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.
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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

May 12, 2018 (permalink)

An optical illusion: "If you will look at this face, just below the eyebrows, for a few seconds, you will find its eyes opening and staring at you sadly in return."  From The Strand, 1908.
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May 8, 2018 (permalink)

Having experienced several days that seemed to last months, we can vouch for the authenticity of this prediction from Popular Mechanics, 1934.  "Month-long day predicted."
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May 7, 2018 (permalink)

The whole book floats in the air; it is a miralce work.
It is full of the clangor and buzz of Time's loom.
—James Huneker, Overtones, 1919
Our book on Seance Parlor Feng Shui was spotted floating above a painting in an artist's studio.  It finally hovered low enough for the artist to grab it.  Thank you for sharing the photos, Adam!
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May 5, 2018 (permalink)

"The majority of doctors do not even think about their patients. This may be shocking, but it is true." —Anti-Aging Therapeutics, Vol. XVI
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May 4, 2018 (permalink)

Did you know that there's a book dedicated to a triangle?  Zenia, the Vestal, Or, The Problem of Vibrations by Margaret Bloodgood Peeke, 1893.
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May 1, 2018 (permalink)

Books are alive and have souls.  We found these proofs:

"Undoubtedly books have souls" (Joseph Jewell Barton).

"Literature … is alive—not in a vague complementary sense, but alive tenaciously" (E. M. Forster).

"Only an honest book can live" (John Burroughs).

"Literature is alive.  I am literature; it's not merely dead authors with beards.  It's alive" (Azouz Begag).

"Words have souls, and books have souls, and books, indeed, contain the most valuable essence of human souls" (The Open Court, 1894).

It's been said that "it's an author's passion, whatever its form … that makes a pulse beat in the printed page and keeps a book alive through its readers long after the writer is dust" ("The Book" by Barbara W. Tuchman).

It's been said that "the jumping out of planes, car chases and evil people in general is what I think keeps a book alive" (Scorpia, in a book review).

It's been said that "richness and impact characterize the lasting works" so that fifty years after their first appearance they still grip the human mind, immersing it in a rich created world.  (Kathryn Cave.)

It's been said that "It is the revelation that keeps a book alive to the reader" (Adrianne, "The Book and the Real World").

It's been said that references to famous quotations, events, and artworks is what keeps a book alive (Christchurch City Libraries).

It's been said that "It's the critical culture that keeps a book alive" (Yamini Deenadayalan).

It's been said that "it's word of mouth that really keeps a book alive" (Laura Lam).

It's been said that "What keeps a book alive is future books talking about it" (Tom Vanderbilt , "Why Is Literary Fame So Unpredictable?").

It's been said that "What keeps a book alive is not the judgment of critics, not the label of 'classic' attached to it in school-rooms, but the unaffected delight it continues to give to the hearts of men" (H. W. Boynton, "Reading New Books").

It's been said that "it is teaching that keeps a book alive" (Nicholas Birns).

It's been said that "It is only the good opinion of the few that keeps a book alive" (Max Beerbohm).

It has been said that it is the "calling for fresh copies of it after the old copies are worn out" that keeps a book alive (Leon Henry Vincent, The Bibliotaph).

It's been said that "humor that survives from other days" keeps a book alive beyond its own generation (Ladies' Home Journal).

It's been said that "credibility among [the author's] scientific peers" is what keeps a book alive in the minds of readers (Cheryl Knott).

It's been said that "a popular adaptation keeps a book alive" (Thomas S. Hischak).

Previously, we saw that the moment a work is published it appears in another world (either heavenly or hellish.  Bad books are tormented in Hell.)

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April 26, 2018 (permalink)

In 1914, Popular Mechanics covered the driving out of evil spirits.
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April 24, 2018 (permalink)

"Mystery of broken goblets traced to violin."  From Popular Mechanics, 1928.
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April 22, 2018 (permalink)

One of our favorite early theories concerning the North Pole is the guardian bear/cat of the great spoon.  From Jugend, 1924.
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April 17, 2018 (permalink)

"Lives saved by giant voices."  From Popular Mechanics, 1932.
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April 16, 2018 (permalink)

Revealed -- the Easter Bunny outsources.  From Kladderadatsch, 1935.
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April 11, 2018 (permalink)

Printer's ink chases away haunting ghosts as efficaciously as gallons of holy water.  From A Phantom Lover by Vernon Lee, 1886.
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"The surprising truth is that all golfers, from Ben Hogan to Hulk Hogan, actually strike the ball with the club in a decelerating mode."
The Impact Zone: Mastering Golf's Moment of Truth
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April 9, 2018 (permalink)

Humming conjures the demon of jangled nerves.  From Popular Mechanics, 1934.
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April 7, 2018 (permalink)

Truth is mortal and will be outlived by the tortoise and the crow.  This we learn from James Stephens (author of one of our very favorite books, The Crock of Gold), in Here are Ladies, 1913
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April 3, 2018 (permalink)

Here is revealed the uncanniest thing in the mysterious world.  From The Little Minister by James Matthew Barrie, 1892.
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March 31, 2018 (permalink)

If you ever wondered about how fashion models affect those still expressions, it's all done with motors.  The headline reads, "Expression of model's face changed by motor."  From Popular Mechanics, 1934.
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March 30, 2018 (permalink)

Key juggling attracts the demon of jangled nerves.  From Popular Mechanics, 1934.
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March 26, 2018 (permalink)

Not everyone realizes that there are two rivers Styx and that they cross each other.  Also, not everyone knows that you can get vermouth made with water from the underworld.  It's all revealed in Le Journal Amusant, 1921.
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March 25, 2018 (permalink)

We peeked into the haunted mirror and gained a pupil.  (They say that when the teacher is ready, the pupil will appear.)  See our haunted mirror in action in our video about a lucid waking experiment gone wrong.
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Original Content Copyright © 2018 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.