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Issue 16: The Hammer's Hammer

For what is a hammer when everything really is a misshapen nail?

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Ye Olde Newsstand - Weekly Updates

Last week we discussed an enhanced definition for "problem" that reframes solutions and problems as states in a graph we can move between. With that as a basis, we can talk about the concept of universal tools.

Universal tools have the capacity to solve any type of problem by leveraging computation and creation. Universal tools tend to follow a few rules, which I discuss here:

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Is "fondong" the Funniest Word Ever?

In a distracted attempt to write "Finding", I accidentally wrote "Fondong" and I paused in my tracks. Friends, I think "Fondong" may indeed be the funniest word ever written down on happenstance.

In the The Beginning of Infinity, Deutsch talks about the universality of the phonetic alphabet.

a writing system based on an alphabet can cover not only every word but every possible word in its language, so that words that have yet to be coined already have a place in it. (Location 2199)

This means a small set of characters (26) can cover every possible English word. It follows that there is a word that exists or has yet to exist that is definitively the the funniest English word ever written or ever will be written.

Sure, you might say, I agree with that, but what about a swear word like "fuck" or a dirty word like "poop"? Everyone loves poop jokes, right?

While I think words in the dirty word set or the swear word set are indeed funny, I think they are usually funny because of the context they are said in. Very few words have the intrinsic character of being funny.

To "be funny" as a word is to look funny, to sound funny, to involve funny letters. Let's break "Fondong" down into it's elements and see how it holds up:


Fondong has great vowel structure. The "o"'s are distant from each other, but each strikes with the resonance of a powerful delivery. Neither vowel is coy or shy, indeed, the "o"'s make themselves heard.

It's funny at any volume. Dear reader, try this brief experiment: say "Fondong" at a normal volume. Now say it like you are a Victorian gentleman from 1800's London. Next, whisper it drawn out, as it were your dying word. Now, yell out "Fondong" as if you were trapped on Mt. Everest and you saw a helicopter in the distance, a beacon of hope from certain frostbitten demise.

In all of these cases, "fondong" is funny. It's just…funny.

Spelling "fondong" is a thrill. It has a simplicity to it, the letters are the common folk of the alphabet, no x's or q's to be found anywhere in its architecture. "Fondong" is the everyman, the common soldier. It's reliable, it's comforting, it's "fondong".

"Fondong" fails the spell check, but is not gibberish. A collection of gibberish characters isn't funny. Humor is based around surprise, the subversion of expectation, while maintaining the feeling of familiarity. "sqwrqdnouiqwo" has no meaning, no purpose, and no plausibility -- ergo, it is not funny.

Is it a noun? A verb? An adjective? Who knows? It is it's lack of a obvious bucket that gives it a curious appeal, a hint of danger and edginess.

It has the word "dong" in it.

From my brief (1 minute) research, "Fondong & Partners" is currently operated as a law firm in Cameroon.
fondong and partners.png

The fact that "Fondong" is out in the wild actually improves its appeal to me. I don't want a word that has no historical basis, I want a word with some backstory, a little bit of grit, a word that could walk into any black tie event and rub shoulders with the best of them.[1]

Here's to you "Fondong".

I'm looking at you, "Antidisestablishmentarianism", where did you get the balls to walk around like that? Shame on you. ↩︎

Humble Feminine

I learned that the word "humble" comes from the word "humus," meaning of the earth and feminine. It really changes the vibe of Kendrick's HUMBLE. Additionally, I read advice from a book to be friendly towards a powerful man but not too modest, in order to be his equal and not his servant.
The origin of the word ‘humble’ traces back to ‘humus’—it means of the earth, feminine, unsophisticated. (Location 167)
humble etymology 1.png
humble etymology 2.png
humble etymology 3.png
Bitch be feminine, sit down

hits a bit different

Be friendly towards him; he is very powerful, but do not be too modest. I do not want you to be his servant, but his equal; otherwise I shall not be pleased with you. Kamaswami is beginning to grow old and indolent. If you please him, he will place great confidence in you.” (Location 537)

TIL A Loch is a Lake


a lake.

I had always assumed it was something unique.

Rivers and lochs