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.
This May Surprise You

February 17, 2017 (permalink)

Google's scan of Alma Newton's A Jewel in the Sand (1919) offers its own mirage!
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February 11, 2017 (permalink)

"Teaching a child to exhale" (Pearson's, 1897).  Indeed, "Good breathing doesn't come naturally to most people" (Human Biology, 2005) and "A regular system of correct breathing must be taught in the first days of instruction" (Manual of Church Music, 1905).
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February 10, 2017 (permalink)

You've heard that we're all made of stardust, but so are bicycles, sewing machines, and typewriters.  From Jugend, 1906.
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February 9, 2017 (permalink)

"The newest thing in winter auto headgear."  From Popular Mechanics, 1911.
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February 1, 2017 (permalink)

Every time one clown cries, another smiles.  In this way, balance truly exists, at least for a moment.  From Jugend, 1896.
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January 24, 2017 (permalink)

You've heard that an airplane is "alive and in dialogue with the aviator" (Denice Turner, Writing the Heavenly Frontier, 2011).  Well, here's textbook "proof that the airplane is alive, well and an important part of the national transportation system" (Richard L. Collins, Flying Magazine, 1974).  Our illustration is from Biology and Man by Benjamin Gruenberg, 1944.
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You've heard of Claude Debussy's "Sunken (Submerged, Engulfed) Cathedral," but here's the diver who went under it, from Popular Mechanics, 1908.
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January 20, 2017 (permalink)

Here is revealed how magicians make time for practice.  From Die Bühne, 1925.
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January 17, 2017 (permalink)

"It may surprise you to know that interactive music isn't new, and it isn't found just in video games." —Writing Interactive Music for Video Games

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January 13, 2017 (permalink)

You've heard of someone being "older than God," but here's a younger man straight out of the Old Testament.  From Pearson's, 1911.
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January 10, 2017 (permalink)

The secrets of How to Be Your Own Cat go back to the Meiji period of Japan, when cat people wrote books in between naps.  For example, the author of the Japanese classic I Am a Cat was himself a feline: "Choosing a kitten for the main character has a two-fold meaning as Sōseki was, in fact, himself a stray kitten" (Aiko Ito & Graeme Wilson's introduction to Sōseki Natsume's I Am a Cat).  Our illustration from a 1906 edition of the book.
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You've heard that cigarettes kill, but they can also be executed.
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You've heard of the force which holds the celestial bodies in orbit, and here he is, in the Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences, 1917.
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January 1, 2017 (permalink)

Good luck horseshoes are made by porcine blacksmiths.  A new year's postcard from 1902.
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While it's true that you can't get blood from a turnip, the ox heart carrot is another story.  From the Annual of True Blue Seeds, 1905. 

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There's a theory of evolution for the supernatural, too.  The Supernatural: Its Origin, Nature and Evolution by John H. King, 1892.
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December 29, 2016 (permalink)

"In a field of prescribed methodologies and practices, it may surprise you to learn that original thinking is a core skill of any successful scientist." —The Art of Achievement


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You've heard of "the booze talking," but here's how it happens, c. 1935.  From the Leslie Jones Collection, Boston Public Library.
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December 27, 2016 (permalink)

The eye[patch] in the pyramid.  From Die Muskete, 1919.
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December 25, 2016 (permalink)

Many will be delighted to know that both diamonds and toads have been appended to the seven champions of Christendom (1825).
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Original Content Copyright © 2017 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.