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.

March 16, 2014 (permalink)

[For Jeff Hawkins.]


The text reads, "Learning the art of photography is absorbed more through osmosis." —Peter Ensenberger, Focus on Composing Photos (2011)

February 25, 2014 (permalink)

"Time is so much more real than Space that it might be called the Begetter of the Illusion of Space." —Pelagius, qtd. in John Cowper Powys' Porius.

January 28, 2014 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "If one's portentous shadow precedes, the unknown future into which one advances will dread one's arrival. —John Cowper-Powys, Porius (paraphrased)"

January 21, 2014 (permalink)

This diagram illustrating the possible nature of the process of a telepathic transmission of a conscious thought appears in The Verdict: —?: A Study of the Probable Origin of Certain Physic Phenomena Together with a Record of Very Striking Personal Experiences by Tertium Quid (1920).



December 24, 2013 (permalink)

It's a nearly-forgotten fact that too much mistletoe can actually prevent kisses.  Our proof appears in The Quiver, 1892.



October 29, 2013 (permalink)


From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

There are two sides to every issue, and twelve gray facets.


October 18, 2013 (permalink)


Sheila in Binghamton (not pictured) writes:

I ran across this supposedly Jamaican saying "Empty cans mek de most noise!"  I believe V8 cans make more noise than any others.  What would Prof Oddfellow say?

Yes, Shelia!  Empty V8 cans absolutely do make more noise.  In layman's terms, a container that was once filled with eight juices is emptier than a container filled with a single juice.  In mathematical terms, negative eight is less than zero.  In Buddhist terms, emptiness is a boundless space of resonance.  (Note that the low sodium variety of V8, containing what Samuel Beckett didn't call "more lessness," makes the most noise of all.)

But here is a warning: do not, for acoustical purposes, seek to make your own V8 juice in a jar (as did Rachel McLeod Laminer, pictured), unless the noise you seek is that of breaking glass.

September 17, 2013 (permalink)

"Nested lucid dreamers, when observed in a mirror, are reversed not only right to left, but dream to dream." —Jeff Hawkins

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:



August 23, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "I’ll tell you something else … that you can’t know, because  a man’s got to be old to know this, that the more ashes there are on the top of a living heart the longer it’ll burn.” — Merlin, in John Cowper Powys’ novel Porius

July 23, 2013 (permalink)

[Note that we pre-blogged this item months and months ago; it has nothing to do with the birth of the new royal heir in Great Britain.]

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:



July 5, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


 
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt explains: "Hope asserts in passing that 'there are generally two ways anywhere'—which might be a dull observation if it were strictly a metaphor, but which in context he means literally (if perhaps not only literally). So, yes, there are generally not three, not one, but exactly two ways to get from a given point A to a given point B on the map" (personal correspondence, May 1, 2013).

The Anthony Hope quotation appears in Frivolous Cupid.

July 4, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


Inspired by and for Jeff Hawkins.  The caption reads: "As early as the 16th century, many eminent people correctly believed that the tip of the iceberg is made of lettuce.  Fun fact: Like snowflakes, no two croutons are alike."

June 24, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "The lighthouse floats. —Kaneko Mitsuharu"

June 19, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads, "books always a coffin opened to life —Gary Barwin"

June 17, 2013 (permalink)


Why does Prof. Oddfellow so often rag Big Science, and why does he so often back zero?  Here's a quotation (first posted to our Spotted in the Wild blog) that explains all:

"You should be aware that science, dealing only with the general, leaves out of consideration the individual cases that contradict the enormous majority.  Occasionally the heart is on the right side of the body, but you would not on that account ever put your stethoscope in any other than the usual spot.  It is possible that under certain conditions the law of gravity does not apply, yet you will conduct your life under the conviction that it does so invariably.  Now, there are some of us who choose to deal only with these exceptions to the common run.  The dull man who plays at Monte Carlo puts his money on the colours, and generally black or red turns up; but now and then zero appears, and he loses.  But we, who have backed zero all the time, win many times our stake.  Here and there you will find men whose imagination raises them above the humdrum of mankind.  They are willing to lose their all if only they have chance of a great prize.  Is it nothing not only to know the future, as did the prophets of old, but by making it to force the very gates of the unknown?" —William Somerset Maugham, The Magician

June 12, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "The fruit fly is stardust, too. —Jeff Hawkins"

June 10, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook, for Jeff Hawkins (but five years late).



June 4, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads, "(In space, no one can hear you say you're upside down.) —Jeff Hawkins."

May 27, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook, for Jeff Hawkins:



May 17, 2013 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


The text reads: "It's not that we get up on the wrong side of the bed, but rather on the wrong side of the dream.  Freud identified the two basic sides of a dream: manifest and latent."



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