloud (a), and no anti-cloud has a silver lining.  From the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution (1871).
*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From the University of Chicago's Cap and Gown yearbook, 1900.

*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)
"How to be sick," from Home and Health, 1907.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From 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)
"The vision."  From Poems and Songs by Robert Burns and illustrated by Robert Paterson, 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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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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"The fortune teller's revenge," from The Boy Detective or the Crimes of London, 1866.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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.]
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May 20, 2016

Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
"Instead of construing these five as distinct selves, I take them to be five aspects of the self, forming the multitudinous self" (Serife Tekin, "The Missing Self in Hacking's Looping Effects," Classifying Psychopathology: Mental Kinds and Natural Kinds, 2014).
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Postcard Transformations (permalink)
"ИOTƧOᙠ Ǝᗡ ƎUV" [sic].  Click to apply hand tinting.  "Prospect des grossen Plazes gegen der alten Sud Kirche der Presbiterianer zu Boston - Vuë de la Ruë grande vers l'Eglise du Sud des Presbiteriennes a Boston."
INSTRUCTIONS: Click to apply hand tinting.

Vue de Boston
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The Right Word (permalink)
"I refuse to believe the names of all things begin with one of those twenty-six letters.  It is a mystical, outdated idea."
—William Keckler
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A Discourse of Fire and Salt: Discovering Many Secret Mysteries, As Well Philosophicall, As Theologicall, 1649.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Curiosités Médico-Artistiques by Lucien Nass, 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 Valentine and Orson by Walter Crane, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From the Bulletin of Elon College, 1916-1919.  Also very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.

*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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Crimson Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 1903.   Also very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

"The skeleton hand" from Ballads and Legends of Cheshire by Egerton Leigh, 1867.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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May 19, 2016

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

We don't vote, but due to our mysteriously esoteric studies we're often asked for oracular predictions of elections.  For the result of the 2016 presidential election, we consulted our own Mimetic Oracle, and here's why: politics is a grand pageant, and it's been said that theatre reveals what is behind so-called reality.  Our Mimetic Oracle draws from 92 characters in six vintage plays, with 166 spoken lines and 31 stage directions in the mix.  With the system, one randomly draws five characters and generates a script to illuminate the current drama of life.  (There’s a detailed F.A.Q. which explains how the scripts are created, how to make sense of the dialogues, how to determine whether a reading is positive or negative, what to make of the various characters, and why these specific 6 plays were chosen for the system: http://www.mysteryarts.com/play/.)

Here's what the oracle generated when asked about the presidential election:

Our scene begins with a character called Wishing Man, his pockets full of lucky charms, who symbolizes a voter hoping for his respective candidate to win.  Also on stage are the "Dutch Twins," who represent the two Clintons.  One of the twins, here named Klinker, is "almost asleep," presumably exhausted from campaigning.  A character named Hulda holds a tinsel star, and we interpret her as a delegate appointed to the electoral college.  The "Third Spirit" points to the stony ground, as if directing the tinsel comet to fulfill its destiny and let shimmering dreams become the hard facts of reality.  Finally, Baby Jumbo enters, dancing to the music, and we need not specify the symbol of the elephant in American politics.  Interestingly, the scene comes full circle, with the Wishing Man from the start returning to whisper in the elephant's ear.  This is a bit of mystery within the reading -- what is the Wishing Man's secret or request?  The elephant's response possibly offers a clue: it raises a front foot and gives the Wishing Man a pill box.  Though the nature of the pills is unspecified, we know that the most commonly prescribed drug is hydrocodone, an opioid.  Is the implication that the very idea of an election is a political opiate for the masses?  As Douglas Herman has asked, "Is voting a patriotic duty, placebo or drug of choice?  ... You can vote and feel really, really, really good about yourself.  Like a drug addict getting a powerful dose after a long time away. ... Rigged elections are for drugged fools, who believe that to participate is a worthy, patriotic high."


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

Back in 2007, we were asked to collect and define ten magic words for Cabinet magazine's issue on magic.  If you missed that issue, you can see the words here:

http://cabinetmagazine.org/issues/26/conley.php

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Postcard Transformations (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click to change the perspective.

Windsor Station, Montreal, Canada
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A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
Here's the acclaimed lawyer Clarence Darrow (left) and someone not acclaimed (right), photographed by Leslie Jones (as scanned by the Boston Public Library).
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 Boy Who Knew What the Birds Said by Padraic Colum, 1918.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Froth and Foam by Mary S. Rowley, 1888.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
You knew the earth was cracked, and here's how it happened.  From Madam How and Lady Why; or, First Lessons in Earth Lore for Children by Charles Kingsley, 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 America's Black and White Book by William Allen Rogers, 1917.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 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)
An illustration from Rhyme and Reason by Lewis Carroll (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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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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Sloe poison," from Hood's Own by Thomas Hood, 1855.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)

You've heard of the four corners of the earth, but there are actually a few more corners than that, as we see in this map from The New Art of Memory by Gregor von Feinaigle, 1813.  Recall that we previously saw how the four corners of the world technically meet at the center.

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May 18, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The phrase "jack-o'-lanterns in hell" delivers just one Google result.  (Scan courtesy of David Slack.)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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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Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)

Which words of this joke are funniest?

"The Pop-Tart suddenly appeared in the supermarket ... and we were like chimps in the dirt playing with sticks." —Jerry Seinfeld
Answer:   (The answer is in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)

Citation: Do You Talk Funny?: 7 Comedy Habits to Become a Better (and Funnier) Public Speaker by David Nihill
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
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This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
"Something wrong with the painter," from 1910.
   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
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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 few inky inklings," from Victoria Daily Colonist, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
This is Marquette's Monster, a.k.a. Lennipinja or Man-Cat of the Peorias and Illinois, a.k.a. Micibisi of the Northern tribes.  The Chippewa name is Michibichi, the spirit panther "god of the waters" or "the manito of the waters and the fishes."  The Shawnese clan name is "Manetuwi Msi-pessi," a "'celestial tiger,' i.e. a meteor or shooting star.  The manetuwi msi-pessi lives in water only, and is visible not as an animal, but as a shooting star.  But the activities of this manito are not confined to the water.  He corresponds to the 'Fire Dragon' of other mythologies; and when they see a meteor, the old Miamis say that it is Lennipinja going from one sea to another" (Indiana and the Indianans by Jacon Piatt Dunn, 1919).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
Here's as good an explanation of the weather as we've yet encountered: "Old Father McNether / He sorts out the weather."  From The Peter Patter Book by Leroy F. Jackson and illustrated by Blanche Fisher Wright, 1918.
*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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 St. Nicholas magzine, 1910.   Also very much of interest: The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Horae Apocalypticae by Edward Bishop Elliott, 1862.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 see this little bottle—drink it."  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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May 17, 2016

Nonsense Dept. (permalink)

We call hogwash where we find it.  There's a probability puzzle popularly called the "Monty Hall Problem."  Entire books have been written about it, but we feel compelled to establish that it is pure nonsense.  A contestant on Let's Make a Deal declares a choice from three doors (two hiding goats and one a new car).  Then the host reveals a goat behind a door not chosen and suggests the possibility of switching to the other remaining door.  On paper, this is a counterintuitive paradox in which the contestant is convinced of a 50/50 chance of success, when in fact switching doors offers demonstratively better odds.  However, theorizing about the puzzle is ludicrous, and the considerable debate over the years is meritless, for the simple reason that a game show is a piece of theatre tantamount to a magic trick.  The host of this purported gambling scenario obviously works for "the house" and knows where the car is hidden (presuming—which one cannot, in fact—that the car is not moved from door to door behind the scenes).  Based upon subtle facial expressions and tones of voice (neither of which can be tabulated mathematically), the contestant wonders about being manipulated (with good reason).  Creating truth tables or running simulations of possible outcomes is meaningless because there is no circumstance in the real world where any of the probability theory could possibly be relevant.  There's a reason why the game show does not allow the contestant to simply walk up to a door and open it to determine the outcome.  Just as a magician displays a deck to prove that it's well-shuffled (which it isn't, and that's why pains are taken to prove otherwise), the host opens a door with a goat as part of an elaborate psychological and theatrical presentation that "proves" the outcome is random.  The outcome is not random on a television show designed to entertain.  The contestant wins if the powers that be wish to give away a car during that episode, period.  There is no other conceivable consideration (sorry, mathematicians and statisticians!).  While we tip our hat to those who are capable of modeling possible scenarios ad nauseam, the "Monty Hall Problem" is no problem at all.

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Precursors (permalink)
We discovered a precursor to our 2006 "diamond cycle" diagram, courtesy of surrealist painter and author Ithell Colquhoun's The Crying of the Wind: Ireland (1955): "Perhaps a fine day in Kerry is best of all, when the air is like a diamond yet the dews are never far away."
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This May Surprise You (permalink)
The great secret of weathervanes is that they alter the direction of the wind they measure (as per the "observer effect" of physics).  Here are two weathervanes with conflicting reports, as photographed by Leslie Jones, date uncertain.  And then here's another photo of disagreeing weathervanes, not that you didn't believe us.  Plus, it's not just weathervanes: flags also flap according to conflicting winds (photo our own).
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"A tough one," from Backsheesh by Thomas Wallace Knox, 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 Le Monde Moderne, 1895.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
"New devil hats appear," from Swarthmore College's Halcyon yearbook, 1913.

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

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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)
"Drank more lobster salad," from Wit, Humor and Pathos by Melville Landon, 1883.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)
"The room is full of serpents," from Sermons by Rev. Sam. P. Jones, 1886.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
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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 Life and Death or The Creeping Shadow by D. Lambden Flemming, 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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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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May 16, 2016

The Right Word (permalink)

Hatbox Ghost photo by Anna Fox.

Illusions and Allusions:
Why the "Happy Haunts" Vocalize at Disneyland's Haunted Mansion

Before X. Atencio wrote the lyrics about "happy haunts" that "materialize and begin to vocalize," a happy haunt was customarily a frequented place, not a ghost.  For example, "She loved to saunter through the happy haunts of childhood" (Amy Le Feuvre, "Not By Chance," The Quiver, 1906).  Atencio wove his magic to transform a locational haunt's empty space into a ghostly sort of material.  There is actually a literary tradition of pairing locational happy haunts with vocalizations.  Such passages may have inspired Atencio's wording when he turned old haunts into old singing haunters.  Five cases in point might suffice:

Our first example, a musical play, might have been in the possession of Disney's Cinderella team as reference/inspiration material.  Morse & Robertson's Cinderella at School: A Musical Paraphrase in Two Acts (1881) features happy haunts alongside merry faces and light voices:

To our happy, happy haunts we go,
With our voices light and free;
And our merry, merry faces show,
That our hearts are ever filled with glee.

Similarly, in Mair Hydref's poem "Tell Me Not My Youth Is Over" (1883) we find "the happy haunts of childhood, / Where I gaily used to sing."

So, too, in The Carse of Stirling, An Elegy (1785): "the happy haunts of love and tranquility naturally lead the poetic mind to celebrate these beauties in song."  

In Frances Sargent Osgood's poem "A Sermon" (1850), happy haunts are mentioned alongside woodland choirs.  Other language in the poem recalls the Haunted Mansion, such as glistening smiles (if not technically grim grins), "wistful music," distorted faces, a "light-painted flower" (recalling fluorescent paints that glow in black light), and "marvellous mystery."

Finally, in Frederic William Louis Butterfield's The Battle of Maldon: And Other Renderings from the Anglo-Saxon (1900), we find happy haunts in conjunction with music, a graveyard, and the grim grinning liminality of gay laughter shifting to a dirge.  (By the way, the reference to the Muses recalls the homage to the Haunted Mansion in Disney's Hercules, in which the Muses appear as singing busts.)

Poetry, Music, Eloquence, 
O let your sorrow speak! 
Let sister Muses weeping come; 
Let all the graveyard seek: 
Of happy haunts since you're deprived, 
No more can blissful Hippocrene, 
No more Castalian spring, 
A rippled laughter gayly trill; 
Instead, a dirge they sing— 
Sad, tearful flow!—and joys of Earth fade 
unrevived.

It was innovative for Atencio to distill a locational haunt into ectoplasm, even as associating haunts with vocalizations kept with time-honored tradition.  Atencio's frame of reference enriched both his allusions and the Mansion's illusions.

[Note: for a great analysis of Atencio's song, see Long-Forgotten's post entitled "When the Spooks Have a Midnight Jamboree."]

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

Q: How is [the enumeration of breaths in] Shinto meditation like a gift?

A: It's the thought that counts.

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A tiny island floats above the Maple Lake Motel.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 The Mysteries of the Court of London by George William MacArthur Reynolds, 1849.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
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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 L'Illustration, Journal Universel, 1843.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Allow me to disagree with you."  From Punch magazine, 1861.  This will also be of interest: The Collected Lost Meanings of Christmas.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
"The way we've been looked at," from Rush Medical College's The Pulse yearbook, 1894.

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

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home.  From Epidemics: How to Meet Them by Louis Hansen, 1919.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
"The greatest it of the season."  From Bingham Military School's Sword and Rifle yearbook, 1903.  We previously discovered a precursor to the 1927 film It, with Clara Bow as the "it girl."  (And there's another early "it girl" here.)

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

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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Woodcutter's Son and Other English Tales Retold, written and illustrated by Violet Moore Higgins, 1917.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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May 15, 2016

This May Surprise You (permalink)
Pie makers have heard of apple filling and peach filling, but lesser known is that apple and peach fillings are grown in orchards by "apple fillers" and "peach fillers."  All is revealed in The Apple: A Practical Treatise Dealing with the Latest Modern Practices of Apple Culture (1915).
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Légendes Valaisannes, illustrated by Eugéne Reichlen, 1919.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Punch magazine, 1845.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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)
Arms and hands of man and common bat, 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.]
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Vesna Krasna by Mikhail Lentovskii, 1883.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Bashful Earthquake by Oliver Herford, 1898.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Chervona Zoria: Utopiia by A. Bogdanov, 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 Aedes Althorpianae by George John Spencer, 1822.  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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Essentials in Civil Government by Samuel Eagle Forman, 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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May 14, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a clue as to what gets driftwood drifting.  From The Aquarium, 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)
From Légendes Bretonnes, illustrated by Maurice de Becque, 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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Only Funny If ... (permalink)
From Durham High School's Messenger yearbook, 1908.
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Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
From Recollections of Fred Leslie by William Thomas Vincent, 1894.
> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .
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Precursors (permalink)
From Carolina Magazine, 1921.  (We previously discovered another precursor to If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow, which we showcased here.)
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From [Thomas] Nast's Illustrated Almanac, 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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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Even in drawings one can't get everyone to look forward and not blink.  From Fanciful Tales by Frank Stockton, 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to 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 Proverbs in Verse by John Trusler, 1811.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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May 13, 2016

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"It is no crime to kiss in Canada."  Indeed, "The spirit of Canada is progressive still" (Royal Bank of Canada Monthly Letter, Volume 58).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Beware!  Friday the 13th --- Your Ace Jinx Chaser Will Protect You."  From 1937.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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)
"Note that all six zeros are complex" (Proceedings of the Fifth New England Bioengineering Conference, 1977).  Photo by Leslie Jones, 1928.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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Rhetorical Answers, Questioned (permalink)
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The Right Word (permalink)
"Something about hypnagogic hallucinations" from An Experimental Study of the Eye-Voice Span in Reading by Guy T. Buswell, 1920.
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The New World Fairy Book by Howard Angus Kennedy, 1904.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have 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 pale face emerged," from The Humour of Germany by Hans Müller-Casenov, 1938.
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
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