Today is Sunday, December 21, 2014

In a word, Wordle

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By ANNE DONNELL

Do you ever play one-word games? You know, when the person whose turn it is names something and everyone else has to say one appropriate word about it. Sounds like your kind of thing, word lady.

-Yes, I’m a Former Student of Yours at LHS  

This sounds like a drinking game to me, but it could have sober possibilities. I’ve never played it, but I did find a version online from Pew Research Center called “Congress in a Wordle.”  749 people were asked a one word description of Congress; the top fifteen most frequently used choices were dysfunctional, corrupt, self-serving, inept, confused, incompetent, ineffective, lazy, bad, sucks, poor, crook, disappointed, gridlock, idiots. Oh, my. But, that’s for another day.

“Wordle”? The website (Wordle.net) says, “Wordle is a toy for generating ‘word clouds’ from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.” 

Try it, you’ll like it. In fact, I discovered I liked it and liked it.

ONLINE DEPARTMENT (Thanks, C.F.Y.) “Things I Wished I’d Known Before I Went Out into the Real World” • Any and all compliments can be handled by simply saying "Why, thank you"(though it helps if you say it with a Southern accent). • Some people are working backstage, some are playing in the orchestra, some are on stage singing, some are in the audience as critics and some are there to applaud. Know who and where you are. • Never give yourself a haircut after three margaritas. • When baking, follow directions. When cooking, go by your own taste. • Never continue dating anyone who is rude to the waiters and doesn't like dogs and cats. • You need only two tools. WD-40 and duct tape. If it doesn't move and it should, use WD-40. If it moves and shouldn't, use the tape. • The five most essential words for a healthy, vital relationship “I apologize” and “You are right.” • Everyone seems normal until you get to know them. • When you make a mistake, make amends immediately. It's easier to eat crow while it's still warm. • The best advice my mother ever gave me was, "Go! You might meet somebody!" • If he or she says that you are too good for him/her - believe them. • I've learned to pick my battles; I ask myself, “Will this matter one year from now? How about one month? One week? One day” • Never pass up an opportunity to use a bathroom. • If you woke up breathing, congratulations! You have another chance! • Living well really is the best revenge. Being miserable because of a bad or former relationship just might mean that the other person was right about you. • Knowing how to listen to music is as great a talent as knowing how to make it. • Work is good but it's not that important. • Never underestimate the kindness of your fellow man. • And finally: Be really nice to your family. You never know when you are going to need one of them to empty your bedpan.

Well, that all sounds better than my former retirement plan – to sit on the porch with a shotgun and a bottle of whiskey. (OK, I’m joking. My dad taught me to shoot when I was quite young, but I stopped practicing. I could try some parallel structure here and say life taught me to drink when I was quite young, but I stopped practicing; but that’s not accurate. Figure out what’s incorrect. In one word?)

Here’s an alphabetical  list of one-word movie titles (found online on Digital Spy): Adaptation, Braveheart, Callan, Deadbolt, Elf, Firewall, Godzilla, Heat, Identity, Jumanji, Knights, Lolita, Memento, Neighbors, Oliver, Pleasantville, Quartet, Raffles, spooks, Timecop, Underworld, Valentino, Whiteout, Xanadu, Yes, Zaat. 

James Michener (1907-1997, American author of more than 40 books) usually wrote sagas of many generations living in the same locale. He researched deeply, filling his fiction with accurate historical detail. Why mention him?  Many of his books boasted one-word titles: Hawaii, Sayonara, Caravans, Chesapeake, Centennial, Space, Poland, Texas, Alaska, Caribbean, Journey, Mexico, Recessional, Matecumbe.

I think the one-word game is a good idea; it forces the player to focus his or her thoughts, to analyze and summarize. Those quick gatherings of thought are good exercise, but beware of two things (“a word of caution”?): (1) offending your friends with your idea of truth; (2) believing that one word is all there is to it. 

So, in a word, until next week, bye.

BW (Bigtime Word) quotidian – recurring every day. When the nurse asks you if you’re taking your prescriptions, reply, succinctly in the one-word fashion, “Quotidianly.” You could say, “Yes,” but you and I like that little frill of ornamentation in our language.  The nurse isn’t listening carefully anyway.

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