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

April 17, 2018 (permalink)

It's been said, "Never ask an author how his brain works."  Some of our work has been made available to the general public, here.

"[W]henever I closed my eyes, the letters of the alphabet shifted around like Scrabble pieces and formed words. Those words lined up and soon I imagined entire pages of writing so clearly that I could actually read them, sentence after sentence, as if I were reading straight from a book. A book I had written, with my name on the cover ..." —Jack Gantos

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The Mafulu people of the South Seas believe that when one's ghost leaves the body upon death, it becomes and remains a malevolent being.  From The Ways of the South Sea Savage by Robert Wood Williamson, 1914.
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"Life is a waffle-iron that shuts down on us and squeezes us into nice little squares like all the other waffles in the world."  From McClure's, 1920.
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April 16, 2018 (permalink)

"My country 'tis of everybody else."  From McClure's, 1920.
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April 14, 2018 (permalink)

His paper warned him to finish his book prematurely: the final words of The Writing-Desk and Its Contents by Thomas Griffiths, 1844.
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Indeed, very necessary information may seem like a digression.  From A Study in Temptations by John Oliver Hobbes, 1893.
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April 13, 2018 (permalink)

If you consciously mind your own business, fortune telling machines may disregard you as a ghost, even when you try to give them money.  Here's our take on the uncanny phenomenon.
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"Down in my inner self, there passes before me, in slow and sinister review, the memories of days done with, of things for ever over, of the faces of the dead."  From A Phantom from the East by Pierre Loti, 1892.
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April 12, 2018 (permalink)

The road to ruin is marked by memory, ghosts, moonlight, and weeds (not pictured).  From Roman Presences: Receptions of Rome in European Culture, 1789-1945 (1999).
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April 10, 2018 (permalink)

And how true those words are, even today.  Indeed, Bombay is a most elaborate dream, and we're in search of its book of strange questions.  From From Egypt to Japan by Sarah Graham Morrison, 1909.
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April 4, 2018 (permalink)

Here's our proof that Papa Emeritus of the Swedish doom metal band Ghost is not a zombie anti-pope.
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April 3, 2018 (permalink)

A reversal of "love me, love my dog": "Love my crystal ball love me."  From A Beginner by Rhoda Broughton, 1894.
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April 2, 2018 (permalink)

There are possible readers of books not yet printed, and here's part of a preface to them.  From Ixora, A Mystery by John Harrison, 1888.
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April 1, 2018 (permalink)

Exactly when, down to the day, will the mystery be brought to light?  Here are two answers:
"Possibly, in some yet undiscovered ruin or tomb, the key may be found to the problem which now puzzles the world: but then it is only a possibility.  There is little doubt that the mystery will remain a mystery until the great day when the sea shall give up its dead and the past be stretched before us like a scroll." —The True Latter-Day-Saints' Herald, 1873
"That, I suppose, will remain a mystery till the day when a[ll] secrets will be cleared up, an[d] a[ll] the deeds o[f] darkness brought to light." —The Brownie of Bodsbeck by James Hogg, 1833
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The silent chimes are not heard.  From Johnny Ludlow by Mrs. Henry Wood, 1901.
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March 30, 2018 (permalink)

Here's 59 seconds on how to make a physical reality of your imagination:
Mindful attention was the meditative practice of Portuguese philosopher Fernando Pessoa. His technique empowered him to make a physical reality of his imagination, through what he called a great act of intellectual magic. His Book of Disquiet demonstrates exactly how to do that, entertainingly. Pessoa kept notes on what happened around him, from a sudden thunderclap to what the office boy just said, and he allowed every occurrence to inform and illustrate his personal philosophy, that we can sift out what parts of reality are illusions and which illusions have reality, and that we can prevent any act from being in vain so as to conserve energy. Depending upon how you look at it, Pessoa said, anything can be either astonishing or an obstacle. His secret was to look at each thing that happened differently every time, as a way of renewing and multiplying it. He said a contemplative soul who never left his village could in this way have the entire universe at his disposal. Pessoa's meditation was a magical act of transformation. I'm Prof. Oddfellow.
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March 29, 2018 (permalink)

You don't even have to be a swimmer for this to work -- "Swimmer sees mistakes reflected in mirror."  From Popular Mechanics, 1934.
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March 27, 2018 (permalink)

Here's an anecdote about how a restless spirit was charmed into the shape of a fly and read into a bottle by 12 parsons standing in a circle.  Note how the parsons made a mistake when they threw the bottled ghost down a well: they committed it to lie for a hundred years, forgetting to specify "a hundred years and odd," thereby allowing the ghost the escape in due time.  From Chambers's Journal, 1866.
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March 26, 2018 (permalink)

"Let us, with an amused, incredulous smile on our lips, listen to God telling us that we exist."  —Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet
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March 21, 2018 (permalink)

Here's proof that I'm not merely a "friend and pal" of Cinderella, but I'm a friend and pal of her friends, too.  (Tip: having annual passes for both Disneyland and Walt Disney World really helps.)  The text reads, "With greetings and best wishes to our friend and pal, Craig.  —Cinderella and friends."  It's been theorized that friends of friends invite one to "harness the power of loose ties," and sadly that doesn't mean neckties that aren't knotted too tightly but rather casual acquaintanceships.  If you'd like me to put in a good word for you to either Cinderella or any of her friends, as a token of your seriousness just put a penny in my tip jar: paypal.me/profoddfellow.
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Original Content Copyright © 2018 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.