What You Will

Another Burma Shave billboard on the information superhighway. Random thoughts about arts, faith, culture, music, language, literature, and the shortcomings of the Hegelian dialectic. (OK, just kidding about that last bit.)

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Location: Edmonds, Washington, United States

I wonder what goes in this space?


Dr. Seuss, Web visionary?

The late Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr. Seuss, is rightly remembered for his contributions to children's literature: a stream-of-consciousness writing style, heavy on rhyme, rhythm and coinage, accompanied by carefree, fanciful illustrations. (Come to think of it, there's probably a doctoral dissertation to be written comparing Seuss' work to that of his predecessors, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll. But I digress.)

What hasn't been noted before, at least anywhere that I've looked, is that Seuss might've been the first writer to use the word "blog"; he coined it in his 1973 book The Shape of Me and Other Stuff. OK, he spelled it "blogg," and it referred to some large, ridiculous-looking animal instead of an online journal, but give the man a break. He also coined the word "zillow," a smaller but equally ridiculous-looking animal at the end of 1974's There's a Wocket in My Pocket! As you may know, Zillow.com is now a hot real-estate site featuring user-generated content. I hope its developers have paid the Geisel estate the royalties it deserves.

What lessons can we draw from this? Well, if you need a name for your new Web site, service, or application, there are worse places to look than the children's section of your library. As the parent of an 18-month-old, I'm spending more time there myself these days.


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