Stupid google tricks:
December 30, 2000 6:48 PM   Subscribe

Stupid google tricks: I was looking for links on Chris Ware, author of "Jimmy Corrigan, The Smartest Kid on Earth" and "The Acme Novelty Library." See how I've cleverly included links to material on both those works? I found those links via Google, and they both include the words "Chris Ware" any number of times. But when I search for "Chris Ware" per se on Google, I only get 11 links. . . and all of them are in German! Anyone got any explanation for this oddity?
posted by rodii (20 comments total)
Is this what you're looking for?
posted by whatnotever at 7:03 PM on December 30, 2000

Damn, whatnotever beat me to it. :) I was wondering what the hyphen in there was for....
posted by pnevares at 7:04 PM on December 30, 2000

Yeah, where's my cookie?!

But here's a question.

How does Google treat the hyphen? What will "word1-word2" match, in general?

I've tried to figure it out, and it isn't clear. In general, it seems to match any phrase where word1 is followed closely by word2. For example, "jiggy-horse" matches "Jiggy (Horse)". And in general, searching for "word1 word2" (with the quotes) yields the same results.

But this "chris-ware" search doesn't work the same way, it seems, as it ignores many pages that contain "chris ware" while matching some pages that only contain "chris ware"...

posted by whatnotever at 7:31 PM on December 30, 2000

OK, that's interesting. I guess I was unconsciously in Altavista mode. So why does "chris-ware" work, but only bring up German pages?
posted by rodii at 7:33 PM on December 30, 2000

i'm not sure....i would have thought it could have matched pages containing the word "chris" but not "ware". but obviously that's not it ;)
posted by pnevares at 7:42 PM on December 30, 2000

Actually, that second search query of "chris ware" without the quotes generates 115,000 hits, the majority of which don't apply to Ware at all. I'd recommend this query, putting the two words in quotes. Only 3,580 hits this time, nearly all of them accurate.

Speaking of Ware, if you don't already own all 14 issues of Acme (like I do), I highly recommend buying the Jimmy Corrigan novel, which collects the entire storyline into a beautiful 380-page book.

While you're waiting for a ride to the bookstore, check out this animated Flash presentation of the book's elaborate dustcover and this outstanding interview with Ware by designer/author Chip Kidd.
posted by waxpancake at 7:56 PM on December 30, 2000

I second waxpancake's assertion about owning the hardback Jimmy Corrigan novel. Sometimes I like to buy something without really knowing much about it. The vectors closed in on Jimmy Corrigan for me and I bought it. It was quite expensive (though not as expensive as the soft cover of From Hell, which I still haven't got) but I have yet to regret it. It may not mean much but I think that it is the most beautiful object that I own. Admitedly I don't own much.
I certainly would have bought all 14 issues of ANL but I just didn't have access to a comic shop and money when it was out. I will find them though.
posted by davidgentle at 8:24 PM on December 30, 2000

My copy of Acme #1 and the Jimmy Corrigan hardcover are both inscribed with a little note to me, and a little picture of Jimmy in the hardcover. I don't turn all fanboy for every comic... Just Chris Ware, Dan Clowes, Adrian Tomine, Seth, and Chester Brown. (Will Eisner, R. Crumb, and Art Spiegelman are in a class of their own.)
posted by waxpancake at 10:56 PM on December 30, 2000

Can somebody explain this to me? I mean, Jimmy Corrigan, specifically. I see it in New City all the time and while it's lovely to look at, I just don't get it.
posted by dhartung at 11:45 PM on December 30, 2000

I know Chris a little, and he is my hero. He has done so many little projects that were made in such small batches most of you will never see them, and that is a shame because they are brilliant. In Chicago 10 years back, there was a bar where cartoonists and illustrators would get together and work on jam mini-comics. He hand-made a book of his early Quimby strips that he only sold at a gallery opening that I treasure like it was the dead sea scrolls. Tiny little 1/2" thick comics that were vended out of a machine that only accepted house keys as payment. The hand cranked cat head featured in one of the libraries cannot be described. Lifelike and creepy, the eyes roll about, and he squeaks when his mouth opens. Another hand cranked machine feature decrepit old Siamese quimbies sitting on a bench. As you turn the crank, one twin keels over, while the other is looking away. When the living twin notices, he wails and falls dead himself. It is enough to make you burst into tears. My wife bought me the original art for a cover he did for the Stranger, it is interesting to see his rough pencil marks beneath his machine like ink lines.
Oh yeah, he uses a Mac.
posted by thirteen at 12:03 AM on December 31, 2000

dhartung: what is it that you don't get specifically?
posted by davidgentle at 12:14 AM on December 31, 2000

Skallas, I don't know where you're getting this from. Who even implied anything sucked? I was curious--am still curious--how Google interpreted my (malformed) query. I've been using Google since before you were born, junior (the old steam-powered version), so don't give me any lip! :)

dhartung: I can see how you might not get Jimmy, especially in the tiny fragments that you probably see. In the book the impact is much greater, but it's slow to build. The narrative is so oblique and fractured, and the transitions between the two main storylines and the dreams, daydreams and fantasies are not always obvious. It really demands close reading (like the tiny sperm'n'egg diagrams) but repays it many-fold. And it *is* beautiful.
posted by rodii at 7:08 AM on December 31, 2000

Having, about fifteen minutes ago, finished the Jimmy Corrigan book, let me second (or third) (or double or treble) the hosannahs. His style is demanding, but it pays off so richly by the end of the book that you have to blink hard to get back into your own life. At one page in the book (those that have read it will know the one I'm talking about) I was so stunned I stared at it for about five minutes to try to make it wrong, or a joke, or a lie, or make it go in reverse so Ware could take it back. And, you learn, that very same feeling is what animates these characters' lives.

Taken as a whole, Ware's work is -- and I don't say this very often -- something new under the sun.
posted by argybarg at 11:00 AM on December 31, 2000

While a HUGE fan of Chris Ware (Went to see him a Quimby's here in Chicago a while back - a really nice and approachable guy. Clowes was there too, but no one really paid attention to him.) I can't say that I'm all that fond of Jimmy Corrigan. While brilliant, it is rather depressing.

What I really like though, are his little fake advertisements and mini-comics that were inserted into each issue, really funny stuff.

Did anyone else get the 'This American Life' (he did the logo for the show too) secret decoder wheel that he designed? Here's a virtual one in case you missed out.

What were we talking about now? Search engines or something???
posted by aladfar at 2:05 PM on December 31, 2000

Hey, as long as we're talking about search engines...
How do you search for a phrase that has the same word twice in a row? I was trying to figure out who had an album called "Pop Pop." Google seems to ignore repeated words, and gave me a list of pages with the word "pop" in them.
posted by dogwelder at 4:17 PM on December 31, 2000

While not perfect, typing "pop pop" in quotes definitely returns different results than just plain "pop." Many of the highly-ranked results have the correct search phrase in them.
posted by waxpancake at 6:08 PM on December 31, 2000

In this case, you might want to try searching on a less intelligent search engine, which won't try to guess at you intentions. Here are some sample queries from All the Web and Altavista which return only "pop pop" results.
posted by waxpancake at 6:11 PM on December 31, 2000

I should note here that, while *I'm* not entirely happy with Google's rules, either, nor their documentation for power users, they really aren't just "trying to guess at your intentions".

The reason that some searches aren't possible on Google is that they're not *possible*; the shape of their indexes simply doesn't store some things. Proximity is, I believe, one of those things...
posted by baylink at 8:01 PM on December 31, 2000

skallas: so it was just irrelevant, then? And "Google 101" wasn't condescending? Whatever you say.

I agree with Baylink that better documentation would be nice. Google seems to treat "chris-ware" as equivalent to "chris ware", but chris-ware as not equivalent to either chris ware or chris -ware. chris ware is different from +chris +ware, which also brings up the category listing:

Category:   Regional > Europe > ... > Wales > Cardiff > Cardiff > Business and Economy 


(I know, none of this really matters except to a nerd like me)

posted by rodii at 10:50 AM on January 1, 2001

That's where you're wrong, Rodii; search engines are one fo the best available tools to keep the domain morons from breaking DNS; they *have* to be usable.

They're not just for geeks anymore.
posted by baylink at 4:03 PM on January 2, 2001

« Older Government gives money only to Sex Ed programs...   |   Media recount boosts Gore in Hillsborough County... Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments