Cross head 23-05-03

Walk away Rene

My contacts in the US tell excitedly of a new book that, they feel sure, will give me lots of pleasure. What can it be? The Scratch ‘n’ Sniff Justin Timberlake Book? How To Tell If Your Freelance Is Mad (Just By Reading Their CV)? No, it is, in fact, The Associated Press Guide To Punctuation (Perseus Publishing) by Rene J Cappon. This devotes 18 of its 96 pages to the comma, the author believing it to be the most important punctuation mark, and another four to explaining when commas should be omitted. I have yet to read the book and I have never met Mr Cappon. But should I ever be stuck in a broken lift with him, although the conversation might drag now and then, one suspects a girl would be quite safe.

Move over Martha

Reading through “a vocabulary list for reporters and editors”, compiled by US journalism guru Bob Baker on his website, one comes across: “Hey Martha stories – the stories that lead a reader to say over the breakfast table, ‘Hey, Martha! Listen to this!’ These stories are often read aloud.” Martha? We much prefer the term coined, so legend has it, by one-time Sun editor Kelvin MacKenzie: “Fuck me, Doris!”

Feat of endurance

Anyone looking to find out more about Quark’s rival, Adobe InDesign 2, should get hold of the June issue of Macworld. It comes with a free CD – “the most-requested tutorial CD ever” – in which, over two hours, Deke McClelland explains InDesign to those mulling over making the switch. But be warned: despite having more than 60 books to his credit, McClelland’s language soon had me nodding off (“… notice that I now get the trapezoidal offset … the object menu is analogous to the Quark item menu”). When I awoke I half-expected to hear him sing: “And if you give me weed, whites and wine, and you show me a sign, I’ll be willin’ to be movin’.” You see, on the jerky Quick Time movie, with his check shirt and beard, he did look awfully like Lowell George from Little Feat.

Loving the alien

The specialist Apple Macintosh magazines have been quick to provide a guide to the pre-release version of Quark 6. Old Quark hands will be pleased to learn that the hidden Alien Zapper is still there. If you don’t have the foggiest what I’m talking about, do as follows: draw a picture box; hold down Command, Option, Shift and press “k”. If that amuses you, try doing it five times and see what happens. Match that, InDesign!

Cross Head returns in two weeks

Next week: Dr Deadline

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