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.
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A Turkish Delight of musings on languages, deflations of metaphysics, vauntings of arcana, and great visual humor.
Rhetorical Questions, Answered!

July 30, 2019 (permalink)

"Do you like pumpkins?  Are you creative?  Do you like money?"  Yes.  From the Kansas State Collegian, 1975.
#vintage ad #halloween #october #pumpkins #hallowe'en #vintage headline
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July 24, 2019 (permalink)

Q: Where did the time go?
A: "It’s here there and everywhere." —Colin Hay, "Are We There Yet?" Next Year People (2015)
#time
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July 14, 2019 (permalink)

Will history repeat?  How to put this delicately?  Before a newspaper could answer any questions, it would first have to take its head out of its classifieds.  From the Villanovan newspaper, 1977.
#vintage headline #history repeating
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July 13, 2019 (permalink)

Q: "What's so great about a pyramid?" —the Villanovan newspaper, 1977.
A: "The secret that makes pyramids special is a thing called 'life force energy' that surrounds all living things. Believe it or not, it is also found in the geometric shape of pyramids." —Lee Cusano
#pyramid #vintage headline
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July 7, 2019 (permalink)

The answer to this rhetorical question is, of course, "no."  From The Garden of Paradise by Edward Sheldon, 1915
#death
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June 26, 2019 (permalink)

Reblog if the Roman numeral at the top of the poem doubles as the answer to the rhetorical question.  From the Elson Primary School Reader, Book One, 1913.
#vintage illustration #merman #art #throne #tennyson #king neptune #poem
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March 20, 2019 (permalink)

From Krokodil, 1956.
#vintage illustration #art #disaffected #worried parents #they wouldn't understand
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March 15, 2019 (permalink)

"Are you 'in' or 'out'?  It depends on camp."  From The Rotunda newspaper of Longwood College, 1966.
#vintage headline #in or out #camp
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March 8, 2019 (permalink)

Yes, the gates of hell have been opened.  From The Devil's Bride by Milton H. Stine, 1910.
#vintage illustration #hell #art #gates of hell #hell on earth
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January 16, 2019 (permalink)

"Wouldn't you like a rhetorical question with that?"

"Wouldn't I!"

Jonathan Caws-Elwitt

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November 22, 2018 (permalink)

Why is it Thanksgiving has to be overshadowed by Christmas?  Because no one sets up a corn stalk in their living room and piles tons of Thanksgiving presents around it.  From Fitchburg's The Cycle newspaper, 1970.
#thanksgiving #vintage news
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November 3, 2018 (permalink)

Q: "Paris is beautiful, is it not?"  —Kings in Exile by Alphonse Daudet, 1889.
A: Not.  (Sorry, Paris.  You have great P.R., though!  It's just that there's a name for how visitors get violently ill when they visit you, "Paris Syndrome," triggered by the extreme shock over how awful you are.)
#vintage illustration #art #paris #paris syndrome
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October 29, 2018 (permalink)

Pure water a poison?  From The Literary Digest, 1899.
#poison #vintage headline #water
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September 6, 2018 (permalink)

"'May your nonexistence be so strong that it becomes a form of being,' says @prof.oddfellow. Who, not only has the secret to eternal youth, but whose presence cannot be detected by arcade fortune telling machines. Unsurprisingly his likeness was difficult to capture in paint. I think I've done it, or have I?" asks artist Clare Simmonds.
A: It's been said that an ideal portrait depicts its subject as solitary and somewhat mysterious.  "The ideal portrait should, of course, be at once a presentment of a human being grasped with perspicacity and commemorated with easy mastery, and a picture whose forms, balance, colour, and lighting form a whole that gives pleasure and satisfaction, whether the original be known or not" (E. H., 1901).  We see this portrait as a painted premonition.  The expression perfectly captures the experience of a "funny feeling."  There are zero Google results for how much an aura weighs, but we detect a slight stoop to the figure in the portrait.  It's been said that "psychic weight" is something imponderable and that it comes from opening the body to grief, turning one's face to one's own life, absorbing the failures one's parents and homeland have suffered, and handling what alchemy calls "lead."  With this portrait, you've transmuted the lead to gold.
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September 3, 2018 (permalink)

From The Shoe Workers' Journal, 1908.  The text reads, "The old question—'will wonders never cease?'—is becoming understood as a definite declaration that wonders never will cease.
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June 16, 2018 (permalink)

How many ghosts are too many?  Here's a smattering of answers.

From "The Ghost of Clare Manor" by Charles W. Wood, in The Argosy, 1890.

From "The Rival Ghosts" by Brander Matthews, in The Best Ghost Stories, 1919.

From "Olivia's Favor, a Tale of Hallowe'en," in The Living Age, 1869.

From "Queen Mary's Ghost," in Appletons' Journal, 1875.

From Canterbury Tales by Sophia Lee, 1832.

From "Mr. Punch's Spectral Analyses" in Punch or The London Charivari, 1904.

From "The Idlers' Club" by Robert Barr, in The Idler, 1904.
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June 7, 2018 (permalink)

Q: "Ghosts that glide along the shadows—canst thou conjure spirits here?  Unfamiliar forms and faces—hast thou stolen these from time?"  ("Reverie" by Rennell Rodd, in Time, A Monthly Miscellany of Interesting and Amusing Literature, 1884.)
A: Yes.
#spirits #ghosts
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February 27, 2018 (permalink)

Ironically, the question "Are you doing your own thinking?" implants an idea into the reader's mind.  So the answer, technically, has to be "no."  From The Judge, 1912.
#mind control #thought control #implanted idea #thought influence #think your own thoughts
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February 17, 2018 (permalink)

Q: Too much of everything?  (Popular Mechanics, 1934)
A: Too much of most everything, yes.
#vintage headline #too much
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January 23, 2018 (permalink)

Q: "Is this monster locomotive a 'he' or a 'she'?"  (From Popular Mechanics, 1930.)
A: Where's the cure for cancer, eh?
#vintage illustration #art #locomotive #vintage headline #big science #gender
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