Monday, March 26, 2007

KIll Your Timid Notion

Most instances of improper lowercase L usage occur in offline, in the real world. That is why we should celebrate Dale B. and her find on the Kill Your Timid Notion 2007 website for the underground music and film festival in Scotland. If you visit the site and click on the Flash navigation arrows, you'll find the Timetable page with a most peculiar end paragraph (shown above). The use of double lowercase L's is astounding! I'll let the word "All" pass, because it is not at All confusing. But GAllERY and INSTAllATIONS are double trouble, and TAlKS has me speechless. Dale describes the ordeal as "A strange paragraph, visually speaking, but an amazing festival."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007


I want to thank Rich Magahiz for submitting one of the most perfect examples of confusing lowercase L use I have seen in a while. Found in Bergenfield, NJ, 59 cents per pound for BARTlET pears is a great price, assuming you haven't already lost your appetite at the sight of this grocer's inclusion of an illegal lowercase L.

In his e-mail, Richard also posed the question, "I am wondering why someone hasn't made a lowercase i site, for signs where all the letters are capitals, but there's a dot over each I." Well, photos of lowercase i's might make for a fun blog, but the reason we do not focus on that anomaly is because, even though the use of lowercase i's within all uppercase letters is an odd writing style, it is not confusing to read. The lowercase i cannot be mistaken for any other letter, unlike the lowercase L, which can look like an uppercase i, or even the number 1.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Key to lUNCH

If you're looking for a good deal on good eats in Brooklyn, now's the time to Dine in Brooklyn for Restaurant Week, when participating restaurants are offering lunch and dinner on a prix fixe menu of just $21.12.

But if you are looking for consistency and clarity when it comes to the letter L, this is not the week for you. Today I received the Spring issue of Best of Brooklyn, a newsletter from our Borough President, Marty Markowitz. I happen to be a fan of Marty, and I'm sure the following lowercase L offense did not happen under his watchful eye.

Take a look at the key to dining in Brooklyn. It is very simple, with an orange uppercase D for Dinner, and a green uppercase L for Lunch:

The key: Green Uppercase L = Serving Lunch

All the restaurant listings stick to the key in the printed edition, until you get to Bermuda Restaurant:

lowercase L for Lunch at Bermuda?

What happened here? As I perused the restaurant listings, I got to this entry and wondered what green uppercase "i" stood for. Did it stand for "inexpensive"? Does it mean lunch is half off? Looks like ships aren't the only thing that go missing in Bermuda. So do the bottoms of uppercase L's.

Friday, March 16, 2007

SlOW News Day

Photo by Michael Nagle for The New York Times

I never thought I'd see the day when my quest to understand lowercase L dysfunction would be taken seriously, especially by a reputable publication. But that day has come, my friends. If you can get your hands on The New York Times from the Sunday edition for March 11, you will find "A FlAW HE CAN’T OVERlOOK" in the City section!

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Emily Brady, the lovely New York Times journalist who had been assigned to my story. We spent the morning chatting about the lowercase L blog, how I got started, and where it's going. A few days later I was visited by photographer Michael Nagel, who went out with me on a lowercase L hunt. I explained that I usually do not go hunting for the L—rather, the L finds me. Luckily, we managed to find two fine examples within just a half hour on that frigid day.

The article begins:
Two summers ago, a computer consultant and cartoonist named William Levin was strolling down Seventh Avenue in Park Slope when the window of Jackrabbit Sports caught his eye. Above a display of shoes was a sign advertising marathon and triathlon training programs. An individual with an untrained eye might not have given the sign a second glance. But to Mr. Levin, the chubby capital letters contained a serious flaw.

You can read the rest of the article at the New York Times online.

Special thanks to journalist friend Paul Berger for recommending the story to The Times!

Monday, March 05, 2007


"HATZOlAH" is Hebrew for "rescue" or "relief", which is quite appropriate for this fine first example of a transliterated misplaced lowercase L! It concerns me that, in the unlikely event of an emergency at the Young Israel shul on the Upper West Side of Manhattan, confused congregants may see this as the phone number for "Hatzoiah" and not call. I could have corrected the sign with a pen, but that would have gone against the lowercase L Prime Directive, which "forbids any effort to improve or change in any way the natural course of such a society, even if that change is well-intentioned and kept completely secret." Also it was Shabbat, and writing is prohibited on Shabbat. (I did come back after Shabbat to take the photo, but I forgot a pen, and even if I had a pen, remember: Prime Directive)

Besides the lowercase L offense, look at the bigger picture. "WHATS HAPPENING?" with this bulletin board? It's missing the apostrophe in "WHATS", that's what's happening! And for some strange reason, the uppercase I is dotted, as if it may have been confused for a lowercase L, even though it was fine without the dot. Maybe that dot was supposed to be the apostrophe in WHATS.