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.
Here's a precursor (by three decades) to the Doomsay Clock:
"Soon the world's clock will strike twelve; the number on its dial is red, is dipped in blood, and by that you will recognise it. And a stormwind shall precede the new first hour." —Gustav Meyrink, The Green Face(1916)
You know that the "What, me worry?" mascot of Mad Magazine is named Alfred E. Neuman. But here are some much earlier incarnations. Our favorite, of course, is "G. Daddleskink." From Colorado College's 1928 yearbook.
Putting the basket on the hood is as good a way as any to show the world that you're the sort of person who goes on picnics. From Lustige Blätter, 1916. We're designating this a precursor to Mrs. Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances driving around with snow skiis sticking out of her car to show the neighbors that she's the sort of person who might go skiing.
Here's a precursor to the Addams Family's mustachioed baby Pubert. The caption reads, "Young Mother (examining baby with magnifying glass): Harry, I'm simply tickled to death! I believe that when Baby grows up he's going to have a dark mustache." From Life, 1923.