Patt Morrison

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Attention Scrabble Fiends -- Now a Million Words in the English Language!

Some time around 2 a.m. Wednesday [California time], the millionth word will enter the English language -- at least so they say at the Global Language Monitor in Austin, Texas.

The group's president said that makes English the wordiest language in the world, in part because it is fluid, facile and welcoming; a new word enters the language about every 98 minutes. We have no French Academy to pass judgment on what words should be permitted to enter the language and what words should not, although with so-called words like ''n00b'' -- a contrived combination of numbers and letters meaning someone who's new at online gaming -- I sometimes wish we did.

In Shakespeare's day, our guest said, English had about 100,000 words. Shakespeare used about a quarter of those in his plays and sonnets, and added 1,700 neologisms to our vocabulary. Sadly, the word that crosses the million-''mot'' line may be something more lowbrow. Possibly, alas, ''octomom.''

We spent an hour looking at the players and the rules in the new health care reform game. Interests that refused to come to the table 16 years ago, when the Clinton White House tried to fix health care, are now urgently interested in fixing the mess. It's all in the details, of course, whether it's labor or small business; we had representatives of both sizing up the stakes for us today.

Tomorrow, the Iranian presidential elections -- anybody got an Ahmadinejad button?

-- Patt Morrison

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