Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Slang or Secret Code?

“He that likes to plant and set
Makes after-ages in his debt.”

This post has almost nothing to do with gardens. Apparently, as the season outside my door becomes cold and wet and precludes me from working in the yard, the spirals of my always fragile grasp on reality start to wobble into paranoia. Accordingly, this post is about my latest conspiracy theory, involving the word verification choices when you leave a comment in Blogger.

Is it just me, or does the word-verification text seem to be veering closer and closer to selecting real words? It seems to be evolving organically. I’m wondering if the server where all our blog posts live is developing conscious intelligence. (I hesitate to call it “artificial intelligence” because I often claim that word to describe my own pretentious attempts as scholarly blogging.)

So, back to the conspiracy, I’m sure Blogger retains the capability to block certain words, e.g. profanity, from showing up in the verification. If so, then they should tighten their algorithms up to also block words like this wordoid from a few days ago: mossesse.

Think of playing the game balderdash – think of the word verification letters as spelling real but obscure words. Take “mossesse”. It could mean a hip hop gansta who raps in Latin, “esse” being the Latin root of the verb “to be”... On the other hand, it could be a proper noun, let’s say, the Greek God of motivational speaking. Or the name of the guy in this emblem, planting a tree for the ages. You can call him Mo.

Another theory: what if the letters spelled out hip new slang and you’re the only one not in on the joke? Know what a “kittenhead” is? Or what a prostitute means when she refers to a John as a thirty-three? Well then. Check out Caleb Crain’s article “Pixies, Sheilas, Dirtbags and Cougar Bait: Modern Slang”(This article appeared in the December 29, 2008 edition of The Nation)

Now, while you might be an obsolete old fogey when it comes to hip slang, there’s nothing to panic about wrt/word verification. You don’t have to put on your aluminum foil cap just yet. But please humor me and keep an eye out for a word verification that says “iniatelaunchsequence.”

See, this is what happens when I have to play inside out of the sun. Instead of planting for the after-ages, this is the time of year that I delight in finding monsters under beds and ghosts in the closets, and learning fun facts like garbage-man-speak for maggots is “disco rice”. And now you and every other Joe Sixpack knows too. Try to get that picture out of your head!


Frances said...

Hi WS, I'm with you on the can't go outside and play mind games. I do think there is something up with the word verification. I am looking at unotot right now at I write. It could be the top o' the heap boss of the diaper wearing set! I was writing down all the words and was going to write a post using them, but quit doing it for some reason. I like yours better. :-)
Frances well I messed up on unotot, HA and now have scoun, short for scoundrel.

walk2write said...

Do you think mossesse might be some kind of German dish using bryophytes? I'm intrigued by this conspiracy theory of yours. Keep us posted and leave the shades drawn! My word is hoterpr. Draw your own conclusions.

el said...

I think you can trace all your paranoia to keeping up with The Nation. Do you remember their illustration a couple of years back regarding how few companies actually controlled...gosh, I can't even remember it now, was it the media? as an octopus. Well, who owns Blogger? Google. And they know EVERYTHING you type.

I am sure Posteritati is a bad word, too.

My word today is kaembers. Oops I guess it wasn't. Now it's phypess.

Katie said...

Oh my, this is the funniest thing I have read in such a long time! Yes, the comments are getting more word-like. Perhaps it was a learning sequence by some Google server, or perhaps Google took pity upon us folks that can't do word verification right on the first time, ever!

tina said...

A funny post. I have seen a few bloggers talk of the word verification beginning to look a lot like real words. Do not worry, it is not you. I will keep a look out. In the meantime-do get in the garden as you are able to!

Kanak Hagjer said...

WS, hi! These 'oddities' did cross my mind several times but never thought about it as 'post' material. Very interesting, the way you've put it. Cycat is staring back at me right now. And thanks for the link...will check it out.
Thank you for stopping by my blog and for leaving a comment. And I'm so honoured to see Terra Farmer on your blog list. You'll be on mine too!
Have a good weekend!

emmat said...

I had "moggie" the other day, which means a slightly scruffy cat. Apparently the change to more readable words is because it doesn't make it any easier for the spam robots, but it makes it considerably easier for us, who tend to read even a small chunk of an existing word more easily to copy it than "nggthshxizne". So it encourages commenting!

I've seen a few people trying to define some of the Blogger words created this way, but mossesse is fabulous.... Maybe it's "the quality of moss" in the most abstract sense. A quality of top class mossiness

Roses and Lilacs said...

I started noticing the similarities several weeks ago. I wondered if they were using people's typos for word verification.

The one under this message is a little strange 'uggelous'--some new style of ugg boots?

MrBrownThumb said...

I'm not the only one who keeps becoming fascinated with the Vwords. LOL.

kenju said...

I came to thank you for your visit and comments, and now I have to thank you for the link to this article! I am fascinated by words; their derivations and meanings, and this is right up my alley!