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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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?

Today — May 28, 2016 (permalink)

A real estate idea:

Sherlock Homes: the solution for your old dark house.

If you prefer an auction, go to Christie's and ask for Agatha.

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May 22, 2016 (permalink)

Our suggested tag line to introduce this recipe: "What would you give for ..."

From American Cookery, 1919.
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May 16, 2016 (permalink)

Q: How is [the enumeration of breaths in] Shinto meditation like a gift?

A: It's the thought that counts.

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February 28, 2016 (permalink)

Q: Who is the patron saint of Greek food? 

A: [Highlight to reveal:]

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January 18, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of the pot calling the kettle black, but here's the port calling the ethyl bladdered.  The caption reads, "He is drunk—and so am I."  From A Frenchman in America by Max O'Rell and illustrated by E. W. Kemble, 1891.

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January 1, 2016 (permalink)

Ironically, there's never been an adaptation of What Mr. Darwin Saw, 1879.

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September 26, 2015 (permalink)

Did you hear about the housecleaner who refused to wipe the veiled sexual graffiti off the pane?  "I don't do innuendos."

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August 20, 2015 (permalink)

Have you heard that there are only seven literary plots?  Yeah, there's a book on it.

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August 11, 2015 (permalink)

Courtesy of literary scalawag Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:

(Literary humorist Jonathan Caws-Elwitt's plays, stories, essays, letters, parodies, wordplay, witticisms and miscellaneous tomfoolery can be found at Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0.  Here you'll encounter frivolous, urbane writings about symbolic yams, pigs in bikinis, donut costumes, vacationing pikas, nonexistent movies, cross-continental peppermills, and other compelling subjects.)
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July 23, 2015 (permalink)

Q: What do you call it when your caretakers convince you that your hair isn't blond enough?

A: [Highlight to view text] .

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June 30, 2015 (permalink)

One of the Carrollian twin cities, surnamed Dee and Dum.  From Het Hartzgebergte en de Rijnstrom by Arend Ludolf Wichers, 1839.

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June 9, 2015 (permalink)

Here's what books looked like before the "Me generation."  From 1893.

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June 7, 2015 (permalink)

Traditional math aside, Goldilocks had forebears.

Also ...

Even before Darwin, everyone had forebears.

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May 22, 2015 (permalink)

People think, "T & A.  Ooh la la!"  But they have ups and downs like all of us, and the reality is that it's long hours and hard work.  Our illustration is from Lower Eatington: Its Manor House and Church, 1880.

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May 20, 2015 (permalink)

Q: How is a jack-in-the-box like Norma Desmond?

A: They're both still big; it's the pictures that got small.

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May 19, 2015 (permalink)

We presume that gun is a "repeater."  From Whims and Oddities in Prose and Verse by Thomas Hood, 1829.  The caption reads, "Very deaf, indeed."

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April 23, 2015 (permalink)

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April 20, 2015 (permalink)

Literary Sandwiches  (for June, inspired by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt)

The Henry James: juxtaposes Old World cheeses (corrupt and alluring) with New World heirloom tomatoes.  The sandwich is presented brashly open and facing abuse.  It is served with its ghost-doppelganger (not shown) so as to nurture alternate American and European lives.  The sandwich comes with suspicions that it is gay.

The William James: so enormous that diners may, through free will, request an abridged serving.  The William James asks, do we run from an enormous sandwich because we are afraid, or are we afraid because we run?  (Spoiler: we are afraid because we run.)  Note that only the sandwich's material self is provided; the social self, spiritual self, and pure ego are available with our other self-service condiments.

The Alice James: for those knowing neither hope nor peace, this sandwich invites you to "abandon the pit of your stomach" in the struggle between the body of this meal and your moral power.  This is a sandwich you'll write about in your diary.

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April 3, 2015 (permalink)

When we encountered this line, "My Diet Coke tasted like it'd fallen off the back of a very old truck," we recalled the failed ad campaign: "Have a Coke and a simile."

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April 1, 2015 (permalink)

We say that "apples and oranges" can't be expressed as a ratio, and that's because mathematics is citrus-based and prejudiced against apples.  Note that "tangerine" and "tangent" share the same Latin source, "tangere" ("touching"); "satsumas" and "summations" are derived from the Latin "summa" ("highest"); "lemons" and "lemniscates" both come from the ancient Greek island of Lemnos.  It's worth pondering ("ponder" has the same Latin root as the Ponderosa lemon ["weigh"]) just how Ugli the citrus bias is, my little Clementine.

Photo courtesy Pedro Hespanha.

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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.