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...
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A Fine Line Between...

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

October 25, 2016 (permalink)

There's a fine line between secrecy and ignorance.  —Timothy Barney, Mapping the Cold War (2015)
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August 29, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a fine line of screech owls from Bird Lore, 1919.
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August 2, 2016 (permalink)

"There is a fine line between hunting for survival and hunting for joy." —Soundlessmarine
Here that fine line is represented by a pocket watch.  (?)  Circa 1890.
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July 23, 2016 (permalink)

Though "A Can of Peaches" (Cassell's, 1896) is a tragedy, The Can of Yams (Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, 2006) is a farce.
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July 17, 2016 (permalink)

"Slightly disfigured but still in the [circle]," from an ad for Dr. J. T. Wiggins & Co., druggist, Mason, Texas, c. 1880.
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July 4, 2016 (permalink)

"Sunbathers stay below this row."  Photo courtesy of the Stanford Historical Photograph Collection.
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June 14, 2016 (permalink)

"There was a fine line between being forthright and being a bully." —Liz Byrski, In Love and War (2015)
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May 23, 2016 (permalink)

There's a fine line between the Montana School of Mines and the Montana School of Mimes.
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May 19, 2016 (permalink)

Here's the acclaimed lawyer Clarence Darrow (left) and someone not acclaimed (right), photographed by Leslie Jones (as scanned by the Boston Public Library).
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April 8, 2016 (permalink)

There's a fine line between the unfiltered and the various plusses, minuses, and plus/minuses.  From Biological Studies by the Pupils of William Thompson Sedgwick, 1906.
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March 29, 2016 (permalink)

There's "a fine line between prudence and what might subsequently be construed as cowardice." —Adrian Gilbert, Challenge of Battle (2015)
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February 16, 2016 (permalink)

There's a fine line between profit and theft. —J. J. Pengilly, Blinkered (2015)
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February 10, 2016 (permalink)

There's a fine line between Samuel Taylor Coleridge and Samuel Coleridge-Taylor.  Can you spot the difference?
Both of them:
  1. wrote about Kubla Khan
  2. had romantic natures
  3. were Englishmen
  4. are known for musical rhythm
  5. displayed natural abilities
  6. were of frail health
  7. were instrumental in helping others find their own voices
  8. had "veins uncontaminated with one drop of Gentility"
  9. died too young
  10. continue to be popular
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December 26, 2015 (permalink)

"There's a fine line between my bubbly in class persona and my panicked inner monologue." —Audrey O'Connor, Lessons in Pure Life (2015)
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December 9, 2015 (permalink)

"People were all either masons or anti-masons," from The Story of New York by Elbridge Streeter Brooks, 1888.

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November 24, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a fine line from A Treastise on Painting by John Burnet, 1837.

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November 20, 2015 (permalink)

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November 13, 2015 (permalink)

"It’s very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present."
Edith Beale

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November 10, 2015 (permalink)

"There is a fine line between deciding on a direction for your painting and allowing it to take on a life of its own." —Debora Stewart, Abstract Art Painting (2015)

Art by June Yarham.
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October 17, 2015 (permalink)

"(there's sometimes a fine line between a weed and a coveted side dish)" —Jennifer A. Jordan, Edible Memory (2015)

"Edible Cobblestones (with growth)" by Omid Tavallai.
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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.