May 29, 2003

May all your work be fat!

Despite my past career as a typographer, I had never heard this one. But now I have and I'm laughing:

fat \Fat\, a.

6. (Typog.) Of a character which enables the compositor to make large wages; — said of matter containing blank, cuts, or many leads, etc.; as, a fat take; a fat page.
Source: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

Type used to be charged by the galley, i.e. by the inch. So, lots of leading, lots of white space meant more money.

The new motto: May all your work be fat!

Posted by campbell at 11:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Don't Even Think of Doing That Here

When I was a teenager, New York tried to style itself "Fun City." Well, in the words of The Daily News: Welcome to Nit Pick City.

There is a ticket blitz going on. Among the miscreants: an 86-year old pigeon feeder, a very pregnant woman resting on subway stairs, someone riding a bike with feet off the pedals, a tourist falling asleep in the Subway.

Few people know that my only hobby is parking my car on West 92nd Street. If Calvin Trillin hadn't beat me to it, I was angling to produce the great New York parking ode.

Around the last three or four days of the month, the ticket blitz begins. Quota time. Anonymous cops on radio talk shows have, er, copped to what everyone knew who'd lived here for 15 minutes — law officers need to produce a couple of dozen tickets a month.

Come the waning days of the moon, the cops put down their coffees and start creative writing courses. The traffic wardens, usually content to sashay the boulevards lazily, swarm down the byways, scattering little orange blossoms as they go.

There are dozens of nuances in the parking code that get hauled out this time of month. Distances allowed to hydrants shrink like a Wal-Mart shirt. Bumper hanging a molecule too far over crosswalk lines? Too bad.

Last month, I watched a ticket go on a windshield 1 minute after the alternate side time went off. That's cold.

The advantage to the authorities of the tickets is that they are given out one at a time — which doesn't build much group dynamic, like higher subway fares tend to.

I am unlikely to get a ticket for parking (because of my spider instincts), although maybe if I'm tired and use a space just two inches too close to the hydrant... But I jaywalk at will, I take stairs two at a time, I lean against subway bench backs instead of sitting in the seats. Who knows in the course of a day how many antique laws I break?

If you go to Toronto, you'll see the people standing politely (some might say docilely) at crosswalks. Why? Because they really do get tickets for stepping off the curb against the light. Makes for a more civil society — but it has been happening for generations, so its bred in the bone. New Yorkers aren't so "whipped" and, I suspect, are essentially untameable.

Tickets as revenue sources? Okay, but then I think I should get a tax rebate for not actually hitting anyone with my car as I drive through the streets of "Fun City."

Strange times, indeed.

Posted by campbell at 12:23 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack