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

November 22, 2015 (permalink)

Einstein said that God doesn't play dice, but here's evidence that God plays Tic Tac Toe, from Au Pays de Notre-Seigneur by A. Vannesson, 1890.

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November 18, 2015 (permalink)

"It may surprise you to know that parents and teachers, for the most part, hold common goals for children." Rational-Emotive Consultation in Applied Settings

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November 13, 2015 (permalink)

Budding mathematicians, ironically, tend to blossom in winter months when plants are hibernating.  We learn this in Practical Physics, 1922.

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November 1, 2015 (permalink)

Here's an undoctored snapshot of our third eye and wide grin, courtesy of Thich Nhat Hanh's meditation: "Breathing in, I calm my body … breathing out, I smile."

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The gears of November are powered by black cats and bunnies, as we learn in St. Nicholas magazine, 1908.

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October 28, 2015 (permalink)

Did you know that a jack-'o-lantern named "The Chew-Chew Man" watches how you devour shredded wheat?  "He'll get you if you don't watch out," from Rod and Gun, 1898.

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October 25, 2015 (permalink)

If it's true that "New ciphers develop when the existing ones have been broken" (Katelyn Callahan, "The Impact of the Allied Cryptographers on World War II"), then just where does said development take place?  In cypher incubators, or course.  Our graphic is from an entire catalog of incubators for cyphers (1899). 

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October 18, 2015 (permalink)

We learn that "There isn't anything beyond Wales — only a lot of sea" (sorry, Ireland!) in the "Roots" Christmas special of Are You Being Served?

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October 16, 2015 (permalink)

Early models of the "bicycle built for two" betrayed a hierarchy of wealth and power.  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1877.

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October 12, 2015 (permalink)

"An unexpected rainstorm may surprise you." Nick Mezins, The Tidings

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October 7, 2015 (permalink)

You've heard that when you're in love, the whole world is Jewish.  Meanwhile, "In the middle of the night, we are all Fellini" (Barbara Kantrowitz, "What Dreams of Made Of").
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October 4, 2015 (permalink)

"Analysis of the perspiration of a brain-worker shows the amount of brain effort by the volume of little particles of Phosphate of Potash thrown off by the brain when working."  From an ad for Grape-Nuts in St. Nicholas magazine, 1904.

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September 29, 2015 (permalink)

You know about caryatids, but what exactly they were holding up might be a surprise.  From Canadian Grocer, 1892.

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September 24, 2015 (permalink)

Every playing card is in fact a "face card," though most faces are out of frame.  We find our evidence in St. Nicholas magazine, 1920.

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September 23, 2015 (permalink)

The eating disorder "pica" was once considered cute, as we see in Cherry Cheeks and Roses, 1890.

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September 22, 2015 (permalink)

More than one cow jumped over the moon, as we see in From the Earth to the Moon Direct in Ninety-Seven Hours and Twenty Minutes, and a Trip Round It by Jules Verne, 1874.

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You've heard that money makes the world go around, but it's actually bunny.  From The Bashful Earthquake by Oliver Herford (1899).

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September 20, 2015 (permalink)

There's more going on with a magician's hat than we're at liberty to discuss, as we see in this ad from 1891.

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September 18, 2015 (permalink)

Here is revealed one of our secrets of time travel.

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September 17, 2015 (permalink)

The Milky Way is composed of smoke from cigars puffed by celestial bodies, as we see in The Pharmaceutical Era, 1887.

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