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 OneLetterWords.com.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.

April 2, 2014 (permalink)

"But yonder beam forbids me to despair": from Sir Walter Raleigh: A Tragedy by William John Dixon, 1897.



March 31, 2014 (permalink)

"My advice is to turn your back on the sunset and see how its warm glow is magically lighting up the people, objects, and scenes around you." —The Trustees of Reservations

Our illustration is from On Blue Water by Edmondo de Amicis, 1898.  The caption reads: "He turned his back on the sunset."



January 3, 2014 (permalink)

We hereby document yet another way to stare at the sun: stand with your back to a beveled-glass window and look at the rainbows on your palm.



July 19, 2013 (permalink)

Here's a surprising bit of Hermeticism from Arthur's Illustrated Home Magazine, 1885.  A lady faces the setting sun and transmits a thought-message toward the light as she touches a dog's head.  The Greek god Hermes (a.k.a. the Roman Mercury and the Egyptian Thoth) is a solar messenger.  The Egyptians of course represented him with a dog's head.


The caption reads, "She stood at the window looking westward at the setting sun, her thoughts borne outward toward its glory, her hand resting on the head of Duke."

January 14, 2013 (permalink)

Prof. Oddfellow stares at the sun while contemplating his options (invigorate the scalp or restore shine?).



October 11, 2012 (permalink)

"I think I've decided I now want my epitaph to read, THE SUN WAS IN MY EYES. Imagine a sprawling cemetery where every epitaph was only a variation on that, a different excuse on every tombstone? I'd love to visit." —William Keckler



August 16, 2012 (permalink)

An illustration from a 1911 issue of Scribner's magazine.  The caption reads: "He turned and faced the rising sun, the light full on his face."



August 27, 2011 (permalink)

"Look at the sun blazing there among the peaks, too blinding almost for our eyes.  See how he touches the mountaintops and how they dissolve into fire at his touch.  Some day, I tell you, he will burn as we please and spin at our command.  He will be our servant, our convenience, our instrument.  He will be the fire before our door, the light of our first home as we spread out our power and our blood farther and farther amidst the stars."
H.G. Wells, "The World Set Free"

An illustration from a 1913 issue of Century Illustrated magazine.



August 16, 2011 (permalink)

One second after we snapped this shop window display at 2 a.m., we were surprised to see the external lights switch off (they're presumably controlled by an auto-timer). But the shop's electrical austerity was our gain, as we snagged a very differently lit second shot. Click on the photo below to see the second shot.



July 21, 2011 (permalink)



The lens of the lighthouse at St. Augustine, Florida.

May 6, 2011 (permalink)

"Sometimes in mythology, an eclipse is not a monster devouring the Sun, not a sickness of the Sun, not a fight between the Sun and Moon, not even the result of the always abundant sins of mankind.  Sometimes an eclipse is what in sports would be called an unforced error."
—Mark Littmann, Fred Espenak & Ken Willcox, Totality: Eclipses of the Sun


Prof. Oddfellow stares at the sun.

April 24, 2011 (permalink)

Prof. Oddfellow walks into a sunrise mural.  (For Gordon.)



December 16, 2010 (permalink)

"She stared at the sun, narrowing her eyes until it was just a speck.  The speck grew larger and larger, white obliterating dark.  Past destroying present." —Sarah McCarty, Tracker's Sin (2010)

November 16, 2010 (permalink)



Sunset over Puget Sound from Alki Beach in Seattle

November 13, 2010 (permalink)



The Columbia figurehead, Disneyland.

October 24, 2010 (permalink)



The sun peeks through the canopy to create shadows in the Ghost Garden at Portmeirion, Wales.

October 23, 2010 (permalink)



Sunset through a Madrona tree over Puget Sound

October 17, 2010 (permalink)



Sunset over Puget Sound from Alki Beach in Seattle

October 14, 2010 (permalink)

Portmeirion's campanile reveals its Brocken spectre.



October 2, 2010 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:





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