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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This May Surprise You

Yesterday — September 20, 2014 (permalink)

"This may surprise you, but I also can see what is coming, and I am not at all sure that I like it." —Achim Zahren, The Last Polar Bear

September 16, 2014 (permalink)

Here's how to imbue majesty into something as ordinary as a library stamp.  (We find this majestic library stamp in the Commercial Intelligence Journal, 1921.)

September 13, 2014 (permalink)

You've heard of magic dust, woofle dust, pixie dust, fairy dust, and foo foo powder, but these aren't mere figures of speech, as we see in the Catalogue of Sharp & Smith, 1889, p. 670 — a genuine magic atomizer.

September 6, 2014 (permalink)

It's been said that "writers lose themselves in their words, carefully woven into sentences" (Jason Skinner), but did you know that each letter of those words is a carefully woven tapestry in itself?  We find our proof in Oracles from the Poets: A Fanciful Diversion for the Drawing Room by Caroline Howard Gilman, 1845.

September 4, 2014 (permalink)

Every nightingale has a colon, which absorbs water and electrolytes.  From The Nightingale by Richard Andre (1899).

September 1, 2014 (permalink)

"A book is a myth we believe in when we're young.  We stop treating it seriously as we get older." —The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973, Poland)

August 26, 2014 (permalink)

"This may surprise you, but one animal of the Everglades that has the potential to cause harm is the oyster." —Paddling the Everglades Wilderness Waterway

August 19, 2014 (permalink)

"A surprising truth is, that the 'value of money,' in fact, is in no way affected by a change in the quantity." —Money: A Free Magazine and Forum (1921)

August 18, 2014 (permalink)

The reason cats dart is revealed in this illustrarion from Phantastes: A Faerie Romance by George MacDonald (1894).

August 5, 2014 (permalink)

The theory that Humpty Dumpty was pushed is nearly as old as the chicken-or-the-egg conundrum, but we finally lay the matter to rest with this evidence of the culprit, from The Baby's Museum by Uncle Charlie, 1882.

"The surprising truth is, a more diverse, bountiful natural environment exists within the city and county limits of Los Angeles than within perhaps any other city in the United States." —Wild L.A.: A Celebration of the Natural Areas In and Around the City

July 29, 2014 (permalink)

Exquisite things are invariably surrounded by fairies.  From A Tramp Abroad Etc. by Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1897).  The caption reads: "An exquisite thing."

July 22, 2014 (permalink)

"The surprising truth is that sharks can be rendered harmless fairly easily — you just flip them upside-down." —BBC Wildlife

July 14, 2014 (permalink)

Ornate capitals have physical counterparts.  For example, this is the U of Ulram Chapel as it appeared before 1876.  It is preserved in Holderness and Hullshire Historic Gleanings, 1886.

July 10, 2014 (permalink)

It's little known that between hither and thither is this:

From The Book of the Poets, 1886.

July 8, 2014 (permalink)

"The surprising truth is all golfers, from Ben Hogan to Hulk Hogan, actually strike the ball with the club in a decelerating mode." —The Impact Zone: Mastering Golf's Moment of Truth

July 2, 2014 (permalink)

The folks at Scribd recently named our One-Letter Words: A Dictionary as the #5 best e-book for short daily commutes.  The folks at Mashable covered the story.

It's little known that Aesop couldn't resist sneezing at dust mites, but 'allergy' and 'allegory' have the same Greek root. From Comic History of Greece by Charles Snyder (1898).

June 18, 2014 (permalink)

There are places lower than the orchestra pit.  From Danmarks Riges Historie by Johannes Christoffer Hagemann Reinhardt Steenstrup (1897).

June 17, 2014 (permalink)

"But then perhaps it's true for all of us; if the paradox is that it's our hopes and aspirations which imprison us, then maybe in the end we're all women." —People Like Us, series 2

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