14 December 2012

Two Wee Mice, a Gnome, and a Robot

Very Best Wishes of the Season!

See you again in 2013!

10 December 2012

Typospherian Miscellany

Like most humans, I acquire stuff related to the stuff I collect.  Some of it came with the stuff; some of it is just part of the stuff that accumulates.  When it comes to typospherian stuff, it is always interesting.  

There are always papers of one sort or another.

This German factory inspection report was tucked away with the Olympia SM3 found for me by my Beloved Spousal Unit.  (To see it in full size, click on the image.)

This notice came with the 1950s-era Skywriter I got from Goodwill's online shopping site.  On the reverse the previous owner had handwritten his name, address, and phone number.  And below that typed the "Quick brown fox/lazy dog" test sentence.

This product label fluttered out when I removed the above notice.  

This metallic 'award' sticker fell off of the case of a mid-1960s Smith Corona I nabbed at Goodwill recently.


A wee tube of typewriter/machine oil.  

This is clipped in the case of the 1929 Corona Four I purchased from a one-time military man who went on to become an engineer.  Not surprisingly, the machine was in tip-top shape and continues to provide superb service.

 Brushes to clean the type slugs.

An older brush from L.C. Smith & Corona.

Spare spool, no ribbon.

A collection of spares from my Repairs Box.


Learner texts I found at our local Half Price Books. The orange one covers manual and electric machines.  The other is for electrics only - the drawn images look like the then-new Selectric model.

This last one is my high school textbook - still one of the best in terms of instructional approach.  It is also the only typing textbook I've seen that is designed to be used the way a typist needs it to be used!  The cleverly engineered binding means the book stands up by itself when in use.  The pages are printed on both sides and the hinged binding works in both directions.

(In case you're interested - I've seen copies of the 3rd edition on Amazon for $1.  Here's the publication info:  Personal and Professional Typing. Third edition. [Hardcover] By S.J. Wanous.  (C) 1967.  Southwestern Publishing Company.  No ISBN but there is a Library of Congress number: 67-16654.)


I've just the one rubber stamp. I bought it because it looked the first typewriter I ever used - the typewriter my Dad used in college and when he began professoring.  It took me through high school and my own undergrad career.

06 December 2012

Puppets Steampunked

My good friend Hoja is gallivanting through Northern Europe for a few months of adventure and research.  In her latest report, she tells of walking the streets of Tallinn, Estonia, in particular, the old 1/2-mile square of Vanalinn (Old Town).  This image above she captions as
"Nuku Museum of Puppet Arts: this is their "Steampunk Puppet Theater" -- a glowing window of clockwork automatons that whirl into jangly action every 30 minutes."

The museum's information video is a thorough delight!  

Ah, were you expecting your own language?  Did  it matter?  Hoja is finding that being a non-native has this most peculiar effect: a kind of fantastical buzzy glow.  She says, with delight, "imagine my surprise now that the printed word has absolutely no meaning here." 

I am immediately reminded of my 2nd most favorite book in the world: Shaun Tan's The Arrival.  

If I could give this book to every person I meet, I would.  It so precisely, so whimsically, so poignantly captures what it is to be Other - the stranger in strange lands.  Tan's illustrations are a master class in their expressive simplicity.  I have written about this book at length previously in my Cool Book series.  Please have a look.  Please have a read.

 Flock’  pencil on paper
By Shaun Tan



02 December 2012

NANO RHINO: Mostly Weekly Images ~ Last

          And now, the end is here
          And so I face the final curtain
          My friend, I'll say it clear
          I'll state my case, of which I'm certain
          I've lived a life that's full
          I traveled each and ev'ry highway
          And more, much more than this, I did it my way

          Regrets, I've had a few
          But then again, too few to mention
          I did what I had to do and saw it through without exemption
          I planned each charted course, each careful step along the byway
          And more, much more than this, I did it my way

          Yes, there were times, I'm sure you knew
          When I bit off more than I could chew
          But through it all, when there was doubt
          I ate it up and spit it out
          I faced it all and I stood tall and did it my way

          I've loved, I've laughed and cried
          I've had my fill, my share of losing
          And now, as tears subside, I find it all so amusing
          To think I did all that
          And may I say, not in a shy way,
          "Oh, no, oh, no, not me, I did it my way"

          For what is a man, what has he got?
          If not himself, then he has naught
          To say the things he truly feels and not the words of one who kneels
          The record shows I took the blows and did it my way!

          Yes, it was my way*

Yes friends, the end was in sight, but forget the Mayans . . . this is NaNoWriMo we're talking about! "Thirty days of literary abandon" is how its originators describe it.  Thirty days of glorious, mad, focused, terrible and wonderful madness.  And for those with typewriters, 30 days of sheer crazy!

Hats off to The Typewriter Brigade

To those who typed; those who thought about typing; those who supported those who typed; to those who finished; to those who tried to finish; to those who knew they wouldn't finish and kept writing anyway; and those who simply went along for fun.  Congratulations! And in final celebration, here are the last images I made for our very merry group.  

As the final week dawned, there were a few, faint expressions of concern. 
Never did 50K seem so close and yet so far.

In a brief moment of panic, desperate measures were considered: anything to get the words out.

But the calm voice of The Great Rhino steadied the troops.

The last week's Postcards of Encouragement were sent out.

And in the last few hours of November, still the Great Rhino exhorted.

On the final day, the Great Rhino knew he had done all he could.
And in his mighty heart, he felt gladness and deep joy for the
 great powers of imagination his Brigadiers had all shown.  
Every word was precious.  
Every minute of creativity was a noble thing.
But then, at midnight, the clock towers told the tale.
It was, at last, the end.

Well done, good friends, well done.

* My Way. Lyrics by Paul Anka.

28 November 2012

A Box with Air Holes

Color-enhanced version of image.

I like having a P.O. Box.  It makes me think of travel and pen friends and the occasional mystery.  
Every now and then something truly remarkable shows up. 

This large box was delivered this past week.  
It was pretty beat up - not a good sign given that it was marked Fragile on each side.

A closer look revealed something not often seen: air holes!

And the return address was decidedly fantastical.  

Clearly other, fictional universes were involved.  Entering immediately into the play of the thing, I imagined I heard wee snorkley sounds coming from inside! And did I see movement when I opened the box?

I carefully placed the basket on the table and opened it very gently.

And what to my wondering eyes did appear?

A wee NANO RHINO wearing its own wee onsie!

Accompanying this whimsical arrival was an impressive letter.  The stationery boasted gold embossing and an elaborate typewritten script.  Pinned to the letter was a dramatically posed portrait.  

[Transcript below or click on the letter to read the enlarged version.]


To: The Esteemed Judith Jablonski, PhD
From: Dr. Humphrey D. Winslow III, Esq.
On The Occasion Of Finalization of Adoptive Care Order WR739 1/2

Dear Ms. Jablonski,

It is my pleasure to inform you that the Society for the Right and Proper Selection of Appropriate Individuals for the Care of Orphaned Diceros bicornis minor has rendered a decision in your case, #WR&#/7931/2.  In accordance with our Bylaws (Chapter 2, Section 34.3, Paragraph 9), the Subcommittee for Review of Applications, Censures, Fitness, Standards and Mores met at the Society headquarters in closed, executive session on September 3, 2012.  After three days of deliberation and multiple ballot rounds, I am pleased to inform you that they signalled [sic] their affirmative decision by order of the traditional pot of Earl Grey.

On behalf of the Executive Committee for Substantiation and Documentation of Transfers of Titles and Signatories, I am pleased to bestow upon you the title of "Member in Waiting" and bequeath you with the Deed of Subservient Services of Diceros bicornis minor.  Said Deed shall be sepeable [?] and revocable on evidence that you have not rendered adequate care and schooling to this juvenile.

Madame, I wish you and your new baby rhino the best in this life and the next!

With Utmost Sincerity,

Dr. Humphrey D. WInslow III, Esq.
Founder, Chair, President, and CEO

P.S.  Kind madame, please forgive the many errors in this missive.  My assistant and compatriot Lord Jim Higgenbottom met a fate most horrible on the business end of a Rhinoceros unicornis on his last journey to that dark subcontinent of India.  I have never trusted those beasts, and never will.


Doctor Humphrey D. Winslow, III, Esq.

Uncertain as to how Dr. Winslow III shall ascertain the welfare of the wee bicornis minor, I have posted this image below to reassure him and the Society.  The as yet unnamed beastie has been put in the tender care of one Moberg, House Mascot and Socialization Chief.  Said Moberg has mentored numerous individuals of the class Crepundia Telae and immediately adopted the wee rhino and made it 'to home.'

I also wish to send my thanks (and barely submerged chuckles) to the Society.  It is very good to know that the recent drought and excessively hot weather of the past summer has in no way dimmed the imaginative faculties of the denizens of the State of Kansas!

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