Gutter #14

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Arno Pro Light. Helvetica Neue Thin. Helvetica Neue Regular. Micron 01, Graphic 1, Brush. Moleskine.

There are over 3400 species of snakes all over the globe except Antarctica. Snakes are snaky because they don’t have legs, eyelids or external ears. Thus they travel by slithering (undulating), which contributes to their sneaky reputation. It’s not their fault they don’t make footsteps. They are covered with overlapping scales that are usually patterned and colored to resemble their environs lending to their protection from predators. But then there are banded snakes that are stylish and send the message to stay clear—they will kill you. Contrary to their evil rep, snakes symbolize transformation, immortality and rebirth largely because they annually shed their skin. Cool yes, cuddly and cute no.

Invented around 1847, the handheld pencil sharpener has stayed very true to its original design. Also called a ‘prism’ or ‘pocket’ sharpener, it has no moving parts and relies on the operator to rotate the pencil to produce the sharpening action. The block-shaped sharpener consists of a combined point-shaping cone that is aligned to the tapered cylindrical guide hole, into which the pencil is inserted. A blade is mounted so that its sharp edge just clips the edge of the pencil shaving off both wood and graphite. Half the fun of sharpening a pencil is the satisfying shaving that curls out of the top of the sharpener signaling progress. Though the computer has sharply reduced the number of sharpeners (and pencils) around the office, the classic sharpener is still an essential in cosmetic bags worldwide.