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

Yesterday — December 4, 2016 (permalink)

"Goodban's Game of Musical Characters."
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December 2, 2016 (permalink)

"Uses the piano as an instrument of torture."  From "On Grown-Up Babies and Other Human Phenomena" in Cassell's, 1888.
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November 19, 2016 (permalink)

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November 16, 2016 (permalink)

From The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum, 1909.
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October 11, 2016 (permalink)

From The Road to Oz by L. Frank Baum, 1909.
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October 10, 2016 (permalink)

Piano for the bedridden, 1935.
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October 6, 2016 (permalink)

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September 22, 2016 (permalink)

A violin in the graveyard: a ghost from A Book of Ghosts by S. Baring-Gould, 1904.
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August 16, 2016 (permalink)

The piano playing duck (not shown).  Date uncertain.
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July 29, 2016 (permalink)

Here's the 4 a.m. "Egg Song" from Cartoons Magazine, 1917.  We didn't make a recording of this, as our exclusive recording of the sound of "turtle heaven" didn't exactly set the world on fire.
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July 25, 2016 (permalink)

From My Odd Little Folk by Malcom Douglas, 1893.
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June 26, 2016 (permalink)

Here's the sound of turtle heaven, from a sympathy card in Arlene Christianson's scrapbook, courtesy of the NDSU Archives.  We played the melody for you in a fancy MP3 and a barebones MIDI, for your convenience.
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June 22, 2016 (permalink)

"The bigger the horn the better in most cases" (Gregory L. Hardin, Outstanding Sound Systems, 2008).  Our photo is of the U.S. Naval Training Camp, Seattle, Washington, circa 1918.
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June 21, 2016 (permalink)

Here are some cosmic fermatas formed of suns and comet tails, from Astronomy for Students and General Readers by Simon Newcomb, 1880.  Gives one pause, eh?
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June 4, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard [of] the Music of the Spheres, but here's what's happening on the electron[ic] scale.  We see that flats are negative and sharps are positive as they spin in their cosmic dance.  From The London, Edinburgh and Dublin Philosophical Magazine and Journal of Science, 1910.

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April 17, 2016 (permalink)

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April 3, 2016 (permalink)

From Elizabeth College's Caps and Belles yearbook, 1901.  (For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.)

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March 28, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a tricky passage for a centaur from Calliope, or, English Harmony, 1739.
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March 4, 2016 (permalink)

Thanks to the acclaimed poet Christian Bök (author of the astonishing Eunoia) for calling our recording of Warholian punctuation "a beautiful clockwork sonata."
And recall our extensive collection of ways that "Perhaps Andy Warhol Was Wrong" about that fifteen minutes of fame business.
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February 27, 2016 (permalink)

If they'd asked us, we'd have said that an opera without music is like an Arthur without a Merlin.

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