The clatter of the keys.

If it’s Thursday, I must be a) sleep-deprived; b) cranky; and c) feeling the swamp-gas breath of the Reaper, thanks to the New York Times Thursday Styles section.

I know some of you can no longer access the copy, so allow me to describe. Today’s cover story starts with a scene-setter: Brooklyn hipsters gathered around strange machines at a flea market, snapping iPhone photos and tentatively touching them, like chimpanzees confronting a wind-up monkey. Finally, a “lanky drummer from Williamsburg” pays $150 and carries off his prize, which he says is “about permanence.” And what is this strange thing?

Whether he knew it or not, Mr. Smith had joined a growing movement. Manual typewriters aren’t going gently into the good night of the digital era. The machines have been attracting fresh converts, many too young to be nostalgic for spooled ribbons, ink-smudged fingers and corrective fluid. And unlike the typists of yore, these folks aren’t clacking away in solitude.

They’re fetishizing old Underwoods, Smith Coronas and Remingtons, recognizing them as well designed, functional and beautiful machines, swapping them and showing them off to friends. At a series of events called “type-ins,” they’ve been gathering in bars and bookstores to flaunt a sort of post-digital style and gravitas, tapping out letters to send via snail mail and competing to see who can bang away the fastest.

Seven years ago, when I was a-fellowshipping in Ann Arbor, we got into a discussion about typewriters. First we culled those who had never had to use one at work, then at all, and found our last man standing with our youngest member, 30 or 31, who had never fought with a margin setting or confronted a blank page that was actually a page. We never broke it down to manuals vs. electrics, as I’m sure I would have been at the other end, someone with strong opinions on exactly how a keyboard should feel, and favorite brands (Smith-Corona for manual portables; Royal for manual desktop, although of course the IBM Selectric changed everything).

God help me, I hope I would die before being caught at a type-in, one of those details that makes me wonder, as Roy Edroso once said, whether they assign pieces like this as hazing rituals for new reporters.

But that’s to be expected, right? As an essential tool of a writer’s life, of course we will develop strong opinions about our writing machines. There was a Royal at my college newspaper. Someone had written SUSIE on her with correction fluid, and she was the one everybody fought over. Susie had just the right feel on the keys, her Magic Margin function worked perfectly, and she had the sort of heft that would stand up to an angry editorialist banging out a few hundred words without hopping all over the desk. If I remember correctly, she was the Royal HH, seen in this fanboy array.

Susie put me off electric portables for good. When I was thinking of my next line, Susie was silent; she didn’t have that spinning-the-wheels hum they all brought to the table. And when I leaned forward to paint correction fluid on a page, her carriage didn’t jump out of place because my boobs touched the space bar.

This was my family’s home machine. Many, many letters to Deb were written on this one. When I had nothing to say, I would peer underneath and reacquaint myself with how the bell worked. (The last three spaces in the line raised the clapper up, up, up, and the fourth brought it down.) Something I learned en route to something else — carpal-tunnel syndrome did not exist when typists worked on typewriters. Something about stopping every page to roll in a new one, and stopping at the end of every line to hit the carriage return, was enough to keep the motion from being too repetitive.

There are other virtues, too, outlined here:

Why celebrate the humble typewriter? Devotees have many reasons. For one, old typewriters are built like battleships. They survive countless indignities and welcome repairs, unlike laptops and smartphones, which become obsolete almost the moment they hit the market. “It’s kind of like saying, ‘In your face, Microsoft!’ ” said Richard Polt, 46, a typewriter collector in Cincinnati.

Another virtue is simplicity. Typewriters are good at only one thing: putting words on paper. “If I’m on a computer, there’s no way I can concentrate on just writing, said Jon Roth, 23, a journalist who is writing a book on typewriters. “I’ll be checking my e-mail, my Twitter.” When he uses a typewriter, Mr. Roth said: “I can sit down and I know I’m writing. It sounds like I’m writing.”

In other words, no Google Brain. Before I get too nostalgic, however, I recall that while Susie sat there quietly, awaiting my next line, I would frequently light a cigarette. Tradeoffs, people.

OK. Time to blow off the Dentu-Creme nostalgia and hop to work. Much bloggage today, and it’s mostly pretty good:

Go ahead and put this on a window or tab you can tuck behind the others, because frankly the video is pretty lame. But for Opening Day, how can you resist Ernie Harwell reading “Casey at the Bat”?

By the way, here in Detroit it snowed just a dusting overnight. Fortunately, the home opener isn’t for another week. Doubtless we’ll see a blizzard.

For his thousands of fans, a picture of Coozledad with a chicken on his head. Pretty funny story, too.

One more for the bad-clown file.

Lake Superior State has its lame-ass Banned Words list, but Wayne State takes a more positive approach: Words we should use more often. I’m pleased to report all but one — “concupiscence” — is in fairly regular rotation in my own vocabulary.

Finally, an amazing look at the Gingriches, Newt ‘n’ Callista, in action as co-hosts of their own video series. Seldom has two people’s character showed so plainly in their physical bodies. Callista is 10 years younger than me, and looks old enough to be my grandmother. Short ad, but worth it. Discuss.

Me, I’m off to work.

Posted at 10:03 am in Current events, Popculch |

64 responses to “The clatter of the keys.”

  1. coozledad said on March 31, 2011 at 10:48 am

    This is the bit that got me:
    “It’s about permanence, not being able to hit delete,” he explained. “You have to have some conviction in your thoughts. And that’s my whole philosophy of typewriters.”
    I have an old Underwood #5, and at my level of typing skill, it has nothing to do with conviction in your thoughts. It’s more about having your own hamfistedness laid painfully bare. It’s about a wire basket filled with crumpled paper. It’s what made Mike Nesmith the head of a major charitable endowment.
    “Not being able to hit delete” a positive thing?
    Fuck that. Life should have a damn delete key.

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  2. del said on March 31, 2011 at 10:53 am

    It’s hard not to think of Michael Scott from The Office when reading the definition of “ossify.”

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  3. Michael said on March 31, 2011 at 10:57 am

    although of course the IBM Selectric changed everything

    My fond memory of the IBM Selectric was the bar exam. I was facing the prospect of writing the answers to ten essay questions in one sitting. I’ve been constantly reminded of my poor penmanship (and spelling) since the third grade. Unlike those trained as a journalists I never composed anything on a typewriter. I had the luxury of a secretary who typed my dictation. I moved an IBM Selectric into my office and hid all my pens and pencils. The two weeks before the exam I trained myself to compose on the typewriter. Who would have thought that the non-credit touch typing course I took in the ninth grade would help insure entry into my profession.

    I first heard the word concupiscence in a theology class when I was in Roman Catholic Seminary. It was what Adam and Eve gained when they ate the apple. We were told that it was the first time they realized they were naked. Apparently more than cloths were missing from their lives before then.

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  4. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 10:58 am

    Callista needs to rethink her eyebrow choices. Consider going just a smidge darker, hon. Your face looks spooky.

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  5. Bob (not Greene) said on March 31, 2011 at 10:59 am

    Oh my God, typing parties? Obviously there are people who never had to actually type something, like a research paper the night before it was due, or a master’s thesis (actually I got my wife-to-be to type that one. I actually wrote it out longhand). I kind of got to journalism after wandering about in academia for a time, so I missed writing stories on a typewriter, and I’m very happy about that.

    As for Newt ‘n’ Callista, what a creepshow. How many granny outfits does that 45-year-old woman have? What is that look anyway, right-wing goth chic? I’m surprised she can stay out when the sun comes up.

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  6. Crabby said on March 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

    I have a 1922 Remmington typewriter in perfect working order – the thing’s built like a tank and weighs a ton.

    Crabby’s Typewriter

    I took typing in HS in the ’60s way before computers were common and had no idea how useful knowing how to type would become. I’m a guy and there were two other guys with about 25 girls in the class; we had much fun.

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  7. del said on March 31, 2011 at 11:01 am

    Yes cooz, life should have a delete key, not just for hamfisted keystrokes but larger mistakes. But, lacking that I can only recall Wordsworth’s advice, “grieve not, rather find, strength in what remains behind” — or my Caribou coffee cup cover’s advice, “Don’t look back, unless it brings a smile to your face.”

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  8. nancy said on March 31, 2011 at 11:02 am

    Her eyebrows? What about those clothes? I thought those St. John knits were only worn by lady lawyers past 50 and Grosse Pointe matrons.

    Michael, I’ve been composing at a keyboard for so long I can’t even write a check anymore without getting writer’s cramp. I kind of envy those who can still do it longhand — like Elmore Leonard.

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  9. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 11:08 am

    Angelina Jolie was the face of St. John knits not that long ago. Not defending Callista, just saying they are going after the hot babe market. Not saying Callista is a hot babe either. She sleeps with Newt. What does that say about her?
    She makes Cindy McCain look like a hippie. The nearly white hair, the nearly white eyebrows, the bug eyes and the red lipstick. She looks like she has bony tits.

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  10. Jolene said on March 31, 2011 at 11:12 am

    The Gingrich videos are the political equivalent of the Home Shopping Network–using flim-flammery and bad makeup to pull in suckers.

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  11. Jeff Borden said on March 31, 2011 at 11:30 am

    Nice. I’m enjoying my morning. . .graduate school studies are behind me and my lectures for Loyola are written so I’m in a great mood. . .and then you fling those two hideous grifters in my face dry-humping the corpse of Ronald Reagan.

    $arah Failin gets most of the ink for stupid remarks and deservedly so, but Newtie is so determined to lower the bar of discourse in this country that he’s catching up quick. The other day he worried that his grandchildren — can we mention he has grandchildren without mentioning what he did to their mothers??– will grow up in a nation ruled by atheistic Islamist sharia law.

    What the fuck? How can sharia law, which by its definition is religious law, be atheistic? How is this any more pug stupid than SheWho’s “squirmish?” And Newtie is supposed to be one of the smart ones. God help us all.

    Meanwhile, I see some whiny conservative shitheel from Wisconsin told a town hall meeting that he is having one helluva time supporting his family on his Congressional salary of $174,000 per year. Are conservative born tone-deaf, or is there some special school they attend to strip away their self-awareness and embarrassment genes? I’m groveling for work that will pay maybe 20% of this fuck weasel’s salary and he’s moaning?

    Gah! There goes my mood! I blame Calista’s eyebrows!

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  12. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 12:06 pm

    We had to use manual Royals in writing classes in J School. I believe this was the choice of a professor that enjoyed watching everybody squirm, but it worked to my advantage. I got through undergrad English writing papers two hours from deadlines, from my brain through the typewriter to the page, so my instant composition skills were pretty well-honed, while my typing ability lagged behind decent. This same Prof put every writing assignment on an exact deadline and gleefully pulled pages from roller and platen when his timer went off. It was kind of exhilirating for those of us that didn’t feel tsuris.

    I suppose it’s just coincidence, discussing Newt and Calista in such close proximity to ‘concupiscence’. Makes me feel all patriotic. Run it up the pole and see who salutes.

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  13. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 12:13 pm

    I checked out the fanboy site and clicked on Olivettis. One of the jobs I had while attending college was working in a discount office supply warehouse in Denver. This was concurrent with tending bar at the Golden, CO. Holiday Inn “Holidome”, going to school full time, and working for the NYT Rocky Mountain Bureau. When I got a new bureau chief, we had to buy new office stuff, so I bought an Olivetti Praxis for Molly Ivins with my employee discount. I thought it was cool looking.

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  14. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    some whiny conservative shitheel from Wisconsin told a town hall meeting that he is having one helluva time supporting his family on his Congressional salary of $174,000 per year

    Roundly similar to the teabagging shitheel (oh I love that word, like why flaming asshole is so much more descriptive than just asshole) that couldn’t understand why his gubmint health care didn’t start coverage the instant he was sworn in to vote against gubmint health care. And I know it’s impolitic to call them Teabaggers, but, hell, that’s what they called themselves before somebody told them what it means. And it does suit them well, given there special relationships with Dick Armey and the Koch bros.

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  15. Jeff Borden said on March 31, 2011 at 12:21 pm

    I think teabaggers is the correct term because it’s what they want to do to the uber-wealthy.

    The whiny GOP dickhead is from Wisconsin, where whiny GOP dickheads seem to predominate. He does have seven kids, but if he’s going to complain about the expense of raising a brood that large, perhaps the time to think about it might’ve been before he had them.

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  16. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    The more a politician talks about Sharia Law is, invariably, inversely proportionate to how much the shitheel actuaally has a clue what the term means.

    Meanwhile, Arizona has passed a new abortion law providing for criminal charges against doctors that perform abortions putatively based on race or gender of the fetus (but not parents). Well, blow me down. I know this happens in China, but in the USA. This is both disturbing and perplexing. Anybody make head or tail out of it?

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  17. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    The whiny GOPlutocrat from Wisconsin should have consulted Planned Parenthood, before voting to try to put the organization out of business.

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  18. MichaelG said on March 31, 2011 at 12:34 pm

    I was given a refurb Royal HH for graduation from High School. I used it all through college and left it with my parents when I quit school in 1965. It had to have weighed 25 lb. For my last and a half year in the Army I sat behind an R. C. Allen as a personnel NCO. It was a world of correction fluid, correction tape, erasers, carbon paper, manifold paper and tension. Tension because there were some items, like officer efficiency reports, that had to be typed without error and had to be typed by an NCO. I couldn’t shine them off on one of my clerks. The pressure rose with every line. If there is any nostalgia for those beasts here, it’s the type one feels when provoked by memories of walking 20 miles barefoot through the snow to school.

    I got the Royal back when I returned to college after the Army. Later I had an IBM electric with keys, not that ball thing, and last was a Brother, light and plastic and with some kind of back up erase feature. No,. I don’t miss typewriters but I am glad there are enthusiasts who are working to preserve them.

    I don’t know Jeff B. I kinda like “squirmish”.

    Here in California the conservatives (who don’t seem conservative to me at all but rather to be some species of right wing radical) are working just as hard as those in the Midwest to turn working people, especially public employees, into serfs. Evidently we’re responsible for everything from world hunger to the disaster in Japan. We have a Democratic governor in Jerry Brown and a Dem majority under the dome but we also have that stupid two thirds majority requirement for a budget that leaves us perpetually in thrall to the tyranny of the minority. They’re not FOR anything. They’re just a bunch of rock throwers.

    So the waterhead Republicans have brought the whole process to a halt. I don’t know what’s going to happen but it’s not going to be good.

    My first meeting with the word “concupiscent”, at least as far as I can recall at this distance, came when I read Wallace Stevens’ poem “The Emperor of Ice Cream”.

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  19. ROgirl said on March 31, 2011 at 12:45 pm

    Those head swivels they each execute as the other one speaks are mesmerizing, especially the little nods Callista adds to hers as Newtie blathers and she looks up adoringly.

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  20. Jeff Borden said on March 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    Hey Hoosiers. . .

    Anyone ever heard of Indiana State Rep. Eric Turner, who is sponsoring H.B. 2010? This little bill would close the so-called “rape and incest” loophole for abortions because Mr. Turner is convinced many women would lie about being raped or molested in order to obtain an abortion.

    Indiana certainly produces a bumper crop of arrogant male politicians, eh?

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  21. John said on March 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    “Bony Tits”? Is that from ossifititation?

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  22. paddyo' said on March 31, 2011 at 12:51 pm

    I think Bill Maher said last week that he’ll stop calling them “teabaggers” when they stop calling it “Obamacare.” Works for me . . .

    My first newsroom job (and of course, J-school) featured manual typewriters, copy paper, gluepots and a pica poles to rip/cut-and-paste. “VDTs” (since PCs were still years off) entered our Reno Evening Gazette and Nevada State Journal newsroom in 1977-78, and the typewriters were junked.

    I have a couple of vintage manuals, a big heavy ol’ Underwood and a smaller portable Smith-Corona, that I use as lamptable conversation pieces in my living room. A year or so ago, a housepainter who came by to finish some touch-up work on a Saturday brought his 7-year-old daughter along. Within minutes of their arrival, she was pointing at the Underwood and asking, “What’s that?”

    I dug up some blank paper and showed her what to do. That thing became her babysitter for the rest of their visit. She was even kinda enthralled, especially when the bell went off. And oh! The two-tone ribbon (black/red) was to die for . . .

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  23. Catherine said on March 31, 2011 at 12:54 pm

    Newt at least has heeded the media training. I can stand his voice & on-camera presence, if not what he says. She, on the other hand, would be completely convincing playing a Stepford Wife. As an on-camera “personality,” not so much. And yes, LAMary, I too zeroed in on the eyebrows. Also, I think her weird speech defect was created by the engineers to make her seem less like a replicant.

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  24. jcburns said on March 31, 2011 at 12:55 pm

    Nance, the only reason I keep an old IBM Selectric alive is for a quick frisson of nostalgia. Of course, that’s why I also have a complete set of truetype fonts that match my old Selectric ones like Prestige Elite and Orator.

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  25. paddyo' said on March 31, 2011 at 1:02 pm

    Oh, and the first and last typewriter at McPaper:

    On Sept. 14, 1982 — the night before the first USA TODAY hit the streets — and for several years thereafter, the newsroom in Rosslyn, VA had a work station where founder Al Neuharth occasionally sat at his manual typewriter (I’m not sure, but it may be the same 1926 Royal that he still uses today) and “helpfully” banged out headlines.

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  26. nancy said on March 31, 2011 at 1:20 pm

    Many years ago, National Lampoon magazine ran a feature comparing a first wife to a second wife. It was pretty funny, stuff like “First wife: 10 pounds underweight; Second wife: 10 pounds overweight…First wife: Calls your parents mom and dad; Second wife: Calls your parents Hank and Shirley…” and so on, right down to missionary position and blow job.

    That’s what strikes me about Callista — she is SUCH a first wife. She looks like the sort of woman who slaps during arguments and won’t kiss if she’s just finished her makeup. You’d think a guy on marriage no. 3 would choose better.

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  27. Kirk said on March 31, 2011 at 1:22 pm

    “bony tits.” That cracked me up.

    My parents gave me a reconditioned old black Royal when I was in high school so that I could write newspaper stories at home and drop them off on the way to school the next day. It’s a beauty, still in working shape though not used for a long time.

    It doesn’t look as old as Al Neuharth’s, but there’s a definite resemblance.

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  28. Rana said on March 31, 2011 at 1:24 pm

    prospero, that abortion law is another instance of chipping away at Roe v. Wade while purporting to be about caring for the women involved.

    A lot of women who get elective abortions are poor, and a lot of poor people are people of color, so a good percentage of the population getting abortions are women of color. Therefore, these politicians claim, doctors who provide such abortions are engaging in eugenics or something like it. Note that the politicians in support of this thing medaciously conflate women making a choice to obtain a legal medical procedure with the sort of top-down population-controlling legislation found in China, and with race-based eugenics.

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  29. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Calista looks a lot like McCain’s trophy. Both men (using the term loosely) pulled the same sort of despicable shit on previous wives. Actually the two look as if they went to some unscrupulous cosmetic surgeon to get the infamous, and I pray urban-mythologized (Carl Hiassen, in Sick Puppy, I believe), Barbie twin treatment.

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  30. Rana said on March 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    As for typewriters… I understand a bit of the appeal and the nostalgia value, but there’s appreciating, and there’s fetishizing. This looks like more of the latter to me – and you just know that most of these people will toss their prized machines in the Goodwill bin as soon as this moment of hipness has passed.

    I’ve used a lot of different keyboarded machines in my life. There was my mother’s old green-enameled manual typewriter that I used to write fantasy stories in grade school and which made my fingers ache. There were the electrics we used in high school typing class under the watchful eye of our tiny and fierce teacher, Mrs. Graham. There was the Chiclet-like keyboard of the strange pre-laptop portable PC I had in high school, and the big clunky ones of my father’s HPs and innumerable no-name office computers and Dells encountered during my various temp jobs. Many different Mac typewriters, each one with a better feel than the last (my current MacBook Pro is just about perfect) and all with one worn spot on the right-hand side of the space bar. (I can touch type, thanks to Mrs. Graham, but have always been unidextrous when it comes to the space bar. It’s also just about impossible for me to not double-space at the end of a sentence.)

    If those “I don’t want to be distracted by the internet” want a decent machine with a good keyboard and the ability to edit, save, print, copy, export and so on, the real writer’s workhorse is the AlphaSmart Neo. It’s basically a keyboard with a tiny screen that runs on three AA batteries, and although it’s ugly as sin it’s ridiculously durable (it was intended for school use) and a lot more portable than a 20-pound antique typewriter. And if you’re really crafty, there are all kinds of clever mods out there to deal with the unattractive aesthetics (one person I saw painted hers with a Neopolitan ice cream theme – brown, pink, and cream).

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  31. moe99 said on March 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    At the upscale consignment store where I shop, the St John’s knits stay on the rack, while the Eileen Fishers fly out the door.

    The other thing apparent from the Newt and Callista videos is that she does her own hair.

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  32. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Newt’s actual first wife was his high school teacher, a little older than he and not a plastinated blonde.

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  33. Jim G said on March 31, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    Rana: Do you have the current MacBook Pro keyboard incarnation, the one that looks like chiclets, or the previous one? I’m still on the previous version, which I mostly like (except for an occasional tendency for the keyboard not to notice when I’ve typed an “a”), and people have told me that the new laptop keyboards aren’t as bad as they might seem, but I have yet to hear anyone tell me they’re actually better. What puts me off is the low travel, gap between keys, and lack of concavity in the keys. It seems like I’d be hitting the wrong keys too often.

    For comparison, I consider the IBM Model M keyboard to be the pinnacle of keyboards. I’d bring one with me to work to replace the stock Dell keyboards if not for the noise factor.

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  34. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 1:52 pm

    I’ve still got one of those Brother WPs with a 23 character memory on a one-line screen. Not much for editing, but I don’t mind taking it to the beach. I think they were sold at Sears. Weighs about half a #, and it’s rechargeable. Zero keyboard feel.

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  35. Christy S. said on March 31, 2011 at 1:54 pm

    I demand to see Callista’s birth certificate.

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  36. moe99 said on March 31, 2011 at 2:30 pm

    Let me use one of those Wayne State $10 words here:


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  37. Dorothy said on March 31, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    I would no sooner go back to typing on a typewriter than I would go back to the old sewing machine I had in 7th grade at the public middle school. The one where you used your thigh to press on the lever that made the needle go up and down. I’ll take my computerized Pfaff thankyouverymuch. In fact mine is 13 or 14 years old but it’s still light years better than the one I used in 1971.

    After reading all these comments, I can’t help but hear the voice of my terrific high school typing teacher when she’d be giving instructions in class. She was black and had a certain way of dropping some of the letters off the ends of her words. “Leff shiff key” is the phrase I’m reminded of today.

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  38. harrison said on March 31, 2011 at 3:18 pm

    to: jeff borden and anyone else interested,

    here’s a link to the story about eric turner, the indiana state rep:

    this doesn’t surprise me. i used to live in marion, which he represents. i knew him via a friend of a friend. lots of evangelical protestants up there, which he represents, and i believe he’s one too.

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  39. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    Rep. Turner is a flamer, only, courtesy of Rep. Lawson, the flames are issuing from a brand new one.Some ‘people’ need a sound beating.

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  40. prospero said on March 31, 2011 at 3:28 pm

    Christy: Calista’s birth certificate? What? Proof she was born? Anyway, just get records from her last liposuction and count the rings.

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  41. Deborah said on March 31, 2011 at 3:32 pm

    St. John is pricey, I looked them up on-line. There’s a store up the street on Michigan Ave that I’ve never been in because I assumed it was expensive and don’t much like what I see in the windows when I walk by.

    The thing that struck me about the Newt and Callista videos besides the uber tweeness of it was the sound quality. It sounds like overdubbing, there’s no way her voice would sound that way on location. I even wondered if they’re really standing in front of a green screen in a studio and the background locations are added. The whole thing couldn’t be more phony balony.

    I have white hair (natural though) and wimpy eyebrows. I’m going to have to look into doing something with my eyebrows after having that pointed out here about Callista’s. I never thought about it before. So you can see what I mean I took my picture on my webcam at work and changed my gravatar.

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  42. Little Bird said on March 31, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    Deborah, Your eyebrows are just fine. You don’t look scary. Callista looks scary. She looks like a Stepford Wife.

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  43. Sue said on March 31, 2011 at 5:32 pm

    Actually, PaddyO’, I refer to health care reform as Obamacare all the time. Assuming it’s not strangled in the crib as current efforts go forward (a real possibility), it will be an astounding leap forward for health care in America, flawed or not. Why not call it Obamacare? It should be a badge of pride.

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  44. nancy said on March 31, 2011 at 5:34 pm

    I can’t believe we’ve gone 44 comments and no one has mentioned Cooze’s chicken, Skinnerbox. Such a pretty hen.

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  45. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 5:40 pm

    Deborah, it’s not just the lightness of her eyebrows, it’s the shape. Look at the angles of the eybrows and the angles of the rest of her face. She accentuates the lips a lot. There’s a sharpness to the features with all those hard edges going on. And her eyes seem to float below the eybrows. Look at her face as a design. It’s not good. I see it as a lot of whiteness (face, hair) then this knot of features, very pointy and distinct in the middle, fading through the eyebrows into white.

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  46. Dexter said on March 31, 2011 at 5:46 pm

    Hey Kirk! Did you SEE that?

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  47. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 5:47 pm

    Skinnerbox is beautiful but I’m waiting for Cooz to follow through and get a rooster and name him Tord Magnuson. He said he was going to do that when I posted the link to those Swedish Royalty wedding photos a few months back.

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  48. nancy said on March 31, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    It’s also the ridiculousness of those outfits, too. (We’re back to Callista now.) Who wears a robin’s egg-blue knit suit to the Hoover Dam? And then she stands there, feet in perfect third position, not moving even a hand. They’re MOTION pictures, Gingriches. Do a walk-and-talk!

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  49. moe99 said on March 31, 2011 at 6:18 pm

    Callista’s eyes are open atypically wide–so much so that you can see white above the iris–which is more a sign of a tight facelift than anything else. I once was in a store in LaJolla with an older woman who could not blink her face was so tightly pulled up and back.

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  50. Rana said on March 31, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    Jim, according to my profiler, my MacBook is the “MacBookPro4,1”. The keys do look rather Chicletty, but I find that they travel a bit farther than the previous ones. They’ve got a slight bit of bounce to them too, which I find pleasant.

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  51. Scout said on March 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    I loved coozledad’s picture and the accompanying post. The chicken was obviously enjoying the moment, she was definitely ready for her close-up.

    Callista is a frightening woman. On so many levels.

    And I’m with Bill Maher, I’ll stop calling them teabaggers when they stop… well, teabagging.

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  52. joodyb said on March 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    skinnerbox is indeed beautiful, and as i told cooz, i would not mess with her.

    my first thought the first time i saw callista was “replicant.” and i cannot look at newt without thinking “sock garters.”

    edit: LAMary, yes, a line-drawn animated character. one you’d most likely see on “Adult Swim.”

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  53. coozledad said on March 31, 2011 at 7:13 pm

    Skinnerbox is a fairly heavy bird. She’s leapt on my head before, but I was sitting down, and it made it slightly easier to bear the weight. This time she may have pinched a couple of nerve trunks.
    I think I’ve got a nameless rooster who could be called Tord Magnusson. He’ll have to adjust from being called “fuckhead”.

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  54. LAMary said on March 31, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    It’s possible Tord Magnusson means fuckhead in Swedish. Or big turd.

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  55. Kim said on March 31, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    I was wondering what Cooz would look like in a St. John’s knit with Skinnerbox on his head. And then I got ’round to watching the freakish Gingriches and wondered what Callista would look like with Skinnerbox on her bony head. The back of her hair reminds me of a duck’s ass.

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  56. Deborah said on March 31, 2011 at 9:12 pm

    I changed my gravatar back, just checking it to make sure.

    Coozledad that’s quite a feathered hat.

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  57. Jolene said on March 31, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    It’s also the ridiculousness of those outfits, too. . . Who wears a robin’s egg-blue knit suit to the Hoover Dam?

    Exactly. Their costumes and poses (her third position stance, his puffed-out chest) have all the naturalness of a nineteenth-century daguerreotype. Really, they’re just horrible people.

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  58. Catherine said on March 31, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    Skinnerbox does not need media training, she is good to go.

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  59. brian stouder said on March 31, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    And you know, not to be catty or anything, but if you click Nance’s “Bad Clown file” link above, and gaze upon the rapist clown image –

    I gotta say, he looks a lot like Callista (or at least – Calista before she ‘puts her face on’ in the morning). If the rapist-clown was wearing a nice bracelt and/or watch, or a nice pearl necklace, he could fool Newtie, in low-light conditions.

    And I liked Moe’s schadenfreude link. Scalia plowing into the ass-end of an unsuspecting motorist on the freewway is a pretty good political allegory for American conservative politics in the 21st century

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  60. Hank Stuever said on April 1, 2011 at 12:34 am

    The woman in the NYT story says she was using a typewriter on the Amtrak cafe car. The cafe car?! I know it’s not the quiet car, but STILL. If I saw that, even with my own love for Royals and Selectrics way back when, clickety-clacky hipster would be getting the royal hairy eyeball from me. (Unless she’s Joan Didion and the Saturday Evening Post is back in the game.)

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  61. Fearguth said on April 1, 2011 at 8:24 am

    ‘Concupiscence’ is the main reason I still prefer the King James Version of the Bible to all the others.

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  62. prospero said on April 1, 2011 at 7:51 pm

    Ifeefree WE CARE.
    THAT WAS NO SHIT. YOU COULD LIKE NOTHING ELW3 BUR WAID / WHAREFER YOU THOUGHT.MP/I GWL FREE/ SHIT. We couldn’t anybody you would consider. I feel free.

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  63. prospero said on April 1, 2011 at 9:53 pm

    Ifeel free. WE CARE.
    We couldn’t anybody you would consider. We graduated from The Grady School. A specracularly great JScchool. I feel free. Rhjw King James is whar King James wanted it it to say, and what tose guys made it say, or it was they’re necks. Feautiful lamguage, Shakes and Kit Matlowe. It’s the faggot version and that’s about that, None of these characters had any aramaic. Word of God? I doubt it.

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  64. prospero said on April 2, 2011 at 3:18 am

    if you claim to be Christian and you don;t uphold the two great commandments, you are a whited sepulcher and a sham.

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