A post from Shady Characters

The 2014 Shady Characters gift guide

Interrobang cufflinks, by webbysue on Etsy
Interrobang cufflinks, made from vintage typewriter keys with the addition of printed interrobang glyphs. (Image courtesy of webbysue on Etsy.com.)

A couple of years ago, my wife gave me a pair of interrobang cufflinks (as shown above) for Christmas. They were the perfect gift, and I was lucky to get them — I’m afraid to say that they’re no longer available. But if you’re still looking for a gift for the punctuation-phile in your life, worry not: ladies and gentlemen, I present to you the inaugural Shady Characters holiday gift guide!

Cheese & crackers serving board from UncommonGoods of Brooklyn. (Image courtesy of UncommonGoods.)
Cheese & crackers serving board from UncommonGoods of Brooklyn. (Image courtesy of UncommonGoods.)

First up is this excellent ampersand cheese board from UncommonGoods of Brooklyn, New York. And really, is there anything else to say? The only thing that could improve this would be for it to be inscribed with a pilcrow or interrobang instead. The price is a little rich at $48, but surely this is worth the outlay of some hard-earned cheddar.

Next is a slightly more tangential gift. Type:Rider is a peaceful, pleasant stroll through the history of typography in the form of a video game for Android and iOS devices. It’s a lovely experience — this is no frantic shoot-’em-up — in which the player controls a mobile colon* on a journey through ten different typographic worlds, from the Renaissance to the present day. It’s all accompanied by some lovely music. Even if you aren’t the video gaming sort (or, er, the object of your gift-giving isn’t the video gaming sort), Type:Rider is still more than worth the few dollars it costs. Give it a go!

Karl Weicholds Interrobang Vermouth. (Image courtesy of Interrobang LLC.)
Karl Weichold’s Interrobang Vermouth. (Image courtesy of Interrobang LLC.)

If Type:Rider’s puzzles prove to be too taxing, maybe it’s time for a relaxing cocktail instead? As covered here a few months back, Karl Weichold of Oregon’s Willamette Valley produces the delightfully-named Interrobang Sweet Vermouth, which would no doubt go down a treat in a Manhattan or Negroni. Unfortunately, only natives of the Pacific Northwest need apply; I’ve been unable to hunt down an online source for Mr Weichold’s liqueur, but if any readers do manage to lay their hands on a bottle I’d love to hear what you think of it.

Ben's Garden 'Symbol' Coaster Set. (Image courtesy of Nordstrom.)
Ben’s Garden ‘Symbol’ Coaster Set. (Image courtesy of Nordstrom.)

Of course, now you have that glass in your hand, it’d be nice to have somewhere to put it down safely. Enter Nordstrom’s ‘Symbol’ coasters: four coasters bearing symbols that will warm the cockles of the punctuation-loving heart. And just think — as the recipient of this thoughtful gift unwraps it, you’ll be able to regale them with tales of how the octothorpe, @-symbol, and ampersand came about in the first place. Assuming, that is, that you remembered to order that copy of Shady Characters you’d been meaning to buy since the paperback came out last month.

Thanks for reading, and for putting up with my excruciating gameshow-esque patter. It just comes naturally, honest. If you do end up giving any of these gifts this holiday season, do leave a comment to let us know how it went!

If “mobile colon” sounds like a medical condition, that’s because, well, it is

3 comments on “The 2014 Shady Characters gift guide

  1. Comment posted by Korhomme on

    [*] mobile colon. Sorry to disappoint you, but as a medical condition this doesn’t exist. The paper you link to is from the mid 1930s when visceroptosis (saggy innards) was a very vogue diagnosis in cases of chronic abdominal pain. There was an acrimonious battle about treatment between those who thought that the droopy bits should be fixed back in their correct position (pexyists) and those who would remove them (extomists).

    Anatomical descriptions are based on the prone position, but x-rays in the 1920s and onwards showed that organs drooped when erect pictures were taken. This, however, is entirely normal.

    It took a while for this non-existent diagnosis to be recognised for what is was.

    1. Comment posted by Keith Houston on

      Hi Korhomme — thanks for the correction. It was worth getting it wrong so as to hear the reasoning behind why it was wrong!

  2. Comment posted by Pool Party in Gurgaon on

    Awesome work.Just wanted to drop a comment and say I am new to your blog and really like what I am reading.Thanks for the share

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