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.
Select Creations
Search Site
Interactive

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Perdition Slip
Loves Me? Loves Me Not?
Wacky Birthday Form
Test Your ESP
Chess-Calvino Dictionary
Amalgamural
Is Today the Day?
100 Ways I Failed to Boil Water
"Follow Your Bliss" Compass
"Fortune's Navigator" Compass
Inkblot Oracle
Luck Transfer Certificate
Eternal Life Coupon
Honorary Italian Grandmother E-card
Simple Answers

Collections

A Fine Line Between...
A Rose is a ...
Always Remember
Ampersands
Annotated Ellipses
Apropos of Nothing
Book of Whispers
Call it a Hunch
Colorful Allusions
Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up?
Disguised as a Christmas Tree
Do-Re-Midi
Don't Take This the Wrong Way
Everybody's Doing This Now
Forgotten Wisdom
Glued Snippets
Go Out in a Blaze of Glory
Hindpsych: Erstwhile Conjectures by the Sometime Augur of Yore
I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought
Images Moving Through Time
Indubitably (?)
Inflationary Lyrics
It Bears Repeating
It's Really Happening
Last Dustbunny in the Netherlands
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Nonsense Dept.
Not Rocket Science
Oldest Tricks in the Book
On One Condition
One Mitten Manager
Only Funny If ...
P I n K S L i P
Peace Symbols to Color
Pfft!
Phosphenes
Precursors
Presumptive Conundrums
Puzzles and Games
Constellations
D-ictionary
Film-ictionary
Letter Grids
Tic Tac Toe Story Generator
Which is Funnier
Restoring the Lost Sense
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Telescopic Em Dashes
The 40 Most Meaningful Things
The Ghost In The [Scanning] Machine
The Only Certainty
The Right Word
This May Surprise You
This Terrible Problem That Is the Sea
Two Sides / Same Coin
Uncharted Territories
Unicorns
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In

Archives

September 2014
August 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
April 2014
March 2014
February 2014
January 2014
December 2013
November 2013
October 2013
September 2013
August 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
April 2013
March 2013
February 2013
January 2013
December 2012
November 2012
October 2012
September 2012
August 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
April 2012
March 2012
February 2012
January 2012
December 2011
November 2011
October 2011
September 2011
August 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
April 2011
March 2011
February 2011
January 2011
December 2010
November 2010
October 2010
September 2010
August 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
April 2010
March 2010
February 2010
January 2010
December 2009
November 2009
October 2009
September 2009
August 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
April 2009
March 2009
February 2009
January 2009
December 2008
November 2008
October 2008
September 2008
August 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
April 2008
March 2008
February 2008
January 2008
December 2007
November 2007
October 2007
September 2007
August 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
April 2007
March 2007
February 2007
January 2007
December 2006
November 2006
October 2006
September 2006
August 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
April 2006

Links

SPOGG
Magic Words
Monkeys 1, Typewriters 0
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
dbqp
Tonya Harding Shot JFK.com
Lord Whimsy
Phantasmaphile
Crystalpunk
BibliOdyssey
April Winchell
DJ Misc
Grow-a-brain
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
J-Walk Blog
Ironic Sans
Ursi's Blog
Brian Sibley's Blog
Omegaword
World of Wonder
Neat-o-Rama
Abecedarian personal effects of 'a mad genius'
A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
September 30, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Theodor Adorno delightfully likens punctuation marks to friendly spirits:

[I]nstead of diligently serving the interplay between language and the reader, they serve, hieroglyphically, an interplay that takes place in the interior of language, along its own pathways. Hence it is superfluous to omit them as being superfluous: then they simply hide. Every text, even the most densely woven, cites them of its own accord—friendly spirits whose bodiless presence nourishes the body of language.  (The Antioch Review, Summer, 1990)
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration of a battily smiling moon from a 1901 issue of Harper's magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 29, 2012

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

Language is a translation that really only works in the middle range of existence.
William Keckler, in the context of how the unspeakable can be exquisite pleasure
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
It is surprising but true that even the most exclusive stores stock an expensive selection of boring clothing.
Christie Ridgway, Follow That Groom! (2011)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1878 issue of Harper's magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 28, 2012

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

It's a little late to be mentioning this, but Hercule Poirot is the greatest villain of Agatha Christie's world (and hence ours, what with the way that fiction interpenetrates).  Poirot is inseparable from murder, just as the goddess of the hunt, Diana, is one with the stag.  A murder need not have already occurred — Poirot is there, his very presence guaranteeing death.  His investigations have nothing to do with serving justice.  Let's take an example at random: Death on the Nile.  One single, purposeful murder unnecessarily multiplies into five deaths, wholly due to Poirot's egomaniacal investigation.  It's inconceivable that five deaths with Poirot's bloody "case closed" stamp are preferable to an unsolved mystery with a single victim.  When Poirot finally gathers his (surviving) suspects to endure an interminable blathering of self-congratulation, he never addresses the elephant in the room — the fact that the world would be an infinitely safer place if he were to leave well enough alone.  P.S. Poirot is obsessed with motives, as if anyone with a motive possesses, by definition, a criminal mind and the capacity for murder.  His presumption that everyone on earth is capable of cold-blooded killing says far more about Poirot's own rotten soul than it does about the rest of humanity.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Precursors (permalink)
When pigs fly!  Lewis Carroll is popularly credited with the earliest reference to pigs flying (1872).  But here's one from the May 23, 1857 issue of Punch.  (We do what we can!)


> read more from Precursors . . .


Don't Take This the Wrong Way (permalink)
"You're—and don't take this the wrong way— you're a . . . commodity."
Josh James Riebock, Heroes and Monsters
> read more from Don't Take This the Wrong Way . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
Staring into the depths: an illustration from a 1915 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "He gazed outward with her into the far, dim, restful spaces."


[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Staring Into the Depths . . .

September 27, 2012

Do-Re-Midi (permalink)

How to handle the psychic pain of learning that your music idol's own favorite song is "Stars Are Blind" by Paris Hilton:

1. Remember that Paris Hilton didn't write the lyrics or the music.  She hired genuine talent to raise and buttress whatever exactly it was that she brought to the recording studio.

2. Remember that Paris Hilton hardly exists and therefore isn't especially fearsome.  Perversely, she is famous for being famous — a persona without a presence.  She's perhaps even less real for having starred in a television "reality series."  She's as deep as a t-shirt slogan, as insubstantial as a tabloid headline plastered across a perfume bottle, an eternally spent bombshell with a leaked porn tape.

3. Your musical idol is entitled to his own (bad) taste.  It's impossible to know what he's hearing when he listens to Paris Hilton.  Every brain "decodes" musical signals differently, irresistibly overlaying idiosyncratic associations.  Heck, given just the right mood and circumstances, listening to Bono's opinion on everything could — theoretically — be a pleasant experience.

4. Paris Hilton's "Stars are Blind" isn't an offense to human culture.  It's a breezy, reggae-infused love song, neither more nor less than the genre demands.  It's a passing cloud, not shapely enough for anyone to exclaim, "Very like a whale!", not large enough to offer shade, not charged enough to threaten lightning, not heavy enough to replenish the aquifers, not refractive enough to offer a rainbow.  It neither helps nor harms but flimsily "is."

5. If all else fails, chant the Litany Against Paris Hilton:
Paris Hilton is the mind-killer.
Paris Hilton is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face Paris Hilton.
I will permit her to pass over me and through me.
And when she has gone past I will turn my inner eye to see her path.
Where Paris Hilton has gone there will be nothing.
Only I will remain.
> read more from Do-Re-Midi . . .


Strange Dreams (permalink)

If I find a faint shadow of hands on a wall and the memory of a rabbit in white chalk, I may recall that all dreaming is a kind of living where you cannot die no matter how many times you fall from the building.
—Geof Huth (see his entire piece here.)

Chalk rabbit underfoot by tech wizard Gordon Meyer.
If you have a strange dream to share, send it along!
> read more from Strange Dreams . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Star Wars' light sabre prototypes:  an illustration from an 1896 issue of Scientific American magazine.


> read more from Precursors . . .

September 26, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"A true historian records fact and fable with philosophic indiscrimination.  Who is he to decide between them?  He leaves posterity to do that.  Besides, he knows well that there are plenty of fables that in reality are far more ... revealing of Nature's secrets than many verified facts and unquestionable events."
John Cowper Powys, Porius (an exquisite novel, by the way!)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


A Rose is a ... (permalink)

"One might say that 'a rose is a rose is a rose' (or perhaps 'a noun is a noun is a noun'), but verbs are not so simple."
Phineas J. Caruthers, Style & Circumstance: The Gentleperson's Guide to Good Grammar (2012)
> read more from A Rose is a ... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1906 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "It was the first of the ten great rubbish burnings that opened the new age."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 25, 2012

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

Q: Is this some cosmic joke?
A: It's real estate, for God's sake.
The Deal, Vol. 5, p. 4 (2007)
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
While looking for the proverbial farmer's daughter, we encountered "the beautiful, hypothetical stranger"!  She appears in a 1911 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1910 issue of Hampton's magazine.  The caption reads: "Just as Painless Parker yanked out a molar, he would stamp his foot, and the band would play, so that the audience couldn't hear the patient's cries."

Dedicated to tooth enthusiast and musician Gary Barwin.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 24, 2012

Unicorns (permalink)
How very kind of a certain Miss Grayson to leave a 5-star review of our Field Guide to Identifying Unicorns By Sound over at Amazon's U.K. store.  She concludes: "A very lovely little book to own and keep forever."

Meanwhile, a certain Paolo bestowed four stars to our Divination by Punctuation over at Amazon U.K., noting that "Some intuitions are worth the whole book!"

Fifty-five of our books are now available to Amazon's U.K. customers.


> read more from Unicorns . . .


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


For Jeff Hawkins, who responds with this piece.
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 . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the motto, "What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas."  Via our friend at Frog Blog.


> read more from Precursors . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"It may surprise you, but walking downhill (and, similarly, walking down a flight of stairs) does a better job of improving glucose tolerance than walking uphill does."
Jack Challem, AARP Stop Prediabetes Now (2011)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .

September 23, 2012

The Right Word (permalink)
each word
seen from inside
knows you
—the perspicacious Gary Barwin
(See his whole poem at The Week Shall Inherit the Verse.)


> read more from The Right Word . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Now you cannot move!"  An illustration from a 1909 issue of Saturday Evening Post magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration of a genie in a fireplace from a 1900 issue of The Strand magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 22, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Four months before the publication of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, we find this illustration in Punch:


Bursting out of a house, from Punch, July 22, 1865 (above).  Disney's adaptation of Alice (below, for purposes of analysis).

> read more from Precursors . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
"The only certainty, the only reality that can be trusted, is stillness."
Daniel P. Watkins, Anna Letitia Barbauld and Eighteenth-Century Visionary Poetics (2012)
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1878 issue of Harper's magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 21, 2012

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)

Q: "[What's] the proper pronunciation of the triple-m configuration when a vowel is blocking the rear exit[?]"
Jeff Hawkins

A: Recall that at the end of each episode of "The Dating Game," the host and winning contestants would dramatically blow a kiss to the viewers.  When we make exaggerated kissing gestures, a lip-smacking "mmmwa" sound invariably accompanies the pantomime.  That's the correct pronunciation of the final m in a triple-m configuration, even if the context is quarrelsome.
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Scream in ecstasy: we located ancestors of Salvador Dalí's moustache fairies, in The Californian (1891).


> read more from Precursors . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of The Strand magazine.  The caption reads: "He seemed to be whirled away."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 20, 2012

This May Surprise You (permalink)
"In the caves at Lascaux there is a pictograph that perfectly maps the West London theater district."
—Nathaniel Mackey, "Song of the Andoumboulou: 56," Hambone (2002)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Saturday Evening Post magazine.  The caption reads: "To reassure her he began doing incredible things with the big silver hoops."  It was this illustration that inspired our article for Secret Art Journal, "Magic as Reassurance."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
Staring into the depths: an illustration from a 1901 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Terris sat and looked with the god."


[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Staring Into the Depths . . .

September 19, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
We say this in infinite jest: here's a precursor to Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged (1,088 pages), from Punch, 1853.


> read more from Precursors . . .


The Only Certainty (permalink)
"The only certainty is this: If you do nothing, you'll achieve nothing."
Vickie L. Milazzo, Wicked Success Is Inside Every Woman (2011)
> read more from The Only Certainty . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1889 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "I have always regarded these old boots with a feeling akin to awe."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 18, 2012

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

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt reports a record from the Guinness book — the Alec Guinness book, that is.*
Tyrone Guthrie was ... quite the tallest enfant terrible to be found in the English-speaking world--standing six foot four in his socks.

*Alec Guinness's memoir, Blessings in Disguise.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Here's a precursor to the "wire fu" genre of Hong Kong action cinema, by nearly 70 years.  It's from Appleton's magazine, 1909.


> read more from Precursors . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"It is surprising, but true, that the culture of the Nubians is practically unknown."
John G. Kennedy, Nubian Ceremonial Life (2005)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .

September 17, 2012

Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"I wish someone would write a good, comprehensive book of home dog medicine."
John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley: In Search of America


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


Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
Dressing Up an Animal Mascot

"Granted, sticking clothes on an animal mascot may not be the oldest trick in the book, but it sure seems that way."
Kurt Shulenberger
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1903 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "Her gratification filled her inwardly with a delightful glow."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 16, 2012

The Right Word (permalink)

Florescent [sic] bulbs.  (An in-joke dedicated to Jonathan's "Black and White Bathroom").
> read more from The Right Word . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Write a novel in which the characters are painfully aware they are in a shitty novel and try constantly to escape from the book. Follow the characters as they migrate from novel to novel, some characters pursuing others into different books. Have lovers be terribly depressed when they rediscover each other in a new book, only to learn they are young brother and sister and so can no longer consummate their love. Or worse, they discover themselves in a book in which they must fight to the death. Have villains end up being cast as heroes and heroines in different novels, and heroes and heroines end up as grungy minor characters to whom no reader would pay any serious attention. Have a character mistakenly enter a book that is 'all photographs' and be rendered invisible."
William Keckler


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


Simple Answers (permalink)
Difficult Question? Here's a simple answer

"The answer is simple but not helpful: It depends.”

—Rhoda Olkin

If this is not the answer you’re looking for,
click here for a different answer.
> read more from Simple Answers . . .

September 15, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
A precursor to the cult television series The Prisoner: Number Six hails a cab.  From Punch, 1853.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
Write a novel about an anteater who is terrified of ants.
William Keckler


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

September 14, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
soon there will be no pennies
luck will migrate
Gary Barwin

We're reminded of a Zen koan: What was your luck before pennies were minted?


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


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Macaroons":  an illustration from a 1917 issue of Saturday Evening Post magazine.  Did you know that the phrase "funnier than macaroons" delivers zero Google results?  (It'll have one result once this blog entry gets indexed, of course.)

Jeff Hawkins writes:
I believe congratulations are in order. Someone (but not just anyone) had to install "funnier than macaroons" in Google's knowledge base. It's important, and anyone who says otherwise simply hasn't spent enough time hobnobbing with macaroons.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
An illustration of a strong woman who can carry a tune, from an 1896 issue of The Strand magazine.

For Jonathan Caws-Elwitt.


> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .

September 13, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
Geof Huth told us that he just acquired an uncorrected proof of One-Letter Words: A Dictionary, the first in a collection of uncorrected dictionary proofs.  We're now hoping that O.L.W.'s proof is riddled with errors and constitutes a wicked reference like The Wicked Bible of 1631 (though that one, if memory serves, is merely missing a "not" in one of the Commandments).  We love the idea of uncorrected proofs deliberately being cited as [faulty] evidence.  We didn't think to tell Geof this, but we're picturing an entire research project in which every single footnote references an uncorrected proof.  No one has any reason to know this, but when we appeared at O.L.W. book signings/talks, we read favorite one-letter words from the uncorrected proof.  Our talks were technically illegitimate, springing from liminal matter that wasn't quite the "thing" itself.  We didn't do it as some sort of art piece (more fool we) but were merely caught between worlds: a reclusive writer publicly reading from a softcover of a hardcover to people listening but not buying any of it.


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


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"It may surprise you to know that I prefer to work anonymously."
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, "The Problem of Thor Bridge"
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Staring Into the Depths (permalink)
An illustration from a 1903 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "They were looking down into the void below."


[The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Staring Into the Depths . . .

September 12, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Scribner's magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1916 issue of Cosmopolitan magazine.  The caption reads: "They were atoms in the careering metropolis, uncounted polyps in the blind, swarming, infinitely laborious structure that is New York."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 11, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
There may be no "i" in "team," but there might be an "if" in "us" (which we learn from the sublimely talented Swedish band Kite on their third EP.  However, if you deserve a treat, don't miss their cover of "I Give You the Morning" on their second EP or their divine "Say It Ain't So" on their first EP).
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"It is a theorem—at first sight surprising, but true, and even easy—that 'almost all' real numbers are not computable."
Constructivity in Computer Science (1992)
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "'How fast the world spins,' the girl breathed."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 10, 2012

Did You Hear the One I Just Made Up? (permalink)
The shadow side of the game Rock-Paper-Scissors: all is explained in our guest blog over at humorist Bernie DeKoven's Deep Fun.


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


Precursors (permalink)
Music piracy, 1906-style.  From Punch.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Apropos of Nothing (permalink)

photo by Cobalt 123
"[He] told her over pudding – compote of wild berries – about his mother suddenly saying, apropos of nothing it seemed, 'The puddings of time,' and about how she might write a book about puddings through the ages."
Isla Dewar, Secrets of a Family Album (2012)
> read more from Apropos of Nothing . . .

September 9, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1915 issue of Saturday Evening Post magazine.  The caption reads: "The screaming larkins were merely a background."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from an 1863 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption read: "The die is cast. — April 1."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 8, 2012

Oldest Tricks in the Book (permalink)
"Nothingness seems to possess an effortlessness," William Keckler notes, "But it's probably a trick."

Yes, it's the oldest trick in the book!


Photo by Josh Bartok.
> read more from Oldest Tricks in the Book . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"She drifted to a halt, facing them, her smoky complexion apparent now."
Dawn Madigan, Destined (2005)

The illustration is from a 1913 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 7, 2012

Rhetorical Questions, Answered! (permalink)
Jeff Hawkins explores "preemptive rhetoric," in which rhetorical answers deny being asked.  It's a phenomenon we're all familiar with but probably didn't know the name of.  See the link for examples, and consider this freshly personal one:

[The context is that no one at dinner could recall the name of that well-respected character actor.  Hours later, Oddfellow makes a telephone call.]

[The caller picks up and Oddfellow exclaims.]

A: John Malkovich!
Q: Aren't you supposed to be asleep?

Preemptive rhetoric!  Thanks, Jeff!
> read more from Rhetorical Questions, Answered! . . .


Someone Should Write a Book on ... (permalink)
"Someone should write a book about what it feels like to fall in love at first sight."
Swan Adamson, My Three Husbands (1995)


Photo by qwazymonkey.
> read more from Someone Should Write a Book on ... . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1915 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "He pushed the brute's nose into the plate of honey."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 6, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Here's an illustration from forty years before the musical Damn Yankees.  (From Everybody's Magazine, 1915).


> read more from Precursors . . .


Indubitably (?) (permalink)
Can you guess the subject of this sentence?

Forever wonderful, unexplainahle, it is yet intensely, most indubitably real.
Littell's Living Age, 1853

Here's the answer in context (in black text on the black background. Highlight it to view.)

Life is, indeed, the 'perennial standing miracle of the universe.' ... This fact if being alive is not to be denied or questioned; if all else were doubtful, this is certain—here we are! conscious living beings, with an actual destiny in the present and in the future, the issues and the mystery whereof our deepest intuitions cannot fathom.
> read more from Indubitably (?) . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "Murray had seen the vision too."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 5, 2012

Everybody's Doing This Now (permalink)
Everybody's doing this Now: an illustration from an 1896 issue of Punch magazine.  The caption reads: "The Somersault Cure"


> read more from Everybody's Doing This Now . . .


Apropos of Nothing (permalink)

photo by Cobalt 123
"[A]propos of nothing, 'Yes, I want something to eat.'"
Elliott Leyton, Men of Blood (2011)
> read more from Apropos of Nothing . . .


Precursors (permalink)
An illustration from a 1900 issue of The Strand magazine, predating the hilarious series "Arrested Development."  The caption reads: "Maybe you are not my cousin, after all."


> read more from Precursors . . .

September 4, 2012

Semicolon Moons (permalink)


A semicolon moon/Venus by Ian Sterling.
Inspired by Gary Barwin.
> read more from Semicolon Moons . . .


Precursors (permalink)
Here's a double-whammy: a precursor to René Magritte's The Treachery of Images as well as his The Son of Man.  From Punch, 1859, thirty-nine years before Magritte's birth.  (Previously re: Magritte.)


> read more from Precursors . . .


This May Surprise You (permalink)
"This might surprise you, but artists are temperamental so-and-sos."
Louise Penny, Still Life
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1904 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "I prayed wildly for memory and blindness."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 3, 2012

Precursors (permalink)
Lo and behold, a precursor to the dreamachine, the stroboscopic flicker device inspired nearly one-hundred years later by William Grey Walter's The Living Brain (1953).  From Punch, 1855.


> read more from Precursors . . .


Always Remember (permalink)
"We should always remember that life occurs in the present tense."
Kaplan GRE & GMAT Exams Writing Workbook


Illustration by Mandy Prouse.
> read more from Always Remember . . .

September 2, 2012

Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"Wood Magic or Two Wishes and the Way to Get Them":  an illustration from a 1913 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.

"Now here is the kind of wish to wish
   On the great, gray, silent Stone.
One hand on his face, one on your heart,
   Just say in an undertone—

Brother Stone, O Brother Stone,
Living all day long alone,
Make me patient just like you;
Make me steadfast, calm, and true;
Be there sunshine, be there rain
Teach me never to complain.
Brother Stone, O Brother Stone,
Living all day long alone,
That's the wish I wish on you.

"And here's the kind of wish to wish
   Of the tall and gentle Tree.
One hand on his trunk and one held high
   Say these words earnestly—

Brother Tree so tall and strong,
Waiting, watching all day long,
Make my body grow to be
Strong and stalwart like a Tree.
Make my thoughts and actions pure;
Make me good and honor sure.
Brother Tree so tall and strong,
Watching, waiting all day long,
Give my earnest wish to me."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
An illustration from a 1906 issue of Harper's magazine.  The caption reads: "The wild place leaped suddenly vivid as though afire."


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .

September 1, 2012

I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
The real beauty of nothingness is that it goes with everything.
William Keckler


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


Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
The brighter the light, the deeper the shadows: an illustration from a 1908 issue of Life magazine.


[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .



Page of 758



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