Thursday, August 24, 2006

Unkind Donuts

I have 45 minutes to compose and post a blog entry, and then I have an appointment (that under no circumstances can be broken) to watch some TV. I’m sure that would be plenty of time for most people, but not for me. My increasingly decrepit brain needs oodles of time to mull and dither over what I’m going to say and how I want to say it. And then I edit, edit, edit, edit, edit, edit until I get sick of editing and upload the thing in its still highly unsatisfactory state.

I’d give a pretty to be able to whip out a blog entry in 15 minutes, as I assume most people do. I’m thinking that perhaps, if I started doing the New York Times crossword on a regular basis, it would rejuvenate my brain and make it fire in a livelier fashion. I think this because, a couple of days ago we went to a screening of Word Play, a documentary about New York Times crossword puzzle fanatics—those who construct them and those who work them in three minutes flat. In one scene one of the puzzle constructors was driving by a Dunkin’ Donuts and mused, "If you take the D from Dunkin' and put it at the end, you get Unkind Donuts [beat] I've had a few of those." Haw, haw, haw!!!!! That's how these people think; they're always looking at words in a way I never do, but I love it.

The filmmakers also interviewed various celebrities who make the Times crossword a regular part of their day. One of these folks was William Jefferson Clinton. While he blathered on about nature vs. nurture (?!), all the while solving puzzle clues, I sort of tuned out what he was saying because I was so riveted by his necktie, which was so intensely turquoise that it gave off an eerie glow. Perhaps it mesmerized me in some way. My mind wandered. He's so erudite and he's actually pretty darn good-looking. How old is he now? Has he lost some weight? His hair looks good, too. George W. Bush couldn't solve the Times crossword to save his life.

Speaking of neckties. Man, were there some bad ones in that movie. At the annual Crossword Geeks Tournament, a lot of the men were wearing ties that looked like blank crossword puzzles. Not a good look. At all. Will Shortz—puzzle master and exceptionally nice man (as I have always expected)—was not wearing one of the hideous puzzle ties. I wonder to what extremes of tactfulness he had to go to get out of wearing one. You know there had to be a lot of pressure on him.

Anyway, if you like movies about dorky geeky nerds competing against each other, I highly recommend Word Play. It should be out on DVD soon. If you live in Portland, catch it at the Laurelhurst and enjoy it with pizza and beer (like I did).

Yow! The clock is ticking.

I’ve decided that from time to time I will be posting a "Keep Portland Weird" photo, part of an ongoing series. Here's the first one.


Many of Portland’s curbs have iron rings attached to them, which people used to hitch their horses to. Did I say used to? Clearly, they still do. This is the third miniature steed I’ve seen hitched up, but the first one I’ve seen when I had my camera with me. Is one person responsible for the hitch-ups or are there multiple people? I’ve seen two of these horses in Northeast at least a mile apart. It could be the same prankster or it could be a copycat. When I returned with my camera to photograph one of them a week or so later, it was gone. The plot thickens. The one pictured was in Southeast around 28th and Clinton (roughly). Are there more? Or is it the same one being relocated on some mysterious schedule? Has this horsey phenomenon been documented in all the major papers and I’m just too ill-informed to be aware of it?


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