Wednesday, September 19, 2007

You took the words right out of my thesaurus

My friend had a good blog going a while ago. But his dissertation became more important. So he abandoned the blog and the URL. Before he dropped his blog he had a good reader base and pretty high Google™ PageRank™.

Now the URL and the title are back. But by another author. At first I thought it was a cheap ploy by a shameless plagiarist not just to ride the coattails but to steal the identity of an established blogger.

Reading the posts a little more carefully I'm wondering not who but perhaps what is writing this stuff.

Well, I thought it was all over for this clump of hippies. The bulls usually had no compassionateness for druggies, and when the driver dove back into the avant garde and rummaged through the baseball glove box looking for non-existent papers, mumbling that we would all have got to acquire out, I knew we were finished!

We obediently drop out of the avant garde as casually as we could, attempting to look square (hard to do), and trying desperately not to interrupt up laughing. We knew that if one of us would get laughing, it would all be over. So barbed our tongues, we all just stood there, lined up by the pumps with sheepish smiles — a assortment crew if there ever was one.

The "writer" goes by "alice" and she has apparently done this with several blogs. Her profile page lists 15 blogs. Some automated piracy of URLs I suspect.

It looks like there's some text laundering going on here (in one post Mark Liberman uses the term 'sploggers' for this sort of thing). [Update: take a look at Mxrk's post on a similar phenomenon: patchwork poetry.]

Here are a few phrases followed by what I believe is the intended phrase. Some of these are just awkward translations. Some are fine synonyms for a single word but not when it's part of a phrase--eg baseball glove is a perfectly good switch for glove in the sentence 'my bat is sitting next to my glove/baseball glove'--but it doesn't work in the sentence 'the registration is in the baseball glove box.' It looks to me like "avant garde" is a bumbled translation for car. Why?

  • acquire up ~ get up

  • cod my bagged luncheon ~ ? my bag lunch

  • pickup motortruck truck ~ pickup truck

  • as many other flower people that would suit ~ as many other hippies as would fit

  • the occupation sight ~ the job site

  • "Let's blend some cement," ~ "Let's mix some cement"

  • State of Volunteer State ~ State of Tennessee

  • solar H2O warmers ~ solar water heaters

  • achromatic hosiery ~ black hoses

  • halt for gas ~ stop for gas

  • we establish ourselves faced with a dilemma ~ we found ourselves faced with a dilemma

  • the gas army tank ~ gas tank

  • inquire a few questions ~ ask a few questions

  • rummaged through the baseball glove box ~ rummaged through the glove box

  • we would all have got to acquire out ~ we would all have to get out

  • to interrupt up laughing ~ to break up laughing

  • a chronic job ~ a constant problem

  • New House Of York ~ New York

  • the mediocre folks ~ poor people

  • acquire a small protein ~ get a little protein

  • take attention of ~ take care of

  • never did happen out ~ never did figure out

  • to Capital Of Tennessee ~ to Nashville

  • The whole topographic point ~ The whole place

  • nil seemed to work ~ nothing seemed to work

  • we had no pick ~ we had no choice

  • to maintain track ~ to keep track

  • the adjacent morning ~ the next morning

Any ideas on "cod" in "cod my bagged luncheon"?

Read the post here


  1. Perhaps cod is a 'synonym' for fish as in 'hunt'. Though I can't see how fish my bag lunch as opposed to fish through/in my bag lunch could make sense.

    Interesting though, an automated thesaurus-searchable random word replacer! The possibilities are limitless!

  2. That's all I could get too.

    So many of the changes remind me of the paragraphs Buffy had to grade when she was teaching Spanish. The students obviously just plugged the text into the Babel Fish translator. A friend just reported the following sentence that was submitted in the homework:

    La computadora lata abierto documentos.

    "The computer can(noun) open(adj) documents."

  3. The original has "My routine was to get up at four thirty a.m., collect my bagged lunch (three-bean salad) at the food area [...]."

    So how do we get from collect to cod? Probably through brainless use of a particularly comprehensive thesaurus; the OED gives one sense of cod as a transitive verb meaning "to gather the pods of (peas)."

  4. Excellent.

    And no more guesswork on the original phrases.

    Thanks q.pheevr

  5. I was tripping around YouTube the other day and found this video on a program called "Brain" that calculates keyword per webpage ration. Essentially, the author looks for key words that have less than 2,000,000 competing pages, creates a web page with a bunch of links for that keyword, and then creates an AdSense account. Presto, thousands of dollars.

    So, I'm wondering if something similar isn't going on with this "Alice" blog (as you suggest). What I find highly suspect is that the page is pushing for track-back links (though I don't see any ads on the page...)


Thanks for reaching out.

You can also contact me at wishydig[at]gmail[d0t]com.