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 OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Professor Oddfellow's Forgotten Wisdom

Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon. Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.

September 7, 2016 (permalink)


The text reads, "Everything found on land is found in the sea." —Ithell Colquhoun, Goose of Hermogenes 
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August 17, 2016 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:
"A rainbow spans the horizon for as long as your heart needs to reconcile itself to life." —Michel Tournier (as quoted in A Thousand Plateaus by Deleuze & Guattari).
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August 16, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard that "a horse is a horse, of course, of course."  But here's our explanation of why a racehorse is less like a workhorse than a workhorse is like an ox (as per Deleuze & Guattari's A Thousand Plateaus).  The science of ethology doesn't define a body by species or genus but rather counts affects.  Hence, workhorses and oxen are similar in that they both pull heavy burdens, are dirty, are tethered, move slowly, work long days, and are crucial to farm production.  A racehorse is none of those things: it is unburdened, clean, untethered, can gallop, works short days on the track and not the field, is well-groomed, and wins trophies.  How does all this relate to being one's own cat?  A cat-person is more like a Persian cat than an indoor cat is like an alley cat.  For further explanation, easy tips, and immediate results, see How To Be Your Own Cat.  (And yes, we really did go to all this trouble to justify a tie-in to our book.  That's how important it all is.)
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August 10, 2016 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook.  (Previously, we examined a Hermetic secret from Ithell Colquhoun's Goose of Hermogenes, as well as her takes on volcanoes and on the two fish that swim in our sea.)

The text reads, "The sea's voice ... is heard as in the ear of a shell." —Ithell Colquhoun, Goose of Hermogenes 
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July 13, 2016 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook, a Hermetic secret.  (Previously, we examined another Hermetic secret from Ithell Colquhoun's Goose of Hermogenes, as well as her take on volcanoes.)

The text reads, "Be warned and understand truly, that two fishes are swimming in our sea." —Ithell Colquhoun, Goose of Hermogenes 
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June 18, 2016 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook.  (Previously, we examined a Hermetic secret from Ithell Colquhoun's Goose of Hermogenes.)

The text reads, "But one never knows what a volcano will do next, so it is best to say nothing about it." —Ithell Colquhoun, Goose of Hermogenes 
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May 3, 2016 (permalink)

"The unrecorded past is none other than our old friend, the tree in the primeval forest which fell without being heard." —Barbara Tuchman
And here we had thought that the fallen tree nobody heard was an old chestnut.
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March 7, 2016 (permalink)

Celebrated novelist and grammarian Martha Brockenbrough asks, "Is Tinker Bell a particle or a wave?"  Tinker Bell is a wave, except when she lights.
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February 14, 2016 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

Inner vision can distinguish between the upper minor mysteries and the lower major mysteries.  [Thanks, Jim, for inspiring this one!]

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December 27, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

The Hierarchy of Holy Smokes: Burning Ones, Glowing Ones, Hazy Ones, Obscured Ones, and On High.

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October 25, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:
Q: How do comic hats float?
A: To create levity, we must make light.
[For Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.  Hats off to you!]
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August 20, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook.  The text reads: "A Norwegian fjord tent for the bookish.  This tent (unlabeled) appears in Norway in 1848 and 1849 by Thomas Forester."
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August 19, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

"Insomnia, the muse with staring eyes." —Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro

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August 3, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "The pipes in pipe dreams are made from gold.*  It's all the stops that keep things in the realm of wishful thinking."

*as discovered by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.

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July 16, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

"The teacup may harbor the tempest, but the creamer curdles first."  [Inspired by our favorite pun-and-ink artist, Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.]


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July 11, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

To our knowlege, ours is the first depiction of the Eye of Horus as an acorn (and we'll allow the "why" of it to remain mysterious for now).

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May 25, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads, "There's no such thing as an "inverted pentagram."  The so-called inverted pentagram is merely an upright pentagram tilted 36 degrees.  Indeed, there's no such thing as an inverted pentagram, for such is a mathematical impossibility."

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May 5, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

Planet X (a.k.a. Nibiru) is an anagram of "Next Alp."

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April 13, 2015 (permalink)


The text reads, "At the center of a helix lies a pitchfork.  (An unretouched diagram of a wireless telegraph receiving system, 1883.)"
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April 6, 2015 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

Viewed under a microscope, religions are composed of ions.
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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.