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, 2017 (permalink)

You knew that "If wishes were horses, beggars would ride," but did you know that "If molecules were water, earth would be flooded"?  From Popular Mechanics, 1933.
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September 19, 2017 (permalink)

A rectangle once wrote a book proving that the earth isn't a sphere but rather a stationary plane circle.  Zetetic Cosmogony, Or, Conclusive Evidence that the World is Not a Rotating-revolving-globe, But a Stationary Plane Circle by Rectangle 1899.

Previously, we saw a book dedicated to a triangle.

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You've seen lost pet and lost child notices, but here's a lost home from Popular Mechanics, 1927.  For all we know, this home may still be lost.  If your ancestors lost a home and you think this might be your inheritance, please do get in touch.
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September 18, 2017 (permalink)

You've heard of drawings made from photographs, but here's a photograph made from a drawing (as explained in the caption).  From Popular Mechanics, 1929.
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September 17, 2017 (permalink)

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September 16, 2017 (permalink)

A robot that goes to church, from Popular Mechanics, 1929.
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September 13, 2017 (permalink)

Poets devour their own reflections for breakfast.  It's uncomfortable to talk about it, but it's true.  From The Poet at the Breakfast Table by Oliver Wendell Holmes and illustrated by H. M. Brock, 1902.
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September 12, 2017 (permalink)

Seeing the number 7 stuck to Lady Barbarity, we wondered about the "barbarity of luck."  That phrase is a Googlewhack!
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"Dark light promises way to talk with Mars."  We, too, use dark light to talk with Mars.  Therefore, this is one of the very few Popular Mechanics headlines we can vouch for.  From 1932.  Also, we always use dark light when painting with the "minus colors" from this other weird headline.
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September 11, 2017 (permalink)

You've heard of a bearded clam, but here's a mustachioed oyster.  "The gift that fell from heaven."  From Stories in Precious Stones by Helen Zimmern, 1873.
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September 10, 2017 (permalink)

You've heard of the search for the "missing link," but Shakespeare's Tempest washed it up in the form of Caliban.
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September 9, 2017 (permalink)

"'Aladdin's lamp' halts train with beam of light."  From Popular Mechanics, 1930.
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September 8, 2017 (permalink)

Which came first -- the telephone or the caller?  "Public telephone on an uninhabited island."  From Popular Mechanics, 1914.
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September 6, 2017 (permalink)

"Electric lights blown out with puff."  From Popular Mechanics, 1930.
Nemfrog notes (referring to one of our Abecedarian posts mirrored on Tumblr): "Your most recent blog entry is dated April 14, 2019. That's forward thinking. I support and even encourage your plastic relationship with time, but since you want to revise magazines mostly published in the first third of the 20th century, wouldn't it be to your advantage to go in the other direction?"
Our answer: Thank you for supporting and even encouaging our plastic relationship with time, as well as our psychic battle against vintage Popular Mechanics.  You suggested that since we want to revise magazines published in the first third of the 20th century, it would be to our advantage to go in the other direction, and we can't argue with your logic or math.  Either this is all an obscure part of our grander scheme ... or when it comes to advantageous directions, our compass is possibly faulty.  Actually, you can check the reliablity of our compass yourself, as we made an app for it:
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September 4, 2017 (permalink)

We've always preferred Tesla over Edison, and this headline bolsters our cause.  "Clock that won't run one of Edison's successes."  From Popular Mechanics, 1929.
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September 3, 2017 (permalink)

"Tangoing by machinery."  From Popular Mechanics, 1914.
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September 2, 2017 (permalink)

An inverted table, its legs in the air, hosts this "topsy-turvy banquet in London."  From Popular Mechanics, 1914.
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September 1, 2017 (permalink)

We found the very day in which the square root of negative one was captured in an imp bottle.  From the Proceedings of the American Association for the Advance of Science, 1851.  Since the advent of the New Inquisition, no scientific paper could be written like this, from the mention of the "shadowy imp" in the first sentence to the "mighty musician who attunes the pythagorean harmony of the universe" in the last.
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August 29, 2017 (permalink)

"The surprising truth is that sharks can be rendered harmless fairly easily—you just flip them upside-down."
BBC Wildlife Magazine, 2009
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.