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.
February 28, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Someone should write a book on the 'marginalia' of Henry Harrisse, for ... he was especially zealous in filling the blank spaces of his books with manuscript memoranda of just what he thought of the author."
Randolph Greenfield Adams, Three Americanists, 1939, p. 28.

---

Anonymous wrote:

Including his own books. Harrisse's personal copies of his own publications are filled with enough marginalia for second editions.  Just look at his personal copy of Notes on Columbus for instance.

> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


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


Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands (permalink)



> read more from Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands . . .

February 27, 2009

The Right Word (permalink)
We question the premature apostrophe in a banner made in honor of the recently incarcerated singer/songwriter Boy George.  In the purple ribbon, the apostrophe appositely hovers between the O and the Dowd, but the mark skips ahead one place in the initials (perhaps to indicate hopes for an early release from prison).  Does the unexpected period between the O and D subliminally suggest an abbreviation for "overdose," as drugs figured into the charges?  In any case, here's a "get out of jail free" card for you, Boy George.



Prof. Oddfellow questions Boy George's apostrophe.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Something, Defined (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click on the puzzle image below to reveal the solution!

Something; something somethings--something. (From Frogments from the Frag Pool by Gary Barwin & Derek Beaulieu, 2005)
> read more from Something, Defined . . .


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 . . .

February 26, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)

The history and pictography of our most common coordinating conjunction.
Here's the latest review of our lavish tribute to the ampersand:

And You Thought You Knew About the "and" Symbol!

Quirky lexiconographer and language fanatic Craig Conley pays homage to the oft-forgotten and overlooked symbol of the word "and", the lowly ampersand, in his entertaining and fascinating book Ampersand.

Filled with quotes, hilarious illustrations, historical tidbits, poetic usage and literary theory, Ampersand fills a gap in a true bibliophile's library--you know, the hole where utterly original, unusual and arguably trivial books are supposed to go.

About the sinuous ampersand, did you know that?:

*    Nobel Laureate Derek Walcott's epic poem "Omeros" features an ampersand-shaped rectal thermometer in Hell

*    The ampersand is the "single feature most useful to examine first when looking for writers' handwriting idiosyncrasies, or when comparing two examples of writing to check whether they are in the same hand" (Peter Beal, A Dictionary of English Manuscript Terminology)

*    In his poem "Meditation Celestial & Terrestrial", Wallace Stevens links heaven and earth with an ampersand

*    The ampersand was the first ligature to win the game of Twister

*    In olden times, children learning to write their alphabets would always end with the ampersand

Funny, absorbing and informative, Ampersand is a 93-page book that belongs on the shelf of everyone who loves etymology and curious tomes. And it's a safe bet that Ampersand would be a great gift for book lovers, too, since it's the only book (that I'm aware of) that is devoted entirely to &.

All hail the ampersand!

Janet Boyer, author of The Back in Time Tarot Book
> read more from Ampersands . . .


Ampersands (permalink)


* A manual for typographers published in 1917 acknowledged that there are many beautiful forms of the ampersand, yet it forbade their use in "ordinary book work."  Extraordinary books are another matter.  Our lavishly illustrated Ampersand opus explores the history and pictography of the most common coordinating conjunction.
> read more from Ampersands . . .


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


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 25, 2009

Annotated Ellipses (permalink)

 
* Ellipses don’t merely omit superfluous words or mark pauses.  Far from it!  In an astonishing number of cases, the ellipses illustrate a narrative, inviting the reader to “connect the dots.”  Learn more about Annotated Ellipses at Amazon.com.
> read more from Annotated Ellipses . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
A motto for rapper 50 Cent: "Be the change you want to be."
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .

February 24, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)


* A manual for typographers published in 1917 acknowledged that there are many beautiful forms of the ampersand, yet it forbade their use in "ordinary book work."  Extraordinary books are another matter.  Our lavishly illustrated Ampersand opus explores the history and pictography of the most common coordinating conjunction.
> read more from Ampersands . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
When glue sniffers imagine they have fanciful diseases, it's called "Munchausen's by Epoxy."  (Thanks, Mike!)
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 23, 2009

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 . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #40:

"The only certainty is that our best guesses are utterly inadequate to the reality we strive to define."
—Horace J. Bridges, in his introduction to In Prase of Folly by Erasmus.
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 22, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)


This is a page from our unfinished collection of writing prompts.  All such diagrams may be found in Professor Oddfellow's Forgotten Wisdom: Volume II.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
True or False: Cockroaches and praying mantises are funnier than all other insects combined.

Clue:  This is according to a guide to drawing comics

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

Citation:  Suck School of Comic Art, Suck.com, (Nov. 7, 1997)
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 21, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Somebody ought to write a book now, on 'When a Nation Comes to Itself.'"
—United States Senate Committee on Appropriations, Department of Defense Appropriations for 1975, Part One, 1975, p. 348.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Pfft! (permalink)
"The shed went quiet save for the pfft of Paul dragging on his cigarette." —Screwthedaisies, Things Inside.
* 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! . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 20, 2009

The Right Word (permalink)
Our thesaurus widget offered quite a surprising definition for procreate.  (See screenshot below.)  The "biological imperative to procrastinate" sounds more like prophylaxis, eh?

[Thanks to SPOGG for picking up this item!]


> read more from The Right Word . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"It's the little touches that make a future solid enough to be destroyed." —William Burroughs, The Western Lands
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 19, 2009

The Right Word (permalink)
Looks like the artist for a new British release of My Dinner with Andre misread "dinner" as "diner."  There's certainly no "Soup of the Day" sign at the swanky restaurant in the film!  And that coat check lady looks as thin as a rail!


> read more from The Right Word . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"The monumental fraud of cause and effect, to be replaced by the more pregnant concept of synchronicity." 
William Burroughs, The Western Lands
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


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 . . .

February 18, 2009

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)

When, in the second century, the imperial physician Galen gave himself a pat on the back*, it wasn't self-congratulation**; it was science.

*Galen "gives himself a pat on the back in the first book of On Anatomical Procedures" —William Frank Richardson, in his translation of On the Fabric of the Human Body by Andreas Vesalius

**Patented self-congratulatory apparatus via Futility Closet
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


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


Dedicated to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.

---

Gary Barwin writes:

I always have thought of punctuation as the most mystical of writing.  More mysterious than words, punctuation points to the interstices between words, to the secret passages between things, to structure and breath, the kings of incense and smoke in the hidden chamber.
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 . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 17, 2009

Something, Defined (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click on the puzzle image below to reveal the solution!

Yongzing went on, '[Something, something something] Buddha [something, something] Buddhism. (From Matthew Polly, American Shaolin, 2007)
> read more from Something, Defined . . .


Book of Whispers (permalink)
"Like the sound of water readying to boil were the whispers of his voice." —Norman Mailer, Ancient Evenings  (And what a masterpiece!)
* 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 . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
What is funnier than the sudden escape of the exact truth of any situation?

Clue:  This is according to essayist Northrop Frye

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

Citation:  Northrop Frye, The Eternal Act of Creation: Essays, 1979-90 (1993), p. 31.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

February 16, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)


* A manual for typographers published in 1917 acknowledged that there are many beautiful forms of the ampersand, yet it forbade their use in "ordinary book work."  Extraordinary books are another matter.  Our lavishly illustrated Ampersand opus explores the history and pictography of the most common coordinating conjunction.
> read more from Ampersands . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #39:

"The single certainty ... is that carbon is absorbed by growing trees."
Anthony Smith, The Weather, 2000
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 15, 2009

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
When UV rays combine with SUV rays . . .


Photo via World of Wonder.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
People often view eclipses through protective lenses.  But did you know that the sun views eclipses similarly?


From a book of eclipses from 1555, via BibliOdyssey.
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .


Pfft! (permalink)
"He could hardly be held accountable for determining how much time had passed in her presence, for soon she was gone: 'Pfft,' he expounded." —Joseph Di Prisco, Confessions of Brother Eli
* 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! . . .

February 14, 2009

Colorful Allusions (permalink)


Photo source.
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The sultry grammarian ended her sentence with a proposition.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 13, 2009

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


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


The Right Word (permalink)
"All books continue in the beyond."
Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler  (An all-time favorite tome!)
> read more from The Right Word . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)


Jeff writes:

Yes, but what happened to pomp? Does anyone remember pomp?  I certainly don't.
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 12, 2009

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
The tides affect everything—even typography, even 570 million years later!  Here's what happened when Google Books tried to scan a text concerning sea-level changes in the Phanerozoic period:


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


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)


(Thanks to Fred for suggesting today's Fine Line!)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .


Something, Defined (permalink)
INSTRUCTIONS: Click on the puzzle image below to reveal the solution!

Ah yes, there was something else important, very important, that I was keeping till I should be in bed. The bolts? No, I told him about them. No it was something, something in the drawing room... Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1869) translated by L. & A. Maude (1923)
> read more from Something, Defined . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: the New York Times or Mad Magazine?

Clue:  This is according to political analysist George Thayer.

Answer:  New York Times.  “How the New York Times’ Straight Approach to the News is Funnier than Mad Magazine’s Self-conscious Approach to Boffo Laughs.”  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  George Thayer, The Farther Shores of Politics (1967), p. 434.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

February 11, 2009

Annotated Ellipses (permalink)

 
* Ellipses don’t merely omit superfluous words or mark pauses.  Far from it!  In an astonishing number of cases, the ellipses illustrate a narrative, inviting the reader to “connect the dots.”  Learn more about Annotated Ellipses at Amazon.com.
> read more from Annotated Ellipses . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Cancer came into its own with the Industrial Revolution, a cancer model dedicated to producing identical replicas on an assembly line.  The analogy carries over to human cells and replication, as solid as auto parts, tin cans, bottles and printed words." —William Burroughs, The Western Lands
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
"I rather enjoy that sense of bewilderment a novel gives you when you start reading it, but if the first effect is fog, I'm afraid the moment the fog lifts my pleasure in reading will be lost, too."
Italo Calvino, If On a Winter's Night a Traveler  (Why not mention again how marvelous this book is?!)


"The Ancient Irish Epic Tale," created by stephanie.
> read more from The Right Word . . .

February 10, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There ought to be a book devoted to the histories of those who have not received half their proper fame.  It would make a curious volume, at once old in the materials, novel in the interest, and of equal delight and use."
—William Harrison Ainsworth, Ainworth's Magazine, Vol. 5, 1844, p. 458.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .


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 . . .

February 9, 2009

Strange Dreams (permalink)
"The function of dreams, they tell us, is to unlearn or purge the brain of unneeded connections—according to this view what goes through the mind in a dream is merely the result of a sort of neural housecleaning.  They also suggest that it may be damaging to recall dreams, because doing so might strengthen mental connections that should be discarded.  'We dream in order to forget,' they write." —William Burroughs, The Western Lands
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .


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 . . .

February 8, 2009

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"There is no distance in either space or geography, no prolongation of time for distance to exist in."
William Faulkner, The Hamlet
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which type of insult is funnier: ironic or literal?

Clue:  This is according to psychologist Rod A. Martin

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

Citation:  Rod A. Martin, The Psychology of Humor (2007), p. 246.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 7, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)


This is a page from our unfinished collection of writing prompts.  All such diagrams may be found in Professor Oddfellow's Forgotten Wisdom: Volume II.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


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


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"It's nice, just to stay.  Does nature go abroad?  Do trees travel, to acquire greener leaves elsewhere and then come back to show themselves off?" —Robert Walser, Geschwister Tanner
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

February 6, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)


* A manual for typographers published in 1917 acknowledged that there are many beautiful forms of the ampersand, yet it forbade their use in "ordinary book work."  Extraordinary books are another matter.  Our lavishly illustrated Ampersand opus explores the history and pictography of the most common coordinating conjunction.
> read more from Ampersands . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #38:

"The single certainty is that, whatever the outcome, the need for sound, responsive, and responsible management will continue to grow."
College and University Business Administration, 1974
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
> read more from A Fine Line Between... . . .

February 5, 2009

Book of Whispers (permalink)
"To speak is to offend the power of silence."  —Norman Mailer, Ancient Evenings  (Highly recommended, if you'll pardon our repetition!)
* 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.
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February 4, 2009

Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:
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Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Somebody ought to write a good book about baseball."
Mark Harris, The Southpaw, 1953, p. 181.
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A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
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Colorful Allusions (permalink)

White roses and red roses: those were beautiful colours to think of. . . . Lavender and cream and pink roses were beautiful to think of. Perhaps a wild rose might be like those colours and he remembered the song about the wild rose blossoms on the little green place. But you could not have a green rose. But perhaps somewhere in the world you could.
—James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, 1916.

* 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.
 
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February 3, 2009

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"There may be no torture like the years when one learns little after years when one has learned much."
Norman Mailer, Ancient Evenings  (Thanks to Wilfried Hou Je Bek for recommending this astonishing work.)
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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 . . .

February 2, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)


* A manual for typographers published in 1917 acknowledged that there are many beautiful forms of the ampersand, yet it forbade their use in "ordinary book work."  Extraordinary books are another matter.  Our lavishly illustrated Ampersand opus explores the history and pictography of the most common coordinating conjunction.
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Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which word is funnier: foot or toes?

Clue:  This is according to the book Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain

Answer:  Toes, as it sounds “slightly gross.”  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Christopher Hart, Drawing on the Funny Side of the Brain (1998), p. 107
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
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A Fine Line Between... (permalink)
A printed collection of A Fine Line Between... is now available from Amazon.com.
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February 1, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)
"The ampersand dreams.  Mother & child, the primordial &, a mother’s arms around her child, the Mobius umbilical, the inside out, the turning a portrait of itself, the between one thing and another, the and other connected, the hand and its other, the breath and its shadow, the shadow's curl, the ampersand." —Gary Barwin
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Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
William Burroughs on fear:

"Never fight fear head-on. ... Let it in and look at it.   What shape is it?  What color?  Let it wash through you.  Move back and hang on.  Pretend it isn't there.  Get trivial.  ... There are many ways to distance yourself from fear.  Keep silence and let fear talk.  You will see it by what it does.  Death doesn't like to be seen that close.  Death must always elicit surprised recognition: 'You!'  The last person you expected to see, and at the same time, who else?  When de Gaulle, after an unsuccessful machine-gun attack on his car, brushed splintered glass off his shoulder and said, 'Encore!,' Death couldn't touch him."
The Western Lands
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Pfft! (permalink)
"Don't go pfft. It's true," he said. —Sue Miller, While I Was Gone
* 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.
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Original Content Copyright © 2014 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.