124: This and that

(A period at the end of one season and still hanging around well into the next.)

Two things have come to my attention recently that I am sure must have crossed your path too if you listen to, read, watch, or otherwise keep up with what passes for news in the U.S.  For my friends and visitors outside of the U.S., it will be interesting to me to find out if these (not so serious) concerns have passed by your way recently.

Period. End of sentence.

The first one is the period at the end of a sentence and the two space rule.  Way back in the day when I was forced coerced encouraged to take typing as a freshman in high school (along with the now defunct shorthand because I am female and being a secretary was all the rage for young women in those days) we were taught to put two spaces after the end of a sentence.  It was the done thing.  I still do it.  I have long known that WordPress somehow eliminates that extra space in the mysterious way that user-friendly blogging works.  I just didn’t realize the why’s of it.

Slate.com has an interesting article on Why you should never, ever use two spaces after a period.  Being one of those people who doesn’t spend a lot of time looking back (for instance, I am not a big fan of classic rock to the exclusion of listening to new stuff as some in my generation seem to be), I am now going to work hard at eliminating the extra space in my typing. It’s not that I mind extra space (and would applaud it in my home). It’s the rebel aspects of it that grab me. The teacher I had in high typing (and dictation) class, a classic herself, wouldn’t approve. That in itself might be reason enough for me to adopt the single space (she was a terror!). But being given a good reason for making a change, one that makes sense, I will willingly move on. My fingers, however, insist on typing two spaces after the end of each sentence. It might take them a while to catch up with my brain.

Put your “X” here

The other change that caught my attention this week is not such a positive to me. It started with a blurb in the news about how Georgia is dropping cursive from its new curriculum standards. The elimination of one space I can take (even if I’m still struggling to implement it). But the loss of cursive handwriting?  (See stories here and here.)

(The first letter of my name is signed in here but it came out so crazy even I can’t find it.)

I know email, blogging, texting, Facebook, and Twitter have become major channels of communication in this day and age.  Not many people send a handwritten note or letter anymore.  That’s sad, really.  I have always enjoyed hand writing letters, post cards, and notes.  And I’ve always, always enjoyed receiving them.  There is something so much more personal about a handwritten letter or note.

But on a practical note, and this is something I haven’t seen discussed, how in the world are people going to sign contracts if they are not taught handwriting so that they can develop a unique signature?  Or will that even be necessary?  I know I’ve contracted to a few things electronically, without having to physically sign a document, so I assume it’s possible that we will eventually move into a world where a unique, physical signature is no longer necessary.

Still.  It is a loss, in my opinion.  When the power goes out and you have a story idea, a pen and paper are pretty handy. I’ve yet to find the computer faster than pen and paper for making a grocery list. And while I’m sure a good (maybe even a mediocre) forger could duplicate my signature, it’s nice to think that my individuality and voice are there in a physical way when I decide to put pen or pencil to paper and write.  I enjoy the feel of a good pen on nice paper.  There is a sensuality to it that I don’t get from typing on a keyboard or staring at computer screen as the letters appear.

Snow and cold

We woke to find it -7°F again.  That’s warmer than a lot of places were this morning.  Snow has been falling since mid-morning.  We are at the point in winter where it doesn’t matter.  Just keep piling it on.  We’re used to it.

The good news is that it has warmed up into the 20’s.  We’ll be in the 30’s tomorrow.  Almost summer!

I didn’t take any photos while outside today.  There was too much snow falling from the sky and honestly, I wasn’t terribly inspired.  So let’s look at some flowers instead.

That’s much more colorful than anything outside today.  🙂


28 Comments on “124: This and that”

  1. jenna says:

    Cursive might be a loss (as somebody who only writes grocery lists by hand, I have little use for it myself), but when you consider the abundance of things students are responsible for learning, the length of the school day, and the teaching days in the year, it doesn’t seem unreasonable to strike cursive from the curriculum.

    Kids’ communications – that kind that count in terms of being competitive – won’t much rely on cursive, and since we don’t rank so well compared to other countries’ education systems, maybe it’s a loss we just have to swallow.

    I agree there is a value in handwriting; I’m just not entirely convinced that part of its value is that it’s taught in school.

    • Robin says:

      You have a good point, J. There certainly are more important things kids can and should be learning. I don’t know how we managed it, learning writing along with the other fundamentals. Different time period, I guess. I’m pretty sure the kids in other countries are learning how to write along with the other skills they’re acquiring/learning.

      While their communication won’t rely on writing, what happens to the signature? We had to sign a ridiculous number of papers for our mortgage. Same thing when going to the doctor (signing privacy act statements, insurance forms, etc.). It hasn’t all gone electronic and I’m not sure it will anytime soon.

  2. Kel says:

    i picked up on the flurry of opinion about the two space rule in other webspots too

    when i was an editor, the two space rule (or the deletion of it) was a learning curve for me, but when trying to fit a certain amount of text onto a confined amount of page space, the deletion of the second space became a gift!

    it’s all in the perspective

    and as you can see by my comment, i morph in and out of correct punctuation and capitalisation in cyberspace

    but when it comes to print (or professional web stuff) the style becomes more formal 🙂

  3. anhinga says:

    I, like you, was taught the two space after period rule and was shocked when I came across the new method a couple of years ago. Sure my fingers would never cooperate, I gave it a try. The one space became second nature surprisingly quickly, in a matter of days! I am still amazed. Try it.

    I would imagine if they no longer teach cursive students would still learn to sign that way. Surely! Unless we go totally electronic, as you say. No one can read my cursive anyway, including me when it is cold, but still it would be a loss.

    Good post. Stay warm.

  4. Marianne says:

    Beautiful photos, Robin. The purple flower is so pretty. Nice and refreshing this time of year.

    I’m a two space person but, probably should get out of the habit if it’s not the current practice anymore.

    A while ago, I read an article about how cursive writing helps the brain but, I forget what the benefits were.

  5. Anna says:

    Wonderful and informative post. I clicked from one link about the one space to grammar sites playing with grammar with things I’ve written. I’ve forgotten some of the rules! Well, this old salty dog can learn anew. Love the photos as all are very lovely.

  6. MN in my Rearview Mirror says:

    I cn’t believe I have been typing wrong my whole life! And I love the Iris photo. White wonderland gets old. We just had a conversation today about why can’t the snow be green or pink or something. White? Really?

  7. Kathy says:

    the sky is so blue. Such a unique color of blue. Do you use photoshop? I have access to photoshop now…may soon be downloading it and giving it a try.

    • Robin says:

      I do use Photoshop, Kathy. Mostly to sharpen things up but sometimes I play with it in other ways. The color of the sky in the photo in this post was enhanced in Photoshop as a side-effect of something else I was doing (the Orton effect, which is what gives it that soft, blurry look).

  8. Bo Mackison says:

    Ah, Robin. New ways, old ways! When I was in school, must have been in the Jurassic era, we not only learned cursive, we spent an hour each week learning calligraphy with a pen nib and ink. Imagine students wasting their time learning that kind of skill now.

    But then we also had music, creative writing, art (classroom), art (nature sketching outdoors) and drama classes. Somehow we fit in the math and science and history, too. I’m not sure how.

    But you’d think there would be time to learn how to write your name…

    I do love the one space rule though. Makes sense.

  9. My school days, like Bo’s, must have also been during the Jurassic era. Apart from calligraphy, I had all of the lessons she mentions, as well as sewing!

    You’ve got me wondering about my own children (the two teenagers). I know they both have a signature, but how would they write if I asked them to use a pen and paper? They use computeres all the time these days!

    Pens and paper are really something special, aren’t they? My brain moves more freely when I use them than when I write at the computer! By the geez…I must be old! 😉

    • Robin says:

      It was the Jurassic era for me too, Joanne. Back in the days when girls had to wear skirts or dresses. No trousers allowed. And certainly not blue jeans!

      I’m the same way with paper and pen. It opens up the flood gates when it comes to idea and words.

  10. penpusherpen says:

    OOoo, I really enjoyed reading this ‘n’ that…and I am so, so bad, I tent to fill spaces with >>>>>dots<<<<<, maybe this a heinous crime and I should be sent back to prison from whence I came… 😉 (just broke out with a file I found in a 'death by chocolate' cake, well it is my story so I can 'image up' anything, and I had to eat it all, evidence you know?)
    I did ring, but only got the answer phone, you must have been out at the dentists. (next blog!!) … I've just been drooling over the foxglove (?). But don't worry, I did clear up afterwards!! 😀 xPenx

  11. Robin says:

    Dots are fun, Pen. ……. and they can lead you places….

    Or connect you to others………

    Sorry I missed your call. Yes, let’s blame it on the dentist. 😀

  12. […] After doing the post about spacing and handwriting (see This and that), I’ve read a few other blog posts on both subjects.  I particularly like Quinn’s […]

  13. bearyweather says:

    Okay, I disagree with the author of “not using two spaces at the end of a sentence”. I was taught two spaces, I think two spaces make it look nice …. I also like to use lots of dots (but, that is a new habit that no one taught me).
    I have the exact same purple flowers growing in my yard … I miss them .. they are buried under at least 3 feet of snow.

  14. starbear says:

    I love the Irises, I love the curvature of the petals. I love the curvatures in cursive writng. Learning the eye hand control of cursive writing is good for the brain – the Right side of the brain – notice “R’ has curves in it – especially and well done cursive “R”… “L”eft side of the brain – “L” as in Logical, Linear… Learning cursive stimulates the creative side of the brain , the right brain.
    I vote for keeping cursive, will make better mathematicians and scientists, more creative thinkers and problems solvers.
    I too am from the Jurrasic period. Arts, Letters, Music, stimulate the brain to perform at higher levels in the Logics – science and math.
    Would be interesting to see how much music, art and cursive people like Einstein had time for. I agree with all who added that the sensual feel of a pen, or a soft leaded pencil, on paper is quite lovely. Like a touch of love, caressing, a child’s cheek or a lover’s hand. A humanness about it. I think that’s why in our Jurrasic period, Art, Literature and Music were called “The Humanities.” … The two space rule helped me to remember that I had started a new sentence even if I forgot to capitalize~ dot dot dot


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