The Sunday Edition — March 29, 2020

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Way back when, I published weekly link roundups here which I coined “The Sunday Edition”. It was fun, but tiresome — there’s simply no way I could have ever kept up the pace with the way life has been over the last few years.

Nothing worthwhile comes easy — The Sunday Edition was always the most read piece on The Newsprint. It was the business avenue I would have taken with The Newsprint if push came to shove.

I think I’ve actively tried to revive The Sunday Edition multiple times since its heyday. I lasted maybe two or three weeks and then peetered off.

Which is to say, I’d be surprised if this became a thing again.

Here are a couple things that have been on my mind this week, which may drum up some conversation around your family coffee table this afternoon and evening.

Toddlers and iPads

We have tons of kids books in the house for our oldest (now two-and-a-half) to churn through, and she indeed churns through them — she’s not reading, of course, but letter recognition and number recognition is growing by the day. It’s the most amazing thing, watching young children learn.

However, if our oldest isn’t looking through books, drawing, or sticking number magnets on the fridge, she’s asking for the iPad. I spend a lot of time in front of a screen — who am I to look at her and tell her she shouldn’t be in front of a screen?

That said, the iPad has so much going for it as a learning device. It’s the best device in the world for high school and university students — I’ve tried to hammer this home as often as possible on The Sweet Setup. And I don’t believe it’s impossible for it to be a revolutionary learning device for toddlers.

But how to manage it?

I’m going to reach out to others with children a few years older to see how they’ve managed it. Mike Schmitz put it bluntly: The goal should be to create, not to consume.

I love this.

Right now, it’s my leading approach.

I’m thinking we’re going to pick up Apple’s cheapest iPad (the 10.2-inch iPad) for her in the coming weeks.

“I’ve Heard Now is a Good Time to Invest.”

That’s been stated at least a dozen times in the last couple days at the office. The answer to which is just as obvious:

“Who knows where it’s going to go.”

I won’t pretend to have a clue what’s going to happen in the stock market, but I will be observant to the way the world has reacted in this time of crisis.

People have flocked to Netflix and Disney+ to pass the time. Remote workers are spending even more time on Slack, while new companies are signing up for Slack on a daily basis. Amazon is looking to hire 100,000 workers.

And here in Canada, Western Canadian Select oil is down to $7.200 a barrel. It costs more to ship that barrel of oil than it does to purchase that barrel of oil.

So where’s the world going? How is it going to react? Will the market return to former highs in a relatively quick period?

No clue.

But! I have my eyes on a few super duper cheap stocks right now and my fingertips are getting itchy.

If this article from the Financial Post is to be believed, it’s better to be approximately correct than to sit out and wait for things to come to complete certainty. By that point, you’re too late.

On Philippians 4:13

This verse seems to be written everywhere — tattooed on arms, printed on goalie helmets, and eating up character counts in Twitter bios. It’s pretty inspirational, to be sure:

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

(When I grew up, I always thought that should have been “Him”, not “him”.)

You can! I’ve always believed that, as we should. But I always believed it meant something like this:

It wasn’t until this week that I paid more attention to the two preceding verses, which help give context to Philippians 4:13. They read:

Not that I am speaking of being in need, for I have learned in whatever situation I am to be content. I know how to be brought low, and I know how to abound. In any and every circumstance, I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and need.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

I think those two verses from Paul have stuck with me for a few reasons this week. First, because the immature point of view of Philippians 4:13 is represented in the graph above. A more mature point of view, in my opinion, looks something like this:

And second, because we really are in a time of need. We’ve had utter abundance over the last 15 to 20 years. So much extra. So much superfluous stuff. The absolutely sudden shift from having it all to having nothing is terrifying. Yet, we’re called to be as content as before.


Thanks for reading. If anything, I hope there’s a conversation starter in here for your afternoon coffee. We’ve changed our coffee tastes up around here because the grocer we’ve purchased from is 115 kilometres away. Instead, we’re trying more local producers. It’s been a great chance to get to know the local market.

Here’s one of my favourite photos, which hopefully acts as a reminder that the world is a beautiful place and that we’ll be able to get back out there and explore in no time.

Hope everyone has a safe and blessed week ahead.

Supported By

Marius Masalar Reviews the Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L Lens

Thursday, March 19, 2020

My friend Marius has tons of product connections, likely because he’s talented, rational, and fair in his reviews. He spent a couple weeks with the venerable Canon RF 50mm f/1.2L lens recently and had a few words to say:

Studio, wedding, and other fair weather photographers have less to gain, but that won’t stop them from buying this lens anyway. It’s desirable, and sometimes we buy things not because we need them but because we want them. I think that’s perfectly fine if you can make the purchase responsibly, especially if it brings you satisfaction and inspiration.

For those photographers, buying this lens represents the epitome of chasing that last ten percent of sparkle, of polish, of specialness in their output—even though it’s almost certain that only they will notice and appreciate it.

There is nothing conservative about this lens. It is a marvel of photographic technology and I’m grateful to have had the chance to shoot with it.

Knowing that this kind of talent is being poured into Canon’s new products really builds confidence in the future of the RF mount, particularly since all of these advancements will trickle down to the lenses that the rest of us can afford.

This is, of course, all correct — I’m not sure the analysis could be more spot on.

When I purchased the Canon EOS R at the beginning of January, I planned to initially purchase the RF 35mm f/1.8 Macro STM and then save for a few months to buy the RF 50mm f/1.2L. After some additional deliberation, I convinced myself to put the 50mm aspirations aside and save up for the RF 70-200mm f/2.8L instead.

Thanks to Marius, I’m back to where I started.

There are three specific reasons I want the RF 50mm f/1.2L:

  1. I prefer the 50mm focal length to the 85mm focal length for portraits. I tend to prefer portraits with additional background context. I also prefer full-body portraits, and the 50mm focal length means I don’t have to step back as far to nab the full-body photograph.
  2. The f/1.2 aperture is big, wide, razor thin, and fast. Too fast, for all intents and purposes — I doubt that thin depth of field would throw more eyes out of focus than it would keep in focus. But subject separation at a distance matters a lot to me (again, think of full-body portraits) and the fast aperture allows for even faster shutter speeds when shooting indoors. My two little girls seem to move faster and faster each day, so the faster shutter speeds are tremendously helpful to snag more indoor keepers.
  3. I tend to prefer 50mm-85mm focal lengths when shooting product photos for The Sweet Setup. These focal lengths feel more immersive, in my opinion. My small bedroom office has walls that hit quickly when using an 85mm focal length. A 50mm focal length is perfect for my little home office and for getting the angles I prefer to shoot.

So, clearly, preference is king here.

I’m not sure which lens is next on my list at this point. I’d like to stick it out and see how Canon releases new lenses with all the shipping delays in the world, but there’s not a single day that goes by where I’m not clamouring for additional focal lengths for my EOS R.

The RF 50mm f/1.2L just snuck back up to the top of the list thanks to Marius.

Apple Announces New iPad Pros and New Magic Keyboard

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

I checked Twitter at about 7:15AM CST this morning and left for the office around 7:30AM CST. By the time I arrived at 7:45AM CST, Apple’s latest iPad Pros had dropped. There was no time to read about the new iPads and accessories — I ordered a 256GB, Wi-Fi, Silver, 11-inch iPad Pro with Cactus Smart Folio case and then began reading about the new devices after putting in the order.

I received an email yesterday from Marcus P. asking whether I would be keeping my 12.9-inch iPad Pro or if I’d be moving to the smaller 11-inch iPad Pro. I intended on writing a blog post to answer his email from the very start, but I didn’t expect brand new iPad Pros to drop the next day. Alas, Marcus has his ultimate answer.

Why the 11-inch this time?

I use my 12.9-inch iPad Pro for a lot of work purposes. The full size Smart Folio Keyboard lends itself well for responding to emails and messages at the office, or for writing short blog posts like this one. The big display also works great for multi-tasking, editing photos, and more.

But I can’t remember the last time I pulled out this iPad to read the news or answer messages on the couch. This iPad has been effectively rendered itself to being a desktop iPad. Some people swear by this 12.9-inch size. But I just can’t get comfortable using this iPad anywhere other than a desk.

My ultimate reservation about the 11-inch iPad Pro has always been the Smart Keyboard size. I’ve tested the size in the Apple Store on numerous occasions and always came away feeling I’d hate to use the small keyboard for any sort of long form writing. I’m sure I’ll get used to the smaller app windows when multi-tasking. I’m sure photo editing won’t be impeded in any major sort of way. But I’m most afraid of that smaller hardware keyboard.

The upcoming Magic Keyboard doesn’t really change any of these reservations, though its additional features definitely make it worth a try. How they’ll be able to cram a trackpad into that tiny keyboard is beyond me. But, with hard key caps, additional key travel, backlighting, and an additional USB-C port, it’ll certainly be worth an extended trial run. The extra USB-C port on its own may well change how certain people use the iPad Pro — I could very easily see the new Magic Keyboard becoming a dock more than a keyboard, as the extra port allows for a powered connection and the ability to instantly undock by simply grabbing the iPad. USB-C docks are sure to see a boost in usage with this new Magic Keyboard.

And the trackpad, of course, will be revolutionary for some. The accessibility cursor currently available has gone almost unused for me, so I’m unsure how cursor support will affect my usage. We’ll see.

Ultimately though, the Magic Keyboard to me is secondary this time around, even though it would have been the primary driver in any prior iPad buying decision. For every other iPad, it’s always been about how I can do more writing and more work on the device. This time, I’m wanting to have more fun with the device.

The iPad and Smart Folio are set to arrive on March 25 or 26th. I’ve shipped them to my home, as I assume I’ll be working from home at that point in time. And on the day of arrival, I’m sure there won’t be any real working from home.

A Few Thoughts on Coronavirus, Since That’s What We’re All Thinking About

Monday, March 16, 2020

Everyone has thoughts about this whole thing. You kind of have to — in some shape or form, it feels like this virus has affected every person on the planet. If not, the number has to be 6 billion of us, at least.

I also don’t want to be the 10 billionth person to chime in on things. Eventually, these thoughts will be useless and eyeballs will glaze over.

For now though, since The Newsprint is kind of my public journal, I’d like to document a few things:

  • It’s very refreshing having a common problem for the whole world to fight against. No partisan politics on this one. Nobody to blame. We can pick someone to blame, but so far that has been mostly commonly denounced. For once, I find myself nodding my head in agreement with most of the stuff I find in the media and in social media.
  • It’s such a blessing to know this virus doesn’t really target children. Which isn’t to say “Hooray, get rid of the old people!” (Because remember, this isn’t political.) No, it’s just so good to know that our beautiful children are mostly safe and sound on this one. I can only imagine the horror if this affected children the way it affects the elderly.
  • I find it somewhat relieving knowing there isn’t something on the calendar every evening of the week right now. My exam is cancelled, so no study. Hockey is cancelled, so no supervising or watching playoff games on TV. Baseball is cancelled, so no practicing in the gym on Sundays (though I do want to break in a new glove). So I have lots of time to dedicate to my girls, to relax after a long day of work, and heck, maybe even to write a bit.
  • I still think there’s more grace to be had out there. I’ve read numerous tweets calling out those who are gathering in public places and in larger groups — vitriol such as “non-empathic, cowardly, arrogant, self-serving” has been thrown at these people. I think, if they’re gathering in large groups, it’s more a sign of how COVID-19 is affecting (or not affecting) their lives, and not a sign of the person’s qualities. Be patient and most people will come around.
  • It’s a lot easier to listen to those in positions of authority right now than it is to question every decision made, complain about the limitations, and to shout critiques from the stands. We have to assume everyone’s intentions are good, but that mistakes will be made along the way.
  • “Be patient”, he says! Aha! Josh is wrong. The WHO specialist said we have to be speedy, after all. Of course he’s right. But I do believe a moment or two of patience, breath, and wisdom can go a long way in times of panic. Meditation and prayer have gone a long, long way in the last week.
  • And finally, speaking of prayer: I’m so, so thankful to believe in a God that takes away fear.

Just a smattering for now. I’d like to keep things fairly positive going forward. It’s hard to get up and face the day right now, especially considering the only thing you can rely on is instability.

Hug those little ones extra tight and find glass-half-full moments wherever you can.

The Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

Sunday, March 01, 2020

Crossway Heirloom Wide Margin

The Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin is the more readable, more useful version of the Heirloom Single Column Legacy, but with a hinge that gets in the way.

Not that I receive a lot of email about my past Bible reviews, but I do occasionally. Whenever I do receive an email, it’s always about the Crossway ESV Heirloom Single Column Legacy.

I’m not exactly sure why, to be honest. Perhaps it’s something to do with the Legacy’s perfectly balanced single column of text. Perhaps it’s the simplicity of the page, being free of major cross-references and commentary. Whatever the reason, it seems to be the most popular Bible review I’ve written — the most popular review I’ve written for this site period, in fact.

My original review of the Legacy was pretty positive. It remains the most beautiful Bible I’ve ever seen, with it’s single column of text perfectly spaced in the margins and offset from the gutter. My Legacy’s goatskin leather cover is the very best leather cover I’ve come across so far. And, since it was my first premium Bible, it has a special place on my mantle that I admire every day.

Here’s the “but” though: Over time, despite the inherent beauty of the single column of text, I’ve come to dislike the Legacy for any actual reading. It’s terrible of me, I know. If I could, I’d use each Bible each day. For the most part, the Legacy is my least used Bible.

Most admired. Least used.

In my case, I’ve pinpointed my lack of usage to the lack of commentary and study resources as well as the overwhelming amount of text on each line. The 9 pt. font is wonderful and easy on the eyes, but that small font with that wide of a text block means a lot of characters per line.

I think this is why Crossway created the Heirloom Wide Margin. For all intents and purposes, the Heirloom Wide Margin is the Single Column Legacy, but with two very nicely sized columns for faster reading. There are also included cross-references in the bottom right of each page, and plenty of space in the wide margins for note-taking.

Many folks who have inquired about the Single Column Legacy have done so in pursuit of a simple, pure Bible — a Bible without any cross-references, commentary, additional translation aids, etc. The Heirloom Wide Margin doesn’t necessarily meet this set of needs, but it’s vastly superior than the Legacy in the one hallmark feature: readability.

In all likelihood, many of my comments here about the Heirloom Wide Margin will end up part and parcel of my original review of the Heirloom Single Column Legacy. I’m going to actively avoid reading that review for the sake of keeping everything as pure as can be.

Either way, the premise is simple: The Heirloom Wide Margin is the usable and readable twin of the Single Column Legacy.

Editor’s Note: I’ve been supplied a copy of the Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin for purposes of review. I always do my best to keep things as honest as possible when supplied a product for review. These Bibles are so incredibly well made that it’s hard to come up with a critique. However, you’ll note I’ve found some areas of improvement.

Design and Materials

The thing about twins is that, while they share the same DNA, they very often don’t end up looking alike. I know a few sets of twins, one of which is so different, I can tell them apart by their voice.

As far as the Legacy and Wide Margin go, you can tell them apart in how they feel, as well as other, more fundamental specifications. It actually took a bit of study and careful examination to notice the differences. But once you notice them, you can’t unsee them.

Leather

Like every premium Bible these days, the Heirloom Wide Margin sports a luxurious goatskin leather cover with an interior calfskin or synthetic leather. This allows for a soft, supple cover that easily folds in on itself and returns back to its original form.

However! This copy of the Wide Margin has a much, much stiffer goatskin leather cover than any other premium goatskin leather Bible I own. It’s especially stiff compared to the Legacy. It’s so stiff, in fact, that I had to do a double-take to make sure there was no cardboard or interior stiffener to keep the cover so anti-flimsy.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

You’ll notice how little the Wide Margin falls away from your hand, even though it’s slightly larger than the Single Column Legacy.

I have a few theories for why the added stiffness.

One is that this feels like an older design. The hinge is significantly stiffer as well (more on that in a bit). Second is that the physical dimensions of the Wide Margin are actually larger than the Legacy — the Wide Margin comes in at 6.5” by 9.25”, while the Legacy is an even 6” by 9”. The added size and lesser page count require a stiffer hinge and leather to ensure the Bible doesn’t flop around like a butterfly.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

The Single Column Legacy’s leather is softer, more supple, and is extra flimsy when compared to the Heirloom Wide Margin.

Overall, there’s no issues with the stiff goatskin leather. It just feels different than I expected. I personally prefer the unbelievable flimsiness of the Legacy’s goatskin cover. But people buy calfskin leather Bibles for a reason — stiffer Bibles are popular, and the Wide Margin has this in spades.

Size

As above, specifications for the Heirloom Wide Margin are as follows: 6.5-inches wide and 9.25-inches tall. Essentially, the Wide Margin is like a slightly-squished Legacy. I only noticed the difference when I put the Legacy and the Wide Margin on top of one another to compare their relative thickness — when I picked up both Bibles, the Wide Margin’s yapps folded in on themselves a bit, signifying a larger overall package.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

The Heirloom Wide Margin on top and the Heirloom Single Column Legacy below. You’ll notice the Wide Margin is ever so slightly bigger.

The Wide Margin sports 1,440 pages of 28 GSM paper, approximately 200 pages less than the Legacy. I chalk up the lesser pages to the double column format. In practice though, those lesser 200 pages don’t make a noticeable difference in where the Wide Margin fits. If you can fit a Bible like the 80th Anniversary Omega or the Legacy into your bag’s compartment, the Wide Margin should fit just fine.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

Above, the Heirloom Wide Margin. Below, the Schuyler Quentel Personal Size. The Personal Size is much smaller, and these two serve two entirely different markets. Even though, admittedly, the Quentel’s font reads as big as the Wide Margin’s.

Though, for portability on its own, there’s no place like a personal size Bible, like the Personal Size Quentel or the upcoming Personal Size Single Column Legacy, for example. I wouldn’t choose the Wide Margin for portability’s sake, personally.

Spine

There’s very little to report as far as the Wide Margin’s spine goes. Most Crossway Bibles are inundated with “English Standard Version” logos on every rib of the Bible’s spine. Only the Heirloom Study Bible has a reasonable number of logos on its spine. The Wide Margin counts four different ESV or Crossway logos with a “Holy Bible” at the top.

This is still one of my favourite Bible spines in the business, but it could do without at least one of the logos.

Binding and Hinge

The single biggest difference between the Heirloom Wide Margin and the Heirloom Legacy is in the binding and hinge. The Wide Margin — like most other Heirlooms I’ve seen — was printed and bound in the Netherlands by Jongbloed, the very best in the Bible binding business. The binding, surely, is top quality, but I do think the Wide Margin’s binding in particular is of an older variety.

In his review on the Bible Design Blog, J. Mark Bertrand noted the one major flaw in the binding of the original Heirloom Legacy:

As fond as I became of the Heirloom Legacy, however, one thing prevented me from retiring my first generation edition in favor of the new one. The magnificent bindings had a hidden flaw, a reinforced hinge along the spine that proved so stiff that the book would not open flat. In February 2015, I documented the problem in a post about “the Jongbloed hinge.” The Heirloom Legacy was not the only edition to suffer from this problem. It was common to many Heirloom and Schuyler editions. Pretty much any binding coming off the Dutch production line might be affected. Occasionally I would hear from readers who’d convinced themselves that the bug was actually a feature — the stiff hinge helped support the otherwise floppy book block — but aesthetically, there was just no denying that the way the hinge construction pinched the spine closed was less than desirable.

This perfectly reflects my experience with the Heirloom Wide Margin — the hinge feels extra stiff, double-reinforced, and sturdy, ensuring the taller-wider-thinner Wide Margin has all the stiffness it needs without flopping all over the place.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

On top, the sturdy hinge of the Heirloom Wide Margin compared to the much flatter hinge of the Heirloom Legacy (below).

But the extra sturdy hinge presents my biggest issue with the Wide Margin: You purchase a wide margin Bible to have extra space beside each column for taking notes and writing down anecdotes, and the extra sturdy hinge effectively eliminates one extra wide margin on every single page.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

Two things to notice here: First is the size of the left-most margin in both the Legacy (front) and Wide Margin (back) — they are essentially the same size. Second, you can note the size of the right-most margin in the Wide Margin (back) has very little usable space for writing.

In effect, the gutter of each two-page spread is so tight and so narrow, you can’t actually make any use of that margin. And when you consider the Heirloom Wide Margin actually has the same margin space as the Heirloom Legacy, you’d rightly be left wondering what the point is in getting the Wide Margin variety.

Case in point: I found the Heirloom Wide Margin more difficult to photograph than prior Bibles because of this hinge. I am shooting with a new full-frame camera with the slimmest depth of field, and it was funny how difficult it was to keep the inner-column of text in equal sharpness. The hinge shoots the paper up and away from the middle of the book block, and the paper falls sharply and flows away to the edges of the cover. Basically, you’re reading off a cylinder of paper when reading the inner-column.

Is this a dealbreaker? No, most certainly not. The sturdy hinge, if anything, ensures a lifetime of durability and usage. But if your main intention with the Heirloom Wide Margin was to take notes in the margins, you should note the inner column is effectively useless for any sort of writing.

Paper

All Heirloom Bibles I’ve reviewed so far, except for the Heirloom Study Bible, have opted for a thinner Indopaque 28 GSM paper. Bible makers are skewing more and more to a thinner paper and utilizing other technologies to ensure proper readability and opaqueness, but 28 GSM feels like a sweet spot to me. The thickest paper in the Schuyler Quentel actually feels too thick at times — though that Bible’s readability is second-to-none.

Where the Heirloom Wide Margins’s 28 GSM paper — and all of Crossway Bibles, for that matter — shine is in paper colour. Crossway continues to nail the soft, somewhat-eggshell white paper. The softness of the paper in bright white light is welcome to my eyes, and it still remains bright enough under incandescent light at night to be readable and functional. The Heirloom Study Bible’s 31 GSM paper opted for a whiter, brighter paper which doesn’t work as well in polarized lighting situations. I applaud Crossway’s continued use of this paper colour.

And, like every other Crossway Bible, the Heirloom Wide Margin’s salmon-coloured red-under-gold art gilding is consistent, uniform, and wonderfully soft. This is my favourite art gilding colour, for sure.

Ribbons

The Heirloom Wide Margin’s ribbons are the same thin, multi-coloured, four-ribbon design found in the ESV Omega Thinline and Heirloom Legacy. I don’t dislike the ribbons, but they are certainly lower quality than those found in the Heirloom Study Bible and Schuyler’s Quentel Beresford ribbons.

In short, these ribbons are exactly that: too short, too thin, and not thick enough to truly grab and move to your saved location. I prefer the multi-coloured design, but these ribbons hover over the line of being an ornament instead of being useful.

Printing

Crossway’s Heirloom line of Bibles are consistent in their overarching design, materials, colours, ribbons, and papers. The hallmark differentiating factor between each Crossway Bible line has always been the format inside. The Heirloom Wide Margin’s format is worth choosing over other formats, even with the narrow gutter on each page.

Font, Font Sizes, and Layout

To my eye, the Heirloom Wide Margin opts for the same Lexicon No.1 9 pt. font as found in the Heirloom Legacy, but I’m also not convinced the fonts are identical in line-height and letter-spacing.

I’m open to being told otherwise, but I think the Wide Margin’s line-height is just a hair thinner and letters are the smallest of hairs pushed closer together. My eyes could be deceiving me — the dual-column format may be tricking me with an illusion after all — but when reading, I don’t feel the same looking at the Legacy as I do at the Wide Margin.

The 9 pt. font rides that line of being just comfortable enough to read in most situations and being too small to use in most situations. I’m no pastor, but I don’t think I’d opt for a font of this size for speaking or preaching. And although you’ll see smaller fonts in the Schuyler Personal Size Quentel, the Quentel’s particular Milo font makes better use of the y-height of each line, making it seem as though the 8.5 pt. font size reads bigger than it really is. The Wide Margin’s 9 pt. font is bigger, but it reads smaller than that Milo font, in my opinion.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

Above, you’ll note the location of cross-references on each page and their respective font. You’ll also notice the sans serif font spanning the length of the columns in the bottom image.

The Heirloom Wide Margin uses bolded and italicized text to denote header titles1 but opts for a sans-serif for cross-references in the bottom right of the second column of each page and for notes at the bottom of the page. In fact, to my eye, there appears to be three different fonts per page.

The cross-reference fonts are sans-serif with a much tighter letter-spacing than the body text to cram as many letters per line as possible. The bottom explanatory notes section spans the entire width of the columns and is another sans-serif font, though this one has a wider letter spacing and more comfortable line spacing.

Lastly, the dual-column layout. Now, I understand the dual-column format isn’t as beautiful or as wonderfully designed as single-column layouts — there’s a reason the Heirloom Legacy is the most widely read review on this site, after all. But there’s no better layout for actual reading than a dual-column layout like in the Wide Margin.

Back when we had small iPhones, I would opt to read books on my iPhone over the original iPad or even in physical books. Why? Because on that tiny screen, you could size the font just right to have the optimal number of words on each line, and your brain could jump from line to line rather than from left to right as you read. I could get through a book in a fraction of the time reading this way.

The Heirloom Wide Margin’s dual-column layout shortens the number of words per line and allows reading on a line-by-line basis instead of a left-to-right basis. It also makes for easier highlighting and underlining, if writing in your Bible is your sort of thing. I’d prefer one or two less words per line in the Wide Margin, but I recognize the thickness of the Bible would soar at that point. Overall, this is my preferred layout when it comes to usage and for reading.

If you just want to show off the beauty of The Word in its most perfectly designed format, then indeed, the Heirloom Legacy is the one for you.

Line-Matching

Another table stakes feature for premium Bibles these days, line-matching ensures each line of text is properly printed overtop of the line of text on the backside of each page. With thin paper, this mitigates ghosting of text between lines and makes reading easier on the eyes.

The Heirloom Wide Margin has near perfect line-matching, with the only caveat being the letter references between words in the text. Those little letters break the overall y-height of the line and can be seen on the backside of the page from time to time. This is nothing severe and certainly isn’t distracting. But it does negate my opportunity to state the Wide Margin’s line-matching is “perfect”.

Black-Letter Typesetting

It’s so easy to get philosophical when writing in this section of a Bible review — some enthusiasts are bent on having red-letter typesettings, while others see them as heretical. (That’s a strong word for a Bible review, but I do think it lends credence to the matter.)

Me? I’m usually a black-letter guy. Generally, it’s easy enough to clue in on whether Christ himself spoke the written words. And I think it evens the playing field of text in the Bible. Am I supposed to hold the words of Christ himself with a greater authority than the words of Paul or Christ’s brother James in the Epistles? I think the answer to that is “no” — if words made it into the Bible, they are all to be read evenly.

Either way, there’s no coloured text anywhere in the Heirloom Wide Margin. Some black-letter typesets opt for red letter chapter markings or cross-reference markings, but the Wide Margin has all black text, all the time.

Additional Materials

Five Bible reviews in and talking about maps and concordances has become the least exciting part to write about. However, I’m happy to report a few things about the Heirloom Wide Margin’s offerings here.

For one, the Wide Margin bucks the wide margin layout for its concordance, providing more space for breathable and readable text. The concordance offers three columns per page of a small sans-serif font and bolded, all-caps keywords. Each item in the concordance is easy to read, easy to find, and easy to quickly determine which chapter and book you need to jump to to find your passage. I’d put the Wide Margin’s concordance quality — at least in terms of legibility — up there with the Heirloom Study Bible’s concordance. The Study Bible offers more items, of course, but the readability is essentially the same.

Crossway’s maps are generally a little bland in colour when compared to Schuyler maps, but they’re completely functional and readable in their own right. I’d say the Wide Margin’s maps are a little more saturated with colour than the Heirloom Legacy, but only just a bit. I particularly like the graphic of Jerusalem in the time of Jesus — not all Bibles have this included in their final section.

Wrap Up

So, here are my main takeaways from Crossway’s ESV Heirloom Wide Margin Bible:

  • Same overall look, design, and general feel as most of Crossway’s other Heirloom Bibles. The goatskin leather is superb. The paper, paper colour, font, font size, and general layout are great, with useful but less colourful maps in the back.
  • The dual-column layout is great for faster reading and skimming.
  • The wide margins are good for note-taking, however the extra sturdy hinge provides for a very high gutter. This effectively eliminates the ability to use the inner margin of each individual page.
  • The Heirloom Wide Margin is for those who want the Heirloom Legacy look and feel but with a more usable and readable layout. The Heirloom Legacy is for those who want the most beautiful design ever made for a Bible.

Here’s the hiccup though: I’m a busy guy with a two year old and a three month old in the house, a fairly busy career, a heavy school schedule, a freelancing business, and some volunteer commitments, all of which has led me to getting this review out the door later than I had hoped. I try to actually put these Bibles through the paces before writing, photographing, and reviewing them, which all takes some considerable time. No excuses though — this is later than I had hoped.

Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin

You can find the Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin listing on EvangelicalBible.com and you can find a listing on Amazon.com for $183 USD as of the time of writing. You can also visit Crossway’s page right here to see all their current Heirloom Bibles.

I received the Heirloom Wide Margin for review back in late summer 2019, meaning I’ve been working on this review for almost six months. To that end, I apologize to both Crossway and to my readership.

Especially since I can’t find the ESC Heirloom Wide Margin for sale anywhere right now other than Amazon. It’s no longer listed on the Crossway site, and it shows as out of stock on the EvangelicalBible.com site. It was printed as a special edition Heirloom Bible, signifying a limited printing run. But the only place it appears to be for sale right now is on Amazon.

I feel terrible about this.

So in pure transparency, I don’t know if this review will help anyone make a purchase decision — you may end up with an Heirloom Legacy, even if the Wide Margin is what you would prefer. Hopefully Amazon has enough stock for everyone who wants one.

If you somehow can get your hands on the Heirloom Wide Margin, know you’re getting a tremendous Bible in the best dual-column format available.


You can find the Crossway ESV Heirloom Wide Margin listing on EvangelicalBible.com and you can find a listing on Amazon.com for $183 USD as of the time of writing. You can also visit Crossway’s page right here to see all their current Heirloom Bibles.


  1. I adore the look of the bolded, italicized header titles. They remind me of the old Mercury font from Hoefler & Co. which used to be my body font here on The Newsprint. So elegant. 

It's Star Wars: Clone Wars Week

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

I’m probably being facetious with this comment, but I’ll go out on a limb anyway: If you consider yourself a Star Wars fan, the animated Clone Wars show is an absolute must watch. So much so that I don’t think fans who haven’t watched Clone Wars are allowed to have outspoken opinions about Star Wars lore.

In preparation for Season 7, I’ve watched every episode from S1:E1 to S6:E12 in entirety — yes, even the episodes with Colonel Gascon (rolls eyes). And the story building inside Clone Wars is second to none. We see:

  1. Additional reasons — better, believable reasons — for Anakin’s turn to the Dark Side, namely in how the Jedi Council treats his padawan.
  2. The sheer toll of the Clone War on all participants — the clones, the Jedi, the Separatists, the civilians — and how the sentiment surrounding the war in Episode III is one of desperation and not hope. I have rewatched Episode III twice since finishing the Clone Wars series and don’t feel the level of desperation to end the war that is depicted in the animated show.
  3. The depth of the deception of Darth Sidious, up to and including the very creation of the clone army. We knew he was responsible for creating the clone army, but who Master Sifo Dyas was, how he contracted out the creation of the army, and how this was a direct manipulation to make it look like the Jedi created the army to take over the Senate was never properly explained in Episode III.
  4. The humanity of the clones, among many other valid life lessons.
  5. The unbelievable character arc of Darth Maul and how he may be responsible for driving multiple prequel stories and between-the-trilogies stories. I imagine many would-be watchers would roll their eyes when they discover Maul survived his dismemberment in Episode I. But once it’s explained, Maul’s story arc is one of the greatest Star Wars stories ever told.
  6. The unique story of Ahsoka Tano. She begins as an annoying know-it-all teenager, but grows into a wise Jedi. More importantly, Tano’s story is a much more believable and valid reason for Anakin’s treachery than anything related to Padme. Ahsoka acts as a perfect rendition of humanity today (or, perhaps, humanity in the late 2000s and early 2010s) and her personal growth is very easy to admire and to relate to. She’s a tremendous character, one which would be duly served as a live action character in a television series.
  7. Hondo Ohnaka. He gets a reason all unto himself.

That’s seven reasons, but I could go on — Season 6 in particular depicts how and why the clones turn their back on the Jedi and how Yoda becomes the first Jedi to learn how to become a Force Ghost after death (which, by the way, directly contradicts Ben Solo’s ability to become a Force Ghost).

Disney Plus currently has a special “Clone Wars 20 Essential Episodes” section with all the required watching before Season 7 debuts on Friday. If you have an alternative method to watch, the episodes are:

  • S1:E1: Ambush
  • S1:E5: Rookies
  • S2:E5: Landing at Point Rain
  • S2:E6: Weapons Factory
  • S2:E7: Legacy of Terror
  • S2:E8: Brain Invaders
  • S2:E12: The Mandalore Plot
  • S2:E13: Voyage of Temptation
  • S3:E2: ARC Troopers
  • S4:E21: Brothers
  • S4:E22: Revenge
  • S5:E6: The Gathering
  • S5:E1: Revival
  • S5:E14: Eminence
  • S5:E15: Shades of Reason
  • S5:E16: The Lawless — This is the best Clone Wars episode in all the seasons.
  • S5:E17: Sabotage
  • S5:E18: The Jedi Who Knew Too Much
  • S5:E19: To Catch a Jedi
  • S5:E20: The Wrong Jedi

If you have additional time, watch the first four episodes of Season 6, the last four episodes of Season 6, the General Krell storyline beginning at S4:E7 and ending at S4:E10, and the Clone Wars animated movie, wherein Ahsoka Tano is assigned to be Anakin’s padawan. This will build out more than enough story to comfortably enter into Season 7.

The Clone Wars timeline is governed by a beginning and ending, so it’s understandable this story can’t go on forever. But to know Season 7 is the actual, for-real-this-time final season is truly bitter sweet. This is Star Wars storytelling at it’s finest.

The linked YouTube video is a tad rough around the edges, but it perfectly discusses why The Clone Wars animated TV series is the best Star Wars story available today.