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.

Found 11 posts tagged ‘asterisk’

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.
> read more from The Right Word . . .
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October 6, 2020 (permalink)

An asterisk of time?  It's a phenomenon!  This one is yellowish, but there's a black asterisk of time, too: "In the black asterisk of time that I did not remember until now, right now" (Stephanie Gangi, The Next: A Novel).  Photo courtesy of temporal anomaly investigator Neil Hester.
> read more from Temporal Anomalies . . .
#timepiece #clock #asterisk #temporal anomaly
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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.
> read more from This May Surprise You . . .
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September 5, 2018 (permalink)

Use an ellipsis and then four asterisks to tactfully change the subject.  From The Judge, 1921.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#vintage illustration #asterisk #ellipsis #change the subject
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October 25, 2017 (permalink)

Columns of asterisks, as if depicting the mention of blood pouring freely as water.  From Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland by Thomas Crofton Croker, 1828.  By the way, we translate typography like this in our highly unusual book Annotated Ellipses.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#typography #asterisk #blood
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August 31, 2017 (permalink)

This sounds like our last 2 years: "The candle went out—and— * * * * * *"  From New Adventures of Alice by John Rae, 1917.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
#candle #asterisk
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February 26, 2017 (permalink)

"The author was suffering from a combination of evils, want of rest and want of money being predominant."  From English Illustrated, 1907.
Is the cure a dose of ink?  (English Illustrated, 1890).
[Inexplicable images from generations ago invite us to restore the lost sense of immediacy.  We follow the founder of the Theater of Spontaneity, Jacob Moreno, who proposed stringing together "now and then flashes" to unfetter illusion and let imagination run free.  The images we have collected for this series came at a tremendous price, which we explained previously.]
> read more from Restoring the Lost Sense . . .
#vintage illustration #starving artist #asterisk #writing life
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August 4, 2016 (permalink)

Here's a precursor to the Seinfeld episode "The Contest," which features the euphemism "master of my domain."  The text reads, "As he lay down in his bed he exclaimed, under his breath, 'Master of the Situation!'"  From Once a Week, 1870.
> read more from Precursors . . .
#asterisk #euphemism #seinfeld #master of my domain
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August 5, 2015 (permalink)

Here's how to harness the power of an asterisk, from How to Hoodoo Hack a Yearbook.

> read more from Yearbook Weirdness . . .
#vintage yearbook #hoodoo #asterisk #polaris #last word
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February 5, 2013 (permalink)

Our Favorite Asterisk of All Time?

Check out the very special asterisk in this little verse from The Wonder Clock by Howard Pyle, 1887.  It stands for the word gloom (in all fairness, how much clarity can we expect of gloominess?) even as it concentrates what little light there is into a gleam in a house cat's eye.  Is the asterisk here a genuine example of visual poetry, or did the typesetter run out of space and improvise grandly?  We don't care, as the result stands.  (Note that we hunted down what would appear to be the web's only other gloomy asterisk, if only to give the cat's other eye a twinkle.)

"Asterisk + Gloom," a photo by Richard Weston, appears here in the context of literary analysis.
> read more from I Found a Penny Today, So Here's a Thought . . .
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January 16, 2009 (permalink)

From Prof. Oddfellow's sketchbook:

Printed collections of Forgotten Wisdom diagrams are available: Volume I from Mindful Greetings and Volumes II, III and IV from Amazon.  Selected posters are also available via Zazzle.
> read more from Forgotten Wisdom . . .
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Original Content Copyright © 2020 by Craig Conley. All rights reserved.