Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Life style or life

From The New Yorker, in a film review by Anthony Lane: “one of the rare benefits of age: maybe you can start, at last, to tell the difference between a life style and a life.”

I like what Christopher Lasch said about life style: “The appeal of this tired but now ubiquitous phrase probably lies in its suggestion that life is largely a matter of style. Find something else to say about life.” Life style is most often defined by spending habits and leisure activity. Life is a different story.

[Garner’s Modern American Usage deems lifestyle a Stage-5 word: “The form is universally accepted (not counting pseudo-snoot eccentrics).”]

DARE to fold

At the University of Wisconsin-Madison, the Dictionary of American Regional English is preparing to fold.

Monday, March 30, 2015

National Pencil Day

At Contrapuntalism, Sean pulls out many stops for National Pencil Day.

A good pencil is a thing of everyday beauty.

Related reading
All OCA pencil posts (Pinboard)

Another sardinista

The Crow writes about sardines, then and now.

Related reading
All OCA sardines posts (Pinboard)

A perfect ellipsis

Getting the ellipsis right in pixels is a tricky business. Three spaced periods (as The Chicago Manual of Style recommends) look . . . ungainly. Four spaced periods (an ellipsis plus a period) can look ridiculous . . . .

The horizontal ellipsis character (made by typing …) looks … better. But when that a period follows that character, things look a bit off …. See how much larger the final period looks?

Last night, when I was typing a short post, I realized that I could make an ellipsis and period by using the hair space ( ). Periods and hair spaces make a perfect ellipsis-plus:  . . . . Or in plain English: . . . .

Telephone EXchange names on screen

[From Tension (dir. John Berry, 1949. Click for a larger view.]

The “All-Nite Service” drugstore has everything, including liquor and this business card. Barney Deager must have first come by as an Ass’t Sales Manager for the Southwestern Liquor Syndicate. Now he comes by to take out the pharmacist’s wife. I suspect that nothing good will come of that.

DAwson and FAirfield may not be genuine Los Angeles exchange names: the Telephone EXchange Name Project has nothing for DAwson and just one entry for FAirfield (in use in Alabama).

More exchange names on screen
The Amazing Dr. Clitterhouse : Baby Face : Blast of Silence : Boardwalk Empire : Born Yesterday : The Dark Corner : Deception : Dream House : The Little Giant : The Man Who Cheated Himself : Modern Marvels : Murder, My Sweet : My Week with Marilyn : Naked City (1) : Naked City (2) : Naked City 3 : Naked City (4) : Naked City (5) : Naked City (6) : Naked City (7) : Nightmare Alley : The Public Enemy : Railroaded! : Side Street : Sweet Smell of Success : This Gun for Hire

[There’s something beautifully tacky about a business card that abbreviates assistant. I would like to think that the abbreviation is another great detail of set design.]

Sunday, March 29, 2015

John Kerry, less grandiose

Andrea Mitchell, on NBC Nightly News tonight:

“. . . as six world powers led by John Kerry . . . .”
Less grandiose, better:
“Led by John Kerry, representatives of six world powers . . . .”

Minority report: Mr. Turner

Wikipedia: “Mr. Turner has received universal praise from critics.” Well, okay. Mr. Turner (dir. Mike Leigh, 2014), is a beautiful-looking film, extraordinarily so. Dick Pope’s cinematography makes every landscape, every seascape, every interior a painterly composition. But in this portrait of the artist as a gruff man, it’s difficult, at times impossible, to understand what he’s saying: Timothy Spall’s J. M. W. Turner is all croaks and growls and hoarse mutterings. I don’t think it’s meant to be funny, but many in last night’s audience seemed to find it hilarious, as if the film were a John Belushi samurai skit. Meant to be funny but not so: the film’s depiction of John Ruskin as a lisping mega-twit. To me that seemed the easiest, cheapest of shots. But at least I could understand Ruskin’s words, lisp and all.

Elaine and I both did a little reading about Turner last night and were surprised to learn that his last words were “The sun is God.” In the theater, we had both heard, with no second-guessing, “The sun is gone.” Diction, diction, diction.

My recommendation: wait for the DVD, and watch with subtitles.

Domestic comedy

[After deciding not to go to the fancy place for dinner.]

“I’ll leave my thesaurus at home then.”

Related reading
All OCA domestic comedy posts (Pinboard)

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Gill Sans

[“Perils Of Julia And Gill Man — Movie Julia Adams.” Photograph by Edward Clark. Alterations by me. From the Life Photo Archive. Click for a larger, gillier view.]

Once upon a time, the Creature, or the Gill-Man, was one of the monster models made by Aurora Plastics, along with Dracula, Frankenstein, the Mummy, and the Wolfman. The makeup of that quintet bugged me. Four of them: classics. But the fifth? Now he’s a spokesgill-man for the sardine industry.

Scale models — cars, dinosaurs, monsters, planes — were once a fairly standard part of boyhood. Testors Glue, Testors Enamel Paints, decals: necessary stuff, like sardines.

Related reading
All OCA sardines posts (Pinboard)

[Gill Sans? Sans sardines. The font I’ve used for “got sardines?” is the free CGPhenixAmerican.]