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 Fine Line Between...

A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from

September 6, 2015 (permalink)

It's a fine line Where Ghosts Walk by Marion Harland, 1898.

August 1, 2015 (permalink)

There's a fine line between gold and tinsel.  From Thrilling Life Stories for the Masses, 1892.

July 20, 2015 (permalink)

There's a fine line between a numerator and a denominator. —5,000 Sidesplitting Jokes and One-Liners

March 15, 2015 (permalink)

There's a fine line between imaginary divisions, as we see in Dental Electro-Therapeutics, 1918.

March 2, 2015 (permalink)


February 6, 2015 (permalink)

"We have to tread a fine line between the poet and the poet's word, and between the saying and the said."

January 6, 2015 (permalink)

"There can be a fine line between creative and nonsensical language."

December 20, 2014 (permalink)

From My Northern Exposure: The Kawa At the Pole by Walter E. Traprock, 1922.  Thanks, Jonathan Caws-Elwitt!

December 7, 2014 (permalink)

"I believe I was treading a fine line between being the helpful 'voice of reason' and being a harsh 'get it together and smell the coffee' voice of reality."

December 6, 2014 (permalink)

"There is a fine line between being open and being tiresome."

November 25, 2014 (permalink)

There's a fine line between circles of mystery and mystic elf sorcery.  [For Jim Girouard.]

November 3, 2014 (permalink)

The fine line between what's close and what's too close.

October 20, 2014 (permalink)

"It is a fine line between the servant becoming the master and the exchange of one master for another."

September 30, 2014 (permalink)

"There is a fine line between being tantalising and being tarty."

September 28, 2014 (permalink)

There's a fine line between a non-moment and a moment.  Our illustration appears in French Language and Conversation by François Berger, 1891.  (Thanks, in a roundabout way, to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt!)

November 19, 2013 (permalink)

The many thin lines exist.
Things That Exist

Many thin lines photographed by Dendroica cerulea.

September 20, 2013 (permalink)

The fine line between a Leitmotiv and an addiction.
Nein Quarterly

August 23, 2013 (permalink)

A still from The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff.  The subtitle reads, "There's a fine line between grieving and racism."

July 31, 2013 (permalink)

"It is a very fine line between what's real and what's not."
Ronda L. Brulotte, Between Art and Artifact (2012)

July 1, 2013 (permalink)

"There is only a fine line between dream and reality, one often effaced in ordinary experience."
Michael Saler, As If: Modern Enchantment and the Literary Prehistory of Virtual Reality (2012)

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