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

Today — February 7, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of the four standard seasons of the year, and you know that Australia has six seasons, but how many seasons are there in Scandinavia?  Thirty, of course.

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February 2, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of Moses' Ten Commandments, but the correct title is "The Ten Commandments (with Apologies to Moses)," as we learn in The History and La Trine Rumor of Ambulance Company 33, 1920.

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January 31, 2016 (permalink)

We are pleased to have verified this map from Descriptive Geography by Samuel Brook, 1891.  "Most of England is a sea of blue," confirms Rhodi Evans in 2015.

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It turns out that you really are at the center of things, as proven in Easy Lessons in General Geography by John George Hodgins, 1874.

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January 29, 2016 (permalink)

Double O's have always caught your eye, haven't they?  And for good reason, as they're looking right back at you.  From The New Hyperion, 1875.

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January 28, 2016 (permalink)

You've heard of "dead letters," but did you know they tend to go blind first?  From The Romance of the British Post Office by Archibald Granger Bowie, 1897.  The caption reads, "Deciphering the 'blind' letters."

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January 21, 2016 (permalink)

All documents are haunted, as confirmed in Irving Malin's review of The Attic by Curtis Harnack: "Every chapter contains scenes which demonstrate the strangeness of daily experiences, the oddity of ordinary life. . . . [Harnack] is a ghost confronting other ghostly presences.  Thus his memoir becomes a haunted document—aren’t all documents haunted?—and this very fact attacks our longing to know our beginnings, our desire to search our 'mental attics.'"—Contemporary Literature
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January 16, 2016 (permalink)

"A pun is not art": a still from Juken Sentai Gekiranger (獣拳戦隊ゲキレンジャ), 2007.

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January 13, 2016 (permalink)

"It may surprise you, though, to learn how little responsible for your shortcomings I hold you." —Robert M. Price, The Needletoe Letters

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January 3, 2016 (permalink)

Here's Death's uncanny ventriloquism act, from De Kapelle der Dooden by Abraham a Sancta Clara, 1741.

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The moon is actually bigger than it looks from down here on Earth, as we learn in La Dix-Neuvième Caravane des Dominicains d'Arcueil, 1894.

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December 31, 2015 (permalink)

The keeper of the exclamation point is actually Lady Question Mark.  From The Riddle by Walter Alexander Raleigh, 1895.

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December 30, 2015 (permalink)

A finish is never fully the end -- it's just fin (from the Latin for "end") ish.  From Wheeler's Guide to Weymouth,1882.

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December 26, 2015 (permalink)

Revealed: one of the ways lost works of art find themselves lost in the first place.  From Gazette des Beaux-Arts, 1859.

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December 23, 2015 (permalink)

Before the advent of PETA, Christmas trees were traditionally fetched by dogs and bears.  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1893.

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December 21, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a positive that turned into a negative (we've had that happen, too!) from St. Nicholas magazine, 1910.  The explanation posited by the magazine's Eastman Kodak representative is that the film must have been exposed to a strong light immediately after development and previous to rinising the developer from the surface and fixing.

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December 20, 2015 (permalink)

You've heard of the "north pole," but it's actually a cone, and it's the source of jingle bells.  From The Pilot's Handbook for the English Channel by John William King, 1898.

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December 18, 2015 (permalink)

We hear of Puritanism's lingering influence in the United States, but as recently as 1948, Illinois dairy farmers were weaning themselves off the wizardry of Druidism.  Here's a headline that "You don't need a Magician" for high milk production.  From the Illinois Agricultural Association Record, 1948.  

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December 15, 2015 (permalink)

"It may surprise you to find out that the hardest person to forgive is yourself." Steve Gilliland, Hide Your Goat

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December 10, 2015 (permalink)

We hear a lot about "the end," but where does it leave us?  Beckenham, Kent, to be precise!  From History of Kent by Henry Francis Abell, 1898.

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