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 OneLetterWords.com.
"Is the earth still inhabited? While scientists are wrangling over the question as to whether Mars or Venus is signaling us, it would be well to start an inquiry into whether the earth is inhabited." From Life, 1920. We say the same thing about scientists touting artificial intelligence: is there any intelligence on earth to begin with?
We love how the presenter of these stories by the ghost of O. Henry handles any skeptical readers. We've reproduced about half of the preface, but it's all delightful. From My Tussle With the Devil by O. Henry's Ghost [via a Ouija board], 1918.
This is typical of the "New Inquisition" mindset behind vintage Popular Mechanics: "Poison gas guards 'health' of art treasures." If only Big Science could gas all the arts, this toxic sentiment suggests. It's an example of why Robert Anton Wilson called Big Science the New Inquistion. The headline is a variation of the old witch test -- if she sinks, she's not a witch, and if the art survives the poison gas, it's "healthy." Yikes. From 1932.
Here's Big Science telling you not to trust your intuition. There's one phrase here that we actually do agree with -- "it pays to be dubious," to which we would add "of everything published in vintage Popular Mechanics." It's all hogwash! From 1931.