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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Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
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
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A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
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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
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
How to Believe in Your Elf
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
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Oldest Tricks in the Book
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One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
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Peace Symbols to Color
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Someone Should Write a Book on ...
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Staring at the Sun
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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
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Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
December 3, 2016 (permalink)

Remember?  (From a postcard advertising anti-freeze.)
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December 2, 2016 (permalink)

From c. 1890.
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December 1, 2016 (permalink)

"Thou shalt not always wear a cross and ugly look especially in cold weather as the features may become frozen and crack.  Look pleasant occasionally."  From 1907.
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"The snow isn't snow at all.  It never was" (Bridget Asher, The Provence Cure for the Brokenhearted, 2011).  Our proof is courtesy of the Costică Acsinte Archive.
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"Vintereventyr" by Theodor Kittelsen, ca. 1920.
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November 30, 2016 (permalink)

By Theodor Kittelsen, date unknown.
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November 28, 2016 (permalink)

An illustration from Andiron Tales by John Kendrick Bangs and illustrated by Clare Victor Dwiggins, 1906.
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November 27, 2016 (permalink)

"Out to-day, 'The Wet Dog.'"
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November 11, 2016 (permalink)

"Stude and Kavaleff in Helsinki Zoo, May 1898."
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"There goes my dinner," from Sketches of Hudson Bay Life by H. Bullock Webster, c. 1875.
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November 8, 2016 (permalink)

"A wet day for a wedding."  From Fighting an Omen by E. Henderson Smith, 1883.  Speaking of weddings, see our Collected Lost Meanings of Wedlock.  Why lost meanings? The definition of "marriage" has become hotly debated of late, to the point that the word has become "increasingly unmentionable" (Catholic Herald) or even "has no meaning at all" (Family Policy Institute). It's been said that only through loss can there be gain, that only through loss can we truly grow and understand what is at stake, that only through loss can that which is beautiful be found. As the poet Joseph August has noted, "Only through loss can we glimpse the deepest meanings, / hints and flashes whispered from below / elucted as from underwater, deep." The collected lost meanings of wedlock might surprise even those who would otherwise be considered well-informed.  It's the perfect gift for one's betrothed, or for a wedding planner, or for anyone contemplating matrimony.
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"It's a fine day, stranger."  Date uncertain.
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November 6, 2016 (permalink)

"45° below zero--and he's lost the matches," from Sketches of Hudson Bay Life by H. Bullock Webster, c. 1875.
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November 3, 2016 (permalink)

"Chicago's temperature soared" (Richard Oulahan, The Man Who, 1971).  And here's what Chicago's soaring temperature looks like.
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November 2, 2016 (permalink)

An illustration by T. W. Couldery for Cassell's, 1893.
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November 1, 2016 (permalink)

"When in doubt take only a sunshade, or an umbrella."  From The Z.Z.G., or Zig Zag Guide Round and About the Bold and Beautiful Kentish Coast by Francis Cowley Burnand and illustated by Phil May, 1897.
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October 30, 2016 (permalink)

"None of your d—d blue skies here," from The King's Own by Frederick Marryat and illustrated by F. H. Townsend, 1896.
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October 23, 2016 (permalink)

The Sneeuwstormbeschermer (face protection from snowstorms), Montreal, Canada, 1939.

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October 21, 2016 (permalink)

"The moon only looked fitfully now and then out of the driving clouds," from Cassell's, 1891.
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Original Content Copyright © 2016 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.