Monday, May 28, 2012


Apparently from Taschen's 70s All-American Ads, edited by Jim Heimann  [Copyright All rights reserved by Gatochy].

Sunday, May 20, 2012


This is one of those times when the word isn't striking but its context is.

From the two-page spread "Anatomy of a Character," which "traces the evolution and spread of the character for 'horse' through 3,500 years . . . " and which is compiled by Michael S. Lerner and designed by Travis LaMothe, in the Spring 2012 (Vol. XXIX, No 1) issue of World Policy Journal:

clerkly script

The ancient Chinese character for "HORSE" resembles, in 500 BCE, four slightly different sized sugar cubes, black with ink and forming the "bottom" of a sailboat with a square rig mast, open on the right (so: not exactly a mast), with a moon sail, a sky sail, and a course sail.  

In approximately 800 BCE the character looks like a very interesting spider. Around 1480 BCE it looks like a stick-figure doodle of sorts for a character in a Miyazaki film.

Clerkly? I suppose this is a case of World Policy Journal: Expect the Unexpected.

Sunday, May 13, 2012


From a public service ad on a Number 1 bus in the City of San Francisco, urging people to report water quality issues and "help us keep our water delicious":

San Franciscans Drink It. Hetch Hetchy Water Tap Water. It's Delicious.

Coincidentally spotted on the same day (May 11) the New York Times published an editorial which began, irresponsibly: "There is little doubt that natural gas, which is plentiful and cleaner than coal, could help with the country's energy and climate problems."

At first, when I saw the bus ad, I thought, "San Francisco's water isn't even as good as New York's, and here they care more about their water."

Of course looking into things a little further changed the entire picture.

Hetchy comes from a word used by a Native American tribe of California. Hetch Hetchy is a valley (might some say a cañon?) within Yosemite National Park that was flooded to create a dam and create the Hetch Hetchy reservoir. The O'Shaughnessy dam was completed in 1923.

Since the valley's disappearance, plenty of people have been opposed to its unnatural transformation. Some of the opposers include members of the grassroots group Restore Hetch Hetchy, which recently pointed out in its February 23, 2012, draft ballot initiative:

The primary source of water for the City of San Francisco is the Tuolumne River. Many people believe the city’s primary water source is the Hetch Hetchy Reservoir in Yosemite National Park because the system is called the Hetch Hetchy system. In fact, Hetch Hetchy Reservoir is just one of nine reservoirs that store water for San Francisco. 

Before and after photos, from the book Guardians of the Yosemite: A Story of the First Rangers (1961) by John W. Bingaman.

Saturday, May 5, 2012


Passed it in a graphic novel in the comic book store a half-block past the Lorimer stop on Metropolitan. Reminded me what a good word it is, the street with no signs and only the locals know the way.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012


From last evening's conversation at the HB Playwrights Foundation Theatre with Broadway producer Elizabeth McCann, director Jack Hofsiss, and casting director Jack Doulin.

Towards the end, Elizabeth McCann was describing the crowd conditions on the title page of so many Playbills, how often "you need a magnifying glass" to read the list of producers whose names appear above the title of the show (this so that they are eligible for a Tony), and then, referring to the spate of producer bios, she mimicked, "And I want to thank my husband and my dear dog, _otsy."

I asked my seatmate to repeat the dog's name. "Potsie," he said, as in 'Happy Days.'" I believed him but almost heard the word as "Hotsy." Elizabeth McCann being the funny person she is, I settled on Hotsy. She worked for Jimmy Nederlander. She can have Hotsy.

Ms. McCann's start in the theater seems to fly in the face of so many efforts to start today's children into their futures as soon as possible, early pre-professionalism. The producer did not spend her own childhood attending the theater: "We never went near a theater."

Until a cousin (I think it was a cousin) had an extra ticket to "Cyrano de Bergerac," she said. She recalled being not very excited or even very interested. The play starred José Ferrer, and between his name (probably not billed as José Vicente Ferrer de Otero y Cintrón) and the playwright's, Ms. McCann was, by her account, lightly confounded. She recalled thinking, "Was it going to be in English?" And then of course it became one of her favorite plays--"I have loved but one man and lost him twice," she told the HB audience.

After "Cyrano," she said, she didn't decide she wanted to go into the theater. She decided she wanted to go to the theater.

Frankly, I understand this.

The Playbill cover from the performance that made the difference?  (November 1953)