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.
Select Creations
Search Site
Interactive

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Amalgamural
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
Simple Answers

Collections

A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Ampersands
Annotated Ellipses
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
Do-Re-Midi
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
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
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Pfft!
Phosphenes
Precursors
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Constellations
D-ictionary
Film-ictionary
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
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
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
Unicorns
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In

Archives

July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006
December 1969

Links

SPOGG
Magic Words
Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
dbqp
Tonya Harding Shot JFK.com
Lord Whimsy
Phantasmaphile
Crystalpunk
BibliOdyssey
April Winchell
DJ Misc
Grow-a-brain
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
J-Walk Blog
Ironic Sans
Ursi's Blog
Brian Sibley's Blog
Omegaword
World of Wonder
Neat-o-Rama
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
August 31, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Diversion

It was the oldest trick in the book, when you stripped away all of the mind-bending
 monkey business, it was a diversion!
—George Parker, The Atomic Kid (2003)

Diversion’s the oldest trick in the book. . . . If something in front of you seems really out of character, you should look behind you.
—Karl C. Klein, Makaila’s Legacy (2001)

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

August 30, 2006

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)

Saint Metafora
Patron of Disturbing Conclusions.

Saint Metafora taught a simple message that calmed the troubled minds of her followers: "A disturbing conclusion is simply the result of making the wrong kind of analogy."  Her collected sayings, "The Similitudes," popularized the phrase "X is like Y," which became a mantra of sorts among her disciples.  That mantra was commonly misheard as "excess likewise" by the general public, leading to the widespread misunderstanding that Saint Metafora preached a life of overindulgence.  Today, Saint Metafora is perhaps best known for her controversial sermon entitled "The Watchmaker Analogy: Who Has Time For It?"
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .


Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"This is the thanks I get?"  Yes.  I thought you wanted gratitude, not a gratuity.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

August 29, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
Selected Wisdom of Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:

Inventing deodorants is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.

There is no such thing as superfluous praise.

A true friend does not reveal the song which is stuck in his head.

Every morning I leave the house determined not to let Life make a monkey of me. But I always carry a banana in my bag, just in case.

If you want to have ice cream at the party, bring ice cream to the party.

So many questions, so many question marks.

Advice to coffee drinkers: Don't put all your filters in one basket.

The pessimist says the glass is half empty. The optimist says the glass is half full. The optometrist says you need a new pair of glasses.

Behind every successful sock puppet is an otherwise idle right or left hand.

Monday's dessert is Tuesday's appetizer.

Remember never to rely on memory.

A good magician never explains his jokes.

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 The Right Word . . .


Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
Leave, why don’t you?  But when you come crawling back, be careful not to trip on the pieces of my shattered life that you left in your wake.  Don’t worry—the pieces won’t cut you.  Their edges have long since been worn down.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .

August 28, 2006

Inflationary Lyrics (permalink)
SONG: I Got a Dime
LYRICS: John McCutcheon and Si Kahn

ORIGINAL LYRIC:

I got a dime, you got a dime
I know someone with a quarter and she's a friend of mine

ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION:

I got a quarter, you got a quarter
I know someone with a dollar and she's a change sorter
* 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 . . .

August 27, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Distraction

Quick as a cobra, Sister Wilemina threw her sword.  Not at the man, but straight down between his feet.  The blade hit dirt and vibrated, and Badger’s eyes flew wide.  The oldest trick in the book.  As the pirate was distracted, the archer coiled an arm like an oak branch.  Her knotty fist slammed Badger’s broad brisket and nearly dented his spine.
—Clayton Emery, Jedit (2001)

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

August 26, 2006

Puzzles and Games (permalink)
Fortune's Navigator Compass
Spin the dial at every crossroad and let Fate lead your journey.  This four-tiered oracle suggests which direction to turn and alerts to special circumstances along the way.  Try out the Web version below and plot an exciting new journey on a map.  Or download the standalone application for your notebook computer (links below).  Just click!


<a target="_blank" href="/navigator/" title="Click here to launch the compass"><img width=595 height=568 src="/navigator/images/static.gif" border=0></a>

INSTRUCTIONS
Click to spin the dial and let Fate lead your journey.  There are three ways to read the dial:

1. The inner wheel suggests which direction to turn.  Consult this at every crossroad.

2. The edges alert to special circumstances along the way, like a cosmic tour guide.

3. The center encourages you to notice finer details along the way.


FREE DOWNLOADS FOR OFFLINE NAVIGATION

Download Fortune's Navigator for Mac OS X (1.1 MB Flash projector)

Download Fortune's Navigator for Windows (1.0 MB Flash projector)



Designed by Craig Conley & Mike Warwick, www.oneletterwords.com
> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .


Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

I dreamed that I had coffee and dessert with Lewis Thomas, who said the most delightful things, such as: "I have grown fond of semicolons in recent years. ... It is almost always a greater pleasure to come across a semicolon than a period.  The period tells you that that is that; if you didn't get all the meaning you wanted or expected, anyway you got all the writer intended to parcel out and now you have to move along.  But with a semicolon there you get a pleasant little feeling of expectancy; there is more to come; read on; it will get clearer."

Then I dreamed of sitting in a court of law, where "I witnessed a jury trial over the placement of a semicolon," just as in THIS TIME I DANCE! by Tama J. Kieves.
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .

August 25, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: You know that Squeeze song "Tempted [By the Fruit of Another]"?  Who is it really about?

A: Carmen Miranda!
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

August 24, 2006

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"You don't expect me to go along with that crazy scheme, do you?"  Yes.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

August 23, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Distortion of Truth by Association

Denis Dimbleby Bagley:  It's the oldest trick in the book.
Priest on Train:  Book?  What book?
Denis Dimbleby Bagley:  The distortion of truth by association book.
How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989)

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

August 22, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
Eliminating Bookshelf Clutter by Double-Booking Great Works of Literature

Call for Submissions: Chronogram Seeks Humor Writing

The theme: Help eliminate bookshelf clutter by double-booking great works of literature. Please provide a title and one-line concept pitch for a literary twofer, e.g.:

Huckleberry Finnegans Wake. A plucky lad and a runaway slave fall asleep
on a raft in the stream of consciousness.

Inherit the Wind in the Willows. A mole, a rat, and a toad are brought
to trial by weasels for daring to believe in evolution.

Moby-Dick-and-Jane. "Look, Ishmael! See Dick breach. Breach, Dick, breach!"

Deadline September 15. Chronogram, an arts and culture magazine serving the Hudson River Valley, seeks entries for its "Joined at the Hip" humor contest. Winners receive a T-shirt. Send 1-3 entries to fiction@chronogram.com, or by mail to 314 Wall Street, Kingston NY 12401.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
Follow your blind determination and do what you have to do.  When you’ve finally had your way, and you brush the swarming flies off my dead body, you’ll notice that I’ve left you a present—
a t-shirt that proclaims ‘I made my choice.’  Wear it proudly.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .

August 21, 2006

Strange Dreams (permalink)
I dreamed that I had written a novel with two other people (unknown to me now), and that I had forgotten about it until we all started discussing it.  As we talked, detail after detail came back to my mind vividly.  They eventually had to go, and I was distressed because (as I told them) if we could just talk a little longer then I'd be able to remember the entire book.  Remembrance of the story gave me tremendous joy.  Though our project was a book, the memories of the story were very visual (like a graphic novel or comic book), and it was similar to reconstructing a movie in one's mind.   I must have been somewhat lucid, because a part of me hoped to be able to remember the whole thing so as to be able to reconstruct it upon waking up.  I also wondered (somewhat suspiciously) if the book wasn't actually a bunch of nonsense--the sort of thing that makes sense in the dream world but that would translate as gibberish were I to transcribe it upon waking.  I willed myself to have a photographic memory of the story just in case it really was as good and sensical as it was in the dream world.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .

August 20, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Did you know that the Mona Lisa hated her driver's license photo?  Yeah, she didn't like her smile.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

August 19, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Disguises

In nature, one of the oldest tricks in the book is a disguise.
—T. S. Wiley and Bent Formby, Lights Out (2001)

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


Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

I dreamed of a planet with two moons.  The lower moon slowly waned away.  Then I dreamed I had corrective surgery to remove my comma half.  I was a period!  I indicated the full pause with which the utterance of a sentence closes.  Mine was a pregnant silence.

I woke up feeling uneasy, however, sensing that the period is mightier than the semicolon.

When I fell back asleep, I had a nightmare.  I was being chased by a character called "the Flotz," who gobbles up punctuation.  In fact, it was eerily like in the poem "The Flotz" by Jack Prelutsky: "I chomp on commas half the day, / quotation marks are rarer prey, / a semicolon's quite a treat, / while polka dots are joys to eat."
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .

August 18, 2006

The Right Word (permalink)
The over-worked grammarian started having subjunctive moods:

"If only I were in Bora Bora!"
"Far be it for me to complain, come rain or shine."
"As it were, I'm stuck here."
"Be that as it may, I still have a headache."
> read more from The Right Word . . .

August 17, 2006

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"How high is up?"  It's anywhere higher than you are.  It's also directly proportional to how heavy the load is.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

August 16, 2006

Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
Feel my cold hands.  They are nothing compared to the chill you have left in my heart.  Where’s the champagne?  Where are the balloons?  Why aren’t we celebrating your triumph?  You have what you always wanted.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .

August 15, 2006

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)

Saint Acrimonium
Patron of Endless Diatribes.

Saint Acrimonium oversees philosophers, would-be poets, impassioned debaters, hypothesizers, racists, misogynists, homophobes, and cab drivers.  In modern times, offerings to Saint Acrimonium have included photos and sketches of Eminem, though such practices are by no means sanctioned by the Church.
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Disclaiming All Pretensions to Rhetoric

—Deborah Cameron, Verbal Hygiene (1995)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

August 14, 2006

Inflationary Lyrics (permalink)
SONG: Like a Rolling Stone
ARTIST: Bob Dylan

ORIGINAL LYRIC:

You threw the bums a dime in your prime

ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION:

You threw the bums a quarter in your (athletic) supporter
* 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 . . .

August 13, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: How is Pi like an inebriated lounge singer? 

A: They both repeat their numbers in unpredictable ways.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

August 12, 2006

Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

I dreamed that a dingo took my baby.

Later that night, I dreamed of falling in love with a man convicted of "the crime of silence" and who dedicated himself to semicolons.  I realized upon waking that my dream was inspired by the novel A HISTORY OF LOVE by Nicole Krauss: "Only after they charged him with the crime of silence did Babel discover how many kinds of silences existed.  When he heard music he no longer listened to the notes, but the silences in between.  When he read a book he gave himself over entirely to commas and semicolons, to the space after the period and before the capital letter of the next sentence."
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .

August 11, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Direct Pressure on Dissenters

—Bob Garratt, Thin on Top (2003)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

August 10, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Did you hear about the gourmet mystery writer who was enjoying stirring his sauce reduction?  He said: "The pot thickens!"
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

August 9, 2006

Pfft! (permalink)
“You went out into the hall, and then you—pfft!”  She made a gesture intended to represent disappearance.  —John Dickson Carr, The Emperor’s Snuff-Box.
* 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! . . .

August 8, 2006

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

The whole world is strewn with
snares, traps, gins and pitfalls
for the capture of men.  
–George Bernard Shaw

He offered me a chair.
Was it a snare?

He presented salty finger foods
and exotic beverages.

I said, "You tempt me."

He was looking for
companionship, security,

someone to take
out to dinner,

and then, perhaps,
yoga.
 
"Enticing," I admitted.

His daring fashion faux pas
were symptoms of an infectious joie de vivre.

But it was Eartha Kitty
who snagged me in the end.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

August 7, 2006

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)

Saint Makegood
Patron of Inadequate Compensation.

Devotions to Saint Makegood are commonly known as either The Five Requests (in which each appeal begins with the letter R) or the Five Petitions (in which each appeal begins with the letter P).  It is presumed that the alliteration is merely a mnemonic device.
  • respect (politeness)
  • rewards (perks, payoffs, prizes)
  • recognition (praise)
  • response (positive feedback)
  • rapid advancement (promotion)
In cultures where animist religions were absorbed into Christianity, Saint Makegood is often represented by a tassel made of cornsilk--presumably a symbol of fringe benefits.

Reader Comments:

Jonathan wrote:
Great!  And I understand that the ancient Druids of the region now known as Surrey kept this symbol in an especially high place of honor -- hence the expression "Surrey, with the fringe on top."
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Deep Involvement

It’s the oldest trick in the book.  You get the punt—you get others so deeply
involved that they don’t dare fold.  It’s the dream, you see?  They think if they stay in it’ll all work out.
—Terry Pratchett, Going Postal (2004)

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

August 6, 2006

Puzzles and Games :: Constellations (permalink)
Can you find the pictured constellation in this night sky?  Click the image for the answer and a nifty quotation.


> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Constellations . . .

August 5, 2006

Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

www.nationalpunctuationday.com
I dreamed about Jesus and the Twelve Apostrophes.

Later that night, I dreamed yet again that I was a colon.  I was part of a ratio, and stood for the word "to," as in 3:1 (three to one).

Then I dreamed I heard confession from a woman who said: "I suffer over every period and comma; I am certain the entire meaning of the whole book might be changed by an aptly placed semicolon," just as in MORE NOW, AGAIN by Elizabeth Wurtzel.
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .

August 4, 2006

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: Who's the patron saint of bloodsucking flies?

A: Francis of a Tsetse!
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

August 3, 2006

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Decoys

Hah!  That’s the oldest trick in the book, Skip.  They’re tryin’ to decoy us away from ‘ere so they can burn the wallgate.
—Brian Jacques, Marlfox (1998)

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

August 2, 2006

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

I'm so glad I discovered this rare booklet.  Until I discovered it, I didn't know exactly why it was so important!  Nor how I could put the information to use! 

I know exactly where it will go on my bookshelves: after the beloved volumes Who & What and Where & When.

Now, if anyone ever asks me if I "have any questions," I'll have to say, "Well, yes and no!"
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Inflationary Lyrics (permalink)
SONG: So Fine
ARTIST: Ginuwine

ORIGINAL LYRIC:

She's so fine, fine, fine
She's a dime, dime, dime
She's so fine, fine, fine
She's all mine, mine, mine

ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION:

She's my boarder, boarder, boarder
Not my warder, warder, warder
Got a disorder, -order, -order
Pays per quarter, quarter, quarter
* 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 . . .

August 1, 2006

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



Page of 739



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