Monday, February 20, 2017

“Library hand”

Behold “library hand,” or a simulation thereof. It’s penmanship for librarians writing out catalogue cards. Sometimes (still) seen on the spines of older library books. Thanks to Gunther at Lexikaliker for passing on this link (by way of Boing Boing).

I made the sample above with Dewey Library Hand, a free font that emulates one variety of library hand.

Related reading
All OCA handwriting posts (Pinboard)
A catalog-card generator (Typed, not handwritten)

Gilmore Girls and phrasal verbs

From the Gilmore Girls episode “Lorelai’s First Cotillion” (October 10, 2006). The ever-driven Paris Geller steps in to correct an SAT tutor who has told a tutee that “It’s a good sentence, but you want to make sure never to end with a preposition”:

“If she ended the sentence with a preposition, how could it have been a good sentence? It sounds like a terrible sentence.”

“Well, I just . . .”

“You were just coddling her. You wanna prop her up on your knee and burp her? Maybe buy her a pony? I’m not paying you to make her feel better about her incompetence. If she can’t construct a proper sentence, how is she gonna pass the essay section of the SAT?”

“Well . . .”

“That was rhetorical! Carry on.”
Now that’s clever writing. Paris would do well to read Bryan Garner. From Garner’s Modern English Usage:
The spurious rule about not ending sentences with prepositions is a remnant of Latin grammar, in which a preposition was the one word that a writer could not end a sentence with. But Latin grammar should never straitjacket English grammar.
Notice that Garner goes out of his way to violate the spurious rule. (He could have written “the one word that could not end a sentence.”) Also from GMEU:
Perfectly natural-sounding sentences end with prepositions, particularly when a verb with a preposition-particle appears at the end (as in follow up or ask for).
And as in carry on.

You can also end a sentence with the word it. Don’t worry about it.

Related reading, via Pinboard
All OCA Bryan Garner posts
All OCA Gilmore Girls posts

Sunday, February 19, 2017


[In a movie theater.]

“It’s so dark in here.”

Related reading
All OCA “overheard” posts (Pinboard)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Elitists and liberal arts

William Deresiewicz:

It is not the proponents of a liberal arts education who are the elitists; it is those who would reserve it for a lucky few. If you think the humanities have any value, whether as a doorway to enlightenment or just as cultural capital, then they are valuable for everyone and should belong to everyone.

Excellent Sheep: The Miseducation of the American Elite and the Way to a Meaningful Life (New York: Free Press, 2014).
I’m reminded of something I wrote in a 2015 post: “The idea that the humanities are for ‘rich kids’ is one that any humanist must reject.”

Related reading
Other Deresiewicz posts

[As I write this post, the public university where I taught for thirty years is considering an ad hoc committee’s recommendation that the philosophy major be eliminated. Philosophy? Don’t even think about it.]

Friday, February 17, 2017

Dowdy-world brands

The Dry Look. Jean Naté. Sea and Ski. In The New York Times, Wendy MacLeod writes about “Name Brand Nostalgia.”

I’ll add three: Bromo-Seltzer. Hai Karate. Stridex.

David Owens’s “The Dime Store Floor,” about the smells of childhood, is worth mentioning here. Listerine. Mentholatum. Old Spice.

Related reading
All OCA dowdy-world posts (Pinboard)

Henry gets his shoes fixed

[Henry, February 17, 2017.]

Henry last stopped in for shoe repairs in August 2012 and October 2015. He must be harder on his shoes now. These two panels appear to be more or less recycled from August 2012. I don’t mind: there are shoe booths involved.

Does anyone else remember sitting in such a booth waiting for new heels or soles? My memory of the experience probably has something to do with the powerfully strange smell of the shoe-repair shop: chemicals, leather, and perhaps a dash of feet.

Related reading
All OCA Henry posts (Pinboard)

Lucy, seeress

[Peanuts, February 17, 1970.]

In truth, Lucy was speaking of Snoopy, who was just promoted to Head Beagle.

Related reading
All OCA Peanuts posts (Pinboard)

“Past events”

George Orwell, Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949).

See also yesterday’s press conference.

Related reading
All OCA George Orwell posts (Pinboard)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

M. Proust?

Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan, of the University of Laval, Quebec, has discovered film footage that appears to show Marcel Proust in 1904, leaving a church after a friend’s wedding. Says Sirois-Trahan, “Tout tend à faire penser qu'il s'agit de Proust”: Everything tends to suggests that it’s Proust — though of course there is no certainty. Watch for the man in light-colored clothing who begins descending the steps at the 0:35 mark.

The best reports of this news that I can find are those in France24 (in French and machine-made English) and Le Point (in French and machine-made English).

Related reading
All OCA Proust posts (Pinboard)

[Can anyone identify the music? My guess: Reynaldo Hahn. The music is “L.A. I Love You” by John David Hanke. Thanks, Shazam.]

Neologism of the day

lanelocked \ˈlān-ˌläkt\ adjective
: stuck immediately behind a slow-moving vehicle and thus unable to pass into a lane of more rapidly moving traffic because vehicles to the rear are already passing into that lane

Sample sentence: Dammit, I’m lanelocked.

I thought I’d posted this word a long time ago, but I see now that I was thinking of lane duck. To be a lane duck or to be lanelocked: take your pick. In our car, lanelocked is more common. As in, “Dammit, I’m lanelocked.”

More made-up words
Alecry : Humormeter : Lane duck : Misinflame and misinflammation : Oveness : Power-sit : Plutonic : ’Sation : Skeptiphobia