More serendipitous discoveries in the process of winnowing and tidying...
If you grew up in Australia in the early years of the 20th century, you probably knew the Cole's Funny Picture Books. Edward William Cole's grandson, Cole Turnley, devised a third volume in 1951. I'm too young for all that, but the "new century edition" of Cole's Funny Picture Book No.3 was published in 1992, just in time for some youthful nostalgia and the discretionary income of yours truly.
It doesn't stand up to description: it's dated, it's quirky and eclectic, and deliciously Australian.
My favourite turns up on page 74, just where it always was:
DO NOT READ BELOW THIS LINE --------------------------------------- But you are reading, or you wouldn't have your eye on these words. Well, as you've disobeyed the above instruction and have read this far, you may as well know that the only "catch" in all this is that you're not going to get anywhere. You're reading about nothing. Nothing is going to be said, and you're silly to go on reading. So why go on?
Well, why go on? Why persist in continuing to read when you've been warned that it's getting you nowhere? Stop. Now.
Do you call this stopping, letting your eyes sneak down to see what this next paragraph contains? You can rest assured that it contains nothing of greater importance than the paragraphs above. Utter drivel, save for that one eminently sensible note: Stop reading.
You're not starting another paragraph? You're incorrigible. Look, this whole piece, from that line above to the bottom of the page, is about nothing. Can't you understand that? Nothing.
See if you can't understand it better this way: Yammer, yammer, yammer, yammer, yammer, yammer, yammer, yammer. Does that make sense? Well, it makes as much sense as everything else you're going to read till you finish this page.
Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of the party. The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog's back. It's pointless, continuing to tell you of the folly of going on if you won't stop. Sheer gibberish will serve just as well. Ukly muckly. Abra kadabra. Eeny meeny miny mo.
Well, this is the last paragraph, and you must have realised by now that there will be nothing in it worth reading. Are you a man or a mouse? You've got nothing to lose by breaking off right here and now. Nothing to lose and everything to gain. Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing. Yet here you are right at the finish, having got yourself precisely nowhere.