The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries from December 2011

Children’s Card Games (158)

December 27th, 2011 · 1 Comment

This isolated card is from an early “Authors” deck.  Most later versions were less generous with the engraving; and Cooper didn’t always survive revisions to the canon. (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera · Literature

Happy Ripley-Newton Day

December 24th, 2011 · 3 Comments

December 25 is the birthday of Robert Ripley, the creator of “Believe It or Not,” and an inspirational figure to us here.  To mark the occasion, here’s a photo of him at the dinner table.  He was rather flamboyant. It’s also the birthday of Isaac Newton.  American readers, it occurs to me, may be unaware […]

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Tags: Books · Cartoons

Children’s Card Games (157)

December 15th, 2011 · No Comments

We’ll have a few examples of “Authors,” that curious game about collecting writers.  This one has no indication of date or publisher.  The canon is conventional: Scott, Longfellow, Shakespeare, Hawthorne, Whittier, Poe, Tennyson, Dickens, Stevenson, Irving, and Emerson.  Shakespeare is rather plump and peevish in this version, and his hair is curlier than I remember.  […]

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera · Literature

Théophile Gautier on Ideology

December 15th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Théophile Gautier’s 1865 novel, La Belle-Jenny, is a boisterous, Romantic tale of conspiracy and intrigue, all of which fails.  Couples are parted; lives are ruined.  Near the end, Arthur Sidney, the character most to blame for all of this, sums up what he’s learned: Aimez quelqu’un ou quelque chose, un homme, un enfant, un chien, […]

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Tags: Belief Systems · Education · Literature

Children’s Card Games (156)

December 13th, 2011 · 3 Comments

We have another specimen of “Old Maid”; this undated and anonymous deck has a holiday theme.  In addition to the elf, there are a wreath, a gingerbread man, a smiling tree, and various animals with Santa hats.  All are in this plain, rather clumsy style. And here’s the Old Maid. (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera

An Ullage Dozen (43): Cortège

December 13th, 2011 · 2 Comments

Don’t sing from the heart; use your lungs. splilt Maybe your snap judgment Was just a crap judgment. Asemic acrostics: Many enthusiasts have found acrostics in Shakespeare and other writers; we can also find acrostics that do not spell out words, giving us a hidden message without linguistic significance. a pen that forms a line […]

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Tags: Education

Children’s Card Games (155)

December 1st, 2011 · 1 Comment

This sushi themed deck was, apparently, published by Accoutrements.  The number cards show sushi in multiple, the face cards show a larger roll.  The Joker is represented by wasabi and soy sauce. (Posted by Doug Skinner)

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera

The Non-Cinema Rubric (3)

December 1st, 2011 · 2 Comments

The glum protagonist of Vladimir Nabokov’s first novel, Mary, sinks so low that he works as a movie extra: “Nothing was beneath his dignity; more than once he had even sold his shadow, as many of us have.  In other words he went out to the suburbs to work as a movie extra on a […]

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Tags: Non-cinema