Thursday, July 24, 2008

Wordle has a way with words

I've been wasting time having too much fun with this new, (free) on-line toy: Wordle. It takes text (cut-and-paste, from RSS, or from del.ici.ous) and creates configurable word pictures based on word frequency.

Here's one from the English translation of Pirkei Avot (the Talmud tractate Avot, commonly called "Ethics of the Fathers".) (Click on the picture to see a larger version.)

Here's Hamlet, from this on-line text:

...and (l'havdil) here's the first page of this blog, as of today:

Don't miss reading the FAQ, to get all sorts of ideas for other uses. (I'm thinking spiffing up birthday invitations, community newsletters, fliers, t-shirts, party favors, blog posts, presentations, etc.)

(Thanks/Hat tip to Scott Berkun's blog. See this post for the picture that resulted when he typed in the first chapter of his excellent book. For a great video presentation of Scott's ideas, see this video he made for GoogleTalks last year.)

UPDATE: It's contagious! Here's Jack's. If you caught it from me, let me know and I'll link to it.
UPDATE: Uh oh. I think Jack is getting carried away. Here's BlogaG's. And from the comments, here's another of hers, in Hebrew. I think it's Haim Nachman Bialik's first poem, "To the Bird אל הצפור " (awaiting confirmation on that.)

Here's an interesting comparison of the Obama and McCain campaign websites using wordle:
McCain and Obama as piles of words

Here's the English translation by Jessie Sampter (1883–1938), of the poem mentioned above, which was published in Odessa in 1891:

To the Bird, by Haim Nachman Bialik (Taken from page 11 of this Arza pamphlet)

Greetings! Peace to you, returning
Lovely bird, unto my window
From a warmer clime!
How my soul for songs was yearning
When my dwelling you deserted in the winter-time!

Chirping, singing, dearest birdling,
Tell the wonders of that distant
Land from which you came
In that fairer, warmer climate
Are the troubles and the trials
Multiplied the same?

Do you bring me friendly greetings
From my brothers there in Zion,
Brothers far yet near?
O the happy! O the blessed!
Do they guess what heavy sorrows
I must suffer here?

Do they know and could they picture
How the many rise against me,
How their hatred swells?
Singing, singing, O my birdling,
Sing the wonders of the land where
Spring forever dwells.

And the laborers, my brothers—
Have not these who sowed with weeping
Reaped with song and psalm?
Oh, that I had wings to fly with,
Fly unto the land where flourish
Almond tree and palm!

9 comments, so far. Add yours now!

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Jack Steiner said...

You're right. That was way too much fun.

Phyllis Sommer said...

i think these are so cool but for some reason whenever i try to make one it crashes. i've been trying for a few weeks now. isn't that a weird thing to keep trying? maybe my new computer at work will be able to handle it - i'll have to give it a try. thanks for the reminder. i wanted to wordle each week's parasha to go with my haiku but i haven't even made one!

Juggling Frogs said...

Rabbi Phyllis,

That's exactly what I want to do!I was just commenting on Jack's blog that it would be fantastic to do this in Hebrew with the weekly parsha, and use it as the artwork for a bar mitzvah invitation.

I love your parsha haikus, by the way. Keep them coming!

sara g said...

I think it works in Hebrew.

sara g said...

Wordle in Hebrew -
It does work.

Do you know what the basic text for this was? (I wrote some of the words a few times so it would be interesting...)

Juggling Frogs said...

Is it this poem by Haim Nachman Bialik

אל הציפור

Jack Steiner said...

Carried away? Who me. ;)

sara g said...

Bialik's bird - yes.

mathmom said...

For those who got it to work in Hebrew, can you explain in more detail what you did? I keep trying but get all the letters as separate words. Like juggling frogs, I was hoping to do my son's Bar Mitzvah Parsha for him.

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