Saturday, September 20, 2008

' Say what..?!? '


I guess it is kind of a geeky thing to do. Look for phrases that are unique in the online world. The artificial arbiter or 'gate' that I use for this 'unique' label is, of course, the ubiquitous Google dot com.

What defines a 'unique phrase'..?? Well, it has to be at least two words. A one word phrase makes no sense, right..?? Besides, that is just making up words anyway. I mean not that there is anything wrong with that. Hell, urbandictionary dot com is all about making up shi ...err, stuff.

You would think with all the millions of monkeys, like you and I, pounding on all our keyboards out there on the web ... you would think everything that could be said would have already been said. But not true ... thank gawd.

Unique two word phrases are worth more than three or four word phrases to me. I mean, obviously the more words you start stringing together the more likely you are to craft a new phrase. But much longer than four just gets silly ... so I try to notice and identify only two-, three-, and four-word phrases. Think of it as gold, silver, and bronze medal-worthy.

I see at least one other user on the web has chased this pig before. In 2005 Bella posted about her own created 'unique phrase': "Born mechanical witness" Indeed, to this day it remains the only web-use of the phrase. ( Though some would quibble with her use of 'born' rather than 'borne'. But the latter also remains a unique phrase so I will not hate on her... )

See, that is kinda cool. Hey, I told you it was geeky...

Unique phrases I have crafted or discovered:

No results found for "blush without modesty"
A phrase I used in an e-mail to a newly-wed whom I had previously teased about blushing. I simply shared the thought: 'may you always blush without modesty' in a reply. Batta-boom unintended 'unique phrase'..!!

No results found for "beasts and bores"
Another e-mail exchange. In suggesting that the recipient had surely handled worse online exchanges, I said: "You have handled much bigger beasts and bores than I."

Results 1 - 2 of 2 for "berserking children"
One by a writer on Epinions dot com, a site I actively participate at by reading and writing reviews. I admit I stretch a bit with this one by allowing the use of 'berserking' ...but hey, it is my game so I can play as I like..!!

Results 1 - 2 of 2 for "expectation in every sentence"
Another writer at Epinions. Just a beautiful phrase, especially in context at the review.

Anyway, just a brief introduction to my little web reading-n-writing obsession. I would have more ... but I have never really saved them anywhere. Now that I have this soapbox of a blog perhaps I can remember to save them to add here.

Hey, if you have any examples of your own please share them in a comment..!!



Elizabeth McQuern said...

Dude, I admit I am stumped, I'm not sure who you are. Are you an old friend with a new template? :)

When I saw your link in my Sitemeter I went back to that old entry and I thought "hmm...I wonder if that should be 'borne' rather than 'born.'" I suppose so. But it would feel weird to go back and change it now.

Anyway, great post! Glad to know I'm not the only one who obsesses about this kind of stuff.

D.B. Echo said...

New Scientist would sometimes do bits on searches on Google that would yield unique results.

I wrote a post on September 11 that was mostly stream of consciousness, with some planning beforehand and some editing afterward. When I finally got to read it, I was impressed with some of the phrases I used, including "like heavy snowflakes" and "like leaves made of flesh." I Googled these phrases to see if anyone had used these phrases before me. "Like heavy snowflakes" yielded 30+ results, referring to things as disparate as gannets, pills, flannels, and cotton waste - and snowflakes, too. "Like leaves made of flesh" yielded no results, but "leaves made of flesh" gave two unique results.

I'm more interested in the origins of obscurely structured but commonly used phrases. I first encountered "Wishing will not make it so" in the "Mr. Plow" episode of The Simpsons, but it sounded like a quote from somewhere else. But where? Google is of no assistance, as it currently cites over 1600 hits, including at least a few that are quotes from The Simpsons. And in Dinosaur Comics I came across the phrase "I am so new to the world!", which I assumed was a reference to...something. Maybe it is, but if so, it's buried in the nearly 8000 hits for this phrase on Google.

Is there a Bartlett's for things like this?