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 — December 18, 2014 (permalink)

"We have sealed the doom of the King of Spades," from The Trail of the Serpent by M. E. Braddon, 1861.  [For Gordon Meyer.]

From The Man in the Moon, Vol. IV.

Yesterday — December 17, 2014 (permalink)

"Counting up time—which is money," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

An illustration by Lawrence Chaves (1932) for de Quincey's Opium Eater.

"A Séance on the Ice": an illustration from The Children's Fairy History of England by Forbes Edward Winslow (1889).  The caption reads: "What!  Mesmerise you on the ice!  Well, I never!  Did any one ever hear of such a thing?  Oh, you all want it, do you?  Well, I will try.  You need not take off your skates.  I will mesmerise you skating, and we will be here, and there, and everywhere, at the same time.  Just come close round me and look at me; don't speak, simply watch my hands. * * * * * * *"

December 16, 2014 (permalink)

"The tragedy," from The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby, 1881.

An illustration from Across the Border by Edward Emmerson Oliver (1890).  The caption reads: "The Flying Throne of Star-taught Sulaimân."

December 15, 2014 (permalink)

From Lyon Pittoresque by Auguste Bleton, 1896.

"A human tarantula," from Our Sister Republic by Albert S. Evans, 1870.

"Seated on an upright tombstone, close to him, was a strange unearthly figure, etc."  From The Works of Charles Dickens, Household Edition.

"Daylight and darkness," from Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

December 14, 2014 (permalink)

"He passed whole mornings in his study, immersed in gloomy reverie, stalking about the room in his nightcap."  From Nightmare Abbey by Thomas Love Peacock, 1818.

An illustration from Snarleyyow by Frederick Marryat (1897).  The caption reads: "Vanslyperken bent over the cur and kissed it again and again."

December 13, 2014 (permalink)

From Heroes of the Dawn by Violet Russell, 1914.

The miraculous head, from La Russie et Les Russes by Victor Tissot, 1884.

The Sphinx, drawn from memory (apparently), from Observations in the East, Chiefly in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, and Asia Minor by John Price Durbin (1845).

December 12, 2014 (permalink)

From Voyage aux Pyrénées, Troisième édition by Hippolyte Adolphe Taine and illustrated by Gustave Doré, 1860.

From Festival of Song by Frederick Saunders, 1866.

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