Google Labs has this new lexical research tool you may have read about called a Book Ngram Viewer, which allows you to peek inside five million books published between the 15th century and 2008 to see how many discussed antigravity and when:


Michael Jackson:

And good old-fashioned fornicating:

But most important of all, since this is simply a new form of Googling we’re talking about, we can look up ourselves:

Obviously, as my young and lovely wife frequently says, my best days are behind me, while fornicating seems to be more popular than ever.

But wait, there’s more!  Since these are books we’re talking about and books take time to publish, or used to, my literary popularity probably peaked earlier, in say 2001.

And if you look really closely at the numbers on the y-axis you’ll see something truly amazing.  Fornicating is not only on the rise, it is eight times as popular as I am.  Antigravity is 1.2 times as popular as fornicating, which is either senseless or a really amazing bit of news.  Michael Jackson is four times more popular than fornicating (38 times more popular than me).  And semiconductors — semiconductors — while they have been in decline since 1990 (fully 12 years before my career hit the skids) were at their peak 7.5 times as popular as Michael Jackson, 30 times more popular than fornicating, and 240 times as popular as me.  There’s simply something wrong about that one.

Now talk among yourselves.