The Air at the Top of the Bottle

The Ullage Group header image 1

Children’s Card Games (216)

June 24th, 2015 · No Comments


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.


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.


(Posted by Doug Skinner)

→ No CommentsTags: Card Games


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.






(Posted by Doug Skinner)

→ 2 CommentsTags: Cartoons

Children’s Card Games (215)

June 8th, 2015 · No Comments


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)

→ No CommentsTags: Card Games

A Curious Physiological Industry

June 1st, 2015 · No Comments


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)

→ No CommentsTags: Alphonse Allais

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)

→ No CommentsTags: Bulletins

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.



(Posted by Doug Skinner)

→ 1 CommentTags: Ephemera · Music

Children’s Card Games (214)

May 13th, 2015 · 1 Comment


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)

→ 1 CommentTags: Card Games


May 7th, 2015 · No Comments


In 2012, Norman Conquest kicked off the Absurdist Texts and Documents series at Black Scat Books with his illustrated adaptation of Alphonse Allais’s story Un drame bien parisien. The original limited edition is now out of print. He has just republished a new expanded edition, with an introduction and notes by Doug Skinner. You can find it at Black Scat Books. Alphonse rides again!

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

→ No CommentsTags: Alphonse Allais · Books

Memorable Magazines (3): Beyond

April 27th, 2015 · 3 Comments

The success of Fate, started in 1948 by Ray Palmer and Curtis Fuller, inspired many imitations. Among the trashiest was Beyond, which put out its first issue in September 1968, published by Bernard S. Adelman and edited by Keith Ayling. It began as a digest, changing to a larger format in September 1969. I don’t know how long it lasted; the latest issue I have is from February 1971, in which it is announced that it will return to the digest format. I don’t know if it did.

Some veteran forteans contributed to it (Vincent Gaddis and Brad Steiger, for example), but Adelman and Ayling (and later editor Robert O’Dell) seemed happiest with articles like “Strange Forces Cause Animals to Accost Mankind,” “Does God Fill Teeth?” and sensational pieces on celebrities. Here are four covers from 1968 and 1969.





(Posted by Doug Skinner)

→ 3 CommentsTags: Ephemera · Forteana

Children’s Card Games (213)

April 20th, 2015 · 3 Comments


This undated deck, made by Gemaco, offers a slogan about safety on every card. I don’t know if this was for children, or for adults in the workplace. In either case, it encourages them to play cards rather than do something dangerous.

(Posted by Doug Skinner)

→ 3 CommentsTags: Card Games