Thursday, December 30, 2010


Fellow Park Slope residents might remember Robert Schindler, known to most as Bob, the bespectacled old coot and occasional panhandler ("Pardon me, can you spare some change?") who could often be found sitting on a milk crate in front of the Starbucks on 7th Ave, entertaining passersby with his Mae West impressions and musings on the human condition as he chain smoked Maverick Menthol Box 100's. He died in a hospital last week, 12/23/10 of congestive heart failure. He was 76 years old.

I came to be friends with Bob, an NYC native Park Slope resident of 50 years, in 2004, when, once a week, I started helping him carry groceries up to his fourth floor single bedroom apartment on Garfield. Crippled from a severe inguinal hernia that went untreated in the 1980's, Bob wasn't always that hunched over panhandler who took frequent sitting breaks on milk crates in the middle of the aisles while grocery shopping at Key Food. In his glory days, Bob was an audio technician, and sold hi-fi stereo systems for Sam Goody. He was an avid appreciator of classical music, and had an extensive collection on vintage reel-to-reel tape. And you wouldn't know it if you saw the gaunt, wispy white haired man with his huddled, shuffling gate, but Bob stood over six feet tall, and was a fiery redhead.

In the last few months, Bob's health declined and he stopped going outside. I'd do his grocery shopping for him — his diet consisted largely of Utz Onion and Garlic Flavored Potato Chips (never Wise, they have the highest brown spot ratio of all the chip brands), green bananas, and sour cream. After he took a nasty fall in his apartment, I visited him at New York Methodist Hospital. He was full of self-pity, but cracked a toothless smile when I introduced him to my new wife. "You're a midget!" he exclaimed after looking Malya up and down, all 5 feet of her. "But she's very pretty", he said to me, aside, as if Malya couldn't hear.

The day before he died, Bob called me to complain, lamenting that he didn't want to be in the hospital anymore. I could hear the life leaving him, and I knew he couldn't come home. Desperate, Bob begged me to spring him from that joint, any way I could. I spoke to the administrators to see if they would authorize his release, but in his condition it wasn't going to happen.

"I have no friends," Bob said, "Nobody cares."

Bob was wrong.

Robert Schindler, January 11, 1934 – December 23, 2010

Monday, November 29, 2010


Our lowercase L mission may seem frivolous at times, but when an important message like H.V. ElECT. is made difficult to understand, it's no joke.  That stands for High Voltage Electricity, but by the time you figure out that word doesn't say "eiect" ... ZAP!  Thanks for this warning, Rimpy.

Friday, November 19, 2010

VAllEY of the DOllS

The doll on the left reaches out to Alden, who found this eerie display in Gatlinburg, TN.  She beckons for help, as her Clothes SOlD Separately.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Is this a "crunch case", in which the sign maker had space for all but a final uppercase L and had to resort to the lowercase?  This LATIN TAYBEH SECONDARY SCHOOl in Ramallah, Palestine, knows about uppercase L's, as in LATIN, so this lowercase L was probably the result of poor planning.  If the English portion had been assembled right to left, as the Arabic portion of the sign, the sign maker may have had to resort to a lowercase S.

This street signage can probably be found nearby.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010


Sheila thought that Cortez Auto Sales Inc. got away with it this time, by slipping in a little foot on the otherwise lowercase L in WWW.CORTEZAUTOSAlE.COM. But look again, and you'll see that they remain guilty as charged in the next line down with their abbreviated TElS.

Friday, November 05, 2010


After running this blog for over 5 years, the substitution of an uppercase i for an uppercase L has become so familiar that it no longer surprises or frightens me.  In fact, I've become so used to the typographical phenomenon that I now accept that approximately one percent of the world's uppercase i's are intended to be an L.  So when I encountered this image of the title page from Christopher Marlowe's play, THE IEW OF MALTA, from 1589, it was like discovering a new species of flying insect in a rainforest.

Sometimes written as THE RICH IEVV OF MALTA, I wondered why the title hadn't simply used a J and W, as THE JEW OF MALTA.  It seems the typesetters had uppercase J's, as in MAJESTIES.  And it looks like they used an actual W in WAS PLAYD instead of a double-V.

After doing a little research online, I believe the substitution of I for J may be the way typesetters avoided having letters descend below the baseline of type.  It could also be a result of I and J represented as a single glyph in the digraph combination of IJ, an example of a typographical ligature.  Apparently the letter J developed as a swash of the letter i.

Why would I present a case of I-for-J on a blog dedicated exclusively to the substitution of I for L?  I believe the IJ may shed some light on our IL.  From this scrap of a 16th century manuscript alone,  we have an opportunity to learn something about how the human mind used to work, and continues to work, when writing and setting type, and the desire to cut corners — and swashes — to save writing space or typesetting materials.

Shabbat Shalom from the IEVV OF BROOKlYN!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Anicia found these SMAllS in Pismo Beach, CA for just $2.  She didn't bother to ask about the lARGES.

Monday, October 25, 2010


This advert for 6 PANEL MOUlDED SLAB was created by a repeat offender at The Home Depot, and submitted by repeat submitter Rimpy Rimpington to remind us exactly what a perfectly erroneous lowercase L is all about.

As tempting as this offer is — possibly the best MOUlDED SLAB price I've ever seen — I believe I will pass on the deal on principle alone.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

5 Years of BlOGGING

Breaking my own #1 rule about submitting lowercase L's, I decided to celebrate 5 years of blogging by fabricating my own Bar-B-Q Sign.  It was necessary to force the L's into lowercase by substituting them intentionally with uppercase i's.  I guess whoever wrote this clever little application wasn't aware that most readerboard letter distributors never ship more than one uppercase L.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Repair ClOSED

Fellow animator Chris Haga found my work on the Aniboom Sesame Street animation contest along with his own entry, and subsequently discovered that this lowercase L blog he already knew about was from the same bloke.  But never mind all that, it's his prime example of a ClOSED sign that is important.  Peabody Shoe Repair must be tired of fixing soles.

Monday, October 18, 2010

I don't BElIEVE my i's

More from yesterday's gritty graffiti submitted by Allison Elliot, look carefully at this phrase: WE ARE AS INDESTRUCTIBLE AS WE BElEVE OURSELVES TO BE.  At first you might not catch the problem.  Then, when you catch it, you might decide the artist simply left out an uppercase L in BELIEVE.  But I have a different theory.  What if the artist started to write BEL with a lowercase L, and when he looked at his progress — BEl — he became confused and thought he had already written the uppercase i in BELIEVE, and finished with EVE?


Sunday, October 17, 2010

What is the WORlD coming to?

This picture perfect post-apocalyptic scene wouldn't be complete without the ubiquitous lowercase L tag in THE NEW WORlD ORDER!  Photographed by Allison Elliot at the site of a burned down warehouse in Cleveland, Ohio, a place haunted by charred remains of wooden beams, like so many fallen lowercase L's.

And fellow blogger Berger Boy was worried to find the WORlD SERIES chalked up like this signage discovered in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

Finally, Mike shares,

[This] is a local landmark in Wichita Falls, Texas, that my father claims was spray-painted on a private building at a major-ish intersection in the late 70s or early 80s and has remained there since. It bears the worlds CHANGe THE WoRlD, and I think of your blog every time I see it. It's been there for as long as I can remember, and is very visible from the road.

Inspiring words, Mike.  But how can we change the WORlD when we still can't change upper and lower cases properly?

Sunday, October 10, 2010


Is it 10/10/10? Or perhaps lO/lO/lO?  Either way, the world is coming to an end, as is evident in this Getty File stock photo in a recent Huffington Post article, "White House: No Need For National Foreclosure Moratorium". Discovered by Jessica M, we need to Stop FOREClOSURES, but start underestimating the amount of space we have to correctly use all uppercase letters on our home brew signs.

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

HOMElESS Man Under Pressure

Click image to see larger ... it HElPS!

Have you seen this video of a homeless dude using two Kermit the Frog puppets to lip sync "Under Pressure" by Queen and David Bowie?  It's currently the #9 viral video on the charts.  I like it, though I suspect a lowercase L error in the ANYTHING HElPS text at the bottom of his sign.  It's hard to tell if it's a lowercase L or a poor excuse for an uppercase L.  Watch through the video and decide for yourself:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010


If you look close enough it's not so much a lowercase L as it is a slim uppercase L, but from far away the little L foot disappears, so we'll let this Chinglish pass.  Discovered by Michael A. on NY Times, we can all take comfort in the fact that SMART NOSHERY MAKES YOU SlOBBER.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NO-case L

Thanks, Meir of Midwood, for pointing out that the only thing worse than using a lowercase L where an uppercase L should have been is using no L where a lowercase one should have gone.

Discovered in South Bend, Indiana, this cute billboard for "15 best things about our pubic schools" was reposted on the MSNBC Field Notes blog, and now made famous on this even more recognized lowercase L blog.

Stay in SCHOOl, kids!  But avoid the pubic ones, and stick with the privates.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


An Oddly Specific sign — that should probably also be on Passive Aggressive Notes if it isn't already — is welcome here on the lowercase L blog, as well.  "NOTICE HOW THIS PlACE IS ClEAN. KEEP IT THAT WAY!!"  Submitted by Jeremy D., I am impressed that the author of the sign at least did not mistakenly substitute your for you're in "I'll RAPE ya when you're Asleep ..."

Sunday, September 12, 2010


In honor of the bris of my twin nephew today, and the ninth year anniversary of the attack on the Twin Towers on 9/11, I'm posting this visually appropriate DOUBlE l.  Skooter S. of Brooklyn, NY somehow became entangled in the drama surrounding a certain MR. JOllY. He explains:
A teacher in rural Tennessee is accused of hitting a student and is suspended. Because he's a popular teacher, many people rally around him, including this person who presumably ran out of upper case Ls.
They may also have been short one capital E, as I've learned his name is actually spelled JOllEY.

The charm of this double lowercase L has warmed my heart, and I don't even care if he's been rightfully accused.  BRING MR. JOllEY BACK!

Thursday, September 02, 2010


A sorry sign from a sister site:
Wonderful sighting recently. We were traveling around to several campuses of our career college system, performing operational reviews and taking tours. The schools are very proud of their accomplishments, especially, their abilities to attract and engage students. Imagine our surprise (and dismay) when our campus in Canton, Michigan boasted about one of their new techniques to draw the attention of prospective students ... they set out this sign - roadside - for all passers by to see. If you ask us, we'd be tempted to enroll just to teach the school how to spell! Yikes ...

NOTE: We did, from HQ, increase his school's budget slightly so they could purchase a couple of "L"s (seeing they had exhausted their supply on this sign).


They may have maxed out with the two sets of double uppercase L's in this readerboard, stating "WE ARE ENROLLING FOR FALL, WAlK-INS WElCOME!"

WAlK-INS is an unexpected recurring lowercase L.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Speaking of APPlE

It must be APPlE Picking Season.  Following Sunday's APPlE fiasco, long time reader and first time submitter Amanda R. shot two lowercase L's for the price of one.  Discovered on Walton Way in Augusta, GA, this Wendy's has more to offer at the pick up window than just convenience.  TRY A NEW APPlE PECAN SAlAD ... if you dare.  Wendy's?  As in "Wen-dy's readerboard letter manufacturers going to start shipping enough uppercase L's?"

Sunday, August 29, 2010

APPlE Sunday

It was a perfectly hot summer Sunday here in Park Slope.  Looping back from the Brooklyn Flea toward home, we stopped at the Farmers Market on 5th Avenue and 4th Street.  Not too surprisingly, we spotted these agriculturally influenced examples of lowercase L's in a plate of GAlA APPlE and HONEY CRISP APPlE.  This twisted play on words hints at an all-American favorite, Apple Pie, rolled into one convenient package that you could put on your iPhone ... There's an APPlE for that!

This is not the first, or second, case of APPlE here in the neighborhood.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Jenifer S. found this readerboard sign in San Francisco, and now I'm beginning to seriously consider the possibility that at least half of the lowercase L crisis in this country is the fault of the readerboard letter manufacturers.  It seems that in constructing the message ANN TAYLOR, CAlViN KlEiN SAMPLE SALE, this sorry store employee ran out of uppercase L's and had to resort to using upper case i's.  To make matters worse, it appears the employee was then faced with a shortage of uppercase i's, and was forced to construct his or her own lowercase i's ... so as not to confuse them with the uppercase i's doubling as lowercase L's.  WILL THE INSANITY EVER END?

My guess is "no".

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


Oh, Rimpy, where would the lowercase L blog be without you? This FoodMaxx sign for a METAL GlIDER (TWO SEATER) is likely a "crunch case".  That is, the author tried to fit the entire word within the remaining insufficient space by chopping off the foot of the uppercase L — usually to no avail, as in this instance, with the R way off in the blue border.  The ridiculous lowercase L is even more emphasized by the adjacent uppercase i.  Everyday Low Price may be Guaranteed, but I'd also like assurance of Everyday Lowercase L Guaranteed before I start patronizing this establishment.

Monday, August 23, 2010

lower cake

Not technically a case of lowercase L, but relevant enough to share here.  As mentioned on Boing Boing today, this Cake Wreck is just another demonstration of how the lower case can both cause, and be the result of, anarchy.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

We all scream for GARlIC ICE CREAM!

Jamie discovered this sign for GARlIC ICE CREAM at a corner roadside fruit stand on the highway midway between Gilroy and Hollister, CA, and astutely noted that the author used serifs on the uppercase i to distinguish it from the lowercase L, an ironic detail I particularly enjoyed.  It's interesting how the mere thought of two ingredients that normally don't go together can evoke such an unpalatable taste in the mouth. Much like the sight of a lowercase L amidst all uppercase letters.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Justin explains that this PlEASE SCAN OUT sign can be found at the Coronet Peak ski field in New Zealand, as you leave the gear hire section.  Upon noting the variety of fashion colours, Justin asked, in his own words, "Why? WHY!!???"  While I cannot answer the question "why", I can certainly say "why not": the inclusion of a lowercase L has nothing to do with a shortage of space on the top line.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

ClOTHES the Deal

Rimpy returns with a seasonal favorite: the summer YARD SALE.  Though this time the lowercase L lapses only on the ClOTHES.  And, as Rimpy points out, the author of this sign realized something wasn't quite right on one side of the sign, and duly corrected it:

I like the insufficient upper-casing of the obviously lowercase L, like an afterthought.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Weekend SAlE

TGlF! Spotted by Kamilah on Rockville Road on the far west side of Indianapolis, this weekend SAlE is too special for words.  In a crunch for space, the author first resorts to a lowercase L, and then, realizing that even this unorthodox slimming tactic didn't help, had to do a manual carriage return for the last letter of the word.  It doesn't get any better than this, folks.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

ClASS off!

First, apologies for having not posted here since the end of June.  I was busy getting married and traveling abroad.  Fortunately, my wife supports my struggle with lowercase L.

Now, on to business. lINNEE got this classy cake off the Cake Wrecks blog, a site replete with spelling and grammar errors, all using the floury food as a confectionary canvas.  Not to belittle the efforts of a fellow stickler, but why hasn't this blogger pointed out the blasphemous use of the lowercase L in addition to the more obvious spelling error in ClASS off 2010?

Here's another crossover lowercase L Cake Wrecks.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

More than HAlF OFF

Rimpy may have left Home Depot, a veritable hotbed of lowercase L offenses, but that hasn't stopped him from identifying them elsewhere in all walks of life.

While I'm on vacation in Israel for my wedding next month, I took a moment to post this HAlF OFF Happy Hour, as it reminds me of Haifa, roughly where I'll be next week.

Even better than the HAlF OFF SALE from a few years ago.

Friday, June 11, 2010


Tragedy strikes again.  CNN iReporter and U.S. Marine Corp photographer, Abby Burtener Manuel, snapped this photo on Grand Isle, Louisiana as Gulf residents mourn oil disaster in the wake of the BP spill.  At the rate of 40,000 barrels of oil leaking per day, it's no surprise that residents lack the will to capitalize the L's on their makeshift signs.

It seems this sign is somewhat of a tourist attraction.  Lowercase L reader Adam G reports the same sighting in the New York Times, and Adam "Oil" Wells submits the same screenshot as seen on the BBC!

WEllSY wrote:
Watching the BBC this evening, the saucy Fiona Bruce introduces a piece about Barack Obama visiting the US coastlines hit by the BP oil slick .

I was horrified. Not by the oil coated turtles or sticky sea birds but the warning sign, "BEACH ClOSED". Environmental disaster indeed.

By the way, the lack of posts lately is because I'm getting married.

Friday, May 21, 2010


JUlIA had this to say in the wake of destruction:
I live on Tutuila, the main island of American Samoa. My island was hit by a tsunami last September. One of the villages that was hit the hardest is Poloa. I spent Saturday at the beach there and spotted this lowercase L on the side of the school. It looks like MAIN BID, but it's supposed to be short for building. The other buildings at the school were labeled too, but not with lowercase L's!
It is a tragedy. So many innocent people, misled to believe there might be a "Main Bid", but finding no bids at all, main, secondary, or even tertiary. Dreams washed away like so many legs of neglected uppercase L's. God help us.

Friday, May 07, 2010

ONlY 99¢

I help an elderly man named Bob in the neighborhood with his grocery shopping at Key Foods on 7th Avenue in Park Slope, Brooklyn.  He's quite finicky, and devoutly sticks to a select few brands of food items.  Over the last 40 years in this neighborhood, Bob has refined his taste, and knows exactly what he likes and dislikes.  He doesn't like Wise, claims they are the worst chips ever, with a far higher "brown spot" ratio than most other brands.  And forget chips with ridges, they hurt his gums!  So when it comes to Potatoe Chips ONlY 99¢, Bob insists of Utz Onion & Garlic.  But if Bob could only see this sign, he might just go for the Wise.

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Now we're talking.  This sign for EXClUSIVe PARKING is a prime example of a misleading lowercase L.  Submitted by the Glatfelter Co-op, discovered near Manuel Antonio National Park while on vacation in Costa Rica, the lowercase L is exactly the same height as the uppercase i's and other uppercase letters, making it somewhat confusing to read.  Bonus points for the EXClUSIVe lowercase e.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

ROll CAll

This doesn't really have anything to do with lowercase L, I just wanted to share something else I do with my life. ROll CAll is a cartoon I made for the Aniboom Awards 4 Sesame Street animation contest. Pass it along if you like it, and sign up to rate it if you love it!

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Adam Wells with the lowercase L's! Known for his photographic fabrications and more relevant receipts, the special effects wizard had this to say about his recent find:
This one's not cut and dry William, as there are a few offenders in there and a mish-mash of upper and lower. But I still find them guilty as charged...

avaiLaBLe all aFTERNOON

The sign in question is located outside the overpriced yet thoroughly satisfying Greedies Cafe in Isleworth, West London. It may fall foul of your strict rules and regulations, but thought you should cast your eye across it.

Mazeltov on your engagement by the way, lovely news.

All the best,

These milkshakes certainly would not bring me to the yard.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Lizzie V. directs us the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, where Empty Netters columnist, Seth Rorabaugh, not only caught this improperly used lowercase L, but he calls it out to his readers with a parenthetical caption to the photo above, stating:
(That might be "BLACKEN" now that we think about it, but why isn't the "L" upper-case?)
And, as if to call even more attention to the atrocity, he underlines the offending word in red.

I'm not even sure what BlACKEN the Blues is referring to. Does this all have to do with hockey? Because here at lowercase L, we don't know much about hockey or the sticks it's played with. After all, they're shaped kind of like this: L

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Bob H. returns from The Loft near Burlington, MA.  WOMEN'S ClOTHING may be upstairs ... or UPSTALRS, depending on how you interpret the photo taken with Bob's new mobile phone. What kind of topsy turvy world are we in when the lowercase L is shorter than the uppercase I in the same word?

I'd argue that the lowercase L was used in order to save room on the sign, except for the fact that the WOMEN'S ClOTHING letters have been written on a separate piece of construction paper apparently cut to expand and optimize the surface area of the entire message.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


As comfortable as I am in my neighborhood, I don't feel very cozy with this menuboard in front of Kohzee CafĂ© on 6th Ave. in Park Slope, Brooklyn. The Grilled 14oz Sirloin Steak is okay, since the lowercase L's rise higher than the other uppercase letters in the same word.  But the GRIllED SALMON is a triple threat, with the double lowercase L's following an uppercase i of the same height.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010


I wouldn't have known the significance of SUlfA AllERGY NO BlEPHAMIDE without looking it up first, but it's apropos that these photos were taken at an eye surgery operating room.  Dr. Rich L., an eye doctor in New York, couldn't believe his own eyes:
A few days after a bunch of us at work were looking at the lowercase l blog at lunch, I noticed this sign in our operating room (photo attached). It is on a cart of medicines we use after eye surgery.

Anyway, I haven't yet pointed it out to my colleagues on the off-chance that I could convince you to post it, and then I can show it to them as part of the blog. This would give me great pleasure. Of course, the sign would not be funny to anyone but us, so I understand if it doesn't make the cut.
Shortly after sending the first photo, Dr. Rich reported back with a shocking update:
So I was in our other OR today, and the same person (I'm assuming) posted a very similar sign. In a stunning reversal, however, the last word now has an upper case L, or at least a lower case L that is starting to sprout the horizontal bar, and the rest of the letters are lower case!
The author of these labels clearly needs to see an i doctor.  Which may be hard to distinguish from a lowercase L doctor.