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, a “monk for the modern age” by George Parker, 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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Today — July 16, 2020

The Right Word (permalink)

We're delighted that our One-Letter Words: A Dictionary features prominently in The Irish Times.  Columnist Frank McNally wondered whether our chapter on the letter R included the "great R of our times, the coronavirus reproduction rate":

The viral R is conspicuously absent from one of the more eccentric lexicons on my bookshelf, A Dictionary of One-Letter Words by Craig Conley, published back in 2005, when Sars was the worst health crisis facing the world.

Conley’s entries for the letter instead include the fact that it is a movie rating guide, that it was the old Roman numeral for 80, and that in algebra, it represents “a square upper triangular invertible matrix with positive entries on its diagonal”. Phew. It was also one of several letters with which, in the past, criminals were branded. To be R-rated in that context meant you were a “rogue”.

Under the subheading of “literature”, meanwhile, the dictionary includes a quotation from Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca, wherein the unnamed narrator finds a book dedicated by her husband to his previous love, the Rebecca of the title and, tearing the page out, throws it into the fire, watching it disappear: “The letter R was the last to go, it twisted in the flame, it curled outwards for a moment, becoming larger than ever. Then it crumpled too; the flame destroyed it. It was not ashes even, it was feathery dust.”

Read in the context of the pandemic, that passage carries an optimistic message. As we look forward to a curve-flattening summer and autumn, we all hope to see the R crumple and disappear. 

Less happily, in the book, the memory of Rebecca haunts the narrator throughout. But on the plus side, I find on looking up the rest of that passage in the original text, that it continues, aptly: “I went and washed my hands in the basin. I felt better, much better.”

> read more from The Right Word . . .
#one-letter words #letter r
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
[Snippets collected through the course of our research.]
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#uncertainty #unsure #not sure
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I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought (permalink)
"Did she see something we can't?  Farmers wish cows could talk."  Via UFO Newsclipping Service, 1992.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#ufo #cow
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Rinkitink in Oz by L. Frank Baum and illustrated by John R. Neill, 1916.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #cat #oz #ex libris #bookplate
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Earthrise, from the moon.  From Drowsy by John Ames Mitchell, 1917.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #earth #outer space #moon #earthrise
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The Right Word (permalink)
The Big U says, quoting Shaggy's "You":
"I see you, you, you, ayy."
Note that the Big U may have misheard the lyrics as four one-letter words: "I, C, U, U, U, A."
The Big U is from Wid's Daily, 1919.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #letter u
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From The Film Daily, 1926.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #bat man #the people could fly
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The Right Word (permalink)
Asking for "coabberation" on whether or not he's dead.  From Swarthmore's 1956 yearbook.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
#vintage photo #living dead #vintage yearbook #undead
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Puss in Boots, illustrated by Richard Heighway, 1895.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #lion
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
"I am rays caught from shooting stars.  Catch me if you can!"  From The Magic Sea Shell and Other Plays by John Farrar, 1923.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #fairies #fairy tale
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
"Wild kittens."  From Kansas State's 1920 yearbook.

*For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #kittens
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Le Charivari, 1880.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #pegasus #winged horse
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From Duke's 1950 yearbook.  See How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.
> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
#vintage illustration #devil #vintage yearbook
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
Money dines out.  From Lustige Blätter, 1919.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #money #anthropomorphism
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Vampir, 1906.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #political cartoon #balancing act #human pyramid #red sky
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Jugend, 1917.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #serpents
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
Here's a trick invitation to avoid as if your life depends upon it.  "Come to the fields with me, just this once more;".  It's an invitation from the grim reaper.  Note the semicolon at the end -- that's a trick, to make you assume there's more to the statement, that it's not a death sentence.  From North Adams' 1987 yearbook.

*For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
#death #vintage photo #vintage yearbook #red sky #field
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Restoring the Lost Sense (permalink)
From Le Journal Amusant, 1901.
[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 . . .
#vintage illustration #goose #pet walker #giant goose #thanksgiving parade
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Yearbook Weirdness (permalink)
From Akron's 1917 yearbook.

*For some unbelievably weird yearbook imagery, see our How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
#vintage illustration #skull face #genie #occult #spirit #fraternity #vintage yearbook #secret society
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Is Today The Day? (permalink)
16
July 2020

“Today is the day to remind the world of your presence.”

—Bob Powers, Happy Cruelty Day!, 2006

From the outrageous to the inspirational to the hilarious, here’s a daily reminder to break out of the old grind and do something unexpected, for the fun, the challenge, or the heck of it.

If today simply isn’t your day, click here to have a different day.


Music Box Moment (permalink)
Do you deserve a nostalgic breather?  Through the delicate workings of the music box, even the most dramatic compositions seem to play only for you.  You’ll hear even a very familiar piece in a whole new way.  Courtesy of home recording pioneer Ken Clinger, here’s today’s music box selection.  It will sound surprisingly good even through built-in computer speakers, and it will cut through the ambient noise of the office without being distracting.

Featured in Today’s Music Box:
Piano Sonata 12 - Movement 1 (Mozart)
performed by Ken Clinger
If you could use another Music Box Moment, choose a piece:


Today’s Color Palette: Diamond Anatomy (more info)
Diamond Anatomy is the name of the color palette featured today, created by Faded Jeans. The palette consists of the following colors:

• hex #F3E8ED — Frozen Silk
• hex #FDFDFF — Mosaic #2
• hex #EEEFF1 — Window Pane
• hex #D8E0E7 — Crystal Chronicles
• hex #E9F7F3 — Glass Eel

This scintillating color palette is in honor of my whimsical "Anatomy of the American Diamond" diagram.
> learn more about this palette at ColourLovers . . .

Yesterday — July 15, 2020

Go Out in a Blaze of Glory (permalink)
We're thrilled by this amazing reaction to our video about how to get published big time, without connections:
"You sir have awoken something in me that has been collecting dust for quite some time now. In a sense, an encounter with bad luck had me concluding that life was too busy for art. Thank you for shining a light far enough for me to find a source of my own. I shall repay the favor and pass it on with each chance that presents itself." --Joshua Batie
> read more from Go Out in a Blaze of Glory . . .
#creativity #writing #success #publishing
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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.