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.
This May Surprise You

October 11, 2019 (permalink)

Satan's Invisible World Displayed by William Thomas Stead, 1897.
#vintage illustration #satan #art #invisible world
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October 4, 2019 (permalink)

We encountered and determined the cause of a temporal anomaly in the scenic city of Chattanooga, Tennessee.  A clock at the old train station (transmogrified into a hotel) displays an incorrect time.  As constant investigators of such phenomena, we saw that the source of the problem was adjacent to the clock.  The famous Chattanooga Choo Choo itself, now permanently inoperative and displayed as a monument, is the cause of the station clock's inaccuracy, the effect being magnified by another nearby train car (converted into an escape room) with the emblazoned words "Can you escape in time?"  Though the cause is simple enough, great mysteries yet abound, for how could a frozen train, formerly famous for keeping to timetables, be so disruptive?

#time #anomaly #chattanooga #chattanooga choo-choo
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September 27, 2019 (permalink)

Demons technically couldn’t have invented jazz, since jazz has never existed (Stephen Longstreet, The Real Jazz, Old and New, 1969).  (Demon headline via Yesterday's Print.)
#demon #vintage headline #jazz
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September 26, 2019 (permalink)

Nearly forgotten today -- the chemical composition of a halo.  From Johns Hopkins' 1895 yearbook.
#vintage illustration #vintage yearbook #halo #chemistry
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You know of "secondhand smoke," but what's rarely acknowledged is that the second hand is one's shadow's.  From Northeastern's 1925 yearbook. 
#vintage illustration #smoking #shadow #vintage yearbook #golf #smoker #secondhand smoke
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September 23, 2019 (permalink)

Finally, a headline we can believe.  "Foods are from around the world."  From Stoutiana, 1916.
#vintage headline #food
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September 22, 2019 (permalink)

"Devil's delight" priestesses and a fire ritual, both on the newspaper's front page.  From Stoutiana, 1916.
#devil #occult #fire #fire ceremony #bonfire #satanic #vintage news
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September 18, 2019 (permalink)

"The movies aren't drama, they aren't literature—they're pure mathematics." —Christopher Isherwood, Prater Violet*
*Though we like that particular line, Prater Violet is what today we'd call a blog post, not a novel by any definition of that word.  Anything this light, this flimsy, ought at least to be satirical or outright funny.  One might be tempted to say that the book is, at the very least, an inoffensive slice of life, yet in the end it actually does offend.  And that is because of its central lie.  Isherwood portrays himself in the story as a struggling screenwriter, but he hasn't the imagination to conceive of any legitimate role that his character has been hired to do.  In other words, why is he being paid to be a day-and-night companion to an Austrian film director?  Not as a screenwriter (the film's story has already been written; at most, Isherwood serves as a text doctor, but that's hardly a 24-hours-a-day, months-on-end job).  No -- in fact, what is blazing obvious is that Isherwood was assigned not to a writing job but as a spy/minder of the director.  He portrays his character as being an artist, but in fact he's a government spook.  The dishonesty is disgusting.  We love a good, honest spy story -- but this is a spy story that believes its own cover story and expects the reader to be stupid enough to follow along like an idiot dog.
#isherwood #prater violet
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"Women play sexual roles."  A headline from the Kansas State Collegian, 1975.
#sexism #vintage headline #women #lol #sexual roles
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September 16, 2019 (permalink)

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.  Here's a great example, in which the asterisks are sparkling stars in a cloudy sky, from The Will-o'-the-Wisp by Marie Petersen, 1874.
#asterisk
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September 12, 2019 (permalink)

The dead are encouraged to plan for the future.  From McGill Daily, 1978.
#sphinx #egypt #pyramid #dead #vintage headline #dying #vintage news #weird news
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September 10, 2019 (permalink)

"It's a funny thing about circles that they have a focal point, and if you stand in the middle, things get bounced back in a strange way."  From The Justice newspaper (Brandeis), 1992.
#quotation #circles #bouncing off
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September 9, 2019 (permalink)

#angel #vintage book #fallen angel
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September 8, 2019 (permalink)

If you like to inhale chemicals, you have what it takes.  From The Justice newspaper (Brandeis), 1992.
#vintage headline #chemicals
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September 6, 2019 (permalink)

"Two fruits turn to vegetables."  A headline from the Kansas State Collegian, 1975.
#vintage headline #fruit #vegetable
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September 5, 2019 (permalink)

You knew that the press was moribund, but here's a 1978 newspaper that committed suicide and then reported on its own death. It's The [Late] Clarion Call, 1978.
#vintage headline #weird news #strange news
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September 4, 2019 (permalink)

Literature is preserved in honey.  Our proof: The Honey Jar, 1909.
#vintage illustration #bees #honey
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August 31, 2019 (permalink)

There were once so many Shakespearean actors that the news catered to them.  This is true in at least one parallel universe.  The headline reads, "Former courting customs should interest 'Romeos.'"  From The Kentucky Kernel, 1953.
#vintage headline
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August 28, 2019 (permalink)

From the Etownian, 1958.
#vintage headline #noncomformist #noncomformity #self-righteous #closed minds
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You've heard of "silent pictures," but talkies are mute, too.  From Theodor W. Adorno and Hanns Eisler, "Music and the Film," in Marxism and Art (1973).
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Original Content Copyright © 2019 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.