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
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Colorful Allusions

Though printed in black and white, great literature is bursting with vibrant colour. In these rebus-style puzzles, 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.

June 29, 2020 (permalink)

Though Wikipedia won't tell you this, "Lavender's Blue," the old English folk song, was the original "[You Say Tomato, I Say To-mah-to,] Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."  "Lavender's blue, dilly dilly, lavender's green."  Only in the folk song, they don't call the whole thing off just because they can't agree about the color of lavender.  Interestingly, the lyrics in the 1670s version began with the colors the other way around: "Lavender's green, diddle, diddle, lavender's blue," so the first rhyme used to be about "you" and not a once or future "queen."
Our illustration is from Mother Goose Secrets by Barbara Webb Bourjaily, 1925.
#vintage illustration #lyrics #lavender blue #lavender green
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March 31, 2020 (permalink)

The sky is red?  We did some digging, and it's true!  The Sky Isn't Blue (Janice Lee).  
From The Sky is Red by Jean Milner, 1935.
#red sky #sky #red
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March 22, 2020 (permalink)

Folks with red-green color blindness may rest assured that they aren't missing much in this colorfully insensitive illustration.  From Nebelspalter, 1958.
#vintage illustration #apple #red and green
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August 22, 2019 (permalink)

There are some amazing color names here (see the lower half of each column).  From Washington University's 1909 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #colors #color names
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March 28, 2019 (permalink)

You've heard of "blue rainbow" trout, but here's the blue rainbow they're named after.  From the West Chester yearbook of 1964.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #spectrum #blue rainbow #blue
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February 24, 2019 (permalink)

From Le Courrier Français, 1885.
#vintage illustration #skull #palette
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February 15, 2019 (permalink)

Life in black.  From Le Journal Amusant, 1921.
#vintage illustration #black clothes #black dress #wearing black #life in black
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December 3, 2018 (permalink)

Light and dark (and the reverse).  From Bulbs and Bulb Culture by David Taylor Fish, 1877.
#darkness #yin and yang #light and dark #light #light and shadow #dark light
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November 21, 2018 (permalink)

#vintage illustration #magick #occult #black magic #vintage book #magic book #white magic
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November 3, 2018 (permalink)

You already know that "A yellow time always ends a green time" (Dusan Teodorovic & Milan Janic, Transportation Engineering).  This photograph may be used as a tool for accessing a yellow time.  From Worcester Polytechnic's 1967 yearbook.
#vintage photo #vintage yearbook #clock #autumn #yellow
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July 29, 2018 (permalink)

Ireland as the threshold of the Otherworld, by Cornelius Weygandt, in The Sewanee Review, 1904.
#otherworld #irish folklore #ireland #irish literature
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June 9, 2018 (permalink)

You've heard of rose-colored glasses.  Here's the opposite.  However, the phrase "the world is already rose-colored" is a Googlwhack.  From Lustige Blätter, 1903.
#vintage illustration #political cartoon #blue glasses
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April 8, 2018 (permalink)

"The miracle of light."  From Popular Mechanics, 1934.
#vintage illustration #color #world's fair #light display
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March 4, 2018 (permalink)

Do you know the mysterious colors and strange melodies of serpent enchantment?  If you don't know, now you know.  From Whittier's Legends of New England.
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February 5, 2018 (permalink)

"Key to the meanings of colours."  From Thought-Forms by Annie Besant and Charles Webster Leadbeater, 1905.
#color meanings #color chart #color symbolism
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January 16, 2018 (permalink)

"The scientist points out that each color of starlight tells its own story."  From Popular Mechanics, 1933.
#night sky #starlight #colors #star color
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January 4, 2018 (permalink)

From Popular Mechanics, 1934.
#vintage illustration #vintage photo #color #vintage headline #big flower
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December 4, 2017 (permalink)

How nifty: the eras of history and characters of empires understood as colors of a rainbow.  From The Western Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal, 1836.
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November 9, 2017 (permalink)

Here's a marvelous explanation of the Irish "seven devils" as speculative superstition refracted by a mental prism into differently colored devils across the nations of the earth.  From Holland-Tide or Irish Popular Tales by Gerald Griffin, 1927.  Favorite phrases: "If one were disposed to be fancifully metaphysical upon the subject ..." -- yes, one would be so disposed!  Ireland as a "step-daughter" island.  And the zinger: "But what has this to do with the story?  In order to answer that question, the story must be told."
#irish folklore #supernatural #blue devil #seven devils #green devil #mental prism
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October 21, 2017 (permalink)

#old book #blue
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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.