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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Yesterday — June 3, 2020 (permalink)

Learning perhaps ought to quit sleeping and snoring so as to grasp how to properly pluralize "library."  From National-Louis' 1969 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #library #plural
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May 30, 2020 (permalink)

"In the wilds of fiery climes he made himself a home, and his soul drank their sunbeams."  From Manual and Diagrams to Accompany Metcalf's Grammars, 1901.
#sentence diagram
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May 29, 2020 (permalink)

"I wish something that rhymes with boat would strike me."  From Otterbein's 1911 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #poet #goat #vintage yearbook
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We use measuring tape as a bookmark so that we're always ready for big words.  From The Film Daily, 1937.  See Webster's Dictionary of Improbable Words: All-Consonant and All-Vowel Words.
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #lion #dictionary #smart animal #big word
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May 27, 2020 (permalink)

You noticed that words don't seem to mean anything anymore, and you've wondered whether some things might be better in Canada ... but these headlines from 1970s Canada offer no comfort: shooters use blades, the moon's a balloon, purse-snatchers want wallets, and funkly fiddlers are jazzy.  We give up.
#vintage headline
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May 24, 2020 (permalink)

We, too, use three straws when we h-ss-c-c-s-l-r-r-p.  For more all-consonant words (essential for word gamers!) see Webster's Dictionary of Improbable Words: All-Consonant and All-Vowel Words.
From Colorado College's 1940 yearbook.
#vintage photo #vintage yearbook #straws
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May 20, 2020 (permalink)

"Student dislikes adverbs."  From The Gateway, 1976.
#vintage headline #adverb
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May 18, 2020 (permalink)

The headline reads, "When the whichness of the what is really only a well-drained drip" (The Gateway, 1970).  While reminding ourselves of the origin of "the whichness of the what," we encountered these variations:
The whichness of the what and abstract ain'tness of the not, and the correctness of the is.
(Norris Clarion Sprigg, Sprigs of Poetry, 1907)
The Whichness of the What, as compared to the Thatness of the Thus.
(G. E. Farrow, The Wallypug of Why, 1895)
The whichness of the what and the whitherness of the wherefore.
(Elsie Lincoln Benedict & Ralph Paine Benedict, How to Analyze People on Sight, 1921)
The whichness of the what and whereforeness of the why.
(The Evening Statesman, 1903)
The whichness of the what—the howness of the when—the whereness of the whatever.
(The Gateway, 1930)
The whichness of the what of which nothing is any whicher.
(Eben Leavitt, 1938)
The Whyness of the Wherefore and the Whichness of the What.
(Georgetown Daily, 1909)
The whichness of the what and all that sort of thing.
(Buffalo Morning Express, 1919)
#vintage headline #whichness
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May 14, 2020 (permalink)

That "living on velvet" is now an antiquated expression leaves us "crushed."  From Film Daily, 1935.
#vintage illustration #velvet
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May 13, 2020 (permalink)

It's "s'more" or "finis," depending on how you look at it.  From Swarthmore's 1895 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #topsy turvy
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May 12, 2020 (permalink)

"L is not a letter I care very much for," says Prof. Stokes in Dark Shadows.  See what you think of L's many meanings, in One-Letter Words: A Dictionary.
#dark shadows #letter l
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May 9, 2020 (permalink)

The Scarlet Letter is defined in One-Letter Words: A Dictionary.  From The Film Daily, 1926.
#vintage illustration #letter a #scarlet letter
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May 7, 2020 (permalink)

For spellworkers only: a sorceress we know from the fire ceremonies at the Goddess Temple in the Nevada desert, Abigail Spinner McBride, has premiered our Kabbalistic magic spell against the coronavirus.  The video clip is 3 minutes long, and the link to Youtube should begin at 32:16: video.
#magic spell
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May 5, 2020 (permalink)

A “glompf” sort of day appears in “Epitaph For a Tombstone Day” by Loraine DiPietro, in Ethos, 1963.
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The Big U says, quoting Kina's "Get You the Moon":
You are, you are,
Oh, you are,
Oh, you are,
You are.
Note that the Big U may have misheard the lyrics as three one-letter words: "O, U, R."
The Big U is from Wid's Daily, 1919.
#vintage illustration #anthropomorphism #letter u
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April 30, 2020 (permalink)

"You will greatly oblige me by sending those books."  From Manual and Diagrams to Accompany Metcalf's Grammars, 1901.
#books #literacy #sentence diagram #send books
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A rarely seen word -- "fozzled."  From The Film Daily, 1926.
#vintage headline #fozzled
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We, too, have been to collage and are therefore less easily fooled (though, admittedly, we find ourselves stuck to various materials).  From Wake Forest's 1969 yearbook.
#collage #sign
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April 19, 2020 (permalink)

A headline of all-consonant words!  We had to consult Webster's Dictionary of Improbable Words: All-Consonant and All-Vowel Words.  (Just because we wrote it doesn't mean we memorized it!)  From Innis Herald, 1984.
#vintage headline #all-consonant word
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April 17, 2020 (permalink)

The word "gleebus" is very rare, with fewer than 90 Google results.  As shown here, a gleebus is the creature that eats telephone receivers.  From UNC Chapel Hill's 1963 yearbook.
#vintage yearbook #telephone
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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.