Saturday, May 17, 2008

monopolistic flight incarnate: documentary, unskilful

Those were the first five words, in order, that came up today when I clicked on the OED's "Lost for Words?" button. I first encountered this curiosity while living with Claire, the English major (yes, the English major, never mind all the others), and it somehow became more or less habit to click on Lost for Words early in the day, and then to muse on how the randomly-selected word that appeared would somehow or another describe the day to come. It also works the other way around: if it is already evening, Lost for Words will comment on the past day's events or mood or color or what have you.

You don't believe me, do you? Well, there was this one day when both Claire and I were in the thick of thesis-writing, stressed out and sleep-deprived and nearly brain-fried and even aching from sitting at a computer for countless hours at a time. I was checking my email and the weather and that sort of thing, and I went over and clicked on OED's Lost for Words, and what came up? Karoshi. I commented by gchat to Claire how uncanny it was, and she promptly discovered by the same method her own OED word for the day: foot-shooting. As in the second definition here. Coincidence? I think not. Of course, it doesn't always work so well. I mean, there was that period of a few weeks when banana slug kept coming up. I never did figure that one out. I think it's like the OED's way of saying, "Reply hazy. Ask again later."

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