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 — July 25, 2014

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from The World of Romance (1892).  The caption reads: "A live devilkin!"


[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 . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration by Frederick C. Gordon from A Doctor of the Old School by Ian Maclaren (1895).  The caption reads: "Death after all was victor."


[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 . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
An illustration from Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin.  The caption reads: "Mrs. Bennet was privileged to whisper it to Mrs. Philips."


* The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.

No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition—cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.
> read more from Book of Whispers . . .


Is Today The Day? (permalink)
25
July 2014

“Today is the day to hide the wallet and pull out the pen.”

—Mary Jo Rulnick, The Frantic Woman’s Guide to Life, 2004

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:
Etude op10 #1 (Chopin)
performed by Ken Clinger
If you could use another Music Box Moment, choose a piece:


Today’s Color Palette: 4 Prof. Oddfellow (more info)
4 Prof. Oddfellow is the name of the color palette featured today, created by ajeanne. The palette consists of the following colors:

• hex #464449 — Cosmic Silhouette
• hex #92A756 — Emerald City Green
• hex #A59C84 — Kansas Cyclone
• hex #FEF5C8 — Portmeirion Sunrise
• hex #FFDBC4 — Cloudy Chariot

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 — July 24, 2014

Yesterday's Weather (permalink)
An illustration from Lavengro by Augustine Birrell (1896).  The caption reads: "There's the wind on the heath, brother; if I could only feel that, I would gladly live for ever."


*Inspired by the world's only accurate meteorological report, "Yesterday's Weather," as seen on Check It Out.
> read more from Yesterday's Weather . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Humorous Poems by Thomas Hood (1893).  The caption reads: "The mirror here confirmed me this."


[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 . . .


Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
"An extemporaneous No-Popery Dance."  An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).


Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .

July 23, 2014

Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)
We're pleased to debut a new, rather elaborate online oracular thingamajig.  William Keckler got the scoop, and he blogs about it here.  Our favorite comment so far: "I just expected this 'yes' or 'no' and I got that treat like going to the carnival.  I love this as conceptualist art and how the 'answer' turns out to be a hall of mirrors that just leave you so confused and almost sorry you asked ... a metaphysical rebuke.  So brilliant."  Meanwhile, here's a sample report for the question, "Is wonder more powerful than mystery?"


Prof. Oddfellow consults his favorite Tesla-inspired machine, the mysterious "Professor Conrow's Psychical Predictor Apparatus."  Physicists cannot explain exactly how the device works beyond theorizing that quantum fluctuations are detected by the device’s scattered green light and twin iron pyrite crystals.  The results from this machine form part of the report from Oddfellow's "Augural Agglomerator."
> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .


Nonsense Dept. (permalink)
"A theory that is marginally nonsensical will always perform well against complete and utter nonsense."
> read more from Nonsense Dept. . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from On Blue Water by Edmondo de Amicis (1898).  The caption reads: "Grinding out curses."


[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 . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from Vikram and Vampire by Charles F Burton (1893).  The caption reads: "There he found the Jogi."


[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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