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ANU GARG'S HALF-MILLION WORDLOVERS

By  AWAD Copy Editor, Eric Shackle

What must be the world's largest school, the free, world-wide A Word a Day service, will soon enroll its 500,000th student. The prestigious magazine The Smithsonian calls it "a globe-circling cyberphenomenon, one of the most addictive free services available on the Web."

School principal Anu Garg, a 34-year-old computer engineer who works for AT&T in Columbus, Ohio, began his own education sitting under a mango tree in a small Indian village, with a few broken sticks of chalk and a blackboard made by painting a flat piece of wood with soot.

He so loves "the music and magic of words" that he e-mails A Word a Day free to subscribers in some 200 countries in all continents (including Antarctica) five times a week.

With his unique voluntary service, he is helping people everywhere - young and old, teachers, students and office-workers, housewives and college professors - to improve their vocabulary.

Aided by his talented wife Stuti, he spends many hours every week in his modest apartment, sending thousands of words, anagrams and company names to folk around the globe.

Seven years ago (Anu would call that a septennial), he founded his website http://www.wordsmith.org and began sending what he refers to as AWAD (a wad of words) to a handful of his friends and then to their friends as well. His mailing list grew rapidly, as news of its existence was fueled by widespread media praise. His website has won many awards.

Anu has inaugurated an E-mail of the Month Award. Three witty women winners are Sally Atkins (sallyATkins.com), attorney Helen Yu (cyuincourtATaol.com) and coolfemaleAThotmail.com. Male winners include tomATmom.com, breakfastAT10am.com and asleepATterminal.cz

An Address of the Year winner was goofing.offAThome.com, entered by David Caine, who "for his creativity and cleverness... gets a lifetime supply of AT symbols."

Monthly winners in 2000 were

Jan overwriterATunderwriters.com Gila Jones
Feb iamaloserATwinning.com Kavi Bhalla
Mar a-a-a-chooATallergist.com Karl Siewert
Apr danteATpurgatorio.com Jennifer
May I'mworkingAThomehonest.freeserve.co.uk Nick Booth
Jun close.to.beingATthe-end-of-my-rope.com Terry Miller
Jul dotATdotat.at Tony Finch
Aug size-13ATbigfoot.com Matt Kane
Sep killmenowATpositive-thinking.com Sari
Oct error_user_doesnt_existATyahoo.com Kathy Forth
Nov disestablishmentarianistATatt.net Wesley Myhaver
Dec YouCanReachUsATWhoever.com Laura/Richard

Several years ago, Anu created "I, Rearrangement Servant" (Internet Anagram Server) which automatically supplies lists of hundreds of anagrams.  It can also be used via e-mail (send blank e-mail to wsmithATwordsmith.org with the subject line "anagram your-name-here").  He receives thousands of requests every day.

Then there are pangrams - phrases like The quick brown fox jumps over lazy dog which contain every letter of the alphabet. The Ohio wordsmith cites two even shorter pangrams: Nymphs vex, beg quick fjord waltz and Jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.

Anu and Stuti (who, like her husband, is an Indian-born computer expert) recently founded a website called Namix to provide naming solutions for products, services and businesses.

In their spare time, the Gargs produce ludicrous, satirical, and sometimes strangely accurate anagrams of many of the nation's best-known and most prestigious corporations.

Here are just a few of the gems listed on the Namix Web site which is updated every business day:

Word/Phrase

Anagram

A McDonald's burger Real dog and crumbs
America Online I'm an inane oracle
A PC compatible A PC to place IBM
Apple Macintosh Laptop machines
Bell Atlantic In battle call
British Airways This is war by air
Coke Is It It ices OK
Comfort Inn Not confirm
Continental Airlines Incorporated Idle proletarians in concentration
Delta Airlines Land earliest
Delta AL Late, lad
Diet Pepsi Cola It's iced pop ale
Eyes For U Four Eyes
General Electric Electrical genre
General Motors Enlarges motor;
Great lemons
Internet Stocks Consistent trek
KLM Royal Dutch Airlines Dull, rich, OK terminals;
Is kindly, all-out charmer
Lucent Technologies Huge net collections
Microsoft Is comfort
Microsoft Incorporated Sacred to moronic profit
Nature's Gift Fruit agents
New York Times Monkeys write
Pentium processor Computerises porn
Pepsi Cola Episcopal;
A pop slice
Power Macintosh Now compare this
Singapore Airlines Pioneer Asian girls
The Body Shop International The adorably posh intention
The Hilton Hint: Hotel
The Microsoft Corporation Horror of competition - acts
The Wall St. Journal That swell journal
United Parcel Service Accept, insure, deliver
United States Bureau of Fisheries  I raise bass to feed us in the future
Western Union No wire unsent

Namix also reveals that:

  • Talkshow host Oprah Winfrey's company is called Harpo (reverse of her first name).
  • A Toyota is a palindrome. The name of the founder of the company was Toyoda, which was changed to Toyota.
  • Many Canadian products are named Adanac (reverse of Canada).

Namix displays a link to a firm whose comical business name has amused folk around the world ever since a Kidderminster, England estate agent, Edward Doolittle, invited his young assistant, Reginald Dalley, to become his business partner, more than 80 years ago. Their firm still uses the marvelous name Doolittle & Dalley.

FOOTNOTE: You can see photos of Anu by clicking on Smithsonian and of his wife by clicking on her name, Stuti.

Copyright 2001.  Eric Shackle   Story first posted July 2001.

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