Hermann Zapf’s Palatino
Concerning friends, types, souls, etc.
I HAD ALWAYS CONSIDERED the expression “sold his soul to the devil” a figure of speech, that is, until I took up printing. Or is it the other way, printing took me up. This Web is set in Palatino, for a font of which many a printer wouldn’t hesitate to negotiate with Beelzebub. I escaped the necessity of commerce with Lucifer by buying from the U.S. distributor, Amsterdam Continental Inc., whose 10 pct. Private Press discount helped foil me of the horns and cloven hooves.
The where-with-all to buy came from some horse-trading with an erstwhile friend –?– who said all he wanted was my lathe tool-post grinder. He wore a hat & tan cordovans, so I noted nothing strange about these portions of his anatomy. Nor did I attach any special significance to his arched eyebrows, and the suspicious bulge beneath his coattail. I could almost taste that 10 point Palatino, so when he dropped a figure, my head swam, and I agreed to his terms.
I vaguely remember the fiendish laugh he emitted as he left, carrying the grinder under one arm and a rather odd-looking cane under the other, odd because of the tines on one end. It did not seem at all queer, at the time, for him to depart thru the wall, since there wasn’t a door handy. I was too absorbed cleaning an old California job case for all that shiny, new type, to notice trifles like that.
Lately though, I’ve been restless at night. Mrs. N. tells me of my rolling and tossing, frequent groans, and an occasional scream, interspersed with unintelligible phrases like ‘No! No!’ and ‘The heat is unendurable!’ etc. And something in the back of my mind keeps trying to recall what else besides the grinder was included in our bargain. Oh, well. I guess he’ll remember.
POSTMASTER GENERAL WORRIED: The source of his concern is reported upon good authority to be a diabolical scheme devised by an amateur journalist. Quoting the pg: “This nut’s a raving maniac. Why his fool Post Card of the Month Club idea is the zaniest thing to blitz the PO Dept. since chain letters. Every mail carrier we have, has worn his feet off up to the knees, delivering these blasted things. We have no idea how many rural postmasters have suffocated beneath the avalanches of these fiendish cards clogging our branches.* This is a National –sic– Emergency! I’ve asked the President to appoint a top-level committee to investigate!”
All of which adds up, dear ajer, to the fact that YOU should send a Post Card of the Month to someone, preferable a new member, whose work appears in the bundle. Any card will do; but for those desiring them, a stamp to The Web will bring a supply of ‘official’ cards.
* The P.G. exaggerates; only 3,500 ‘official’ cards have gone out. –Ed.–
OLD MARK WALLIS, the compositor, was in a colloquial mood. Yes, –he said– I was on The Tribune in the 60s. Greeley’s handwriting was poor, but much of its reputation sprung from the horror inspired in surveying it enmasse, rather than taking it in detail. Mostly, it was set by one hoary-headed old compositor named Larkway, who smoked a cob pipe with the corn still on it. His ability to decipher Greeley’s copy inspired him to brag so of his accomplishment, that everyone longed to see him humbled.
One day the devil left the proof press ink roller on the floor. Two young roosters, sent to Greeley by an admirer, walked over it and thence across a piece of white paper. When the foreman saw it, a green light burst upon him. Yep, he had them roosters walk all over some of Mr. Greeley’s personal copy paper, re-inking their feet occasionally. Then he scrawled across the top, “The Plain Duty of Congress – brevier, double lead” and hung it on Larkway’s hook.
Well sir, when he of the agricultural pipe came in, he glanced at the title, grunted, and slamming down on his upper case, he planted a handful of leads on the bottom of it. Starting a conflagration in his pipe, he picked up his stick. With every man in the place holding his sides and watching, he began to set it. But those guffaws never came, for by George! Old Larkway set every bit of it – except for one word which stumped him. Undaunted he marched straight into Greeley’s office and asked for help. The boss sized up the situation immediately. Squinting at the copy, he promptly said ‘Unconstitutional.’ What’s the matter with you, can’t you read, sir? – Adapted from a story by Hayden Carruth
News & Views
FROM THE Burrow OF THE vp: In the past our distinguished leaders have operated from offices –their stationery always is thusly emblazoned: From the office of… – we’ve fondly pictured as richly paneled in mellow mahogany, carpeted with triple pile Persian rugs, & scented just so for His Honor’s air-conditioned comfort, as he leans back in his cushioned swivel chair dictating: “My Deah Mr. J. Ed, suh,…”
Comes then a shock, as the rank and file discovers from whence this vp operates. We hesitate, but truth must prevail, so, this reaches you from deep within the bowels of the earth, where we’ve improvised a desk from an orange crate and a matching chair from a nail keg. Due south of this ensemble is the composing stand and California cases, while 10 degrees SSE, the ancient 10 x 15 languishes upon its couch of cobwebs. Just above – on the meridian is the term – hangs a peculiar, horseshoe-shaped, cast iron pipe that issues gulping, gurgling sounds upon occasion. Quaint old furnishings abound in this subterranean chamber, imparting an aura which will, undoubtedly, colour future communiques from your humble & faithful vp,
J. Ed. Newman
BY THE ASSISTANCE of the Most High, this Web was printed and perfected in the year of the Incarnation 1967, not by means of pen or pencil, or stencil plate, but the admirable proportion, harmony, and connection of the punches and matrices; wherefore to thee, Divine Father, Son and Holy Ghost, triune and only God praise be given. From Gutenberg’s Catholicon, Mainz 1460
A four page flapdoodle flimsy by J. Ed. Newman
Roanoke, Virginia 24014