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.
December 31, 2008

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


Jeff writes:

Esoteric time + "a joyful humming sound given off by spider webs during electrical storms" . . . this can only mean one thing: surrealism is poised to make a comeback in six hours, give or take.

I, for one, am boggled by the possibilities!
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 . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
From A Surrealist Dictionary by J. Karl Bogartte:

GOWN: A joyful humming sound given off by spider webs during electrical storms.


Photo by Gail S.
> read more from The Right Word . . .

December 30, 2008

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


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Continuous logicians do it to variable degrees of validity.
(Inspired by Saint Marko of the Street Corner.)
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)

From the inimitable Tom Weller, author of the classic Science Made Stupid, comes this "minim" (the perfect answer to the maxim):
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .

December 29, 2008

The Right Word (permalink)
"You have with you the book you were reading ... which you are eager to continue, so that you can then hand it on to her, to communicate again with her through the channel dug by others' words, which, as they are uttered by an alien voice, by the voice of that silent nobody made of ink and typographical spacing, can become yours and hers, a language, a code between the two of you, a means to exchange signals and recognize each other." —Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler  (We've mentioned that this book is a masterpiece, right?)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

What he saw, not only of reality but even in his imagination, was often blurred by fever, but within that vague dimness his cancer appeared to him as a flourishing bed of yellow hyacinths or possibly chrysanthemums bathed in a faint, purple light.
—Kenzaburo Oé, The Day He Himself Shall Wipe My Tears Away, translated by John Nathan, 1977.

* 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 . . .

December 28, 2008

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Never play Poker with a pyromaniac.  He'll see your bet and raze it.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: pretzel or rice cracker?

Clue:  This is according to an artist

Answer:  pretzel  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Pam Rubert, “Pamdora’s Box,” Pamdora.com, (Jan. 30, 2005)
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

December 27, 2008

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Signs are small measurable things, but interpretations are illimitable." —George Eliot
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

The sunsets in that African hell proved to be fabulous. They never missed. As tragic every time as a monumental murder of the sun! . . . For a whole hour the sky paraded in great delirious spurts of scarlet from end to end; after that the green of the trees exploded and rose up in quivering trails to meet the first stars. Then the whole horizon turned gray again and then red, but this time a tired red that didn’t last long. That was the end. All the colors fell back down on the forest in tatters, like streamers after the hundredth performance. It happened every day at exactly six o’clock.
—Louis-Ferdinand Céline, Journey To The End Of The Night, 1934, translated by Ralph Manheim, 1983.

* 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 . . .

December 26, 2008

The Right Word (permalink)
"How to establish the exact moment in which a story begins?  Everything has already begun before, the first line of the first page of every novel refers to something that has already happened outside the book.  Or else the real story is the one that begins ten or a hundred pages further on, and everything that precedes it is only a prologue." —Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler  (We need not mention how wonderful this book is.)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
Saint Ravioli
Patron of Pasta Making.


Photo by Make Up Your Mind.
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .

December 25, 2008

Puzzles and Games :: Letter Grids (permalink)
This puzzle grid reads, "It is in giving that we receive." The grid contains a word for a baby growing incisors. It also contains a word referring to paying a social call. Can you find them?

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 . . .


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

December 24, 2008

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


> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)
"We are all like snowflakes."
—comedian Lewis Black


Photo by pantsopticon.
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .

December 23, 2008

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Can some types of knowledge be considered "luxuries"?  Here's Robertson Davies' take on "ornamental knowledge":

Well, allow me to introduce myself to you as an advocate of Ornamental Knowledge. You like the mind to be a neat machine, equipped to work efficiently, if narrowly, and with no extra bits or useless parts. I like the mind to be a dustbin of scraps of brilliant fabric, odd gems, worthless but fascinating curiosities, tinsel, quaint bits of carving, and a reasonable amount of healthy dirt. Shake the machine and it goes out of order; shake the dustbin and it adjusts itself beautifully to its new position.

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


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which philosopher is funnier: Spinoza or Voltaire?

Clue:  This is according to a Torah scholar.

Answer:  Voltaire.  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Jacob Neusner, The Life of Torah (1974), p. 100.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .


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 . . .

December 22, 2008

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 . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
"'Escape' is one of those words I cannot hear without abandoning myself to endless ruminations."
—the immortal Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

More and more as I grow older I see the beautiful dream of life expanding till it is much more important than gray life itself a dark, red dream the color of the cockatoo.
—Jack Kerouac, Journal, July 4, 1949; quoted by John Leland in Why Kerouac Matters, 2007.

---

Rick Dale writes:

Very cool post!  Thank you!   Perhaps you'd enjoy my Kerouac-obsessed blog at www.thedailybeatblog.blogspot.com.
* 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 . . .

December 21, 2008

Puzzles and Games :: Tic Tac Toe Story Generator (permalink)


INSTRUCTIONS:
In alternate turns, complete a row, column, or diagonal with three X’s or O’s. Each X and O has a discrete unit of meaning, as detailed in the Dictionary of One-Letter Words. Choose and write a letter meaning alongside each X and O placed in the grid; don’t repeat a letter meaning within the same game. Number each turn on the grid, to establish the linear progression of the story. When the game is finished, use the sequence of key words to construct your story, adding connecting phrases as necessary.

Click here for a printable template.  Thanks to Gary Barwin for inspiration!
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Tic Tac Toe Story Generator . . .


Pfft! (permalink)
"I've never told you but back in London (that time she was in hospital and refused to see me) she almost gave up the ghost pfft." —Gérard Bessette, Incubation
* 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! . . .

December 20, 2008

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


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Om is where the heart chakra is.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


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

by Gerald Davison

The Spectral Colors of Brocken Bows and Glories

Imagine hiking on a sunny mountain and witnessing an unforgettable phenomenon worthy of a Hollywood special effects team: as a bank of chilly fog rises from a couloir, your shadow grows to gigantic proportion (hundreds of feet high), surrounded by a prismatic halo.

Brocken Bow
Brocken Spectre

In olden times, the spectre was considered to be of supernatural origin and fearfully ominous in nature. Today, the phenomenon is known as a "Brocken Bow," named after a mountain in Germany. Like a small, circular rainbow, a foggy Brocken Bow tends to last from several seconds to fifteen minutes. Bands of color surround the gigantic shadow at a distance of several feet. The outermost band is red, and the others follow the order of the typical rainbow. In some cases, a Brocken Bow is surrounded by a second bow, whose color order is reversed. A similar phenomenon, known as a Glory, is distinguished by the fact that the bands of color touch the head of the shadow. Glories typically sport seven bands of color and can last for hours at a time. Sometimes Glories are surrounded by glowing white fog bows.


by bob the lomond

In ideal conditions, the sun shines behind the observer and a cloud of fog rises from a lower elevation in front. The ideal temperature for Brocken Bows and Glories varies between 19 and 56 degrees Fahrenheit. Though the bands of colors are no illusion, the size of the shadow is actually a trick of the eye. Apparently, the shadow appears gigantic due to a distortion of depth caused by moving fog particles at varying distances.

For a detailed description of Brocken Bows and Glories from a scientific point of view, see Henry Sharpe's piece for Scottish mountaineers. Also don't miss The Nonist's study on the phenomenon, illustrated with vintage woodcuts and color photographs.


by bob the lomond

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

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

December 19, 2008

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
"When the tidewater in the canal started to ebb, the head floated out to the sea."
Kamala Tiyavanich, Sons of the Buddha


Image source.  Via fffound.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

There are two types of comedian . . . both deriving from the circus, which I shall call the White Face and the Red Nose. Almost all comedians fall into one or the other of these two simple archetypes. In the circus, the White Face is the controlling clown with the deathly pale masklike face who never takes a pie; the Red Nose is the subversive clown with the yellow and red makeup who takes all the pies and the pratfalls and the buckets of water and the banana skins. The White Face represents the mind, reminding humanity of the constant mocking presence of death; the Red Nose represents the body, reminding mankind of its constant embarrassing vulgarities. . . . The emblem of the White Face is the skull, that of the Red Nose is the phallus. One stems from the plague, the other from the carnival. The bleakness of the funeral, the wildness of the orgy. The graveyard and the fiesta. The brain and the penis. Hamlet and Falstaff. Don Quixote and Sancho Panza. Laurel and Hardy.
—Eric Idle, The Road To Mars, 1999.

* 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 . . .

December 18, 2008

Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: An attempt by Lucy to stomp grapes or a “shot to the moon” by Jackie Gleason?

Clue:  This is according to a book on how to construct sketch comedy

Answer:  Lucy stomping grapes  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Cherie Kerr, Build to Laugh: How to Construct Sketch Comedy With the Fast and Funny Formula (1998), p. 13
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .


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 . . .

December 17, 2008

The Right Word (permalink)
"The more gray and ordinary and undistinguished and commonplace the beginning of this novel is, the more you and the author feel a hint of danger looking over that fraction of 'I' that you have heedlessly invested in the 'I' of a character whose inner history you know nothing about." —Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler


Sixteenth century illustration by Geoffroy Tory.

---

Jeff writes:

I can relate.  How well do we know that other i, really?

Prof. Oddfellow writes:

I learned the hard way that the other i's life is dotted with glamorous parties but also secrets and deceptions.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

Sometimes Yakov lost sight of the words. They were black birds with white wings, white birds with black wings. He was falling in thoughtless thought, a stupefying white- ness.
—Bernard Malamud, The Fixer, 1966.

---

Jeff writes:

I can relate.  Stupefying whiteness is not my friend.
* 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 . . .

December 16, 2008

Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)

"Punctstellations" by Gary Barwin.  See full size.
I dreamed of star-gazing.
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .


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


  
The faces in this collage come from a 16th century Italian treatise on how forehead wrinkles indicate one's destiny.  Read more about the work at Bibliodyssey.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
I spilled red curry and Thai-dyed my shirt.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

December 15, 2008

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
Q: In his song "Humanized," Jon Ryman sings, "I'm half alive, just like a Chinese figurine."  Are Chinese figurines indeed sentient?

A: Yes—but only the jade statues are sentient.  "Living Jade" (Jadeite, as opposed to Nephrite) displays mild intelligence.


Illustration by Prof. Oddfellow
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #29:

"The sole certainty of life is found in the love that destroys all else."
Dorothee Soelle, The Silent Cry, 2001
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

by joshc

The man had on a brown suit, white shirt, and red tie, all of the same degree of cheapness, and all worn out to the same degree. The color of the suit was reminiscent of an amateur paint job on an old jalopy. The deep wrinkles in the pants and jacket looked as permanent as valleys in an aerial photograph. The white shirt had taken on a yellow tinge, and one button on the chest was ready to fall off. It also looked one or two sizes too small, with its top button open and the collar crooked. The tie, with its strange pattern of ill- formed ectoplasm, looked as if it had been left in place since the days of the Osmond Brothers. Anyone looking at him would have seen immediately that this was a man who paid absolutely no attention to the phenomenon of clothing.
—Haruki Murakami, The Wind-up Bird Chronicle, translated by Jay Rubin, 1997.

* 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 . . .

December 14, 2008

The Right Word (permalink)
"'Questionable' is a splendid word; I have always attached a great philological value to it.  It calls up a desire both to pursue and to avoid, or at any rate a very cautious pursuit, and stands in the twofold light shed by what is noteworthy and notorious in a thing—or a person."
Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus
> read more from The Right Word . . .


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 . . .

December 13, 2008

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


The Right Word (permalink)

From Dr. Boli's Celebrated Magazine.
When we're asked to weave stories out of the whimsical dictionaries we compile, we're left scratching our heads [oops—the Majestic Plural gets tricky!].  The lexicographer gathers the words for the writer to combine.  The satirist Dr. Boli knows what we're talking about.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
True of False: Soup is as funny today as it was a few years back.

Clue:  This is according to the book The Sense of Humor.

Answer:  False.  “Soup is still funny, but not as funny as it was a few years back.”  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Max Eastman, The Sense of Humor (1921), p. 150.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

December 12, 2008

Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)
I had a nightmare about a ghost shark.


(Illustration incorporates artwork by Dr. Tony Ayling.)
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #28:

"The only certainty is that of journeying towards a non-verifiable arrival."
Paolo Bartoloni, Interstitial Writing, 2003
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
Saint Robert
Patron of Post Rock.


Photo by Great Danes.
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
> read more from Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led . . .

December 11, 2008

Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)
I dreamed I came down with stigmata.
> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .


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 . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

Claggart deliberately advanced within short range of Billy, and mesmerically looking him in the eye, briefly recapitulated the accusation. Not at first did Billy take it in. When he did the rose- tan of his cheek looked struck as by white leprosy. He stood like one impaled and gagged. Meanwhile the accuser’s eyes, removing not as yet from the blue, dilated ones, underwent a phenomenal change, their wonted rich violet colour blurring into a muddy purple. Those lights of human intelligence losing human expression, gelidly protruding like the alien eyes of certain uncatalogued creatures of the deep.
—Herman Melville, Billy Budd, 1924.

* 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 . . .

December 10, 2008

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


Inspired by Gary Barwin, who was inspired by Jeff.

Jeff writes:

Stunning!
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
"Every word spoken is a word that remains and can crop up again later, with quotation marks or without."
Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler  (And what a book!)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


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

by Derpunk

All the Colors of the Wind

The air. A thing too intangible for color you think? ... The truth is all air is colored.
—John C. Van Dyke, The Desert

Anyone who thinks that air is invisible is impaired by a sort of color blindness. Indeed, the air is so alive with color that it could be likened to a rainbow that encircles the entire earth with pink, red, violet, gray, blue, and yellow. Ask a naturalist or a painter, and you'll hear descriptions of an airy spectrum that escapes the unobservant viewer. Carried by swirling dust particles and refracted by the prisms of water vapor, the colors of the air are best observed in a mass. Mountaintop vantages, canyons, desert expanses, or deep valley views are recommended. The warmer the temperature and the stronger the wind, the more color will be detectable. Rising heat carries finer dust particles deepening the air's hues, while high winds carry larger particles, brightening the coloration.1

Here's how naturalist Richard Jefferies poetically recorded seeing the colors of the wind at sunrise one morning:


by James Jordan.

Color comes up in the wind; the thin mist disappears, drunk up in the grass and trees, and the air is full of blue behind the vapor. Blue sky at the far horizon — rich deep blue overhead — a dark-brown blue deep yonder in the gorge among the trees. I feel a sense of blue color as I face the strong breeze; the vibration and blow of its force answer to that hue, the sound of the swinging branches and the rush — rush in the grass is azure in its note ; it is wind-blue, not the night-blue, or heaven-blue, a color of air. To see the color of the air, it needs great space like this — a vastness of concavity and hollow — an equal cauldron of valley and plain under, to the dome of the sky over, for no vessel of earth and sky is too large for the air-color to fill. Thirty, forty, and more miles of eye-sweep, and beyond that the limitless expanse over the sea — the thought of the eye knows no butt, shooting on with stellar penetration into the unknown. In a small space there seems a vacuum, and nothing between you and the hedge opposite, or even across the valley; in a great space the void is filled, and the wind touches the sight like a thing tangible. The air becomes itself a cloud, and is colored — recognized as a thing suspended; something real exists between you and the horizon. Now, full of sun and now of shade, the air-cloud rests in the expanse.2

The COLOURlovers library is full of airy inspiration. There are colors of "thin" to "heavy" atmospheres as well as airless colors of suffocation.

NOTES:
[1] John C. Van Dyke, The Desert: Further Studies in Natural Appearances, 1903.
[2] Richard Jefferies, "Winds of Heaven," The Eclectic Magazine, 1886.

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

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

December 9, 2008

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
We found this quotation for fans of This Is Spinal Tap:

As far as I'm concerned, going from ten to eleven is like an unbridgeable chasm.  You understand: ten was fine, ... so many things could happen for the better.  But not with eleven, because to say eleven is already to say twelve for sure, and ... twelve would be thirteen.
—Julio Cortázar, "Letter to a Young Lady in Paris"


Spinal Tap amplifier (image source).
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


The Right Word (permalink)

"Asterisks, too, serve to refresh the reader's eye and mind."
Thomas Mann, Doctor Faustus
> read more from The Right Word . . .


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 . . .

December 8, 2008

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Here's a fun observation from the folks at Strange Maps:

Rorschach inkblot tests were named after the Swiss psychoanalyst Hermann Rorschach, who devised the first such test in 1921.  Mr Rorschach's family name derives from an eponymous Swiss town, on the southern shore of Lake Constance.  A map of Rorschach unfortunately only demonstrates that it looks like nothing at all.

---

NH writes:

A pity that Rorschach hadn't hailed, in an eponymous way, from Mörschwil.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
Often confused with "anamorphic," the anthropomorphic format is a photographic projection in which an animal mask is required to view the original aspect ratio.  In this example, an anthropomorphic kangaroo (Prof. Oddfellow) and his silver tabby watch David Lynch's "Rabbits" series.


 
Jonathan quips:

There's no stopping Old Man Anthropomorphism.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


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 . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

by LinBow

I felt the eye of the forest staring at me from among cedars, pines, and several species of cypress, all of a green so murky that one perceived it almost as black.
—Kenzaburo Oé, The Silent Cry, translated by John Bester, 1974.

* 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 . . .

December 7, 2008

The Right Word (permalink)
From our outpost at Blogger, here's an excerpt from Janet Boyer's review of our Magic Words: A Dictionary:
The first 48-pages of Magic Words are utterly fascinating, with Conley an engaging tour guide through literary, philosophical, cultural and spiritual landscapes—realms dotted with landmarks that pay homage to the power of magical utterances (and, sometimes, even to silence and mysterious glyphs).

Not only does Conley offer examples of poetic incantations and the mysterious power of words in his introduction, but he also provides fascinating insight into the vocabulary of ritual (and why we get the giggles during solemn occasions!), the four archetypes of the Magician, and our ability to imbue “ordinary” moments with the magic of both cadence and connation.

The rest of Magic Words is dedicated to, well, magic words!

With word origins, facts, variations, meanings, mystique and appearances in literature, this A to Z guide offers a mind-boggling array of information to be mined by would-be magicians, entertainers, writers and artists. . . .

Magic Words is, indeed, a meticulously researched, heavily footnoted, and absorbing read, especially for lovers of trivia and words.  Performers seeking to spruce up their magic routine would do well to consult this book, as would all manner of artists who seek to infuse their work with meaning, mystery, flair or sacredness.
See the full review here Janet is author of The Back in Time Tarot Book.

---

Gary Barwin writes:

Those are indeed magic words.  Congratulations!
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
What is “more humorous than passionate attempts to invent artificial languages, Volapük, Esperanto and what not, to do the work that the English language is already doing all over the sea, and will, apparently, soon be doing all over the land”?

Clue:  This is according to essayist Theodore Watts-Dunton

Answer:  Nothing.  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Ernest Rhys, Modern English Essays (1922), p. 120.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
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The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #27:

"Hold on fast to the only certainty in this world, which is the certainty of Love and Care."
—Willa Cather, in a letter to Sarah Wyman Whitman, 1898
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

December 6, 2008

The Right Word (permalink)
"He spoke as if each full sound he uttered was equal to the presence of a new statue in one's courtyard."
Norman Mailer, Ancient Evenings  (Highly recommended!)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

by rogiro

There were Saturday mornings when a muddy brown pool was joyous to the test of squatting kids . . . as dewy and mornlike as brown mud water can get, with its reflected brown taffy clouds
—Jack Kerouac, Dr. Sax, 1959.

* 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 . . .

December 5, 2008

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
Did you hear that Dante's epic journey through Hell to Purgatory to Heaven was merely Alighieri-cal?
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led (permalink)
Saint Morass
Patron of the Bog.


Photo by chotda.
Who is your favorite imaginary saint?  Do share!
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December 4, 2008

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
"It was a Friday night and I couldn't sleep.  Shards of music awoke me from my insect-haunted slumber."
Karin Moorhouse & Wei Cheng, No One Can Stop the Rain, 2005


See big version of this photo here.

---

Jeff writes:

On a cold and snowy morning, nothing says Warm & Gooey like a nap amid floor to ceiling stacks of electronic equipment, especially when they're all about music. Indeed, home is (somebody stop me) where the hertz is.  Ahahahahahahaha!
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #26:

"In modernity the only certainty that seemed to be left was the absence of it."
—Henri Vogt, Between Utopia and Disillusionment, 2004
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

December 3, 2008

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

Prayer plant painting by Karla Pearce.
Dr. Albertus Boli informs us that "the so-called 'prayer plant' (Maranta sp.) is, technically speaking, chanting rather than praying."
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Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
"Another, who looked like a huge Swede, had empty watery eyes, and a face like a bathtub."
Lauren Gilfillan, I Went to Pit College, 1934


Photo via fffound.

---

Jeff writes:

Heh.  I don't know how you managed to find a photo of uncle Guano.  My mother said he'd been eaten by buzzards off the cape of Batmandu, but you can't always trust your mother, or mine.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Colorful Allusions (permalink)

The bluish shadows gave the place a ghostly ambiance.
—Dan Brown, Digital Fortress, 2004.

---

Jeff writes:

Fast-backward to my first art class, where the guru forced us to gaze without staring at snow shadows, so that we might embrace their True Blueness while giving the snort to fake black, grey, greyish-black, or blackish-grey ones.  Yellowish shadows, he said, are permissible, too, sometimes, but not all the time, and only when there are dogs about.  Silly guru.
* 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 . . .

December 2, 2008

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"There are nine different words in Maya for the color blue in the comprehensive Porrua Spanish-Maya Dictionary but just three Spanish translations, leaving six butterflies that can be seen only by the Maya, proving beyond doubt that when a language dies six butterflies disappear from the consciousness of the earth."

—Earl Shorris, "The last word: Can the world’s small languages be saved?", Harper’s Magazine, August 2000.

Via DJMisc.
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Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which city is funnier: Racine or Oshkosh?

Clue:  This is according to comedy t.v. writer Jerry Rannow

Answer:  Oshkosh  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Jerry Rannow, Writing Television Comedy (2004), p. 87.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .


One Mitten Manager (permalink)

 
Dedicated to the people of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan — an inspiration to us all.  (This parody was sparked by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.)
> read more from One Mitten Manager . . .

December 1, 2008

Colorful Allusions (permalink)
Referring to our bookcase arranged by spine color, the Serif of Nottingblog wrote: "What you've done privileges the unexpected connections between books, between subjects.  Despite your blog being 'Abecedarian,' your book organization realizes that knowledge can be organized or accessed via a totally different set of assumptions."


> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
Did you know: "It is not possible to burn a candle at both ends. If one end of the wick is ignited, the other end will immediately be extinguished."

Or: "Cardboard is nothing more than wood in an early stage of development."

Or: "Cheese never spoils; it simply changes into a different kind of cheese."

These and other hilarious facts are part of Dr. Boli's Encyclopedia of Misinformation.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #25:

"The only reality I can possibly know is the world as I perceive and experience it at this moment.  The only reality you can possibly know is the world as You perceive and experience it at this moment.  And the only certainty is that those perceived realities are different.  There are as many 'real worlds' as there are people!"
—Carl Rogers, qtd. in Power Partnering by Sean Gadman, 1996

---

Jeff observes:

This may be the root of human conflict. The perception is the reality, but everything we think we understand about others is only in terms of what we know about ourselves, which is by no means certain.

It is to hoot.
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .



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