The Air at the Top of the Bottle

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Entries from June 2013

Alphonse Allais: Les Combles

June 27th, 2013 · 4 Comments

At the beginning of his literary career, Alphonse Allais contributed squibs, jokes, and one-liners to various small Parisian papers.  He followed already established formulas: the fable-express (a brief fable with a punning moral), the autograph (a line ending with a pun on someone’s name).  He became particularly identified with the comble, the “acme.”  He didn’t […]

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Tags: 'pataphysics · Alphonse Allais · Literature

Happy Solstice!

June 21st, 2013 · 1 Comment

(Posted by Doug Skinner.  Picture by Ray Gleason.)

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Tags: Belief Systems

See and Hear Tiffany Thayer!

June 17th, 2013 · No Comments

Tiffany Thayer, aka Elmer Ellsworth, founder of the Fortean Society, publisher of Doubt, writer of memorably sleazy fiction, was in Hollywood throughout much of the ’30s.  Several of his novels were made into reasonably successful movies (particularly Call Her Savage, tailored for Clara Bow).  He had less luck writing screenplays; only a few scenes and […]

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Tags: Forteana

Fortune Telling Cards (4)

June 14th, 2013 · 5 Comments

Whitman’s “Zodiac Circle Playing Card Game” dates from 1931.  There were Zodiac Cards, which were to be laid out in a circle, and the other cards were to be correlated to your sun sign.  I haven’t tried it.  I like those colors. (Posted by Doug Skinner.)  

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Tags: Card Games · Liminal Graphics

Tiffany Thayer’s Fortean Categories

June 10th, 2013 · 4 Comments

Tiffany Thayer had his own, rather idiosyncratic, ideas about what topics were suitable for the Fortean Society.  In the 56th issue of Doubt (sometime in 1957), he published a list of categories that members were urged to investigate.  The list differs in many ways from contemporary Forteana, particularly in Thayer’s customary mix of social and […]

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Tags: Forteana

Little Blue Books by Forteans (2): Ben Hecht

June 6th, 2013 · No Comments

Ben Hecht declared himself “the first disciple of Charles Fort” in a review of The Book of the Damned,  and used the opportunity to coin the word “Fortean.”  Tiffany Thayer said the took Hecht as a model when he started writing fiction; and Thirteen Men, in particular, seems to aim for Hecht’s distinctive flash. Like […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature

Little Blue Books by Forteans (1): Theodore Dreiser

June 3rd, 2013 · 9 Comments

The “Little Blue Books” were published by Emanuel Haldeman-Julius from about 1919 to 1947.  They were small, cheaply produced, and sold for around a nickel.  There were over 2000 of them; the exact number, despite diligent scholars, is unknown, since the books were often retitled, assigned new numbers, or replaced by other books. Haldeman-Julius started […]

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Tags: Forteana · Literature