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

September 28, 2016 (permalink)

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September 25, 2016 (permalink)

"I had to make my getaway between two suns.  There was no other horse nor time," said Billy the Kid (The West of Billy the Kid by Frederick Nolan).  Here's what a horse of two suns looks like, from Archiv für Physiologie, 1877.
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September 21, 2016 (permalink)

"The eclipse of the sun" on Sept. 21, 1922, from The Queenslander.

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September 12, 2016 (permalink)

From the Book of Heavenly Teachings by R. P. Baugh, 1912.
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July 20, 2016 (permalink)

"A transit of Mercury over the Sun's disk," from The Columbian Magazine, 1788.
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June 1, 2016 (permalink)

There are three types of spurious solar eclipses (and they actually constitute our very favorite eclipses):
  1. The assimilated eclipse.  A chronicler shifts the date of an eclipse by a year or more to relate it to some other event, whether consciously or unconsciously.
  2. The literary eclipse.  A work of fiction features an eclipse that is later taken for a real eclipse by an over-eager reader.
  3. The magical eclipse.  A solar eclipse or other celestial sign dramatizes an important battle, the death of a great personage, or the beginning of a wonderful enterprise.
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May 10, 2016 (permalink)

The sun promises large cash bonuses, as we learn in Natural Science, A Monthly Review of Scientific Progress, 1893.
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March 23, 2016 (permalink)

Just as the nearest exit may be behind you, the nearest sun may be below you, as we learn in Guida alla Chimica by Carlo Lancillotti, 1706.
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February 25, 2016 (permalink)

"The land of the midnight sun": a view of Bolgen Mountain by Thorolf Holmboe, ca. 1907.  A scan by Nasjonalbiblioteket.
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February 22, 2016 (permalink)

Our fellow hermits are privy to the secret of how to "Enjoy the sun indoors."  Circa 1937.
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February 21, 2016 (permalink)

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January 19, 2016 (permalink)

From Heroes of the Dawn by Violet Russell, 1914.

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January 17, 2016 (permalink)

"Little by little the golden aureole crept on," from The Conquest of the Moon by André Laurie, 1889.

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January 7, 2016 (permalink)

We draw a daily waking dream card from the Self-Intuiting Polarity deck, and only when the Cloud View card comes up do we perform cloud busting with the Original CloudBuster app.  Needless to say, we never dissolve clouds in times of drought.  In the photo, there was a 70% chance of rain, so we dissolved clouds until the National Weather Service changed the forecast to 30%.  Foggy mornings have proved difficult to clear, and we admit total defeat in our face-off with a tropical storm, but we walked away feeling we had given it our best.
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November 25, 2015 (permalink)

So in 1896 we had already sliced open the sun (to discover its labyrinthine innards), and yet NASA's launch of a solar probe has been pushed back to 2018.  One step forward, two steps back.  From The Half Hour Library of Travel, Nature and Science for Young Readers, 1896.

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November 24, 2015 (permalink)

From The People of the Mist by Henry Rider Haggard, 1894.

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August 13, 2015 (permalink)

"Gaze on the sun; the shadow-time is past," from The Lily and the Cross by Edith Nesbit, 1887.

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July 29, 2015 (permalink)

This is the best sun-riven-in-twain we've seen all week, from Prodigiorvm Ac Ostentorvm Chronicon, 1557.

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July 9, 2015 (permalink)

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June 3, 2015 (permalink)

The sun as an egotist, from Oculus Hoc Est by Christoph Scheiner, 1619.
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