CRAIG CONLEY (Prof. Oddfellow) is recognized by Encarta as “America’s most creative and diligent scholar of letters, words and punctuation.” He has been called a “language fanatic” by Page Six gossip columnist Cindy Adams, a “cult hero” by Publisher’s Weekly, and “a true Renaissance man of the modern era, diving headfirst into comprehensive, open-minded study of realms obscured or merely obscure” by Clint Marsh. An eccentric scholar, Conley’s ideas are often decades ahead of their time. He invented the concept of the “virtual pet” in 1980, fifteen years before the debut of the popular “Tamagotchi” in Japan. His virtual pet, actually a rare flower, still thrives and has reached an incomprehensible size. Conley’s website is OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Today — May 29, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Google delivers zero results for the "opposite of a bedroom farce," but here's what it looks like, from Donna Quixote by Justin MacCarthy and illustrated by Arthur Hopkins, 1879.  The caption reads, "Oh, I am so glad you are not in bed!"


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


The Right Word (permalink)

As we see here, the word "hare" is properly followed by four squiggles, as if tracing a leaping gait.  Either a lower-case w or tilde symbol will suffice for typing.  From The Works of John Collier-Tim Bobbin in Prose and Verse, 1894.


> read more from The Right Word . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

Here are some ring imps, magnified, from Imprisoned in a Spanish Convent by Eustace Clare Grenville Murray, 1886.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)

"The sun is the soul and the light of the world, probably in the same way that the physical letters of the vowels are the soul of the alphabet." —Joseph Dan, The "Unique Cherub Circle": A School of Mystics and Esoterics in Medieval Germany (1999)

> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)
That's right—blame the ocean for your traditional views of women's roles.  "'It only wants you, Sylvia, to make the house perfect,' he said."  From Jack Forester's Fate by Catharine Shaw, 1893.

   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
> read more from This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

From Punch magazine, 1841.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Is Today The Day? (permalink)
29
May 2015

“Today is the day for success or failure.”

The Bridgemen’s Magazine, 1901

From the outrageous to the inspirational to the hilarious, here’s a daily reminder to break out of the old grind and do something unexpected, for the fun, the challenge, or the heck of it.

If today simply isn’t your day, click here to have a different day.


Music Box Moment (permalink)
Do you deserve a nostalgic breather?  Through the delicate workings of the music box, even the most dramatic compositions seem to play only for you.  You’ll hear even a very familiar piece in a whole new way.  Courtesy of home recording pioneer Ken Clinger, here’s today’s music box selection.  It will sound surprisingly good even through built-in computer speakers, and it will cut through the ambient noise of the office without being distracting.

Featured in Today’s Music Box:
Piano Sonata #4 - movement #1 (Beethoven)
performed by Ken Clinger
If you could use another Music Box Moment, choose a piece:


Today’s Color Palette: Prof.odd.fellow (more info)
Prof.odd.fellow is the name of the color palette featured today, created by Ryandemaal. The palette consists of the following colors:

• hex #00010A — Get Money, New Money
• hex #121E1E — GrreySuper+
• hex #A68856 — Odd End
• hex #FE3138 — Prof.oddfellow.red
• hex #0C2124 — Deep

The palette name refers to my avatar Professor Oddfellow.
> learn more about this palette at ColourLovers . . .


There’s a Signpost Up Ahead (permalink)
One's life path is marked by crossroads and signposts.  If you are confronted with making a choice today, perhaps the signpost displayed here will help to characterize your situation and guide you to make a decision.  If you need more guidance, refresh this page for another symbol.  If both signs are the same, perhaps any choice will lead to the same outcome.

The signs are inspired by a system of symbols entitled "Spiritual Diagnosis," developed by Dr. Robert McNary of Montana.  Dr. McNary actually creates nine-faceted mandala charts for people and interprets the symbols with uncanny accuracy.  Dr. McNary's web site is RockyMountainAstrologer.com.
> view a larger version of your signpost . . .
Yesterday — May 28, 2015

This May Surprise You (permalink)

We can now reveal that giant, elaborate, even architectural clockwork has always been the engine that generates fairy tales, and our modern age of disenchantment is directly attributable to newfangled flat clocks and (horrors!) portable digital timepieces.  In a nutshell, one can't measure "once upon a time" by a microchip.  Begin contemplating where all the giant clocks are, (recalling that Germany's fabled Black Forest contains the vast majority of the world's largest cuckoo clocks), then contemplate the sources of your favorite fairy tales, and a bell will resound in your head.  Contemplate also why California's Disneyland is better than Florida's Magic Kingdom (recalling that the elaborate facade behind Disneyland's It's a Small World ride is an enormous, elaborate clock with animated figures emerging to mark the hours).  Now you'll have guessed the reason for our pilgrimage last year to the 14th-century fortified East Gate of the town of Warwick, still a working clock tower.  Google Earth imagery of the clock tower verifies that the spot violates the laws of space/time.  The top of the clock tower is revealed to be ethereal (see first and second pictures below).  It's an English version of a "Castle in Spain."  At least equally intriguing, an additional warp in space/time is verified: the yellow line that Google overlays to show the route of street traffic bends upward into space as it nears the clock tower.  This anomaly isn't a one-off but rather appears in multiple photos and angles (see pictures three and four below).  In our final picture, taken more recently by Google's spy cameras, note the optical illusion in the clock tower's windows.  We've paired it with an optical illusion by Gary Barwin, to clarify the exact phenomenon (see picture five below).  Windows begin as glass and end as stone, and vice versa.






> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


How to Believe in Your Elf (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook, the frontispiece to How to Believe in Your Elf.


* There is a vast world of reality into which science can no more enter than an elf can be Santa Claus.  We regret to observe that rather than face it, and confess its inability to measure it, science turns its back upon it.  Life is not always every-day life, and the insolvable mysteries are correlated not to formal rules but to spirit and inspiration.  Are bits of wisdom liable to dwarf the subject?  Indeed — and rightly!  James Howell described the ingredients of a good proverb to be "sense, shortness, and salt."  May Howell's cry resound through this present collection of maxims on believing in one's elf.

> read more from How to Believe in Your Elf . . .


This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea (permalink)

   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(   ,(
`-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `-' `
"The sea is a cruel mistress. Yet again the sea has behaved unconscionably. It's time to address this terrible problem that is the sea." —Captain Neddie, from the hilarious BBC series Broken News
> read more from This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
This mysterious apparition from The Angel of the Revolution by George Chetwynd Griffith Jones and illustrated by Frederick Thomas Jane, 1893.

[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .



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