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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Someone Should Write a Book on ...

October 16, 2015 (permalink)

Someone should write a book on unconscious eating, as so often people eat in trances. —William Keckler

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September 2, 2015 (permalink)

Someone should write a book entitled Philosophy of Cabbage Seed, as we learn in Presbyterian College's Pac-SaC yearbook, 1920. 

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August 28, 2015 (permalink)

"Write a horror story [set in a university] about a boy who aspires to write like the writers who publish books that nobody reads.  And his parents are paying for it." —William Keckler
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July 20, 2015 (permalink)

I can't find any evidence that anybody's ever written a play (or movie or book) entitled I Wish You Wouldn't. —Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

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June 30, 2015 (permalink)

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt suggests "Postmodern fiction gimmick #835: I envision a novel, set in an office, which is printed on loose sheets of 8 1/2 x 11 'memo' paper, with each chapter in a separate manila folder.  Footnotes could be on Post-Its.  The whole thing is (not) bound in a big green Pendaflex hanging file folder."

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June 25, 2015 (permalink)

[Someone should write] "a novel which consists only of irregularly torn pieces of paper, a narrative, a soliloquy, spoken by the lone, unlonely protagonist whose mind is actually a collection of irregularly torn pieces of paper, a narrative, a soliloquy, etc..." —William Keckler

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June 10, 2015 (permalink)

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt suggests that someone should write a book or paper entitled Double Talk: A Deep-Structure Analysis of Binary Repetition Patterns in Anthropomorphized Animal Imperatives within English-Language Juvenile Formulae.  [For example]:

"Ladybug, ladybug [fly away home]"

"Pussycat, pussycat [where have you been]"

"Teddy bear, teddy bear [touch the ground]"



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June 8, 2015 (permalink)

William Keckler promises the "instant, zinger success of a book titled Dumb Autopsies."

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June 6, 2015 (permalink)

Illustration by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.

[Jonathan Caws-Elwitt suggests that someone should write] "a humorous midlife-crisis novel called Coffee Name, about someone who gives a barista a fake, 'easy' name with his or her drink order (which, for anyone who doesn't know, is sometimes called a 'coffee name')... and then, catching the eye of an attractive stranger and acting on a crazy impulse, assumes the coffee name 'for real,' along with a radically different identity and personality, and begins indulging in an exuberant fantasy lifestyle he/she never dared pursue before.  So, basically, the old 'new identity' formula, with a cute new premise/title.  [For example]:

"Oh!" she said.  "Sorry."

"No problem, Blake," he replied cheerfully.

Blake?  Oh, right, Clotilde reminded herself, that's what I just gave as my coffee name.  And, wow, was this guy nice looking when he smiled.  She'd seen him almost every day at the cafe--they'd even exchanged pleasantries--but she'd never noticed how cute he was.

Why wasn't it socially acceptable to just ask for a relative stranger's phone number in line at a coffee joint on a Monday morning?  Why did it have to be a bar on a Friday night?

Maybe if she were really a woman called Blake, instead of Clotilde the harried corporate accountant, she'd do things like that.  Maybe if...

The impulse overcame her before she had the opportunity to resist it. "Hey, could I maybe call you next weekend?  I'll be down on Cape May painting a mural all week, but I'll be back on Friday."

A chill ran through her as soon as the words were out of her mouth.  Clotilde knew damn well she didn't have an artistic bone in her body.  Where the hell had this Cape May painter stuff come from?  If she was going to lie in order to impress a hot guy, surely she could have found an easier way to do it than faking a mural.

"I'd love that, Blake."  His smile broadened.  "Wow, an artist, huh?"

"Yeah, an artist," Clotilde answered, with a manic giggle.  There was no turning back now.

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April 30, 2015 (permalink)

Someone should "write an epic of Hell on the sky in letters of sulphurous fire." —Beachcomber, By the Way (1931)
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January 30, 2015 (permalink)

Dan suggests a book someone should write:

I wonder if anyone has taken the trouble to catalogue English verbs that are used both transitively and intransitively and which exhibit a substantial difference in meaning between the two. "He drinks tea." "He drinks." That sort of thing. For all I know, that's the case with most of them, and the catalogue would be a weighty volume. Transitive verbs are apparently an irresistible source for neologisms. You just check to see whether an intransitive form exists and is doing anything in particular. No? Dude, that's low-hanging fruit. "He walked"; i.e., "He was acquitted." I'm not sure when that one first appeared, but I suspect it's modern. If I were going to waste my time on such a book, I'd print the intransitive expression on the right page, with a transitive continuation on the next page (following an ellipsis, perhaps). It would be an entertaining read, as you could almost physically feel the shift in meaning as you turned the page, and besides, some of them are quite whimsical. "They parked." A young lady's virtue hangs in the balance. Turn the page.  "...the car." She remains intacto. Even more fun would be a collection of transitive verbs currently lacking an intransitive use but listed as if they did, and letting the imagination land where it may. Practically poetry. "He brings." Roll it around on the tongue. Suggests to me a generous and helpful type of person. "I like Fred. He brings, you know?" "Yeah, I know what you mean. The world needs more bringers."

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December 23, 2014 (permalink)

Someone should write an autobiography entitled, The Point I was Trying to Make All Along.  [Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.]

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October 10, 2014 (permalink)

William Keckler suggests that someone should publish an extremely large anthology of poetry entitled Too Cool for Relevance.

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September 10, 2014 (permalink)

Write a novel about a geneticist who discovers the secret of cellular immortality.  And she makes a cat immortal.  Then she destroys her notes.  And nobody can figure out how she made the cat immortal for another seven hundred years.  Maybe she was going through a bad breakup at the time and took it out on humanity.  Or she just didn't have much hope for people. —William Keckler
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June 24, 2014 (permalink)

Someone should write a book entitled Finesse, and a Parachute.

(Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.)
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February 7, 2014 (permalink)

William Keckler suggests that someone should publish a Best American Kvetching annual anthology.  And a companion volume: Best American Kvelling annual anthology.
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January 22, 2014 (permalink)

"You should write a book in your spare time.  The Grand Duchess's Guide to Winter Amusements: How to Have Fun in the Snow Without Showing Your Petticoats." —Sarah Miller, The Lost Crown
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November 29, 2013 (permalink)

"Nothing like an emotional roller-coaster ride followed by a crying jag.  Someone should write a book about it; it could be the new fitness/exercise craze."
Louisa Edwards, Can't Stand the Heat
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November 13, 2013 (permalink)

"Perhaps someone should write a diet book called The Cooking Smells Diet.  It would be enormously popular because it didn't involve restricting yourself to beans, or searching for a constant supply of fresh pineapple, or even doing aerobic exercise."
Imogen Parker, The Things We Do For Love
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November 3, 2013 (permalink)

"Write a novel in which so many uncanny things happen, that when one normal thing occurs, everybody is freaked out and psychologically destroyed. I suppose this could be a war novel."
William Keckler
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