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
Featured Book
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia
Search Site

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Cautious or Optimistic
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers


A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
How to Believe in Your Elf
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Miscellanies of Mr. Jonathan
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Non-Circulating Books
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Answers, Questioned
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost In The [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
What I Now Know
What's In a Name
Yearbook Weirdness
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In


October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006


Magic Words
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Martha Brockenbrough
Gordon Meyer
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
Ironic Sans
Brian Sibley's Blog
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!

February 19, 2017 (permalink)

We've done that, too -- asked "where" before we even knew "what."  The text reads, "Where is cobalt?  What is cobalt?  These are queries from every point of the compass."  From Hearst's International, 1906.
A: From the German for "demon, imp," cobalt is a byproduct from nickel and copper ores and is used as a component of magnetic alloys.  In the context of the article, the "where" is the area formerly known as New Ontario.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

December 14, 2016 (permalink)

A: "Well, if you don't know, then who the hell does?  Why are you even telling us this now if you're not sure?  And when will you be sure?" —John O'Neill, Baby Girl Lauren, 2012
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

November 14, 2016 (permalink)

Courtesy of literary humorist Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:

Now, isn't that just the cutest little doggie!

A. Yes.

B. No.

C. Objection! Counsel is leading the witness.

D. Do you really want an honest answer to that?

E. Now? Yes. But if a cuter little doggie comes along in a minute or two, you're out of luck.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

October 8, 2016 (permalink)

Q: How many people can get inside a book?
A: One hundred million can crowd into a book, all in the same two hours, by twenty million lamps thousands of miles apart.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

September 15, 2016 (permalink)

Q: "A question for the Darwinians.  If nature develops limbs and faculties in response to the demand, why isn't a Dutch hound provided with feed amidships?" —Grip, 1891.
A: Ask again once the Darwinists account for that pesky organism that hasn't evolved for over 2 billion years (beyond desperately calling it the exception that proves the rule).  (And don't bring up the horseshoe crab's 450-million recess from evolution.)
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

July 30, 2016 (permalink)

"So I'd like to know where you got the notion," says the song.

Ans.: At the Notions Counter, obvs.  —Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

July 14, 2016 (permalink)

Q: "Who was it that said, 'Damn it all — damn everything but the circus.'" (Ken Nordine, "Hi Diddle Dee Dee," Stay Awake)
A: The titular character in E. E. Cummings' play Him (The Theatre of E. E. Cummings).
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

April 18, 2016 (permalink)

Q: What is the word busy being when it is not busy being a referent? —William Keckler
A: On April 18, it's being overtaxed.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

March 11, 2016 (permalink)

People often ask "where are the flying cars we were promised?"  The answer is that we've always had flying cars — they simply failed in the marketplace.  It's easy to state what we think we want, and it's easy to daydream, but acting upon our desires makes all the difference.  Thanks to the San Diego Air & Space Museum Archives for scanning these and several other models of flying cars.
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

January 10, 2016 (permalink)

Forget how many angels can dance upon the point of a needle (for St. Thomas Aquinas' answer, see our previous post.)  How many angels can play see-saw on a quill?  We find our answer in The Wilful Willoughbys by Evelyn Everett Green, 1893.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

December 4, 2015 (permalink)

Q: "Obviously, a preface should not be the first thing, or the first thing for thirty years, that the editor composes in Latin.  Need it be, though?" (Michael Reeve, "Cuius in Usum? Recent and Future Editing," The Journal of Roman Studies)
A: Well, the short answer is "yes."

From History of Kent by Henry Francis Abell, 1898.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

Q: "Who owns all this?" —Christian Century magazine, 1920

A: "Well, that's complicated." —Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle, The Burning City, 2000

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

November 21, 2015 (permalink)

Q: Why paint cats?

A: Why Paint Cats.

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

October 29, 2015 (permalink)

Q: "How long does it take for a voice to emerge from another voice?" —William Keckler
A: No time at all.  The phenomenon has been called "ghost voice," "third voice," and "implied harmony."  "When two people sing loudly at slightly different picthes, the frequencies can mix, causing a different tone, or third pitch" (Paul W. Zitzewitz, The Handy Physics Answer Book).
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

October 8, 2015 (permalink)

Mary E. Brzustowicz answers, "Where were you raised, a barn?" over at her Keep Mary Out of the Kitchen blog.  (via Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.)
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

September 17, 2015 (permalink)

Q: "Do you see this hole?" —Frank Barrett, Under a Strange Mask, 1890
A: "We cannot see a 'hole' itself but may see through it." —Steve Nichols, The Primal Eye, 2006
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

August 18, 2015 (permalink)

"I went to the window to ask of Night the reason why dreams must be so tenuous that they break and shred at the slightest opening of the eyes or turning of the body, and do not endure.  Night did not answer me straightway.  She was deliciously beautiful; low hills were pale with moonlight and the space died into silence.  As I insisted, she made known to me that dreams were no longer under her juristiction.  When they dwelt on the island that Lucian had given them, where she had her palace, and from whence she sent them forth with their faces of divers aspect, she might have given me possible explanations.  The times had changed everything.  The ancient dreams had been pensioned off, and the modern ones dwelt in a person's brain.  And these, though they tried to imitate the former, could not do it: the isle of dreams, like the isle of love, and all the islands of all the seas, are now the object of the ambition and rivalry of Europe and the United States." —Machado de Assis, Dom Casmurro

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

August 13, 2015 (permalink)

Q: What would Endora do?
[If you know your Bewitched, you might guess our answer]:
A: [Highlight to view]
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

August 11, 2015 (permalink)

Just as diving into water is to seek life's secrets, and immersion in water is to purify or be reborn, "crossing the waters is to effect a transformation from one state to another" (El Palacio, 1992).  If so, then what state has jurisdiction over the crossing of lakes Eerie and Ladoga?  Answer: Freedonia, under the rule of Rufus T. Firefly.

(Our image appears in The British Isles, translated from Nouvelle Géographie Universelle by Ernest Georg Ravenstein, 1887.)  

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

August 10, 2015 (permalink)

Q: How many times can you chase a ghost and not become one yourself? —William Keckler

A: The popular answer is "13," but the true, chilling answer is: .  (The answer is in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)

Tumblr Twitter Facebook Google+ Pinterest

Page 2 of 8

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2018 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.