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.
Featured Book
The Young Wizard's Hexopedia
Search Site
Interactive

Breathing Circle
Music Box Moment
Cautious or Optimistic
King of Hearts of War and Peace
As I Was, As I Am
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
How to Believe in Your Elf
How to Write a Blank Book
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
Miscellanies of Mr. Jonathan
Neither Saint- Nor Sophist-Led
No News Is Good News
Non-Circulating Books
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
Postcard Transformations
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 Answers, Questioned
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!
Semicolon Moons
Semicolon's Dream Journal
Separated at Birth?
Simple Answers
Someone Should Write a Book on ...
Something, Defined
Staring at the Sun
Staring Into the Depths
Strange Dreams
Strange Prayers for Strange Times
Suddenly, A Shot Rang Out
Sundials
Telescopic Em Dashes
Temporal Anomalies
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
We Are All Snowflakes
What I Now Know
What's In a Name
Yearbook Weirdness
Yesterday's Weather
Your Ship Will Come In

Archives

May 2020
April 2020
March 2020
February 2020
January 2020
December 2019
November 2019
October 2019
September 2019
August 2019
July 2019
June 2019
May 2019
April 2019
March 2019
February 2019
January 2019
December 2018
November 2018
October 2018
September 2018
August 2018
July 2018
June 2018
May 2018
April 2018
March 2018
February 2018
January 2018
December 2017
November 2017
October 2017
September 2017
August 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
April 2017
March 2017
February 2017
January 2017
December 2016
November 2016
October 2016
September 2016
August 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
April 2016
March 2016
February 2016
January 2016
December 2015
November 2015
October 2015
September 2015
August 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
April 2015
March 2015
February 2015
January 2015
December 2014
November 2014
October 2014
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

Magic Words
Jonathan Caws-Elwitt
Martha Brockenbrough
Gordon Meyer
Dr. Boli
Serif of Nottingblog
dbqp
Phantasmaphile
Joe Brainard's Pyjamas
Ironic Sans
Brian Sibley's Blog
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.
I Found a Penny Today, So Here’s a Thought

Today — May 28, 2020 (permalink)

Rainbows do strike those wide stances obviously meant to look impressive.  It's a pretty big problem.  From The Gateway, 1979.
#rainbow #vintage headline
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


Two quick things. 
1. Proof that advertising works?  The figure from American's 1985 yearbook (pictured top) seems to be emulating the newspaper ad (pictured bottom).  However, he didn't get the brand with "tips," perhaps worried that, contrary to the promises, even putting just "the tip" into your mouth may trigger questions about one's sexual orientation.
2. Note the bizarre ad copy: "Paused.  Reflected.  Then paused again.  And reflected again.  Then paused.  Then reflected.  Paused once more."  For people who need to inhale expensive smoke in order for their consciousness to blink in and out?  (Sad.)  The story of the ad (spoiler) is that it took him that long to look at his test scores and see that he passed.  We'd say he had already scored when he put the tip in his mouth.  But that's between him and his psychiatrist and is technically none of our business. 
[By the way, Mr. Copy Writer, we noticed the "Graham Watt" wordplay.  How many grams of nicotine are lit up like units of watt power?  Not bad.]
#vintage ad #smoking #vintage yearbook #mustache #cigarette #vintage man
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


One encounters so few haunted bookstores anymore (at least ones that advertise their hauntedness).  Our favorite haunted bookstore, in Louisiana (a derelict building now, shown here), allowed patrons to take any haunted book away for every two haunted books they brought in.  Just imagine — books so accursed, so jinxed, that the proprietor was willing to receive two haunted books of unknown provenance just to rid himself of one.  Perhaps his unnaturally possessed stock, by the fine print of some diabolical bargain, could only be voluntarily taken and not sold.  Perhaps that's why that haunted bookstore allowed trades.  From The Martlet, 1976.
#vintage ad #haunted #bookstore
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


"The worst is yet to come."  From Woroni, 1987.
#pessimism #worst is yet to come
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 26, 2020 (permalink)

These are the simplest instructions we've encountered for instantly becoming your own walking gallery of art.  From Woroni, 1973.
#art #art object
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 25, 2020 (permalink)

"It's doubtful even to know where to start.  The end."  From Woroni, 1963.
#the end #vintage headline
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 24, 2020 (permalink)

A mirage of a pyramid.  From Flapdoodle by Alvin Schwartz.
#vintage illustration #sphinx #pyramid
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


"You never know women."  From The Film Daily, 1926.
#vintage headline #women
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


It's disconcerting when headlines tell you to go to hell but then immediately ask you a question about a hearse.  From The Text newspaper, 1972.
#vintage headline #go to hell
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 23, 2020 (permalink)

We, too, use glowing binoculars for our lesser-believed witnessings.  The phrase "lesser-believed witnessings" is a Googlewhack, which just goes to show you how unbelievable our days are.  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1985.
#ufo #binoculars
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


From the very surprisingly rare and expensive Winning with Witchcraft by Jean Williams.
#witchcraft
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 22, 2020 (permalink)

It's quite obviously either a helpcopter or a weather balloon.  Granted, it might also be a lightning bolt or a meteor.  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1990.
#ufo
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 21, 2020 (permalink)

"Plugging into things you can't explain."  Well, it's a living.  From UFO Newsclipping Service, 1985.
#vintage headline #unexplained
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 20, 2020 (permalink)

Rudolf Nureyev says, "If sometimes you are being very much like me, always on the going-round, so what to that, do as I tell you and altogether celebrate this."  From Woroni, 1974.
#misquotation #nureyev
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


You're right — someone translated "Humpty Dumpty" into Latin.  From Ethos, 1963.
#humpty dumpty #Latin
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 19, 2020 (permalink)

So sad to see old headlines that history proved false.  From The Gateway, 1978.
#canada #vintage headline
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


We need a refresher on this.  The Life Power and How to Use It by Elizabeth Towne, 1906.
#vital force #life force #life power
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 18, 2020 (permalink)

"Old things should be used for their intended purpose."  From Good or Bad Design? by Odd Brochmann.
#vintage illustration #ghost #antique
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest


That Most Notorious Number, 666:

Taking a Metaphor Literally

A mischievous friend in Las Vegas asked for our take on the Number of the Beast, 666.  Our first sentence is a beast in itself, but bear with us:, for we'll address the perverse, diabolical importance of taking metaphors literally:
We’re reminded by Prof. Thomas Peterson that a religious symbol can be a medium for transcendence, framing as it does the cosmological boundaries of a spiritual threshold, when it operates as a riddle (an interrogative metaphor) that actively engages one in a life-long quest for meaning.
Solutions to religious enigmas are never simple, Peterson notes, for they must bridge domains of ever-changing human experiences.  The best puzzles take one beyond purely literal meanings and into ever-deeper metaphorical unities; momentarily solved, they become more profoundly mysterious as they embrace greater ranges of everyday life.  There is always some aspect that continues to haunt the religious seeker, especially during periods of crisis.  These riddles destroy simplistic and literal interpretations of the sacred (“Initiation Rite as Riddle,” Journal of Ritual Studies, Jan. 1987, p. 73).
In light of Prof. Peterson’s insights into the riddles of sacred initiation, we see the great enigma of the Number of the Beast as another invitation to discover profoundly deeper meaning.  The riddle concerning the number “six hundred threescore and six” has a devastatingly simple solution that Wikipedia, once again, manages to overlook.  It involves absolutely no mathematics but rather the spelling of the Hebrew numbers—in a bit of wordplay, the syllables express a person’s name as well as numbers.  Be that as it may, ancient riddles take on a special mystique over the centuries, and that’s a marvelous thing.  The number of the beast in the Book of Revelation is a metaphor, but to solve it is to dissolve it.  If, instead, we take that metaphor literally, we preserve the riddle as a possible tool for transcendence.
Granted, the party line is that taking metaphors literally is “absurd,” a “fallacy,” “nonsensical,” “stupid,” “dangerous,” even “a cardinal sin.”
Yet, there’s a word in poetry for taking metaphors literally—“reification,” bringing something abstract into realization.
If they hadn’t taken metaphors literally, we’d have none of Kafka’s timeless visions, nor Lewis Carroll’s or Edward Lear's, nor any of the world’s great legends.  What if we don't say, “the beast of Revelation symbolizes this” or “the number 666 decodes as that.”  What if we say, as in the scripture, a beast is a number of a man?  Remember, the verse begins, “Here is wisdom.”  Where might the wisdom of 666 take us?
#metaphor #book of revelation #biblical #666 #number of the beast
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest

May 17, 2020 (permalink)

A truthful headline!  From Woroni, 1978.
#lies #vintage headline
Tumblr Twitter Facebook Pinterest



Page 1 of 60

> Older Entries...

Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.