August 2004

Almost a month

The news is spreading. Today the Washington Post Style Invitational had the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form as the basis for a limerick competition.

It's been almost a month since I wrote any limericks for the OEDILF. I took a break from the coding and wrote a few this evening:

Our abode, dear (that place with the smell),
Is our palace (it's more like a cell)
Where we (plus your mother)
Can be (at each other)
Together (a foretaste of hell).

Aftertaste is the flavour you find
You can taste even after you've dined.
And it pains me to say
That the fast food today
Is what's left after taste's left behind.

Quoth the office wall icon, 'Achieve!
'You can if you'll only believe.'
Then I saw a bright light,
Found the truth in the trite;
Now I walk a new path, 'self-deceive'.

If you say that it must be admitted
That you tried it for size as you knitted,
And your shape for the sweater
Is sure to be better
Then admittedly it'd be fitted.

The agathis leaves, as they grow,
Become smaller and straighter. They go
From a coppery red
To a grey green instead.
It's like autumn if time reversed flow.

You see things -- what they are you can't place.
That's an object agnosia case.
But with prosopagnosia
A person who knows ya
Won't recognize you by your face.

The pet I shall get for my belle
Is a tame Asiatic gazelle
From a small Persian zoo
Where they breed the ahu.
Should I buy her a lion as well?

Aholiab: his life we'll condense
To 'a weaver'. You'll wonder from whence
Comes his fame. He's renowned
As a man who had found
His religious experience in tents.

View More Limericks

Wonderful Copenhagen?

Shahriar Afshar is stirring things up in the world of physics. It would be wonderful to see a couple of quantum interpretations bite the dust but there's probably more here than meets the photon detector.

Wantonly Quantumly
Physicist Shahriar
Finds the dark fringes of
Double-slits not

Wholly consistent with
Throwing out Bohr-ing old
Photons as rot.

Other Double Dactyls


The OEDILF has changed its name. For legal trademark reasons we can't continue to use the Oxford English Dictionary as part of our name. From now on we shall be the Omnificent English Dictionary In Limerick Form.

Omnificent means unlimited in creative power. Perhaps it's a pretentious term to apply to anything tangible, but as an aspirational statement it lets everybody know how high we've set our sights. 650 words down; half a million to go.

The web database is pretty close to public release. We've been entering and workshopping limericks in it and it's been pretty stable. Fun times are coming.


Versilly Tersilly
Spawned in the warmth where the
Linguaphiles stay,

Showed simple verse could seed
Tell me the truth, "Was it
"Word- or fore- play?"

The OEDILF Project Leaves Home

The Oxford English Dictionary In Limerick Form (OEDILF) has left the Wordcraft nest. The fledgling project need no longer tweak the beaks nor fluff the feathers of its hatchling home.

The limerick database is almost ready to face the ravages of the wicked web. We'll be spending some more time testing it this week, and with luck, gradually introducing the 40-odd current authors (take that how you like) to the limerick workshop. If you'd like to contribute a limerick or two (or a few hundred), the OEDILF forum is ready for new members. Have at it!

When I first heard about Chris Strolin's idea, I wondered how the OED establishment would feel about such a frivolous project. It gave me hope for humanity to find that the Oxford English Dictionary people (at Oxford University Press) were "intrigued and delighted to hear about our ambitious project".

I hope we can make the OEDILF as amusing as the OED is informative.