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February 24, 2007

Athena Experiments With Metaphor

I swear to you she makes this stuff up on her own.

Incidentally, a shiny penny to the first person who notes a certain puzzling mismatch somewhere in the video.

Posted by john at February 24, 2007 11:02 PM

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doubt | February 24, 2007 11:32 PM

That's an odd looking baseball.

Rachel | February 24, 2007 11:32 PM

Hmm... searching for mismatches...

1) We are noodles; animals are chicken. Yet we are animals. So are we both noodles and chicken?

2) Animals are like... chicken? Don't animals include chicken?

Jenny Rae Rappaport | February 24, 2007 11:36 PM

I like Kodi's walk-on cameo in the background. The back legs, the tail--clearly a dog who is destined for stardom! =)

Jamie | February 24, 2007 11:37 PM

That kid of yours is pretty great. Chicken noodle soup is an even better metaphor for life than the old "box of chocolates."

What's up with the picture of the basketball on the t-shirt that says baseball?

I think the dog wants in on the YouTube thing... he seems to be pacing back and forth back there trying to get screen time!

Kate | February 24, 2007 11:43 PM

On some of my best days, I can't come up with stuff like that.

I noticed both your dog and cat in the frame, which make for a pretty odd pairing in most households.

Also, the shirt that has YMCA baseball, but pictures what looks like a basketball on it.

Kate | February 24, 2007 11:45 PM

Looks above me to Jamie. Heh. Good catch. I should really read the comments before I post.

hugh57 | February 25, 2007 12:40 AM

"Be happy and eat it!!"

A perfectly cromulent philosophy, one that should be on the official t-shirt for your Scalzipalooza '07 tour.

Speaking of which, did you ever decide on an official name for the tour?

Peter Burd | February 25, 2007 05:26 AM

Kate says "I noticed both your dog and cat in the frame, which make for a pretty odd pairing in most households."

That's part of the fun of the video. The dog's going back and forth and the cat decides to check out the action, while our wise, grizzled philosopher drones away on camera, oblivious to the really important things in the other room. Heh, philosophers ...

Tumbleweed | February 25, 2007 05:33 AM

I've of much heard stranger things as the basis for religion. John, I advise you to incorporate this into a religion and start raking in the dough. I'm sure Campbell's would be a good sponsor.

Chang, father of pangolins | February 25, 2007 06:50 AM

I like the metaphor. My kid doesn't eat chicken soup.

Behind Athena is stack of books. Some of them are TAD. I can't really see what's next to the copies of TAD though. Maybe a bunch of CD's? And is that a bottle of Gorilla Glue or Vick's Cough Syrup on the shelf underneath?

Anonymous | February 25, 2007 07:50 AM

Yup, it's the T-shirt. Man. Small organizations who won't budget to hire the likes of me to design their stuff will be the death of civilization. Mark me — when the end comes the collateral will have borders framing every panel, there will be double spaces after all the periods, and all the plurals will have apostrophes.

[shaking fists to the sky] Damn you, Box o' Clipart and 10,000 Fonts for $20!

Speaking of: dogs and cats living together is not the apocalyptic sign that Bill Murray thought it was. My two are currently dozing in the breezeway quite peaceably.

Jeff Hentosz | February 25, 2007 07:53 AM

Can lay out a brochure, but can't sign a blog comment. Idiot.

Bill Blum | February 25, 2007 08:13 AM

I'll never look again at the 10,000 Fonts packages in the store--- especially after a friend bought a small office building, and found box copies of the Adobe Font Folio, among other goodies.

Jeff Hentosz | February 25, 2007 08:48 AM

Found? ... copies, plural? ... folio ... [gargling and drool] ...

John O'Neill | February 25, 2007 10:17 AM

What's the deal about double spaces after a period? In all of my various English classes, I was taught that one put two spaces at the end of a sentence. Nowadays, everyone's insisting on one space whenever there's a space of any sort. Are we in danger of running out of spaces? Or is this something akin to ancient computer coding, where we keep things as compact as possible to avoid taking up too much space (in which case, why the outcry against "texting-style" writing)? Color me confused but not very concerned. And yeah, I put two spaces at the end of all those sentences. Ha ha.

Jeff Hentosz | February 25, 2007 11:16 AM

What's the deal about double spaces after a period?

And HA! yourself, sir. I was just serving up a little artistey snottiness for humorous effect. {rimshot} Thanks; try the creme brulee.

Since you asked — and way OT for the thread — on a typewriter every character is the same width: "i" or "M," doesn't matter. The double-space thing helped differentiate sentences back in the day. On the computer, if you're not using Courier or the like, you're technically typesetting. Every font's characters are only as wide as they need to be (it's called "proportional" spacing). That includes the space after a period, which through the magic of the computer gizmo is already extra wide. So double-spacing can create what look like rivers of white space down a column of copy. Apparently, high school keyboarding teachers have yet to be hipped to this jive.

So you all go on tap-tapping your raw copy, and me and my kind will go on snip-snipping for our layouts. The cosmos remains in balance. Which is metaphorical, I guess, and so back on topic.

John Scalzi | February 25, 2007 11:19 AM

I grew up using a computer and have never once put a double space after a period.

Tolladay | February 25, 2007 11:52 AM

There's a little book called "The Mac is Not a Typewriter" which is fun, funny, and full of all kinds of tips like this. A buddy of mine bought 10 or 12 and handed them out to everyone he thought needed it.

And yes there's a PC version as well.

I once worked on the layout/design of a book where the author insisted on double spaces after a period because her father had told her this was the proper way. Nevermind what her publisher said, nevermind what the professional typsesetter (me) said, it HAD to be HER way.

Needless to say, the relationship went sour (after the 5th round of major type revisions), and the book never got published.

Note to future authors, never argue with you publisher about typesetting. Actually never argue with them about anything, as it's a waste of time, and it does not help your professional career. If you feel that strongly about something, go with another publisher, otherwise focus on what is important (selling your book).

Chang who is also Chuckles | February 25, 2007 11:56 AM

Damn. I wanted the penny.

I re-read the title as "Athena Experiments with Matter." That could have scary consequences.

hugh57 | February 25, 2007 12:05 PM

Scalzi sayeth:

I grew up using a computer and have never once put a double space after a period.

And I grew up using a typewriter and have likewise never once put a double space after a period. Nor have I ever heard of the rule John O'Neill describes. Go figure.

Old Jarhead | February 25, 2007 12:17 PM

In some not-so-far-off time when Athena has gotten old enough to bewail the fact that she is not an orphan these little clips will be SOOOO embarrassing, but she'll grow out of it. Right now they depict a confident, bright, charming girl who could progbably run for mayor of yoiur town and win!

Old Jarhead

jkr | February 25, 2007 01:13 PM

Tumbleweed's comment gave me an instant mental picture (and I'd make it a physical picture if I knew how to use the software):

a can of Joseph Campbell's chicken noodle soup.

Nathan | February 25, 2007 01:35 PM

I took a typing class in 10th grade (1976 or so?) and was taught to double space after the period. This is the first I'm hearing that I shouldn't on my mac. But it's habit, so.....(five periods/10 spaces)

Dr. Phil | February 25, 2007 01:47 PM

I grew up pounding on manual typewriters and was taught to double space between sentences. And I still do. However, standard HTML won't allow you to have two spaces in a row, you actually have to change or both to (and I will add underlines to the HTML coding otherwise it will become a double space) "&_n_b_s_p_;". Now, if the Whatever cooperates, we can now have double spaces betweent this sentence.   And this one.

I find that in editing documents, adhering to the double-space rule allows me to spot typos in punctuation and capitalization much faster than without. I also tend to compose in one font, then reformat into Courier, because the non-proportional font again allows one an easier time to proofread. But to each their own.

Dr. Phil

Chang, father of pangolins | February 25, 2007 01:49 PM

I grew up using old Underwood manual typewriters and learned to type formally in 1984. In 1988 I got my first computer.

And I always put double spaces after a period. So there...

Dr. Phil | February 25, 2007 01:51 PM

Ack -- typos in the above. And the parenthetical remark: (and I will add underlines to the HTML coding otherwise it will become a double space) should've said: (and I will add underlines to the HTML coding otherwise it will become a non-breaking space).

Dr. Phil

TransDutch | February 25, 2007 03:23 PM

I was forced by my grade school to learn how to type in 1979, the summer after fourth grade, as they literally gave up hoping my penmanship would improve. (I'm not sure this is something to brag about.)

There are almost always double spaces after all my periods, but as Dr. Phil notes, the second space is 'silent' on a computer screen, due to it being ignored by most browsers. Only I know it's there.

Of course, both spaces are also in every document I print. And those spaces aren't invisible.

Johnny Carruthers | February 25, 2007 03:26 PM

Are you sure that Metaphor is the only thing with which Athena is experimenting?

TransDutch | February 25, 2007 03:29 PM

Regarding the t-shirt, I suspect more people would buy it with the mistake than they would if it was correctly illustrated.

I'd buy it, and I'm completely outside their geographical region.

In marketing, sometimes mistakes can be intentional and ingenius. Though I suspect this isn't the case in this instance.

Steve Buchheit | February 25, 2007 03:46 PM

Jeff Hentosz and Tolladay, I'm glad I'm not the only one ot have such "discussions" with clients (re: double spacing, just don't okay). Just wait until we get to discuss "ligatures" and "kerning pairs." And then we get to the over use of ellipses (for the Love of Zarquon, please stop the madness).

Steve Buchheit | February 25, 2007 04:21 PM

Hmm, so has Athena met the Flying Spaghetti Monster, yet?

Chang, father of pangolins | February 25, 2007 05:29 PM

Dear... Buccheit...

What's... your... beef... with... ellipses... Is... it... an... Ohioan... thing...



JonathanMoeller | February 25, 2007 07:06 PM

I had a professor in graduate school who sounded *exactly* like that. Scary.

Owlmirror | February 25, 2007 09:44 PM

If you want to refer to HTML entities without having them actually be interpreted, you don't need to mangle them in any way. Simply use "&" rather than "&" alone to prefix the entity. Thus:  

More entities here:


Bruce Cohen (SpeakerToManagers) | February 25, 2007 10:15 PM

Hey Chang,

Isn't an ellipsis supposed to have a space on both sides? (grammar fight, grammar fight!)

Ian Randal Strock | February 25, 2007 10:15 PM

I'm still trying to wrap my brain around the "life is a bowl of chicken noodle soup" and "we are the noodles" so "we should eat the soup and enjoy it." If we are both the noodles and eater, that's a neat piece of either cannibalism or autophagy.

Steve Buchheit | February 25, 2007 10:24 PM

Chang, Argh! My eyes, my eyes. Oh, the humanity...

And in reality, that's not the worst example I've ever seen. I once ran across an ellipses made with eight dots.

JulieW | February 25, 2007 10:31 PM

My Freshman English teacher in High School was fanatical about double-spaces after periods - so much so that I once had an "A" level paper receive a
"C" because she took off a point for every single-space. This was way past the time when students used typewriters for essaywriting, and the computer would whine every time I double-spaced.

So thanks, gonna have Mrs. Hull nightmares tonight.

Jeff Hentosz | February 25, 2007 10:57 PM

Cohen: Grammar fight, indeed. AP Style says put a space on either side of the ellipses, Chicago Manual drones for four full pages on the issue and seems to say not, but really ... who knows?

Buchheit: An eight point ellipses is not an ellipsis. It's bool-shit, and you are right to balk. What I like is when I see a sentence with eight, or five, or three, or even one exclamation point. I turn them all with my frightening type-fu into no exclamation points. No one ever complains.

And on behalf of the grossly mistreated JulieW, I suggest everyone here close their eyes, concentrate, and send Mrs. Hull merciless single space nightmare vibes.

Tolladay | February 26, 2007 12:43 AM

Here, here. Just let me typesett Mrs. Hull's book. I'll have her crying like a baby in no time. And if she trys to double or triple bang me (that's !! and !!! for those who've never had to set a bang before), I'll give her a big smack down.

Dr. Phil | February 26, 2007 12:48 AM

"Simply use "&" rather than "&" alone to prefix the entity. Thus:  "

The problem with that method is that then someone uses cut & paste and then can't figure out why it doesn't work. Sometimes lowlevel methods are the best.

Dr. Phil

Metal Fatigue | February 26, 2007 01:00 AM

Experimenting with pomp, too. Very cute.

Owlmirror | February 26, 2007 01:29 AM

The problem with that method is that then someone uses cut & paste and then can't figure out why it doesn't work. Sometimes lowlevel methods are the best.

Well, when messing about with HTML, it's probably best to do a "View Source", and copy and paste the original source, rather than the rendered text.

That way, you not only keep any unusual HTML entities, you also keep any original formatting markup that was used.

Gwen | February 26, 2007 06:51 PM

>Here, here. Just let me typesett Mrs. Hull's book. I'll have her crying like a baby in no time. And if she trys to double or triple bang me (that's !! and !!! for those who've never had to set a bang before), I'll give her a big smack down.

Yuck. I hate sentences that end in more than one exclamation point. Almost as bad are sentences that end in any combination of question marks and exclamation points other than just a simple interrobang...what are they thinking?!
?!? heh, this is fun
??!!1!one?! O.K., I'll stop now.)
I don't ever put spaces before or after ellipses, myself. I was never taught to ... and it looks weird, anyway.

Queenie | February 26, 2007 07:41 PM

"Life. Don't talk to me about life."

Hmmm...I liked the dog walking past. Also, Athena is clearly destined to be a philosopher. I should start drafting the Wikipedia entry.

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