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.
Precursors

Today — December 21, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the space-folding "Holtzman Effect" from Frank Herbert's Dune universe (1965), as seen in Jeanne d'Arc et la Normandie au XVme Siècle by Albert Sarrazin, 1896.



December 19, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the tacky tourist postcard culture of Florida, from Camping and Cruising in Florida by James Alexander Henshall, 1884.



December 17, 2014 (permalink)

Drew Mackey noticed a precursor to the world of Super Mario.



December 16, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the film Carry On Camping (1969), from All about Ramsgate and Broadstairs (1870).  The caption reads, "The gentleman who spends the morning near the ladies' bathing machines."




Here's a precursor to David Lynch's Twin Peaks, from A Voyage in the 'Sunbeam' by Annie Brassey, 1878.



December 15, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Major Domo character from the film Captain Eo (1986), from Monographien Zur Deutschen Kulturgeschichte by Georg Steinhausen, 1899.  (Major Domo photo via Prop Store.)



December 11, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Annie Dillard's Teaching a Stone to Talk (1982), from St. Nicholas magazine (1915).  The text reads, "Is a stone alive?"



December 10, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to invitation-only blogs.  "He called aloud to me not to disturb his webs," from Gulliver's Travels.



December 9, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the buffet sneeze guard, from The Prince of Wales' Tour by William Howard Russell, 1877.



December 7, 2014 (permalink)

Here's the immortal Christopher Lee eleven years before he faked his birth.  From Shakespeare on the Stage by William Winter, 1911.



December 5, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds, from The Western World by William Henry Giles Kingston, 1874.  The caption reads, "A cloud of pigeons."



December 4, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Hollywood's favorite fake lounge act, The Lampshades, from Young Americans in Japan by Edward Greey, 1882.



November 30, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Disney's Tower of Terror attraction.


Photo on left via SpareFoot Blog.  Photo on right via Disneyland Parc Guide.

November 28, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the traditional mayhem at Walmart on Black Friday, from St. Nicholas magazine, 1921.



November 26, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the phenomenon of Google Books scanners' accidental hand photos, from The Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, 1874.




Here's a precursor to the maxim that "it is better to look good than to feel good," from The Oxford Thackeray.  The caption reads, "And upon me honour and conshience, now I'm dthressed, but I look intirely ginteel."



November 24, 2014 (permalink)

You've heard of "throwing someone to the wolves," but did you know the practice was a precursor to Daylight Savings?  The caption reads, "Threw them to the wolves to gain time."  From A Boyar of the Terrible by Frederick J. Whishaw, 1896.




Here's a precursor to Sylvia Plath's The Bell Jar (1963), from Poets' Wit and Humour by William Henry Wills, 1882.



November 18, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Bewitched, as if Tabitha's future grandchild were speaking:

On Monday next comes All-Hallows-Even,
My grandmother's maiden name was Stephens.



Here's a vintage example of the idiom "you'll eat your words," from Young Americans in Japan by Edward Greey, 1882.





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