Ken Jennings


September 20, 2006

willhung.jpgHundredth post!

So I was sitting in a Borders at SeaTac yesterday, flipping through the very funny McSweeney’s Book of Lists when suddenly–I swear–William Hung walks by, browsing the shelves. Yep, “She Bangs” mutilator, “movie” star, and racial stereotyping flashpoint William Hung! I was speechless.

I didn’t say anything to him, but I had to laugh imagining another Borders customer watching me and Will. “Two 2004 TV has-beens…and they hang out together! That’s just sad.”

Of course, if Time magazine’s new coinage “celebrinerd” had caught on by now, that Borders customers could have elbowed his friend and said simply, “Hey, check out the celebrinerds.” I see a few bloggers have tried to goose celebrinerd’s Google count by adopting the phrase, but right now, the search results page lists only me and Time neologist Lev Grossman. Maybe I haven’t been clear enough about celebrinerd’s many virtues. Here’s the main thing: it saves time. If you needed to express the concept of a somewhat bookish and yet famous personality, but you hadn’t yet mastered “celebrinerd,” what would you say instead? “Celebrity nerd,” I suppose. But look at that! Two extra letters! One extra syllable! Now do you see the service Time magazine performs in coining these brilliant new additions to the language? Newsweek doesn’t care about saving you syllables, that’s for damn sure.

I’m in a lovely hotel on San Francisco’s waterfront Embarcadero, which is one of my favorite words to say. “Embarcadero.” It always makes me think of Barbara Bel Geddes in Vertigo. “Who shot who in the Embarcadero in August 1879…” Actually, I find that I think in movie quotes about 45% of the time. It’s amazing that I ever get anything done.

If you’re in the Bay Area, stop by the signing at the Ferry Terminal tonight (unless you’re a Google employee, and then I’ll be popping up at your cubicle in a couple hours…I’m doing an event out at the Googleplex around noon). Seattleites: I’m back in town tomorrow and doing an 7:30 event/signing with the Seattle Follies down at Town Hall. Come welcome me to your fair city. And when I say fair, I mean “overcast with a chance of showers later.”

Posted by Ken at 9:03 am