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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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.

June 21, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to performance artist Leigh Bowery.  "New idea for a fancy ball.  Shave your head, and go as a phrenological bust."  From Punch, 1878.

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June 19, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the animated busts in Disneyland's Haunted Mansion, from Thomas Gray's "Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard," diagrammed in Stephen Watkins Clark's A Practical Grammar, 1864.

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June 18, 2016 (permalink)

Here are precursors to "We Invert the Light," the darkly cinematic soundscape by AnakhronikoN.  Our illustrations are from El Mundo Físico by A. Guillemin, 1882.

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June 16, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to B. Kliban's Never Eat Anything Bigger Than Your Head.  From An American Family in Germany by John Ross Browne, 1866.

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June 13, 2016 (permalink)

Nearly 20 years before the debut of the Candy Land board game, the Fizz-O-Mint Life Savers vehicle (c. 1930, Queensland) navigated the Candy Cane Forest, evaded the Molasses Swamp, and scaled Gum Drop Mountain.

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June 11, 2016 (permalink)

Before handy phone cameras, people had to sketch their surreptitious pictures.  From Punch, 1867.

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June 2, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the 1987 "This Is Your Brain on Drugs" anti-narcotics campaign, which showed an egg frying in a pan.  "Neuropatia" is by Fernando Calleja for Cosmópolis, 1929.

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Here's a precursor to the Archie McPhee cat mask, from engraver Tirzah Garwood in 1930. 

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June 1, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to a Koopa next to a Warp Pipe in Nintendo's Mario universe. From the August 1942 issue of the Old Line magazine, as scanned by the University of Maryland Libraries.

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Here's a precursor to AirB&B, complete with "the proverbial bedroom," from The Hawaiian Gazette., May 26, 1911.

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May 29, 2016 (permalink)

Long before the frogs were singing in the Budweiser ads, they were working for Ford Motor's Model T.

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May 28, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Carl Sandburg's Potato Face Blind Man from Rootabaga Stories.  It's "a supposed specimen of aboriginal art" discovered in New Brunswick, 1851, from the Annual Report of the Board of Regents of the Smithsonian Institution, 1881.

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May 22, 2016 (permalink)

"Love's 'ALPHABET' you know so well, that over me you've cast your 'SPELL.'"  It's a precursor to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt's recording of "One-Letter Words."

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Here's a precursor to Jonathan Lethem's As She Climbed Across the Table (1997), from 1911.

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May 21, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Pez candy dispensers, from 1907.

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May 17, 2016 (permalink)

We discovered a precursor to our 2006 "diamond cycle" diagram, courtesy of surrealist painter and author Ithell Colquhoun's The Crying of the Wind: Ireland (1955): "Perhaps a fine day in Kerry is best of all, when the air is like a diamond yet the dews are never far away."

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May 14, 2016 (permalink)

From Carolina Magazine, 1921.  (We previously discovered another precursor to If You're Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow, which we showcased here.)

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May 11, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to The Flintstones.  "Roller skating in the Stone Age," from the early 1900s.

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A quarter century before Dali's melting watch in "Persistence of Memory," there was this melting clock tower in The Book of Spice by "Ginger" a.k.a. Wallace Irwin, 1906.

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May 9, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of meeting one's fate, but here's exactly where it happens: Denton, Texas.  The handwriting reads, "Here's where we meet our fate."  Note that Denton is the location for the fateful Rocky Horror story.

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