Friday, September 25, 2009

Nifty Neat-O Penmanship

Friday, September 25, 2009

To wrap up this week's "virtual" tour, we're heading over to Neatorama, repository of all things interesting. From geek crafts to fascinating architecture, urban art to bizarre animal facts, there's a little of everything here.

While debating what Wreck theme to do for Neatorama, I remembered this article titled "Is cursive handwriting necessary?", and I thought, hey, this would be an excellent time to voice my opinion on that very question!

Hem hem hem! Ok, here goes.

Firstly, I'd like to begin with:


In addition to:

(No wonder her hands were shaking; hellooo, creepy bear heads!)

Secondly, I'd like to point out:

(Poor Aligod.)

And furthermore...


Some skeptics, of course, disagree. To them I say:


So in conclusion, ladies and gentlemen:


Thank you all. I'll get off my soapbox now.


Ashleigh E., Anony M., Alison P., T.X., Heidi, & Abby M., I trust you got my point?


Don't miss my virtual visit with Alex, Neatorama's founder, here!

And if you live in Portland, don't forget to come see me and John at Powell's tonight!

- Related Wreckage: A Lesson in Proper Penmanship
Kate said...

I work at a writing center on a college campus and student came in, wanting help in writing his assignment in cursive. For whatever reason, his instructor wanted it handwritten in cursive--not typed--and this student had no idea how to write in cursive. It's quickly becoming a lost art.

Taylor@MyOlderBrothers said...

"Cogratulation" on decorating a cake with a squiggle-pen while having a seizure during an earthquake while driving offroad wearing a blindfold.

At least the bear-faced E.T. tapeworms distract from the mistakes.

Fahnette said...

Kate, that's sad! Lost art is right, cursive writing is something that's lovely and individual and can be very artistic. Did you ever find out why, was he not taught or did he forget how to write?

Man, those bear heads are frightening. I hope that wasn't for a small child. Heck, I know grownups that couldn't handle that cake. Yikes.

TheQueen@TerrorsInTiaras said...

Wow. Just wow.

JoMama said...

That second cake looks like someone's small intestine has been draped over a cake and then used to write with. Hideous!

Brandy said...

OMG, does that one really have "Ashley" scribbled out, then an "oops!" before "Ashleigh"??? Really? And I thought the ones where they've obviously scraped a word off and redone it were bad... I think that's FAR preferable to this.

Speaking of cursive, my little brother (who is now a freshman in college) was taught to print using this "Italics" alphabet (apparently you can write as well as type in italics, who knew?), that was designed to make printing similar to cursive so that all they'd have to do is connect the letters and *poof* it's cursive! But he still doesn't write in cursive, he just has goofy print handwriting.

Katie said...

Kate - that is SAD. What do they teach in schools? My daughter is in 4th grade and they've been working on cursive since the 2nd grade, so I know it's still being taught around here!

And the penmanship on those cakes is just atrocious. I work hard to make my naturally sloppy handwriting legible; these people obviously have not!

WriteCards said...

As a calligrapher and a current English teacher in China, I teach that while pronunciation is important, so is handwriting! Not all my students have computers (even though internet cafes/bars are common) so I receive much of their work in handwriting! I'm proud to say that theirs is soooo much better than these cakes! (What were those glow worm things?)

llama,llama not yo mama said...

OMG my eyes... they BURN!!!

wv: singbard

The Shakespearean equivalent of "Glee"...

dasunbekannte said...

Ouch. I can't even make out what the last one is supposed to say :(

Scrapingirl said...

Holy Moly!!! Those are terrible. I can't imagine picking up one of those.

Terry Lee said...

unbelievable. i'm speechless, which is a rare thing.

Becky said...

Oh my goodness... did they actually scribble out a name with icing, write "Oops!" next to it, and then try again?! That's.... that blows my mind. :)

rbnhood said...

Kate,
frankly speaking, I don't know if it's becoming a lost art too fast, or not nearly fast enough.
;-)

I feel much better about my own handwriting today.

Casey said...

Do they not teach that in the 3rd grade anymore? My goodness! ;)

HorribleLicensePlates said...

Remember those pens that move when you write to make "cool" swirly patterns? Maybe they have those for cakes now...

Taylor said...

I think the last one says:
Class of 04
5th Yr


Is that what I'm seeing? Can someone verify this is correct?

Anonymous said...

Actually, I think that they wrote "opps!" after Ashley rather than "oops!" Ouch.

Evalis said...

for the last one, my money is on:

"Cease boy
5th yr"

...which is passive-aggressive enough to be creepy/hilarious even without the horrible handwriting.

Tigerwolf said...

These aren’t just wrecks; they’re multi-vehicle pile-ups with explosions and screams of terror and Bruce Willis running from the scene screaming, “The icing! It’s gonna BLOW!!!” And then…nothing but sprinkles.

^..^

MaryAnne said...

Does the third one say 'Happy Birthday Aligod?'

What is with the special and unique baby names these days?

Melinda said...

I would not have paid for any of these cakes, unless it was with the specific purpose of sending it on to Jen. Speaking of, I am THIS CLOSE to buying these huge decorated chocolate chip cookies, because they pre-made a "banner" that goes on them so they have a space to write a name or occasion...only the banner looks a lot like a male member.

Dr. Wifey said...

This reminds me of when I was in high school and worked at the local grocery store. I worked in the customer service booth. One night after the bakery had closed a customer wanted a cake, so I went back and got one for her. She wanted writing on the cake. "Happy Birthday Junior!" Writing on cakes is harder than it looks! After she saw the effort it took just to make the H, she told me just to write H.B. Jr. LOL

Char said...

Please tell me those were practice cakes!

I Love Baby Quilts! said...

That second to last one looks like a competent decorator made three of the borders, then went on a cigarette break and a 2 year old took over to do the front border and writing! Or maybe the competent decorator took halucinatory drugs and they just kicked in as she was getting to the front border.

Auntie Meme said...

Cake 2: Because every dieter needs a tapeworm cake.

And...drumroll please...the BEST. VERIFICATION. EVAH!

"upeed"

It just writes itself.

Krusho said...

Sadly, I don't think that says "oops." I think it says "opps!"

HOW do those cakes make it to the case? HOW do these decorators still retain their jobs? Oi.

Adnoxious said...

Those are all really bad, but the first one is LSD-tastic!

adnoxious.blogspot.com

Tralix said...

It took a bit, but I believe that last cake says:

Class of 04
5th Yr

Stella said...

OK, well, even when I took my glasses off to read the screen, I still couldn't make out what any of the names. Gees, i hope my vision is alright. :)

thks for the chuckle - taylor@myolderbrothers, you took the words outta my mouth...

Suzie Q said...

My daughter asked what "cursive" was, and my husband said "It's a lazy way of writing." D:
Afterwards, I laid into him about it.
I have really bad penmanship;it's genetic -- my dad has nearly illegible handwriting, and my paternal grandmother had to write really, really slow to make her hand writing look neat.
But I would never assume that I could work as a professional cake decorator. Nor would I assume I could fill-in for one. I hope none of these people had to pay for these messes.

Bin said...

That Ashleigh cake...
they even spelled oops wrong! (opps!)

That last cake looks to me like it says "Class of OU 5th yr"

I have no clue who the yellow and blue cake is for.

And I think you guys are seeing pink bear heads where there are none, just to try to make sense of a horrible wreck.

The Little Tracy Fam said...

I can't believe they put "oops" on a cake. I think I would have preferred an obvious smear from them wiping the frosting off and re-writing it. Also, I am so excited to see you guys tonight!!

Amy said...

Either a doctor or a pre-schooler did these. Just not sure which.

And, yes, Kate, you're right. Cursive is becoming a lost art. Especially the elegant handwriting of the 40's and earlier..sad.

Amy B

FiberQat said...

Have fun in Portland! Be sure to stop by Voodoo Donuts.

Ashleigh E. said...

Re: the first cake... I'm the Ashleigh in question, and my friend got the "misspelled" cake as a joke. (As you can imagine, a lot of people misspell my name.) We thought it was doubly hilarious that the decorator accidentally misspelled "oops"!

RB said...

I learned a handwriting method similar to the one Brandy described, except that in the mid-80s they called it D'Nealian. All of the letters had little tails on them, and the premise was that when it came time to write in cursive you would already be halfway there. It backfired though, and everyone I know who learned that method has the most appalling handwriting. I actually don't know HOW to print, my handwriting is mostly cursive and completely illegible. Although that's precisely the reason why I can time 100+ WPM, which is partly how I make my living, so...thanks, D'Nealian!

Jennifer B said...

I can't even tell what the last one says and I've been staring at it for five minutes.

Lauren said...

Neatorama is quite possibly one of my favorite sites ever. I'm glad it got a feature on your fabulous blog! :) Oh, and all that horrible handwriting? I think I know a guy that can do worse without trying, lol, however he is smart enough not to be in the cake decorating business.

Anonymous said...

Oh man, Taylor@myolderbrothers you made me laugh so much :)

siltedrepose said...

Ok, I'm going to go practice my handwriting now. It's not as bad as those, but somehow that's not much consolation.

The Honorable Mayor of Bethville said...

And on the third day, Aligod made croutons. And he tried them on a salad. And they were good.

Leslie said...

I'm sure there's lots of reasons that cursive is a dying art. For me, it died when my 7th grade English teacher mocked me mercilessly about what she decried as "the worst handwriting she'd ever seen" and started marking down perfectly good essays because she allegedly couldn't read them. The other teachers I showed them to had no problem reading them, however. So to spite her I started writing everything in regular old text and it just stuck. I think these cakes might be enough to give her a nervous breakdown, which secretly makes me very happy.
To this day, 20 something years later, the only thing I use cursive for is my signature.
WV is tardis...your geekiness is oozing into the word verification software, Jen. Not that that's a bad thing. :-D

Stephanie said...

I'd just like to say that I like the "Ashley" crossed out, followed by "oops!," followed by "Ashleigh." At what point do these icing technicians decide the cake is too damaged to keep? Not soon enough, I suppose.

Trevor said...

Seriously, that second cake? They aren't bears. They're worms. Probably tape worms come to get the sugar off the cake. They look like rejects from Alien, actually.

Brenda said...

In defence of the second cake (pink) that's more an "icing fail" than a writing fail.

That's someone squeezing the bag too hard and too far from the cake, possibly the icing is too runny or has chunks in it, as well.

BTDT on the way to learning how to half-assed ice cakes.

Michelle S. said...

A friend of mine who is 30 said they did not teach cursive in his schools growing up (rural Pennsylvania). Apparently there are some teachers who see it as an archaic form of writing. Not only can he not write cursive, but his printed hand is so bad I cannot read it, and he can barely read his own hand. He's also an atrocious speller when he communicates with text. What do they teach in school now? Everything you would ever want to know or learn can be googled in an instant.

Michelle S. said...

A friend of mine who is 30 said they did not teach cursive in his schools growing up (rural Pennsylvania). Apparently there are some teachers who see it as an archaic form of writing. Not only can he not write cursive, but his printed hand is so bad I cannot read it, and he can barely read his own hand. He's also an atrocious speller when he communicates with text. What do they teach in school now? Everything you would ever want to know or learn can be googled in an instant.

WATERBABY CHRISTINE said...

Opps indeed!
wv: skerba

It's not cursive writing, it's just skerbaling.

Norkio said...

Does that first cake say "Happy Birthday A$$hole"??? Wow. Seriously bad.

Norkio said...

@ Brandy, my dad moved during grade school and the school he left hadn't started cursive, but the school he went to had already covered it. He did the same thing - connect the printed letters. He still has sort of odd looking handwriting and he's 76. There's hope for your brother. :-)

raych said...

I am a long-time Wrecks devotee but I do not often lolz. I just wanted to reiterate: Poor Aligod indeed.

Nimras said...

I'm 27, and I never learned cursive in school... Growing up I was always under the assumption that it was an archaic form of writing that had been replaced by typing!

Though my printed writing is (I'm told) quite pretty and very easy to read, which is what my teachers all focused on. We were always graded on spelling and legibility.

Can't wait to see you tonight, Jen!

gayle said...

My friend and i were having this very discussion the other day. She's a spanish teacher and she spent an entire class period teaching the kids how to sign their name because none of them knew how!!!

Also - so sad! I just moved away from portland! Enjoy the rose city!

Melissa (& Billy) said...

0_0

That's all. Just 0_0

(come to think of it, that's my reaction to a lot of your posts!)

denestria said...

*head tilt*
I'm pretty sure some of those are written in Kanji.

action jaqson said...

No, I believe the last cake says:
Cesspool
Stir-fry

Anonymous said...

Creepy bear heads? I thought they were screaming tapeworms!

The Queen of Chaos said...

I openly admit to having poor handwriting, my grandfather still rolls in his grave, but OMGOSH what the HELL are some of those trying to say?

Stephanie said...

Hem hem hem!

Don't let Dolores in the kitchen! I can imagine what she'd do if those were her students:
"Wrong again, but we're out of time. Go home, you're hemorrhaging all over the cakes."

Juno said...

Sad, I love cursive. I'm 24 and still make changed to my cursive to make it more elegant. I also loved it when I was young and I could write in cursive and my younger siblings couldn't understand a word. :)

WV: grail
"Whhhaat, is your Quest?"
"I seek the Grail"
"Whhhaat, is your favourite colour?" "Blue!"

hollyml said...

"CogratuiottaH" and have some bear heads dangling from ribbons!? (Seriously? Those are bear heads? I'm not sure I see it.)

Totally LLOL today, good job Jen.

Elleah said...

Those were the worst writing I've ever seen!

abi said...

Okay, so the first cake was intentionally misspelled (well, except the "opps," which is delightfully ironic); but what's the excuse for the way the globby balloons are bleeding color onto the white icing? Just how old do you think that cake was??

Buffy said...

I am trying desperately to laugh quietly, so as not to wake my husband, while tears roll down my cheeks. Poor, poor Aligod!

Monica said...

I believe the creepy bear head on the left is a different part of creepy bear anatomy....

Keeley said...

Doctors turned Wreckerators--that's where these came from! They're changing professions before the health-care reform.

WV: profflan--these cakes make Jen use profflanity. Also, these make me anti-cake and profflan.

Trude said...

Oh sweet Jesus. I just laughed so hard I cried! Thanks for brightening my afternoon. :)

Doug said...

Die cursive DIE!!!!

(I HATED writing cursive in elementary school, it took way too long to write and was illegible (at least when I wrote it.))

See ya at Powells! :D

batshua said...

Meh, some of us are not blessed with beautiful handwriting despite our best efforts. I *failed* handwriting in third grade -- and despite having good grades in EVERY other class, they tried to hold me back. I can write, it's legible, and I can sign my name, but for whatever reason, I cannot do cursive.

frigglesnitz said...

Cease fou 5th yr? Is that Navy Seal for something?

Did they actually cross out the wrong spelling on the first cake?

Oh, the aneurysms.

Peachkins said...

They did not cross out "Ashley" on that first cake and write "oops" next to it. I know I must be seeing things.

Josh (the DMT) said...

Wow. All I have to say to that is a very simple "Hapoy Bartkdai 7tk Lirka!" I'm sure it would look better if I wrote it in icing.

Josh

http://thedmtblogspot.com

homeschool mamma said...

Creepy bear heads? I thought they were flamingos.
Bev

CanCan (Mom Most Traveled) said...

Makes me sad that people actually paid money for these crappy cakes. What a bummer!
It is more lazy than just your average crappy decorations.r

Melissa said...

That one cake looks like when ET was dying next to Elliot.

Anonymous said...

I am currently teaching 5th grade and have taught 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grade. What do we teach in school? Reading, Math, Science, Social Studies, Good Citizenship, Critical Thinking Skills, Work Ethic - we teach kids how to be productive citizens in our future world. Seriously, you can't just "google" everything and have a well-rounded education.

Secondly, our school teachers handwriting in the 3rd grade, but from then on its up to the students as to whether or not they print or write in cursive. We have to be very careful how we use our time with our students. Having an extra fifteen minutes to enrich math, reading, or science is much more valuable then harping about handwriting. Besides, how often do you use cursive other than to sign your name?

Oh - and D'Nealian is the most popular form of handwriting b/c it does have a nice carry over to cursive. D'Nealian printing does not necessarily have to be sloppy - it all depends upon the writer.

Julie said...

Too funny. I once dumped off a cake in a different dept in Wal Mart after they handed me the one they screwed up. Childish I know, but I didn't feel like shelling out 20 bucks for bad penmanship.

Jennifer said...

"Aligod" had me laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes.

Heidi said...

I actually sent in the photograph of the Yellow and Blue one and it said Happy Birthday and then sideways Morgan. We saw it as we were leaving Fuddruckers in NJ in the refrigerator and had to open the fridge and take a picture of it. We desperately wanted to go over to the tables where they were holding the party and give Morgan a hug for the terrible cake she was about to receive.

That said, I love the first one - you gotta love someone that has the balls to cross off someone's misspelled name, write opps and then write it right and make someone buy it.

deromanticize said...

I am 22 and went to a Montessori school, where we ONLY learned cursive. When I switched to public school in 6th grade I gradually started writing in print more and more in order to fit in with how everyone else wrote. Now my cursive is horrible and ugly.

~ L. K. said...

I wish our teachers required us to give out homework handwritten. I absolutely love writing things out. However most of my courses are large, so the teacher can't grade over 300 students for just ONE of her classes :P

When I took the SAT, it took us around half an hour to get past the cursive stage. The woman in charge had to help everyone individually, teaching them for, the first time in their life, how to do cursive. (Thing is, I'm fairly certain that some had never written period.)

Although, not so humbly, I have extraordinarily beautiful handwriting. Even when I hurriedly jot down notes in classes, they're clear and pretty. (Everyone tells me so, so it's thankfully not just arrogance, haha!)

sasagawa-chan said...

I don't get how people just don't care about their handwriting on a cake. I'm not a decorator but I do work in a bakery, and it only took me around 3 weeks to write 1000x nicer than these cakes. In cursive. How can they continually not get yelled at and wrote up for that?

Priscilla said...

Er... what exactly did that last cake say??

Diana said...

was that last cake supposed to say "Class of 04 5th yr"???? Are they giving cake to 5th years seniors now? I didn't get cake from my school and I graduated in the time allotted by the school board.

Rana said...

For me the answer of "why cursive" is pretty clear: It's far faster to write neatly in cursive (if you have practice) than it is to print. If you're having to take notes and want them to be legible later, or if you're having to write under time pressure (as when taking an exam) it's pretty important to be able write quickly and clearly.

It's not just "fancy" writing that looks pretty. It's meant to be practical and efficient.

Tanja said...

posts like this irritate me a little. i filled in for a girl who broke her arm in an albertsons bakery once. i was expected to personalize the cakes if someone wanted it, but they gave me no training and with my closing duties, there was never time for me to practice. my penmanship was atrocious and there was nothing i could do about it.

Haiku Joy said...

The Prayer of an Untrained Cake Decorator

O Pastry Bag, be
Thou kind to this fearful cake.
I need rent. Amen.

Tom said...

I look at health claim forms most of the day, many hand written. And I constantly find myself wondering why someone would let a 4 year old fill out something as important as a health claim.

I see now that some of these preschoolers are also into cake decorating! Too precious!

Tom said...

I suppose the Ashley/opps/Ashleigh cake COULD be intentional...maybe folks have been misspelling her name for years, and now it's sort of a running gag in her life.

But "opps" has ALWAYS bothered me! "opps" would rhyme with hops. It should be "oops". There, I've gotten it off my chest!

Djinn said...

I lament the demise of cursive handwriting! After teaching school for many years, I am now hearing students complain that they cannot read the instructions on the board unless I print. Worse yet, they grumble about all the "hard words" in my lectures and want me to simplify the vocabulary. These sad cakes demonstrate that this is a national problem.

Shelly said...

I will verify the last cake's

Class '04
5th yr

I also graduated in 2004 and we just had our 5 year reunion. That would help give the cake a purpose although the delivery is all wrong : )

Anonymous said...

Are those items on the second cake REALLY BEARS? I thought they were just ugly garlands and flowers! Cake Rorschach test!

valarina_palemina said...

Re: the cursive writing thing-I recently saw an internet article saying how schools are skipping all but 1 year of cursive. Instead, they are focusing on computer skills. Can't you do both? How sad. BTW, we homeschool, and my 7 year old's cursive handwriting is better than most adults...

valarina_palemina said...

re: the cursive writing thing: I recently read an internet article about how schools are now skipping cursive writing (instead they are training in computer skills). This woman's 8th grade daughter didn't know how to SIGN HER NAME. That's one reason we homeschool-my 7 year old's cursive handwriting is better than most adults...sad.

alison said...

lol, poor Aligod indeed! That is the best cake ever!

A) my name is Alison (Ali to my brother)
B) it is in my brother's handwriting EXACTLY.

I know what cake i'm demanding for my next birthday!

Craig said...

At first, I read 'Aligoo', which also makes no sense unless it's a nickname bestowed by a 6-month old. Then a CFL went on over my head (it was dim at first, but only took 20 minutes to reach full brightness -- thanks, Congress!) and I read 'Ali 600'. When someone begins their 7th century, it ought to rate more than a badly written cake.

Auditions Los Angeles said...

With most of these cakes, they were better off being left blank. It's astonishing what bad penmanship can do. Can't they just spell with candles and make it easier for everyone?