T-Shirts, Canned Food, And Typewriters

On my bus to work yesterday, there was this young university student who was wearing a red t-shirt with those blue, fuzzy, iron-on letters across his chest. The letters started out large and descended over four lines to very small letters like an optometrist’s eye chart. The t-shirt read: “I see dumb people reading my t-shirt.” He saw me reading it, and then he saw me smirking about it, and then he gave me the sullen look of someone who cannot share his humour with outsiders. Poor, sullen university student. It made me want to muss up his carefully crafted, product-laden curls.

I like these photographs.

I do not collect anything myself yet, but I am fascinated by the stuff other people that I have never met collect, such as typewriter ribbon tins. Personally, I am excited by canned food labels whenever I go grocery shopping. My favourite can label has got to be the one for a certain brand of corned beef. The can’s shape is unique, because it is trapezoidal, and the label has this style that could have come out of the 1950s. It’s other great feature is that it has a front-and-centre picture of a cow chewing grass, which is weird, because any tins containing meat do not usually have pictures of the animal of origin on the front. For instance, spam does not have a pig adorning its label, and tins of tuna do not have pictures of ugly, live tuna fish on them. I did start a canned food collection with this particular brand of canned corned beef, but the Fiery One ate the contents, and once the tin was opened, my love for it was gone. I will have to go grocery shopping soon to replace my missing collection of one.

Typewriter Facts and Links:
* If you’ve ever wondered about metaphase typewriters, read this.
* Mark Twain, the American novelist, was the first known author to submit a typed manuscript. He was supposed to have typed his most famous story, Tom Sawyer, but it is more likely to have been Life on the Mississippi. Twain’s typewriter was a Remington No.1.
* The original layout of letters on the typewriter was in an ABC format, but Christopher Sholes, an inventor of the first commercially successful machine, found this continually jammed his typewriters. To solve the problem, he asked his brother-in-law, a mathematician, to work out an arrangement that would prevent the bars from clashing. Sholes later claimed that this was a highly 'scientific arrangement'. It is from this that the QWERTY layout idea was evolved in 1873, and it persists to this day.
* The Classic Typewriter Page.
* This is for the font nerds out there.
* Mrs. Barbara Blackburn of Salem, Oregon is the world’s fastest typist. She can maintain a speed of 150 words per minute (wpm) for 50 minutes (37,500 key strokes) and can attain a speed of 170 wpm using the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) system. Compare that to the average workplace typist who reaches about 50 to 60 words per minute. At an even lower rater, is your average web surfer - around 30 words per minute, at a peak.
* The longest word that may be typed on the top row of letters on a typewriter is 'typewriter' (or so my source tells me, but I am too lazy to work on that one today).