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Editor’s Lost Child?

SENT our #4 (Nov-Dec) offspring to Iowa on 17 Nov., an easy one-week trip. But, after 32 days without receiving either of two self-addressed, pre-stamped acknowledgement cards, one enclosed in the parcel itself, we almost panicked. And no phone listing for our Iowa addressee! Solution? The System. An LD call to the President, of course, brought almost instant relief: Y.C. #4 was safely tucked into the “December” bundle. Great Gehry G. thanks! We now know the awful feeling of delay and threat of loss to a full week of work under an unknown deadline. We now know why no comments have as yet come in regarding Y.C. #4.

Y.C. #5, already promptly acknowledged by our new Mailer, has easily met his clearly stated deadline for the January bundle. Hail to Regis Racke of Pittsburgh, a fine city where this Clipper skipper lived from 1954-76.

REGIS F. RACKE merits our Bright Eyes Award. He found a contemporary, luxury yacht with the badly-chosen name: “Yankee Clipper.” Made in Germany for the munitions magnate Krupp, only 2-masted, tonnage a mere 800, strictly a small passenger schooner, offering “air conditioned accommodations” for pleasure cruises based in the West Indies – it is NO Yankee, NO Clipper!

LATE FLASH: We happily report Dec. bundle came during lock-up of this page (Jan. 2, ‘79).

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More Thoughts on Education

To conclude our previous discussion of the notably poor basic verbal and numeric skills among school and college graduates today: We found full confirmation, in the 1978 Vermont survey, of similar reports from other states. Inadequate writing skills, as we have noted among present college students, were a particularly shocking deficiency among high schoolers, even the best of them.

Less than half of the tested 18 year olds could write a simple friendly, or business, letter without 8 or more obvious errors!

Beginning this year, no Vermont highschooler will be graduated before demonstrating numerous, well defined proficiencies in the 3 R’s, in speaking, and more. A diploma will at last mean that what is TAUGHT is, in fact, LEARNED! Is this true now throughout your state?

Footnotes to the foregoing:

Yale has been awarded the largest grant of private money for such a purpose, for a university-wide project to teach basic writing skills to its students. Yalies, let it be noted, are taken from the top of the high school crop; and their brilliant young prexy, Bartlett Giamatti, is an outstanding English professor. What a marvelous place for all those budding editors, writers, and printers!

Hurrah for Senator Proxmire’s apparent good non-political(?) sense in bestowing his Golden Fleece Award on the USOE’s making a huge grant “to teach college students how to watch TV.” We just cannot believe this WAS the real purpose. BUT, why not provide a huger grant to show our millions of TV addicts how to kick the habit??

Secure in Their Being
by Wanda Allen Moore

Bare branches of bitter cherry and willow
Project individual signatures
Of their parent trees. No need
For full dress to show
Who they are, why they are.
They stand tall, secure
In their being
Within the ongoing wheel of time.

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Our National Shame – Nothing to Crow About

In the June ‘78 Aspect Inquirer, just received from New Zealand, our much respected fellow editor, Phil Parr from down under, pointedly reminds us that North America, with 5% of the world’s people, uses 45% of the earth’s energy. He would have enjoyed the recent special reports by Dr. W. Cronkite on the highly successful methods used by Sweden to control energy use, and by Singapore to control population growth. Transcripts of these 2 CBS broadcasts should be required reading for EVERY adult in the USA!

Problem: How to change our extravagant lifestyle?

Margins – Reason or Tradition?

We commend Fred Liddle for a new “Constructive Criticism” column in the Nov. ‘78 AAJ. But, his generalizations about margins are rather irrational. He says: “…the top margin should be greater than the bottom.” Oh? This is contrary to reasoned modern practice of placing type masses (or picture in frames) above center – to counteract the illusion whereby material appears lower than actual in the space frame. Sensibly, the AAJ and majority of ajays print with top margin less than bottom. Keep it UP!

Regarding side margins, Fred supports an archaic custom, best abandoned: “…the gutter (inside) margin should be the narrow one.” Historically, wide outer margins gave space for finger wear and scribbler’s notes, a wasteful luxury today. And as a former researcher and teacher of experimental esthetics, we assure you there is NO visual reason for a narrower inside margin. In fact, legibility dictates a much wider inside margin than customary in books or multipage journals today.

Printers and publishers have too long ignored the extensive experimental data on legibility of print, much of it well summarized in M. A. Tinker’s book, Legibility of Print, Ames, IA: Iowa State Univ. Press, 1963. 329p. [238 References.] As John Adams wrote in 1776: “All great changes are irksome to the human mind.”

So, we strongly urge that the inside margin of books and journals be equal to the outside edge margin, if they open flat. IF binding does not open fully flat, the inside margin must be much wider, to avoid curvature of print, and reduced legibility.

Many fine works of leading publishers exemplify the margins we urge; enhanced legibility, better esthetic effect, and paper economy are obvious gains of reason over tradition. (Titles on request.)

If unconvinced, try to read the 1977 Yearbook of Agriculture (GPO)! You cannot, without breaking the binding (narrow inner margin); and then you’ll be depressed by the saggy, below-center print. Easily the worst-printed book in decades! Agree?

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Handset, handprinted at Centenary Press,
Berlington, VT 05401.
John T. Cowles, Editor-Printer.
Distribution: 500 copies.

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