Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek.

You'll be glued.

It's just that afterward, you may need someone else to unstick you from the cloying nonsense and the logic-inverting invective that will be spouted.

No, I'm not talking about your annual performance review.

I'm talking about the presidential debate.

So I'm here to prepare you for the ickiness.

Let's play a game.

Look out for the favorite phrases of both candidates, so that you can see whether they're deviating from their usual patterns of speech.

Helpfully, software engineer Katie VanderDrift decided to make a spectacle of the candidates' words by turning them into art.

Her CodeArt project uses Neuro-Linguistic Programming to discern the favorite three-, five- and seven-word phrases of each candidate.

VanderDrift then turns them into art, so that you can find looking at them palatable.

She shoveled 218,265 words from Donald Trump's speeches and 308,319 words from those of Hillary Clinton into her machines in order to create a picture of their favorite turns of phrase.

The results might turn you. In one way or another.

For Clinton, the favorite three-word phrase is "We have to." Ah, yes. This must be her notion of us being stronger, together with our president telling us what we have to do.

The Republican nominee, on the other hand, has his own favorite phrase: "We're going to."

Can you feel the force of that certainty, that sure hold of the future?

Trump isn't immune to saying "We have to." It's his second favorite phrase.

Clinton's, on the other hand, is "a lot of."

How odd. You'd think that Trump would be the one who'd talk about having a lot of a lot of things.

But no. That's not what the language analysis says.

Wait, "a lot of" is Trump's third-favorite phrase.

Are these candidates far more similar than they might appear? Well, they did seem to attend the same social engagements in the past.

Perhaps they speak a common language.

Clinton's third-favorite phrase is "I want to."

Three-word phrases, VanderDrift told me, are far more common than five- or seven-word affairs.

Still, there might be secrets to be told in those too.

Clinton's favorite five-word phrase is "We have a lot of..." The jaundiced might suspect that the sixth word there was "money."

After that, it's "barriers that stand in the way" and "do everything I can to.."

For Trump, more words don't necessarily mean more thoughts.

"Let me just tell you," is his firm favorite. This is followed by "And I will tell you" and "that I can tell you."

Perhaps it's the seven-word phrases that expose the most about our candidates.

For Clinton, the favorites are: "barriers that stand in the way of.." and "comprehensive immigration reform with a path to.."

Her opponent, on the other hand, has among his favorites: "I beat Hillary Clinton in many polls" and "We have no idea who they are."

No, and perhaps we never will.

Sep 26, 2016