— Or; How the Tag Cloud Slowly Won Me Over. . . .
After the recent burst of posts about Musso & Frank, I noticed that the name of the oldest restaurant and bar in Hollywood muscled its way into my Tag Cloud — the clump of names hovering over in the sidebar area. Leo Grin, who has put on the feedbag in M&F every time I have, also popped up — and when I did the last of the posts about the residences where noir master Jim Thompson lived in Hollywood, suddenly Thompson’s name made the leap to the cloud.
Earlier I noticed the same thing happened with Dashiell Hammett Street. And Frederic Dannay, after an inundation of mentions. Even my pal John D. Squires made the cut awhile back — he said his name really should appear in the Tag Cloud in purple (that’s an M. P. Shiel joke, for those not in the know — Shiel fans get it, no one else will).
When the blog started, I wasn’t sure I wanted a Tag Cloud, because on other blogs I’ve seen they look pretty clunky — I find the ones where the Tags are listed in numerical order of hits especially mechanical — Dashiell Hammett Street (45), Dudley Do-Right (18), and so on. Just no organic rhythm. . . .
I barely know enough computer chops to do new posts. I didn’t know the Tag Cloud would form based on the first twenty-five or so names I tagged, or I might have juggled it differently. Or tried to. I thought those names would be it, I didn’t know some names would start to fall off and be replaced by others that were getting more action. Cool. Plus, I’ve noticed that the Tag Cloud wants names beginning with different letters, and searches for different angles — 891 Post got picked up because it starts with numbers (and is mentioned a lot), and at one point the title “Conan vs. Conantics” made the cut because its in quotes, but got dropped in favor of “Death and Company.”
I’m just an interested observer, at this point, I wouldn’t juggle the results even if I bothered to learn how. Tag Cloud Darwinism.
I guess I knew that the more hits a Tag got, the larger the name would appear, which has resulted in some nice idle reveries.
My favorite, and you can still see it, mostly, was when Valentine and Vince Emery floated in the cloud in the same font size, for months, side by side, and I started to think of Vince as Valentine Vince Emery. Like the names of the hoods who come into Frisco to rob the banks in Hammett’s The Big Knockover. Now I can’t think of Vince any other way.
And there was a great moment when I noticed that the name Tenderloin and Terry Zobeck were lined up, same size — I told Terry, hey, you can use the monicker Tenderloin Terry Zobeck!!! As a fan of The Big Knockover, Terry saw the appeal.
But as of a couple of days ago, Tenderloin Terry Zobeck is no more. Musso & Frank and the other new names muscling in had to push something aside, and Tenderloin was it. Now Terry is sitting in the cloud without a slang name, getting larger and larger with every appearance (he’s got three or four new posts ready to roll, so he well may be the largest name in the Tag Cloud in a couple of months).
And after this contemplative pause in the usual action, I’m not Tagging any name in this post — you can find most of them in the Tag Cloud and click away — every proper name dropped, except Dudley Do-Right.