Skip to main content

Donut Holdiay Election

Dear Members and Constituents,
With election season behind and the holiday season upon us, wouldn’t it be nice if we could combine the two? Stay with me on this one… What if you could have a popularity contest for holiday terms? An objective face-off to determine which word is most popular. Wouldn’t it be convenient if there was a tool to scour fifteen million books and determine how often a given word has been mentioned over time? As it so happens, we’re in luck! Google labs has released such a tool: the Ngram Viewer and I’ve taken it for a test-run. For grins and giggles, several seasonal terms were pitted in a head-to-head popularity battle. The first experiment was to pit the word donut against several major holiday terms. I was initially shocked when I incorrectly concluded the word “donut” was more popular than other holiday terms (I was using lower-case for terms normally capitalized –and capitalization matters to this tool).


Obviously, this initial comparison was fundamentally flawed. A better frame-of-reference would be other holiday foods. Armed with this insight, I put some traditional Christmas season foods to the test, alongside two alternative spellings for the word donut. It turns-out donuts (regardless of spelling) are more popular in literature than eggnog, fruitcake and candy canes; and their recent popularity has grown much faster than that of holiday foods. At the end of the day, when it comes to food, the only popularity contest that really matters is the one your taste buds hold every time take a bite.


Today, my desk is vacant and I will have to vicariously enjoy Kelly Becker’s debut as donut girl through you. So, come on down and, once you’ve had your fill, do tell me which donut is your favorite.
Happy Friday!

P.S. A big “thank you” goes to Bill Long for discovering the Google Ngram Viewer.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Family and Friends

Friends,
I’m trying to maximize the time I spend with friends and family while in Ecuador. My dad had nine siblings, my wife’s dad 15. As you might imagine, my cousins and their families are fairly numerous (despite the fact five of my dad’s brothers didn’t marry or have children). Then there’s my wife’s family and my childhood friends. Needless to say, there is never enough time to see everyone, despite a valiant effort. Of course, I’m also working from “home”. Corny as it may sound, working half a world away, I realize I miss my Windstream “family” and I look forward to seeing you soon. In the meantime, there are donuts, here today courtesy of John Huddleston.  So, enjoy some comfort food with regards from my Cuenca family (pictured) to you!

Grateful Despite no Donuts

Friends,
For this holiday, I decided to take advantage of the ridiculously cheap travel airlines afford parents of employees who choose to fly standby (i.e. yours truly). The way I saw it, this is low season for International travel, so flying to Ecuador would not be an issue. I would fly to Houston on Monday’s first flight out, spend the day working from the airport and travel to Ecuador at 6:30 PM. As for the Thanksgiving rush on the domestic leg, even if it was tight, people always oversleep and miss early trips. Besides, I can always catch the next flight. Right? I woke at 3 AM, and after a nice breakfast at the airport made my way to the gate. 5:39 AM flight sold-out and I was 11th on the standby list. 7:53 AM full, 7th on standby. 10:03 AM full, 13th on standby. 12:30 PM full, 9th on standby. 2:05 PM, the last possible flight if I’m to make my connection, full and I’m 11th on standby. I explain my situation to the kind lady and ask if there is any way to pay more to move-up on t…

White Flour Donuts of Color

Friends, As a whiteperson of color, I’ve always been somewhat irked by the compulsion to categorize people into neat boxes. Most people don’t fit neatly into boxes. When given a choice between “white” or “Hispanic” (check one), I realized these boxes provide a false choice.  Why does the government care what category I opt into? The way I see it, these questions on so many forms probably don’t cause division and social injustice, but they do keep the conversation going. I propose a write-in campaign (similar to elections). Most of these forms now contain an “Other” field where you can write-in your ethnic or racial background. What if we all wrote-in “Transracial”. If one or two of us do it, no big deal. If it catches-on, maybe someone will take notice and report on how silly this categorization variable is. Speaking of boxes, a dozen donut box is sitting in its usual spot, so come get your transracial self some sugar!
Happy Friday!