Saturday, October 31, 2009

Life in the 1500's

The next time you are washing your hands and complain because the water temperature isn't just how you like it, think about how things used to be. Here are some facts about the1500s:

Most people got married in June because they took their yearly bath in May, and still smelled pretty good by June. However, they were starting to smell, so brides carried a bouquet of flowers to hide the body odor.

--- Hence the custom today of carrying a bouquet when getting married.

Baths consisted of a big tub filled with hot water. The man of the house had the privilege of the nice clean water, then all the other sons and men, then the women and finally the children. Last of all the babies. By then the water was so dirty you could actually lose someone in it.

--- Hence the saying, "Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. "

Houses had thatched roofs-thick straw, piled high, with no wood underneath. It was the only place for animals to get warm, so all the cats and other small animals (mice, bugs) lived in the roof. When it rained it became slippery and sometimes the animals would slip and fall off the roof.

--- Hence the saying, "It's raining cats and dogs."

There was nothing to stop things from falling into the house. This posed a real problem in the bedroom where bugs and other droppings could mess up your nice clean bed. Hence, a bed with big posts and a sheet hung over the top afforded some protection.

--- That's how canopy beds came into existence.

The floor was dirt. Only the wealthy had something other than dirt. Hence the saying, "Dirt poor." The wealthy had slate floors that would get slippery in the winter when wet, so they spread thresh (straw) on floor to help keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they added more thresh until, when you opened the door, it would all start slipping outside. A piece of wood was placed in the entranceway.

--- Hence the term, "thresh hold."

(Getting quite an education, aren't you?)

In those old days, they cooked in the kitchen with a big kettle that always hung over the fire. Every day they lit the fire and added things to the pot. They ate mostly vegetables and did not get much meat. They would eat the stew for dinner, leaving leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight and then start over the next day. Sometimes stew had food in it that had been there for quite a while.

--- Hence the rhyme, "Peas porridge hot, peas porridge cold, peas porridge in the pot, nine days old."

Sometimes they could obtain pork, which made them feel quite special. When visitors came over, they would hang up their bacon to show off. It was a sign of wealth that a man could, bring home the bacon. They would cut off a little to share with guests and would all sit and-

--- chew the fat.

Those with money had plates made of pewter. Food with high acid content caused some of the lead to leach into the food, causing lead poisoning death. This happened most often with tomatoes, so for the next 400 years or so,-

--- tomatoes were considered poisonous.

Bread was divided according to status. Workers got the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family got the middle, and guests got the top-

--- or the upper crust.

Lead cups were used to drink ale or whisky. The combination would sometimes knock the imbibers out for a couple of days. Someone walking along the road would take them for dead and prepare them for burial. They were laid out on the kitchen table for a couple of days and the family would gather around and eat and drink and wait and see if they would wake up.

--- Hence the custom of holding a wake.

England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a bone-house, and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the graveyard shift) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be-

--- saved by the bell or was considered-

--- a dead ringer.

And that's the truth...Now, whoever said history was boring?!!!

How "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" Should Have Ended

All Girls High School Band (Japan)

Where Did the White Man Go Wrong?

Indian Chief CrazyBear was asked by a white government official, "You have observed the white man for many moons. You've seen his wars and his technological advances. You've seen his progress, and the damage he's done."

The Chief nodded in agreement.

The official continued, "Considering all these events, in your opinion, where did the white man go wrong?"

The Chief stared at the government official for over a minute and then calmly replied, "When white man find land, Indians running it, no taxes, no debt, plenty buffalo, plenty beaver, clean water. Women did all the work, Medicine man free. Indian man spend all day hunting and fishing; all night having sex."

Then the chief leaned back and smiled. "Only white man dumb enough to think he could improve system like that."

H1N1 vs a Cold

Monday, October 26, 2009

Clockwork Apple

Check out the stuff from this Design company:

Daniel Krall

Check out the artist/ illustrator's site:

Lavar Munroe

See the artist's s portfolio site:

Thursday, October 22, 2009


Hermann Zapf was hesitant to share the preliminary designs for his Optima® typeface. “I did not show anything to the type foundry until the design was finished,” Zapf recalls in his book, Alphabet Stories. “I wanted to avoid pressure by sales people until I found the best solution.” While he was able to protect his design, Zapf was denied the right to choose its name. “The sales manager of D. Stempel AG did decide on the name of the typeface,” continues Zapf. “My preference was Neu Antiqua, but this was rejected in favor of Optima.” Zapf designed Optima early in his career, when he had recognition as a gifted young designer – but not the eminence that precludes questioning.

First Optima Sketches
In 1950, Zapf was researching Italian typeface design at the Basilica di Santa Croce, in Florence, and happened upon an ancient Roman gravestone that would have been missed by most tourists and casual observers. The letters cut into the gravestone were unusual in that they lacked the traditional serifs. These delighted Zapf and appealed to his classic sense of design. The problem was that he had run out of drawing paper just prior to finding the gravestones. As a result, the first sketches for Optima were made on a 1,000-lire bank note.

Zapf worked on the design, refining character shapes and proportions for two years before he turned final drawings over to Stempel’s master punchcutter, who made the first test font. This was in 1952, but, because making fonts in metal was much more complicated and time-consuming than making fonts using current digital tools, it wasn’t until 1958 that Optima was made available as hand-set metal fonts. Matrices for the Linotype® typesetter took even more time and these were not made available until two years later.
Technical Limitations

Fonts for metal typesetters, such as the Linotype and Monotype® typesetters, had to be created in accordance with a crude system of predetermined character width values. Every letter had to fit within and have its spacing determined by a grid of only 18 units. This meant that if the ideal proportions of a particular character did not fit within a subset of these 18 units, it had to be designed so that it did. Type designers often made compromises from what they felt was an ideal shape to something that would work within the confines of the technology.

Because the Linotype typesetter used a “font magazine” to hold the matrices for the individual characters, and only one magazine could be put into the machine at a time, many Linotype faces were developed where the various members of the type family shared common character widths. While this allowed more than one typeface to be put into a single magazine, the unfortunate result was that italic designs had to be drawn wider and spaced more open than they should, and bold designs suffered in that they had to be drawn narrower than what would be ideal, full-bodied proportions. The first machine-set fonts of Optima suffered this fate.

Serifless Roman
Although Optima is almost always grouped with typefaces such as the Helvetica® and Gill Sans® designs, it should be considered a serifless roman. Compare it with typefaces like the Garamond and Centaur® designs, and you will find similar proportions, shapes and weight stress. Where these designs have serifs, however, Optima has a slight flaring of its stroke terminals.

Zapf considered making the flared terminals even more subtle than they are, but he noticed that metal fonts of sans serif typefaces tended to lose some of their crispness in the process of a lengthy press run. As a result, Zapf exaggerated the terminals somewhat to overcome this technical shortcoming.

True to its Roman heritage, Optima has wide, full-bodied characters – especially in the capitals. Only the “E,” “F” and “L” deviate with narrow forms. Consistent with other Zapf designs, the cap “S” in Optima appears slightly top-heavy with a slight tilt to the right. The “M” is splayed, and the “N,” like a serif design, has light vertical strokes. The lowercase “a” and “g” in Optima are two-storied designs.

Problematical Italic
One way Optima differs dramatically from serif types is in its italic letterforms. In the tradition of most sans serif designs, Zapf wanted his italic to be a sloped roman rather than a true cursive, but he also knew that this relatively simple design exercise (by current standards) would demand just as much time and effort as drawing a completely new design. While working on the basic roman design, Zapf heard of a typesetting studio in New York that was able to create seemingly magical distortions of letterforms through a photographic process.

Zapf contacted the studio, Photo-Lettering Inc., and asked if it would perform a little of its magic on his drawings for Optima. Photo-Lettering agreed, and the photo distortion it created saved Zapf hundreds of preliminary sketches and trial renderings.










Other Stressed Sans
Although the most successful, Optima was not the first serifless roman typeface. The Stellar typeface, designed by R. Hunter Middleton for the Ludlow Typograph Company in 1929, predates it by several decades. This face, however, makes a stronger calligraphic statement and was limited to display usage. Stellar has been revived for digital typesetting at both text and display sizes by Dave Farey for the Monotype typeface library and as the Stellar Classic design by Jim Spiece.

In 1960, José Mendoza drew the Pascal™ typeface for the Amsterdam type foundry – a design that clearly was influenced by Zapf’s earlier work. Other newer designs that pay homage to Optima are the Mentor™ Sans face, by Michael Harvey, and the Augustal™ Cursiva design, by Jean-Renaud Cuaz.

Optima Nova
More than 50 years after the first release of Optima, Zapf was provided the unusual opportunity to redraw the design for digital typesetting. In doing so, he was able to collaborate with Akira Kobayashi, type director for the Linotype Library. The design team seized the opportunity to undo the technical concessions made in earlier versions of the typeface. The two set about correcting all the inherent spacing and proportion problems that had been the result of metal typesetting techonology. They also drew a cursive italic, small capitals, condensed weights and a titling design to round out the Optima family: a full range of weights from very light to very bold, in roman, condensed and italic, as well as small caps and old style numerals. The result was released as the “Optima nova®” typeface family in 2003.

Using Optima
Optima can be set within a wide choice of line spacing values – from very tight to very open. In fact, there are virtually no limits to the amount of white space that can be added between lines of text. As an example, Zapf once created an exceptionally lovely and highly readable book using Optima set 9 on 24 point.

Optima also benefits from a wide range of letterspacing capability. It can be set quite tight, with spacing as established by Linotype, or even letterspaced. If there are any guidelines, Optima should be set more open than tight. It’s not that readability is affected that much when Optima is set on the snug side; it’s just that the unhurried elegance and light gray color created by the face are disrupted by letters that are set too tight.

Optima is also about as gregarious as a typeface can be. It mixes well with virtually any serif design and a surprisingly large number of sans serif faces.

The Optima typeface is an excellent communicator, and the added benefit is that it does so with beauty and grace.






Augustal and Mentor are trademarks of Monotype Imaging Inc. and may be registered in certain jurisdictions. Centaur and Gill Sans are trademarks of The Monotype Corporation registered in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. Helvetica is a trademark of Linotype Corp. registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions in the name of Linotype Corp. or its licensee Linotype GmbH. Optima and Optima Nova are trademarks of Linotype GmbH registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office and may be registered in certain other jurisdictions. Pascal ND is a trademark of Neufville Digital.

Article from "Illuminating Letters", number four, October 2009
by by Monotype Imaging

Nishan Akgulian

Illustrator/ Artist

3-D Projections on Buildings

Netherland site "3-D Projecties op Gebouwen," which translates in English to "3-D Projections on Buildings," shows just that, but you have to see it to fully understand.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Pixar Intro Parody

Poor Luxo, Jr. suffers the consequences of squashing the "I" in "PIXAR."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bird Bath

Irish Alzhiemers

Murphy went to Mass one Sunday morning, and the priest almost fainted when he saw him, since Murphy had never been seen in church in all of his adult life.

After Mass, the priest approached Murphy and said, "Murphy, I am so glad you decided to come to Mass. What made you decide to do that after all these years?"

Murphy said, "I have to be honest with you Father; a while back, I misplaced me hat, and I really, really love that hat. I knew that McGlynn had a hat just like me hat, and I knew that McGlynn came to your church every Sunday. I also knew that McGlynn had to take off his hat during Mass, and figured he would leave it in the back of church. So, I was going to leave after your sermon, and steal McGlynn's hat."

The priest replied, "Well, Murphy, I notice that you didn't steal McGlynn's hat. So, what changed your mind?"

Murphy said, "Well, after I heard your sermon on the Ten Commandments, I decided that I didn't want to steal McGlynn's hat."

The priest gave Murphy a big smile and said, "So, I'm assuming that after I talked about Thou Shalt Not Steal, you decided you would rather do without your hat than to burn in hell, right?"

Murphy shook his head negatively and said, "No, Father, after you talked about Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery, I remembered where I left me hat."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Faces in Places

Explore the blog...

A photographic collection of faces found in everyday places.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Joe Fournier

Michael Jackson

Illinois Senator Roland Burris as Pinocchio

John McCain and Barack Obama

See illustrator, animator Joe Fournier's site...

Donna Grethen

"All That Jazz"

Celebrating Martin Luther King Day

Artist Donna Grethen's site:

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Nadine Takvorian

See these and more at artist Nadine Takvorian's web site...