You Don’t See That Every Day

When I started this blog thing nine weeks ago … 

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“This is described as a wallpaper printing machine. I always wondered how they made that stuff.”

… I didn’t intend to include many, if any, pictures in it. Figured there’s enough pictures on the Internet as it is, without me cluttering it up with more. And I’m not just referring to the sort of pictures you guys stick on Facebook, which generally, are the modern day version of the old 8-millimeter family function films that our friends and relatives made us sit through before we could do anything fun.

No offense.

I mean all the other pictures, of anything and everybody, from how Britney Spears looks in her newest bikini to baby bears with their heads stuck in buckets. The Internet is a borderless landfill of pictures … a bottomless pit of pictures … a ceaseless spew of pictures … and my initial impulse was to not contribute to that, either by linking into it (the lazy way) or spending my dwindling time looking at everything I come upon through a smart phone viewfinder (the insane way).

I mean, does the world need another picture of a damn rainbow? And you don’t really need another photo of Hillary Clinton or Trump accompanying an item about her or him or any of the other major figures in American politics. Do you? Huh?

Shit no, you don’t!? You’re smarter than that! You have a brain big enough to hold onto an image with your mind’s eye and do something else at the same time. I know you do, or you wouldn’t be coming to Mr. Cope’s Cave in the first place. I’m confident that anyone with an interest in reading anything I have to say has at least enough perspicacity to know what “perspicacity” means.

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Whatever else this fellow might be, he certainly seems perspicacious, doesn’t he?

However, I do realize it is often pleasing to even the most serious readers to break up a solid block of prose with an illustration or two.  It’s like coming across a sunny meadow in the midst of a thick forest, isn’t it? A place where you can think … Aaaah, I believe I’ll just sit down here for a bit on a tuft of cool moss and listen to the birdies sing.

Or something like that.

So I decided that a picture inserted here and there would do no lasting damage to my intentions for this blog, but only if those pictures were the sort of oldy-time illustrations that enhanced the stories I used to read way, way back when I was first falling in love with reading. And they had to be free. I mean … what do I look like? … rich?

So I went searching (on the Internet, of course) for free, oldy-time illustrations—public domain stuff, because the original illustrators have been dead so long, there’s nobody left to care if some cheapskate is lifting their life’s work to dress up his blog. And I stumbled across, quite accidentally, a basement full of them. Or an attic, if you prefer.

I’ve spent hours lifting them off different web sites and sneaking them over to my desktop. I felt slightly guilty doing it. I felt like a host of late 19th Century/ early 20th Century illustrator ghosts were looking over my shoulder, murmuring Oh, so you like that one, do you? … you bloody thief!

I ended up stealing more than I will ever use. And most I stole not because I could think of a specific use for them, to use with a specific opinion I thought I might write. No sir, I stole them simply because I liked them so much. Yes, some reminded me of a current situation: a particular politician, a particular issue, a particular topic I intended to tackle. But most were like trinkets I shop-lifted from a novelties shop, simply because they caught my eye and I couldn’t help myself.

As I said, I will never use them all, either as integral, metaphorical or humorous enhancements to future posts, and I’ve decided there is no point in locking them up at home. It would be almost immoral to keep them for myself (even though they are available to anyone who takes the time to find them).

So every now and then, I’m going to put a handful of them in this space so you, too, can enjoy them. You will have noticed I’ve planted a couple of them already. Here is another. If you’ve always believed “FREAKY” went back only as far as the 1960s, this one should convince you otherwise.valvos[544805].jpg

And another:

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Is it a chase? Is it a race? Is that little fellow waving his hat on the sidelines a clam, a mussel, an oyster, or a turd? Does it matter?

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I’ve always felt Southern Idaho would be a much more interesting place had the early settlers erected windmills along the Oregon Trail as they went. No, it would have made no sense. But then, how much sense does most of what happens in Southern Idaho make, anyway?

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Is there something valuable in the box, or was the dog only told there was something valuable in there? I guess we’ll never know. Shame.

And finally …

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Whatever is going on here, it’s funny. And to think it was created before the concept of “situation comedy” ever occurred to anyone.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I’ve learned these illustrations are like cheesecake: You wouldn’t want to eat the whole thing at once.

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