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
Select Creations
Search Site

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
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
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
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
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 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
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In


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
Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
Tonya Harding Shot
Lord Whimsy
April Winchell
DJ Misc
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
J-Walk Blog
Ironic Sans
Ursi's Blog
Brian Sibley's Blog
World of Wonder
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.

Today — October 24, 2014 (permalink)

Yesterday — October 23, 2014 (permalink)

Here's time lord Gene Wilder as he appeared in Felttogene, 1848, 49, 50 by Vilhelm Holst, 1852.

October 20, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Batman's residence at Stately Wayne Manor.  From Victoria and its Metropolis Past and Present by Alexander Sutherland (1888).  The caption reads: "Batman's dwelling on the Yarra."

October 19, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to crowdfunding, discovered by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt in Bill Nye's Cordwood (1887):

Kansas.—Dear Sir: Not having enough room under our present arrangements, and wishing to make the Roller-Towel House the recognized head-quarters for traveling men, we desire to enlarge the building. Not having the money on hand to do so, we make the following proposition: If you will advance us $5, to be used for the above purpose, we will deduct that amount from your bill when stopping with us. We feel assured that the traveling men appreciate our efforts to give them first-class accommodations, and as the above amount will be deducted from your bill when stopping with us, we hope for a favorable reply. Should you not visit our town again the loan will be repaid in cash.

     J. Krash Towel, Proprietor Roller-Towel House.

October 18, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the expression, "Hey, four-eyes."  From A String of Chinese Peach-Stones by William Arthur Cornaby, 1895.

Speaking of which, a fraternity exclusive to nerdy glasses-wearers might be called Iota Iota Iota Iota.

Here's a precursor to Gary Barwin's Yiddish for Pirates (Random House Canada, 2016), a novel narrated by a parrot.  The caption reads, "The very parrot was a participator."  From Annals of the Parish and the Ayrshire Legatees by John Galt and illustrated by Charles Edmund Brock, 1895.

October 16, 2014 (permalink)

Pictured first is an ancient precursor to the Rabbit-Duck Illusion (1892), excavated from the Hopewell Mound City Group in Ohio and depicted in The Antiquarian (1897).

Here's a precursor to the 'couch potato' phenomenon of the 1970s, from Bachelor Ballads and Other Lazy Lyrics by Harry Spurr and illustrated by J. Hassall (1899).

October 15, 2014 (permalink)

A close encounter with a Grey from Eaglehawk and Crow A Study of the Australian Aborigines by John Mathew (1899).

October 14, 2014 (permalink)

"Party animal" traces back to 1982 (if you trust Merriam-Webster), but here are some true party animals depicted in Broadside Black-letter Ballads, Printed in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, edited by John Payne Collier, 1868.

Before the facile inspirational quotation craze simple 'happy thoughts' sufficed.  From Old Father Christmas by Lizzie Lawson (1888).

October 13, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Bonnie and Clyde being riddled with bullet holes, from Film Flashes: The Wit and Humor of a Nation in Pictures, 1916.

October 12, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the flamboyant Cockettes (founded 1969), from the medieval land of contraries, Cockayne.  From Carols of Cockayne by Henry Sambrooke Leigh, 1874.

Here's a precursor via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt: Remember the nineties, when everyone was putting out those little 'zines?

Here's a precursor to Michael Shaara's The Killer Angels (1974), from The Merry Ballads of the Olden Time (1880).

October 11, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Dorothy and Toto, eight years before the first Oz book was published, from Old Plaistow by John Spencer Curwen (1892).

October 6, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the aborted high five prank, from The Talk of the Town by James Payn and illustrated by Harry Furniss (1885).  The caption reads: "The other, instead of taking his hand, drew himself up."

October 1, 2014 (permalink)

The expression about letting the cat out of the bag is commonly traced to a 1760 issue of The London Magazine, but we've followed it all the way back to Fulvia, the first non-mythological woman to appear on Roman coins.  We find her letting the cat out of the bag in The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A'Beckett and illustrated by John Leech, 1897.

September 26, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to either Retch and Hoik from the brilliant comedy series This is Jinsy, which we found in Carols of Cockayne by Henry Sambrooke Leigh 1874.

Here's a precursor to the 1937 film A Star is Born, from Baby's Book by Ida Scott Taylor (1898).

Page 1 of 12

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.