Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Postii* (for Positive, Position)

I will confess to being something of a cynic.  But do even those of you with the most positive outlooks on life find that motivational posters make you want to vomit? You know the ones--beautiful or (dare I say it?) inspiring pictures that are ruined with saccharine captions like “Teamwork: When all work together, we all win together” and “Goals: The difference between try and triumph is a little umph.”

Enough people do find them laughable that there whole lines of spin-off posters devoted to lampooning them. Heck, I can get behind that same artwork if it’s accompanied by “Attitudes are contagious. Mine might kill you” or “Meetings: None of us is as dumb as all of us.”

So have I disillusioned you too much, or might I yet motivate you to stamp out the typo Postii* in your library catalog? There are 10 such English-language errors in the OhioLINK database and 70 in WorldCat.

(Model of a saccharin molecule, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, October 27, 2014

Cocao (for Cocoa, Cacao, etc.)

“Cup of cocoa could give the elderly the memory of a 'typical 30 or 40-year-old'.” So reads the latest headline (this one from The Independent) about the benefits of chocolate, or more specifically, of the antioxidant flavanols found in cocoa beans.

Next come the usual disclaimers about the small size of the study being described and how more research needs to be done before scientists can truly interpret the results. But the most disappointing is the sort of statement that inevitably follows: “However, experts said the study did not mean people should eat more chocolate”. I’m so waiting for someone, somewhere, to finally say, yes, eat all the chocolate you want! Never mind all those calories and fat, the benefits far outweigh them!

And now we’ve wandered into fantasy land. Perhaps it would be best if we just stuck with cleaning up the error Cocao in our catalogs. There are 77 instances in WorldCat and 1 in OhioLINK. Hint: it’s a typo in several languages other than English, although you’ll have to evaluate each one carefully. And then, by all means, reward yourself with (a sensible amount of) chocolate.

Deb Kulczak

Friday, October 24, 2014

Eveden* (for Eviden*)

On another crime show the other night (I seem to watch a lot of these), the original suspect told a 911 operator that she had observed blood on her murdered friend's "headboard." This word somehow got transcribed as "forehead," however, and became a major part of the state's case against her. The investigator argued that the witness couldn't possibly have seen the victim's forehead since the body had been completely wrapped in trash bags and blankets. It's hard to know whether he made that error by mistake or on purpose, but if the latter, it was evidently an ingenious, if thoroughly corrupt, move, allowing for a certain plausible deniability. (Oops, typo!) In any case, it underscores the often critical importance of proofreading one's records; it can actually be a matter of life and death. We uncovered evidence of Eveden* twice in OhioLINK, and 57 times in WorldCat.

(Antique oak sleigh bed with high headboard, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oinion* (for Opinion* or Onion*)

With regard to some murder mystery or other recently, a commentator commented: "This is an onion that continues to unpeel." Which sounds laughably wrong at first, until you consider the alternative: "This is an onion that continues to be peeled" is arguably even worse. And not to make you hypercorrect grammar nazis cry, but it appears in fact that unpeel may actually be acceptable. (The adjective unpeeled is not in dispute.) It's sort of like ravel/unravel, flammable/inflammable, thaw/unthawwords that look like total opposites, but in fact mean pretty much the same thing. There was another mystery of sorts in my garden this past summer, in which some plants that looked a little like forgotten garlic, unharvested from the year before, started to turn up as I turned over the soil. I thought perhaps they were stunted garlics with tiny bulbs (which I now know as "field garlic"), though a fellow grower was of the opinion that they were probably wild onions. They're very tasty, but rather hard to peel. I only wish they could "unpeel" themselves! We uncovered just one Oinion* in OhioLINK today, along with 14 in WorldCat.

(Mixed onions, 15 June 2013, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 20, 2014

Haitain* (for Haitian*)

The other night on a TV crime show, the victim was said to have "baby doe eyes." This struck me as another one of those conflated idioms I've written about here before: doe-eyed, baby doll, baby blues, etc. The usage was a bit disconcerting at first, but you got the general idea and in a small way it actually made the sad story just that much more poignant. Speaking of murderers, Jean-Claude ("Baby Doc") Duvalier, the longtime Haitian dictator, passed away earlier this month as well. He succeeded his father, Fran├žois ("Papa Doc") Duvalier, at age 19, making him the youngest president in the world. He ruled Haiti from 1971 till 1986 when his reign was finally overthrown. After creating a vicious state militia, trafficking in illegal drugs, and selling the body parts of his countrymen in order to support his lavish lifestyle, Baby Doc was accused of the "zombification" of Haiti. Duvalier returned from France in 2011, after a nearly 20-year self-imposed time-out for bad behavior, whereupon he was promptly spanked with charges of embezzlement, abuse of power, and corruption. (The statute of limitations had run out on his most horrific crimes against humanity.) There were a lot of people still hatin' on this Haitian in 2014, though there were only two cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 21 in WorldCat.

(Photograph showing the now-deceased Jean-Claude Duvalier and his then wife, Michele, fleeing Haiti, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 13, 2014

Thansk* (for Thanks*)

I’m late on my blogging this week due to having stuffed myself into a sleepy haze on Monday – Canada’s Thanksgiving Day.

This got me wondering about the history of Thanksgiving in Canada, and I stumbled across a little document on the Canadian Heritage website.

It turns out, Thanksgiving first occurred here in 1799—before we were even officially a country. There was no set date until 1957, when a proclamation determined it would be the second Monday in October.

What really tickled me, however, was seeing the reasons proclaimed for holding Thanksgiving, which were often thanks for an abundant harvest, but sometimes differed from year to year. On Wednesday, 6 Feb. 1833, it was held for “Cessation of cholera,” and on Monday, 15 April 1872, “For restoration to health of H.R.H. the Prince of Wales.”

And then there’s Thursday, 21 Apr. 1814, when Thanksgiving was held “For glorious victories over our enemies.” Looks like we didn’t always live up to the stereotype of friendly, polite, meek Canadians.

Leanne Olson

(Wild turkey photo by Gary M. Stoltz, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, October 10, 2014

Bibliogrp* (for Bibliograp*)

While trying to stay awake during a BIBFRAME webinar recently, my flagging attention was caught by a typo that appeared a couple of times on the monitor: Bibliogrpahic. Some typos are rather fun to sound out, and as I silently rolled this one around on my tongue, I was unaccountably put in mind of the state of New Jersey. It took a few moments, but I soon figured out why: the last part of it sounds a bit like Passaic. And just south of Passaic is Newark, the largest city in the Garden State. (Which demographical distinction further calls to mind the wonderful sister act known as The Roches, who would often trill, "We come from deepest New Jersey..." and who once recorded a song that began: "Didn't you ever feel like the largest Elizabeth in the world?") Wilberforce Eames, a truly formidable force of nature, was born in Newark, New Jersey, on October 12, 1855, and later moved to Brooklyn with his family. Former New York Public Library director Harry Miller Lydenberg, as part of a memorial tribute delivered at the 1956 meeting of the American Antiquarian Society, tells the amazing story of this life-long book collector, bookseller, librarian, and bibliographer, one that I can merely hint at here with the following quote: "Books, books, books, there was no end, bought from auction catalogues, from dealers' lists, wherever they were seen, from home and from the ends of the earth. Fred Morris, that faithful agent and loyal soul, came to me more than once, genuinely distressed because he felt that Eames was buying beyond his means and he felt that 'something must be done.' Equally sympathetic, equally fond of our friend, we could but say finally that the man was prudent enough in other ways, and with such matters we could feel that as he had proven able to meet his other responsibilities with credit, here we could do nothing more than wish him well..." Let us all wish Wilberforce well this weekend, with gratitude for his contributions to all things bibliographic. (Note: I've truncated the original typo for better access; there were 47 in OhioLINK and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.)

(Wilberforce Eames, painted for the Society by Mr. DeWitt M. Lockman, 1931, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid