Monday, July 28, 2014

Ilustration*, Illl* (for Illustration*, etc.)

A coworker was looking for a book the other day that wasn't on the shelf. It was called How to Draw and Paint, Too, by Alexander Murray, and it was published in 1946. He was relieved when the book eventually showed up, but both professionally appalled and personally amused to discover that two pages of illustrations (women in their bathing suits and birthday suits) had been adolescently defaced. These amendments included various arrows and thought bubbles, penned-in nipples, and pixelated-looking pubic hair, along with a slew of sweaty sentiments along the lines of "I want to get laid," "Push here," etc. Today's typo is harder to find than the naughty bits in a drawing book, and perhaps even harder to spot than it is to make, given how online catalog renderings of capital I's and lower-case L's are pretty much identical. (An I and two L's look remarkably like an I and one L, or better yet, two I's and one L.) There were 60 hits on Ilustration* in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat. For an even bigger bang for your buck, try Illl*, which came up 68 times in the former and "too many" times in the latter.

(Fra skisseblokken, by Olav Johan Andreassen, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 25, 2014

Settlment (for Settlement)

On July 25, 1607, the merchant ship Sea Venture encountered a storm while leading a fleet of nine ships from England on the way to Jamestown, Virginia, the first permanent English settlement in the Americas.  The fleet’s mission was to bring cargo and colonists to the settlement, but a large storm arose and the Sea Venture was separated from the group.  After four days at storm, they sighted land and Captain Newport grounded the ship at The Devil’s Islands – what we know as Bermuda.

The crew survived and, over months, built new ships from the wrecked hull.  They eventually sailed on to Jamestown to find the struggling colony, and then back to England. William Strachey documented the shipwreck in a letter to a woman in England.  From there, it’s believe that the Sea Venture’s story inspired William Shakespeare’s play The Tempest.

In Strachey’s words,
For four-and-twenty hours the storm in a restless tumult had blown so exceedingly as we could not apprehend in our imaginations any possibility of greater violence; yet did we still find it not only more terrible but more constant, fury added to fury…
With a description so vivid, it’s no wonder the Bard envisioned his dramatic, magical play from this tale.

Leanne Olson

(Image of Waterhouse’s painting Miranda and the Tempest courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Pioneeer* (for Pioneer*)

July 23rd was the birthday of Raymond Chandler (1888 – 1959), one of the pioneers of American hard-boiled detective stories.

If he were still with us, I imagine his birthday parties would be quite enjoyable. Alcohol would flow, party favours might be bullets, and the cake would be delivered by a gorgeous dame in a blue dress with legs as long as the Mississsippi. Tired partygoers might want to refrain from napping on the couch, however, lest they fall into The Big Sleep and never wake.

If you miss the party, I bet he’d have a scathing insult at the ready. One of my favourite poison pen lines is from Chandler's The High Window:
From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.

Leanne Olson

(Cartoon of Humphrey Bogart as Detective Philip Marlow by Warner Bros Art, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Andbook* (for And book*)

The tagline for the movie Alien is “In space, no one can hear you scream.” When I look at a typo like Andbook, I think, "Without spaces, no one can understand what you write."  But we didn’t always include spaces. Until 600-800 CE, writing using the Latin alphabet was scriptio continua (continuous script), and words ran together without any spaces between.

Scriptio continua has reappeared with the Internet Age: we see it in email addresses and URLs. This can lead to hilarious misunderstandings, though I likely shouldn't share some of the funniest (and rudest) in this blog (do a web search for “awkward URLs” and get ready to cringe).

On the tamer side, the address for the website Choose Spain was (I’m not that fond of pain, so perhaps I won’t use them for my next travel plans) and American Scrap Metal was, (now that sounds painful!).

Leanne Olson

(Scroll photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Fictious* (for Fictitious*)

Our Cool/Confusing Word of the Day (thanks, Anu Garg!) is factitious, which kind of sounds like the opposite of fictitious, right? Wrong. But they're not exactly synonyms either. Factitious means "produced by humans rather than by natural forces; formed by or adapted to an artificial or conventional standard; or produced by special effort: sham." (Fictitious basically means "not true or real.") Seeing as how nearly every time I tried to type fictitious earlier, I ended up writing "fictious" instead, I thought perhaps I had stumbled on to a good typo—and I had. However, it appears that "fictious" may in fact be a word in its own right—albeit an obsolete or archaic form of fictitious. Also, the more I repeat the word fictious to myself, the more it reminds me of the resonant Rudyard Kipling refrain: Rikk-tikk-tikki-tikki-tchk. (I read an article on Slate the other night about how the "greatest short story of all time" is "Rikki-Tikki-Tavi." I had never read it before, but I adore what Kipling I have read, so I did so and now I can't get that mongoose earworm out of my head!) Like Rikki-Tikki-Tavi on the track of a covert cobra, we rousted 13 cases of Fictious* in OhioLINK today, and 371 in WorldCat. (Some of these typos may be fictitious, though, so be sure and check your source.)

("He put his nose into the ink," page 326 of the 1895 edition of The Two Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling, 1895, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Marliyn (for Marilyn)

I like the fact that freckles and moles can also be known as "beauty marks." I remember counting mine with swelling pride, after first being apprised of that fascinating factoid as a child. (What a feat of pigmentation public relations that must have been, to have gone from being a minor skin abnormality to an actual official mark of beauty.) Alas, I wasn't blessed to boast a strategically placed birthmark smack-dab on my face (the first place most people tend to look for signs of pulchritude), but I did observe a happy sprinkling of small brown spots dotting my limbs like a form of protective camoflauge I hadn't quite noticed before. Along with a surprisingly large Lima bean-shaped one on my butt! (I feel pretty, oh so pretty...) And speaking of our other mole-bearing beauty here (who it appears even has a facial piercing named after her), a friend of mine recently tried to imitate the way his old Chinese girlfriend (and other Chinese people) pronounce the words "Marilyn Monroe." It was one of the most curiously delightful things I'd ever heard. (This title, found while searching for the typo Marliyn, kind of hints at it: Manga Maririn Monr¯o. It's a 2003 graphic novel, just in case you're wondering, in which "the lost son of Marilyn Monroe searches for the truth about his mother's death.") In honor of Marilyn, who loved to read books but could also be a bit ditzy, let's all try and make our catalogs a little more beautiful today, by marking and correcting this typo, which was counted three times in OhioLINK, and 41 times in WorldCat.

(Marilyn Monroe and her famous mole, courtesy of Wikpedia.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 14, 2014

Vivien* + Vivian* (for Vivien* or Vivian*)

I just saw a new documentary called Finding Vivian Maier, a title that might sound a bit generic (it seems that over a hundred films begin with the word Finding), but here simply couldn't be more apt. One shudders, in fact, to think of how close this astonishing shutterbug's entire life's work came to being tossed out with the trash—quite literally—and lost to the world forever. Vivian Maier, who was born in New York City in 1926 and grew up for the most part in France, was virtually unknown to all but a handful of people who witnessed her going about her daily routine, mainly the Chicago families who had hired her as a nanny. (I suppose it's neither here nor there, but I have to say that Vivian Maier bears a striking resemblance to the original Mary Shepard drawings of Mary Poppins!) Maier would appear to have been that somewhat infelicitous combination of incredibly talented and exceptionally shy. She treated her picture-taking like a hobby, but was also a prodigious pack rat who managed to amass over 100,000 photographic prints and undeveloped negatives, all of which she had taken in her spare time, and taken pains to keep hidden. There wasn't room to house them all in the little attic where she lived, so she started stashing them in storage lockers that she eventually stopped making payments on. It was only through the most thankful serendipity that a young history buff named John Maloof bid on a box of her photos at auction, and the search for "Vivian Maier" was on. Google yielded absolutely nothing for two years—it wasn't until Maier's death in 2009, accompanied by an obituary in the newspaper, that her real story could start to come out. Now, just five years later, Maier is considered by many to be one of the finest street photographers of the twentieth century. On the other hand, both the Tate Modern and MoMA declined to accept her body of work, which some critics apparently consider "derivative" and that of an "outsider artist" who needn't necessarily be brought inside. I would urge you to see this charming, fascinating, and revelatory film and then decide for yourself. Vivian Maier, who called herself a "mystery woman" and "sort of a spy," spelled her own name—when forced to—in a variety of ways. We found 49 cases of Vivian* + Vivien* in OhioLINK today, and 569 in WorldCat.

(Picture taken at the "Finding Vivian Maier: Chicago Street Photographer" exhibition in Chicago 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid