More on Formatting in Poetry


Concrete poetry is the practice of making a poem look, on the page, like its topic. In the days of the typewriter, this took a lot of time, but when published, it has great appeal. On the interwebs, where everything has to be left justified, concrete poetry is pretty much just a silhouette. But there are ways to get around that, if all you are going for is the idea of the topic rather than an actual illustration. Here is one from a group of poems I am trying to put together about the dailiness of my life.

7:40 a.m.


color    color

liner    liner

lashes lashes






coffee coffee coffee




Weighing In On the Issues, #1


Before I begin explaining Campaign Issue Number One, I have to explain where it comes from. Hopefully, if you haven’t been living in a cave recently, and/or your cat hasn’t knocked your computer mouse off your desk so that you are incapable of accessing Facebook, then you know that Berkeley Breathed has broken his 25 year sabbatical and brought Bloom County back in time for the 2016 American presidential circus. I mean, election. And of course Opus is running, with Bill the Cat as his Veep of choice.

Now let me get a leetle political here and say that at this point I would probably vote for Opus before any of the Republican contenders and most of the Democratic ones, which is sad. I believe that Opus probably wouldn’t get us into yet another war (not sure about Bill) or try to defund cancer screenings for women. That is just not how he rolls.

However, I must say that the hot-button issue he has chosen as the main plank in his platform is something I simply cannot get behind: reverting to using two spaces after a period.

People talk about how we’ve abandoned our traditional values, rejected the teachings of the Bible (presumably by eating shrimp and not having concubines, because I am pretty sure ancient Hebrew doesn’t actually use punctuation). But what they ignore is the reason we used to have two spaces after the period back in the day when we typed on actual typewriters, manual and electric.

The way I was taught, the letters in the font that typewriters used were of different widths and the space was narrow, so the extra space did something to balance that out. Now, the letters of most fonts are less varied, so the extra space isn’t needed. I don’t know if that is true. What I do know is that should you, gods forbid, justify your writing on both left and right, an extra space could end up giving you a huge hole in the middle of your paragraph as your word processing program works overtime to fix what ain’t broke.

Where do you stand on the debate?

So Sad to be Sans Serif


So Google just “upgraded” its logo, by taking all the pretty serifs off and making the current logo look like something out of a cheap children’s chapter book. Any subtlety it used to have is gone. I am surprised they kept the colors. “Upgrades” like this drive me nuts. Microsoft Word “upgrades” in a similar manner, taking all the useful things I use constantly and hiding them in a different menu or behind a ruler I would never think to use, something that automatically generates, for example, a memo. Why on God’s green Earth would I ever need to automatically generate a memo? Nobody even uses memos anymore, not since the invention of email. But this is the global corporate world for you. Rather than sticking with something that works well, we have to change it up so you buy a new one that won’t work nearly half as well and takes too much work to learn.

And if you think all this is just my opinion, it turns out that Sarah Larson from The New Yorker agrees with me. “In streamlining its logo, Google took something we trusted and filed off its dignity. Credit PHOTOGRAPH BY JUSTIN SULLIVAN / GETTY”