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James Tate's Final Poem

I just found out from The Paris Review that James Tate's final prose poem was left in his typewriter. It's witty and surreal. Fantastic! This is good, but I'm fond of "Very Late, But Not Too Late."


The World Changes and a Typewriter Helps

Jamey Boyum of KLTV Chanel 7 in Texas (Just outside of Dallas/Ft. Worth) reports that a typewriter was used to issue the first same-sex marriage licenses in Gregg County.
The story states that Carla Chappell and Angela Lunsford has been waiting three years to get married,  but with the Supreme Court's ruling they were eager to peruse their dream. However, they weren't sure if Gregg county was ready to issue a license. They called and were told that their county, indeed, was ready to issue the necessary document.
But there was a glitch. The software that the county uses wasn't updated for the new license so County Clerk Connie Wade had to make a new one with scissors and tape and a typewriter.

Of course we can all tell that it's an IBM Wheelwriter and from my personal experience a Wheelwriter is the perfect typewriter for filling out forms. In fact, the office has two typewriters.
So here we are in the 21st century and a typewriter was an important part of making a love…

CNN Student News Typewriter Segment

A colleague sent a link to this video from the March 11th edition of CNN Student News. Paul Schweitzer from Gramercy has some nice things to say about typewriters. Also, he is selling about 30 machines a week! That's amazing.
The good bit starts at 7 minutes in.


The Selectstar

The Rt. Rv. Munk on To Type, Shoot Strait, and Speak the Truth describes his recent purchase of a Selectric at a garage sale. $5 was the price and that seems about fair. Selectrics are everywhere and many in The Typosphere have at least one lying around somewhere. To my eyes the IBM Selectric type element always looks a little suspicious.



Selectic Stairway to Heaven

It happened almost by accident; three IBM (Ee-bee-ems as Toddler Magic Margin calls them) Selectrics. The strangest thing is that they are all the same color. One, two, and three. The Right Reverent Munk has also seen a surfeit of Selectrics come his way, although his come with natty keys.  Mine are more...serious?...somber?...Blue Chip! All typewriters are welcome during ITAM!

Silencing Chatty Selectrics: Operation GUNMAN

On March 25, 1985 Dan Rather reported that the Soviet Union had successfully penetrated the United States Embassy in Moscow. The Soviets had placed bugs inside IBM Selectric IIs located in sensitive areas. These bugs were able to easily read what was being typed on these typewriters. Until this incident occurred, US Security agencies believed that the ISSR had only been bugging audio, but the typewriter bugs were the first plain-text threat they ever encountered. Moreover, the bug itself was uniquely created to take advantage of the electro-mechanical nature of the IBM Selectric II. All-told 16 bugs were found hidden inside IBM Selectrics (both IIs and IIIs) and the story of their discovery and operation is a fascinating part of typewriter lore.
The relationship between the United States and Soviet Union during the late 70s and 80s was strained and both sides were actively using covert methods to infiltrate each other’s embassies. While the extent of the United States’ eavesdropping …

It's Not the Worst Typewriter Ever

The typewriter is a tool. Much like every tool, the product that is created with its aid is shaped by the tool itself. The Typosphere would agree with this statement. It's one of the tenants that keeps us writing with typewriters; the tool transforms the work. For most of the denizens of the Typosphere, this mean manual typewriters.
Manual typewriters have more going for them than electric typewriters. You can use a manual typewriter anywhere. All you need is a sturdy desk. That's it. A desk and an idea. Nothing more. If a desk isn't to your liking you can use a bookcase. You can sit on a park bench. By the seaside.
These qualities are hard to come by with an electric typewriter. Instead of freedom, you are attached by an umbilical. The power that impels the imprint of your ideas comes from electrons sent to your wall by a smoke-belching or radiation-hot generator. But even in this grim view there are some really exceptional electric typewriters.

The IBM Selectric is an e…

The Collective Noun Escapes Me

As you can tell from the picture that heads this post, I have come into a fair few IBM Selectric type elements. I echo the title of this post and wonder what collective noun should be applied to such a gathering? Would they be a grip, group, cache, herd, mob, clutch, murder, dole, plump, balding, team, bed, ward, convocation, stalk, leash, skulk, leap, or an exultation? Comment with your ideas.
With this new infusion of stuff I have become more and more interested in the IBM Selectric. Heretofore I have described them as "nice" and "not my thing," but as I spend more time with it I can see why so many people enjoy the company of this particular electric giant.
The hum is hypnotic.
I can remember a red one in the office where my Grandmother worked. I was allowed to use it whenever we visited. I–as many people–remember the sound of the motor gently humming while the element spun and bobbed across the surface of the paper.
I have more ideas beginning to take shape ar…