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.
January 31, 2007

Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
Unknown Significance

Left to right:
Tantric painting of unknown significance, with unspecified paint on found paper.
Limestone statue of unknown significance, discovered in Yemen.
Part of a painting entitled "Portent of Unknown Significance" by David Madzo.
"A funny little stone figure of unknown significance in the Monte Palace Garden."
A costume of unknown significance (via flickr).


> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .

January 30, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The venture capitalist family is very supportive of their son who has an earning disability.

The revolving door saleman is very supportive of his twins who suffer from vertigo and have a turning disability.

The dairy farming family is very supportive of their daughter who has a churning disability.

The typographer is very supportive of her son who has no spatial sense and has a kerning disability.

The pyromaniac family is very supportive of their child who is allergic to matches and has a burning disability.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus are very supportive of their elf who has no sense of nostalgia and has a yearning disability.

The Italian city of Pisa is very supportive of its tower that has a leaning disorder.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

January 29, 2007

Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)
Today's question:

Refusing to let the American Revolution die, did George Washington cross the Delaware River on Christmas night in 1776?*

With "hindpsych," the answer is "yes"!  In our Tarot spread, note that all of the figures are looking toward the left.  Accordingly, we read the cards from right to left.  The right card, "The Chariot," is a symbol of conquest, honor, and bravery.  The chariot represents Washington's boat and mission.  The middle card, "Temperance," depicts a figure pouring water from one vessel to another.  This figurative flowing between two realms points to Washington's literal crossing from one bank of the river to the other.  The left card is "Hanged Man," symbolizing a hero willing to sacrifice himself for a cause.  Note that the hanged man's life is in suspension, but he is not dead.  We can say with confidence that Washington heroically crossed the Delaware on Christmas in 1776, and we can now move on.


* Historians must reconstruct the past out of hazy memory.  "Once upon a time" requires "second sight."  The "third eye" of intuition can break the "fourth wall" of conventional perspectives.  Instead of "pleading the fifth," historians can take advantage of the "sixth sense" and be in "seventh heaven."  All with the power of hindpsych, the "eighth wonder of the world."  It has been said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  Therein lies the importance of Tarot readings for antiquity.  When we confirm what has already occurred, we break the shackles of the past, freeing ourselves to chart new courses into the future.
> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .

January 28, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Inventing a Disease and Its Cure

It is . . . one might say, the oldest trick in the book.  The priests define a certain behavior as a sin, a symptom of some moral disease, and they provide the cure, of course.  For a price.
—Lawrence McGuire, The Great American Wagon Road (2001)

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

January 26, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: What do you call a diet clinic's accountant?

A: A bean counter.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

January 25, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Instant Catharsis

[A] quick cleansing of the mind.  Begone, ye negative distractions.  . . .  The old instant catharsis.  Oldest trick in the book.
—Inman Majors, Wonderdog (2004)

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

January 24, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
What do you call a community of paper with an organized system of government?
Ruled

How can you tell a homeless piece of paper?
High rag content

What might British people call a ball of unwanted paper?
A tosser

A piece of paper walks into a bar.  The bartender says, "You look parched."

A couple is eating dessert in a restaurant.  A piece of paper walks up to the table and says, "Hi, I'm Bill."

What's a piece of paper's favorite underwear?  A slip.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

January 23, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
“He Went That-A-Way”

This technique is pointing in the opposite direction is cited in Wikipedia as one of the oldest tricks in the book (2006).
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

January 22, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


> read more from The Right Word . . .

January 21, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Imaginary Underwear

Imagine the jerk in his or her underwear.  I know, it’s the oldest trick in the book, but it must work for some people or, I assume, it wouldn’t be in the book at all.
—Barbara Pachter, The Jerk with the Cell Phone (2004)

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

January 20, 2007

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


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

January 19, 2007

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
While visiting Peanut Lake in Wisconsin, I could swear I spotted the elusive Peanut Duck.  According to The New Biology site, "Peanut ducks were first discovered in 1671, when they were proclaimed 'a fear-some mishe-mashe of plante and fowle' by the Church.  However, after two centuries of relentless persecution, it became clear that the creatures were far too clumsy on land to be any threat, and they were left to their own devices.  The peanut duck is also a dance."


Peanut Lake, Forest County, Wisconsin.

The Peanut Duck (amphicarpa anas plathyrhynchos).
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

January 18, 2007

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Changes
by Thomas Hawkins

Today the word is spinning
Although it's hard to see
It's just the second inning
We're losing five to three.

Tomorrow will be better
At least that's what they say
I've just received this letter
Inviting me to stay.

Let's hope we'll be together
When fire goes raining down
There's changes in the weather
Predicted all around.


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

January 17, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)

"I knew that the network had determined that my program was going over the heads of Middle America, and, as I waited alone in the Vice President's office, I pondered my inevitable cancellation.  Finally, I heard the door creak open with an ominous 'peorrrrrrrria.'"
—Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.

(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 . . .

January 16, 2007

Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore (permalink)
Today's question:

Did the Berlin Wall fall on November 9, 1989?*

With "hindpsych," the answer is "yes"!  In our Tarot spread, the first card is "Justice."  Notice that the judge holds a pair of scales.  The scales symbolize the balance of opposing forces (the political ideologies of the "East" and the "West").  The scales are mirrored in the third card, "The Moon."  Here we see two towers (the ruins of former guard towers along the wall) as well as two dogs howling together at the moon.  The light shines through the open space between the towers.  The center card, "The Lovers," promises a glorious new day of reunification.  The bright light of the sun illuminates the joining of East and West (symbolized by a bride and groom).  The cupid and officiator of ceremonies may symbolize Presidents Ronald Regan and Mikhail Gorbachev, though which is which is up for interpretation.  In summary, the cards show justice being served, a formal union taking place, and howls of emotion.  We can say with confidence that the Berlin Wall fell on November 9, 1989, and we can now move on.



* Historians must reconstruct the past out of hazy memory.  "Once upon a time" requires "second sight."  The "third eye" of intuition can break the "fourth wall" of conventional perspectives.  Instead of "pleading the fifth," historians can take advantage of the "sixth sense" and be in "seventh heaven."  All with the power of hindpsych, the "eighth wonder of the world."  It has been said that those who forget the past are condemned to repeat it.  Therein lies the importance of Tarot readings for antiquity.  When we confirm what has already occurred, we break the shackles of the past, freeing ourselves to chart new courses into the future.
> read more from Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore . . .

January 15, 2007

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

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 . . .

January 14, 2007

Puzzles and Games :: Film-ictionary (permalink)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Film-ictionary . . .

January 13, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Identity Theft

Leung’s con game is the latest variation of perhaps the oldest trick in the book:
 pretending you’re someone else to gain some kind of benefit.
—Duane Swierczynski, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Frauds, Scams, and Cons (2002)

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

January 12, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Though King Neptune championed rights, he had one exoskeleton in his closet (that only his doctor knew): he was shellfish intolerant.


> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

January 11, 2007

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: TENDRIL. Top right: ANEMONE. Bottom left: FAWN. Bottom right: CHALICE. (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 . . .

January 10, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)

While referencing my computer's built in dictionary, I encountered a bit of editorializing that I enjoyed:

The spelling baited breath instead of bated breath is a common mistake that, in addition to perpetuating a cliché, evokes a distasteful image.

A distasteful image was indeed evoked, and it inspired what I believe is my first-ever limerick (unless I wrote any as a child).

The fisherman's breath was bated;
On thin ice had he skated.
The cause of concern:
a perm (not a worm).
His wife said she'd have his ass crated.
> read more from The Right Word . . .

January 9, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)

Honey Pot Lure

A honey pot to lure an agent into service is the oldest trick in the book.
—Raelynn Hillhouse, Rift Zone (2004)

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

January 8, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The publicist for that bedsheets firm just got sacked.  Apparently, she had made too many blanket statements.  There are whispers of a king-sized money laundering scheme that would have folded the company and taken everyone to the cleaners.  Police are already on the case, and the details are being ironed out.  (It's a royal case of mistaken identities, because she's a twin, you see.)  Her career shouldn't be affected: she's already turned down one offer. 
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

January 7, 2007

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:


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 . . .

January 5, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Hiding Vulnerability Under a Mask of Toughness

—Michael Yawney, Gay Astrology (2001)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

January 4, 2007

Images Moving Through Time (permalink)


A curious Dutch map of the moon, traced back to the works of Willem Goeree (1635-1711).  The caption can be translated, “The Appearance of the Moon According to the Recent Evidence of the Large Telescopes.”  For more details about the map, see Robert H. van Gent's website.
> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .

January 3, 2007

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
"Do you think I have all day?"  Yes.  Remember the Latin phrase carpe diem: "seize the day."
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .

January 2, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
When Yul, the fireplace salesman, retired due to burnout, his son assumed the mantle.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

January 1, 2007

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Hiding in Plain View

[I]f the kingdom of heaven is hidden in this world, it is hidden really well, and only the most dedicated detectives among us stand a chance of finding it at all.  Unless, of course, God has resorted to the oldest trick in the book and hidden it in plain view.  There is always that possibility, you know—that God decided to hide the kingdom of heaven not in any of the extraordinary places that treasure hunters would be sure to look, namely, in the ordinary circumstances of our everyday lives: like a silver spoon in the drawer with the stainless, like a diamond necklace on the bureau with the rhinestones.
—Barbara Brown Taylor, The Seeds of Heaven (2004)

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



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