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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Restoring the Lost Sense

Today — November 23, 2014 (permalink)

From Life and Death by D. Lambden Flemming, 1873.

From The Evil Eye; or, the Black Spectre by William Carleton and illustrated by Edmund Fitzpatrick, 1860.

An illustration from Comic History of Greece by Charles Snyder (1898).  The caption reads: "Then the plunge in consommé."

Yesterday — November 22, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).

November 21, 2014 (permalink)

"During all that time she never turned a page," from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë and illustrated by Frederick Henry Townsend, 1897.

"I found myself sitting bolt upright in bed, while a roar like the crack of doom rang in my ears," from With the Colours by Richard Mounteney Jephson, 1881.

From The New Hyperion by Edward Strahan, 1875.

November 20, 2014 (permalink)

"I am dying, beloved—and shall soon go into the dark unknown."  From The Sign of the Spider by Bertram Mitford, 1896.

From Poets' Wit and Humour by William Henry Wills, 1882.

From Lays of Ind by Aliph Cheem, 1883.

"He was quite unchanged, the dear old Moon!"  From Fairy Tales from Hans Andersen (1906) by Gordon Browne.

November 19, 2014 (permalink)

"Within this awful volume lies the mystery of mysteries."  From Golden Thoughts from Golden Fountains, engraved by the Brothers Dalziel, 1868.

"Melt the magic halls away," from The Poetical Works of Sir Walter Scott, 1870.

November 18, 2014 (permalink)

"One of the nine genii shooting a dog in the heavens," from Social Life of the Chinese by Justus Doolittle, 1867.

"The Dark-Circle": an illustration from an 1875 issue of Wide World magazine.

November 17, 2014 (permalink)

"Bud, Blossom, Berry, are you there?  Appear!"  From The Kitchen Maid by Mary F. Guillemard and illustrated by J. Bernard Partridge 1896.

"He took a shining date out of the moolah's beard."  From The Tragedy of the Korosko by Arthur Conan Doyle, 1898.

November 16, 2014 (permalink)

"She looked up ... then she looked down."  [But then did she look all around?]  From Jess by Henry Rider Haggard, 1896.

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