The PVP Diaries #69

Sanding the deck has been like doing a jigsaw puzzle. The Italian and I work on it when we have the time, sometimes together, sometimes separately. We’ll look outside after a while and say “woah, looks like you got a lot done today.” And last night, when I was driving home with the kids after soccer practice, I realized I was going to be a little annoyed if she got to be the one to finish it.

Percentages. Deaths were hovering at about 7% of positive cases for a very long time. I imagine the 4.7% will continue to drop. And 13.5% of positive cases seeking hospital care certainly sounds high to me, but I have no idea. This does not appear to be the beginning of the zombie apocalypse, is all I’m saying.

Mary Rowlandson is a strange read. Being captive of the Indians seems to have been an unpredictable blend of torture and ease. She seemed to be able to wander their camps fairly freely, entering any wigwam she wanted to at any time, and even invite her owners to “dinner” if she scrounged up enough food to share. But then also she received beatings at random times, had her food stolen from her pockets as soon as it is given to her, and was sold between families. Maybe it was that frenetic unprdictability that fueled her peculiar habits of capitalization and italicization:

“The Woman, viz. Good wife Joslin, told me she should never see me again, and that she could find in her heart to run away. I wisht her not to run away by any means, for we were near thirty miles from any English Town, and she very big with Child, and had but one week to reckon; and another Child in her arms two years old; and bad rivers there were to go over…”

“English” and “Indian” receive frequent, but not consistent, italicizing. And capitalized words from that passage like “Town” and “Child” are written un-capitalized as often as not. Old timey stuff, whatever. I’ll get over it. I am not a scholar of the grammar and mechanics of the 17th century Engrification.

Have to run – cutting it short. But not without reporting that as it happened, the Italian did not finish sanding the deck while I was away at soccer practice last night. But she very nearly did, excepting an area that was soaked the day before – collateral damage from yet another battle in the Coronavirus Not-So-Dead-End Street Water Wars of 2020. A fight that escalated (as they always do) from balloons to water guns, which leads to the positioning of several 5-gallon buckets (both Home Depot orange and Tru Value white) in various spots around the neighborhood for resupply and reloading, until someone finally says, “Oh just to hell with it” and takes control of the nuclear arsenal by grabbing the hose. Naturally this is when the shouts of “that’s not fair! begin, answered by a bloodthirsty, 9 year-old cry of “F*** fair! THIS IS WAR!”

Capital capitalization, Comrade Citizen!

3 thoughts on “The PVP Diaries #69”

  1. From that infallible source: “leading some to consider it the first American “bestseller”.” It being Cap & Rest. Indeed, Golden Multitudes: The Story of Best Sellers in the United States (1947) has it listed as the best seller for 1682. (Required sales for BSer status <1690 = 1000.) [Pardon lack of italics, etc. Best I can do 1-handed.]

    However, according to that crappy old book, it was not the first American BSer, not even the first by an American author. That goes to Michael Wigglesworth, The Day of Doom (1662). There are four others listed prior to 1682. Those were published/printed in Cambridge or Boston, but were written by Brits. E.g., 1681 BSer was Pilgrim's Progress (1st, 1678; 1st American, Cambridge, Samuel Green).

    Point is your comment about capitalization, etc. I know next to nothing about the state of printing in the early colonies, but I wonder how much of the variation you are noting is attributable to the limitations of typesetting? Like, if I'm setting a page– and at the time did they set individual pages?– and I ran out of a cap C's for Children, would I just use lower case and switch back to upper for the next page when all of the C's had been returned to the tray? That said, Samuel Green was the printer for Cap & Rest and "the greatest Cambridge printer" of the time. SG also printed all but one of the previous BSers. So it must have been a good sized operation. Hard to imagine running out of cap C's if you're a big printer, but I guess it's possible.

    Fun stuff. Thanks!


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