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.

What's In a Name

October 6, 2019 (permalink)

The book Women and Laughter by Frances B. Gray (1994) does not exist, as explained in its introduction.

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April 6, 2019 (permalink)

The forbidden sandwich.  From Living Alone by Stella Benson, 1920.
#vintage illustration #forbidden #sandwich #chapter title
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October 29, 2018 (permalink)

A funny name and a Googlewhack -- "Hieronymus Alphabet Tuttle."  From Daily Tar Heel, 1946.
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September 2, 2018 (permalink)

The implication of this book title, Cat Spelled Backwards Doesn't Spell God, is that D-O-G spelled backwards is God.  Yet contrary to common belief, that's wrong.  "No, I don’t think that Dog is God spelled backwards" says Roberta Lee, DD., PhD., ND.  Plus, keep in mind that "a word spelled backwards is not a name, and furthermore, if it's a wonderful word spelled backwards, does that [not] imply that the name is the opposite of the wonderful word?  Don't do this" (Duana Taha, The Name Therapist, 2016).
#cat #dog spelled backwards
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August 30, 2018 (permalink)

You already knew "there's no i in team."  But did you ever notice the i in me?  The I In Me by Cynthia Cox, 2011.
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August 18, 2018 (permalink)

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November 25, 2017 (permalink)

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October 18, 2017 (permalink)

Jo Nesbo quoted in The Reading Group Insider, 2011.
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August 29, 2017 (permalink)

Sometimes chapter 2 is actually chapter 1, especially when the book is being dreamed.  From New Adventures of Alice by John Rae, 1917
#book chapter #dreamed book
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August 23, 2017 (permalink)

Though Isis Unveiled was already taken by Helena Petrovna Blavatsky, one Fydell Edmund Garrett liked the title very much and so added "very much" to his purloinment.  But were they both inspired by Godfrey Higgins' more esoteric title from three years before Blavatsky's publication?  Anacalypsis, an Attempt to Draw Aside the Veil of the Saitic Isis.  (Higgins' title even has an inkblot in the scan we found.)
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July 7, 2017 (permalink)

The explanation for The Spirit of Buncle (1823) is downright alchemical.
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June 7, 2017 (permalink)

Here's the unglamorous explanation of the title Odd Moments; or Time Beguiled (1825).
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June 6, 2017 (permalink)

It's an easy sort of error, mistaking a hospital for the insane with a university's art department.  From Canadian Horticulture and Home Magazine, 1897.
#insane #art department #art building #vintage typo
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June 5, 2017 (permalink)

The heir to castles in the air is one John Putkins, census-taker, as revealed in Putkins, Heir to Castles in the Air, A Comic Drama in One Act by William R. Emerson, 1871.

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Here's some relationship outsourcing: "Hell Upon Earth" Made Heaven, or The Marriage Secrets of a Chicago Contractor as told to Rev. George Washington Savory, 1907.  See The Collected Lost Meanings of Wedlock.
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June 2, 2017 (permalink)

Before Tennessee Williams gave characters names like Sissy Goforth, there was Cozi Toobad of 1849. 
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May 23, 2017 (permalink)

"Snizzlewoots Wally and how he got over it."  From Ambition magazine, 1915.
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May 5, 2017 (permalink)

It's a name you can't forget!  Phreno-Mnemotechny, 1845.
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April 12, 2017 (permalink)

It's been said that silence cannot be translated, but here's an exception.
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April 9, 2017 (permalink)

Here's A Book Without a Title by George Jean Nathan, 1918.  Its epigraph offers some explanation and/or confession: "'Titles of books: Decoys to catch purchasers.' —Chatfield."  Previously, we stumbled upon this other book that was printed without a title.
#untitled #no title #old book
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