Cruising the Green of Second Avenue

Wild Child Publishing has issued the second volume of short stories in Cruising the Green of Second Avenue. The tales take up where Vol. I left off — bringing back Klein the Biker, Straight Charlie and Sammy the Madman while introducing new characters stumbling over life’s difficulties in the late 60s. Vol. II is an e-book published by Wild Child Publishing that you can download, save as a pdf (Adobe) file and print. Read both volumes and see that life isn't all that serious. Find it at Barnes & Noble, Amazon and other online book sellers.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Screw the Commuters, Open Wide the Paper!

Why is my elbow in your eye when I get to the middle of the paper?

Is anyone else as prickled as I am when coming to the center spread of a New York Times supplement only to find a double-truck story?  That’s the spread in this week’s “Sunday Review” that marches across eight columns of type and art from page 6 to page 7.  It features a 10-panel cartoon about pasta and, below, some 3,000 words asking “Why Are There No People of Color in Children’s Books?”

My arms open wide to see the extent of this ocean of typography and art.  If I start here in column one then  how far is it to the end?  Although I no longer commute, the “end” is usually the nose of the person sitting next to me.

As a former train and bus commuter I learned early on to open the Times vertically, then fold it vertically again.  This minimizes the space I (the party of the first part) intrude on the personal space occupied by my fellow passenger (the party of the second part) sharing a bench seat.  This courtesy is a small part of what helps everyone get along.

Why do the art directors — perhaps copy editors — do this?  Simply because they can.  These are the same people that fill a page with black ink and drop out the type in white making it impossible to read.  They’re the same Look-at-Me designers who run boxes of insignificant blurbs in 6- or 8-point type.  When I see these sections I know it’s time to stop, take off my glasses and squint to find some 50-word colloquy on current opinion.

“Simply because they can” is not a defensible approach to design, layout or publishing.  Or keeping peace with the fellow passengers in your life.

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