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.
November 30, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Good Samaritan Scenario

This phony good Samaritan scenario is the oldest trick in the book.
—John Perkins, Attack Proof (2000)

> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 29, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“Thousand-eyed, like snow or God — the hawk of airborne hordes advancing toward the perpetual countries of a single letter alphabet” —Arkadii Dragomoshchenko, “Possible Indications,” translated by Genya Turovsky
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 28, 2006

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"What am I, nuts?"  It depends.  Describe your shell.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

November 27, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“What other language has so many possibilities for one letter words?” —Ed vd Meulen, “American English 1”
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 26, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Good Cop/Bad Cop

You only think you look bad or your product failed, if you fall for the oldest 
trick in the book: good cop, bad cop.
—Douglas H. Ruben, Publicity for Mental Health Clinicians (1995)

This “good-guy-bad-guy” ploy is one of the oldest tricks in the book.
—Andrew James McLean and Gary W. Eldred, Investing in Real Estate (2005)

> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 25, 2006

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

Photo by Chris Deforeit, by permission.
little stars above us
signals in the night
memories of places we once knew

have we got your message
did we hear it right, we
view our world so differently than you

--an excerpt from "Chance Abbreviation" by Ken Clinger.  Based in Pennsylvania, Ken is a prolific, visionary recording artist known as one of the "godfathers" of the underground home taping genre.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

November 24, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
What do you call lamb pellets?

Fleeces (pronounced fleece-eez).
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

November 23, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“‘Would you like to explain that last statement?’ Xander asked. ‘Preferably in words of one letter.’” —Niall Teasdale, “The Sorcerer”
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 22, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Get Them Drunk and Butcher the Lot of Them

The “get them drunk and butcher the lot of them” stratagem was the oldest trick in the book, or would have been if barbarians bothered with books.
—Terry Pratchett, Interesting Times (1994)

> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 21, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
From Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:

At work we saw an ad in the paper for an "Open House" at a naturist (i.e. "nudist") camp in this area. One of my co-workers, scanning the items on the program, remarked "Oh, it includes a pancake breakfast."

"Things could get sticky," I quipped.

Literary humorist Jonathan Caws-Elwitt's plays, stories, essays, letters, parodies, wordplay, witticisms and miscellaneous tomfoolery can be found at Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0. Here you'll encounter frivolous, urbane writings about symbolic yams, pigs in bikinis, donut costumes, vacationing pikas, nonexistent movies, cross-continental peppermills, and other compelling subjects.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

November 20, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
Wilfred Funk once collected a list of "the most beautiful words in English." The list includes such words as dawn, tranquil, hush, golden, halcyon, camellia, myrrh, jonquil, lullaby, and melody. Pictured below are four more words from Funk's list. Can you guess them?

The answer: Top left: AMARYLLIS. Top right: CHIMES. Bottom left: ORIOLE. Bottom right: GOSSAMER. (The answer is in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)

There are lots more lists of beautiful (and not so beautiful) English words at A Collection of Word Oddities and Trivia.

> read more from The Right Word . . .


Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"What kind of fool do you take me for?"  A complete dunderhead.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

November 19, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Diver A: "Where did you get swimmer's ear?"
Diver B (smart aleck): "In the canal."
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

November 18, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Framing Somebody to Start a War

Framing somebody to start a war.  Oldest trick in the book.
—Rick Riordan, Percy Jackson and the Olympians (2005)

> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 17, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: Jack graduated last in his class at optometry school.  There were 99 higher grade-point-averages than his.  How many pupils were there?

A. 200 (all bleary from studying)
B. 199 (our hero was a one-eyed Jack)
C. 202 (Suzie was nicknamed "four eyes")
D. 579 (Timmy brought his collection of glass eyes to Show-and-Tell)
E. All of the above, depending on how you count
F. Does Oedipus figure into this?
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

November 16, 2006

Pfft! (permalink)
[S]he walked out of the studio one day, just like that.  Pfft.”  He made a little gesture with his hands.  —Robert Rodi, Kept Boy.
* The British expression "noise stroke gesture" (in American parlance, "noise slash gesture" or "noise/gesture") refers to the intriguing fact that some vocal expressions seem to call for an accompanying hand gesture.  Take, for example, Pfft!  No matter what its intended meaning, it virtually demands to be echoed in sign language.  Have you noticed a pfft hand gesture in print?  Please share!

For a variety of surprising definitions of pfft, check out my Dictionary of All-Consonant Words at OneLetterWords.com.
> read more from Pfft! . . .

November 15, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“It’s impossible to write a 150-line poem in English using only words of one letter.” —Prof. Thomas Klein, Lander University
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 14, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Food

The oldest trick for getting people together is to offer to feed them.
—Wayne Erbsen, Old Time Gospel Songbook (1993)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 13, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
Check out this funny bio:

Born helpless, nude and unable to provide for himself, Lore Sjöberg eventually overcame these handicaps to become a handyman, a handicapper and a handmaiden.
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 12, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Did you hear that prospective factory workers in Chicago have to see a psychologist as part of the interview?  Apparently it's to "look for the Jungian label."
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

November 11, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“Though I knew not the meaning of a single letter, and had not the means of finding out, I loved to look at them and think that some day I should probably understand them all.” —Hannah Crafts, The Bondwoman’s Narrative
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 10, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Flimflamming and Hornswoggling

Flimflammed.  Hornswoggled.  The oldest trick in the book.
—Barbara Croft, Moon’s Crossing (2003)

Reader Comments:

Jonathan wrote:

Dear Ms. Croft:

I was recently flimflammed, or possibly hornswoggled.  I'm okay with this; but what concerns me is that I don't know the difference.  Are there guidelines that you can furnish that will allow me, in future, to approach flimflamming and hornswoggling interactions with a better ability to distinguish the two?

bamboozled,
jc-e
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 9, 2006

Inflationary Lyrics (permalink)
SONG: Call Me
ARTIST: Randy Muller

ORIGINAL LYRIC:

Though your girlfriend's a friend of mine
Here's my number and a dime, call me anytime

ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION:

Though your girlfriend's a t.v. reporter
Here's my number and a quarter, call me McWhorter
* Payphones used to take dimes, but now they take quarters.  Isn't it time to update song lyrics to reflect the realities of inflation?  Alas, it's vastly easier to rhyme the word "dime" than the word "quarter," but here at Inflationary Lyrics Headquarters we have risen to the challenge.  Please join the fun and share your own inflationary lyrics, with both the "before" and "after" versions!
> read more from Inflationary Lyrics . . .

November 8, 2006

Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .

November 7, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
"Imagine a letter that knows its own composition of straight and curved members, its image density, its phonemic sound, its linguistic frequency, its relation to neighbouring letters, its function in a sentence . . . We're exploring computer art to discover what lives at the crossroads." —3-D graphic designer Peter Cho
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 6, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Flattery

Flattery: It’s the oldest trick in the book.  And on most people, it works.
—Wilma Davidson, Most Likely to Succeed at Work (2003)

> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 5, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“[The] Alphabet itself is a language (of one-letter words).” —University of Central Florida, School of Computer Science
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 4, 2006

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"What's the point?"  It's that sharp, projecting part.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

November 3, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
“The simplest and, in some senses, the most powerful of the words of power are the words of one letter.” —Bill Heidrick, “Magical Correspondences”
> read more from The Right Word . . .

November 2, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Fire

“Must have made a fortune on that fire.”
“Oldest trick in the bag,” Captain Chase said.
—Bernard Cornwell, Sharpe’s Trafalgar (2002)

> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 1, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
"In Tantra, there is a principle called 'varna,' which holds that sound is eternal and that every letter of the alphabet is a deity." —Kerr Cuhulain, Full Contact Magick: A Book of Shadows for the Wiccan Warrior
> read more from The Right Word . . .



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Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.