Wednesday, December 31, 2008

TAllY HAll

Steph found this music venue's marred marquee:
Tally Hall is my sister's and my favorite band, so you can imagine how surprised we were when we arrived at a venue and found that we would be seeing "TAIIY HAII" instead! Poor "FRANK BIACK" also lost his "L"; you can barely make out that the next band listed, "PUNCHLINE", were the lucky ones to receive the venue's apparently only upper-case "L".

Tuesday, December 30, 2008


Rudi from Westchester, IL sent this in a while back, I'm finally getting around to posting again. Rudi writes:
I’ve been an avid reader of your blog for about 6 months, and I’ve been on the lookout for lower-case l signs everywhere. I finally found one! Recently, my brother and I were stopped at a light, when I looked over and found this sign saying “ClEAN CLAY ACCEPTED.” We both took cell phone pics- sorry it’s so small- this is the best my phone can do.

This sign is a fascinating example of the lowercase l phenomenon- the l in “ClEAN” is lowercase while the “L” in “CLAY” is capital. This is especially confusing because clean is the first word (the “fitting words into space” theory doesn’t hold- when you’re writing the first word, you always assume more space, or at least I do). The second and more bizarre reason that this sign is an interesting case is that both words begin with the “C-L” consonant blend. Why would you write “C-l” for the first word, and “C-L” for the second? It doesn’t seem to add up.

Finally, this sign is fascinating because of its confusing message- “oh good… they accept clean clay! I don’t want anyone that accepts dirty clay.” And what are they accepting clay for? Is this a roadside pottery class?

I'm glad the photo is so small. This way, the problem doesn't seem so big.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Slow as MOlASSES

The coffee shop I usually go to in Williamsburg, Brooklyn has been closing early during the days after Christmas, so it is a small miracle that I stumbled into The Rabbit Hole, a French inspired café just down the street, where I found this superb example of improperly used lowercase L's. The PUMKIN MOlASSES MUFFIN WITH WAlNUTS looks like a tasty treat, but I've been turned off to this savory snack because it reads like "Moi Asses", which could imply the muffins came from some French baker's derrière. And what if I had an allergy to walnuts and ended up in the hospital because I was misled by the unfamiliar non-allergenic "wainuts"?

I asked the barista about the sign, and he could only explain away the misspelled PUMPKIN, blaming it on the poor English of the Frenchman who might have printed the labels with the P-Touch. But I see this as a second-hand error, a literal interpretation in mechanical print that resulted from a horribly handwritten list, where the L's looked like uppercase i's. But why have the staff never bothered to correct these embarrassing blunders?

Curiouser and curiouser!


Appropriately found by Holly in Roseburg, Oregon, this handwritten ad for DOUGlAS firs is the perfect gift for lowercase L watchers on Christmas Day.


Friday, December 05, 2008

A BlT Confusing

When I spotted this sign on the menu board in front of the Greek diner on 7th Avenue here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, I was fixated on the PlATES theme, coming off a NO PlATES high and onto SAlAD PlATES this week. And the fact that the lowercase L's sport an unusually low profile, ducking below the A's apex in SAlAD, makes the situation even more confusing.

But it wasn't until writing this post that the real hidden danger of this Trojan horse was revealed: the elusive BlT in CHICKEN BlT ClUB and TURKeY BlT WRAP. Look closely, that's actually a BLT, short for Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato, but I reasonably thought this Greek diner was offering me a chicken bit club sandwich. I mean, they have bacon bits, and chickens have giblets and nuggets and other frying bits, so I didn't think twice about it. It's all Greek to me, really.

And the NOODle is an example of the cascading lowercase L, where people tend to lower the case all the letters following the lowercase L after all uppercase letters. With so many lowercase L inconsistencies on this menu board, the author clearly bit off more than he could chew.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


Matt spotted this exceptional lowercase L on a trash bin at Papa Chito's mexican restaurant in San Diego. There are absolutely no other lowercase letters in the sign, which reads "PLEASE!! NO PlATES IN THE TRASH", making this a prime specimen. And there really was ample room to spell PLATES with an uppercase L. One might argue that the author was trying to keep every line of text centered, and realized this would not be possible unless the lower rung of the L was omitted. So the sacrifice was made ... but at what price?

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Scary as HEll

Yes, indeed, November 4th was not HAllOWEEN, a celebration which actually took place four days earlier. I'm guessing the author got scared and panicked upon realizing there would be no space to write his message, hence the space-saving lowercase L's next to a dotted uppercase i in WIll, u for YOU, and miniaturizing and stacking words at the end of the sentence. I can't help but agree with this sign that Ash found ... our future WIll BE SCARY AS HEll if we, as a people, do not change. And by change, I mean properly change case from lower to upper when using L and i.

Incidentally, I did vote.

Monday, November 03, 2008


This has nothing to do with lowercase L — it's a cartoon I made to remind people to vote tomorrow on Election Day. If you live here in the United States, PlEASE VOTE!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Calling the kettie black

This is an information card taken from my room at the Dan Panorama Hotel in Eilat, Israel. Notice the English translation requests:

You are kindly requested not to use electrical appliances such as irons, ketties, etc. in your room.

So what is a ketty, or ketties? Well, in the Hebrew version above, it corresponds with the word קומקום

which translates to KETTLES. So I'm guessing when someone was translating the Hebrew into English, they used a lowercase L when writing KETTlES, and this was reasonably mistaken for an uppercase i by the non-English speaking printer. By the way, this is not the first time someone has made the grave error of substituting a handwritten lowercase L for a printed uppercase i.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Christian C. found this report for the 2008 presidential debate on the front page of the Huffington Post today. It's not confusing to read, but certainly an interesting editorial choice to only make the L's lowercase in "I'll", while all the other letters in the headline, including the typically lowercase first "c" in McCain, are uppercase. They may have been trying to save some space, considering there is no space between the ellipsis and BRING UP.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The ENVElOPES, please

I snapped this photo in the storage closet of one of my clients. Whoever wrote this was not unfamiliar with LARGE L's, but oddly chose not to stuff one into ENVElOPES.

Friday, September 26, 2008


My brother-in-law Todd got in on the lowercase L action when he found this MlS-leading Multiple Listing Service website. Webmaster Alex Zapata got it right in the first MLS heading, and all the other MLS mentions throughout. But the L in the final "Find your desired property through the MlS" is just bad placement, and we all know the three most important things in real estate, right? lOCATION, lOCATION, and lOCATION.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


The Joshmeister found this lowercase L in Southern California. The celestial misalignment of stars that formed this art constellation seems to be the cause of the improperly used lowercase L on the ART FOlDER.

Monday, September 15, 2008


"lIl Wayne" spotted this graffiti on a public television news broadcast, WYIN in northwest Indiana, and muses that the BlOODS gang doesn't seem nearly as menacing when written this way. I'm sure the Crips will have a field day with this one.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

lowercase AlEX

Local New Yorker Jeff discovered this concrete evidence of lowercase L corruption here in the city:
I have passed this many times on my way to and from work and finally stopped to take a picture. I found it on Vesey street, down by the WTC site. Apparently AlEX + SHARON wanted to profess their love to the world in a permanent way. I apologize for the blurriness.

Even if Alex discovered his mistake just an hour later it would have been too late to correct. His carelessness is forever on display, permanently set in stone. This may just be the saddest thing that has ever happened in the site of the former World Trade Center.

Back to SCHOOl

Possibly my favorite find to date, this SCHOOl X-ING on-road signage can be seen painted on Underhill Ave. by Bergen Street in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. I think this is probably the result of a parked car blocking the path of the street painter, and the painter just never got around to returning to the scene of the crime to finish the job, figuring a lowercase L was better than no L. But confusion could arise if one were to mistake the first uppercase i in X-ING as another lowercase L ... so if it's X-LNG, does it then read as EXCELLING SCHOOL? ...

BOOM! You just hit a kid crossing the street because you were confused by the lowercase L.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Going POSTAl

Two lowercase L readers, David and Daniel, each submitted this same find on PostSecret. I think this is a classic case of letter crunching, because the postcard author clearly knew his uppercase L's, but must have panicked when he got near the edge with THEMSElF. Or maybe because "themself" isn't actually a word in modern English.

Monday, September 01, 2008


Harlem was once considered a dangerous neighborhood because of high crime rates and poverty. But lowercase L reader PES points out that, while times are changing, despite a renaissance of art and culture, Harlem is still a place to be feared, just for much different reasons. WElCOME TO HARlEM.

Monday, August 25, 2008


Next time you find an improperly placed lowercase L and are tempted to fill in its lower rung with a marker, be warned, there may be consequences. Friend and honorary lowercase L reporter Meir Taub found this article about an overzealous self-appointed grammar police:

PHOENIX - When it comes to marking up historic signs, good grammar is a bad defense.

Two self-styled vigilantes against typos who defaced a more than 60-year-old, hand-painted sign at Grand Canyon National Park were sentenced to probation and banned from national parks for a year. They had removed an extraneous apostrophe and added a comma to the sign.

Read the rest of the story: Grammar police punished for 'fixing' rare sign: Self-styled vigilantes wiped out errors on signs across the United States

Sunday, August 24, 2008


I've been riding over the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn a lot, and am shocked at the number of awkward lowercase L's I've seen along the way. I spotted this one on the Brooklyn side of the bridge, and wondered about the sole unfortunate trespasser who WIll BE SHOT. Is the fellow in the picture the enforcer of this brazen street justice? Or is this actually a subversive ad for the next generation of Nintendo Wii? Either way, I recommend following the advice on the wall, and BEWARE.

Friday, August 15, 2008


Just in time for the 2008 Summer Olympics, Jessica J found this GARBAGE DUMPING PlACE on a train in China. This one is particularly interesting because the sign looks like it was printed using a computer type font, so the printer must have consciously chosen to use a lowercase L instead of keeping the caps lock on for the entire word. It's also worth noting that English was probably not the native written script language of the author, so the distinction between uppercase and lowercase letters might be an unfamiliar concept to him. Anyway, they certainly put this sign in the correct PlACE.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What the FlACA?

I found this interesting bit of graffiti in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, while walking with my friend Jesse. She explained that the words "Min novia FlACA Grassa" roughly translates to "My girlfriend, fat skinny lady". Coincidentally, Jesse's documentary films are all about female body image. Too bad the novia to whom this message was written might not catch the somewhat complimentary FlACA part. In fact, maybe this isn't a lowercase L at all, and it really is fiaca, which seems to be slang for laziness or apathy in Argentina. That would be doubly insulting.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

A WHAlE of a Find

Lauryn found this WHAlE OF A TIME pillow, designed by Ms. Amy on and confessed it took all the willpower that she has to not purchase it, just because of the improperly used lowercase L. I agree with Lauryn, this is one pillow I'd actually lose sleep over.

Thursday, July 31, 2008


An impromptu bike ride into Red Hook, Brooklyn with Jesse turned up one of the rarest lowercase L finds ever. Sure we've seen plenty of double lowercase L's, as with this FAll SPECIAl and the LAST CAll. But never, NEVER, have I witnessed a lowercase L, followed immediately by an uppercase L, and then an uppercase i that, upon consideration, was likely dotted because something just didn't seem right. Did the author realize that the lowercase L was a mistake, so he tried recovering with an uppercase L? And then, a few days later, did some other employee, irked by the juxtaposition of the lowercase L and uppercase i, decide to dot the i? We may never know. Thank you, Viva, the quaint Tex Mex restaurant on SUlLIVAN Street, for setting this wonderful example. I thought Red Hook was isolated enough to be immune to the lowercase L syndrome, but apparently the affects are more widespread than I ever could have imagined.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


Yesterday, Facebook finally shut down the unauthorized but highly popular SCRABBLE clone, Scrabulous. The new EA Scrabble Beta on Facebook is very flashy, but I'll miss the simple and raw interface of the Scrabulous game. It had its quirks, like Kasey points out in her endgame:
I'm sitting here at work right now playing Scrabulous (kinda like Scrabble only different rules) on Facebook when I noticed a lowercase L!!! If you notice on the right the Last Move is showing as 'CABlE' and when you look at the game board, the red L is where the correct word is.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DElFT Bereft

Antonios from Astoria, NY reports back from DElFT, HOllAND with this crafty example:
Delft, Holland is known for its blue and white tile work. Because these knick knacks are sorta pricey, I opted to bring back a Christmas ornament instead. It turns out I think I might have overpaid for a Deift ornament from some place called Hoiiand.

They caught on to their mistake by the time they got to word Handgeschilderd though.

Monday, July 28, 2008


This sign for a SElF SERVE BAll MACHINE, found by Ronnie P. at a driving range in Travelers Rest, SC, isn't very self-serving when it comes to visual clarity with lowercase L's. The CAllAWAY Golf Company probably aren't very pleased with being squeezed in with lowercase L's either. This is probably a case of uppercase L shortage combined with limited space, but I personally would have tried using an upside down 7 than an uppercase i at least for SElF.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

WAlK This Way

I spotted this WAlK sign, appropriately, at Walker Street and Canal in Manhattan. On the other side of this temporary walkway was an identically L deficient notice, apparently authored by the same person. If you see this sign, run, don't WAlK, to the nearest exit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


There is a wisp of an upper case L in this SAlE at a store on Broadway and Canal in Manhattan, but it still qualifies in my book.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Passive PlEASE

Rich M found this on lowercase L blogroll friend site, a while back, just getting to posting it now. Judging from the tone of this letter, I guess you can't PlEASE everyone.

And, also found on by Thor: PlEASE don't forget to tip.

AlONE is funny looking, too.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

locum motion

I've been out of the country and busy with work projects, but finally have time to get back to the things that matter. Let's get back into the swing of things with this excellent find from Staffan V of Stockholm, Sweden, who explains for us non-Swedish speakers that the company Locum printed these Christmas cards, replacing the O with a heart and using all lowercase letters, resulting in one L of a sticky situation.

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

L's by the lB

Matthew H. found these sweet Honey Ham's for just $1.29 lB in Bilo of Homer City ... the apostrophe abuse is included in the price, no extra charge.

And Chris found a similar deal on ice at the Food Lion in Lusby, Maryland. Or is it actually LCE for $1.79/10lb?

Monday, May 05, 2008

OlD 95

After spotting WOlFIE Van Halen's guitar and an offbeat poster for The Who with Roger DAlTRY, chalk up another lowercase L for reader Gary C., this time in Collingwood, Melbourne. Found in the Gem Bar, you can order an EMERSON'S OlD 95, but the locals might think you're making fun of their Australian accents. And the price is $ll ... isn't that $5050 in Roman numerals?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008


Sorry again for the lack of posts in the last few weeks. I just finished producing a music video for Passover, called "20 Things To Do With Matzah". It doesn't have much to do with lowercase L, but one of the YouTube comments did. I'm happy to know my audience are LOl!

Wednesday, April 09, 2008


Lowercase L reader Violet found this at a Mexican taqueria. I would ask the author of this sign to PlEASE explain why he got ALL correct, but PlEASE is not at all correct. And REFillS is not so bad, at least it's possible to distinguish the dotted i from the lowercase L's. And this is the first sign that was actually posted high on Coke.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


On the exact same street intersection here in Park Slope, Brooklyn, using the same bright orange colored boards, apparently the same author was hired to construct these ROAD ClOSED signs and post them on 3rd Street and 7th Avenue almost exactly a year ago. The signs certainly are different than they were last year, since the closure time is now 4pm instead of 3pm, and this year they were written in a bold style. So this author either has never seen this blog to learn a lesson in improper use of lowercase L's ... or he is fully aware and choses to mock me.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Wendy W. found this supreme celebrity example of lowercase L lunacy — and apostrophe abuse — on the It almost looks as if Renée Zellweger is pointing directly at the L in GEORGE ClOONEY, as if she is mocking the fan who wrote the sign. This one ROCK'S!

Friday, March 28, 2008


Lowercase L reader Jeff muses,
Thanks for doing this blog. I was delighted to find it because this enigma has perplexed me for years. I mean, what's so hard about case consistency, especially with the "L"? I like to muse about what some of these people would do with words like "willing", and "hillbillies". I see the phenomenon a lot in the grafitti of my co-workers, but I think I'll stick to signs like this one. It was on the Boston Post Road in Old Saybrook, CT. The other side was correct, but was clearly written by somebody else.

Thanks, Jeff, and WAlK-INS like this one are certainly welcome.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


Missoula, Montana artist Marc Moss made my day with this colorful contribution:

The Old Post Pub in Missoula, MT has some great lowercase ls. They originate from the chalkboard above the bar that displays which beers they have on tap. The artist dissed The Kettlehouse, Blackfoot Brewing Company and Flathead Lake Brewing Company. (All 3 breweries have great beer, BTW).

In addition to the bastardized brewery names, you'll do a double-take with DOUBlE HAUl IPA, and freeze with terror at the sight of COlD SMOKE.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Unnatural SElECTION

I found this sign at a convenience store a few weeks ago when I went home to visit my family in Vineland, New Jersey. It was in Vineland that I first started noticing the lowercase L phenomenon as a child, so it was no surprise to find this highly unnatural SElECTION as I purchased my Mega Millions lottery tickets. I'm surprised I didn't win the lottery that night ... after finding that lowercase L gem, I was feeling lucky.

Monday, March 17, 2008


Mike found these stunning examples of lowercase L "Engrish" translation in a Shanghai supermarket. You might say the person who constructed this sign wasn't using his noodle when he spelled out NOODlES, but at least he has the excuse of English as a second language.

I guess he was no literary genius, either, judging by this remarkably vague sign leading us to the lITERARY STYLK THING.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Local Brooklynite Bethany B. found this one a few months ago on Court Street in Cobble Hill, Brooklyn. I believe this FAll SPECIAl could mark the fall of civilization.

I like this alternate photo below — if you click enlarge, you can see the reflection of stunned bystanders all gathering around to witness the atrocity.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Set in Stone

Over the years, we've seen a variety of lowercase L mishaps — mostly handwritten, some minor typographical lowercase L errors, and even a few doozies with more permanent ramifications. But this one, discovered by fellow Blogger Christian, is about as permanent and humiliating as you can get when it comes to poor lowercase L judgement.

Photographed above is a memorial to physicist Harry K. Daghlian, Jr., a physicist whose bad luck apparently didn't end when, in 1945, he became the first person killed in a critical mass experiment while developing atomic bombs at the government's secret lab in Los Alamos, N.M. In what might be the worst case of lowercase L abuse to date, Daghlian's native New London, Connecticut memorialized him with this monument, HARRY K. DAGHlIAN JR, boldly chiseled in stone.

Thankfully this is a memorial and not his actual gravestone. Otherwise I have a feeling Harry would be turning over.

Update 3/5/08: I've tried coming up with a logical explanation for this incredible example of lowercase L misuse. The most likely scenario I can think of is that the engraver was given a handwritten note on paper, with Daghlian's name already bastardized as DAGHlIAN. The engraver probably just chiseled away at the marble accordingly, figuring the author of the epitaph knew better than he. I can just imagine the conversation after the stone memorial was delivered.

"Who is Daghiian? You need to change it to DAGHLIAN!"

"Sorry, that's what you wrote on the form. There's no way to squeeze in the uppercase L now. We'd need to carve an entirely new piece. It'll cost ya'".

"We don't have the budget to buy another! I guess this one will have to do. People will know it's an L, right?"

"Sure, whatever helps you sleep at night, mister."

Monday, March 03, 2008


Bob from the L-inspired blog Why a Tittle sent in this double scoop of lowercase L's for Beezers Ice Cream: FlAVORS on one side, and LAST CAll on the flip side.