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.
Restoring the Lost Sense

February 18, 2015 (permalink)

"You could dip this house in water": an ad in American Homes and Gardens, 1905.

"The Other Me": an illustration from Red Apple and Silver Bells by Alice B. Woodward (1899).

February 17, 2015 (permalink)

"I've been bewitched," from St. Nicholas magazine.

From 1811.

A volcano slightly damaged by fire, a grassy knoll, and other items for sale from King Time or The Mystical Land of the Hours by Percy Keese Fitzhugh, 1908.

February 16, 2015 (permalink)

"The poor old soul was bent with toil," from St. Nicholas magazine.

February 15, 2015 (permalink)

"The chaplain puzzled," from The Oxford Thackeray.

February 14, 2015 (permalink)

From an 1892 ad for Hammon's Slug-Shot Insecticide & Fertilizer.

"The pursuit of knowledge under difficulties," from Prison Life in the South During the Years 1864 and 1865 by A. O. Abbott, 1865.

"You need not squeeze my hand so," from The Newcomes by William Makepeace Thackeray and illustrated by Chris Hammond, 1898.

"Let me go please," from The Works of G. J. Whyte-Melville, 1898.

February 12, 2015 (permalink)

February 11, 2015 (permalink)

"A Gray Mystery": an illustration from an 1887 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.

February 10, 2015 (permalink)

"The American Laoco├Ân," from The Comic History of the United States by John D. Sherwood, 1870.

From Up Ewig Ungedeelt by Detlev von Liliencron, 1898.

February 9, 2015 (permalink)

"The mysterious idol killed him," from The Adventures of a Stowaway by Frederick Whishaw, 1897.

"And went on weaving her enchanted web of fairy tissue," from The Bride of Lammermoor by Walter Scott and illustrated by Frederick Pegram, 1898.

February 8, 2015 (permalink)

From Songs for Little People by Norman Rowland Gale and illustrated by Helen Stratton, 1896.

Here are the essential constituents of Puss-in-Boots.  "Jenny and I put pussy in," from Cranford by Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell and illustrated by Henry Matthew Brock, 1898.

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