Minh’s Notes

Human-readable chicken scratch

Minh Nguyễn
May 7th, 2005


School approves budget for 2005-06 school year

School Approves Budget for 2005-06 School Year

Typewriters for each student to form significant portion of budget
Minh Nguyễn

The St. Xavier High School Board of Trustees (SXBOT) this week announced the approval of its $360 billion annual budget for the 2005-06 school year. Among the typical allocations – SmartCarts™, SmartBoards™, and SmartPeople™ – the budget for next year includes a surprising addition: funds will be allotted for the purchase of typewriters for each student, beginning with a pilot program for the Class of 2009.

The Smith-Corona Electra XT is being considered for all students in the 2005-06 school year.

This comes on the heels of the personal PDAs that were proposed for each student three years ago. With the new program, the school hopes to surpass Archbishop Moeller High School as the city’s leader in educational technology and position itself at the forefront of student productivity. “We’ll definitely have more advanced technology than [Moeller] will,” Principal David B. Mueller ’72 said in response to a Blueprint inquiry. “Typewriters beat laptops hands down.”

As a majority of students are undoubtedly aware, the school already owns a typewriter, located in the John F. Hussong Writing Center. “I think this is a good thing,” said Mr. James Downie, who uses the existing typewriter on a regular basis. “Too many students currently use the typewriter; this should shorten the line, so that I can start typing again.”

Others were not so enthusiastic when they learned of the decision to fund this program. “Now I’ll have to teach [the students] how to type, how to use the correction tape, how to clear the margins, and how to turn [the typewriter] on,” complained Ms. Julia Conlon, Chief Information Officer at the school. “They should have contacted me about this first.” Ms. Conlon is now considering replacing the many computers around the school with nickel typewriters. (Due to inflation, however, five minutes worth of typing will cost three dollars.)

Several freshman expressed concern that they would not be able to play games with the new typewriters, and that their graphing calculators would soon be replaced with analog adding machines. In class yesterday, Mr. Mark Hoar assured his students that they would be taught how to program their typewriters, using the ubiquitous Machine Code language.

The school still has to work out several pressing issues, such as the actual model of typewriter that will be used. A leading candidate for the program is the 80’s-era, American-made Smith-Corona Electra XT series, selected for being small and lightweight. It weighs a mere ten pounds, and its durable, black carrying case measures 16″×14″×5″. Unlike the ink used by the numerous printers throughout the school campus, characters printed using the Electra XT are erasable, using a standard pink rubber or plastic eraser.

The Electra XT lacks a one key, instead placing a margin release key next to the two key.

Many members of the Board feared that its lack of a 1 (one) key will cause students unnecessary confusion as they accidentally press the 2 key instead. Mr. Jim Brower, however, reassured the Board by proving that 1=2. The user is expected to press the L key, which will yield a lowercase letter l, but a mathematical solution was deemed more elegant.

The English department is apparently in favor of the Electra XT, because many famous authors, including Joseph Heller, Joyce Carol Oates, William Styron, and Allen Ginsberg, have used the portable model in the past. The department hopes that future students at St. Xavier will carry on this important literary tradition.

Reliable sources indicate that the move may be motivated by an eleventh-hour decision by the College Board to allow typewriters “with QWERTY keypads” on the Writing section of the New SAT this year.

This article was originally submitted to the Blueprint’s Backside section, but was never published. It is reprinted here for your reading enjoyment.


  1. The post that you’ve all been waiting for: last week, the Blueprint finally published its last issue of the year (take two), replete with three pages of

  2. Friday night, I was obligated to attend the tale of Sweeney Todd – the Demon Barber of Fleet Street, for all of you not in the know. I have a few nitpicks, but it was incredibly well-done!

  3. I guess I’m not a manager.

  4. A keyboard layout for typing fully-accented Vietnamese into any Mac application: you strike multiple keys, one letter comes out. Not the best way to avoid Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, but you just try talking to someone without any vowels. Isn’t happe...


  1. Rick Coffey

    This is in response to the notes posted on April 17, critiquing TX's production of "Sweeney Todd."

    You sated:

    "Not to give too much away, but in Act 1, Scene 2, Rick had a great opportunity to show some real emotion, when he found out (erroneously) that his wife had been killed and his daughter taken from him. The words did make it clear that Mr. Todd mourned their loss, but Rick simply sat their on a stool saying the lines with non-noteworthy expression. Perhaps he was attempting to portray a tinge of anger even then, but it didn’t really show: it was just said."

    To begin with, Sweeney was already aware of what happened to his wife, which is made clear in Act 1 Scene 1. He tells of the fall of his wife and the inevitable fall of his daughter ("And she would fall, so soft, so young, so lost and oh, so beautiful"). Thus, the extent of Sweeney's shocked remorse is minimal at this point. This response is conveyed in the final scene when he discovers the true identity of the beggar woman.

    Secondly, Sweeney is not one to display his emotions on his sleeve. Rather, he suppresses them until the remorse turns into anger, which, contrary to what you stated, did show in Act 1, Scene 2. Sweeney throws himself from the chair, shouting, regains his composure, and states his plan to kill the Judge and Beadle.

    It is no error that Sweeney found out that his wife had been “killed.” He states in Act 1 Scene 1 that he can be found “around Fleet Street, I wouldn’t wonder,” and that he has “somewhere to go, something to do now.” He purposely returns to his former home in search of Ms Lovett.

    Ms Lovett and Todd are both incredibly selfish and manipulative characters. Ms Lovett, on first sight of Todd, knows who he is (“I thought you was a ghost” is one of the first lines Ms Lovett says upon seeing Todd). She manipulates Todd through her recounting of the story in “Poor Thing,” while Todd manipulates Lovett through his expression of emotion.

    In Act 2 Scene 2 there should only be two points where Todd fully exposes his emotion physically. This is when he screams “No!” at the end of “Poor Thing,” and when his suppression turns into rage after he states “Fifteen years of hoping, praying, that I might come home to a loving wife and child.” I was sure to over-emphasize both of these moments in this production.

  2. Thanks for your comment, Rick. Now that you mention it, I do recall the last line that you mention (“Fifteen years”), and vaguely remember the others. It was very poignant, but for some reason, I forgot about that when I authored the entry. Thanks again.