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.
May 31, 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 . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"There's nothing beautiful and excellent left.  You must dream up beauty and goodness and justice.  Tell me, do you know how to dream?"  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

May 30, 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... . . .

May 29, 2009

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)
Word lovers will flip over the Swedish band BwO (a.k.a. Bodies without Organs).  Some of our favorite words from their lyrics:

  • juggernaut
  • thunderdome
  • transhuman
  • electrolyte
  • halcyon
  • bourgeoise
  • tarmac
  • mundane
  • odyssey
  • expressway
  • cobblestones
  • favela
  • consecrating
  • galvanized
  • supersonic
  • masquerade
  • Martian invasion
  • testosterone
  • supernova
  • boogaloo
  • Himalayas

Don't miss BwO's stunning "Right Here Right Now" music video, in high-def on YouTube.
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: Pop Art or theatre of the absurd?

Clue:  This is according to theatre expert George Riley Kernodle

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

Citation:  George Riley Kernodle, Invitation to the Theatre (1971), p. 312.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .


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 . . .

May 28, 2009

The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #54:

"The only certainty is that there will be pain; how much, which joints will be affected and how mobile they will be is never known in advance."
David Locker, Disability and Disadvantage, 1983
> 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... . . .

May 27, 2009

The 40 Most Meaningful Things (permalink)

 
> read more from The 40 Most Meaningful Things . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Something great and audacious must happen in secrecy and silence, or it perishes and falls away, and the fire that was awakened dies again."  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

May 26, 2009

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The "prepostrophe" is used to mark the omission of something utterly absurd.


—snippet from Love's Labor's Lost by William Shakespeare
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Someone ought to write a book about the way the wives of presidents used to operate.  There has been a change.  The whole society has changed."
George Garner Harvill, In Her Own Words, 1990, p. 108.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


A Fine Line Between... (permalink)


William Keckler writes:

Hahaha!  Too true.  The one South Park episode is the locus classicus, I believe, for the differentiation of the species.

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

May 25, 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 . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"People who get bored are ones who always reckon that something amusing ought to come at them from outside."  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

May 24, 2009

The Right Word (permalink)
We translated a famous Emily Dickinson poem into a Tarot rebus:

http://tarotsoul.blogspot.com/2009/05/emily-dickinson-tarot-rebus-because.html

In related news, was Emily Dickinson actually a shaman?
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
What field is funnier than statistics?

Clue:  This is according to Scribner’s Magazine

Answer:  Nothing.  “Nothing is funnier than statistics when studied from the proper angle.”  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  William Lyon Phelps, Scribner’s Magazine, Vol. 74 (1923), p. 755.
(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... . . .

May 23, 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 . . .


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 . . .

May 22, 2009

The Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #53:

"The only certainty that remains then is thought itself."
Bert Roebben, Practical Theology and the Interpretation of Crossing Boundaries, 2003
> 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... . . .

May 21, 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 . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"If one thinks, one resists, and that is always so ugly and ruinous to things.  Thinkers, if only they knew what harm they do.  Anyone who industriously does not think, does something, he certainly does, and that is more necessary."  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

May 20, 2009

The 40 Most Meaningful Things (permalink)

 
> read more from The 40 Most Meaningful Things . . .


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 ... . . .


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... . . .

May 19, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There ought to be a book published on the subject, 'First Steps to Getting Even with your Servants.'"
Leonard Merrick, The House of Lynch, 1919, p. 150.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
What accent is funnier than Yiddish?

Clue:  This is according to a Jewish women’s anthology

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

Citation:  Irena Klepfisz, “Secular Jewish Identity,” The Tribe of Dina (1989), p. 42.
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

May 18, 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... . . .

May 17, 2009

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 Only Certainty (permalink)
Certainty #52:

"The only certainty, the only 'truth,' is fear."
Catherine S. Cox, Gender and Language in Chaucer, 1997
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

May 16, 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... . . .

May 15, 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 . . .


Forgotten Wisdom (permalink)
"There is more hidden life in opening a door than in asking a question."  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .

May 14, 2009

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
It's windy today, and we saw a crow valiantly flying against the current, making no headway.  From our less-windy vantage on the wooded cliff side, we were tempted to tell the crow to take the forest route, but then we remembered that you can't tell a crow how to fly from point A to point B.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: comic writer P.G. Wodehouse or the story of how World War II came about?

Clue:  This is according to a political scientist

Answer:  World War II.  “The inside story is funnier than Wodehouse.”  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Curt Riess, They Were There: The Story of World War II and How it All Came About (1971), p. 286.
(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... . . .

May 13, 2009

The 40 Most Meaningful Things (permalink)

 
> read more from The 40 Most Meaningful Things . . .


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 . . .


Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
"Come on!  One must go out and meet the inevitable, bravely."  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .

May 12, 2009

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There ought to be a book on badeboop badebeep."
Steven George Krantz, Mathematical Publishing, 2005, p. 98.
> 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... . . .

May 11, 2009

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

Enriqve Enriqvez turns every U into a V on his blog. Here's why: "Like the stvdent who devovrs covntless books on the tarot and still feels thirsty, the letter U has a blvnt edge.  No matter how mvch information it holds, it is never ready to povr that knowledge back into the world."
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


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 #51:

"The only certainty is that you must fail."
Stephen Gresham, The Fraternity, 2004
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

May 10, 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 ... . . .


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... . . .

May 9, 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 . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: small wheels or big wheels?

Clue:  This is according to a guide to drawing comics

Answer:  Small wheels.  (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 . . .

May 8, 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 . . .


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... . . .

May 7, 2009

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 . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Go on yearning for a bit longer.  You've no idea what bliss, what grandeur there is in yearning, in waiting.  So wait."  —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .

May 6, 2009

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The Mounties' Falkland: Three members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police holiday off the coast of Argentina and compete to obtain a fabulous jewel-encrusted statuette, even if it means conquering an entire island.

---

Gary Barwin writes:

That must be the sequel to Hasid Bianca, the story of a Latina who leaves the Catholic church to join a Jewish sect. "Out of all the shules in all the world, you had to walk into this one."
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


The 40 Most Meaningful Things (permalink)

 
> read more from The 40 Most Meaningful Things . . .


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... . . .

May 5, 2009

Colorful Allusions (permalink)

How do we know anything? How do we know the wall we’re looking at is white? What is white?

—Don DeLillo, Cosmopolis, 2003.



White wall by Pieter Musterd.
* 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 . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Somebody really ought to write a book about the funny conversations of drunks."
Robert Joseph Casey, The Black Hills and Their Incredible Characters, 1949, p. 42.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


The Right Word (permalink)
"The poem is not the sum of the impressions, as a heap of diamond dust is the sum of its shining particles; nor is the poet merely a sensitized medium for their reception and transmission.  Beneath the poem lie also innumerable blendings and fusings of impressions, brought about below the level of conscious mental processes."
John Livingston Lowes, The Road to Xanadu, 1927
> read more from The Right Word . . .

May 4, 2009

Glued Snippets (permalink)


> read more from Glued Snippets . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
True or False: A baby penguin is funnier than an adult by inverse square ratio?

Clue:  This is according to science fiction author Frederik Pohl

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

Citation:  Frederik Pohl, The SFWA Grand Masters (2000), p. 127.
(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... . . .

May 3, 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 #50:

"The only certainty is that climate will change again one day."
Peter Haggett, Geography, 2001
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .

May 2, 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... . . .

May 1, 2009

Ampersands (permalink)
Gary Barwin has spotted three varieties of elusive conjoined ampersands.  Here's our favorite:


> read more from Ampersands . . .


Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The sign on the Spiritualist's door read: "Please tap loudly or ring a bell."
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"I know it, somewhere here there are marvelous things." —Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .



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