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

March 14, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to animal rights activists' beef with John Waters' Pink Flamingos.  Waters explains: "Animal rights acitivists always say to me, 'How could you kill a chicken for a movie?'  Well, I eat chicken and I know the chicken didn't land on my plate from a heart attack.  We bought the chicken from a farmer who advertised freshly killed chicken.  I think we made the chicken's life better.  It got to be in a movie, it got f*cked, and then right after filming the next take, the cast ate the chicken!"
"A film without chickens."  From The Judge, 1921.
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March 13, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a Prince Charles from 1910, in Le Journal Amusant.
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March 12, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1921.
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March 10, 2018 (permalink)

A precursor to Dr. Strangelove.  From Jugend, 1915.
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March 7, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the bunny ears prank in photographs.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1912.
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Before people looked at cat pictures on the internet, cats looked at people pictures in museums.  From L'Album Comique de la Famille, 1905.
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March 5, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Arrested Development's "Mommy, What Will I Look Like?" photo-aging service for parents who wish to see what their children will look like in 50 years.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1921.
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February 28, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor (above) to the set pieces of Disney's Pirates of the Caribbean ride (below).  From Le Canard Sauvage, 1903.
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February 26, 2018 (permalink)

Before Carmen Miranda's famous fruit hat, there was the veggie hat.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1914.
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Here's a precusor to the name "Jazzma," which would appear five years later in The Gnome King of Oz.  From The Judge, 1922.
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February 22, 2018 (permalink)

Long before pleasure bots, there was Artie the artificial escort.  From The Judge, 1912.
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February 21, 2018 (permalink)

The term "genderfluid" dates back to the 1990s.  But here's a Narcissus giving a wet kiss to his feminine self in The Judge, 1920.
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Here's a precursor to The Incredible Melting Man.  From 30 years earlier, in Fliegende Blätter, 1944.
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February 20, 2018 (permalink)

Sarah McCann has said that self control is fictitious.  Here's proof: Self Control, A Novel by Mary Brunton, 1839.
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February 19, 2018 (permalink)

In 1969, Georges Perec wrote a 300-page novel in French without using the letter e.  Sixty-five years earlier, we have this French passage with only e's.  From L'Album Comique de la Famille, 1904.
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February 17, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Henric de la Cour song about a dream of being a shark.  From Le Rire, 1913.
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February 15, 2018 (permalink)

Rachael: Do you like our owl?
Deckard: It's artificial?
Rachael: Of course it is.
Deckard: Must be expensive.
Rachael: Very.
Image from Popular Mechanics, 1931.
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February 12, 2018 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the iconic "Blown-Away Man" photo, made famous in the Maxell ad campaigns.  Only it's the direct opposite, in that the speaker puts everyone to sleep as opposed to blowing them away.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1924.
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Here's a precusor to the chemtrails/contrails conspiracy theory.  "The clouds of death."  From Popular Mechanics, 1931.
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February 9, 2018 (permalink)

Just shy of four decades before Alice went through the looking glass, some knights came riding "thro' the mirror blue" in Tennyson's "The Lady of Shalott."  Actually, going through mirrors was an old pantomime gag by Harlequin, as mentioned decades even earlier in The London Magazine, 1822.
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