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.
I Found a Penny Today, So Here’s a Thought

November 21, 2017 (permalink)

A Letter from the Ghost of Mr. S----t, To His Friends: Dispatched to Them After His Arrival at the Invisible World, 1757.  We'll take a s---tty letter any day, considering that most of our friends seem to exist in an invisible world and only communicate in return for sacrifices.
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November 19, 2017 (permalink)

From The Crimson Cryptogram by Fergus Hume, 1902.
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November 7, 2017 (permalink)

Can climate change be linked to pasta manufacturers reproducing the Italian climate in America just so that kid gourmands can enjoy "authentic" macaroni?  The inconvenient truth is, yes.  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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November 6, 2017 (permalink)

And how true those words are, even today: "They're still at it in Berlin."  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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You've no doubt read a true story, but how often do you dare to read one that's too true?  From Love and Madness by Herbert Croft, 1780.
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November 4, 2017 (permalink)

Insomnia turns us into ghosts.  From Poems by B. D., 1880.
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November 3, 2017 (permalink)

You may march to a different drummer, but have you danced to unheard music?  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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"A dark light that falls from no star and emanates such sadness." —Deleuze and Guattari, A Thousand Plateaus, 1987.
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November 1, 2017 (permalink)

The revolution will not be televised, and the circus will not be motorized.  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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October 31, 2017 (permalink)


Wolf said: “This world is made of clouds and of the shadows of clouds. It is made of mental landscapes, porous as air, where we are as trees walking, and as reeds shaken by the wind.”
But the skull answered, “To turn the world again into mist and vapour is easy and weak. To keep it alive, to keep it real, to hold it at arm’s length, is the way of gods and demons.”
Wolf cried out: “There is no reality but what the mind fashions out of itself. There is nothing but a mirror opposite a mirror, and a round crystal opposite a round crystal, and a sky in water opposite water in a sky.”
“Ho! Ho!” laughed the hollow skull. “I am alive still, though I am dead; and you are dead, though you’re alive. For life is beyond your mirrors and your waters. It’s at the bottom of your pond; it’s in the body of your sun; it’s in the dust of your star spaces; it’s in the eyes of weasles and the noses of rats and the pricks of nettles and the tongues of vipers and the spawn of frogs and the slime of snails. Life in me still; and honey is sticky and tears are salt, and yellow-hammers’ eggs have mischievous crooked scrawls!”
—From the divine Wolf Solent by John Cowper Powys [with slight edits for brevity]
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October 30, 2017 (permalink)

Here is revealed the secret of how we can afford to maintain our daily blog posts.  "Finding fortunes in forgotten dust piles."  From Illustrated World, 1920.
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Here's a conversation of a preface in which the author mentally has a line and the reader does, too.  From Ghost Stories and Phantom Fancies by Hain Friswell, 1858.
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Just as the goddess Diana showed that the hunter and the stag are one, this vintage window display shows that the pumpkin and the knife are one in the jack-o'-lantern.  From One Hundred Easy Window Trims, 1913.
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October 25, 2017 (permalink)

Here's a frightful example of a text not reading its reader's mind.  It even predicts that you don't live in a painted caravan and stare into a crystal ball for hours (we do!) and that you aren't a mind reader (we are!).  It's a classic case of "what you say about others is what you mean about yourself."  From Baked Beans & Somtam by Rick Kirtland, 2016.
For a book that does read the reader's mind (to eerie effect), don't miss The Young Wizard's Hexopedia.
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Columns of asterisks, as if depicting the mention of blood pouring freely as water.  From Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland by Thomas Crofton Croker, 1828.  By the way, we translate typography like this in our highly unusual book Annotated Ellipses.
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October 24, 2017 (permalink)

Here's one way you can know that a goat truly does talk: when it's for the purposes of the story.  From The Loud Red Patrick by John Boruff, 1956.
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"Were the old alchemists right?"  From Popular Science Monthly, 1920.
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October 23, 2017 (permalink)

It's important to remember that we won't know what really happened until Chapter XVIII.  From The Crimson Cryptogram by Fergus Hume, 1902.
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Here's a title page that wonders about the identity of its own author.  Plus, note the genre, which is our own personal favorite: "serio-ludicro, tragico-comico."
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October 15, 2017 (permalink)

How true those words are, even today.  From Good Health magazine, 1900.
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