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.

October 4, 2019 (permalink)

#vintage illustration #political cartoon #art #uncle sam #piano #jerry lee lewis #melting piano
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October 1, 2019 (permalink)

Those annoying headlines that presume to know your knowledge gaps … they're nothing new.  This headline is from the Muhlenberg Weekly, 1938.
#vintage headline
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September 30, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to "Sunglasses at Night."
From Nebelspalter, 1916.
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #clock #night #sunglasses at night
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September 25, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to David Lynch's comic strip "The Angriest Dog in the World," about a dog "so angry he cannot move; he cannot eat; he cannot sleep; he can just barely growl; bound so tightly with tension and anger, he approaches the state of rigor mortis."  This vintage angriest dog appears in Johns Hopkins' 1895 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #dog #vintage yearbook #angriest dog
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September 18, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Annie Dillard's marvelous Teaching a Stone to Talk.  It's the "Voice of a Pebble" in The Voices by Warren Sumner Barlow, 1870.
#teaching a stone to talk #pebble
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September 17, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a way to experience that levitating legless chair, but with no chair at all!
From Millikin's 1930 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #1930s #vintage men #lap sitting
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September 16, 2019 (permalink)

Dancing the jitterbug, we presume, but this was over 30 years before Cab Calloway's song "Jitterbug."  
From the State Female Normal School, Farmville, Va.'s 1902 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #vintage yearbook #insects #dancing bugs #bugs #dancing insects #jitterbug
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September 13, 2019 (permalink)

At first glance, we thought she was flying and a precursor to Mary Poppins.  From Nebelspalter, 1917.
#vintage illustration #mary poppins
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Here's a precursor to the "booze cruise."  From Lustige Blätter, 1905.
#vintage illustration #ship #art #alcohol #giant bottle #booze cruise
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September 11, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the pedal exercisers for one's armchair or desk.  From Le Charivari, 1890.
#vintage illustration #cycling #exercise
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Here's a precursor to Wednesday Addams and her Marie Antoinette doll.  From Nebelspalter, 1917.
#vintage illustration #severed head #addams family #doll #wednesday addams #marie antoinette
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September 8, 2019 (permalink)

There's a precursor to the TV show phenomenon of "Jumping the Shark" (of course named after the Season 5 episode of Happy Days in which Fonzie waterskied over a shark and thus outed the writers as having run out of ideas).  It's what we might call "Unchaining the Monkey."  Of the classic sitcoms we revisit, Bewitched lasted the very longest before throwing in the towel amd ushering in a chimp.  That show made it deep into Season 5 before giving up.  The worst offender, though the one show with the very best excuse, was Gilligan's Island, which made it only two episodes before going ape.  But at least the jungle island setting made the casting seem less desperate.  Frankly, the most painful offender of this bunch is Hogan's Heroes: a chimp supposedly having escaped from a zoo nearby the German prisoner of war camp is dressed up and becomes history's most reliable courier of the Underground resistance movement.  It's tearfully unfunny.

Classic sitcoms in order of ability to delay the monkey:

  1. Gilligan's Island - "Voodoo Something to Me," Season 1, Episode 3
  2. The Addams Family - "Morticia Joins the Ladies League," Season 1, Episode 6
  3. The Munsters - "Come Back, Little Googie," Season 1, Episode 25
  4. Green Acres - "Horse, What Horse?" Season 1, Episode 29
  5. I Dream of Jeannie - "Fly Me to the Moon," Season 3, Episode 1
  6. Hogan's Heroes - "Monkey Business," Season 3, Episode 29
  7. The Beverly Hillbillies - "The Gorilla," Season 5, Episode 6
  8. Bewitched - "Going Ape," Season 5, Episode 22
Honorable mention: Monkee Davy Jones appeared on The Brady Bunch in "Getting Davy Jones" (Season 3, Episode 12).  This honorable mention notwithstanding, we respectfully disgree with TVTropes that "Everything's Better with Monkeys."
#monkey #chimp #television #tvland #class sitcoms #going ape
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August 30, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to "the question mark of Damocles" (Saul Tanpepper, Occupied).  From North Texas' 1918 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #cutlery #question mark #fork
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Here's a precursor to the non-surgical, instant results promised by How to Be Your Own Cat.  From Le Journal Pour Rire, 1852.
#vintage illustration #art #hybrid #human headed #cat man
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August 29, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Doomsday Clock (supposedly invented in 1947, but we know better, eh?).  From Nebelspalter, 1915.
#vintage illustration #war and peace #doomsday clock
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August 26, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the book Golfing With God.  "He Combines Christianity and Golf."  From The Link, 1967.
#christianity #golf #vintage headline
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August 20, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to Laura Palmer's "meanwhile" pose in Twin Peaks.  From Salem's 1960 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #Twin Peaks #laura palmer
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August 16, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to The Fly.  From Hamilton's 1896 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #hybrid #human insect #bug man
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August 15, 2019 (permalink)

The so-called "news" that technology changes us was actually fresh back in 1889.  In this panel, the length of a man's legs adapts to the height of his pennyfarthing, and another man's ears have grown bigger due to his use of the telephone.  From Le Charivari, 1889.
#vintage illustration #big ears #technology #pennyfarthing
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August 13, 2019 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the song "Mind is a Mountain" by The Get Ahead.
Meanwhile, "The freight train in my head morphed into the clanging of alarm bells" (Bernard Beitman, Connecting with Coincidence).
Illustration from Nebelspalter, 1914.
#vintage illustration #locomotive #mind is a mountain #mountain brain #mountain head
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Original Content Copyright © 2019 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.