Wednesday, October 28, 2009

I go Ross Thomas

It's election time and one of the striking lawn signs is for Pat Igo.

Igo's name makes me think of one of my favorite authors, the late Ross Thomas. One of Thomas's books, "The Seersucker Whipsaw," is about political campaigns. Specifically about an American advertising/public relations firm running a political campaign in a small African nation. The cynicism of the characters -- and of Ross Thomas -- is breathtaking. Anyway, a slogan for one of the candidates, Sunday Akomolo, is "I GO AKO." The cover of my copy of the book highlights the phrase.

Which brings me back to Pat Igo's lawn sign and Igo's Web site address: Whatever disagreements I may have with Pat Igo's positions on education, his signs and Web site address always bring a smile to my face.

Those awful, spendthrift educators!

A sign attached to the fence of a pretty nice house on Summit Avenue in St. Paul.

I don't understand the animosity toward public education. Training future adults the ins and outs of useful employment and citizenship seems to me to be a good thing. Worth paying for.

I like the drawing of the pig, though.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Teasing ad

There's a teaser ad out now for a new Android-operating-system-based-phone. The new phone is the Verizon Droid. The ad's slogan "Droid does" features a mix of upper- and lowercase letters that is difficult to parse. The lowercase "r" in particular doesn't make sense in this context. But the lowercase "r" is the star letter, so that has to stay.

So, I fixed the "d" letters. Left the "e."

But that's maybe a little too much, so I just fixed one "d" and left the rest. I think this is a huge legibility improvement. And the cute little eyes or fangs or whatever under the "r" are left intact.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Stuart M. Kaminsky

Stuart M. Kaminsky, an author I admire, died last week. Age 75.

Although I'm sad there will not be any new books by him, he wrote a heck of a lot of books. His obituaries mention "more than 70" books. And I haven't read them all yet. So I have to thank him for his astonishing productivity.

He wrote mysteries. Four different series, basically.

Toby Peters mysteries set in 1930s-40s Hollywood. The detective does work for movie stars. For a fan of old movies these are wonderful. Kaminsky was an expert on movies -- he taught university classes about film in Chicago and Miami -- and his love of movies is obvious in the Peters books.

Abe Leiberman mysteries set in Chicago. An old cop. I don't remember much about these books, but they are enjoyable.

Inspector Porfiry Rostnikov mysteries set in Russia. These are my favorites. So foreign and yet still recognizable murder mysteries. Full of insights into repression and bureaucracy.

Lew Fonesca mysteries set in Sarasota, Florida. A process-server who sleepwalks through his life. He's depressed. But it's not depressing to read because through his ability to solve problems he keeps acquiring friends.

One thing I have to mention here is how funny Kaminsky's books are. Even the ones set in depressing Russia and the ones about the old cop and the ones about the depressed guy in Florida. Funny!

For me, picking up one of Kaminsky's books is the start of a visit with cherished friends.

Thank you, Stuart M. Kaminsky.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


I was trying to come up with an insult for the new logo for the Sci-Fi Channel. Couldn't think of anything.

Then, out of the corner of my eye, I started misreading it -- as if there's a kerning error and the "r" is just too close to the "F." Here, I've "corrected" the kerning with a bad Photoshop job.