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.
The Right Word

July 3, 2021 (permalink)

The six-bit word meaning "death" is complacency.  From The Film Daily, 1944.
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June 24, 2021 (permalink)

"Spelled backwards, stressed means desserts."  From Olivet Nazarene's 1992 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #dessert #vintage headline
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May 20, 2021 (permalink)

"You are heded [sic] for HELL!"  From William and Mary's 1986 yearbook.
#hell #vintage photo #vintage yearbook #sign #misspelling
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May 9, 2021 (permalink)

From To Heaven with the Devil by Harold Elvin, 1914. 
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May 5, 2021 (permalink)

Here's a rare magic spell for conjuring a mermaid.  From The Witch Family by Eleanor Estes and illustrated by Edward Ardizzone.
#magick #magic spell #mermaid #occult
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May 3, 2021 (permalink)

"She returned his stare."  From Indiana University's 1913 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #wordplay #vintage yearbook #pun #stairs
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April 11, 2021 (permalink)

"Pardon my asking if you like to read."  From Hoenshel's Complete English Grammar, 1897.
#reading #sentence diagram
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April 6, 2021 (permalink)

"Your thought is a fortress that neither gale nor the lightning can skake [sic]."  From Belmont Abbey's 1973 yearbook.
#vintage photo #vintage yearbook
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March 31, 2021 (permalink)

Great asterisk to mark the "poetic license."  This is the very first grammatical irregularity we've noticed that a yearbook editor was also aware of.  From Rhode Island State's 1907 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #poem
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March 19, 2021 (permalink)

Reblog if you're the queen of communication.  From Language Arts Curriculum Guide (ERIC ED102570), 1973.
#vintage illustration #crown #queen #communication #language arts
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March 18, 2021 (permalink)

If one must spell "tomorrow" with two m's and only one r, fancy calligraphy helps ever-so-slightly.  From Cleveland County Technical Institute's 1980 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #misspelling
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March 2, 2021 (permalink)

"'Must' is a word I do not recognize."  Actually, most everyone at Collinwood, like Bartleby, would prefer not to, as we proved here.  It's more like Collin-wouldn't.  From Dark Shadows episode 641.
#dark shadows
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February 25, 2021 (permalink)

"You slide the mask down the page until you see a new row of ___."
As we proved previously, it's a bizarre and wonderful phenomenon that whenever you see rows of asterisks in a book, they invariably illustrate the text either following or preceding them.
From a 1968 education monograph.
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February 22, 2021 (permalink)

A tombstone-worthy sentence diagram: "If an inscription be put upon my tomb, it may be this."  From Manual and Diagrams to Accompany Metcalf's Grammars, 1901.
#sentence diagram #tombstone #epitaph
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February 17, 2021 (permalink)

From The George Washington Ghost, 1926.
#poetry #wordless #blank verse
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February 9, 2021 (permalink)

"Sweet it is to have done the thing one ought."  From Hoenshel's Complete English Grammar, 1897.
#sentence diagram
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February 2, 2021 (permalink)

"We drink that wine all day, till the last drop is drained up; and are lighted off to bed by the jewels in the cup."  From Manual and Diagrams to Accompany Metcalf's Grammars, 1901.
#sentence diagram #wine
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January 23, 2021 (permalink)

You've heard of "letters to the editor," and here they are -- a, b, c, and z.  From Avila's 1970 yearbook.  For what those individual letters actually mean, see One-Letter Words: A Dictionary.
#letter to the editor #vintage yearbook
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January 17, 2021 (permalink)

"How far that little candle throws its beams."  From Manual and Diagrams to Accompany Metcalf's Grammars, 1901
#sentence diagram #candle #light in darkness
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January 15, 2021 (permalink)

"It makes a girl feel all creepy, having all that hocus pocus said over her."  From Dark Shadows episode 874.
#magic words #hocus pocus #dark shadows
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