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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Today — March 31, 2020 (permalink)

100 Ways We Failed to Reduce Vinegar

We shared 100 ways we failed to boil water back in 2009.  As an update, here are 100 ways we failed to reduce vinegar:
1. Couldn't handle the fumes.
2. Couldn't risk evaporation (high price per ounce).
3. Balked at our pretentious refinement (chichi).
4. It somehow turned back into wine.
5. Cultural appropriation.
6. Always feel irritated when told to "simmer down."
7. A bout of acerophobia.
8. Wouldn't know how to drizzle it, anyway.
9. Gave up after an hour.
10. Watched the pot.
11. No clear advantages.
12. Couldn't be bothered.
13. Pot cracked.
14. Couldn't get the cork out.
15. Milkman called.
16. Forgot dinner-guests.
17. Couldn't afford the time.
18. Reached the bottom of the barrel.
19. Couldn't risk scalding.
20. Forgot to add vinegar.
21. Stove temp. too low (211°).
22. Couldn't justify taking the trouble.
23. Mistook steam for bubbles.
24. Recipe didn't call for it.
25. Feelings of uneasiness.
26. Can catch more flies with honey.
27. No time to gather firewood.
28. Hired careless servant.
29. Voices said not to.
30. Didn't have two sticks.
31. At triple point.
32. No amount of wishful thinking.
33. Utilities deliquent.
34. Too busy watching paint dry.
35. Resisted overcooking.
36. Forgot to remove the pot's lid.
37. Indifference.
38. Wasn't trying to.
39. Adverse vapor pressure.
40. Where to begin?
41. Too busy bleeding turnip.
42. Trickle-down economics.
43. Don't know how.
44. Raw food diet.
45. Global cooling.
46. Don't care for glazes.
47. Forgot to pre-heat.
48. Hot flashes.
49. Plastic spoon melted.
50. Pot not compatible with induction cooktop.
51. Couldn't take the heat.
52. A series of intangibles.
53. Already let off my steam.
54. Can't follow simple instructions.
55. Enthusiasm dwindled.
56. Not on my fad diet.
57. Doubted thermodynamics.
58. Prefer Green Goddess dressing.
59. Customary admonitions.
60. Old-school environmentalist.
61. Lost the recipe.
62. Failed minimum requisites.
63. No aptitude.
64. It was already drizzling outside.
65. Still in rehearsals.
66. Failed Home-Economics.
67. Doctor's orders.
68. Just married.
69. All fingers and thumbs.
70. Rolling blackouts.
71. Wrong place and time.
72. Kettle fit for dungheap.
73. A general conspiracy.
74. Better things to do.
75. Inauspicious horoscope.
76. God's will.
77. Gone fishin'.
78. Not enough energy.
79. High altitude.
80. Not on the Sabbath.
81. Stage 3 restrictions.
82. Too many cooks.
83. The clock stopped.
84. Peer pressure.
85. Afraid of nutrient loss.
86. Spring fever.
87. Blew a fuse.
88. Burned midnight oil.
89. Blasted whirly-gigs.
90. Sour grapes.
91. Eating out more often.
92. Absentee charwoman.
93. Ex-husband got the kitchen.
94. Don't eat boiled vinegar.
95. Perfectionism.
96. Viscous cycle.
97. Bout of blennophobia.
98. Nothing to go with it.
99. Tried to cut back.
100. My salad days were over.
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Reblog if before a piano competition your rival asked to borrow your sheet music to refine a few details, and you let him, and then he went on to win first place.  And after your performance, your piano teacher rather brutally told you she thought you wouldn't even place in the competition, but you were so happy that it was all over that her prediction didn't sting (plus, you didn't feel that you did so poorly—you played a little fast, to be sure, due to nerves, but you got through it without a hitch).  And when they brought the trophy out, the presenter initially handed it to you, as if you were indeed the champion, even though you didn't actually place at all.  Reblog if so.
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March 29, 2020 (permalink)

"UFO man wants his trousers."  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1995.
#ufo #vintage headline #trousers
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March 26, 2020 (permalink)

"Hallucination shared by all?" (UFO Newsclipping Service, 1971).
"What's got to be gotten over is the false idea that an hallucination is a private matter" (Philip K. Dick, Exegesis).
#vintage headline #hallucination
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March 22, 2020 (permalink)

This image reminds of a great song recorded poorly by two fantastic singers.  The extraordinarly touching song "Don't You Forget About Me" was written for but rejected by Billy Idol, and Simple Minds got pressured into recording it, quite against their will.  Years later, Idol finally recorded his own version, and it fails just as badly.  Though we adore both Billy Idol and Simple Minds' Jim Kerr, neither vocalist did the song justice because, apparently, neither could relate to the sentiment.  The song is about the devastation of being made invisible on the street, by a former friend or lover who walks past without deigning a glance.  Perhaps the two singers, being unforgettable themselves, simply can't relate to the feeling of being forgotten, obliterated.  The lyrics mention how "rain keeps falling," and (news flash to Jim and Billy) it's not welcome news for the crops—it's an expression of gloom, depression, despair.  Both Kerr's and Idol's vocal performances improve a bit by the end of the song (each performance seems to be a single take; nobody dedicated much time to these recordings), but it's too little, too late.  Plus, Idol (bless him) gives us his bedroom voice, as if there never was that breakup that the whole song is about, saying "Will you call my name" as if he wants some positive feedback during lovemaking.  It's a hilarious interpretation of the song, and very Billy Idol to be sure, but woefully clueless.  We love you both, Jim and Billy!  Why did you both hate this great song so much?
"Yesterday he was you pal.  What about today?"  From The Film Daily, 1932.
#vintage illustration #billy idol #don't you forget about me #simple minds
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March 21, 2020 (permalink)

Sure, we complain that Hollywood is out of ideas with each new remake, but it was no different a full century ago.  From Wid's Daily, 1920.
#question mark #vintage hollywood #revival #remake
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March 20, 2020 (permalink)

"Social distancing" a century ago -- "empty arms."  From Wid's Daily, 1920.
#solitude #alone #lonely #social distancing #empty arms
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March 19, 2020 (permalink)

"She hasn't seen anything weird."  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1988.
#vintage headline
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March 14, 2020 (permalink)

Kneejerk stereotyping is just as ugly when it is applied to our large-footed, hirsute brethren.  The headline reads, "Ranger: 'Bigfoots' all like."  Plus, not to sound pedantic, but the plural of Bigfoot is Bigfeet.  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1981.
#vintage illustration #bigfoot #vintage headline
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March 13, 2020 (permalink)

Like Christmas, Friday the 13th comes earlier every year.  The headline reads, "For some, Fridat the 13th came a little early."  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1989.
#vintage headline #friday the 13th
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March 12, 2020 (permalink)

A cat never:
  • acknowledges itself beaten.
  • gives in totally.
  • makes an apology.
  • scratches without a good reason.
  • feels ashamed of itself.
  • forgives an injury.
  • eats a cat.
  • thinks it belongs to anybody.
  • has nothing to do.
  • has tender mercies.
  • forgets being scruffed by its mother.
  • can be over-indulged.
  • leaves a home it has chosen.
  • outgrows a love for play.
  • tells a secret.
[Snippets gathered through the course of our research.]
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The point at which an influx of light meets a book is the true spirit of a library, according to Louis I. Kahn.

#light #library
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March 10, 2020 (permalink)

The famous six-word story popularly attributed to Hemingway, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn," pales in comparison to the two-word Southern expression, "Mama tried."  Hemingway's is a short story while "Mama tried" is an entire Southern Gothic novel.  Pictured: Professor Oddfellow.
#jello mould #ugly food #mama tried #southern gothic
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March 9, 2020 (permalink)

Labeling things one doesn't understand "Nazi" is nothing new.  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1988.
#ufo #vintage headline
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March 6, 2020 (permalink)

Interesting to see how the topics of UFOs and Bigfoot/Yeti/Abominable Snowman sometimes merge in news articles.  In these three random examples, we find references to "UFO 'Snowmen'" and UFOs that "left nothing but their 'footprints.'"
From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1971, 1974, and 1984.
#ufo #yeti #vintage headline #abominable snowman
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March 5, 2020 (permalink)

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March 2, 2020 (permalink)

We love how the desperate explanations to demystify UFO sightings tend to be nuttier than anything.  We actually embrace this idea of wormpickers triggering UFO phenomena, because it's extraordinarily surreal.  When one begins to catalog all the things the skeptics think are populating the sky (fireballs, hang gliders, blimps, enough weather balloons to blot out the sun), it's clear that some people are hallucinating—just not necessarily the UFO spotters.  Funny how we've never personally seen fireballs in the sky, or weather balloons, or hang gliders (aside from a sort of kite glider pulled by a speedboat at the beach), and the golden age of blimps is long, long past — perhaps we simply can't detect reality with the "rational" eyes of skepticism.  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1975.  
#ufo #skepticism #vintage headline
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The very best thing is:
  • good talk.
  • being done.
  • Hallowe’en.
  • to answer not a word.
  • an all-over bath with cool, not cold, water.
  • an old-fashioned anise-seed tea.
  • to go away from here.
  • to be literary.
  • just going to sleep.
  • to begin again.
  • not having to go to school.
  • to do nothing.
  • unencumbered, untrapped, unchained.
  • that it will happen again tomorrow.
  • that which must remain unwritten.
[Snippets gathered through the course of our research.]
#best thing
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February 28, 2020 (permalink)

The famous six-word story popularly attributed to Hemingway, "For sale: baby shoes, never worn," pales in comparison to this six-word headline: "Man on lonely beach sees UFO."  While the Hemingwayesque story is tragic, it's excruciatingly mundane.  Yes, life is fragile—welcome to reality.  We can see why Hemingway got credited with this six-word story — he wrote about how The Sun Also Rises and how it rains in spring, other excruciatingly ordinary topics.  Mortality, sunrises, and rainfalls aren't interesting.  Granting that the headline recalls The Old Man and the Sea, the flash of extraterrestrial mystery saves it from humdrum existence.
We spotted a sort of follow-up headline, from six years later.  Another man on a lonely beach (at 2:30 a.m.) saw a UFO float in with the tide.
Headlines courtesy of UFO Newsclipping Service, 1975, 1981.
#ufo #vintage headline
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February 27, 2020 (permalink)

"No secerts any more" -- from back in 1965.
#vintage headline #privacy #secrets
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