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August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
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Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

The Name is Shrdlu… Etaoin Shrdlu

It was Howard Weaver who introduced me to the phrase ETAOIN SHRDLU—the most frequently-used letters in English, in order, as lined up on old typesetting machines. World Wide Words adds a dimension: a list of appearances the phrase has made in literature, including this…

[…] a once-famous play, The Adding Machine, in which Etaoin Shrdlu was a character.

…to which I say: YES, of course Etaoin Shrdlu is, must be, a character. Possibly Celtic/Croatian. Possibly a poet. Possibly a spy. Possibly a poet/spy.

Somebody write a story starring media man of mystery Etaoin Shrdlu right now.

(Via my favorite new twitterer, @thatwhichmatter.)

August 5, 2009 / Uncategorized

One comment

The first appearance of Etaoin Shdrlu in the public record is the issuance of a Reader Identification Card in 1976 from the main building of the Library of Congress (now known as the Thomas Jefferson Building). Shrdlu, born in Minsk in 1951 to an American mother studying Eastern European folk dances, began his daily trips to the library on Monday, July 5 — the day after the Bicentennial celebrations. He attracted the notice of the staff by his strange book requests and by remaining in the famous circular reading room all day for the next several months.

The Etaoin Shrdlu broadsheets have been discovered in their entirety at this point, though collecting the early days

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