Epic Suck

Chicago Bureau is miffed because Sanjay Gupta could become Surgeon General.  But if you add just one little letter to that nightmare, it becomes clear that our very civilization is at risk:


It returns.

The Return of Sanjaya [Radar Online]

Not only does it return, it returns Inauguration Day. I’m burning incense and sacrificing a skunk tonight.

[Removed the reference so as not to spoil the gag. Bad Nojo!]

@nojo: This makes the Mariah Carey musical pale in comparison. I have never watched one minute of American Idol, yet this little cretin managed to work his way into my consciousness. He must be stopped.

Oh Sweet Zombie Jeebus! What in the deepest depths of fucking living hell is this?

I’ve been Sanjaya-rolled!

Eh, good for a bounce if he bit the pillow for most of it so I wouldn’t have to hear his voice. I’d have to be pretty drunk, though.

@blogenfreude: Mariah Carey would make a great Surgeon General. She could encourage people to dance and fuck their way to robust good health.

I should dance more often to the music in my head. Just so long as I don’t listen to the voices.

@Dodgerblue: I think it would be good use of my tax dollars for Mariah to produce Official US Surgeon General exercise videos starring Mariah herself, covered in suntan oil with long, lingering close-ups and strategically placed slo-mo sequences. Kids would get into exercise and never need medicine. Gupta would show up on TV holding up boxes of drugs from one of his sponsors, “hey, this shit, tell your GP to subscribe it for you and get the large economy size. Give you a big dick and make you immune to heart attacks and weight gain.” Really, no contest as to who should be our SG.

@FlyingChainSaw: Y’know, I’d be satisfied just to have more use of the dick I have. I don’t feel that I need the Monster Truck of dicks. Remember the Frank Zappa line: “My dick is a Harley, you kick it to start . . .”

@SanFranLefty: It is okay to listen to the voices in your head if they start harmonizing. Although from the pic above, I’d say it’s more “the Music in my Hair”.

My cousin visited today. I have old cousins. He is an ex-marine ( a tour in Vietnam in 1968, ex-NJ State Trooper, of 60. He took up Buddhism 30 years ago, we all thought he was weird, went trekking in the Himalayas, lots of visits to India. He has divested himself of all possessions and now lives on an ashram in India. He has a room and a bed and works in the kitchen and works in the fields and meditates and prays. Wow. He’s the happiest guy I know. His State Police pension is probably more money than the entire income of the ashram, I am dying to ask if he gives it all to them. Wow, is all I keep thinking. He was really wounded, psychically, after Vietnam, never talks about it, but he was a footsoldier in the shit in the worst part of the war. Ya never know where life takes you, do ya?

@FlyingChainSaw: I don’t think so, but I will ask him if he has seen Ragingmonk.

@Dodgerblue: I’m sure one of Gupta’s sponsors will find a pill for you. In the meantime, you might just ask ladies in the checkout if they’d like to see you light a cigarette with your prehensile penis.

I am beyond thrilled to say that I have no idea who this is.

@Mistress Cynica: You would think that, given my viewing habits, I would have no idea as well. But sadly I do. If you watch 10 or 15 seconds of a YouTube video you will understand – this is the apocalypse.

I have to make a huge confession. I am fearful, I am afraid that what I am about to say will reduce me your estimation, fellow stinquers. Please don’t hate me. Here it goes: I know of Sanjaya only because I am a daily devotee’ of Howard Stern. I am not going to go into that now, only say that, Stern was cheerleading for everyone to vote for Sanjaya for the purely petty and hateful purpose of fucking with the American Idol contest and making a mockery of it.

And I started watching, hoping it would succeed, and Sanjaya would win.

TJ, but its important, I think. I am watching a PBS program, an in-depth examination of the history, social significance, literary, advertising, and other uses, of Helvetica type.

Now, an hour-long program on the more general topic of fonts and type design in general, might interest a fair number of intelligent people.

But an hour-long program devoted solely to every fucking detail about the history of, use of, and siginificance of, one single font, Helvetica (I have just learned, for example, that some people view the use of Helvetica as being associatted with immoral corporatocracy and support for the Vietnam War), well, that is a show that could serve as a litmus test to define what kind of people are stinquers, what kind of people we are, to identify what single most obvious attribute there is that we all share.

If you like this program about Helvetica, if this is interesting to you, you should be posting on Stinque.

@Promnight: Dude, I was totally rooting for Sanjaya, because it was going to make Simon Cowell’s head explode. I never actually watched the show, I followed this on a meta-level through Us Weekly. And you have a long commute across South Jersey, of course you listen to Stern. I think he’s a moron but his libertarian streak occasionally appeals to me. But at a certain point I’m sure there’s only so much iTunes or NPR you can listen to on your commute and you need midgets having sex or whatever the fuck Stern does.

@Promnight: I have read books about font. Half the time I’m drafting nasty-gram letters to opposing counsel, I debate which font and font size I should use in the hard copy of the letter. Arial is cleaner, Helvetica can be artsy, Palantino looks like old legal briefs.

/takes off geek hat.

Seriously, Prommie, are you my long-lost older half-brother that nobody talks about?

@Promnight: Not only have I listened to Stern, I have listened to Opie & Anthony. You have nothing to be ashamed of, and you should be lauded for trying to keep the horrible Sanjaya in the competition until the end. One would have hoped, at that point, he would have been shown the door and crushed forever.

@SanFranLefty: Stern drags everyone he can down to the level of 12 year old boy. I like it.

@blogenfreude: I only heard Opie and Anthony a couple of times, but I heard their last NY radio broadcast, the couple who had anal sex in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to win that contest sponsored by Samual Adams beer, and the guy who owns Samual Adams there in the studio, amazed. That was truly thats a FlyingChainSawian moment actually occurring in real life, a pair of swingers having anal sex in Saint Patrick’s cathedral to win a radio contest. And the chick was from that town in Virgina where Pat Robertson is based, so cool.

@Promnight: I heard that show as well … it was in 2001, I believe. Winning couple was called “Pebbles and BamBam”. Since then I’ve insisted that my girlfriend call me BamBam.

@SanFranLefty: SFL, I have had that feeling, that I am talking to my long-lost half-brother/sister, with about everyone who hangs here, sometimes with disastrous consequences. Thats why I have this insane idea that this tribe of like-minded people who found themselves after much wandering here, is a rare and precious thing. I have considered it a rare and precious thing on each of the few occasions in my life when I meet anyone I feel is really, there, with me, where I am. Here I have met more than elsewhere in my life all put together, then multiplied by some factor I have not yet calculated.

His hair looks nice.

Seriously people, you don’t have to watch American Idol. You just need to read Vote For The Worst (dot com, of course). Of which Sanjaya is the patron saint.

@Promnight: I always forget women can have anal sex too, anytime it is mentioned I just assume it’s dudes they’re talking about. Seriously, if you’re a woman, why would you? “Sorry guy, my vagina is broken, it’s gonna hafta go in the butt.”
That Helvetica documentary is great, and although I am an amateur font nerd, Arial is what I use every day for work.

@drinkyclown: In my world, for my formal stuff, I’d go with Frank Lloyd Wright’s Eaglefeather: http://www.identifont.com/show?1ZU

@blogenfreude: Oh that is pretty! I love all the deco and early 20th fonts.

@drinkyclown: Had it for PC, now I have to buy it for my Mac. I have seen much of his architecture (been to Fallingwater 5 times), so it all makes me weep.

@Promnight: Did they cover the angle about how Microsoft came up with its own crappy, eye-melting alternative so they wouldn’t have to pay the licensing fee for Helvetica?

@Promnight: If you like this program about Helvetica, if this is interesting to you, you should be posting on Stinque.

The Helvetica documentary? Pretty much matches my understanding, and I’ve been following that shit for twenty years. Of all the snobs I’ve dealt with, font snobs may be the most esoteric.

@FlyingChainSaw: The original pitch for Arial was that it was more amenable to low-resolution monitors, never mind the licensing. I resisted at first, but now I like it as a utility font (email, programming text, and so on).

And I actually like Georgia (another knockoff) for the headlines here, at least on a Mac.

But no, I wouldn’t use either on paper.

@nojo: Font geeks, unite! That’s the club we would have all been in in high school. I like Arial for email but we mostly use TNR for legal stuff.

@nojo: Font geekery is part of my job. Did you know that John Baskerville, the English printer, spent six years developing his Baskerville typeface? And that he began his career as a tombstone engraver? If you’re ever around book geeks, toss out “Caslon or Baskerville?” and watch the fur fly.

@nojo: My resume was in Georgia font for 10 years until I started jamming in-boxes. I reluctantly reformatted to Times.

@Mistress Cynica: Team Baskerville, girlfriend. Does that make up for or make worse my UT/Cowboys fandom?

@nojo: Which was stupid because it was designed to copy Helvetica and Arial used angled descenders which are harder to resolve on early CGA EGA VGA monitors. Helvetica cut the terminal ends of lines in the characters at right angles which leaves a lot less fur to resolve. That and the tight kerning make it less optimal for low-resolution presentation. It was about licensing the cheapest crap MSFT could stuff into its OS and applications.

@SanFranLefty: Mine is in Sylfaen, which is sort of a Garamond knock-off. I’ve convinced myself that it’s both professional-looking and eye-catching, but am willing to entertain dissenting opinions, since my resume may be in circulation soon.

@mellbell: I like it, but then my CV is in Garamond, which is also the font required in briefs filed with the 10th circuit court of appeals (14 pt!).
@SanFranLefty: Excellent choice. You are redeemed.

I have to say yet again that you intrigue me. First, you are an expert audiophile and then a brass-band connoisseur, and now you fly your font freak flag. I so wish you were in DC in a few weeks.

@mellbell: @Mistress Cynica: Re: CVs. I think between the three of us we could form our own law firm. It’d have to be in California, though. I’m not taking another bar exam.

@Mistress Cynica: I am pretty sure it’s 14 point in the 11th Circuit too. 12 point in the 6th Circuit.

Page margins — I have to check, I can’t remember.

This is why paralegals love me. Everything is already properly formatted.

@SanFranLefty: They probably also love you because the following scenario will never play out with you:

(phone rings)
“I can’t find the undo.”
“In Word, you mean?”
“In the new version, yeah, I can’t find it.”
“I’m not sure where it is either, but you can just do ctrl+z, it does the same thing.”
“That’s too complicated.”
(bangs receiver into head)

@mellbell: When the 10th circuit switched to word count, I had lawyers try to weasel on what a word is — I was the “brief bitch” who checked for rule compliance as well as the grammar bitch — whining that “a” “an” and indeed “is” shouldn’t count because they’re “so short.” I told them to take it up with WordPerfect word counter.

No, that won’t happen any time soon because I’m 25 years younger than my paralegal and legal assistant and so I’m leading the tutorials in how to use Teh Googlez and the miracles of ctrl+x and ctrl+c.

TJ/ My boyfriend Keiff Oh actually investigated to see who’s staying at the Blair House between now and inauguration, keeping little Sasha and Malia from having the most normal (relatively speaking) of new school transitions.

A: Nobody is staying at the Blair House.

@SanFranLefty: Rachel just reported (I’m watching online) that John effing Major will be staying there when he comes to get his medal of freedom on the 13th. But that’s it. And he’s not even a sitting PM. And he wasn’t booked until after the Obamas requested early move-in.

@Promnight: Man, I have wanted to see that one, Badly. (Typeface geek.)

@drinkyclown: You want Deco? We got Pueblo deco.

@SanFranLefty: Verdana 11.

@Promnight: Cue Desmond Decker, “The Isrealites”. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1e2aRfqp1sY

@Dodgerblue: TNR blows when faxed, ese.

Not that I have a spare shilling, but can we haz donations to the Atheist Bus Campaign?

@SanFranLefty: My firm has three Pueblo Indian partners, including one cool rocker chick who belonged to the Queenryche fan club. We went to Ozzfest together.

@mellbell: Motion to Exceed Page Limits. I worked with a guy who could not cut shit down. Journos could say “dude, take “Broadcast News Writing”

@FlyingChainSaw: which leaves a lot less fur to resolve.

Between you & me & the font geeks, that’s the best line I’ve heard all day.

@redmanlaw: dude, take “Broadcast News Writing”

Although I usually credit the entirety of my journalism education to the student rag, my time as a radio stringer had essential benefits, the chief of which was clarity. You have seven sentences to tell a story (down to three these days…), and listeners can’t go back to the top if they get lost. It’s a great exercise.

And great fun, but I didn’t pursue it. When your understanding only encompasses seven sentences, you’re not much of a reporter.

@Mistress Cynica: If you’re ever around book geeks, toss out “Caslon or Baskerville?” and watch the fur fly.

False dilemma. I’ve set a couple of books, and font choice is entirely dependent upon the character of the writing — you’re looking for something that expresses the voice of the author instead of impeding it.

Case in point: There’s a Hardware Spy Thriller coming out from an indie publisher in a few months, and I ended up setting it in — wait for it — Times New Roman. I went through a dozen “better” fonts before giving up: It’s supposed to be a page-turner, and nothing rushes you through text like Times. Caslon or Baskerville, and you’d be dwelling much longer on the writing than it could bear.

@nojo: Sorry, I over-geeked. I was referring to the inevitable arguments among the rare book crowd over who was the greatest printer/font designed of the 18th century, the contenders being William Caslon and John Baskerville. I should go to bed before I definitively prove myself to be the Cliff Clavin of Stinque. That’s all from Fun Font Facts!
@SanFranLefty: OMFSM, I loved this bit from that article:

More recently, Nick Clegg, a member of Parliament and the leader of the Liberal Democrats, announced that he was an atheist. (He later downgraded himself to agnostic.)
David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, alluded to a popular radio station when he joked that his religious belief was like “the reception for Magic FM in the Chilterns: it sort of comes and goes.”

Can you even imagine an American who aspired to any office higher than (and perhaps including) dogcatcher being able to say that freely?

@nojo: I think the audience also has a role, perhaps cynically.

@Mistress Cynica: Ah: antiquarians. Book fetishists who lead foxed lives.

@redmanlaw: Until the book is published, there is no audience — but as a text designer, I’m pretty much the reader’s advocate, as far as my judgment allows. It’s not just the font, but the size and the spacing — print out a dozen variations, and some will “speak” more clearly than others.

Some books want to be read quickly, others slowly — if I were setting those mile-long Faulkner sentences, I would want a font that encouraged you to dwell instead of rushing you along. Times and its umpteen variations are newspaper fonts, built for speed. For a Hardware Spy Thriller, speed is what you want.

no love for Kristen? i wouldn’t use it for a resume, but for informal communication i find it childish, fun, and it entertains me, especially in purple. adults: carry on.

@SanFranLefty: 14 point in the 9th Circuit. Because the old guys can’t see the smaller fonts.

Damn. A font fest and I missed it!

For some reason formatting obsesses the theatre and movies. I generally use Times New Roman 12pt which is the allowed variable font. Otherwise it’s Courier 12pt. Courier!!! Everything should be 1.5 lines with 1.5 left margin. Personally I hate all that white space on a page so I cut down on the lines. Dialogue, character names (which must be ALL CAPS), stage directions all have their own formats and it’s all a pain in the ass. Which is why people use the hateful Final Draft which looks like shit on the screen. The theory is that the font should be invisible so that nothing interferes with the reading of the wonderment it encloses. Also, a page of movie script represents a minute of screen time. Plays don’t work that way. But I reckon a page to be roughly two minutes of stage time. Oh, and in musicals, lyrics are always typed in caps. Otherwise the world as we know it will come to an end.

Of course, when a play is published all that goes out the window. Unless one is Pinter or Beckett, in which case there must be a lot of white space on the page. For the rest of us, everything is crammed in any old way.

Personally, I have a weakness for Copperplate. Not for any particular reason beyond liking how it looks. I’m going to investigate Baskerville and Caslon.

Well, it’s Garamond for me (but Times is standard in the office). But can anyone tell me what the fonts are for bills in Congress? I’ve always wanted to know but could never quite figure it out. Bookman is the closest I’ve found, but it just don’t look quite right.

@chicago bureau: Identifont seems to think it’s Century Schoolbook, or some variant thereof, which is what SCOTUS uses.

@mellbell: And Acrobat corroborates (should’ve just looked there in the first place…). SCOTUS uses Century Schoolbook, Congress uses New Century Schoolbook.

@Benedick: Right there with ya on Copperplate. That’s what I use for the titling in all of my YouTube videos (to forestall the subtly raised eyebrows and sidewise glances: search for IanJSeattle). Good or bad, it’s the choice I made for consistent style.

Like Benedick, I’m dismayed that I missed the font fest. Like Flying Chain Saw, I love Palatino Linotype. There was a horrible vogue for a few years in the 80s and 90s for a font whose name I have, thank God, forgotten. Although it did not really resemble those godawful typewriter cursive fonts, it reminded me of them. People whoring after novelty, even ugly, useless novelty (like most clothing fashions, for instance).

@lynnlightfoot: It couldn’t have been any more horrifically omnipresent than Comic Sans.

@mellbell: I hate Comic Sans!! I got in a huge argument with a coworker last year who wanted to use it for an official fact sheet for some legislation we were supporting. Not to mention I had to excise extraneous quotation marks that were somehow intended to provide “emphasis” – aiiii, mis ojos!

Palitino was standard at the University of Oregon for many years, mainly because it was a standard LaserWriter font, so every office had it. It was also pleasant and readable, and very appropriate for campus communications.

A few years ago the Designers decided that was too easy, and made everyone buy Melior instead, which nobody knows but feels somewhat brutalist in style. This is what happens when a laid-back state college puts on airs.

@Benedick: For some ghastly reason, TV and radio news copy is written ALL CAPS. You cannot read ALL CAPS. Everything you know about reading — like, say, the shapes of words — goes out the window.

@nojo: Tell me about it. Lyrics are all caps double-spaced. I refuse to do that. But for some reason, unless we all pretend we’re still using typewriters, Mandy Patinkin will never work again.

I’ve been changing fonts following suggestions and likes here and have been surprised by the results. I was especially interested in your observation regarding readability, speed and Times New Roman.

Of course, the text in a manuscript is nothing like the text in a printed document and what’s suitable in one isn’t necessarily suitable in another.

@Benedick: Of course, the text in a manuscript is nothing like the text in a printed document and what’s suitable in one isn’t necessarily suitable in another.

Or for a website — although there we’re constrained by the “standard” fonts everybody can be expected to have on their computer.

But yes, it’s all context. There’s no perfect font, only the most appropriate.

There’s a font that was very popular in 50s that I’ve been trying to find. It was on tons of performance programs, for example. It was very simple and elegant, sans serifs, I think, similar though not as minimal as Helvetica.

Anyone know its name?

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