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, 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.
Restoring the Lost Sense

September 9, 2014 (permalink)

An illustration from The Star of the Sea by N. Gregor (1897).  The caption reads: "Sometimes he was heard returning to this world, shrieking in his passage through the air, and reascending to the skies again."

September 8, 2014 (permalink)

"She clung to the bedpost with her claw-like hands," from Ghostly Tales by Wilhelmina Fitzclarence, 1896.

The pen is mightier than the [s]word-smith.  From Le Chemin des Écoliers by X. B. Saintine, 1861.

An illustration from Paris Depuis Ses Origines Jusqu'en Ll'an 3000 by Léo Claretie (1886).

An illustration from A Bid for Fortune by Guy Newell Boothby (1895).  The caption reads: "Tell me what we are to do!"

September 7, 2014 (permalink)

"Wrestling in darkness of soul," from Kate Carnegie by Ian Maclaren, 1896.

From The Ingoldsby Legends by Thomas Ingoldsby and illustrated by George Cruikshank, 1866.

An illustration from Fair Diana by Wanderer, illustrated by Georgina Bowers (1884).

An illustration from Sing Song by Christina Georgina Rossetti (1893).

September 6, 2014 (permalink)

"They each sat watching their money."  From The Phantom Ship by Frederick Marryat and illustrated by H. R. Millar, 1896.

An illustration from Jack in the Box by Robert Ellice Mack (1888).

September 5, 2014 (permalink)

"These experiments re-invoke puppetry's recurrent philosophical issues: what constitutes a puppet?  What is human agency?" —The Routledge Companion to Puppetry and Material Performance, 2014

Our illustration is from Popular Electricity Magazine in Plain English, 1912.

[For David at Up In Arms.]

"A comprehensive yawn" from A Tramp Abroad by Mark Twain.

An illustration from The Letters of Charles Dickens (1893).  The caption reads: "Mysterious appearance of the gentleman in the small-clothes."

September 4, 2014 (permalink)

"The fourth of September, by André Gill," from Paris Herself Again by George Augustus Henry Fairfield, 1882.

"It was the cat": an illustration from A Tramp Abroad by Samuel Langhorne Clemens (1880).

An illustration from an 1841 issue of Punch magazine.

September 3, 2014 (permalink)

"Alone in the ruin of her world," from There Once Was a Prince by Mary E. Mann, 1896.

"Sejanus— 'Great and high, / The world knows only two, that's Me and I."  From Tommy Toddles's Comic Almenak, 1862.

An illustration from an 1885 issue of Frank Leslie's Pleasant Hours magazine.  The caption reads: "Risen from the dead.—'And while, in horror unutterable, I stared, to those decaying jaws was borne a voice: 'William, I will wait for you—they wait.'"

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