Green Eggs and Ham

via Kottke

After writing The Cat in the Hat in 1955 using only 223 words, Dr. Seuss bet his publisher that he could write a book using only 50 words.

Except that the website with the text has a typo which puts the word count at 51. At least that’s what I think. I don’t have a copy of the book handy. If you do, you can check it against this:

As long as I was parsing the text in Excel, I thought I’d make a chart of the word frequency. With fifty words, it has the same problems as skyscraper charts, so I’ll spare you the whole thing.

Here’s how I parsed the text:

  1. Copy the text and Paste Special – Text into Excel
  2. Text to columns delimited on space
  3. Copy each of the resulting columns to the bottom of column A (tedious and boring)
  4. Text to columns again on hyphen (to separate SAM-I-AM)
  5. Run it through =UPPER(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(SUBSTITUTE(A1,",",""),"?",""),"!",""),".",""))
  6. Create a unique list

and the rest is academic. And all of it pointless. That’s what Fridays are for.

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7 thoughts on “Green Eggs and Ham

  1. For step 3 wouldn’t a copy > paste special > transpose have done the trick? Although on Friday’s there’s nothing like a bit of tedium (word?) to get the day moving.

  2. Had my kids find the book :)
    It is a typo.

    That Sam-I-am!
    That Sam-I-am!
    I do not like
    that Sam-I-am!

  3. I knew instantly it was a typo. I think I’d have known without having read it 16 bajillion times to my own kids, because I have vague memories of having it read to me in my youth.


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