Mail A Letter...online is just like sending email, but it imprints your message onto a thin, highly portable lignin-cellulose substrate using a solution of carbon black in petroleum distillates. Then it envelops the resulting document to protect it, prints the recipient's address on that, and then apparently something else happens and it eventually arrives.
For this they want at least $1.52. Attention hackers: apparently it is possible to do all this without even using a website! You can get your own cellulose preparations and inscription chemicals. Yet it is still not free of charge to "send" the result? Some soldering skill might be required too, I haven't looked into it. (via HN) Read the rest
Four years since the last edition, Merriam-Webster's Official Scrabble Players Dictionary
is on now shelves. From The Guardian
Included in the new edition are some long-awaited two letter words, notably OK and ew.
“OK is something Scrabble players have been waiting for, for a long time,” said lexicographer Peter Sokolowski, editor at large at Merriam-Webster. “Basically two- and three-letter words are the lifeblood of the game.”
There’s more good news for Scrabble players with the addition of qapik, a unit of currency in Azerbaijan, adding to an arsenal of 20 playable words beginning with q that don’t need a u.
The Official SCRABBLE Players Dictionary, Sixth Edition (Amazon)
image: thebarrowboy CC BY 2.0
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Marcin Wichary, a wonderful designer/typographer/writer who I had the pleasure of working with at Medium years ago, created this fantastic "Segmented Type Playground." Learn more via Marcin's Twitter thread about the project. (Among many other prior projects, Marcin created the playable Pac-Man Google Doodle back in 2010.)
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Rebecca Solnit's 2008 essay "Men who explain things" popularized the concept and the general awareness of this gentlemanly practice, but the word itself was not used therein. Instead, "Mansplain" was apparently first uttered on Livejournal a few weeks later by phosfate, a now-vanished psuedonymous user. This is revealed in Merriam-Webster's new official definition, crediting Know your Meme for the discovery. [via Kottke]
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The splain of mansplain isn't new. It's been used to mean "explain" in texts showing informal speech or—as when Ricky Ricardo admonished his beloved in I Love Lucy—in imperfect English for at least a century. Since the advent and consequent blossoming of mansplain, splain has been attached to other morphemes to create words modeled on mansplain. Mother Jones put the word leftsplaining into the headline of an article by none other than Rebecca Solnit (about how people on the political left should stop expounding on the failings of lefties to fellow lefties). A politician under the mistaken impression that potlucks are a unique Iowa tradition was accused of potluck-splaining when he tried to illuminate non-Iowans on how the communal meals work.
Japan-born British writer Kazuo Ishiguro, author of The Remains of the Day, Never Let Me Go and A Pale View of Hills, is 2017's winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature.
The novelist was praised by the Swedish Academy as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".
On living on cultural peripheries:
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Ishiguro left Japan in 1960 at the age of 5 and did not return to visit until 1989, nearly 30 years later, as a participant in the Japan Foundation Short-Term Visitors Program. In an interview with Kenzaburō Ōe, Ishiguro acknowledged that the Japanese settings of his first two novels were imaginary: "I grew up with a very strong image in my head of this other country, a very important other country to which I had a strong emotional tie ... In England I was all the time building up this picture in my head, an imaginary Japan."
When discussing his Japanese heritage and its influence on his upbringing, the author has stated, "I'm not entirely like English people because I've been brought up by Japanese parents in a Japanese-speaking home. My parents didn't realize that we were going to stay in this country for so long, they felt responsible for keeping me in touch with Japanese values. I do have a distinct background. I think differently, my perspectives are slightly different." When asked to what extent he identifies as either Japanese or English the author insists, "People are not two-thirds one thing and the remainder something else.
This excellent letter to Trump was written by the young son of a family friend. Not only is he right about everything, but right in a way that really gets under the Trumpkins' skin. A real gift, that! Read the rest
A letter sent to Columbia Records art director John Berg and others by Teo Macero, producer of Miles's revolutionary 1970 jazz fusion album. Below, a live performance of the title track "Bitches Brew."
(Thanks, Jordan Kurland!)
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In the annals of inappropriate communications, anonymously sending threats to one's neighbors ranks highly. But few have ever ranked so highly as Carrie Pernula, who wrote "The children look delicious. May I have a taste?" in a letter mailed to hers.
The two yummy youngsters in question, according to CBS Minnesota, were elementary school-age children who had been noisy and left stuff in her yard.
Police say that Pernula, 38, admitted sending the note after the parents posted it to their hood's Facebook group and police asked.
To the individual who sent this letter...The answer is NO! NO you may not have my children in any way, shape, or form. And beyond anything physical you may NOT rob them of the security and comfort they feel. The trust they have in other people, or the joy they experience on a daily basis because of who they are. You DO NOT have the right to try to steal this from them by sending an anonymous letter trying to rip their world apart. I will NOT let that happen. What you MAY do, since you were so formal in your letter to ask, is you MAY turn yourself into the police, or you MAY seek help for your sexual and/or homicidal urges. Either way, the children of this community are off limits.
Via Gawker. Read the rest
Australia-based illustrator Simon Koay reimagined the letters of the English alphabet as superheroes. Read the rest
Graphic designer, Florian Schommer, created a bunch of animated letters of the alphabet! If only I could read German, so I could know more about what he was thinking.
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Letters of Note, the most excellent blog collecting intriguing letters sent by noteworthy persons, is finally to be an excellent book.
"This spectacular collection of more than 125 letters offers a never-before-seen glimpse of the events and people of history—the brightest and best, the most notorious, and the endearingly everyday. Entries include a transcript of the letter; a short contextual introduction; and, in 100 cases, a captivating facsimile of the letter itself. The artfulness of Shaun Usher's eclectic arrangement creates a reading experience rich in discovery. Mordant, hilarious, poignant, enlightening—surprise rewards each turn of the page. Colorfully illustrated with photographs, portraits, and relevant artworks, this handsome hardcover is a visual treat too, making Letters of Note an utterly distinctive gift, and an instant classic."
Previously: Letters of Note -- blog of written correspondence from well-known people
Letters of Note, the book Read the rest
In the 19th century, Charles Joseph Hullmandel illustrated a glorious series of landscapes shaped as the letters of the English alphabet. You can see them all in the British Museum's online collection: The Landscape Alphabet (via Juxtapoz) Read the rest
More than 1000 letters written between Charles Darwin and botanist Joseph Dalton Hooker, including 300 never before published, are now available free online for your reading and research pleasure. Read the rest
"I will allow you to pull my 'hairpiece;' if it moves, I will give you another $100,000; if it does not, I punch you in the mouth. How about it?" -- Frank Sinatra
Frank Sinatra's "pull my hairpiece" challenge Read the rest
Learn your letters — from "anthrax" to "zoonoses".
On Monday, I published a letter from my husband, Christopher Baker, to the Boy Scouts of America. In that letter, Baker returned his hard-earned Eagle Scout award and explained that he no longer wanted to be associated with an organization that discriminated against gay teenagers and GBLT parents. By the end of the day, I'd posted six updates to that story—adding letters from other Eagle Scouts who had joined my husband in resigning from a fraternity they had loved and had worked incredibly hard to join.
The Boy Scouts of America is a private organization. The Supreme Court has said they have the right to discriminate. What these Eagle Scouts are saying is that legal precedent doesn't make the discrimination right. Overwhelmingly, they've said that it makes them sad to see the organization that meant so much to them go against the very values of inclusion that it taught them as children. As Baker wrote, "banning openly gay scouts and leaders is not a neutral position any more than separate-but-equal was a neutral position on race."
Yesterday, I received more letters from other Eagle Scouts who want the Boy Scouts of America to know how disappointed they are, and that they choose to stand with the persecuted rather than with the people doing the persecuting. In this post, you can read inspiring words from 13 Eagle Scouts who asked that I share their letters. In most cases, I've included a photo of the letter, and quoted text for easy reading. Read the rest
If you aren't familiar with American Boy Scouting's Eagle Scout award, it might be a little hard to explain how important this story really is. Eagle Scout is a big deal. For one thing, it takes a lot of work to get the position. A scout has to earn 21 merit badges and then spearhead a community service project that they organize and manage themselves from start to finish. Add to that the fact that most kids don't stay in scouts through high school anyway, and you end up with the award representing a relatively small and elite group. Since 1911, about 2.1 million men have earned an Eagle Scout award. And it has serious implications once you graduate high school. There are scholarships. Eagle Scouts who enlist in the military after high school can start off with a higher rank than their peers. The adult Eagle Scouts I know have told me that they've gotten interview call-backs or even job opportunities because the award was on their resumes. Basically, it's more than just this medal you pick up at age 17. For many men, it's a lifelong position—and one that demonstrates a commitment to serving others and caring for the community.
So when Eagle Scouts start returning their medals to the Boy Scouts of America, that matters. Especially when these men are making this decision because they think it's the best way to demonstrate the values of being an Eagle Scout.
The Boy Scouts of America bans participation in scouting by openly gay, bisexual, or transgender kids and bans GBLT adults from serving as scout masters. Read the rest