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
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Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers


A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
How to Believe in Your Elf
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Non-Circulating Books
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
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Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
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Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost In The [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
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Your Ship Will Come In


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Magic Words
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Martha Brockenbrough
Gordon Meyer
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Brian Sibley's Blog
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory

December 6, 2016 (permalink)

We're delighted that our photo of Descanso Gardens was chosen for this year's "Enchanted Forest of Light" event.
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December 4, 2016 (permalink)

Thanks to Brenda ConnelRoss for a 5-star review of our Magic Words: A Dictionary:
I absolutely LOVE this book. It's great if you're interested in magic, but it's really for people who love the sound of WORDS. The evening I received it, I sat on the porch swing to look through it. A half hour later, I discovered that I had been sitting for 30 minutes reading and laughing out loud. There are words and phrases from Ancient Greece to spells from the tv show Bewitched! (The yaga zoozie spell was my all-time favorite; it's in the book.) I keep it in my fifth grade class, and use magic phrases as a signal to get to work! I need another copy for home. I also ADORE the literary references. This is a brilliant book for magicians and logophiles!
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November 13, 2016 (permalink)

We're honored that tech guru Gordon Meyer (author of Smart Home Hacks fame) called our Seance Parlor Feng Shui project "One of the loveliest, and most lovingly created, books in my collection."

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November 9, 2016 (permalink)

Jim Hester performing a night flight over Ocean Park, 1920.
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October 24, 2016 (permalink)

This is from an article about aligning reflectors in geometric forms to send signals to life on other planets.  From Cassell's, 1893.
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October 18, 2016 (permalink)

"Scene from the last act of the ballet 'Electra, or the Last Pleaid,'" from Illustrated London News, 1849.
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September 28, 2016 (permalink)

The Library Shenanigans blog got the scoop on our latest collage project about “non-circulating” library books.  Most all of our pieces are set to appear in the future, but you can time travel with us and see them all here:

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September 19, 2016 (permalink)

We're often asked how and where we find the unusual imagery we post.  This photo reveals all.

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September 17, 2016 (permalink)

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September 10, 2016 (permalink)

From Rübezahl Erzählungen by K. A. Müller, 1800.
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September 3, 2016 (permalink)

"Riding a live wire" is daredevil D. H. McDonnell a.k.a. Professor Arion, from his obituary in The Street Railway Review, 1897.
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August 20, 2016 (permalink)

"Let us forget about the past life in darkness and look forward to walking through light." —Andrew Pappachen
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August 15, 2016 (permalink)

We're glad to have spotted this review of our Young Wizard's Hexopedia:
5 stars.  "Whether it be mage or sage, philology or philosophy, Craig Conley's Hexopedia is an splendid source for the young scholar beginning an interest in the intricacies of the language arts or the aspiring practitioner attracted to the allure of the magic arts, and a recommended reference for the most eclectic collection of sorcerer and student alike. Hexopedia is an excellent example of the dynamic of the power of language through spells, spelling, speech and sound interacting with thought-provoking imagery to intrigue the imagination, mystify the mind, and guarantee to make this wonderful work one to re-read." —Joshua Sprouse
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August 11, 2016 (permalink)

It's commonly believed that the world's longest-lasting light bulb is the Centennial Light in Livermore, California, having glowed for 113 years.  But we know better, that the earth itself is the longest-lasting light bulb (and hence our looming fear of the lights going out in Georgia [again], for, like the font, Georgia is everywhere [except Linux]).  From Bell Telephone Magazine, 1972.
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August 8, 2016 (permalink)

We're delighted by these 5-star reviews of our How to Be Your Own Cat:

5 stars.  "A charming and subversively 'innocent' book that delightfully combines pro-feline sentiments and self-awareness. For those who have become jaded by decades of 'visualization techniques', shifting the perspective to 'cat consciousness' is both ingenious and refreshing." —Ken Clinger, recording artist

5 Stars.  "Whether you're allergic to dander, or residential regulations prohibit pets, or your lifestyle doesn't allow for responsible care of vulnerable creatures, the simplest answer is to be your own cat.  I wondered if the claim of "instant results" could possibly be true, but you become your own cat during the very first exercise you perform.  You can do the steps in any order you wish.  I skipped around, and the results weren't adversely affected.  There were lots of good laughs along the way, and I thoroughly enjoyed it." —CeeCee Farley, Univ. of Florida

5 stars.  "As someone from astrological feline sign I can say that I identify with many elements of this book. I've always admired the way cats approach the world with an air of mystery. Now I know why and how they do it. This book reveals feline secrets that I've never seen discussed anywhere else. It's a delight for any animal lover. It was a wonderful read and I look forward to keeping it by my bedside to have it on hand." —Allyson, chef

5 stars.  "This is paws-down best cat book ever ... because it's not cutesy.  Though obviously playful in tone, the tips are actually serious, and they honestly DO work!  This book goes straight to the heart of what makes a cat tick, allowing anyone to genuinely become his or her own feline." —Donna Clark, artist

5 stars.  "I am curled up in the feline position thoroughly enjoying how to become my own inner kitty. Cats are such enigmas, and this is just a truly delightful and thoughtful exploration of their psychology. I read it all at once; couldn't put it down!" —Alice Warwick, attorney

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July 27, 2016 (permalink)

From The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott, illustrated by T. Seccombe, 1870.

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July 7, 2016 (permalink)

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July 5, 2016 (permalink)

Speaking of our latest video clip, the inimitable Gary Barwin said: "This new video on the Mandela effect locked me in its uncarny Full Nelson. You play Heidegger and go seek with the Wyrd sisters of quantum estrangement or perhaps attainment and, not to make streetlight of it, I found it shone light on what it is to be a prism-er of the quotidian and to eschew the night vision of one's internal intuitor, one's inner child who makes strange."

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June 26, 2016 (permalink)

The brightest student of 1937, as scanned by Miami University Libraries.

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May 28, 2016 (permalink)

Is it embarrassing to own a copy of our dictionary of one-letter words?  For Irish Times columnist Frank McNally, definitely so (but he bravely came out all the same in an article entitled To the Power of M: An Irishman's Diary on the Strange Appeal of the Alphanet's 13th Letter):
Far from bosoms, in fact, the original M was a pictogram for water. And according to my Dictionary of One-Letter Words (it’s sad, I know, but I really have one), the writer Victor Hugo noted that it could also visually represent mountains “or a camp with tents pitched in pairs”.
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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.