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.

April 22, 2020 (permalink)

I dreamed of star-gazing.

"Punctstellations" by Gary Barwin.  See full size.
#punctuation #constellation #gary barwin
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June 10, 2019 (permalink)

I deamed of "the great question-mark of Europe."  (Headline from Current Opinion, 1922.  See Divination by Punctuation.)
#vintage illustration #question mark #vintage headline
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March 11, 2019 (permalink)

I dreamed of my alma mater.  [From Colorado College's 1928 yearbook.]
#vintage yearbook #question mark #exclamation point
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October 18, 2017 (permalink)

I dreamed that certain questions came to a head.

From Fliegende Blätter, 1926.
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #question mark
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September 23, 2016 (permalink)

I dreamed a friend and I went fishing.
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July 26, 2016 (permalink)

I dreamed I read chapter 22.  (From Judy, Or The London Serio-Comic Journal, 1877.)
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I dreamed of a vagabond's mustache.
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June 14, 2016 (permalink)

I dreamed of a mysterious letter.

From The Boston Cooking School Magazine of Culinary Science and Domestic Economics, 1913.
#question mark #envelope
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February 16, 2016 (permalink)

I dreamed of a winking face that reminded me of an emoticon I once knew.

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January 18, 2016 (permalink)

I dreamed my journal was exceprt'd [sic] in a book by Jennifer DeVere Brody: Punctuation: Art, Politics, and Play, 2008.  It was really a dream within a dream, as my journal was on a screen within a printed page.  And two typos mysteriously appeared in my text (a misspelled word, a missing comma), making it all feel so uncanny.

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January 17, 2016 (permalink)

I dreamed of Wodehousian inquisitive eyebrows.
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April 1, 2015 (permalink)

I dreamt I met the author of six asterisks.

#asterisks #vintage book
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March 22, 2015 (permalink)

I dreamed of the evolution of the exclamation mark.

—Ohio University's Athena, 1893.
#vintage illustration #exclamation mark #punctuation #art
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November 26, 2014 (permalink)

(From My Northern Exposure: The Kawa At the Pole by Walter E. Traprock, 1922.  Thanks, Jonathan Caws-Elwitt!)
#question mark
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December 22, 2013 (permalink)

I dreamed of snowflakes and kisses under the mistletoe.

(A visual poem from Puck, 1883.)
#vintage illustration #visual poetry #asterisks #mistletoe
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July 24, 2013 (permalink)

#alphabet #vintage #letters
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March 19, 2013 (permalink)

An exclamation mark from Life, 1912.
I dreamed about a mouse.
#vintage illustration #exclamation mark #exclamation point #mouse #eek
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February 27, 2013 (permalink)

I dreamed of a ten-cent emotion in a fifty-dollar frame.

From Life magazine, 1912.
#vintage illustration #question mark
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February 26, 2013 (permalink)

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February 18, 2013 (permalink)

I dreamed again I was allowed to marry another semicolon.  Our wedding was conducted by San Francisco Superior Court Judge James Warren, who kept saying, "I am not trying to be petty here, but it is a big deal ... That semicolon is a big deal."

Later that night, I dreamed that I discussed my marriage with Rick Boyer, who said: "Like punctuation marks, milestones break up, to a degree, the continuity of daily experience.  And like those little black marks, they add dimensions to the text of our lives, extra meaning that otherwise we would fail to read.  Nate's upcoming wedding day, like a speed bump, to some degree sneaked up on us despite the fact that we've been looking forward to it.  What is it about weddings, anyway?  You have one marked on the calendar for perhaps a year or two; yet, two weeks before the event all is madness and pandemonium as both families scramble to get ready. ... Our coming 'big day' reminds me that milestones - those punctuation marks of life - are liberally dispersed for all and that life is not one uninterrupted stream but a book with a beginning and an end.  It has sentences and paragraphs, set apart by punctuation marks, that add up to chapters which sometimes we don't recognize as such until looking back later over the nearly completed manuscript."
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