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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Music Box Moment
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
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Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
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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
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A Fine Line Between...
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Always Remember
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Book of Whispers
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
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Forgotten Wisdom
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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
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory

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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April 29, 2016 (permalink)

Here's our Droste effect of the day — Prof. Oddfellow holding his portrait in Jim Girouard's letter-dice divination book Journey Into Eternity and standing in front of a print of said portrait, itself in front of Oddfellow's photo of Portmeirion's camera obscura which features in the drawing.  
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April 14, 2016 (permalink)

You know how the Dictionary Game turns a serious reference book into a gaming generator; the dictionary is playfully transformed from a tool for decoding puzzling words into a puzzle-making machine, where whimsically fake definitions take the stage.  But could any book, spontaneously pulled off the shelf, be transformed into a playfulness machine?  Could one's entire home library be a gaming center?  That's the lofty goal of Machinarium Verbosus: it offers, among other oddities, cut-out paper spectacles for seeing more than is readily apparent in any book.  
We're honored that Vegas headliner magician Jeff McBride considers our Machinarium Verbosus his favorite.  He talks about the book in the April 2016 episode of McBride Magic TV.
The poet W. B. Keckler describes our book as a "very humorous series of essays, experiments and actual OBJECTS (?!) all addressing metaphysical ideas in literature--but in an EXTREMELY playful way.  I LOVE this book."
The theorist of playfulness, Bernie De Koven, says this: "'Scholarly fun' seems to be a good name for it. Esoteric fun, like that of poets and etymologists and students of the arcane. The fun of playing with the obscure, the esoteric, the knowledge shared by the well-read few. A kind of fun that, in playing with all but forgotten lore, keeps it alive for those of us who some day may care."
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April 9, 2016 (permalink)

Thanks to the lionized wordsmith Gary Barwin, who blogged, "The world always offers curious and wondrous marvels as seen through the lens flare of Craig's eyes."  You may recall one of our secrets for seeing in 3-D:
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March 27, 2016 (permalink)

We have a friend in Tuscany who recenly attended the Baronessa Beatrice Monti della Corte von Rezzori's writers' retreat, and he surreptitiously snapped a photo of her looking something up in our dictionary of one-letter words.  We didn't know very much about the history of the Baronessa's selection and support of writing talent, so we did some digging, and there's one tidbit in a Telegraph article that we found especially charming: "'When people ask me how I know so many people,' she explains, 'I say it's because of Capri.  I was the pretty girl of Capri, and I met all these writers, artists, homosexuals – and they would take me around, much like the pug.'"

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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.