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AWADmail Issue 1035

A Compendium of Feedback on the Words in A.Word.A.Day and Other Tidbits about Words and Language

Sponsor’s Message: “Mom’ll hate it.” One Up! is The Mother of all Word Games: No board. No complicated rules. No mercy. Just quick, cutthroat thrills for everyone -- unfair, unfunny combat that’s guaranteed to completely ruin her special day, or any family get-together... with impunity. Our classic wicked/smart word game, a cheap lesson in intellectual humility, is now even cheaper: Get Two Classics for $29.99 Today Only. Game on!

From: Anu Garg (words at wordsmith.org)
Subject: Interesting stories from the Net

Tired Adults May Learn Language like Children Do
Scientific American

He Made Yiddish Go Viral
The New York Times

From: Stephe Ellis (stephe.ellis btinternet.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

You wrote: Share your typomania -- we don’t care which of the three types -- write to us at (words@wordsmith.org) or post on our website.

Hello Wordsmith,

Please, please publish this letter!

Stephe Ellis, York, UK

From: Anne Hodgkinson (annechodgkinson gmail.com)
Subject: typomania

I’ve been a typomaniac since the day I was baptized. In a font... 😊

Anne Hodgkinson, Utrecht, Netherlands

Email of the Week -- Brought to you buy One Up! -- The Mother of all Word Games.

From: Eileen Denny Alexander (eileen dennycreative.com)
Subject: Typomaniac

In 2020 the famous Ghirardelli sign which greets visitors to San Francisco was removed to be refurbished and repainted. As a typomaniac, I wrote to the San Francisco Chronicle imploring a better kerning between letters to assuage those of us who are sensitive to such matters:

Letter to the Editor of "San Francisco Chronicle" by Eileen Denny Alexander, July 16, 2020

As a graphic design specialist, I say, “You could drive a truck through the space between the r and the d!” Unfortunately, the sign was replaced with no changes.

Ghirardelli sign in San Francisco

Eileen Denny Alexander, Mill Valley, California

From: Michael Buschmohle (speakwritemeet gmail.com)
Subject: Typomania

Thank you for defining me. Being a lifelong artist and designer, I am a true typomania devotee. When I published my book for women political candidates (Make Your Voice Heard) I chose the popular Minion for the font. I recommend the book: Typography for Lawyers by Matthew Butterick. He advises never to underline anything again (not needed).

Michael Buschmohle, Marrowstone Island, Washington

WM type block
From: Amy Metnick (amy.metnick gmail.com)
Subject: Typomania runs in the family

Reminds me of my late father, William Moody, a labor journalist who was managing editor of various publications supporting graphics arts industry labor unions. Back in the sixties, he’d take me to printing plants. Amid the deafening clatter of machinery, I’d watch men carefully set type for upcoming issues. I can still imagine the smell of printers’ ink.

My dad was obsessive when it came to layout and design, down to selecting the right fonts and perfect kerning for every headline, article, and photo caption in his publications. While my friends might get more traditional age-appropriate gifts, he’d sometimes give me books on typefaces. I sometimes tried my hand at inventing my own ornamental typefaces, especially when I was swept up in the groove of psychedelic styles.

Dad once designed a monogram and had a typesetter create a type with his initials to be used on a letterhead, giving precise instructions on its orientation, kerning, and background. It’s an ambigram.

Amy Metnick, Margaretville, New York

From: Lisa D. Witte (ldwitte hotmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

Kerning is very important. In the 1970s, the cop sitcom Barney Miller ended with a freeze frame over which they ran the top credits. Oh, the laughs we had over Mr. FLICKER’s name (video, 2 sec.).

Lisa D. Witte, St. Louis, Missouri

From: Lee Brice (clgbrice gmail.com)
Subject: Typomania

As a former high school yearbook advisor, seller of printing services, hand-setter of type before computerization, and newsletter designer, my trigger is the use of script or other elaborate fonts in all caps. Aside from being virtually unreadable, it is ugly to the eye.

Lee Brice, Phoenix, Arizona

Palatino font sign
From: Bryan Todd (bryansink yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

Steve Jobs famously audited a calligraphy class as a Reed College dropout in the early 1970s, which he said later inspired the variety of typefaces available on the Macintosh.

I caught the typomania bug in 1989 as a high school senior when I joined the staff of the Muse, our school magazine. We used MacIntosh for our publishing and did all our articles in Palatino font. I fell in love with the typeface and still adore it. Friends and family roll their eyes when we drive by signs and they hear me call out, “Look, a beautiful light Palatino with tight kerning!”

I took this photo.

Bryan Todd, Lincoln, Nebraska

From: Dennis Joy (dennisjoy mailcan.com)
Subject: Typomania

My wife made fun of me when I was aggravated by the absolutely awful “Welcome to Ohio” signs we saw when driving to Columbus last weekend. Turns out there’s a word for it AND I’m not alone.

Dennis Joy, Indianapolis, Indiana

From: Claudia Dufau (claudiadufau gmail.com)
Subject: typomania

In 1960, as a freshman newly immersed in an Advertising Design college major, the vast world of typography opened up to me and other fledgling graphic designers. It was mind-boggling to learn that myriad styles of lettering, called fonts, had been intentionally and painstakingly handcrafted by individuals going back centuries. And that these fonts actually had names, often the names of their originators, such as Caslon, Bodoni, Bookman. How could I have not noticed this before? It also became a challenge -- and an eye-rolling event for my younger siblings -- when I would read a menu and attempt out loud to identify the various typestyles that were used to sell us our next meal. They just didn’t get it!

Claudia Dufau, Corona, California

From: Gary Muldoon (gmuldoon0527 gmail.com)
Subject: Typomania

As a lawyer, I write a lot of briefs. Of necessity I care about fonts, though many others in my profession seem blind to them. On my gravestone it shall be written, in Century Schoolbook:
Here Lies Gary Muldoon. I Told You My Feet Were Killing Me!

Gary Muldoon, Rochester, New York

From: Pete Jones (pete jones.to)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

I have typophobia, the fear of hitting the wrong key. 😁

Pete Jones, Sterrebeek, Belgium

From: Donald Scott (donscott943 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

You may be interested in this excellent documentary about what might be called typewriterophilia, which is certainly related: California Typewriter.

Donald Scott, Carson City, Nevada

From: Raymond Wendell (raytelco gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

I think this might fit under obsession #1, but a former boss of mine used to refer to font vomit, the pointless use of multiple font types in a single piece of marketing material. Since then I do get a little queasy when I see it...

Raymond Wendell, Washington

From: Steve Kirkpatrick (stevekirkp comcast.net)
Subject: Just My Type: Comic Sans wars

I had no idea some people were so fanatical about fonts until I read Just My Type: A Book about Fonts by Simon Garfield. Some people have deep animosity toward Comic Sans. Serif, or not Serif, that is the question. LOL.

Steve Kirkpatrick, Olympia, Washington

From: Dave Shelles (writesdave gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

Seen on a car bumper sticker over the weekend:
I’ll use Comic Sans when Helvetica freezes over.

Dave Shelles, Acworth, Georgia

From: Shivaji Sengupta (ssengupta boricuacollege.edu)
Subject: typomaniac

A typomaniac was walking past a fish-and-chips sign board. It was written:


He went to the store owner and said the following: “The distance between fish and and, and and and chips is uneven!” Thereby creating a sentence with five consecutive ‘ands’!

Shivaji Sengupta, Medford, New York

From: Tom Holloway (thollow55 gmail.com)
Subject: Typomania

My branch of typomania deals with spelling and grammatical errors that I have a low tolerance to.

Some time back I stayed at a nice little hotel in London and recently I googled it to see if it was still there and operating or not. It had been given a very nice makeover but my hackles were raised when they started their blub about the hotel by saying:

“Compromising both one bedroom and two bedroom apartments”

I just had to email them to suggest that they use the right word, “comprising”.

Tom Holloway, Perth, Australia

From: Gord Evans (gord.evans gmail.com)
Subject: Typomaniac

“Oh see, she’s that type of person!” or “He’s the strident type.”

If I’m obsessed with categorizing people into different character types, would I perhaps be a typomaniac?

Gord Evans, Kitchener, Canada

From: Kenneth Gorelick (pulmon me.com)
Subject: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

Anu, you are definitely a font of knowledge.

Kenneth Gorelick, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

From: Janet Schiller (janet.schiller va.gov)
Subject: Albert Schiller, typographer and artist

Typomaniac would seem to be a good word to describe the singular talent of Albert Schiller (1898-1970), a typographer and artist who created works of art using typographic elements.

We have several of his works at home. He was my husband’s grandfather.

Janet Schiller, Potomac, Maryland

From: Susan Mowen (susan.hanks.mowen gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--typomania

I am a typomaniac: using a sans serif type font uses 1/3 to 1/10 less toner ink than serif. That’s a significant savings and we should all delete Times New Roman and their ilk from our font menu.

Susan Mowen, Minneapolis, Minnesota

From: Linda Jones (finallylbj gmail.com)
Subject: a correction!

Good morning from Massachusetts where my daughter is a marine biology teacher and an absolute stickler for the use of correct terminology for marine life! In your lead up to today’s word, you mentioned starfish...

Please be advised that there are no starFISH! They are properly called sea stars and are not fish. Incidentally, the same is also true for jellies, commonly called jellyfish...also not fish! I’m sure there are other examples, but these are the two I hear her talk about the most ...

Linda Jones, Hingham, Massachusetts

Please note that we are doing language here, not biology. If you understood what a starfish is, language has done its job. If you don’t go to a grocery store and insist that they move tomatoes to the fruit section, we are fine here.
-Anu Garg

From: Topi Linkala (nes iki.fi)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--epistemology

Epistemology is a swear word for theologists. When someone comes up with the question of proof of any religious dogma just say “epistemology” and that guy runs away and won’t discuss with you. Been there.

Topi Linkala, Helsinki, Finland

From: Sally Melcher McKeagney (via website comments)
Subject: yestereve

Almost 30 years ago, I was looking after my six-year-old nephew and my two-year-old niece. My niece started to fret about her parents being gone. Her brother sprung into action, trying to figure out what he could do to soothe her. He started throwing stuffed animals into the air because “this worked yestertime”, meaning the previous time I had babysat, throwing stuffed animals had improved her mood considerably.

Sally Melcher McKeagney, Waterville, Maine

From: Steven Stine (scstine1672 gmail.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--yestereve

A Thought for Today:
If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other. -Ulysses S. Grant, military commander, 18th US President (27 Apr 1822-1885)

The problem with Grant’s analysis is that these days the forces of “superstition, ambition and ignorance” wrap themselves in the flag and mistake their jingoism for patriotism.

Steven Stine, Lake Villa, Illinois

From: Daren Krause (dnaxke yahoo.com)
Subject: Re: A.Word.A.Day--epistemology

I’ve always associated epistemology with the question “How do we know what we know?”

I think that the simple act of asking this question has massive value.

Daren Krause, Cocoa Beach, Florida

From: Richard Stallman (rms gnu.org)
Subject: Epistemology

Ever since I first heard about epistemology, I wanted to learn what epistems were. Are they things that grow out of the stem of a plant? Like branches, leaves, and flowers? ;-}.

Dr Richard Stallman, Boston, Massachusetts

From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Typomania and Aggiornamento

Inspired by the Ken Burns’ documentary Benjamin Franklin, I had to pay homage to one of America’s most diehard and celebrated typomaniacs and one of our most beloved Founding Fathers. From his youth, the printed word, text-set-in-type, was an abiding fascination. Before getting into invention, science, music, writing, and later diplomacy, he’d apprenticed as a printer, casting lead type and building his arm strength in turning the massive press wheel. His Poor Richard’s Almanac was one of many exemplars of his writing/publishing prowess and devotion.

The Discobolus of Myron Through the Ages
Arguably, my leap from 5th-century BCE Greek master sculptor Myron’s Discobolus (discus thrower), to my modernist/abstract version, while chronologically denoting the major art movements from Classical Greek/Roman through to 20th-century Modernism, may be a stretch of the definition of our word “aggiornamento”, perchance falling short of the “process” element. But what the heck! I aim to educate as well as entertain... leaning on a bit of cartoonist license to keep me out of trouble. Ha!

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California


This week’s theme: There’s a word for it
1. Typomania
2. Epistemology
3. Yestereve
4. Marcescence
5. Aggiornamento
= 1. Graphomania, type geekdom
2. Gnosis
3. Yestreen
4. To not rot, it seems leaves wither, emaciate - yecch!
5. We reform
     This week’s theme’s “There’s a word for it”
1. Typomania
2. Epistemology
3. Yestereve
4. Marcescence
5. Aggiornamento
= 1. See some voice typography as a commitment
2. Knowledge research
3. Yestreen
4. A onetime growth is set
5. A refit
-Julian Lofts, Auckland, New Zealand (jalofts xtra.co.nz) -Robert Jordan, Lampang, Thailand (alfiesdad ymail.com)
This week’s theme: There’s a word for it
1. Typomania
2. Epistemology
3. Yestereve
4. Marcescence
5. Aggiornamento
= 1. Wee comma was the emergency!
2. Typifies research
3. Some time ago, not tonight
4. Keep dry leaves
5. Restoration
     Ahem ok, this week’s planned theme: There’s a word for it
1. Typomania
2. Epistemology
3. Yestereve
4. Marcescence
5. Aggiornamento
= 1. Cherishes name in print
2. Theory of knowledge E&OE
3. Seems prev. day eight pm
4. Wee rotten cacti
5. Easy one! get a smart look mama
-Dharam Khalsa, Burlington, North Carolina (dharamkk2 gmail.com) -Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

Make your own anagrams and animations.


If you have to obsess, do it right!
Way more cool than your name in bright light:
Shall I give you a hint?
Typomania! Print
Is the ult’ egoistic delight.
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Her hubby declares, with a smirk,
“So you’re eager to publish your work.
But this weird typomania
makes you look zany, ya
know. And it drives me berserk!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Severe typomania’s why
To name every typeface he’ll try.
His mind will not rest,
Because he’s obsessed,
A type-focused type of a guy.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

Be careful when writing a book
That one thing you don’t overlook.
To let typomania
Get into your crania,
You’ll wind up with gobbledygook.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“I delve deeply inside patients’ crania,”
Said Freud, “Vhen zey have typomania.
‘Dream of sleeping vith mom?
Zat’s okay -- I’ve no qualm,’
I explain. ‘But self-publish? Insane o’ ya!’”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Epistemologically speaking,
The position I think you are seeking
Is, ‘I know I don’t know.’
From this place you can grow,
Just so long as you keep on critiquing.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Epistemology, you see
Is a word that does not describe me.
I’m not proud to say
It’s just not my way
To wonder how knowledge came to be.
-Lois Mowat, Orinda, California (lmowat1810 gmail.com)

Now a student of epistemology
Does observe it through sociology.
While he is in college
To study all knowledge,
He’s a smarty-pants. So, no apology.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

In a President’s epistemology,
There’s no room for the concept “apology”.
Donald thought himself moral;
Said Bill, “’Twas just oral,”
And Ron? Steered by Nancy’s astrology.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“I’m arraigned here before you today
For my part in the recent affray.
I was stoned, yestereve,
Which is why, I believe,
I deported myself in that way.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Declared Papa Bear, “I believe
she was here once again yestereve.
We’ll never be rid
of that Goldilocks kid.
She’s got too many tricks up her sleeve.”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

In the Bible we’re led to believe
After Adam had said yestereve
They were promptly evicted,
For fruit-theft convicted;
So long, Eden -- hello, Tel Aviv.
-Duncan Howarth, Maidstone, UK (duncanhowarth aol.com)

“In the morning, all sober I grieve,
for my recklessness, judge, yestereve.”
But her tears she can’t quell,
as my sob story I tell;
And I’m hopeful she’ll grant a reprieve.
-Shyamal Mukherji, Mumbai, India (mukherjis hotmail.com)

What took place is so hard to believe --
We’ve not even had time yet to grieve!
But my mind can’t erase
The stunned look on her face
As the verdict was heard yestereve!
-Bindy Bitterman, Chicago, Illinois (bindy eurekaevanston.com)

“What a sorry defeat yestereve,”
Groaned Vlad, “when my troops messed with Kyiv.
But a weapon of terror
Can still fix that error:
I’ll let them my bare chest perceive.” -Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“I call it her ‘fashion marcescence’.
Ignoring built-in obsolescence,
She continues to wear --
There are times I despair --
The out-moded, despite their senescence.”
-Tony Holmes, Launceston, UK (tony_holmes btconnect.com)

Says he, as to ladder he cleaves,
and climbs way up high to the eaves,
“Damned trees lack marscescence.
They test my senescence
by piling up all of these leaves!”
-Anne Thomas, Sedona, Arizona (antom earthlink.net)

Autumn leaves turn to gold every year
To tell us that winter is near.
But soon they do fall
Off their trees, but not all.
Some remain in marcescence austere.
-Rudy Landesman, New York, New York (ydur36 hotmail.com)

The botanist said we might see
Dead leaves that remain on a tree.
And that, at its essence,
Is simply marcescence,
Which looks rather ugly to me.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

We know yard work can be back-breaking,
And leaves leave your body all aching.
A fortunate prescience?
Plant trees with marcescence
For the more than a few who hate raking.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

When democracy’s losing its essence,
To vote is a kind of marcescence.
Says Donald, “I drool
To eternally rule,
And need only Repubs’ acquiescence.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“An aggiornamento we need,”
The head of the church had decreed.
He taught us this word
And changes occurred,
Since all of the people took heed.
-Marion Wolf, Bergenfield, New Jersey (marionewolf yahoo.com)

A signora from sunny Sorrento
Thought it time for an aggiornamento.
“If I still want romance
This old rack needs implants,
For they’re each like a dried up pimiento.”
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)


“Everybody’s got some typomania. Ours happens to be AWAD limericks,” said Steve, Marion, Rudy, Duncan, Tony, Bindy, Joan, Lois, Shyamal, and Anne.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“In the study of traditional Central American cuisine, the first st-epistomology,” said the professor.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“Original Sin, me boy? Why, ‘twas Adam sayin’ yestereve,” explained Saint Patrick.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

A little-known fact. Yestereve was the first draft of the Paul McCartney song.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

NASA put out a new line of men’s cologne named after the planets. The perfumer called this one “Eau de Ares” because it captured the Marcescence.
-Joan Perrin, Port Jefferson Station, New York (perrinjoan aol.com)

“Dust, sand, rocks, and freezing cold appear to be marcescence,” reported the Perseverance rover.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

“When I said aggiornamento add ‘until after lunch,’” said the judge.
-Steve Benko, New York, New York (stevebenko1 gmail.com)

Mogul Musk
From: Alex McCrae (ajmccrae277 gmail.com)
Subject: Mogul Musk

The richest person on the planet, Elon Musk, will still be über-wealthy after spending $44- billion to purchase Twitter. Musk sees his revamped version of Twitter as “the digital town square”... an open forum for free speech. Hmm... will that town square include one Trump, who was permanently banned from Twitter in 2021 for repeatedly spreading lies and misinformation and promoting violent insurrection? Trump announced that even if Musk invites him back to Twitter, he’d refuse, claiming he’d stick to his own (failed) Truth Social platform.

Alex McCrae, Van Nuys, California

What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to a human soul. -Joseph Addison, essayist and poet (1672-1719)

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