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

July 18, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the German band Nena's song "Neunundneunzig Luftballons" (99 Red Balloons), from La Vie des Boulevards by Georges Montorgueil (1896).



July 15, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Winnie the Pooh getting stuck in a honey pot, from The Camp Fires of the Everglades by Charles Edward Whitehead (1891).




For fans of the game Clue/Cluedo, here's a precursor to "Col. Mustard in the drawing room with the candle stick," from Illustrated Penny Tales From the Strand Library, 1894.



July 9, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Menke Katz's line about how "Even time is tired here of night and day" ("Old Manhattan," Rockrose, 1970).  This tired Father Time appears in Illustrated Poems and Songs for Young People, edited by Lucy Sale Barker, 1885.



July 7, 2014 (permalink)

Here's an example of crowd-surfing from back in 1940, courtesy of Charlie's Big-Hearted Aunt:



June 30, 2014 (permalink)

A prerequisite to a physician's bedside manner is a love seat manner.  From Social England Under the Regency by John Ashton (1890).  The caption reads: "A Physician."



June 13, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Augusten Burroughs' memoir Running with Scissors.  The caption reads: "Advancing absently, scissors in hand" (The Quiver, 1894).




"Watch this spot!"  A precursor to the animated gif craze (requiring low-tech imagination), from The Mystery of June 13th by Melvin Linwood Severy (1905).



June 12, 2014 (permalink)

Here's an 1887 precursor to Batman's villain The Human Magnet (1952), from Zwischen Donau und Kaukasus by Amand von Schweiger-Lerchenfeld.



June 11, 2014 (permalink)

Merriam-Webster suggests that the first known use of slumgullion (a meat stew reminiscent of the slime [slum] from a cesspool [gullion]) was 1890.  We can do better than that, with this one from 1872, in Mark Twain's Roughing It.



June 10, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Energizer Bunny.  The caption reads, "A walking battery."  From Roughing It by Mark Twain.



June 6, 2014 (permalink)

This "old-fashioned break-down," from Mark Twain's Life on the Mississippi (1883), predates by three years Sigmund Freud's private practice specializing in nervous disorders.




Here's a precursor to Ayn Rand, from The Quiver, 1875.  The caption reads, "I really cannot take upon myself the burden of your support."



June 4, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the dual suns of Star Wars' Tatooine, from Object Lessons in Geography for Standards I, II, & III by Thomas Francis George Dexter (1899).



June 3, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Great Britain's firewall censorship of esoteric websites, from Poets' Wit and Humour by William Henry Wills, 1882.



May 29, 2014 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Bonnie Tyler song 'If You Were a Woman (And I Was a Man),' from Gryll Grange by Thomas Love Peacock (1896).  The caption reads: "If you were a bachelor, and I were a maid, I should not trust myself to be your aga—aga—."



May 17, 2014 (permalink)

A precursor to Barbara Streisand from The Lady's Realm (1900).  The caption reads: "'Down on your bended knees, then, and adore me,' said Babs."



May 8, 2014 (permalink)

A precursor to the Death Star's approach to Alderaan? From The Deer Smellers of Haunted Mountain by John J. Meyer (1921).  The caption reads: "Approaching the perfect world."



May 4, 2014 (permalink)

A precursor to the poster for the Finnish film Sisko Tahtoisin Jäädä (2010) is, of course, Twin Peaks.



April 24, 2014 (permalink)

A precursor to the gingerbread house: Scone Palace. From Scotland Picturesque and Traditional by George Eyre Todd (1895).





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