Monday, December 04, 2006

Fat Ioss

The following text is from SPAM e-mail I received:
Anatrim -- The newest and most exciting fat Ioss product available - As scen on Oprah

Did you know obesity kiIIs more and more people every year? We know you hate the extra pounds, the ugly look and the social stigmata attached to fat people. Moreover, you can barely do anything about the appetite. This all sounds familiar? Then we have something for you!

It may be difficult to detect, but in this case of reverse lowercase L discrimination, many of the lowercase L's are actually uppercase i's. I'm assuming the spammers are trying to keep up with spam filters, which may recognize offending word pairs like "fat loss" and "obesity kills", so they've changed "loss" to "ioss" and "kills" to "kiiis" (with uppercase i's in place of the lowercase L's). This switcharoo could go unnoticed if your default font is set to sans serif.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006


Okay ... wtf is this? Is this a backwards uppercase L? If I had to guess, I'd say it looks like our eager housecleaner, Vanesa, started with a lowercase L, and then decided to make it an uppercase L after the fact. And maybe there wasn't enough room to do the horizontal squeeze, so the lower rung had to be drawn backwards. I suppose we could call her and ask what the L she was thinking.

Friday, November 10, 2006

license to ill

Submitted by Lilit, this awkward "Dogs and cats need a licence" sign doesn't exactly meet the criteria for a genuine lowercase L offense here, but it is an interesting find nonetheless. Posted on The anti-social event of the season, a blog about kerning, punctuation, and other printed text problems, the author takes umbrage not with a lowercase L amidst uppercase letters, but with an unusually tall lowercase L. Other readers noticed that licence was spelled incorrectly.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

TOTAl Recall

Adam Wells of Leeds returns with another submission, and this time it's real:
Early one morning the other week whilst filming up on the beautiful
Blackheath near Greenwich in South London, I stopped to get breakfast for the crew. The Blackheath Tea Hut is exactly that, a hut on Blackheath selling tea (in addition to bacon sarnies, egg rolls etc.) The power of electricity has not spread to this makeshift foodshack, nor had the technology of a cash register so a hand written receipt would have to suffice. Imagine my delight at seeing the £11.80 scrawled beautifully under 'TOTAl'. Genius. With a nod and a wink, I went on my way - fed, watered, and warm inside.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

SMAll packages

When I ordered some kosher Chinese take-out at Gan Asia on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, who knew what fortune would fall upon me before even opening my fortune cookies? I noticed the SMAll sample container on the shelf but didn't have my camera with me. Fortunately, my buddy Aryeh Goldsmith also had a yen for Chinese, and also had his PDA phone on him. Good examples of lowercase L's come in SMAll packages!

Monday, August 28, 2006

ONlY the Lonely

CASH AND CREDIT ONlY reads the hand written sign at Register #6 of the Key Foods grocery store on 7th Ave here in Park Slope, Brooklyn. We've seen some lowercase L's that could be the result of an author running out of space while writing, forced to squeeze in a skinny "l" instead of the wasteful uppercase L with its broad right-reaching bottom. But in this example, ONlY is the ONlY word in that line of text, with ample room on the left and right to spread out. So why go with a lowercase L? God ONlY knows.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Where there's a WIll

Graffiti found in the bathroom at the Living Room music venue in Manhattan warns us, "The Revolution WIll Not Be Televised!" ... And our L's will not be capitalized! Actually I'm not sure if this is a result of a misused uppercase i, or two lowercase L's. Either way, I'm revolted.

Monday, July 24, 2006


Sorry for the delay with delivering the goods ... First I broke my arm, and then I went to Israel for three weeks. When I got back, Dooby Harvey reported this excellent and timely lowercase L he discovered on the Little Green Footballs blog. Does VICTORY really belong to HEZBOllAH? Not with a nonsensical sign like that! How can they make a case for PEACE in the MIDDlE EAST when they can't even get the case of their L's right?

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A LITTlE problem

Go ahead, try to tell me this 14th Street bakery sign in the Meat Packing District of Manhattan doesn't read "Littie Pie Company". You can't, because you see it that way, too. That lE combo in LITTlE is the same as the IE in PIE!

And how about the BlACK & White Cookies? This isn't the first time we've seen such a BlACK and white problem.


Sunday, June 18, 2006


Coming back from a party in Astoria, Queens in the wee hours of the morn with a broken arm and a sore foot, I passed by this gem just one block from home. It was already 4:30AM and I didn't have my camera on me. Not wanting to risk the DElIVERARY person getting there in the morning before I could return, I hobbled to my 4th floor apartment and returned to the scene of the crime to get the shot.

First I'd like to say that DElIVERARY is one heck of a find! If we were working on a point system (which I should probably do to make things more interesting here), I'd award myself bonus points for finding a lowercase L directly next to an uppercase i. And some more bonus freak points for the author's inventive spelling of DELIVERY. The world lET is a decent find, too, but pales in comparison to his first deliverary device.

Then we have DElI. I'm not even sure what to make of this, both literarily and psychologically. I think there is a deli at 206a, but I'll need to go back to confirm this. Regardless, while the author seems to have become self-conscious of his lowercase L usage, he was still unable to bring himself to write an uppercase i. So instead he decided to emphasize the i-ness of his ambiguous L-i combo by using a seriffed capital i.

It is a beautiful find, and now I am more scared than ever.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

God BlESS this mess

Speaking of substituting uppercase i's for L's in signage, here's an example of some pranksters who thought it would be funny to switch around the letters on a church sign, despite the lack of uppercase L's required to spell their pious message, "GOD BlESS LE TOPlESS". Personally, I believe, as I'm sure most readers of this site will agree, that the confusion caused by the two uppercase i's masquerading as L's makes this prank fall flat. Sorry, pranksters, looks like the joke's on you.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Marring MARYlAND

Submitted by Spinning Girl:
While not a hand-written sign, I just had to send you this! 8th grade students at my school had to do posters on an assigned state. Why would they make every latter capital, except for the L?!?!? Although I know that these cutout letter kits come with two L's in them, and maybe they already used them up on a poster about Illinois.

SG, if you can, try to find out if the kids did run out of uppercase L's before they could assemble MARYlAND. If they did have enough L's and simply chose to use the lowercase, we can assuredly blame the American education system.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Breakfast SPECIAI

Nothing SPECIAI about breakfast in Park Slope, Brooklyn, except when it's at the Grand Canyon, and it's served with a side of improperly used lowercase L's. This is another perfect example, in which the only lowercase letter is the L, and it is the same height as all the other letters in the word, including an uppercase i. You can see that the author clearly knows how to use an uppercase L, as in the LUNCH SPECIAL, but he ends up scribbling some sort of hybrid upper-lowercase L for the DINNER SPECIAl.

Interestingly, when I first noticed this sign in passing, it was clean and unmarked by smudges. But by the time I returned with my buddy Berger and his camera, apparently someone kicked the sign in the upper left corner, undoubtedly outraged by the lowercase L. Either that or the Coffe & Jucie.

Friday, May 05, 2006


I caught this softcore lowercase L in a hidden camera clip from PlAYBOY TV, hosted on While the y's are also lowercase, the lowercase L still looks slightly off between the other uppercase letters, and for a second I did think it was an uppercase i. The video clip is pretty funny, too, so click here to watch it. (Warning, brief lowercase L, not safe for work.)

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

PlEASE Serve Yourself

Fellow blogger mdx found this sign on Portland blog Potato Gun. According to the post, if you want to buy some fruit at this produce stand, you calculate your own tab and just leave some money in the box. It's all about trust, which is ironic, considering I find it hard to trust anyone who spells PlEASE with the offending lowercase L, not once, but twice in the same sign.

The word PlEASE is fast becoming the most popular observed and noted violation in the lowercase L world. Perhaps this is due to the fact that, when people write signs, they are generally trying to be polite, so they use the word PlEASE a lot. Anyhow, I've posted the photo to the left as an example of a lowercase L sighting that does not truly qualify as an offense. Observe that, while all the letters are uppercase except for the lowercase L, the L stands taller than the rest of the letters, and is therefore unlikely to be confused with an uppercase i.

So from now on, all qualifying lowercase L's should be roughly the same height as their surrounding uppercase letters. Like mdx's find, which is perfect.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

AT lEAST IT WAS mostly uppercase

Sent in by Shep, our man on the field in the UK, this may be the first example of an inappropriate lowercase L that has actually been published and circulated. Look at track #9, AT lEAST IT WAS. You may be Thinking Out Loud, "Nothing Brings Me Down ... except an errant lowercase L!" In Shep's own words,
Just when I was despairing of ever finding a single example, along come two in almost as many weeks…

So, hot on the heels of the Williamsburg ‘PlEASE TAKE WHAT YOU WANT’ find, see attached photos of the sleeve of Emiliana Torrini’s cd ‘Fisherman’s Woman’ (released a couple of years ago, at least in the UK).

Slightly mystified as to the how and why this has happened (it’s repeated in the inner sleeve), but I can see at lEAST one oddity here…

I wouldn't be surprised if Emiliana Torrini sees a massive RECAll of her album. Serves her right. I bet she'll be more careful Next Time Around

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Just as my neighbor was about to mail this letter to the TRAFFIC VIOlATIONS PlEA UNIT, I noticed several violations of his own! The first two lowercase L's in VIOlATIONS and PlEA are not so offensive, since the lowercase L is slightly taller than the other letters, and some of the i's are lowercase and dotted to balance things out. But take a look at AlBANY. Folks, this is the reason we have ZIP codes. Otherwise some poor mailman would be driving around for days on end, looking for Aibany, New York, only to grow frustrated go postal on you, ultimately leaving your letter undelivered, and your fine doubled. How you gonna' talk yourself out of that ticket, my friendly neighbor?

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Take my L ... PlEASE!

Submitted by way of friend of a friend, Shep passed this photo onto Simon, who delivered the goods to me. Taken in Williamsburg, this super example of lowercase L is as good as they get. PlEASE TAKE WHAT YOU WANT comes across as more of an existential message, beckoning, "Draw your own conclusions about why I may have written all these letters in the upper case, except for the L". I cannot begin to fathom the thought process, or lack thereof, while this sign was being constructed. Maybe the L was an afterthought, squeezed in after the rest of the letters were already written? Or maybe there are just so many signs out there that spell PlEASE this way that the author thought it was correct.

PlEASE TAKE a moment to share your thoughts below.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Rock & ROll

Reader Gary Chapman found this one-of-a-kind beastly guitar, hand-painted by Eddie Van Halen and his 14 year old son, WOlFiE. Eddie may have been hot for his teacher, but it seems he wasn't paying attention to her during penmanship lessons. Actually, this example ain't the worst that I've seen (can't you see what I mean?), since the W is bigger than all the other letters, and the "i" is actually dotted, which makes the lowercase L less confusing.

I think of all the education that I missed. But then my homework was never quite like this.

Friday, March 24, 2006


My friend EMS found this SMAll Coffee in Chelsea. Here is her story in her own words:
ems found out about lowercaseL. she became obsessed. she looked everywhere, but much to her dismay couldn't find any. finally, while walking in a daze through one of her favorite interior design structes in nyc, she was awakened by the ......du du du dahhhhh...this sign that i sent to you.

Chalk up another lowercase L in NYC.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Lowering the SAlTY Bar

Finally, evidence that the lowercase L phenomenon reaches beyond New England. This one comes all the way from next to Old England ... WAlES, to be exact! Wendy Wong tells us more about her find:
Thought you might enjoy this sign from Mumbles Pier near Swansea, Wales. It's also near Catherine Zeta Jones' house.

At first I thought it might have been a Welsh word, but I double checked with the friend I was with and there were also several SALTYs written on the bar itself.

Swansea is also the home town of a former UK Big Brother contestant who was famous for saying "I like blinking, I do." No wonder they don't have much of an intellectual reputation.

Is there method to the madness in this example? It looks like the author may have realized he was running out of space before he finished writing SAlTY BAR, which would also explain the hanging "R" at the end of the line. But placing an uppercase "L" close to an uppercase "T" with a bit of creative kerning would have done the job nicely, without all the lowercase L confusion.

Well, Great Britain, now that we've got your attention, please continue to float your lowercase L's across the pond.

Friday, March 17, 2006


Jeff G. returns with another fine submission, and explains that both of his PlANTS were found in Salem, Oregon. In addition to the obvious L misprint, this sign has some other fascinating case choices, like the magestic uppercase T's that loom over all the other letters; and the rest of the lowercase L's, all of which happen to be the second to last letter in their words—SAle, BOWl's (oh, snap! I smell an Apostrophe Catastrophe cross-post!), and MARAGOld. Notice these three words are composed entirely of uppercase letters, except for the L and adjacent last letter. What happened here? Is there something about the L that makes people forget they were writing in the uppercase? And when they hit the L, it's all downcase from there?

Either way, we finally have proof that the lowercase L phenomenon reaches far beyond the east coast. Just how far does it reach? Check in next week for the answer.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

PlANTS Rants

Submitted by lowercase L volunteer Jeff G., this PlANTS For SAlE sign is a primo example of lowercase L dementia. "PlANTS" could either be "PLANTS", or a badly misspelled "PIANOS". I would hate to follow that arrow all the way to the right just to find a bunch of vegetation when all I really wanted was to tinkle the ivories of a baby grand. And "SAlE" looks like the author was trying to redeem himself by lengthening the lowercase L to differentiate it from an uppercase "i". But he's too late, I'm already scratching my head and looking for another arrow to follow.

I don't know where Jeff G. found this sign, but I don't think it came from Brooklyn. We don't sell plants here, we just steal them.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

An APPlE a Day

Yet another find in my nabe Park Slope, Brooklyn, you can experience the taste of the orient with a bite of a Fuji APPlE at this 7th Ave. bodega. The lowercase L, looking like an "I", made me think this was an abbreviation for APPLE PIE, so I was confused to see nothing but apples in the bin above. Hence the danger of using lowercase L.

This is not the first bad APPlE to be mentioned on this site. An apple a day may keep the doctor away, but an APPlE with any frequency may require a visit from a psychologist with a background in dysgraphia.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Kids lOVE Myspace

You are all probably familiar with Myspace, the online social network that is becoming increasingly popular with young teens and adults alike. You may have even found this blog from a link on my Myspace account. Since lowercase L's are usually the product of handwriting, it was a special treat to find not one, but two cases in Myspace! The first one, above, is a letter from a fan of my Shabot 6000 cartoons. His lOVE for Shabot is eclipsed only by his grasp of how to use the caps lock key properly.

Then there's this cute gal, purportedly from Yugoslavia, who proudly displays her Myspace name as AlEXANDRA. I don't know who she is, but I will forgive her use of lowercase L because she's probably using one of those complicated Yugoslavian keyboards. AlEXANDRA, if you are out there, I invite you to state your case here.

Friday, February 17, 2006

FlOWERS for Algernon

The night before Valentine's day I found this post behind a locked storefront on 7th Ave in Park Slope, Brooklyn, the source of many lowercase L's here. The sign advertises DELIVER FlOWERS HELP WANTED. The inconsistent use of lowercase and uppercase L's in the sign makes me wonder if they are advertising for help writing signs properly. Or perhaps the cry for help is from some guy trapped in the store, being held captive by the weirdo who wrote the sign.

I'm finding an average of 1 lowercase L per week in my neighborhood alone. Surely this phenomenon is not restricted to just a few square blocks in Brooklyn. Readers, please keep your eyes peeled and your digital cameras handy.

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Last night I went to hear my friend, Yoshie Fruchter, perform at Makor Café in Manhattan. The music was great, and I had a fun time. Unfortunately, the whole wonderful experience was marred by a stealthy lowercase L that I caught on my way out. Behind the check-in desk, a fax machine sat far in the corner, with a small note taped above its LCD panel. As I moved in for a closer look, security closed in on me, as if I was about to discover something wicked. When I saw PlACE, I took my camera out for the shot. Security piped up, "Excuse me, sir, what are you taking a picture of?" As I zoomed in, I explained feebly, "It's for an art project I'm working on, hard to explain". The officers seemed leery of my request, but reluctantly allowed me to go about my business. I left the building, heart racing, hands shaking ... was I being followed? But I got what I came for, and that's all that mattered.

Friday, January 27, 2006


It's hard enough navigating through the streets of Manhattan, with all the potholes, pedestrians, messengers, traffic and construction. Throw in a sign for a ClOSED street and one could easily get lost in confusion. The author of this sign is not unfamiliar with the uppercase L, as he demonstrates in his master PLAN. So what kind of breakdown caused him to stall at 19th St? If you happen upon this alternate route warning, I suggest you escape from New York, with haste.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

BAGEl Beguile

Spotted by friend and graphic designer Carol King, who has a keen eye for detail, you really couldn't ask for a better example of a lowercase L than this BAGEl in NYC. This menu board outside of Maidre on 7th Ave in South Slope, Brooklyn also boasts pastries from BAlTHAZAR Bakery. Bonus points for this find, because the flipside of the menu board (click photo on left) features the same message, but with no improperly placed lowercase L's! Makes you wonder if the author who wrote the first side of the menu was fired and quickly replaced by a new employee who wrote the flipside. Also makes me leery about eating the bagels and pastries here.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

I Want It Painted BlACK

Found in the Good Footing Adventures shoe store on 7th Ave in Park Slope, these two boxes of BlACK shoe polish may be able to cover your scuffs, but they will also leave an indelible mark on the fabric of your delicate mind. I'm not sure how good this adventure will turn out to be, but the game is afoot for sure. And, this is the third time we've seen such a black and white case of lowercase L.