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 — October 20, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Batman's residence at Stately Wayne Manor.  From Victoria and its Metropolis Past and Present by Alexander Sutherland (1888).  The caption reads: "Batman's dwelling on the Yarra."


> read more from Precursors . . .


Always Remember (permalink)
Always remember: nothing risqué, nothing gained.
> read more from Always Remember . . .

October 19, 2014

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
We're delighted to learn that the Mechanics' Institute Library and Chess Room has acquired our dictionary of one-letter words.  In a lovely bit of time warping, it's on the third floor with "new books."  Meanwhile, pictured below is the logic alphabet and chess pieces exhibit from the Museum of Jurassic Technology, courtesy of Moira Clunie.


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


Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
"To photograph unspoken words, employ a camera obscura.  Note that only ambigrams will develop."  [Inspired by and for Jim Girouard.]


Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to crowdfunding, discovered by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt in Bill Nye's Cordwood (1887):

Kansas.—Dear Sir: Not having enough room under our present arrangements, and wishing to make the Roller-Towel House the recognized head-quarters for traveling men, we desire to enlarge the building. Not having the money on hand to do so, we make the following proposition: If you will advance us $5, to be used for the above purpose, we will deduct that amount from your bill when stopping with us. We feel assured that the traveling men appreciate our efforts to give them first-class accommodations, and as the above amount will be deducted from your bill when stopping with us, we hope for a favorable reply. Should you not visit our town again the loan will be repaid in cash.

     J. Krash Towel, Proprietor Roller-Towel House.
> read more from Precursors . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)


[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 . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)
An illustration from Poems Via the Author, Third Series, Political (1888).  The caption reads: "But here you shall more secrets gain, / And never need be fooled again. ... Explanation of the Colours."


* Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour. In this rebus-style puzzle, color words and parts of words have been replaced with colored boxes. Try to guess the exact hue of each. Roll your mouse over the colored boxes to reveal the missing words. Click the colored boxes to learn more about each hue. Special thanks to Paul Dean for his colorful research.
 
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
But what is the point? Despair is the only certainty here.

Even so, recall "yonder beam" from previously.
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

October 18, 2014

Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the expression, "Hey, four-eyes."  From A String of Chinese Peach-Stones by William Arthur Cornaby, 1895.

Speaking of which, a fraternity exclusive to nerdy glasses-wearers might be called Iota Iota Iota Iota.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to Gary Barwin's Yiddish for Pirates (Random House Canada, 2016), a novel narrated by a parrot.  The caption reads, "The very parrot was a participator."  From Annals of the Parish and the Ayrshire Legatees by John Galt and illustrated by Charles Edmund Brock, 1895.


> read more from Precursors . . .



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