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 www.choosespain.com (I’m not that fond of pain, so perhaps I won’t use them for my next travel plans) and American Scrap Metal was www.americanscrapmetal.com, (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

Friday, July 11, 2014

Tennn* (for Tennis, Tennessee, etc.)



It’s possible the biggest—or at least most steadfast—champion at the Wimbledon tennis tournament is a 1-pound 6-ounce Harris hawk named Rufus.  The courts at that venue are covered in luscious ryegrass, which, as it turns out, is a great favorite of the local pigeons.  Enter Rufus.  

No, it’s not what you’re thinking!  This well-trained, well-mannered bird of prey is employed year-round (along with his falconer) to patrol the grounds and scare off would-be marauders.  Rufus is such a hit that he even has his own beer commercial.  Imagine his stately tones proclaiming:

Hello pigeons, my name is Rufus …. I’ve been a member of Wimbledon security for fourteen years …. I’m faster than you, stronger than you …. I have nothing against pigeons.  I’m a professional. I don’t mind what you do—as long as you don’t do it on my turf.  You’ve been warned!


Or better yet, check it out here. 

Then get to work chasing down that pesky error Tennn* in your own catalog.  There are 3 English-language entries for it in the OhioLINK catalog and 53 in WorldCat.  

(Harris Hawk, from Wikimedia Commons)  

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Leaug* (for League, etc.)

Are you crying? Are you crying? Are you crying?! There's no crying! There's no crying in baseball!

Perhaps you recall these lines from the 1992 movie A League of Their Own, a fictionalized account of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League formed during World War II.  In this scene, manager Jimmy Dugan (wonderfully played by Tom Hanks) is both incredulous and appalled after a player responds to one of his pep talks (i.e., tirades) with tears.

The American Film Institute evidently found it memorable, as they’ve included the last line in “AFI's 100 Years...100 Movie Quotes,” ranked at number 54.  In fact, you may want to visit this fun Web site to relive some other favorite film moments!

Leaug* shares the ball park with other moderate-probability typos on the Ballard list.  There are 18 entries in OhioLINK and 308 in WorldCat.  For those of you who have been following the World Cup, you may have noticed that there definitely is crying in soccer.

(Logo of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak    

Monday, July 7, 2014

Botanc* (for Botanical)

Have you ever noticed that trendiness, just like with clothing or hairstyles, is also apparent in the botanical realm? In years gone by, spider plants (complete with macramé pot hangers), strawberry begonias, and Swedish ivy all had their turn as the must-have houseplant. And now, judging from the offerings at my local home improvement stores, cacti and succulents are making a big comeback.

While this delights me to no end (just the other day I came home with a hand full of spines and a large prickly pear), I wish my cactus care skills matched my enthusiasm. Yes, intellectually I know they are desert dwellers, but I can’t convince myself they don’t need that big drink of water on a hot summer day!

Botanc* is a low-probability error. There are 4 English-language instances of it in the OhioLINK database and 59 in WorldCat. With the proper treatment, all things botanical will soon flourish in your catalog.

(Prickly Pear cactus, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak