Category Archives: Misc

He picks up trash…

“…we all chip in for it—all of the businesses downtown. We take care of him. His name is Ronald, and he is fiercely loyal. Once he learns your name, he never forgets it, and will say hi to you, pumping your hand up and down and looking straight into your eyes like he expects water to start pouring out of your mouth any moment. He rides his bike, and wears clips around his ankles to prevent his jeans from getting snagged by the gears. There is a plastic basket bungeed to a tray that protrudes over the back tire from the seatpost; I have no idea what’s in it, because his extendo-claw doesn’t fit. He doesn’t care where the trash came from, only that it’s his job to pick it up and smile at everything that moves. I remember his name and to pat him on the shoulder when we clasp hands in anticipation of the slightly vigorous, always friendly, dependably metronomic pumping. He pumps peoples’ hands like he smiles, with intentionality, friendliness, regularity. Like he picks up the trash on our sidewalks. I’ve seen him with a female friend a couple times who matches him exactly in height and spirit. We would give him free coffee when he comes in, but he insisted on paying the first few times we tried, so we don’t even offer anymore. Equitable, mutually beneficial exchanges of goods and currency, and of smiles and greetings, are of utmost importance to him.”

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Filed under Biographies, Misc


The other day I gave you a little bit of homework, and today I am going to give you the answers so that you can grade yourself.

1. The difference between a typeface and a font.

In brief, a typeface is a collection of fonts, such as “Helvetica”. Within the Helvetica typeface you can have Helvetica Neue, Helvetica Italic, etc. in differing point sizes. An example of a specific font within the Helvetica typeface would be “Helvetica Bold 12 point”.

You can even choose to embolden or italicize each font, even if it comes as bold or italic already. Just as you can change the kern, ligature, baseline, and other aspects of it. But those changes are made to the font, they are not changes of the font.

So “Times” is not technically a font. It is a typeface. But I won’t get after you for conflating the two, just as I won’t get after you for misunderstanding “irony” (which, you do), though I enjoyed arguing about it with Jon, and arguing about that argument with everybody else. More on this genus of argument later in this post.

2. The difference between a forward slash and a backslash.

A forward slash goes like this: /, whereas a backslash goes like this: \. So the domain that hosts this blog should be pronounced aytch tee tee pee colon slash slash (or forward slash forward slash) ess double-u eye en gee ar (or argh!) oh vee (“as in victor”) ee ar dot com. There are almost never any backslashes in domain names or URL’s. It’s ironic (shout out) when people go to the trouble of specifying the direction of a slash in a domain name or URL, only to specify it incorrectly. Just say “slash”, or, if you must, “forward slash” (which is the default type of slash, which is more meaningful I-well, you know the story).

Also, you don’t really need to specify “www” anymore (more on why later), and rarely do you need to specify the “http” anymore either. But whatever.

3. The difference between a domain and a URL.

A URL is, quite simply, the full address of a resource on the web. Whereas a domain name is the thing immediately preceeding “.com” or “.net”, or the like. So the domain name of this website is just “”, whereas the URL for this page is

4. The difference between the B and STRONG tags.

To style text as bold in HTML, you can either use the B or the STRONG tag. For example, “<b>bold text</b>” would be rendered “bold text” in a browser, just as “<strong>strong text</strong>” would be rendered “strong text“.

The difference is that the B tag is only an aesthetic element, whereas STRONG text is supposed to convey something semantic and its styled text should be pronounced strongly by electronic text readers.

And who wouldn’t want that?

The debate about whether the B tag should be dropped entirely from the W3C HTML spec, and/or whether and when to use the STRONG tag hotly rages on and on in tech forums, and I love it. I think it is hilarious. And this brings us around to the genus of argument in which the infamous one we had concerning “irony” (though not concerning irony, exactly – do you know the difference?) should be placed.

This genus is also home to arguments over Settlers of Catan rules, how to pronounce and spell “Shady Ripkins”, the necessary and sufficient conditions one has to fulfill in order to be said to have “Dan-dar”, and debates about the same for “Canonical Swingrover” (see here and here). It is the same genus of argument Lindsey, Brianna, and most others despise, the one whose member species Jon loves too, and the one responsible for 75% of any intraswingrover conflict.

I love these arguments because of their finitude. This is the same reason I love chess, why I would enjoy being a lawyer or studying the pre-Socratics, and why learning about grammar sounds like a fun time to me.

I also love them because they are ridiculous, and it is funny to take ridiculous things seriously. And it is fun to instantiate funny scenarios. If you are willing to go through and cause more than a certain amount of pain in order to instantiate such scenarios then you are Daniel Walker and you engage in “antics”.


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