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

Select Creations
Search Site

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 ...
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
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
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
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
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
Uncharted Territories
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In


April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006


Magic Words
Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
Tonya Harding Shot
Lord Whimsy
April Winchell
DJ Misc
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
J-Walk Blog
Ironic Sans
Ursi's Blog
Brian Sibley's Blog
World of Wonder
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.

April 12, 2014 (permalink)

"Lyrics no longer have the power they used to." —Shindō Kazuma

Nor did they in 1891.  Or did they?  You be the judge:

From Dramatic Works and Minor Poems by Henry John Smith, 1891.

April 4, 2014 (permalink)

Our resident organ grinder, of Music Box Moment fame, has a brand new set of compositions for all who deserve a nostalgic breather. Also, he now takes requests: listeners may select from the 807-track repertoire.  Here's the link again:

Fans of mechanized music may also enjoy our exclusive clockwork recordings of Silly Pillows' euphoric Come in the Evening, Story of the Running Wolf's transcendent Stratospheric, and Abbi Spinner's timeless Die and Be Reborn.

Meanwhile, here's the music box from the Sound Art Module at Berlin's Theater Kapelle:

February 21, 2014 (permalink)

We are excited to transcribe for you the sound of shish kebab, as revealed in William Castle's The Night Walker.
Indeed, as few have ever suspected, each roasted piece on the skewer is a musical note!  The final uplifting tone is, of course, the end-piece being plucked.

Barbara Stanwyck contemplates musical shish kebab in The Night Walker.

Our transcription of the world's most accurate shish kebab theme.

February 20, 2014 (permalink)

Here's our visual tribute to the song "My Canary Plays Canasta in Canarsie" by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.

The lyrics:

My canary plays canasta in Canarsie
She scoffs at those who favor crazy eights
She won't deal five-card stud
And, oh, your name is mud
If you should try to tempt her with charades.

Yes, my canary plays canasta in Canarsie
Although she never brings a deck of cards
She isn't one for rummy
And she complains to Mummy
If ever you suggest a round of hearts.

Oh, my canary plays canasta in Canarsie
(And this is where you'll hear some different chords)
We hope we've raised a smile
Tin Pan Alley style
With avians who sneer at checkerboards

[J. Caws-Elwitt] © 2014 Strangest Songs (ASCAP)

January 9, 2014 (permalink)

Father Time [Signature] dictates how many beats are in each measure from The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle (1887).

January 8, 2014 (permalink)

Here's the quietest instrument in all of Florida, at the Saint Augustine cathedral.  Recording artist Ken Clinger notes that it would be an elegant setting for performing John Cage's silent composition 4′33″.  Ken adds, "The fact that it still has a piano stool makes it seem to invite use for contemplation."

Molto Pianissimo.

November 14, 2013 (permalink)

Too few pick up a cornet, and fewer still seize it.  "Norman seized his cornet": To-Day magazine, 1873.

November 10, 2013 (permalink)

Seven flats!  From London Society, 1864.

July 31, 2013 (permalink)

Back in the mid-noughties, we wrote a song about the single thing one-letter words spell.  Here's Ken Clinger's 1920's take on it:

June 19, 2013 (permalink)

"Animalistic music arouses animalistic instincts." —Devorah Heshelis, The Moon's Lost Light (2006)

This illustration of sight reading animalistic music appears in Punch, 1889.

April 27, 2013 (permalink)

Before the invention of MIDI, programmed music required meticulously timed grandfather clocks, and every performance ticked at 60 bpm. In the tradition of the original "old school," our Clockwork Remixes feature vintage timepieces.

Clockwork photo courtesy of Third Angel.

April 25, 2013 (permalink)

"What the well-dressed instrument is wearing ... Here's a well-known instrument in modern dress."
Instrument Practice, 1951

This "scarf for upright piano" appears in Arthur's Home Magazine, 1887.  It's described as "One of the most unique scarfs for an upright piano I have seen in a long time."  We can say without hesitation that it's the first scarf for an upright piano we've ever seen!

February 28, 2013 (permalink)

We all know that the opera isn't over until the fat lady sings, but did you know that in Scotland, the bagpipes aren't over until the corgi cries?  Proof comes from Life Magazine, 1917.

February 27, 2013 (permalink)

Wikipedia strives for an "encyclopedic tone," but what does such a tone sound like?  Giovanni Vlacancich knows.  He patented a method of "assigning each letter in an alphabet a musical note, converting words in a message into the musical notes and then using the musical notes to communicate the message to another human being."  When played all together, the alphabetic notes of Wikipedia's encyclopedic tone sound like ... well, one hates to use the word cacophony.

September 27, 2012 (permalink)

How to handle the psychic pain of learning that your music idol's own favorite song is "Stars Are Blind" by Paris Hilton:

1. Remember that Paris Hilton didn't write the lyrics or the music.  She hired genuine talent to raise and buttress whatever exactly it was that she brought to the recording studio.

2. Remember that Paris Hilton hardly exists and therefore isn't especially fearsome.  Perversely, she is famous for being famous — a persona without a presence.  She's perhaps even less real for having starred in a television "reality series."  She's as deep as a t-shirt slogan, as insubstantial as a tabloid headline plastered across a perfume bottle, an eternally spent bombshell with a leaked porn tape.

3. Your musical idol is entitled to his own (bad) taste.  It's impossible to know what he's hearing when he listens to Paris Hilton.  Every brain "decodes" musical signals differently, irresistibly overlaying idiosyncratic associations.  Heck, given just the right mood and circumstances, listening to Bono's opinion on everything could — theoretically — be a pleasant experience.

4. Paris Hilton's "Stars are Blind" isn't an offense to human culture.  It's a breezy, reggae-infused love song, neither more nor less than the genre demands.  It's a passing cloud, not shapely enough for anyone to exclaim, "Very like a whale!", not large enough to offer shade, not charged enough to threaten lightning, not heavy enough to replenish the aquifers, not refractive enough to offer a rainbow.  It neither helps nor harms but flimsily "is."

5. If all else fails, chant the Litany Against Paris Hilton:
Paris Hilton is the mind-killer.
Paris Hilton is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face Paris Hilton.
I will permit her to pass over me and through me.
And when she has gone past I will turn my inner eye to see her path.
Where Paris Hilton has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.

August 2, 2012 (permalink)

Our daily "Music Box Moment" features a baker's dozen new tracks.  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, we now feature Handel's "Flute Sonata #7," three movements of Mozart's "Piano Sonata 11," Weiss' "Air," four movements of Chopin's "Piano Sonata 1," Zielenski's "Fantazja II," Saint-Saens' "Rondo," Zach's "Praeludium & Fuga," and Wartecki's "Nos Autem Gloriari Oportet."

Here's the link to the music box.  It makes a great bookmark!

Photo by Bart Heird.

November 16, 2011 (permalink)

It's not every day that one's photo of the Temple of the Forbidden Eye is used to illustrate a Doom Metal / Death Metal / Black Metal track entitled "Under Rotting Sky."  But today isn't just any day, and "Under Rotting Sky" isn't just any Doom Metal / Death Metal / Black Metal track.  Consider yourself th-angst, Pseudomancer!

February 17, 2011 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

November 5, 2010 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

September 13, 2010 (permalink)

Linear time reversed itself as the Belgian new wave band Neon Judgement remastered their first two cassettes and released them on vinyl LPs.  Why they skipped 8-tracks along the way to vinyl, we'll never know, but we're eagerly awaiting a cylinder phonograph release, presumably available in time for holiday shopping.

Page 1 of 2

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.