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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November 19, 2015 (permalink)

They say music is the universal language, but this Swedish sheet music proves otherwise.  From Social Games and Group Dances by James Claude Elsom, 1920.

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November 15, 2015 (permalink)

"A probably combustion," 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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November 9, 2015 (permalink)

Here's another type of bagpipes, with questionable notes, from Brittany with Bergère by William Whitelock, 1914.

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November 6, 2015 (permalink)

From The Ball of Yarn, 1854.

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October 24, 2015 (permalink)

From St. Nicholas magazine, 1877.

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October 22, 2015 (permalink)

"There is dark, and there is light": a musical Yin/Yang from Beauty and the Beast: A Humorous Cantata by Edmund Rogers, 1882.  Note how the sharp and double-sharp symbols offer shimmers of light.

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October 9, 2015 (permalink)

You've heard of "a little night music," but here's how it's properly notated.  From Очеркъ тысячелѣтней борьбы Балтійско-Полабскаго Славянства съ Нѣмцами до возрожденія Сербо-Лужицкаго племени, 1897.

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"On that key of hopelessness she ended," from Hamilton of King's by Alice Price, 1890.

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October 6, 2015 (permalink)

"I'm sole captain of this fine vessel.  Blow, my bonny boys, blow."  From Home-Theatricals Made Easy, or, Busy, Happy, and Merry by Frances Elizabeth Callow, 1891.

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October 1, 2015 (permalink)

Luckily, our organ has a stop for "Trumpets behind the scenes."  From The Echo, An Opera in One Act by Frank Patterson, 1922.

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September 26, 2015 (permalink)

She's "at it," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

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September 18, 2015 (permalink)

The music of the future will be notated on cats' whiskers, as we see in The Bashful Earthquake by Oliver Herford (1899).

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September 16, 2015 (permalink)

From Bachelor Ballads and Other Lazy Lyrics by Harry Spurr, 1899.

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August 28, 2015 (permalink)

Revealed: here's why swing music originated in the big city.  From The Saturday Evening Post, 1920.

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August 22, 2015 (permalink)

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August 10, 2015 (permalink)

In the key of F, presumably.  From A Little Tour in Ireland by Samuel Reynolds Hole, 1892.

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June 25, 2015 (permalink)

Did you know that musical scores can have drop caps, too?  These are from Robin Hood: A Collection of Poems, Songs, and Ballads by Joseph Ritson, 1884.

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May 21, 2015 (permalink)

We like to say that music is timeless, but in fact the notes mature, as we see in Educational Psychology by Kate Gordon, 1917.

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May 18, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a different drummer from St. Nicholas magazine, 1904.

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