Saturday, July 02, 2011

List of the Month - oblique introductions

I am very shy about advertising the existence of my silly little blogs to anyone. But if my 'guilty secret' is exposed in conversation, I will occasionally reveal the names of the blogs to someone who really strikes me as likely to be interested in reading them (i.e., someone similarly irreverent and brain-overfull). The trouble is, it is a bit laborious to write out the full URLs for someone; and, if writing materials are not to hand, they can be difficult to remember. My 'boozing blog', in particular, causes difficulties, because it is familiarly known to my friends and me as The Barstool, but its full title is the rather ponderous Round-The-World Barstool Blues, and its URL - thanks to a mysterious lack of 'availability' of the name I'd originally chosen on Blogger - is actually the bar prop. So... I've taken to introducing my blog(s) to people by giving them a memorable phrase that will almost certainly lead them to me via Google. Just the other day, I told a friend to try to find me by searching for Froog+Zelig.

I am such an eccentrically creative fellow that unusual - perhaps occasionally even unique - phrases are fairly numerous in my online writing. Hence, I thought this might be an amusing topic for my new 'List of the Month'.

Google Searches That Will Bring You To My Blog(s)

mumbling Myrmidons (originally a Googlewhack, I believe)

Mescaline Milkshakes (yes, one of long-time commenter Gary's many brilliant band name suggestions)

Condoleezza Shinork (likewise a Googlewhack - though scarcely legitimate, since it involves two rare personal names improbably combined)

unshaviness suits a writer  (this phrase an invention of my lovely photographer friend Amy)

the foreskin post  (ouch! one of my most notorious flights of fancy)

Y-front rebellion  (another of the band name game highlights)

and, of course, Asexualismo and Asexualissimo

and sporadic advance of relevance (which probably describes my blogs rather too well)

but my very favourite of all is...  Jello Biafra cut my hair

[Sadly, though, my invention of the word limelessness is still going unrecognised by Google.]

With some of these, I'm not quite at the top of the returns, but prominent on the first page. And with most of them, there are three - or four, or five - posts listed (three, as we know, is a magic number): you'll have to use your skill and judgement to identify the original source of the key phrase.

And I suppose this post will itself soon become the No. 1 search result for most of these phrases. This doesn't help my Googlewhackiness (surely that can't be another original invention of my own? It seems it is!). But then, that is a problem inherent in the concept: as soon as you say, "Hey, this is a Googlewhack", it no longer is.


JES said...

Re: limelessness...

It's often useful when checking Google for this sort of thing to know of a couple of special Google operators -- the plus and minus signs (sometimes in conjunction with quotation marks, to turn adjacent words into exact phrases).

I just checked for limelessness (surely a useful concept!) in this way. The enhanced search instructs Google:

(a) look for limelessness ONLY -- do not make an "smart guesses" that I might like to see "limeless" alone, or might be interested in multiple "limelessnessES," or in the act of "limelessnessING" (even though that's sort of what I'm doing right now); and

(b) in particular, ignore any hits on the word timelessness.

Results are interesting -- mostly Google Books misfires, where they've incorrectly OCRed timelessness... leading to phrases like "project an air of limelessness and tradition" and (my favorite, a pop-music review) "What sets The Healing Bones apart from most of his back catalog is a certain limelessness of the sound."

Interestingly, currently the top hit for limelessness -- on a discussion board for people with Brigham Young University, dating back to August, 2009, and concerning a comparison between two lunch spots -- takes the word just exactly as you did in the "Invented Words" post of 2007. (Which post, by the way, currenty shows up at the bottom of the second page of hits.)

I suppose I really should spend some time attending to my paying job now. (As far as I know, it's 100% lime-free today.)

Froog said...

Thank you, my search engine wizard.

I found most of the results from a straightforward search were for 'homelessness'. I don't remember Google being this inventive - rather bothersomely so! - in the past. If you put something in quotes, it's supposed to search for that alone, isn't it - typos and all?

JES said...

No, quotes around a single word don't do anything. Around a phrase they mean, "Look for only this phrase as a whole; don't consider the individual words apart from one another." If you use the quotation marks around a phrase but no +/- characters, it grants Google permission to search for alternate word forms, possible typos, and such. You can put + signs before words within the phrase to override this "smart" behavior.

There's also a very limited wildcard-search operator, the asterisk, useful (practically speaking) only when doing phrase searches... and then only WITHIN the phrase. (You can't use it within individual words: "*run*" just finds "run," not (say) "rum-runner.") The * means "possibly some other word(s) here." The "possibly" and the "(s)" qualifier almost completely kill the utility of the wildcard, though. "running * hat" will find not only the expected results, but also all pages on which the word "running" appears ANYWHERE before the word "hat."

All of which is probably the cue for some Google fan (or employee) to pipe up and tell us, "Oh Google abandoned THAT syntax in 2005" or whenever!