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
Featured Book
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia
Search Site

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Cautious or Optimistic
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers


A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
How to Believe in Your Elf
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Miscellanies of Mr. Jonathan
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Non-Circulating Books
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Answers, Questioned
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost In The [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
What's In a Name
Yearbook Weirdness
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In


January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006


Magic Words
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Martha Brockenbrough
Gordon Meyer
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
Ironic Sans
Brian Sibley's Blog
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Only Funny If ...

March 17, 2016 (permalink)

From Valparaiso High School's Vee Aich Ess yearbook, 1916.  (For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.)
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

February 16, 2016 (permalink)

Here's the "best part of the joke" from Roughing It by Mark Twain, 1873.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

January 21, 2016 (permalink)

From The Cub yearbook of New Bern High School, 1921.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

January 12, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of "black comedy," and this is its ruling jester.  From Love Lyrics and Valentine Verses by E. M. Davies, 1875.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

January 1, 2016 (permalink)

From Southern Illinois State Normal University's Obelisk yearbook, 1920.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

December 28, 2015 (permalink)

It's only funny if the man in the moon laughs too, right?  (Thanks, Jonathan Caws-Elwitt!)  From The Literary Digest, 1890.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

December 14, 2015 (permalink)

"'I'm not butch; Risë Stevens is butch' is only funny if you know who Risë Stevens is." —Sam Abel, "Uneasy Transitions," Terrence McNally: A Casebook

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

December 3, 2015 (permalink)

Steve Martin's old "arrow through the head" gag had its plusses and minuses, but we see that either way you end up with smiling faces.  From Minerals in Rock Sections by Lea M. Luquer, 1898.

"It is only funny if you are really bad at math." —littlebiker

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

November 22, 2015 (permalink)

Snowshoe guitar image from a concert poster courtesy of Sophie.

"The 'snowshoes' in The Frozen North are only funny if we can still see them as guitars simultaneously." —Alice Gavin, Literature and Film, Dispositioned: Thought, Location, World

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

November 6, 2015 (permalink)

It's only phunny if word meanings are exploited as p[h]uns.  From Howard College's Entre Nous yearbook, 1912.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

November 2, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a funnier way to spell "jokes," from the Normal Offering yearbook of the State Norman School of Bridewater, Mass., 1912.  (For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.)

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

October 15, 2015 (permalink)

It's only funny if the joke speaks for itself.  Here's "the autobiography of a good joke," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, edited by Percy Bolingbroke Saint John, 1884.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

September 18, 2015 (permalink)

From The Philosophy of Laughter and Smiling by George Vasey, 1875.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

June 30, 2015 (permalink)

Chicken Road

"People think that a sense of humour is to do with being able to recognise at a glance what is funny and what is not.  It is nothing of the kind.  It is a recognition that everything is funny if you look at it in one way rather than another.  And one of the ways of making things seem funny to other people is, for some reason, to do an almost, but not quite, exact imitation of them.  And this is a matter of noticing mannerisms, and reproducing them with a slight element of caricature.  Verbal mannerisms as well as behavioural ones.  People call these clichés, and go on about them as if it were some mark of near-illiteracy to make use of them.  So what is life supposed to be — an unremitting process of spontaneous creation?  Everybody resorts to clichés: how would would speech, or life itself, be possible? ... [I]t is part of one's sense of proportion to recognise that everything, however seriously it may deserve to be taken in one context, is inherently absurd in another.  It is particularly salutary to do so in those moments when the human race is on its high horse about being some superior form of creation — than which no spectacle could well be more laughable to anyone in a laughing mood." —N. F. Simpson's highly recommended Most of What Follows is a Complete Waste of Time: Monologues, Dialogues, Sketches and Other Writings

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

June 26, 2015 (permalink)

We don't know how to submit a guest post to Frog Applause, but here's our homage to Teresa's style.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

May 8, 2015 (permalink)

We were surprised that the phrase "if three are laughing" delivers zero Google results, and "when three laugh" delivers just one.

Prof. Oddfellow in a space warp in Carrboro, North Carolina.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

April 13, 2015 (permalink)

Chicken Road

The most scathing joke in the comedy series Absolutely Fabulous will never be listed with the show's best gags, because it is wholly implied.  In the episode "Jealous" (27 April 1995), P.R. consultant Eddy loses the speech she was to deliver at an industry meeting.  In a panic, she explodes into a tirade against the public relations profession's insincerity, dishonesty, unoriginality, and vapidity, accusing them of "skimming a neat profit off the whole of human misery."  She finally storms out yelling that in spite of their global guilt-mongering, life "may not be all great and good but it ain't that bad, so cheer up world, it may never bloody happen!"  Yada yada yada, the tirade gets Eddy the Prozac campaign.  And the implied joke [spoiler alert] is that a P.R. person couldn't possibly make a genuinely impassioned statement about anything, so Eddy's tirade was lauded as a new slogan.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

March 15, 2015 (permalink)

"Do not laugh again in France."  From First Impressions of Europe by Joseph Whitmas Bailey, 1908.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

February 19, 2015 (permalink)

If you've ever wondered about the precise location of the funny bone, here it is.  From Otterbein College's yearbook The Sibyl, 1905.  The text reads, "Here's where we jab you."  (For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.)

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

February 18, 2015 (permalink)

It's only [wickedly] funny if the witches laugh, from The Violet Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 1906.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

Page 2 of 5

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2018 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.