what I know about anagrams
Saturday, January 2 2021
The New York Times Spelling Bee panagram was "mollycoddle," with "e" in the middle. I was the one who found the panagram, but even so I thought "mollycoddle" was a fringe choice. As with "promentory," nobody really uses that word any more. I should mention that one of the things I like about Spelling Bee is what it has taught me about anagrams. They're much rarer than I thought, and finding them is more difficult than I'd thought. Anagrams frequently come up on Jeopardy!, and the speed with which contestants find them always made me feel stupid (or, perhaps, mentally slow — in the sense of taking longer to mentally achieve the same result) by comparison. My experience with Spelling Bee has taught me that anagrams are actually fairly rare, and even when they exist, it usually takes intelligent people awhile to find them.
I'm coming at this from the game of Spelling Bee, and anagram rules are stricter than Spelling Bee rules, because letters used to make anagrams must all be used exactly once, whereas in Spelling Bee, letters can be used as many times as necessary and, with the exception of the middle letter, don't have to be used. Spelling Bee panagrams require that all letters are used, though they can be used multiple times. Yet panagrams almost never have anagrams, let alone sister panagrams (that is, the game has more than one panagram). Today, however, "mollycoddle" did at least have a sister panagram, albeit not a very interesting one: "mollycoddled."
This afternoon I swapped around a few hard drives in my shelved computer equipment so I could make use of some of the better equipment that is just sitting idle. In the old Intel Atom 330 miniature desktop, for example, a 3.5 inch 2 TB hard drive was doing a whole lot of nothing. A good use for that would be as a backup of the 2 TB boot SSD in Woodchuck. That way, the next time some trouble happens with the Windows installation on Woodchuck, I can just fall back to a fairly recent image. (The last time I did this, it was to a year-old image I just happened to have made, and it barely affected me, since most of my ongoing work is either on some server or on other drives.
At some point I did some firewood salvaging, cutting down and processing most of a mid-sized "skeletonized" sugar maple only a couple hundred feet south of the house. (Sugar maple doesn't really skeletonize like oak does. It's more like white ash in that the bark peels off, the sapwood rots, and the trunk frequently snaps off several dozen feet from the ground.) I also processed more of the skeletonized oak I'd cut down west of the Farm Road yesterday.
This evening Gretchen was craving cinnamon rolls, and that's what she told Powerful when he was going out and asking if there was anything she wanted him to get. He came back with the kind of cinnamon roll that comes in a can and sproing into shape once liberated by confining walls. They ended up being what we had for dinner, just those, and they were surprisingly good. It's likely that we'll be getting them more often.
Our friends Alex (my boss) and his wife Celia came over to participate in a bonfire. Conditions were cold, dropping through freezing and frost forming on the grass while we were out there around the fire. For whatever reason, I was sick of the bonfire after only about fifteen minutes. It's definitely less fun to be out in the cold when you're mentally done with the social experience, but I have think of more than my own comfort in such situations. I think part of the problem was that we spent a fairly long time talking about ghosts, even though nobody present actually believe in ghosts. (Well, Celia was kind of on the fence on the issue.) Alex said he enjoys watching shows like Ghost Hunters. He sees the fact that each episode only has seventeen seconds of watchable content more of a feature than a bug.
In other news, I have resurrected my favorite Facebook troll. I kind of need someone through whom to channel my satirical feelings regarding the ongoing insanity in the Republican Party. This time I used an online artificial intelligence to generate her face so that it wouldn't be any actual human. I'm looking forward to advances in that technology that will hopefully make it possible to generate a whole life's worth of pictures (and video clips) for a completely non-existent person.
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