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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Yesterday — October 12, 2015 (permalink)

From The World's Inhabitants by George Thomas Bettany, 1888.

October 11, 2015 (permalink)

"Dry haze," from Tropical Nature, 1876.

October 5, 2015 (permalink)

"The World's Umbrella" (obviously), from St. Nicholas magazine, 1904.

September 30, 2015 (permalink)

From Through Hell with Hiprah Hunt by Art Young, 1901.

September 27, 2015 (permalink)

"Mrs. Western spoke, or rather thundered an answer."  From Dicks' English Library of Standard Works, 1884.

September 25, 2015 (permalink)

This is as good an explanation of the weather as we've heard from any meteorologist.  From Prodigiorvm ac Ostentorvm Chronicon, 1557.

September 14, 2015 (permalink)

From Infödingarna på Manhattan by Gunnar Cederschiöld, 1916.

September 12, 2015 (permalink)

From True as Steel by Jules Marie Alfred Girardin, 1884.

September 9, 2015 (permalink)

This is as good an explanation of the Santa Ana winds as we've encountered: "Listen, please.  The wind.  Maybe that means that the top is open.  Maybe it means that the keeper isn't up there anymore.  Maybe it means that it's grown tired of its plaything.  Maybe it even means that it's left our world." —The Bubble (1966)

September 5, 2015 (permalink)

From St. Nicholas magazine, 1877.

September 1, 2015 (permalink)

August 27, 2015 (permalink)

"On through the night and the storm!'  From St. Nicholas magazine, 1900.

August 26, 2015 (permalink)

"A pleasure excursion," from The Foreign Freaks of Five Friends by C. A. Jones, 1882.

August 22, 2015 (permalink)

From Under Nordlysets Straaler by Sophus Tromholt, 1885.

August 16, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a picnic illustrated by John Leech, from Pictures of Life and Character, 1886.

August 15, 2015 (permalink)

Here's a scarecrow on a rainy day, from A Zigzag Journey in the Sunny South by Hezekiah Butterworth, 1887.

August 6, 2015 (permalink)

July 25, 2015 (permalink)

"Raising the wind," from Our New Way Round the World by Charles Carleton Coffin, 1883.

July 19, 2015 (permalink)

"Children's umbrellas"?  But as the Waldorf philosophy professes, "children should not be spared from experiencing the weight of objects."  This giant children's umbrella appears in an advertisement from 1899.

July 17, 2015 (permalink)

An illustration from Our Earth and Its Story by Robert Brown (1893).  The caption reads: "Fig. 70 — Somma and Vesuvius, the one encircling the other. (An example of the ringed volcano, with the eruption of Oct., 1822.)"

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