The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries from April 2009

Children’s Card Games (56)

April 27th, 2009 · 2 Comments

“Old Maid at the County Fair” is an Arrco “Pla-Mor” game.  In this one, our Old Maid meets “all the funny folk at the County Fair.”  Unlike most decks, she (or her cat) is also in each picture.  The Arrco people certainly had some stylish illustrators on board. And here she is.    (Posted by Doug […]

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera

John Michell

April 27th, 2009 · 1 Comment

One of the grand old men of British forteana, John Michell, died on April 24.  I only met him a few times; he was always kind and gracious.  The last time I saw him, we discussed our common fascination with the number 5040 (Plato’s ideal population for the Republic, among other things).  He was a fine writer […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature · The Ineffable

Medi-Vaudeville: The Report

April 27th, 2009 · No Comments

About forty fine citizens assembled at Jalopy for our fourth event, eager to see how the Ullage Group would screw up this time. I performed the ceremonial ullage-uncorking, and poured out a shot of chianti for our host, Geoff Wiley; and invoked the Italian proverb “Chi beve it vino prima la minestra, saluta il medico […]

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Tags: Bulletins · Education · Technology

Children’s Card Games (55)

April 17th, 2009 · 23 Comments

In keeping with the medical theme of our upcoming event, “Medi-Vaudeville,” we offer “The Comical Game of Dr. Quack.”  It’s not, strictly speaking, a game: more of an amusement.  One player reads the rollicking doggerel about Dr. Quack’s wedding to Miss Hen; others draw cards bearing nouns to be inserted in blanks in the story.  Like the […]

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera


April 14th, 2009 · 2 Comments

The Ullage Group offers its fourth afternoon of cultural curiosities, “Medi-Vaudeville.”  The title refers to the book that Charles Fort planned to write, during his final days in the hospital; for, this time around, it’s all medical. Doug Skinner and Dr. Mamie Caton will talk about alternative medicine, evidence-based medicine, and the difficulty of applying scientific methodology […]

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Tags: Bulletins · Diversions · Education

Children’s Card Games (54)

April 10th, 2009 · 4 Comments

The Old Maids return!  We shall have whole brigades of Old Maids!  For our last batch, leaf back to September through December of last year; again, we’ll alternate them with other graphic delights. This deck, from E. E. Fairchild, pairs delicately rendered storybook scenes, including “Mary Quite Contrary,” “Robinson Crusoe,” “Snow White,” and other perennials. And […]

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera

Ben Hecht on American Men

April 10th, 2009 · No Comments

Ben Hecht was the first “Fortean”: he coined the word, and staked his claim.  Like the other founders of the first Fortean Society, back in 1931, he had no particular interest in scientific anomalies; he just enjoyed the exuberant and provocative books Charles Fort wove from them. I plan to paste in snippets from those […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature · Technology

The Digital Backlash (5)

April 7th, 2009 · 1 Comment

On a recent bus trip from upstate NY, back to the forlorn isle of Manhattan, a woman somewhere behind me indulged in a long cell phone chat.  For a full, voluble half-hour, she kept her yakmate abreast on where the bus was: every freeway exit, toll booth, and road sign we met on our perilous journey was described in […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Technology

Children’s Card Games (53)

April 5th, 2009 · 4 Comments

We’re up to #53.  If this were a deck of cards, it would be the joker.  Let’s mark the occasion, then, with a splendid joker from a souvenir deck of the 1933 Chicago World’s Fair.  It’s not really a children’s game, but I’m sure the whole family can enjoy this giant gorilla from a million years ago. […]

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera

Moses Battles the Pterodactyls (8)

April 5th, 2009 · No Comments

[Darwin continues to munch on a birthday cake with 200 candles; and we continue to cheer him on with my talk on his cultural impact.  We’re now in the full cry of the Cold War, watching the Scopes Trial be rewritten as “Inherit the Wind.”  Oh dear.]  In fact, “Inherit the Wind” departed so much from […]

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Tags: Animals · Belief Systems · Education · Misconceptions · Politics