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, 2007

Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
The Patron Saint of the Great Unknown


"The Unknown Saint."  Via ThriftStoreArt.com.

Other known saints include:
This saint painted in a Crostwight church.
This saint from a Greek monastery.
This saint painted by James Christensen.
This saint captured on film.
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .


Peace Symbols to Color (permalink)


> read more from Peace Symbols to Color . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
A baby's murmurs: poetic echoes of a universal language, or merely "high coos"?
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

November 29, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


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


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Two Masked Surgeons

Oldest trick in the book.  You don’t need surgery, and yet here are two masked surgeons in dirty robes in your room.
—M.C. Beaton, Death of a Bore (2005)

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

November 28, 2007

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

Microscopic Colors

The Micropolitan Museum exhibits an unworldly spectrum visible only through the lens of a microscope. Painter Wim van Egmond photographs spectacular microscopic masterpieces with ethereal color palettes. To capture these hidden treasures, he uses a Zeiss Standard light microscope and an old Zeiss Photo-microscope. Several methods of illumination are employed: bright-field, dark-field, phase contrast, differential interference contrast, and Rheinberg illumination.

Van Egmond's Insectarium offers such specimens as the iridescent butterfly wing, whose tiny scales possess a microscopic texture that refracts light. Here we find lavender blue and green.

Butterfly Wing Blue
Butterfly Wing Green
butterflywing.jpg

The delicate wing of the mosquito, on the other hand, is covered with ting feather-like structures. Deep greens, golds, and aquas are apparent.

Mosquito Wing Aqua
Mosquito Wing Gold
mosquitowing.jpg

The Botanic Garden presents the vibrant red of grains of Lily pollen.

Lily Pollen Redlilly_pollen.jpg

The stem of the Mare's Tail, an aquatic flowering plant, offers dazzling purples and violets.

Mare’s Tail Purpleplantcellsbew2.jpg

The pine needle is ablaze with dark blue, light blue, bright red, and orange.

Pine Needle Orange
Pine Needle Aqua
pineneedle.jpg

[Read the entire article in my guest blog at ColourLovers.com.]

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


Peace Symbols to Color (permalink)


> read more from Peace Symbols to Color . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of love . . .


 
* 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 . . .

November 27, 2007

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
photo by mitzelman
by mitzelman_99.

Moonbows: Colors of the Night


by Christian Fenn.

Just as the sun illuminates rainbows during the day, reflected sunlight from the moon can reveal moonbows and moon halos at night. The most favorable time for a moonbow to appear is during a rain shower opposite a full or very bright moon. The night sky needs to be very dark, and moonbow watchers should stand with their backs to the moon. The colors of the moonbow will be dim pastels, in contrast to the vibrant hues of a daytime rainbow.

A moon halo, on the other hand, is visible near the moon itself as a result of moonlight scattered through ice crystals in very high clouds. The colors of a moon halo tend to be brigher than a moonbow.

The headlights of a car can create a phenomenon called a fog bow as they illuminate water vapor during misty conditions. Christian Fenn reported "Fogbows are more feebly colored than their Sun illuminated counterparts (rainbows) and usually appear whitish to the unaided eye."

The rainbow appears throughout world mythology as a symbolic bridge between the divine and the mundane. Moonbows remind us that even on the darkest night of the soul, there is a glimmer of promise, however faint.



Moonbow over the Pacific Ocean in Tahiti. by Pierre Lesage.

 

After the war was over
I was coming home to you
I saw a rainbow at midnight
out on the ocean blue
—Ernest Tubb, "Rainbow at Midnight," 1946.



by Thoth, God of Knowledge.


[Read the entire article in my guest blog at ColourLovers.com.]

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


Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them? One of the 7-letter words refers to someone who jumps from an airplane.

• 7-letter words: 10
• 8-letter words: 5

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)

Vintage metal sign via Dr. Sneaky.
Two For One

You buy me a drink, I gotta buy you two back.  Oldest trick in the book.
—Peter E. Price, Lifetime Members (2000)

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

November 26, 2007

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
I find this cartoon from Punch (Aug. 8, 1917) quite intruguing.  The caption reads:

Betty (after flash of lightning): "COUNT QUICKLY, JENNY!  MAKE IT AS FAR AWAY AS YOU POSSIBLY CAN."

As I see it, the children have learned a formula about determining the distance of a storm, and because the formula involves chanting numbers, it has taken on mystical qualities.  Jenny acts as the shaman, besought by Betty to repel the storm with her incantation.  Betty will presumably count backward, to reverse and thereby neutralize the machinations of the storm.  The cartoon was no doubt intended as an easy laugh, but I see quite a depth of implications!


[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 . . .

November 25, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)
This is one of my favorite forewords.  It's from Adventures in the Arts.  Via ffffound.com.


> read more from The Right Word . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of the lost legend . . .


 
* 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 . . .

November 24, 2007

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Peace waits patiently outside the conference chamber, hoping they won't talk too much.  From the Jan. 15, 1919 issue of Punch.


[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 . . .

November 23, 2007

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

November 22, 2007

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)


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 . . .

November 21, 2007

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)

Imenhotep = IMHO
Q: Where did the email/chat acronym IMHO originate?

A: In my humble opinion, IMHO goes back to the Egyptian ruler Imenhotep, Pharaoh of the 18th dynasty.  He has been called "the first individual in history," as well as the first monotheist, first scientist, and first romantic (Wikipedia).  The acronym IMHO is like a modern cartouche of the Pharaoh's name, honoring his humble beginnings and opinions on the nature of individuality.
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 . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of longevity . . .


 
* 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 . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Trojan Horse

“How did you come up with the Trojan horse?”
“The oldest trick in the world.”
—John Darnton, Neanderthal (1997)

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

November 20, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: What's the best way to obtain Aunt Jemima's secret recipe? 

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


Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them?

• 7-letter words: 12
• 8-letter words: 1

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .

November 19, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Lemonade is sublime.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


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 . . .

November 18, 2007

Puzzles and Games (permalink)
The so-called ins and outs of "Singularity Chess," played on curved space.


> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of the lighthouse . . .


 
* 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 . . .

November 17, 2007

Unicorns (permalink)
Unicorn hate crimes occur daily.


Photo by Ro Halfhide.
> read more from Unicorns . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Tombstone-Fake-ID Trick

“I think someone pulled the classic tombstone-fake-ID trick.”
    “That being?”
    “You got to a graveyard and find the tombstone of a dead child,” Myron said.  “Someone who would be about your age if he’d lived.  Then you write and request his birth certificate and paperwork and voil, you’ve set up the perfect fake ID.  Oldest trick in the book.”
—Harlan Coben, Darkest Fear (2000)

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

November 16, 2007

Strange Dreams (permalink)
A "Dream of the Dentist's Chair," from the Aug. 8, 1891 issue of Punch.


If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .


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

November 15, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Q: What do you call fancy homemade stationery in which the rose petals tend to fall off? 

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


The Right Word (permalink)
"All one-letter words are, by definition, stingy." —Word Ways: The Journal of Recreational Linguistics (1968)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them?

• 7-letter words: 9
• 8-letter words: 7

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .

November 14, 2007

Unicorns (permalink)
A unicorn caught on video (at the 34 second mark). (Via Neatorama).

> read more from Unicorns . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
If it's the last stick of gum, eschew it.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of light . . .


 
* 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 . . .

November 13, 2007

Puzzles and Games (permalink)
Only one of these two pictures is of Monument Valley.  Can you guess?



Top photo by the Italian architect Giovanni Piranesi (original size here).  Bottom photo, Monument Valley, Arizona.
> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Throwing Off the Scent

The oldest trick in the book.  Waldrip had entered the creek and walked upstream or downstream to throw them off.
—Ben Rehder, Flat Crazy (2004)

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

November 12, 2007

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
I stumbled upon this painting by visionary artist Elizabeth Shreve, represented by Chicago's Carl Hammer Gallery.  Below is my transcript of the various intriguing topics listed.


Kindred or relatives—one's close relatives or dependents.  Family: all we are and all that has come before us that is in us— "Our Flesh and Blood"

Topic 1: The necessity of being unknown
Topic 2: Joy in shared illusions
Topic 3: The power of the obstructionist
Topic 4: The inner self
Topic 5: The comfort of proximity
Topic 6: The truth of likeness and its lie
Topic 7: The withstanding of sorrow
Topic 8: The enclosure of identity and the freedom of empathy
Topic 9: Seven hearts and seven pears
Topic 10: The incomprehensible, the inaccessible, and the unseen
Topic 11: The unrelenting mystery
Topic 12: Inner disturbance
Topic 13: Homelife
Topic 14: Mercy
Topic 15: The despair of denying and the hope of retreival
Topic 16: Continuance and comparisons
Topic 17: Remaining with mother in grief
Topic 18: The acceptance of the limitations to which the human experience is subject
Topic 19: The entanglement-abandonment paradox
Topic 20: Coldhearted
Topic 21: Heartbreak's mystery and the impossibility of goodbye
Topic 22: Chaos, disorder, despair, and the pain contempt
Topic 23: Aloneness
Topic 24: Inner capture and external punitive control
Topic 25: Self-destruction and kindness

The inner drama; the outer embrace; the paradox of closeness
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Why did the Catholic priest put soap powder in the baptismal font?  It had something to do with the Unwashed Masses.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

November 11, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)
The following gag is courtesy of humorist Jonathan Caws-Elwitt:


> read more from The Right Word . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of life . . .


 
* 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 . . .

November 10, 2007

Unicorns (permalink)

Photo by The Rocketeer.
Possible tire damage.
> read more from Unicorns . . .


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

November 9, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
I've always found pithy fables hard to swallow, so the doctor checked my AESOPhagus.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


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 . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Theology of Lack

Descartes “proves God,” as Samuel Beckett puts it, “by exhaustion.”  As metaphysics goes, it’s the oldest trick in the book: first you take something away, then you complain that it isn’t there, and then you invent a theory grounded in—and compensating for—its very absence.  Deleuze and Guattari call it the Theology of Lack.  A seductive ruse, to be sure: once you accept the premises, you’ve already been suckered into the conclusions.
—Steven Shaviro, Doom Patrols (1996)

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

November 8, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
It's difficult to enforce the "no belts" dress code in Amish schools.  Those rebellious kids always find a loophole.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


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

November 7, 2007

Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of letting go . . .


 
* 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 . . .


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 . . .

November 6, 2007

The Right Word (permalink)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
What's the first question to ask a prospective waiter?  "What do you bring to the table?"

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt responds:

Excellent!  You've created another great joke, and perhaps another great genre.  Hmm ...

What's the first question to ask a prospective singer?

"What makes you think you'll harmonize with our workplace?"


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


Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid contains several big words. Can you find them?

• 7-letter words: 17
• 8-letter words: 2
• 9-letter words: 2
• 10-letter words: 1

All letters in the word must touch (in any direction), and no square may be reused.

Click to display solutions
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids . . .

November 5, 2007

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

The alphabet as seen under a microscope.


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


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
“The One Y’ See Ain’t the One Y’ Get”

—Carl Safina, Song For the Blue Ocean (1999)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .

November 4, 2007

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

Colours of French Extraction

When we talk of colors, we're often speaking French. Many of our most exotic color names are of French origin. Let's take a pictorial tour of the colorful French countryside, where we'll encounter drunken monasteries, burrowing insectivorous mammals, jumping blood-sucking insects, earthy shadows, juicy fruits, and edible ornamentals.

 


by Funky Coda.

Umber is derived from the French phrase "terre d'ombre," literally "earth of shadow." Raw umber is a dark yellow brown pigment, while burnt umber is roasted to a dark brown.

Raw Umber
burnt umber

 


by Oklahoma State University.

Puce is of French origin and literally means "flea" color. Puce is purplish-brown or dark red.

184 puce


[Read the entire article in my guest blog at ColourLovers.com.]

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


Unicorns (permalink)

One of many unicorns in Hoorn, The Netherlands. The city is celebrating its 650th birthday in 2007, and the unicorn features on its coat of arms. Photo by FlickrDelusions.
Some unicorns are real pigs.
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Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of letters . . .


 
* 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 . . .

November 3, 2007

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
photo by nalilo
by nalilo.

No Name Colors

We are the nameless colors. No mere words can encapsulate our radiance. We are questions without easy answers. We are puzzles for the sake of enigma. We are the cats that get your tongue, leaving you speechless in our wake. We are anonymous yet individual, handleless yet graspable, inscrutable yet deep. Would a color by any other name look as sweet? We are the nameless colors--the only colors truly beyond description.

Art expert Joseph H. Krause notes that "In the English language, there are fewer than thirty words whose major function is to designate a specific color. These include auburn, azure, brown, black, blue, cerise, crimson, cyan, dun, ecru, gray, green, indigo, khaki, maroon, mauve, puce, purple, red, russet, scarlet, sepia, taupe, ultramarine, white, and yellow—they are all defined in the dictionary as either a specific location on the spectrum or with the phrase 'as having the color of' or 'being the color' followed by the names of objects bearing the color. . . .

"There are also colors that are named after specific objects—animals, vegetables, or minerals; their names, having been in use for a long time, have come to be regarded, when used in the proper context, primarily as colors. Within this group are such names as beige, buff, lavender, lilac, orange, pink, sienna, umber, rust, turquoise, silver, gold, emerald, sapphire, and fawn. And some of these names have lost their original meaning and now stand for the color alone. However, even with this list, the number of color names remains fairly small. Therefore we use a variety of linguistic devices to extend it.

  1. Combining names for a single color that has two hue qualities, e.g., yellow-green, blue-violet, yellow-orange
  2. Limiting names by the use of a modifier denoting lightness, e.g., dark blue, dark red, light red, light blue, light green
  3. Limiting names by the use of a modifier referring to the degree of color saturation, e.g., dull red, bright red, dull green, bright green
  4. Adding the suffix ish, e.g., yellowish, greenish, reddish
  5. Using such descriptive adjectives as mellow, harsh, garish, or subtle

[Read the entire article in my guest blog at ColourLovers.com.]

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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

A knight in shining armoire.


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


Puzzles and Games :: Film-ictionary (permalink)
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November 2, 2007

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

by Jonathan Assink

The Electrifying Colors of Candlelight


by photo-artiste.

 

Warm, romantic, rich, enlivening, homey, flattering to the complexion, prayerful, even mysterious and mystical—there's nothing quite like the atmospheric glow of candlelight. Though typically classified as yellow or golden, a flickering candle flame actually exhibits all the colors of the rainbow. A touch of candlelight can offer emotional appeal, a festive air, or a seductive sparkle to virtually any color palette.

According to Celtic lore, candlelight is the only illumination hospitable to shadow. "The ideal light to befriend the darkness, it gently opens up caverns in the darkness and prompts the imagination into activity. The candle allows the darkness to keep its secrets. There is shadow and color within every candle flame" (Anam Cara, A Book of Celtic Wisdom, 1997).

A candle flame is composed of four distinct layers, visible to the naked eye. Each layer is a distinct color: white, light yellow, dark red (or brown or orange), and blue. At the base is a relatively cool blue layer (800° C), where the material of the burning candle is in contact with oxygen. A dark red cone surrounds the wick. Of low temperature (1000° C), this cone is formed of vaporized carbon molecules. Around the dark cone is a brighter layer of incandescent carbon (1200° C), light yellow in color. A thin outer envelope of hot white light (1400° C) is faintly luminous and tends toward yellow at the tip (where the carbon is completely combusted). A spectroscope reveals bright gaseous bands surrounding the outer envelope, colored yellow, green, blue, red, and violet.

The magic of candlelight offers a gold leaf finish to even the most squalid surroundings. "Candlelight takes the edge off clutter, mutes the blemish of poverty—the unupholstered, the unplastered, the peeling the tarnished, the unfinished. Candlelight relegates dust and dinge to the shadows, antiques all objects in a golden sepia tone and casts an oscillating incandescence that romanticizes even the sparest of dwellings. Candlelight elevates the street-picked, the shabby, the scavenged to haunting grandeur" (Laren Stover, Bohemian Manifesto, 2004).

[Read the entire article in my guest blog at ColourLovers.com.]
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The Right Word (permalink)

Empty bookshelves by Svenwerk.
What Can Be Said of a Non-Book?

"I have always had a sneaking desire to write a non-review of a non-book. ... After all, what can be said of a non-book?"
—Frank Bechhofer, review of The Sociology of the Blue-Collar Worker by N. F. Dufty

A mention of "non-book indexing" led me to explore the current state of non-book literature.  The first item I found was entitled Energized Hypnosis: A Non-Book for Self Change.  It promises to put the reader into a hypnotic state, automatically.  (A marketing idea for computer manuals?)  This non-book has received several five-star reviews, but then again, by definition the raves would suggest themselves, eh?  One five-star review noted that, "For one thing, you don't have to do, think, or know anything."  Finally--the act of reading made as mind-numbing as watching television!  One three-star review had me in stitches:

I certainly didn't feel entranced, hypnotized, or otherwise 'sucked in' by the writing style.  After reading the descriptions, I was expecting a much stronger hypnotic impact.  Instead, I found it to be very much like a 'normal' book--with information introduced in a direct manner, with the occasional attempt at 'blowing your mind' with italicized suggestions, odd questions and unexpected statements.

I suppose I can agree that the market is saturated with "normal" books.  And I agree that while italics can blow one's mind on an occasional basis, they become dangerous with long-term use.  But to complain about directly communicated information?!  (Going back to that line, "I certainly didn't feel entranced," imagine a bad review of a horror film saying, "It's bullshit -- I didn't puke even once!")

Trivia about non-books:

"Many times the cataloging record for non-book items is much longer than the record for books.  This is due to the fact that there are more pieces of information needed in a non-book record.  The physical description is often longer, and there are usually more notes that are useful or required in a non-book record" (Idaho's Alternative Basic Library Education Program).

"A non-book is a non-book is a non-book, even if it comes from the pen of a distinguished political scientist" (Lewis A. Coser, review of Political Promises: Essays and Commentary on American Politics by Nelson W. Polsby).

"A publisher selling to a non-book retailer might well be asked to provide books marked with the Universal Product Code (UPC)" (Barcode-US.com).

"The non-book book is not a new phenomenon in publishing, but it has become more commonplace. ... A non-book differs from a book in several respects. It feels padded, reading more like a newspaper or magazine story in which a lack of time, adequate space, or brain matter keeps the writer from conveying complexity, perspective, gravitas. It trains its eye too much on today's headlines. And it too often prosecutes rather than explains" (Ken Auletta, review of Hit & Run: How Jon Peters and Peter Guber Took Sony for a Ride in Hollywood by Nancy Griffin and Kim Masters).

"In dealing wlth a 'non-book collector' who has a rare and valuable volume, express surprise and enthusiasm" (Delmar French, NYT Review of Books and Art).
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
The Old “Separated for 15 years, and Back from the Dead” Ruse

The old “Separated for 15 years, and back from the dead” ruse.
The oldest trick in the book.
—Ricky Lax, The Black Wizard with the White Thumb Tip (2002)

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November 1, 2007

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

by MrUllmi.

Lens Flares: Sunbeams at Play

Stray rays of sunlight bouncing inside the lens barrel of a camera leave ghostly trails of stars, glowing halos, subtle rainbows, and specular orbs. Photographers may abhor these secondary traces of light, but lens flares serve a purpose: they create a sense of depth, focus intensity, provide an accent, and lend a dreamy glow to the scenario. The colors of lens flares are typically bright, desaturated, somewhat foggy, and somehow ethereal. Their charm lies in their uncontrolled, unpremeditated, and exuberant nature. Lens flares represent light at play within the tools we use to capture it. They offer brilliant highlights beyond our normal reach.

 


A ghostly green spectral crescent and pink aura of the moon inspired this palette.
by Chealion.

 


A lens flare bathes a street preacher in a veritable patchwork quilt of colors (left). A sunrise over a church spire creates a lens flare rainbow of bright reds and blues (right).
by Ouij and Guerito.

[Read the entire article in my guest blog at ColourLovers.com.]

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Book of Whispers (permalink)
Piecing together the secret of the lamp . . .


 
* 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 . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
Ne'er-do-wells shouldn't get all the attention.  What about:

Someone who is always helpful: an "e'er-do-well"
A kindly atheist: a "non-belie'er-do-well"
A most fetching labrador: a "retrie'er-do-well"
A protector of broad-tailed semi-aquatic rodents: a "bea'er-do-well"
A butcher who expertly wields his heavy broad blade: a "clea'er-do-well"
A mechanism's reliable projecting arm: a "le'er-do-well"
A 24-hour do-gooder: a "whene'er-do-well"
Someone who attempts to do the right thing: a "endea'or-do-well" (Brit. "endea'our-do-well")
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Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.