Archive for May, 2008

Letterpress List No. 37: Lead Astray

May 29, 2008

The hieroglyphics of the ancient Egyptians have for eons been pored over by brilliant minds seeking clues to the thinking and beliefs of their makers. The meaning behind many of these picture writings has yet to be fully unlocked. Perhaps thousands of years from now, archaeologists will still be puzzling over them.

Ditto for old Mr. Wilhelm’s system for marking the trays of lead type in his California Job Case.

Shop Boy’s still digging.

For the uninitiated, type trays work a little like the QWERTY keyboard on your typewriter/computer — the idea is to place the letters not necessarily where they fall alphabetically but where they make the most sense. In the type tray, letters that are used constantly and are thus more numerous, like E’s, get a larger, more central spot on the tray, which is about 3 feet wide and 2 feet deep. Semicolons get a smaller, less central spot. Hey, you whippersnappers might also be interested in this tidbit, which Shop Boy hadn’t thought much about before Typecast Press: The descriptions “uppercase” and “lowercase” for letters once meant just that — reach up for the capital letters and reach down for the non-caps.

When the type is filed correctly, the person setting the verbiage to be printed, having memorized this system, is able to quickly pluck the proper characters and build words on the composing stick — a steel tray that helps you set lines to the correct width and lock them in so they can be moved to the chase and then to the press without falling to pieces on the floor, or “pieing.”

All right, so you’ve got a guy who has way more type than trays. He doubles up fonts in a tray, then triples them for good measure. But sometimes only two fonts’ worth of the capital letters, which are larger, can fit in the proper box. So, he invents a system in which perhaps the orphan capital letters sit where the semicolons, colons, quotation marks and percentage signs (of which there are few) should be, the semicolons share a bunk with the dollar signs, the colons move in with the parentheses, the quotation marks go, um, here and the percentage signs go, uh, there’s good. Just mark the wood next to them. Oh, darn. Those little spaces can accommodate only half of the capital letters of your font. What to do? Easy. Just make a notation: “More capital letters of 24-point Brush font in tray 11.”


Now, Shop Boy shouldn’t mock Mr. Wilhelm, who ran a tidy little printshop in his Baltimore County basement, left behind when he died a few years back. Typecast Press bought the shop lock, stock and barrel — at pennies per pound, believe me — from his patient widow, who was selling the house. We’ve got samples of his fastidious work, so we know he was a fine craftsman.

But … dude! The type. Some of his markings are like a pirate’s treasure map. Shop Boy seriously considered a seance: “Sir, where the heck did you put the (insert name of character here)?”

Anyway, it all had been sitting in the corner of our shop for two years, stacked in and atop a simple, modern wooden job case. Shop Boy couldn’t face it, even after he and Mary’s dad had built the, ahem, really cool tray case/desk to replace it and hold the beautiful antique type drawers we’d accumulated. See, in order to remove the modern job case — we needed the space — all those fonts had to be sorted and placed one character at a time into the “new” drawers.

Each case has taken approximately three hours to decipher and sort. Ugh.

Did I mention there were about 20 trays?

But Shop Boy’s a good bit of the way through. And I think I’ve got a system. See, where a typeface hasn’t fit exactly right, I’ve just improvised a little. OK, a lot. Doubled up here and there …


Oh, tut-tut. Not to worry …

I’ve made a whole bunch of totally clear notations on the tops, sides and bottoms of the trays.

Letterpress List No. 27

How about an hour’s worth of music to decipher hieroglyphics or sort tiny bits of lead by while two of the prettiest days of spring pass by outside? Most tunes should be available at the usual places. Goofy and great links are to YouTube.

Touch of Grey Grateful Dead (Gray/silver chunks of lead, one character at a time.)
Wish You Were HerePink Floyd (Could use a few extra hands.)
Take a Letter, Maria Tony Orlando and Dawn (That’d help.)
Come Out and Play the Offspring (No can do — gotta keep ’em separated.)
Fun Fun Funthe Beach Boys (Ditto.)
Walk Like an Egyptianthe Puppini Sisters (The Bangles’ version melts Shop Boy’s brain, so he limits views.)
Yesterday’s Over — the Pietasters (Just try to forget the pied type.)
Pick Up the PiecesAverage White Band (Some might say this band name fits most of my musical choices. Shop Boy’s trying, believe me. Got some remedial learning to do. Mary’s helping.)
Rock and RollRasputina (Led Zeppelin via viola and cello — cameraman still tripping from the 1960s.)
Doll-Dagga Buzz-Buzz Ziggety-Zag — Marilyn Manson (To all the goose step girlies with the cursive faces.)
Stacked Actors — the Foo Fighters (Type trays stacked to the rafters.)
The Dangerous Type — the Cars (After a few hours of picking type, the cuticles of a newbie tend to bleed a bit.)
Alpha Beta Parking Lot Cake (Left to sort alone.)
The Midnight SpecialLead Belly (Here we go again.)
See Me, Feel Me/Listening to Youthe Who (Tell me, Mr. Wilhelm …)
King TutSteve Martin (How’d he get so funky?)

Sit. Stay.

May 22, 2008

Chairs are like the stray dogs of the Mashburns’ world, always following somebody home. A Mashburn can never resist letting them in the door. And once they’re in, they’re staying.

No matter how mangy. No matter how unsteady or lame. Sometimes they can even be a bit menacing.

True story: Once, when Mary’s parents were visiting our Baltimore home, we were discussing possible spots to hang a piece of art that had been “won” at an auction, “Heart Attack” — a chair whose seat is made of thumbtacks. (!) Its back is window screening patterned in the shape of a heart, including wire mesh “fringe.” Shop Boy thought about the available wall space a moment, and said, “Well, if this were my house …”

Then I caught myself, but not before Mary’s mom and dad started guffawing. Once they’d caught their breath, they suggested to an unamused Mary that maybe Shop Boy needed a spot in the house that was “all his.” This, by the way, was how we ended up with a third-floor office that drew this response from a friend’s 9-year-old: “Wow! How old is your little boy?”


See, a lack of “usability” is not a deal-breaker for Mary and her people. So, we got chairs.

Like the rickety folding wooden job that we use for prospective clients at the Typecast Press printshop. (We haven’t lost anybody that way … yet.)

So when Lou Marzullo — a longtime Baltimore-area printer and letterpress guy — showed up one day with what sort of resembled a chair in the back of his truck, Shop Boy just rolled his eyes.

To me, the thing looked like an old high school chair seat stuck atop erector set legs, with a steel back that was full of holes, as though some trick shooter had sprayed it in a show of skill. Oh, and one corner of the back had been bent forward a bit somehow, so it poked the sitter just below the shoulder blade. The end of the steel legs had been hammered under as “feet.” Ugly as sin. But at least it was apparently sturdy.

Shop Boy suggested that, once Lou left, we should take the chair outside and shoot it one last time.

“No, Shop Boy. This is a very famous and historic chair,” Mary explained, so excited about her new pet. “It’s a linotype chair! It’s the first ergonomic chair, designed so the user could tip the seat forward or backward for comfort and raise or lower it as well. And the legs were specially designed so the chair could push away from the machine if the hot lead spurted.”

“Specially designed … yeah, right,” Shop Boy said. “Some dude built it from scrap.”

“You’re wrong, Shop Boy. And I’ll prove it.” She walked over to the computer and called up a website that had an old catalog. There it was in all its, um, glory (bullet holes barely visible).

“Geez. People actually bought that? For, like, money?”

Anyway, I’m sure that on Tuesday night at the printshop — actually 1 a.m. Wednesday, ugh — the homely chair had to be getting the last laugh as Shop Boy, dog tired but with a press to clean, leaned back against the job-tray cabinet and nodded off … standing up.


Hey, speaking of dogs, something funny just struck me.

True story: When Shop Boy-to-be was 15, he was laid up by surgery for about three months. At about the same time, Mom adopted a puppy — a little beagle named … Kelsey. Guess I should have seen all this letterpress stuff coming. Or maybe I did, because I refused to call him anything but “Binky.”

“Don’t Call Me Binky”: My second Kelsey

Shop Boy won’t bore you with how the whole St. Angelo-pets thing worked out. We were no Mashburns. But know this: When you walked into our house and saw a chair, chances are good that you could actually sit in it.


Letterpress List No. 36: Tool

May 20, 2008

A shark hunter? Shop Boy? Hah!

But there the thing was, writhing on a Delaware beach, having spun itself into a tangle in my fishing line. Now, we aren’t talking great white here. But it was a shark — only about 4 or 5 feet long from tip of nose to end of tail, and I might even be exaggerating, but whatever — that had the misfortune of snacking on a bit of squid or something I’d stuck on a hook. (We were hoping to catch bluefish or maybe stripers.) Its teeth looked all grown up to me. So while I rolled the shark on the wet sand to try to free it from the tangle, I tried to think what in the world I was going to use to retrieve the hook from those choppers. I hadn’t thought to bring a knife or pliers.


So the hook at least would have to stay. Oh, sharks shed their teeth at such a rapid clip that he’d probably spit the thing out on his own in a few weeks. But we had only a few more days at the beachhouse. And it was getting dark.

Anyway, the shark was still spinning and, even though I’d pulled him back into the surf — I know, but I thought he was going to die otherwise — there was no way to break the line and untangle him for good. I’ve used my teeth to snap lighter line, but that wasn’t happening here on this heavy test. Shop Boy’s dentist is quick enough with the drill as it is.

Then it hit me: Wayne’s fingernail clippers. Mary’s always complaining about her dad’s manicure habits. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip. What’s so annoying about that? I shouted to Wayne, who reached into his pocket and … um … Snip. The shark was free. Sort of. Now he was being pushed onto the beach by the waves, too tired to fight the surf.

So I picked him up! And carried him in my arms like a puppy out past the breakers! And set him free! And then got the heck out of the water! And I’ve never stopped talking about it since! And neither, Shop Boy’s sure, has the lady who swims in the area and stopped by to ask, “Was that a real shark?”

And who cares?

OK, good question. But Shop Boy couldn’t help but think of his big fish story while puzzling over how in the world to feed a bolt behind and then through the support of the new shelves at the Typecast Press studio. Of course, if I spent the next two hours unloading the freshly organized shelves, plus the ones that locked them into the corner, I could slide everything over to make room. Just like if I’d brought a knife to the beach, the shark never would have left the water in the first place — and what kind of story would that be?

As it was, there was barely enough room for the bolt to pass between the support and the wall. But I needed to somehow reach around, feed it back toward me a few inches, then turn the bolt 90 degrees through an opening, where it would attach to one end of a wire stringer.

Eye of the needle stuff, you know?

Well, none of the tools I had on hand was slender enough to be of help. So after fumbling with and dropping the stinker about five times, I started looking around.

Think, Shop Boy, think: Snip. Snip. Snip. Snip …

Snap! A rubber band! Sitting right in front of me.

Shop Boy grabbed it, wound it up nice and tight until it was long and narrow, fed it through the hole and then let it unspool, sort of the opposite of the shark — see? It’s all connected in Shop Boy’s world.


Like a lasso, the rubber band fit over the end of the bolt and, with a bit of coaxing, the end of the bolt eventually poked through. A few minutes later, the brace was solidly in place.

Now for the curtains. Yeah, curtains. You got a problem with that, tough guy? Call me Heidi Klum’s … um … lesser if you want. But Shop Boy even folded over the eight tabs at the top of each curtain to shorten the things a bit, then put a gold-colored grommet on each one to hold it in place and look kinda cool. Next, I’m going to hem them. OK? By the time I’m done, we’ll have beautifully covered up the ugly stuff on the shelves and protected the rest from dust.

And Shop Boy will have survived another challenge. So there.

Letterpress List No. 36

How about an hour’s worth of music to craft by … or at least to pass the 57 minutes of inane dialogue (sorry, Shop Boy shouldn’t talk) before Heidi issues the final “auf wiedersehen” to our parting contestant. Most of the tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great links are to YouTube.

Pulling Me Undere.joseph (Good friend Eleanor Lewis, who’s tipped Shop Boy off to some real cool music — Duke Spirit, Rilo Kiley, etc. — suggested this one. Check it out at the MySpace site, which offers a free download of another one, “Changing Trains” — a limited time offer.)
Deepest Bluest (Shark’s Fin)
LL Cool J (From an awesomely bad movie, Deep Blue Sea.)
MalibuHole (As the sun goes down, I walk into the waves.)
Cover of the Rolling StoneDr. Hook (The thrill that’ll get you.)
The Set Up (You Need This)Reel Big Fish (It’s not cruel. Almost, maybe.)
NightswimmingR.E.M. (The fear of getting caught.)
Theme from JawsJohn Williams (Snip……..Snip. Snip…..Snip. Snip….Snip. Snip…Snip. Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-Snip-
SquidLos Straitjackets (There are no words …)
Bite MeElectric Six (Ready for the crazy-crazy?)
VicariousTool (You kind of had to be there.)
I Got a Line on You — Spirit (Honest mistake.)
Don’t Get It TwistedGwen Stefani (Hold still.)
Face to FaceSiouxie and the Banshees (Sushi! Get it? Oh, I kill myself sometimes.)
Hey StoopidAlice Cooper (‘Nuff said.)
Rubberband Manthe Spinners (Prepare yourself.)
Auf WiedersehenCheap Trick (Mary’s hooked on Bravo’s Project Runway and apparently I’ve gotten a bit too close myself. Also, Shop Boy’s mom had a bit of a “you wrecked ’em, you fix ’em” approach to clothing repair.)
Tiny DancerElton John (Seamstress for the band. To paraphrase another Bravo reality show putdown: “I’m not your lesser, Lesser!)
Use the Man Megadeth (Seen the man use the needle.)
Wipe Outthe Surfaris (Ahhh, smell the ocean.)
Rescue MeFontella Bass (A tidal wave.)

Letterpress List No. 35: Which Doctor?

May 13, 2008

You think you have a problem solved …

The uneven inking that has resisted your every bit of twisting, tweaking and testing is simply gone. You’re patting each other on the back for a stroke of genius and dexterity. Printing projects begin to sail right through the shop and into the hands of satisfied customers.

Ah, it’s good to have this letterpress business licked. Almost like printing money.


Then a couple of weeks later you pull a printed sheet from the press and … what in the world? And you join the humbled folks at Typecast Press in, say, unwrapping sticky, bubbled, torn, oil-and-ink-soaked tape from the rails and — ugh! — roller trucks of your Chandler & Price. And the pat on the back turns into a slap on the head for the one who — it is assumed — gummed up the works.

Shop Boy claimed ignorance.

Mary seconded the motion.

And then we got to cleaning the rails and trucks and reapplying the tape. See, just one or two layers of tape can mean the difference between the rollers being too close to the form and sitting at just the right height. If they’re tight, the ink is mushed all over the form rather than spread evenly across it. This creates a kind of smear, or “slur,” on the printed materials. It can look pretty cool sometimes, in Shop Boy’s opinion, but it drives Mary ba-zonkers. And nobody’s going home until she’s soothed and satisfied. Them’s the rules.

The whole hero-to-zero thing sort of reminded me of a visit I had one time with an eye doctor.

See, though he reads for a living, Shop Boy’s alter ego had never had problems with his eyes. But since his company plan offered a free eye checkup once a year, why not? (A health benefit … remember them? Don’t worry if you can’t. It’s been a while.)

Anyway, the doctor pointed toward a chart and asked which rows of letters — you know … large at the top, smaller and smaller toward the bottom — I could read clearly.

All of them.

Then Shop Boy read him the ID number at the bottom of his badge. (He was standing across the room.)

“Today you can, Eagle Eyes,” he said snippily, apparently not overjoyed to learn of my visual good fortune. “People who have eyes like yours … you think you’ll see that well forever. Then, one of these days, bang, it all goes. And once you turn 40, it goes even faster.”

The dude was offended or something. And after he’d finally finished laying it on about my impending blindness, Shop Boy left the medical center convinced that he couldn’t read that sign a mile down the road after all. Mary told me to calm down and shake it off, that even if I lost a little vision, I’d still see better than 85 percent of the population. OK, she was right.

But so, eventually, was he. (I’m not ruling out the possible existence of a Shop Boy voodoo doll in his medical bag. Ouch.)

Because years later, standing by the C&P, prepping strips of tape for the trucks — the rollers on the 12×18 can be such a bear to get off, we just tape the trucks in place — a squinting Shop Boy was completely unable to find and separate a corner of the stinking tape from its non-stick backing. Mary, who’s worn eyeglasses all her life, had to do them all herself.

As we’ve seen time and again, that might be for the best.

Letterpress List No. 35

How about an hour’s worth of music to clean rollers by (without getting the corn oil/ink mixture all over the trucks, where it can seep beneath and buckle the tape you spent an hour applying)? Like you’ve never done that. Geez. Most of the tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great video links are to YouTube.

Semi-Charmed LifeThird Eye Blind (Hindsight is 20/20.)
I Can See Clearly NowJohnny Nash (Now, but maybe not tomorrow, Eagle Eyes.)
OverjoyedStevie Wonder (The green-eyed monster?)
Voodoo ChildJimi Hendrix (Stick it, doc.)
Sight for Sore EyesAerosmith (From an underrated, if muddily produced album. Tyler and Perry were a bit blurry back then, after all.)
Right Through You Alanis Morissette (You kinda hurt my feelings.)
No RainBlind Melon (Not sane.)
Jeepers CreepersLouis Armstrong (Where’d you get those eyes?)
Fortunate SonJohn Fogerty (Thanks, Dad.)
InnervisionSystem of a Down (A cluster migraine for the non-believers.)
SpectacleVelvet Revolver (Saying mean things.)
Goin’ Blind
Kiss (With and without.)
Bad Medicine
Bon Jovi (Take a pill, Shop Boy.)
Danger Zone
Kenny Loggins from movie “Top Gun” — (Yep, pilot vision, 20/10.)
Lyin’ Eyesthe Eagles (That tape corner is here someplace, darn it.)
I Can See for Milesthe Who (On good days, Shop Boy still can.)

‘Might’ Makes Right

May 12, 2008

Don’t get me wrong.

Shop Boy loves the new metal shelves. Typecast Press now has more storage space than it ever had with the closet. They’re clean! They were fairly easy to build and they fit just right.

But 700 pounds per shelf? That’s not a shelf, that’s a bunk … which might have been Mary’s whole idea when she decided to order them. Hmm.

Anyway, I’m not buying the 700-pound business. Shop Boy simply doesn’t trust many things that are man-made to do whatever it is said that they do. He comes by it naturally.

See, Shop Boy was for two years a New York City commuter and resident. Every day in the news there would be a report of a chunk of something or other shaking loose from a permanent man-made structure and dropping on someone. Sudden death from above. I mean, one day, a dude is driving down FDR Drive (on the east side of Manhattan) and a decorative stone drops off an overpass.

See ya.

A woman walking on a metal sidewalk grate falls through to the subway tracks below.

A piece of modern art on a plaza near Wall Street topples, killing passers-by.

I mean, this was every day. It got so bad that one day, stepping onto the observation deck of the Empire State Building, where the stone pavers wobble (you know, to accommodate building sway — !! — or something), I freaked out, conviced that we were about to end up in the Hudson River. Or worse, New Jersey.

I wasn’t alone. On my last night of work in NYC, I hopped in a cab at Penn Station for the ride home to Brooklyn. “Manhattan Bridge to Flatbush. Right at Fourth Avenue. Left at 11th Street,” I barked. Shop Boy was so New York back then. “No Manhattan Bridge!” insisted the rattled driver. “Brooklyn Bridge!”

Of course, that was the more expensive way home. But the driver said he’d waive any extra fare. That is spooked, ladies and gentlemen. Dude must have been watching too much TV news. Or reading the papers.

True story: One day, the Manhattan Bridge was just suddenly closed. Seems that inspectors had taken a look at the thing and issued an incredible number of structural “red flags.” The inspectors actually ran screaming off the span. (OK, that part I’m making up.) The next day’s New York Post blared: “Manhattan on the Rocks,” as in this was where the crumbling steel structure and a bunch of drivers were going to end up without immediate, serious repair.

Well, that bridge is to traffic in lower Manhattan what air is to lungs. Thus, immediately, the city began choking. Absolute gridlock. So the city bigwigs did what anyone in their position would do: Without fanfare, they threw the red flags in a big box somewhere and reopened the bridge.

And the city shrugged. “Hey, if it’s ya time, it’s ya time, right? We gotta get to work somehow.”

Tell that to my cabbie.

But where was I?

Oh, so Mary has decided that we should set aside one 700-pound capacity shelf just for Miehle Vertical parts. These consist of box after broken, greasy box of heavy stuff. You know, hoses, gauges, belts, wrenches that might — might — fit something or other on the Beast. Even hunks of metal that look like vertebra from the spine of a bionic dinosaur. It’s a crazy, unmarked assembly of potentially useless stuff.

The machine runs, so who needs it?

THE BEAST: Miehle Vertical (let’s see Will Smith fix this)

Apparently, we do.


We pulled it out of Reese Press, a Baltimore institution and the source of the Miehle. Get the antiquated, 3-ton Miehle out of here, the man had said, and the press and anything else not nailed down is yours for free.

“What do you think that is?” Shop Boy asked Mary.

“Who knows?” she answered. “Throw it on the truck. We might need it.”

And so it went, box after box — about 700 pounds’ worth, give or take — and we’ve been living among and tripping over this debris ever since.

Now, if we stuck it all on top of the 7-foot shelves, it’d be out of the way. And we might never have to look at it again. Right?


Or have you not been paying attention?

Letterpress List No. 34: In the Pink

May 7, 2008

Mary was in what’s known by highly trained medical personnel as a flop sweat.

She had been asked by Baltimore magazine to appear as the subject in a regular feature called “My Stuff: 10 Things I Can’t Live Without — This Week.” Flattered, she had quickly agreed. Why not? She loves the feature, and we’d get Typecast Press some media coverage. And, dang it, Mary is cool. Why not let the rest of the world know?

Shop Boy danced a little jig.


Um … Mary?

Mary was panicking. What had she done? What 10 things would she choose? Did the shop look OK? What if her hair wasn’t right? Was it too late to cancel? Why’d they have to take her picture? It was about the 10 things, not about her! What in the world would she wear?


This was a job for … Aimee Bracken. Mary’s former associate in graphic design had opened a fancy clothing boutique in Hampden, the weird little neighborhood that Typecast Press calls home. We’d printed cool paper shopping bags for Form: The Boutique, and Shop Boy had spent lots of time in the store not looking at women while waiting patiently if uncomfortably for Mary and Aimee to finish their business.

True story: One day, Shop Boy was delivering large boxes of printed bags to Form, and asked the young person behind the counter where Aimee might be. A finger pointed toward the back of the store. “Oh, you found me,” Aimee said cheerfully. “Yeah, she told me,” I said of her son, GT, the kid at the counter. Look, Shop Boy saw only the long hair from the other side of a box, OK?

But oh, the daggers he shot at me as I realized my goof.

If they one day find Shop Boy hanging dead on a rack in Form, a skateboard snapped over his head, there’s your suspect, the cool dude with the pretty hair.

Anyway, Aimee graciously took Mary in hand. After a little retail therapy (designer jeans, ruffly white top — you know, printer stuff) and some basic counseling, everything was all right.

Now about those 10 things …

Well, I don’t want to spoil it for you, since you will of course be buying a copy of the magazine, right? (Page 94, FYI.) But think icy cocktails, monkeys (say hello to Georgie), C&P’s and Mary’s favorite organization, BUILD — for Baltimoreans United in Leadership Development. Yeah, Shop Boy could live without BUILD some days (sorry, Rob English), but many in the city probably can’t. Mary designed the BUILD logo. Oh, and the kicker?

Pink boots, well rocked.

Heel, Shop Boy!

Letterpress List No. 34

How about an hour’s worth of music to pass the time while the pretty ladies assemble an ensemble? Most of these tunes should be available in the usual places. Goofy and great video links are to YouTube.

Kool Thing Sonic Youth (Yeah, I think so.)
These Boots Are Made for Walkingthe Supremes (Or, if you prefer, Nancy Sinatra and — yikes — Jessica Simpson.)
TambourineEve (Look good always, without a doubt.)
CelebrityBarenaked Ladies (Smile and wave; try to behave.)
You’re a Star Josie and the Pussycats (Love the movie. Love the soundtrack. Hate myself for it.)
Things That Make You Go HmmmmC+C Music Factory (Couldn’t resist.)
Pretty in PinkPsychedelic Furs (Isn’t she?)
Thing ThingEl Pus (Could play it 10 times in a row.)
Without YouHarry Nilsson (Wouldn’t work.)
What’s Wrong With MeX (Zip.)
Kick It OutHeart (Pink footprints on your back.)
Business Time Flight of the Conchords (A team-building exercise. ;-) )
StompKirk Franklin & the Family (If ya don’t know, now ya know.)
Forever in Blue JeansNeil Diamond (Not just any blue jeans, either.)
MissundaztoodPink (Strong women: one thing Shop Boy can’t live without.)
Que Sera Sera — Pink Martini (Trust: another good thing.)

Seven Figures

May 2, 2008

Talk about Typecast.

So, Hollywood decides at last to tell part of Shop Boy’s life story and casts (drum roll) … Will Smith. Yeah, I know. Nice thinking outside the box, guys. Sure, I’m tall, athletic, with a deep voice and I’m smooth with the ladies. But Hollywood’s about fantasy, not Shop Boy’s day-to-day humdrum studliness. Really, just check the photo at right.


And about that working title: Seven Pounds.

I mean, was 7,000 Pounds taken? Nothing in the letterpress printshop weighs only 7 pounds. Dang. Do your homework, people.

What? Did I lose you?

Oh, OK. So the other day, Mary sees a little note on her letterpress geek listserv.

It seems that a fellow believer in all things letterpress had been asked to serve as a technical adviser for a movie called Seven Pounds that’s in production at Columbia Pictures in Hollywood. It’s about a young woman (Rosario Dawson) with health problems who has a printing business. She has a Heidelberg Windmill and a broken-down old Miehle Vertical that she calls “The Beast.” Out of nowhere, a guy (ahem, Mr. Smith) shows up with an offer to fix “The Beast.” He restores the press and wins her heart.

Hmm. The Beast, you say? Windmill?


Looks like somebody’s cribbing from Shop Boy’s blog for their screenplays.

Anyway, look for Shop Boy on the red carpet come Oscar time 2009. I’ll be the dude everyone wants to talk to about residuals.

You know … like all those grease stains on the rug.

Sue me.