7.18.2008

Merriam Webster's Word of the Day

Merriam-Webster's Word of the Day for today is "bogart". I rarely use that word, but I had an occasion to use it in the title of yesterday's post on a missed opportunity for a Eucharistic miracle. The post's original title was something bland, but I decided to change it at the last moment. The very next day, M-W uses "bogart" as their word of the day! It's like they somehow knew that word had meaning to me.

How weird is that?

Then on 7/14/08, I used the words "religious ignominy". On 7/11/08, M-W's Word of the Day was "ignominious". I just found that out today! It's like M-W and I are somehow connected through the meaning of words.

Now I know the most indurate of skeptics are thinking that I'm just trying to reify specific, seemingly improbable occurrences as......HOLY CRAP! It happened again*!

I don't attribute any meaning to these coincidences because they are just coincidences. If coincidences didn't happen, then we'd have something to talk about. But some people do find a lot of meaning in these chance events. If you were to write down three different words each day, and these words were relevant to something that happened to you that day, then before long you would have a long list of seemingly randomly generated words. But you can attribute some personal connection to each one. Now if you put these words in a search list for Google news, invariably some would start returning "hits". Some of these will be significant hits. For instance, off the top of my head, I just came up with "angry", "dog", and "car". Running all three of these through Google's news search, I come up with these news stories:
The contractor believes his dog was poisoned in a car park, in broad daylight, while he was only metres away. (link)

Echo was attacked twice, while still in my car, by a St. Bernard dog. The owner, driving a red or wine-coloured van, did not have either of her two dogs on a lead -- did not appear to even have a lead. (link)

Oozi (a police dog) plunged into the line of fire as police shot at a man they chased from Oakland Park to Miami Beach. The suspect, 27-year-old Delvin Lewis, was hospitalized with three gunshot wounds and charged with aggravated assault with a vehicle on a law enforcement officer, aggravated fleeing and eluding, resisting an officer with violence and being principal to the death of a police dog.Five years earlier, Lewis was accused of attacking a police dog. (link)
A few random words, a few random stories connected to these words - none of them really significant. Yet these stories were culled from a few seconds of searching the news. Suppose I apply these search terms for a week, or a month, or three months -- or longer. How long does it take for a story to crop up that is qualified as significant to the public? Once I get that story, I can post it on my blog and remind you that the words "angry", "dog", and "car" had some meaning to me last week or last month. I couldn't quite put my finger on it, but I was sure back then that there would be a story coming out soon. Then I link to a story about some angry dog attacking the pope-mobile, complete with angy dog pictures, maybe even angry pope pictures.

Not too convincing is it? So, let's present it this way:
Last night, I had this dream about a car and the next morning my wife asked when we were going to buy a new car. While driving, we saw a car we both liked in the mall parking lot. Two dogs were in the car, windows rolled up, stifling heat. I became very angry and had some words with the owner. There's definitely going to be a major news story happening about this car, perhaps in conjunction with one dog, maybe two. It will generate an outspoken, angry reaction.
OK...I'm done with the set up. Do I have magic powers? No. Can I see into the future? No. Am I psychic? Hardly. But these are the tricks that Patrick Scott uses on his website, Precog News.
Welcome to Patrick Scott Reports: the PRECOG NEWS. I tell you what's going to happen before it happens. Not just at the beginning of the year like other sites do but with daily and hourly updates. Come back everyday, follow along and see how often I get a Future News hit. Just click on the labels below and all the predictions for that subject will display together.
Some of the hits look very impressive and are often attributed to "The Big Holy". I see it as Scott throwing a bunch of crap onto the wall and seeing what sticks. Not too impressive. And let's all note that the Florida Lottery has yet to ban him for successful lottery predictions.
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*These last two M-W words were "postcog" hits - i.e. I manufactured these coincidences. The first two, however, were honest-to-god, cross-my-heart, real magic coincidences. As magical as nature can make them.

2 comments:

melior said...

Patrick Scott obviously stole his schtick from Woody Allen doing Nostradamus:

"Two nations will go to war but only one will win."

The skepTick said...

Nice. I think Scott is worse than Nostradamus because he is more specific on his predictions, but he backs waaaayyy off from that when he claims a hit.