The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Children’s Card Games (217)

July 27th, 2015 · No Comments

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“L’Histoire de France Jouée par les Enfants” (The History of France Played by Children) was a “loto historique” that promised “Grands Faits — Petits Résumés” (Great Actions — Short Descriptions”). The one I have is the second part, which covers 1800 (Napoleon crossing the Alps) to 1919 (Foch, Joffre, and Pétain). It was published by Fernand Nathan, probably around 1920. As in any lotto, the players fill a board with the proper cards. There are 36 cards, each bearing a scene from French history on one side, and a brief description on the other. The one above shows the death of Napoleon. The history is, perhaps not surprisingly, selective: there’s plenty about Napoleon, but no mention of the 1871 Commune or the Dreyfus Affair.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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The Doug Skinner Dossier

July 8th, 2015 · No Comments

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The Doug Skinner Dossier is now available from Black Scat Books! This blessed compendium features articles, short stories, verses, columns, literary essays, alphabets, metrical translations, monologues, talks, cartoons, rounds, lipogrammatic smut, a puppet show, a ventriloquism routine, and a one-act play.  248 pages of pure, unadulterated Skinner. Holy cow!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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101 Plots Used and Abused

July 1st, 2015 · 4 Comments

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101 Plots Used and Abused, a 1946 writer’s manual by James N. Young, is one of my favorite books. Young, an editor at Collier’s, collected all of the tritest plots he knew, so that short story writers could avoid them. In this revised edition, there are actually 126 of them. They’re all here: the prisoner who tunnels out of his cell, only to emerge back in prison; the gullible sucker who turns out to be a swindler himself; the ransom check in invisible ink; the husband who has a fling with his wife in disguise; the woman who becomes disfigured, only to learn that her fiance has become blind; the driver who suspects a hitchhiker has stolen his watch, and takes it back, only to discover that he left it on the dresser. Although the short story market has largely evaporated, many of these plots can still be found in urban folklore. Forteans and folklorists should find it a useful resource. Unfortunately, used copies seem to be expensive; maybe somebody will reprint it. Here’s a sample page:

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(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (216)

June 24th, 2015 · No Comments

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This deck of cards was issued to promote Lion Coffee. There’s no date, but it was probably around 1900. The back is a handsome ad for the product.

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One of the unique features of the deck is that a coffee break is part of the game. Did children drink coffee then? Maybe this was meant for adults.

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(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Eggspatiation

June 16th, 2015 · 2 Comments

This five part story was apparently cut from an A & P catalog, long ago. Poor frog! But it does end happily.

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(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (215)

June 8th, 2015 · No Comments

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Ah, the perennial joys of “Crazy Eights.” This undated (60s?) deck from Whitman has a circus motif, and bold designs to go with it.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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A Curious Physiological Industry

June 1st, 2015 · No Comments

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Just in time for June Gloom, Black Scat Books proudly presents the first in a series of Black Scat Broadsides: Alphonse Allais’s “A Curious Physiological Industry,” translated by Doug Skinner. In the spirit of Swift’s “A Modest Proposal,” this rare text is the master absurdist at his devilish best — a full-color, poster-sized (12 x 18 inches) collector’s broadsheet edition. Printed on acid-free paper and suitable for framing. $10, from Black Scat Books.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Bulletin (32)

May 26th, 2015 · No Comments

I have a few events coming up, which I mention here so that you can prepare accordingly.

At Brooklyn’s inimitable Morbid Anatomy Museum, on August 20, there will be a launch party for my translation of The Zombie of Great Peru, by the equally inimitable Pierre-Corneille Blessebois, published by the also inimitable Black Scat Books. It’s a peculiar little book, noted for, among other things, the first mention of zombies in literature (that would be in 1697).

Also at Morbid Anatomy, on September 10, I will give a talk on Charles Fort, the Fortean society, and successive Forteans.

And, sometime this summer, Black Scat Books will release The Doug Skinner Dossier, a large collection of my short stories, columns, literary essays, monologues, cartoons, rounds, and other short pieces. It weighs in at 248 pages, in a handsome design by Norman Conquest.

Details will follow.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Musical Calling Cards

May 19th, 2015 · 1 Comment

At one time, many people were musically literate, and music was printed on calling cards. These two examples are 1 1/2 by 2 3/4 inches, printed in black, and colored by hand. People had better eyesight then too, I suppose. The music on the second one is rather badly printed; maybe it was intended simply to be decorative.

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(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Children’s Card Games (214)

May 13th, 2015 · No Comments

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We have another old, undated example of “Authors.” I found this one complete, without the original box, and worn from many hours of play. The canon this time includes Poe, Longfellow, Scott, Cooper, Hawthorne, Irving, Stevenson, Emerson, Shakespeare, Dickens, and Tennyson.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

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