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AXYHEXO is frmsht

A chance meeting with a linguistics and computer expert have me thinking of my bubbe and her bubbe, da.

This morning I made a new friend, a fellow lover of words, named Joe Becker, or Joseph D. Becker. He lives in South Palo Alto, behind Cubberley and has been involved with computers and languages for a long time. He is one of the founders, for example, of Unicode.

I met him on Charleston, heading west. I rolled down the window of my new Chevy 4-cylinder and said:

"Excuse me, what is "AXYHEXO"?"

Joe laughed and said, "[search-injun] it."

He actually used as a verb the name of the leading search engine, but since I generally do not promote individual corporate names or service marks I tend to refer to search engines genericly in my writings. Actually "search-injuns" is a term I have coined, honoring our forerunners (not the Toyota I used to own, but the people like the Ohlone who used to live here. Come to think of it, I texted briefly with a Navajo jeweler yesterday, and noticed that today's Times had a story about New York fashion bigwigs stealing ideas from Native Cultures, but I digress).

Becker turned left at El Camino -- I think he was heading towards Hobees. Note the distinction between my refusal to name corporations by name and my willingness to even gratuitously mention family-owned businesses.

I took his advice and went by the College Terrace library, hoping to take Joseph D. Becker's advice about AXYHEXO, but the library I found out is closed Thursday -- it is actually only open about 57 percent of the days. I was wishfully hoping the odds were even better than that since the door was open and an ADS truck was loading books, but I was wrong. The city employee, Steve I think was his name, chatted me up a bit, let a lady into the bathroom to wash her hands, and gave me a laundry list of campaign platform talking points if I ever apply to Library Commisison or run for City Council again.

I had to go back to girlfriend's house to learn that AXYHEXO is a rough translation phonetically of a Russian phrase A khuja nje khochesh. 

I think it means "Although the universe is redshitfing nothing beats sitting around a fire and schmoozing like bubbe and her bubbe used to do".

Pondering AXYHEXO reminded me of my old neighbor whose yellow Mercedes Benz had a vanity plate FRMSHT that means "mixed up" in Yiddish but always made me think that Ms. S (I will spare using her name) ate a lot of bran cereal. She told me once that people often asked if her plate had something to do with the agricultural roots of our great country. 

Becker drives a convertible Lexus. I shot this photo of his car before we parted ways.

Anyhoo, A khuja nje khochesh to all my comrades in South Palo Alto and a special shout out to my favorite other "beyond the pale" types like Lera Boroditsky, Nyree Rabushka, Michael McFaul and Elif Batuman, who are all Farm-affiliates come to think of it although that is a horse of a different cardinality.

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Mark Weiss March 16, 2012 at 04:32 PM
In not entirely unrelated matters, The New York Times reports that artist Ai Weiwei was questioned after throwing stones at some Uniview (as opposed to Unicode -- I believe they are unrelated projects) surveillance cameras near his home in China; Andrew Jacobs' p1 story was about Romney's ties to the fledgling but potentially hugely lucrative if anti-Democratic Big Brother infrastructure there; also, I noted four columns over William Yardley's coverage of the American staff sergeant suspected of killing 16 Afghanis. I know Bill Yardley slightly better than I do Becker although last time I saw him was 1981 at Escondido Village basketball courts.

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