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.
Yesterday — April 20, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's a certain Mr. X from the Atlanta City Directory, 1913, p. 61.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Company of Fays on their phantom-horses (assistant to Jaculus), skimming the marshes, in the last of twilight, on their inroad into the Giant's Hold.  From One of the Thirty: A Strange History, Now For the First Time Told by Hargrave Kennings, 1873.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

April 19, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Life of George Barnwell by Edward Litt Leman, 1841.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
A tip of the hat to nobody in particular, from The Principles of Advertising Arrangement by Frank Alvah Parsons, 1912.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Occupying herself in mixing me an effervescing draught in a great crystal goblet," from Jewel Mysteries I Have Known by Max Pemberton, 1894.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Here's an ornate capital A from La Morale Merveilleuse by P. Christian, 1844.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
"Whisper the one word, dearest."  From The Cap Becomes a Coronet by Frederick Bingham, 1894.


* The most profound secrets lie not wholly in knowledge, said the poet.  They lurk invisible in that vitalizing spark, intangible, yet as evident as the lightning—the seeker's soul.  Solitary digging for facts can reward one with great discoveries, but true secrets are not discovered—they are shared, passed on in confidence from one to another.  The genuine seeker listens attentively.

No secret can be transcribed, save in code, lest it—by definition—cease to be.  This Book of Whispers collects and encodes more than one hundred of humankind's most cherished secrets.  To be privy to the topics alone is a supreme achievement, as each contains and nurtures the seed of its hidden truth.  As possessor and thereby guardian of this knowledge, may you summon the courage to honor its secrets and to bequeath it to one worthy.
> read more from Book of Whispers . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to centralized parking, from 1920.


> read more from Precursors . . .

April 18, 2015

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)

If only they all came with warning signs.  From School Architecture by the Georgia Dept. of Education, 1911.  The caption reads, "Don't use this."



[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)

Anonymous asks, "If I may, I was told I have to find my voice.  Any ideas?  Suggestions?"

This vintage diagram explains all.  [Its context is technically unrelated (you may or may not recognize its original purpose), but no matter.]  We see the form of a lower-case i, and that's crucial.  Note that the lower-case i has a head on its shoulders, unlike the capital I, which is merely a construct (a girder and two beams, eh?).  And so the capital I/ego decapitates the genuine expression of the little i.  The dot of the i makes this diagram a universal "You are here" map.  One's voice can never to be "found," for it's impossible for it to go missing.  It's always here, at ground zero.  The question can only be, what has been overlaid and is hiding that dot?  Is it a respected voice one has been emulating?  Is it an artificial attempt to meet perceived requirements or expectations?  Emulations refer to the past, and expectations allude to the future.  It's only in the eternal present moment that one's unique voice resonates.  In terms of writing projects, it's perhaps most difficult to express one's true voice in an assignment or an homage.  The key is to work on a project so idiosyncratic that there are no precedents.  (For example, we recently challenged ourselves to come up with a guide to The Care and Feeding of a Spirit Board.  Nothing even remotely like it had ever been written, so it was unexplored territory where no other voices echoed.)  That's the key, but it's a trick key, and the trick is to allow yourself to get so caught up in the current of writing that your capital I gets left behind.  But forget all that -- the vintage diagram says it better.



> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .



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