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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Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
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Disguised as a Christmas Tree
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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

December 4, 2014 (permalink)

From The Baby's Museum by Uncle Charlie, 1882.

"Fanny's new physician," from The Oxford Thackeray.

December 3, 2014 (permalink)

"Writing with a forked pen an oracle on sand," from Social Life of the Chinese by Justus Doolittle, 1867.

"I know that I yearned," from America Revisited by George Augustus Henry Fairfield, 1882.

From Gargantua and Pantagruel by Rabelais.

"The vast dim sphinx / Broods over all from its immobile throne," from Symphonie Symbolique by Edmund John and illustrated by Stella Langdale, 1919.

An illustration from Otto of the Silver Hand, written and illustrated by Howard Pyle (1888).

December 2, 2014 (permalink)

From Kulturgeschichte by Friedrich Anton Heller von Hellwald, 1896.

December 1, 2014 (permalink)

"Now the moment for the giving of the Sign had come," from The Romance of Golden Star by George Chetwynd Griffith Jones, 1897.

"Les magiciens," from A Travers l'Afrique by Verney Lovett Cameron, 1878.

"Pen hears himself in print," from The Oxford Thackeray.

An illustration from Picket Pin and His Friends by Price Collier (1894).

November 30, 2014 (permalink)

November 29, 2014 (permalink)

The broken windows at Apsley House, 1831, from Hyde Park from Domesday-Book to Date by John Ashton, 1896.

"Behind the chair of the sleeping man I saw a child."  From In a Sea Bird's Nest by Frances Clare, 1896.

From Backsheesh! or, Life and Adventures in the Orient by Thomas Wallace Knox, 1875.

An illustration from Modern Psychical Phenomena Recent Researches and Speculations by Hereward Carrington (1919).  The caption reads: "Huge hypnotic wheel, as used in the 'mysteries of Myra,' containing more than 50 revolving mirrors, reflecting light."

November 28, 2014 (permalink)

"She took the helm and he the sail; the boat drave with a sudden wind across the deeps."  From Idylls of the King by Alfred Tennyson, 1898.  A hi-res version of the image is here or here.

"They were disguised as storks," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

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