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, 2010

Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .


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 . . .

February 27, 2010

Colorful Allusions (permalink)

Photo via.
"'If all the dew were diamonds,' Pablo said, 'we would be very rich.  We would be drunk all our lives.'"
John Steinbeck, Tortilla Flat, 1935.  (via DJMisc)
> read more from Colorful Allusions . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which quotation is accurate?
A: "Clownfish are funnier than any other type of fish.”
B: "Clownfish are no funnier than any other type of fish.”


Clue:  This is according to a Disney Finding Nemo book

Answer:  B.  "Strictly speaking, clownfish are no funnier than any other type of fish. But it never hurts to have a few good jokes on hand.” —Don't Invite a Shark to Dinner and Other Lessons from the Sea (2003), p. 71  (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 . . .

February 26, 2010

Your Ship Will Come In (permalink)
“Are you looking for your boat?” —Anne LaBastille


 
* Our printed collection of vintage nautical postcards is entitled Your Ship Will Come In and is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Your Ship Will Come In . . .


Not Rocket Science (permalink)

 
* Inspired by Martha Brockenbrough, our puzzle book Not Rocket Science is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Not Rocket Science . . .


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 25, 2010

Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .


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 . . .

February 24, 2010

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The erotica author didn't write under an alter-ego but rather an alter-id.
> read more from Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? . . .


Staring at the Sun (permalink)


Sunset at Puget Sound, West Seattle, Washington.  See larger version here.
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .

February 23, 2010

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


Dedicated to Gordon Meyer.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There ought to be a book which gives an account of God as involved in human experience, privately and publicly, without any religious import or even overtones."
Paul Weiss, Philosophy in Process, 1955, p. 76.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .

February 22, 2010

Unicorns (permalink)

A Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound
Thanks to the Daily Unicorn for this review of our field guide:

This is an *essential* guide to Unicorn identification. It is an ancient historical manuscript, containing lore passed down through the ages by Unicorn scholars, Unicornologists, and various wizards. Highly recommended reading.

The Daily Unicorn followed up with us:

Haha, glad to see you noticed; the guide is easily one of the most entertaining things I've ever read, and the tone is perfect for the kind of blog I run. Keep up the good work.
> read more from Unicorns . . .


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 . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which flowers are funnier: chrysanthemums or petunias?

Clue:  This is according to a science fiction author.

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

Citation:  Glenn Yeffeth, The Anthology at the End of the Universe (2005), p. 109
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

February 21, 2010

Colorful Allusions (permalink)

I used to be color- blind / But I met you and now I find / There’s green in the grass / There’s gold in the moon / There’s blue in the skies

—Irving Berlin, “I Used to Be Color Blind”, 1938.

* 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 . . .


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 . . .

February 20, 2010

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 . . .


Staring at the Sun (permalink)


The woodlands of the Portmeirion peninsula, Wales.
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .

February 19, 2010

Ampersands (permalink)

Photo by Crystalyn.
A reviewer from Sydney, Australia says this of our book on ampersands:

If you are interested in the history of the ampersand and other interesting trivia about it, this is definitely the book to get.

* 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 . . .


Your Ship Will Come In (permalink)


“It may be only a little boat at first—those things have a way of never giving warning.” —Tim Kantor

 
* Our printed collection of vintage nautical postcards is entitled Your Ship Will Come In and is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Your Ship Will Come In . . .


Not Rocket Science (permalink)

 
* Inspired by Martha Brockenbrough, our puzzle book Not Rocket Science is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Not Rocket Science . . .

February 18, 2010

Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .


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 . . .

February 17, 2010

Semicolon's Dream Journal (permalink)
I dreamed I played a suspended game of dominoes.


> read more from Semicolon's Dream Journal . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: underpants or underwear?

Clue:  This is according to someone dissatisfied with his job at a marketing company.

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

Citation:  John Kowalik, “Being John Kowalik,” JohnKowalik.com (April 25, 2007)
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

February 16, 2010

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


Gary Barwin writes:

I have attended the seances of the living. There is a hush in the near-twilight as the transparent souls gather. We hover above the cellphone placed in the long grass over the gravesite. Our incorporeal fingers attempt to reach through the veil between what is and what was to press upon the glowing numbers of the cellphone. "Dial the ten-fold numbers of the living," one of us says. "The numbers are eleven," I say, "for after death, everything is long distance."
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 . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There should be a Book of Waiters, as there was a Book of Doctors and a Book of Lawyers."
Edward Verrall Lucas, Adventures and Enthusiasms, 1920, p. 159.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .

February 15, 2010

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Diverting Attention from Bad News to Good

The oldest trick in the book is to divert attention from bad news to whatever good news you can find. —John Tracy, How to Read a Financial Report (2009)
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .


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 . . .

February 14, 2010

Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .


I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Happy Valentine's Day, around the world!


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

February 13, 2010

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


Inspired by Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.
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 . . .


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 . . .

February 12, 2010

Your Ship Will Come In (permalink)
“In my dreams I am waiting for your boat.” —J. D. Frodsham


 
* Our printed collection of vintage nautical postcards is entitled Your Ship Will Come In and is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Your Ship Will Come In . . .


Not Rocket Science (permalink)

 
* Inspired by Martha Brockenbrough, our puzzle book Not Rocket Science is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Not Rocket Science . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
True or False: Bar charts are 30% funnier than pie charts.

Clue:  This is according to a guide to drawing comics

Answer:  True.  “In fact, pie charts are barely amusing at all.”  (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 . . .

February 11, 2010

Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
A long exposure shot of the twilit Blue Bayou at Disneyland's Pirates of the Caribbean captured some glyphs created by the erratic movement of animatronic fireflies. (See lower right of photo.)




We made vector clipart of the (un)natural squiggles (click to download EPS):


Firefly Path 4

Firefly Path 1

Firefly Path 2

Firefly Path 3

---

E West writes:

LOVE these squiggles!  I found this page because of the Mary Sidney connection ...

> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .


Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .


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 10, 2010

The Right Word (permalink)
We're humbled that the Minouette blog came up with about one zillion one-letter words we forgot to include in our dictionary.

Meanwhile, the Communication Exchange blog kindly mentions our dictionaries of all-consonant and all-vowel words.
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Puzzles and Games (permalink)
This puzzle was inspired by the Silly Pillows song "Cross Purposes."  For the answer, see the lyrics.


> read more from Puzzles and Games . . .


On One Condition (permalink)
Yes, you may . . . on one condition:

"That you tell no one of my dereliction." —John C. Wright, Fugitives of Chaos, 2007
> read more from On One Condition . . .

February 9, 2010

Images Moving Through Time (permalink)
"He wondered briefly if the waiting was getting to the Medusa like it was to him, and then knew it wouldn't be."
Marvin Albert, The Medusa Complex, 1983


> read more from Images Moving Through Time . . .


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 . . .

February 8, 2010

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

• 7-letter words: 14
• 8-letter words: 6
• 9-letter words: 1

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

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


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There should be a book titled 'How News Is Made,' a book that could be for journalism what 'The Jungle' was to the meatpacking industry."
—Dale Dougherty, "How News is Made," boingboing.net, Nov 29, 2005.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .

February 7, 2010

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


> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which New York City parade is funnier: Saint Patrick’s Day or Puerto Rican Day?

Clue:  This is according to comedian Jerry Seinfeld

Answer:  Puerto Rican Day Parade  (The answer is in black text on the black background.  Highlight it to view.)

Citation:  Jerry Seinfeld, “Inside Look,” Seinfeld Season 9 Box Set (2007)
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

February 6, 2010

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

"History's third dimension is always fiction."
Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game


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 . . .


Staring at the Sun (permalink)


The estuary at Portmeirion, Wales.
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .

February 5, 2010

Your Ship Will Come In (permalink)


“Maybe your ship will come in next week.” —Jack Saunders

 
* Our printed collection of vintage nautical postcards is entitled Your Ship Will Come In and is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Your Ship Will Come In . . .


Not Rocket Science (permalink)

 
* Inspired by Martha Brockenbrough, our puzzle book Not Rocket Science is available from Amazon.com.
> read more from Not Rocket Science . . .

February 4, 2010

Two Sides / Same Coin (permalink)

Jeff writes:

I hope I never look like that person on the coin, because I think that's the look of selfishness. I'd rather have an altruistic look, especially when I'm old and hair is growing out of my ears. 
* Inspired by Jeff Hawkins.
> read more from Two Sides / Same Coin . . .


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 . . .

February 3, 2010

Inflationary Lyrics (permalink)
SONG: Love at the Five and Dime
ARTIST: Nanci Griffith

ORIGINAL LYRIC:

Dance a little closer to me, 'cause it's closing time
And love's on sale tonight at this five and dime

ADJUSTED FOR INFLATION:

Dance a little closer to me, on this squallored floor
'Cause love's on sale tonight at this Dollar Store
* Payphones used to take dimes, but now they take quarters.  Isn't it time to update song lyrics to reflect the realities of inflation?  Alas, it's vastly easier to rhyme the word "dime" than the word "quarter," but here at Inflationary Lyrics Headquarters we have risen to the challenge.  Please join the fun and share your own inflationary lyrics, with both the "before" and "after" versions!
> read more from Inflationary Lyrics . . .


Staring at the Sun (permalink)


Sunset at Puget Sound, West Seattle, Washington.  See larger version here.
> read more from Staring at the Sun . . .

February 2, 2010

The 40 Most Meaningful Things (permalink)

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


Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier (permalink)
Which is funnier: goats or sheep?

Clue:  This is according to someone dissatisfied with his job at a marketing company.

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

Citation:  John Kowalik, “Being John Kowalik,” JohnKowalik.com (April 25, 2007)
(Thanks to Jonathan Caws-Elwitt for inspiration!)
> read more from Puzzles and Games :: Which is Funnier . . .

February 1, 2010

Unicorns (permalink)
The artist Marti McGinnis took our Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns by Sound into the wild and shares how her adventure led into sculpted depths of Kentucky limestone:

In his book . . . writer and renowned unicorn researcher, Craig Conley describes places to search for these mythic creatures and ways to do so. This is a practical handbook that draws liberally from literature and other written sources to illustrate its points.   . . . Yesterday I set out to collect an experience of listening for unicorns accompanied by a willing, limber horsewoman and opti-mystic (one who believes in miracles). Our path took to a limb and leaf strewn, moss frosted hill down to a lively flow of water that has painstakingly and persistently carved the layers upon layers of hardened Kentucky limestone into hundreds, even thousands, of the most beautifully sculpted fairy landscaping vignettes the eye and mind can ever hope to behold.

Marti shares four gorgeous photos and one video of the fairy landscape.  The photos . . .

show a place located between the pasture I see every day when I look out the window over my kitchen sink and the rise just beyond. It may have been there since the day I moved here six years ago. Is it odd I just discovered it? Not really, I just started looking.

Unicorns live in places usually described as being so impossible to conceive of let alone view from one’s usual vantage they become not just invisible, but non-existent. In the field of equine advocacy right now there is a dichotomy of thought so rife with conflict, so infused with righteous and conflictual fervor it is hard to imagine any common ground.

That it does exist is without question to the Opti-Mystic. It is beautiful, stable and teaming with unicorns. Right now both sides claim that no such place does nor even can exist and for them in this moment this is quite true. But some of us are quite aware that just because they can’t see, feel, taste, hear or otherwise perceive this place conventionally right now doesn’t mean it isn’t there, and doesn’t likewise mean they are unable to do so ever. All it means is they haven’t ventured out beyond their typical boundaries to have a look or a listen.

We're particularly delighted by Marti's conclusion:

As I search for unicorns I find I am surrounded by leagues of the creatures. Sparkly, ice-white, speckled starry night apaloosaed. Minuscule and humongous. Breezy and cheesy. They nicker and whicker at me using windchimed breezes, and baby step agreements from yin yang parties always encouraging me to live in the land of positive outcome. As though it exists. And dang if it does after all. Without exception.

Read the entire illustrated adventure here.

> read more from Unicorns . . .


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


Gary Barwin writes:

Now where did I put that Wayning Gretzky picture...
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"There ought to be a book to inform people about seashore life."
—Vladimir Nabokov, Nabokov's Butterflies: Unpublished and Uncollected Writings, 2000, p. 49.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .



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