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
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
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
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Oldest Tricks in the Book
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Peace Symbols to Color
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Which is Funnier
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Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
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Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
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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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Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In


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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Colorful Allusions

Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour. In these rebus-style puzzles, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes. Try to guess the exact hue of each. Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words. Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue. Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.

February 17, 2015 (permalink)

Here are the colors of the void from Catalog of Portables and Shades by Welsbach Commercial Company, 1910.

December 4, 2014 (permalink)

If he "killed brown every night," did he wake up with a black eye?  From Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, 1883.

October 19, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from Poems Via the Author, Third Series, Political (1888).  The caption reads: "But here you shall more secrets gain, / And never need be fooled again. ... Explanation of the Colours."

September 22, 2014 (permalink)

Here are the most colorful three lines of dialogue possible.  The scene involves a couple planning a holiday.  Reggie B. yearns for the ocean, but Em is a hydrophobic.  We join them as Reggie B. hesitatingly hands Em a surfing brochure:

Reggie B: [pleadingly] Sea, Em?

Em: [exasperated over Reggie B.'s insensitivity to her irrational fear of water] Why?

Reggie B. [acquiescing, though aqua-effing under his breath] 'Kay.

We abbreviate the title of the dialogue as CMYK, and we do believe it covers the entire spectrum.

March 19, 2014 (permalink)

We're tickled that a photo of our rainbow bookshelves illustrates these sentences in an English lesson: "My bookcase is a mess.  I need to sort out my books."

January 19, 2014 (permalink)

Thanks to Gordon Meyer (of Smart Home Hacks fame), who for years has stocked our minimalist coloring book (complete with white crayon) at Quimby's bookstore.  Here's a photo of Gordon's presentation:

October 1, 2013 (permalink)

"It's this October softening the burning sun that fills the air with a new element, an element like a great melted pearl, through which you see everything." —John Cowper Powys, Porius

Our illustration is a collage of elements by spettacolopuro, amboo who?, and Iguanasan.

August 10, 2013 (permalink)

Did we ever mention that our color palette "Moonlit Black Swan" is featured on page 166 of Color Inspirations?

August 9, 2013 (permalink)

"It struck me that it was different in colour": a black-and-white illustration from The Quiver, 1879.

August 8, 2013 (permalink)

"Poems come in two colors: grey and beige (ecru having been killed off a few years back)."
Geof Huth

Photo courtesy of Rhian.

May 29, 2013 (permalink)

Try not to think about the purple elephant with green stripes.  This specimen was accidentally colorized by Google's scanning machine.  From McClure's magazine, 1904.  The "moire" the merrier!

May 8, 2013 (permalink)

"The pace of time depends on how it was lived; the present is black and white while the memory is blue."
Gian Enzo Sperone: Torino-Roma-New York, 2000.

[For Jeff.]

April 12, 2013 (permalink)

"Golden sunshine, golden wine, golden hair, golden coin.  There is a magic charm in yellow, m'sieur.  Ah, but there is.  I know.  Red is bewitching; it is daring, inspiring.  But yellow—it enthuses, tantalizes, lulls."
—Izola L. Forrester, "The Yellow Domino," The Idler (1904)

October 5, 2012 (permalink)

A still from the Scottish comedy brilliance known as Burnistoun.

July 24, 2012 (permalink)

We love this unspoken rainbow in Bananarama's song "Waterfall":

It's like a waterfall coming down
Your love it just shines through me like the sun


"You’ve painted time with an unspoken rainbow of gold." —T. Rue

In an amazing coincidence (or was it a coincidence?) our tech wizard friend Gordon (of Smart Home Hacks fame) sent us, without explanation, magic beads that turn color in sunlight -- an unspoken rainbow if we ever heard/saw one!  (See photo below.)

Meanwhile, did you know that "colored stripes of some description" is a Googlewhack?  For that matter, so is "mysterious colors in the air."

April 13, 2012 (permalink)

In a letter to historian and mocker of superstition William Harnett Blanch, the illumined Oscar Wilde wrote, "I love superstitions.  They are the colour element of thought and imagination  They are the opponents of common sense.  Common sense is the enemy of romance.  The aim of your society [a club serving 13 courses, with ladders to walk under, mirrors to break, black cats, and so forth] seems to be dreadful.  Leave us some unreality" (qtd. in Phil Baker's biography of Austin Osman Spare).

Photo by Sarah Sosiak.

December 9, 2011 (permalink)

Gordon spotted our Minimalist Coloring Book at Chicago's Quimby's Bookstore, sitting next to The Penny Man.  The pairing is apropos, as minimalists surely have to watch their pennies.

September 2, 2011 (permalink)

An illustration from a 1910 issue of Hampton's magazine.  The caption reads: "Who can ever doubt the magic potency of black?"

August 27, 2011 (permalink)

"In the most blessed, the most beautiful state the human race can attain[,] [e]ach one of us would grow in a different way, no one would be like anyone else, everyone would be a crystal, would think and feel in different colours and images, would love and hate differently, as the spirit within wants us to.  It must have been Satan himself, the enemy of all colorful diversity, who thought up the slogan that all men are equal."
—Gustav Meyrink, The White Dominican

June 25, 2011 (permalink)

Thanks to Dornob Designs for featuring three photos of our rainbow bookshelves in their piece entitled "Sublime Spectra: 3 Bookcases Neatly Sorted by Book Colors":

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Original Content Copyright © 2015 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.