Archive for 1998

LL: A Fa Fa Better Thing

"California is a garden of Eden, a paradise to live in or see But believe it or not, you won't find it so hot If you ain't got the do re mi." —Woody Guthrie Solmization (also known as sol-fa) is the use of syllables (such as do, re, and mi) to indicate musical notes. You […]

KK: Index, Keywords, Philosophy, Games

As we're confronted with an ever-vaster quantity of unsorted online information, one of the greatest challenges of coming decades may be determining ways to find a given needle of information in the haystack of the Web. Indexing is the process of providing multiple topic-based entry points to a collection of data—specifically, providing a way for […]

JJ: Youse Jivin’ Me

In the movie Airplane, a couple of characters converse in Jive, a parody of the overblown black slang featured in the "blaxploitation" movies of the '70s. In 1986, Daniel Klein and Clement Cole created a software filter that would take ordinary text as input and translate it into some approximation of Jive. A variety of […]

II: One Act Short of a Full Play

[Warning: this week's column may not be for the faint of heart, as it contains at least one word (besides "contumelious") not generally considered acceptable in polite company. Read at your own risk.] In an earlier column, I mentioned the Shakespearean Insults magnetic-poetry kit, which yielded up such mellifluous phrases as "malignant swagger-nosed contumelious sot." […]

HH: Goodnight, Sweet Prince

Another item gleaned from the Net, but hopefully unfamiliar to at least a few of you. I've lightly reformatted it for Web publication. Saturday Morning Hamlet by Michael S. Schiffer This recently discovered folio edition of "Hamlet" follows other known versions closely until Act V, Scene II, where it begins to diverge at line 232, […]

GG: Tidbits

A man got engaged to two women at the same time: one named Edith, and the other named Kate. Unfortunately for the rascal, the two women met by accident, discovered the truth, and confronted him with the following admonition: You can't have your Kate, and Edith, too. My files are full of short jokes, riddles, […]

FF: A Matter of Definition

In February '97, someone named Steve crossposted a request to half a dozen (mostly inappropriate) newsgroups, asking for help locating citations for nine archaic and semi-obscure words (at least one of which he misspelled). Bill Oliver provided this helpful set of definitions in response (which I've reformatted for HTML and lightly edited): Subject: Re: Help […]

EE: And So On (Reader Comments and Addenda)

Mea culpa. There were several goofs, misstatements, omissions, and errors in this week's column... I forgot to mention a point associated with the mispronunciation "eck cetera" (or sometimes "ect cetera"): people often misspell the abbreviation as "ect." I don't know which (the mispronunciation or the misspelling) is cause and which is effect, but I suspect […]