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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I Found a Penny Today, So Here’s a Thought

January 17, 2020 (permalink)

"Library is madhouse" -- a headline from Florida Flambeau, 1975.
#library #vintage headline #madhouse
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January 13, 2020 (permalink)

The only advice is …

  • to let them alone; they will not change.
  • practice controlling it, but keep it secret.
  • eat and drink well, dance, and be merry.
  • have nothing to do with it.
  • to take one step at a time.
  • try to observe with an unobstructed horizon.
  • be prepared for the worst by avoiding it.
  • that it's okay to be confused, and find some peace in your confusion.
  • to follow you heart.
  • that less is more.
  • to stay loose.
  • to use common sense.
  • to emigrate.
  • when you find the right stuff, buy in multiples.
  • to let it be a little bit.
  • to set aside everything you know (at least temporarily).
  • go to bed immediately and stay there several days.
  • to take no advice, to follow your own instincts, to use your own reason, to come to your own conclusions. 
[Snippets gathered through the course of our research.]
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January 12, 2020 (permalink)

"What is my real relationship to time?  I experience the near past, the near future, and the very far past; a lot of my soul or psyche seems to be transtemporal … maybe this is why any given present space time seems somehow unreal or delusional to me. I span across and hence beyond it; always have —and the transtemporal is the eternal, the divine, the immortal spirit. How long have I been here, and how many times? Who or what am I, and how old? Reality outside confronts me as a mystery, and so does my own inner identity. The two are fused. Who am I? When is it? Where am I? This sounds like madness. But when I real the Scriptures I find myself in the world which is to me real, and I understand myself. The Bible is a door."
—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis
#time #philip k. dick
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January 2, 2020 (permalink)

Dining Out for Free: a Lynchian Experience

[our article from over at Medium]
I enjoy free food every single time I dine out, and while there’s technically no hypnotism or occult practices involved, there are several subtle techniques that add up to smaller numbers on the check and comped items. Also, every meal I have is a David Lynchian experience, and I will reveal how to prove that for yourself.
Why not start with the Lynchian aspect before the money-grubbing? For the last two years, I’ve dined at the same restaurant every single day for lunch, and I’ve ordered exactly the same thing. What’s mysterious and incredible is that it’s actually not boring at all — far from it! But it’s Lynchian, to be sure. Perhaps the best way to explain it is through Lynch’s concept of a “Ricky Board” art piece. He makes his with — pardon the unappetizing detail — houseflies. (Pictured, the Lynch original “Ricky Fly Board” from my private collection.) Each unit of the presentation is called a “ricky.” As Lynch instructs, each ricky is, as nearly as possible, exactly the same as every other ricky. They’re aligned in rows, into a grid. But they change and come alive with personalities when you give each ricky a different name. It’s a little bit of self-working magic in the form of an artwork. You can prove this for yourself, with houseflies or any other collected objects that are seemingly indistinguishable. And that’s the case with garlic cream fettuccini. It seems as though every dish would be the same. But of course no two are actually identical. There are different chefs preparing them, a slightly different balance of ingredients tossed into the skillet, relative cooking times that make the sauce thinner or thicker, and — it sounds mystical but it’s undeniably true — the mood and intentionality of the chef “goes into” the food as it’s prepared. Indeed, no two garlic cream fettuccinis are exactly the same, and only through a process of comparing one to the next can a diner truly appreciate the limitless variety.

Even better than eating a Lynchian meal is for it to cost nothing. To get free food, first of all, arrive at the restaurant looking like you’re somebody or something — but just who or what exactly, nobody knows. Maybe you’re a mystery shopper there to rate the restaurant. Maybe you’re from the regional manager’s office. Maybe you’re a celebrity. Dress slightly better than the usual clientele would. I choose all-black: a long sleeve black button shirt, black jeans, a fedora (which I wear indoors, against certain schools of etiquette), and a very mysterious brass belt buckle featuring an occult-looking eye. The all-black attire is an additional subtlety: the servers at my favorite restaurant have an all-black uniform, and I’m subtly putting myself on their wavelength — not one of the difficult customers, the “others,” but rather “one of them.” Also, dressing up a bit shows respect for the establishment and for the service, and that makes a huge difference in how you’ll be treated. Having come in respectfully, you’ll be respected in turn. I’ve had managers visit my table and comp my entire meal, not sure who I was but hedging their bets that I’m “somebody.”

Second, when you place your order, phrase each of your statements in the form of a question. Don’t say, “I’m having the spaghetti” but rather, “May I have the spaghetti?” Not, “I’ll take a Coke,” but rather, “Could I have a Coke?” This technique works genuine magic. Servers are accustomed to rude, bossy customers, and something as simple as asking instead of telling will utterly transform the atmosphere and relationship. Let’s face it — the server is your intermediary, standing between you and the chef. You aren’t getting anything you want unless the server makes it happen. Asking instead of telling is not only common courtesy, it’s the smartest approach toward your satisfaction. This technique alone has garnered me free beverages and free deserts on too many occasions to count.

Third, never complain about a single thing and never — ever — send food back. If you’re disappointed about any aspect of your meal, remind yourself that you’ll order more carefully next time.

Fourth, stack your dishes into a neat unit when you’ve finished eating, and fold your napkin. This subtle show of respect for your server or busser makes an enormous impact. Unlike the slobs who leave their tables looking like the aftermath of a tornado, you present yourself as tidy and civilized. You will literally be loved for not being a problematic mess and for making other people’s jobs less stressful.

Fifth, tip respectfully, and the next time you come back you’ll be treated very well indeed. Servers will “forget” to include various items on your bill and will give you the add-on ingredients you ordered for free. That’s really their only way to pay courtesy back to you. It technically costs them nothing to comp an item for you, but they’ll never do it unless they feel appreciated and respected. The servers at my favorite restaurant know that I like lemon in my iced tea or water, and they’ve volunteered in excess of three entire lemons’-worth of slices in one sitting. That’s a lot of lemons, and my tooth enamel is likely endangered, but it’s a love offering, and you can bet I squeeze every last one. They also know that I like fresh grated parmesan cheese, and they’ll give me three and even four blocks of it for my pasta — a single block of parmesan goes for over $10 at a cheese shop, so they give me, for free, $40 worth of cheese, every time. I always ask for asparagus and mushrooms to be added into my fettuccini, and I don’t get charged for those premium ingredients. I find that tipping at least 30% works wonders — I still get way more food than I’ve paid for. Also, if your bill happens to be modest, tip the same amount you would have for a larger meal. Consider setting a minimum tip for any service. From my own experience, it’s best not to ever go below $12 to $15, no matter how little you ordered. I’ve often tipped $12 on a $12 ticket, and you can bet it makes a memorable impression when a server makes a 100% tip.

Sixth, be a regular. Regular customers are treated like royalty, and the reason is so simple: if you like them, they’ll like you. I’ve had a manager take me aside to say, “You know, don’t you, that you can have anything you want. I’ve informed my entire staff.” What did I do to deserve that? Nothing except display some loyalty and express some appreciation. Complimenting a manager on the staff he or she has hired is a very good practice.

Seventh, join the restaurant’s frequent diner’s rewards program. When my favorite restaurant offered holiday gift cards with promotional bonuses (a $100 gift card purchased in December included a $30 bonus redeemable in the new year), I couldn’t resist that sort of discount. Every single day in January and February, I ate completely for free, every meal paid for by the bonus gift cards. Also, see if your restaurant offers free appetizers or desserts for completing a survey online. I enjoy a complimentary flatbread with every meal for doing that.

Life is only as Lynchian and as free as we make it. The “work” I’ve put into stacking my own dishes like a person of refinement and being an easygoing customer has paid off tremendously. Every time I’m handed a receipt with a zero total, I know I’m doing something right.1_A9V-hkiN7XCqAxH6-3Yvkg1_iSRovOj3l8tjaTVOvweWcA

#etiquette #budget #dining
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December 31, 2019 (permalink)

A special request to those of you who rend the fabric of space-time and generate alternate timelines: please create a reality in which Billy Idol takes Kiefer Sutherland's role as lead lost boy vampire in The Lost Boys, as well as the role of mad-scientist-built Rocky in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, as well as the "pleasure model" replicant Pris in Bladerunner (you didn't think we'd suggest replacing Rutger Hauer, surely).  We would also welcome Billy Idol in the role intended for him before a motorcycle accident forced recasting: the shapeshifting android assassin T-1000 in Terminator 2: Judgment Day.  Why not Billy Idol replacing Sting in David Lynch's Dune?  That's simple: David Lynch's Dune should never have happened in this or any other universe.
#billy idol
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December 29, 2019 (permalink)

On the importance of "useless" books to exist for the "'queer folk' who no longer set much store by the uses, aims, and meaning of present-day 'civilization.'"  From C. G. Jung's marvelous introduction to The Tibetan Book Of The Dead.
#useless books #jung #tibetan book of the dead
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December 27, 2019 (permalink)

The only thing left is …

  • to get back to your bedroom.
  • to untie the knot into a circle.
  • to ask the moon for her compassion.
  • the hard part.
  • to enjoy the day.
  • for the lawyers to clean up the details.
  • to fly higher.
  • to ask if it’s worth it.
  • a bunch of unanswered questions.
  • to connect all the wires and turn it on.
  • a little moody calm for a respite.
  • surgical intervention.
  • proving everything is independent.
  • telepathy.
  • to travel to Ararat.
  • floating information.
  • to liquidate and save what can be saved.
  • the blood, some meat and the remains of magical power.
  • a light.
  • to proceed upon established lines.
  • the space that includes the viewer.
  • the unspeakable, the pure.
  • some of their names.
[Snippets gathered through the course of our research.]
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December 23, 2019 (permalink)

The question mark is wrapped in parentheses.  The headline reads: "Christmas 'Surprises (?)"  From The [Joliet] Blazer, 1963.
#vintage christmas #question mark #vintage headline
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December 22, 2019 (permalink)

"Any system which says, This is a rotten world, wait for the next, give up, do nothing, succumb—that may be the basic Lie and if we participate in believing it and acting (or rather not acting) on it we involve ourselves in the Lie and suffer dreadfully ... which only reinforces that particular Lie.  I imagine that if Sweet Jesus is listening to me He is becoming very angry now, but if He follows his own philisophy He will fold his hands, look tragically toward heaven, and do nothing."
—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis
#religion #philosophy #philip k. dick
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December 15, 2019 (permalink)

"The paranormal is about paradox, not proof; about meaning, not mechanism; about myth, not math.  Most of all, however, the paranormal is about the 'coincidence' or fundamental unity of mind and matter.  Two of [Philip K.] Dick's favorote scholars captured this truth in two Latin sound bites: the mysterium conjunctionis, or 'mystery of conjunction,' of C. G. Jung and the coincidentia oppositorum, or 'coincidence of opposites,' of Mircea Eliade." —Jeffrey J. Kripal, footnote in Philip K. Dick's Exegesis
#paranormal #philip k. dick #paradox #coincidence
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December 13, 2019 (permalink)

"Is the world all wrong.  Reform yourself."  From The Doctors, A Satire in Four Seizures by Elbert Hubbard, 1909.
#be the change #reform
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"Oh, the horrors of a late lunch!"  From Clarion Call, 1963.
#vintage headline #late lunch
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December 8, 2019 (permalink)

"We are going to have to deal with propositions which are simultaneously both true and false; my corollary is that mutually contrary propositions may be equally true."
—Philip K. Dick, Exegesis
#truth #philosophy #philip k. dick #contradiction
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December 6, 2019 (permalink)

"Major effort needed today" -- a headline from The McGill Daily, 1962.
#vintage headline #effort needed
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December 4, 2019 (permalink)

The best thing in the world is:

  • to get enough sleep.
  • to lie on a soft rug before a fire.
  • to laugh with a friend.
  • to be got from books. 
  • flying at full speed from pursuit.
  • to cultivate one's own garden.
  • to be who you are.
  • love.
  • to have the heart of a child.
  • individual freedom.
  • to watch the day being born.
  • work.
  • a pile of nuts as high as a hill.
  • to be self-forgetful.
  • to be useful.
  • laughter.
  • to play music.
  • to live; most people just exist.
  • to know somebody needs you.
  • in some cases, the very worst.
  • always in danger of extinction.

[snippets collected through our research]
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November 30, 2019 (permalink)

"The three learned professions surely need our sympathy, since they so many things that are not so."  From The Doctors, A Satire in Four Seizures by Elbert Hubbard, 1909.
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November 29, 2019 (permalink)

We tend to forget:

  • that even standing upright is a learned skill
  • how much we are connected
  • the middle items
  • the sublime
  • the liberating power of fantasies
  • even those hardwon lessons that could help us solve recurring problems
  • that a longheld assumption does not thereby become a fact
  • things that do not fit our own personal expectations
  • that the brain is not the mind
  • how big an order of magnitude really is
  • a great deal of what is said almost as soon as we hear it
  • disagreeable experiences
  • negative feedback about ourselvess
  • how real the imaginary is to children
  • about “us”
  • that dogs are not people
  • what we want to forget
  • ourselves, forget we are in a theatre
  • that the body understands the world in unique ways
  • that it hasn't always been like this
  • about those people that we do not know
  • many things we knew when we were in the spirit world
  • who we are
[snippets gathered through the course of our research]
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November 27, 2019 (permalink)

"Things done in violence have to be done over again."  From Little Journeys to Homes of Reformers: Bradlaugh by Elbert Hubbard, 1907.
#quotation #violence
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November 23, 2019 (permalink)

We can now confirm that this is, indeed, what a scarecrow thinks of the moon.  From General William Booth Enters Into Heaven, and Other Poems by Nicholas Vachel Lindsay, 1913.
#vintage illustration #scarecrow #moon #art #poetry
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November 17, 2019 (permalink)

How we dine out for free every single day and why it's a David Lynchian experience: all secrets are revealed in our new article over at Medium.
#restaurant #budget #dining
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