Jason Kottke notes, "I've been keeping track of words
which return a link to a dictionary definition of the word in Google."
As kottke.org defines blog topicality, now is probably a good time to call out my own dictionary word list
. Since early 2004 I've been tracking in del.icio.us (almost) every time I've looked up a definition, 164 in all. Sometimes it's been a supplement to what I'm reading; others have been to confirm something I'm writing; still others are just sheer curiosity. A few trends can be spotted in the list if one looks hard enough.
A full list of terms (with links but without contextual notes) appears in the Read More link below for archival purposes.read more
It struck me yesterday that my favorite building in New York has a lot in common with my favorite building in Hong Kong.
I don't mention it much in this space, but I'm a huge architecture buff. The Bank of China Tower, at left in the image shown here, is one of my all-time favorite modern constructions, despite I.M. Pei's apparent affront to feng shui
. And for the past few months I've been extolling the bold virtues of the Hearst Tower to anyone who will listen.
A toast, then, to diagonal support beams.
Bank of China Tower
(The title of this post refers to the classic Girder and Panel
toy of days past, which I may still have stashed away in my parents' basement, and which is once again available
. I wonder if I'm too old to get one.)
This week's New York Magazine Approval Matrix
(which is a don't-miss treat every week) includes this approving nugget on "Mission: Impossible III": "The kidnapping in 'M:I:III,' involving spilled wine, body doubles, voice modulation, and an exploding Lamborghini—just the kind of awesome Bond-movie scene that doesn't appear in Bond movies anymore."
Not only is this completely true, it also gave me a realization: Tom Cruise wants to be—nay, in "M:I:III" he has become—the next James Bond.
Compare these basic facts about Bond movies (pre-Timothy Dalton, anyway) with Cruise's character Ethan Hunt in "M:I:III."
Tall, dark, handsome, dapper, well-versed in etiquette and perfect comportment. Hunt:
Dark, handsome (not tall), dapper, well-versed in etiquette and perfect comportment. Hunt is not British, although Cruise could work on an accent.
Operates as a secret agent on confidential assignments revealed to no one, including the woman in his life. Hunt:
Operates as a secret agent on confidential assignments revealed to no one, including the woman in his life.
Has an incredible arsenal of gadgets and clever methods of getting into and out of difficult situations. Hunt:
Has an incredible arsenal of gadgets and clever methods of getting into and out of difficult situations. Instead of geeky Q, Hunt has sidekick Luther.
Really knows how to wear a tux. Hunt:
Really knows how to wear a million-dollar rappelling contraption.
Often goes into missions with a second agent or to finish another 00's work. Hunt:
Goes into his first mission to rescue a kidnapped agent, then finishes her work. "Mission: Impossible" used to be about a team of experts, but the latest sequel makes Hunt the main executor.
Drives fantastic cars and visits exotic international locations. Hunt:
Is seen in fantastic cars (such as a Lamborghini) and visits exotic international locations (including Rome and Shanghai).
Knows how to shoot a gun and isn't afraid to kill those who stand in his way. Hunt:
Knows how to shoot a gun and isn't afraid to kill those who stand in his way.
Performs mysteriously dextrous stunts for a man in a tuxedo. Hunt:
Regularly performs dextrous stunts for a man in a million-dollar rappelling contraption.
After saving the world from near-distruction, his superiors want him to immediately get back to work, although he chooses to kick back instead. Hunt:
After saving America from near-distruction, his superiors want him to immediately get back to work, although he chooses to kick back instead.
Gets the girl. And sometimes several. Hunt:
Saves the girl, in this case his new bride. Which is very un-Bond, but still.
If Cruise could nail a British accent he'd have it made. Except, of course, that being James Bond doesn't pay nearly as well as simply being Tom Cruise.
"The president has laid out a carrot-and-stick approach
for controlling illegal immigration, and that includes using up to 6,000 National Guard troops to beef up border security."
Not quite the same as this, is it:
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp
beside the golden door."
One of the more challenging aspects of keeping a blog is keeping it fresh and interesting. A general more-is-more property applies: the more frequently one posts, the easier it is to find subjects worth writing about, primarily because the point of reference is more immediate.
Right now I could very easily post about the dog-sitting I'm doing this weekend, or the NHL playoffs, which I'm following more alertly this season than I have in years. But as they haven't previously been covered in this space, so tidbits like "the dogs are passed out now, Rudy pressed against my leg, Charley across the bed as always, but a little jealous nonetheless" will have no frame of reference. Ever notice how you have less to say to your best friend that you haven't spoken to in a year than you do your neighbor that you see every morning? That's the topicality problem facing the Ideapad of late.
My aim, as noted here a good five years ago, is simple: keep writing. But my once-every-two-weeks items have a necessarily different angle than the typical 10-times-a-day personal blog seen online. We'll see if I can't work on this site's focus in the coming months.
Five years ago today on the Ideapad: "It is enough for you to know that I am dizzily happy
Today? More on the side of contented than vertiginous, to be accurate, but no less happy. Owning a dog will do that to you.
I am also drawn to post right above that one: "One cannot understate the elation of shopping for pants after a successful diet and discovering that all the pants at one's usual size are, suddenly, too big in the waist." Apparently the first week of May 2001 was a good time to be me. (Note to self: keep dieting!)