The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries from May 2013

Fortune Telling Cards (3)

May 30th, 2013 · 6 Comments

Of course, if you have any gumption, you’ll design your own fortune telling cards.  Above is one of the cards from a Tarot deck by the remarkable Argentine artist Xul Solar (1887-1963).  His deck includes curious personalities such as this (Gemini?), as well as more traditional trumps. And deities from other traditions, such as Bes […]

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Tags: Card Games · Ephemera

Membership in the Fortean Society

May 28th, 2013 · 10 Comments

The activities of the Fortean Society, apart from Tiffany Thayer’s magazine Doubt, are somewhat unclear.  Perhaps that was intentional; as Thayer said, with his usual bravura, “Many details of Fortean endeavor are necessarily surreptitious, because any activity with the avowed intention of causing men to think for themselves and to cherish self-respect is opposed in […]

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Tags: Ephemera · Forteana

Bulletin (22)

May 24th, 2013 · No Comments

The next Ullage Group event is in the works.  We’re planning something tasty, and will meet again when Anthony gets back to town. I direct your attention to an interview with Norman Conquest, the distinguished Président-Fondateur of Black Scat Books, which has published several of my translations, some with my illustrations. And, speaking of Black […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Bulletins

“I never heard of Charlie Fort”

May 22nd, 2013 · No Comments

The Palm Beach Post, September 26, 1937, published a review of the first issue of the Fortean Society Magazine.  The reviewer, E. C. K. (and I have no clue who that is), was impressed by the roster of founders, intrigued by Fort, and puzzled by Thayer.  He or she had also never heard of Fort, […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Fortune Telling Cards (2)

May 17th, 2013 · 1 Comment

“The Military Fortune Tellers” was published by H. V. Loring, in Chicago, in 1917.  The deck is 52 cards; but the four suits are stars, hearts, bells, and doves, and the face cards are Jack, Nurse, and Soldier.  The instructions are curiously garbled: “This is a Military Sectional Fortune Telling Chart forming a square when […]

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Tags: Card Games · Liminal Graphics

Francisque Sarcey Meets Rodolphe Salis

May 13th, 2013 · 2 Comments

Have you ordered your copy of How I Became an Idiot?  As you no doubt read in the last post, Doug Skinner has translated four examples of Alphonse Allais’s sustained mockery of the conservative critic Francisque Sarcey, and they are now available in a nice little volume from Black Scat Books. Allais, seen above lunching […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Literature

How I Became an Idiot

May 9th, 2013 · No Comments

Francisque Sarcey (1827-1899) was, for much of his career, the most powerful theatrical critic in Paris. He was the perfect model of the blunt bourgeois, championing common sense, anti-intellectualism, and traditional values. He favored light, commercial fare, and railed against Ibsen and Jarry. He was, predictably, a prime target for young artists. Alphonse Allais took […]

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Tags: Alphonse Allais · Education · Literature

Memorable Magazines (2): Doubt

May 6th, 2013 · 5 Comments

The Fortean Society was founded in 1931 to promote the work of that indescribable author Charles Fort.  The founders were: Theodore Dreiser, J. David Stern, Tiffany Thayer, Ben Hecht, Booth Tarkington, Aaron Sussman, Burton Rascoe, Harry Elmer Barnes, Alexander Woollcott, John Cowper Powys, and Harry Leon Wilson.  Sussman was a book designer, and Stern a […]

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Tags: Ephemera · Forteana

Fortune Telling Cards (1)

May 3rd, 2013 · 5 Comments

Well, I’ve given you 200 children’s card games to eyeball, so now it’s time for a change.  Here’s the first of a series of fortune telling cards. You can, of course, tell fortunes with ordinary playing cards, or with the tarot (or, it must be said, simply by free association); but card manufacturers have nevertheless […]

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Tags: Card Games · Liminal Graphics