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 — September 1, 2014 (permalink)

The Lion Gate from Pen and Pencil Sketches, Being the Journal of a Tour in India by Godfrey Charles Mundy, 1858.

This ornate capital S appears in The Virginians by William Makepeace Thackeray, 1858.

"He liked clocks": an illustration from A Tramp Abroad Etc. by Samuel Langorne Clemens (1897).

Yesterday — August 31, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from Belial's Burdens by James Frank Sullivan (1896).  The caption reads: "Elzie Sings."

August 30, 2014 (permalink)

Fortune-telling by dissecting a Chinese character, from Social Life of the Chinese by Justus Doolittle, 1867.

An illustration from Ask Mamma by Robert Smith Surtees (1892).  The caption reads: "A bottle of smoke."

An illustration from The Brownies at Home by Palmer Cox (1893).

An illustration from The Story of a Marriage by Louisa Baldwin (1895).

August 29, 2014 (permalink)

Henry Hugh Armstead, "A Dream," 1863.

An illustration from Hawbuck Grange by Robert Smith Surtees (1892).  The caption reads: "Flesh and blood can't stand this!"

An illustration from Illustrated British Ballads: Old and New by George Barnett Smith (1894).  The caption reads: "Bar the door! Put out the light, for it gleams across the night."

An illustration by A. Layard from The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile (1895).  The caption reads: "The boar-headed bear-bodied lion-tailed 6-legged beast."

August 28, 2014 (permalink)

"Devil Posts": an illustration from Korean Sketches by James Scarth Gale (1898).

An illustration from Vikram and Vampire by Richard F. Burton (1893).  The caption reads: "He was playing upon a human skull with two shank bones."

An illustration from Stories from the Diary of a Doctor (1894).  The caption reads: "I am the wretched victim of a demon."

August 27, 2014 (permalink)

"A practical joke," from Life on the Mississippi by Mark Twain, 1883.

An illustration from The Chinaman in His Own Stories by Thomas Gunn Selby (1895).

Illustration by F. Opper from Bill Nye's History of the United States (1894).  The caption reads: "The only thing Wayne was afraid of."

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