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.
Select Creations
Search Site
Interactive

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Amalgamural
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers

Collections

A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Ampersands
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Do-Re-Midi
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Pfft!
Phosphenes
Precursors
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Constellations
D-ictionary
Film-ictionary
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost In The [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
Unicorns
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In

Archives

November 2014
October 2014
September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006

Links

SPOGG
Magic Words
Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
dbqp
Tonya Harding Shot JFK.com
Lord Whimsy
Phantasmaphile
Crystalpunk
BibliOdyssey
April Winchell
DJ Misc
Grow-a-brain
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
J-Walk Blog
Ironic Sans
Ursi's Blog
Brian Sibley's Blog
Omegaword
World of Wonder
Neat-o-Rama
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
This May Surprise You

Yesterday — November 20, 2014 (permalink)

It's not that cats were bigger in 1882; it's the people who were tiny.



November 11, 2014 (permalink)

Heraldic animals do not have rights, but the inhumane treatment of heraldic animals is inconsistent with armorial morality.  [Or something.]  Our illustration of an apparent heraldic animal farm appears in Berlin Under the New Empire by Henry Vizetelly, 1879.



October 29, 2014 (permalink)

"George Washington could not tell a lie, but he was sometimes remarkably dexterous with the truth." —Dr. Boli

October 27, 2014 (permalink)

Many have speculated about the origin of the alphabet, but the truth is quite literally far-flung: like meteorites, the letters were excavated from the highest mountain peaks, as we see in The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile, 1895.  The caption reads, "And they found the same letters."



October 26, 2014 (permalink)

"There are some things that can't fully happen.  They are too grand and magnificent to fit into an event." —The Hourglass Sanatorium (1973, Poland)



October 23, 2014 (permalink)

"The inside dog generally starts it," as we learn in While the Billy Boils by Henry Archibald Hertzberg Lawson, 1897.



October 21, 2014 (permalink)

Are such genealogical searches for foundations themselves evidence of the proverbial nonsense on stilts? —William Rasch


Genealogical research has some mysteries and paradoxes that nobody really likes to talk about. (We merely hint at them in our controversial Heirs to the Queen of Hearts: Tracing Magical Genealogy.) But we were delighted to encounter Scottish playwright N. F. Simpson's revelation that the emperor isn't wearing any clothes, in his precursor to Get Smart, The Cresta Run. The vital passage runs as follows:


Harker: Claims to have had two parents, I see.

Cask: That's right, sir.

Harker: One father, one mother. Seems as if they both had two, as well.

Cask: That's what he maintains, sir. Four grandparents.

Harker: And eight great-grandparents, by the look of it.

Cask: Yes sir.

Harker: The further you go back, the more people seem to have been involved. Eight, sixteen, thirty-two, sixty-four, a hundred and twenty-eight. Goes on doubling up indefinitely, as far as I can see.

Cask: We did work it out, actually, sir. On the computer.

Harker: And what did you arrive at?

Cask: Well — the figure we were left with was somewhere in the region of eighteen million at the time of the Norman Conquest.

Harker: Eighteen million? But that's completely and utterly ridiculous, Cask. In 1066 the entire population of the British Isles couldn't have amounted to much more than a million and a half. At the very most.

Cask: That's rather how it struck us, sir, too.

Harker: Just doesn't add up, does it?

Cask: It's just possible that the other sixteen million or so were out of the country at the time, sir.

Harker: If they were, I'm not sure that it doesn't raise more issues than it settles, Cask.

Cask: I know what you mean, sir. . . . Eighteen million at the Norman Conquest — what must it have been at the time of Christ?

Harker: Astronomical, I should think, Cask.

Cask: Let alone the Garden of Eden.

Harker: How many people do you understand there to have been in the Garden of Eden, Cask?

Cask: Well — just the two, sir. So far as I've always understood.

Harker: Yes. That's what I thought. Discrepancy somewhere.


Indeed, the math simply doesn't work out, and one must confront a mind-blowing possibility. The thing is, when we trace our predecessors back, we invariably run into dead ends: thrice-great grandparents who seem not to have had two parents, to put it bluntly. There are so many folks in the tangled branches of the tree who defy further investigation. Were they not who they said they were? or where they extraterrestrials? or did they suddenly pop into existence like the virtual particles of quantum physics? These dead ends suddenly begin to make sense, mathematically. They can't all keep doubling, because world population surely diminishes in Prospero's "dark backward and abysm of time." For the math to work out, a whole, whole lot of our predecessors must have no origin. One can't help but to think of particle-antiparticle pairs. (Note that even allowing for postmodern interpersonal relationships and non-nuclear ["No nukes!"] family models, the data still tends toward exponential growth of predecessors by generation.) (As my co-researcher concludes, the walls are there for a reason, to protect us from what's on the other side.)


October 20, 2014 (permalink)

"This may surprise you, but exercise undoubtedly has its drawbacks and precautions." —Naheed Ali, Diabetes and You

October 18, 2014 (permalink)

The original modular shelving was designed for storage of ancestors.  From A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain.



October 17, 2014 (permalink)

"On the far side of words there is a poem writing us." —Stein Mehren, Fire & Ice: Nine Poets from Scandinavia and the North

October 12, 2014 (permalink)

You've heard of waifs and strays, but here's what they look like.  From Waif and Stray: The Adventures of Two Tricycles by Chilosà, 1896.



October 11, 2014 (permalink)

We confided in tech wizard Gordon Meyer that this photo breaks a rule, as we learn in E. J. Gold's Slime Wars: "See, one of the Rules of World Domination and Control is that you can't actually do anything to change anything, or you'll lose total control. Of course it goes without saying that you can't tell anyone that you're in total control of everything or you'd lose total control by one mind, which is exactly enough to louse it all up. The thing I hate most about Total World Domination and Control is that there's no one with which to share it, to actually know and appreciate it all, to see and take part in the enormity of it all, to appreciate the good job I'm doing here at the Very Center of It All."



October 4, 2014 (permalink)

The "four corners of the world" technically meet at the center, as we see in this diagram from Grundzüge der mathematischen Geographie und der Landkartenprojection by Anton Steinhauser, 1857.



September 24, 2014 (permalink)

By jingo, that's Jingo himself on the right.   From Poems by Louisa Shore (1897).  The caption reads: "Tracts, by Jingo."



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)





Page 1 of 15

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.