April 9th, 2008

krazy koati

And we all enjoyed the weekend for a change

There are, it appears, a couple of stairways closed around the Columbus Circle subway station in Manhattan. I know this because one of the many amusing blogs The New York Times keeps about quirky news items noticed that four of the advisor signs around the station advise people to use an alternate stairway for the subway entrance, across the street, at the ``Triumph Globe''. This is, as they noted, a mildly novel way of spelling Donald Trump's name.

The first thing lifting this above the ordinary typographical slip-up of the sort that fill up those irregularly sized books that lay irregularly on the shelves of the Humor section at the bookstore: New York City Transit spokesman Paul J Fleuranges said he just had to glance at the poster and he was able to pronounce it an Unofficial Sign. He's quoted as saying, ``It does not conform to our current standard, either in look, design or language,'' in a Times quote which does not conform to my standards regarding the serial comma. He also asserts that if the sign had gone through the proper channels then Trump's name would have been correctly spelled. He blames the contractor for the renovation project, and that the contractor is being ``reinstructed'' on proper signage. I don't doubt any of this, even though ``reinstructed'' does not seem to conform with my current built-in dictionary. (A Google search on ``reinstruct'' gave me 7,550 hits; for calibration, ``therblig'', a word coined by Frank and Lillian Gilbreth for time-and-motion studies, gives me 9,020 hits.)

What amuses me is they got all the way to the third comment before a person asked if they could tell the Transit agency that ``the dash in `Coney Island -- bound' should be an en dash, not a hyphen'', and that ``it's driving me insane!'' I don't doubt this at all, even if it was a joke. There's no way to tell the difference between an amusing joke and a severe level of derangement when you've delved into the world of typesetting people.

Trivia: The ultimate selection of seven Project Mercury astronauts from the 18 finalists was made by Space Task Group assistant director Charles J Donlan, flight surgeon Stanley C White, and Warren J North from NASA Headquarters. Source: This New Ocean: A History of Project Mercury, Loyd S Swenson Jr, James M Grimwood, Charles C Alexander. NASA SP-4201.

Currently Reading: A Ball, A Dog, and a Monkey: 1957 - The Space Race Begins, Michael D'Antonio.