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 16, 2014 (permalink)

"The turquoise skull was on the table, and seated before it was my poor friend—dead!"  From The Dwarf's Chamber and Other Stories by Fergus Hume, 1896.

"If round my footsteps dwell unholy sign or evil spell," from The Misfortunes of Elphin by Thomas Love Peacock, 1897.

An illustration from The Oxford Thackeray.

Yesterday — September 15, 2014 (permalink)

From The Pyrenees by Henry George Blackburn, 1867.

"Life's Mystery": an illustration from The Works of Henry Rose (1890).

September 14, 2014 (permalink)

From Matthew Flinders by Robert Thynne, 1896.  The text reads, "Behind this hand neither land nor strand.  Jim's discovery in the ice plain."  

An illustration from Poems by Charles Rosher (1897).

An illustration from The Sphinx-like Head by J. Harry Sugden (1896).  The caption reads: "With a loud shout of joy from me, and a despairing shriek from her, I hurled her down the crater."

An illustration from The Burgess Nonsense Book (1901).

September 13, 2014 (permalink)

"The butter flies," from Virginia Illustrated by David Hunter Strother, 1857.

"'You are making phantoms to frighten yourself with,' he exclaimed."  From A Neglected Privilege by Maggie Swan, 1896.

An illustration from An African Millionaire by Grant Allen (1897).  The caption reads: "Césarine returned with a full, true, and particular list."

"The Song of the Kettle": an illustration from Christmas Books of Charles Dickens (1892).

An illustration from Shafts from an Eastern Quiver by Charles Jodrell Mansford (1894).  The caption reads: "Within the transparent rock we saw the form of a woman."

September 12, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from Around the World on a Bicycle by Thomas Wentworth Higginson (1887).  The caption reads: "A Quarry of Startled Dears."

September 11, 2014 (permalink)

"Ventilating engines, commonly used at close ends in metal mines," from Frost and Fire by John Francis Campbell, 1867.

An illustration from Messiah by Samuel Johnson.  The caption reads: "For the black bat, Night, has flown."

An illustration from A Century of Ballads by John Ashton (1887).

An illustration from Humorous Poems by Thomas Hood (1893).  The caption reads: "He saw a sailor mixing his grog."

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