Quick Roundup 111

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

I have a small crowd of usage-related stuff and not a whole lot of time, so, without further ado....

"Its" Seen Too Often?

The above title either belongs in both this Craig Ceely post on "Its vs. It's" and this "Gallery of 'Misused' Quotation Marks" -- or to neither!

America's Most Fonted

Via Paul Hsieh's Geek Press, which is a fantastic place to burn a few spare moments, comes this list of most abused fonts and the people who use them.

I now finally know the name of that goofy font a former coworker I otherwise liked pretty well was using on everything. And it occupies first place on the list!

1. Comic Sans MS

This is indeed the AOL of fonts; the very accessibility that made it popular and novel in the 1990s became its downfall. These days, just like an e-mail from an "@aol.com" address has a distinct lack of credibility, an e-mail written in this font makes the sender seem ridiculous and out of touch.

Common abusers: Clueless execs who think it makes their e-mail signature seem fun (because nothing bridges the six-figure salary gap between boss and worker bee like a good typeface); kids who identify with its kiddie-ness and thus apply it to their IMs, e-mails, and even school papers; homemade advertisements for DAYCARE PROVIDER'S or PARTY PLANNER'S (Comic Sans people tend to be apostrophe abusers as well)

Probable famous user: Elizabeth Hasselbeck [some markups edited]
I would add only that, as a matter of personal style, this font is as close to a mullet as one can get in an electronic document, at least in terms of conspicuousness and annoyance to others.

Share this list! The font-usage-challenged in your life will one day thank you.

The Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest

Adrian Hester, commenting on this post, drew my attention to this annual event, "which calls for writing a bad first sentence from an imaginary novel". In honor of the two car enthusiasts on my blogroll, I quote this, the winning entry from 2005:
As he stared at her ample bosom, he daydreamed of the dual Stromberg carburetors in his vintage Triumph Spitfire, highly functional yet pleasingly formed, perched prominently on top of the intake manifold, aching for experienced hands, the small knurled caps of the oil dampeners begging to be inspected and adjusted as described in chapter seven of the shop manual. -- Dan McKay, Fargo, ND
Hee, hee!

Google Ads

Yeah. I'm testing them out. No. I haven't had time to play with filtering ads and might not for about a week. But I do find it amusing in a way that advertisements for Moslem sites are finding their way here.

Just think: Beer money from a Moslem!

-- CAV


John Stark said...

I love Comic Sans MS.

Whining that it's used by the, presumably dirty and unintelligent, masses [the slur against AOL in the piece] is a nice smug touch.

The commenters that think that the font should be banned or deleted from computers are idiots who don't understand that, like most everything else in the world, it's fine as long as you don't misuse it.

For IM, I use a green bold or bold italic Comic Sans MS font. I find it very readable and distinctive, which is very handy in an IM window. I don't use the font for email or for most any other text because it often doesn't fit the intended mood, but I do like the way it looks and think it's a good font.

Resident Egoist said...

I used to be a big fan of Comic Sans MS a few years ago myself. Even handed in a few high school papers with it, LOL. It was my preferred IM font as well.

I agree with John Stark here: it is a very readable font, but it does have its uses. It is simply abused like many other things (me being one such ex-abuser) and I don't think this warrant it being denigrated to the level of AOL. Yuck!

Resident Egoist, AOL Hater and Liberal Elite.

Gus Van Horn said...


On Comic Sans MS, to each his own -- in moderation.

On the commenters and on use vs. over-use of fonts, point well-taken.

Needless to say, I would agree that these fonts shouldn't be banned any more than (getting ready to duck) top-40 music. But then, like the overplaying of the rare top-40 song I like, it is possible that its inescapability ruined Comic Sans MS, the most normal-looking of this lot, for me.

Your point about the slur is on the mark and indicates a major flaw in the piece (which in the very same instance slurs executives for using the font)! This implied smearing of capitalism and disdain for the masses smacks of liberal elitism.


Gus Van Horn said...


We seem to have replied to Mr. Stark at the same time. That's the main disadvantage of using moderated comments....

As for IM. I don't do it. It strikes me as combining the potential for being interrupted (which I hate) that phones have with the inability to JUST SPEAK while trying to conduct a conversation in real time. The nearest thing to it I've ever done is the UNIX "talk" command. Assuming this is a close equivalent, I can see its uses, but don't find IM compelling enough to accept the bother that would come with it.


Resident Egoist said...

Gus, you must definitely be talking of the IM apps of the 18th Century -- especially with your mention of the Unix 'talk'.

21st century IM apps only interrupt you IF you specifically log into them (in which case, you're not really being interrupted). But not only that, they also give you the awesome power of indicating your status (eg: online, away, do not disturb [or 'no moleste' in Spanish], etc...). You can even block the people you don't wish to talk to.

But there's still more: you can in fact "JUST SPEAK" with today's IM apps ... and without having to pay a buck, as you would with a traditional cell/phone. And if you have a web cam, you can even SEE each other.

Conclusion: IM is not as bad as you think.

Resident Egoist, IM Evangelist, Whippersnapper, AOL Hater and Liberal Elite.

Gus Van Horn said...


Ah! That sounds far better than my impression.

I might give it a try some time, then.

I wonder: Is there a font to mimic the arthritic hand of an old-timer?


Apollo said...

I would like to suggest this for your next "Quick Roundup".

The BBC decided to do the "Greatest Philosopher in our Time Vote". And of course Ayn Rand wasn't even mentioned, and even worse Aristotle wasn't number one.


If you look at the top ten you will see that Europe(or at least Britain) has nos not learned the lessons of the 20th century. They are still in love with socialism, skepticism, and appearantly Germans and Prussians.

Gus Van Horn said...

Haven't checked into it yet, but will keep it in mind.

Not terribly surprising, though. Twenty years ago, I was in Greece on a class trip and was turning the souvenir shops upside down looking for a bust of Aristotle as a souvenir.

All I could find was Plato, Plato, Plato. And when I asked for Aristotle, I got a funny look and the question, "Why?"

In Greece.


I halfway wonder whether I left the country with its last commercially-produced bust of Aristotle.