Monday, December 31, 2012

Devember (for December)


"Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November..." Most of us know the drill by now, but I have a colleague who, in spite of his numerous and manifold intellectual endowments, claims never to have mastered this useful numerical mnemonic. (I don't know how he minds his days!) In any event (and forgetting about February for a moment), the month of December—being one of "all the rest"—has 31 of 'em, but the last one is really known more for its nights. I don't know what any of this has to do with Devo, the great devolving rock band from the 1980s, exactly, but I do hope you all have a very happy New Year... And a happy New Year's Eve. Devember was uncovered three times in OhioLINK and 44 times in WorldCat. If you should find this deviation in your own library's database, you know what to do. Whip it. Whip it good!

(Devo, American New Wave band, May 31, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 28, 2012

Beleiv* (for Believ*)

Although Wikipedia, as well as most Americans, refer to him as "Leif Ericson," the name of the explorer who discovered the Americas (almost five hundred years before Columbus did) is spelled a number of different ways by our neighbors to the north. In Old Norse, it was Leifr Eiríksson; in Icelandic, Leifur; in Norwegian, it would be Leiv. Let's leave that be for now, however, and talk a bit about the man. Leif Ericson was born circa 970, most probably in Iceland. He was the son of Erik the Red and his wife, Thjodhild. Leif's father, who had been born in (and banned from) Norway, established the first permanent Norse settlement in Greenland. Leif first sighted Vinland (what later Europeans called the "New World"), after being blown off course en route to Greenland, where he intended to bring Christianity to its inhabitants. (He was able to convert his mother, but not his father.) It's believed that Leif and his crew built a small settlement in what is now Newfoundland. The painting shown to the right was commissioned for the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition, and later given to the National Gallery of Norway in 1900. Beleiv* was discovered 25 times in OhioLINK and 433 times in WorldCat this morning. So remember: it's "I before E except after C"—except for when you happen to be a 10th-century Nordic explorer. Or all of the other times it isn't. Believe it or not.

(Christian Krohg's painting of Leiv Eiriksson discovering North America, 1893, held at the National Museum of Art, Architecture and Design, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Pengiun* (for Penguin*)

In 1998, staff at the Central Park Zoo presented a black and white case for the existence of gay penguins. Roy and Silo were two male Chinstraps who had been observed "performing mating rituals." They also tried to "hatch a rock" in 1999. Later on the pair proved capable of hatching an actual egg from a penguin who didn't seem to have the knack for it, and the resultant little one was named Tango. (I guess in this case, it took three, or technically make that four.) Tango soon followed in the waddling footsteps of her two dads and paired up with another female, known as Tanuzi. Then you've got Robert Benchley, a humorist who wrote for The New Yorker and Vanity Fair during the early decades of the 20th century. Benchley was a member of the Algonquin Round Table and an occasional movie actor. (He appeared in Hitchcock's Foreign Correspondent, among other films, and his own MGM "miniature" called How to Sleep won an Academy Award for Best Short Subject in 1935.) In 1936, he published a book of humorous essays entitled My Ten Years in a Quandary, and How They Grew (an apparent pun on the title of the popular children's book The Five Little Peppers and How They Grew). One piece was called "Penguin Feud" and concerned boon companions Admiral and Jake. These two penguins did everything together, until one day they simply stopped speaking, as it were. Before this, they had been inseparable and thoroughly compatible. Benchley even uses the word "intimate," without quite calling them gay. Though like Roy and Silo, Admiral and Jake eventually parted ways, it nevertheless makes for a heartwarming tale on a cold winter's day. We've blogged about this and related typos on one or two other occasions, but I couldn't resist a shout-out to the prescient Robert Benchley, and to all gay penguins everywhere. There were eleven examples of Pengiun* (for penguin*) in OhioLINK today, and 245 in WorldCat.

(Robert Benchley in Vanity Fair, exact date unknown, pre-1920, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 24, 2012

Sufac* (for Surfac*)

On the hurried run-up to the number one Christian holiday, and in the absence of high anxiety over too many mundane tasks, a certain surface tension will often suffice. Such a desire to break free of secular concerns and find some inner peace, however, knows no religious boundaries. Like most spiritual folk, Sufis pursue a reality that goes far below the surface. They do this by means of various spiritual techniques, such as study, prayer, meditation, ecstasy, asceticism, etc. The frequently banned and censored Order of the Whirling Dervishes also engages in the athletic dancing associated with this Muslim sect. Sufism is defined as the "inner, mystical dimension of Islam." The inner is made outer in this beautiful dance, as it should also be in the many gifts that are given from the heart this season. Surf your databases for today's typo and save face by fixing any of these that surface there. Sufac* (for surfac*) comes up 30 times in OhioLINK and 619 times in WorldCat.

(Sufi dancer in Cairo, Egypt, December 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 21, 2012

Rebbeca (for Rebecca)

Dame Rebecca West was born Cicely Isabel Fairfield on December 21, 1892. West once wrote that "the main difference between men and women is that men are lunatics and women are idiots." She also asserted, in her novel The Judge: "Since men don’t love us nearly as much as we love them that leaves them much more spare vitality to be wonderful with." I won't presume to define her entire point of view on the matter, but it seems that men spend their lives frantically fending off one another, while women are just attractive distractions (or maybe that's distracted attractions) on the side. Okay, this was 1922, not 2012, and we've come a long way, blah blah blah, but I think we all know what she was talking about. West, who was the longtime lover of H. G. Wells and whom Time magazine called "indisputably the world's number one woman writer" in 1947, was a very funny suffragette, and she certainly wasn't the only one. Clementine Churchill, for instance, otherwise known as "One of the Doomed," wrote a letter to The Times of London in response to the opinion of an "eminent bacteriologist" who felt that women were simply too inferior to vote or participate in politics in any way, in which she helpfully wondered, tongue planted firmly in cheek: "Ought women not to be abolished altogether?" The future wife of the British prime minister (who himself opposed women's suffrage) added: "I have been so much impressed by Sir Almroth Wright's disquisition, backed as it is by so much scientific and personal experience, that I have come to the conclusion that women should be put a stop to." Canadian feminist Nellie McClung declared, in a mock debate in 1914 called "Should Men Vote?": "Oh, no, man is made for something higher and better than voting... The trouble is that if men start to vote, they will vote too much. Politics unsettle men and unsettled men means unsettled bills, broken furniture, broken vows, and divorce. Men's place is on the farm... if men were to get the vote, who knows what would happen? It's hard enough to keep them home now!" Actually, there was a fair amount of this going on at the time: sprightly confident women having sport with stuffy terrified men. When it comes to lunacy and idiocy, however, it's debatable which sex predominates. In the movie Mary Poppins, Mrs. Banks basically calls the opposite sex "stupid." In the TV show Everybody Loves Raymond, Debra mutters "Idiot!" so often, it starts to sound like a verbal caress. Nowadays, it's a cliche to portray men as simple, uncomplicated creatures—clueless, forgetful, incompetent, or out of touch. Women, by contrast, are driven crazy by such behavior, and some would say crazy to put up with it. In any case, and as always, love is blind, deaf, and dumb, and only lunatics and idiots need apply. Rebbeca (for Rebecca) was found five times in OhioLINK, and 73 times in WorldCat.

(Rebecca West, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Hendrik* + Henrik* (for Henrik* or Hendrik*)

Today marks the birthday of Minnie Maddern Fiske, who was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1865. Her mother, Lizzie Maddern, had been an actress in the theater and Minnie, who began acting professionally at the age of five, seemed to have been born to the boards as well. Baptized Marie Augusta Davey, even her thoroughly-modern-Minnie sort of stage name seemed to have proved a bit much for her fans, as she eventually became known simply as "Mrs. Fiske." According to Wikipedia, Minnie Maddern Fiske was "widely considered the most important actress on the American stage in the first quarter of the 20th century." She led the fight against the Theatrical Syndicate (just as heavy-handed and anti-artistic as it sounds) and is also credited with introducing American audiences to the Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen. Ibsen was apparently sympathetic to women and their struggle for equality, having authored the iconic A Doll's House in 1879. Fiske was married twice but had no children, and was "one of the most prominent animal welfare advocates of her era." (Mark Twain wrote the story "A Horse's Tale" for her.) About her idol Ibsen, Maddern herself once wrote: "... even Shakespeare seems easy when compared with the thought that must be bestowed upon Ibsen. The beautiful verse, the wonderful character drawing of Shakespeare furnish solutions of perplexing problems, but Ibsen is so elusive. He fascinates by his aloofness. He is the Wagner of the drama. Wagner struggled for understanding just as Ibsen has struggled." You shouldn't have to struggle too hard to find evidence of today's typo, discovered 59 times in OhioLINK, and "too many..." times in WorldCat.

(Portrait of Minnie Maddern Fiske, by Zaida Ben-Yusuf, entitled "Mrs. Fiske, Love finds the way," from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 17, 2012

Sterotyp* (for Stereotyp*)

I don't follow most sports, so I probably tend to stereotype athletes and the games they play even more than most people do. At their (or perhaps my) worst, I tend to think of football players as muscle-bound, brain-damaged, steroid-addled bruisers, and their fans as beer-swilling, wife-beating, out-of-shape couch potatoes. A collection of angry tweets yesterday unfortunately painted them as outrageous racists to boot, after NBC had the temerity to interrupt the first quarter of last night's 49ers-Patriots game in order to air President Obama's address to the nation about gun violence and the mass murders at Sandy Hook Elementary School. So yes, sports fans can certainly act dreadfully in lots of different ways, but even though disaffected hipsters pretend to prefer European-style soccer over all-American football, we don't even come close to the "hooliganism" that is how some soccer fans choose to express their enthusiasm. That said, and I hope you'll forgive my blatant stereotyping, I'm kind of pumped to say this one is a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list, turning up 76 times in OhioLINK, and 976 times in WorldCat.

(Cover of Work and Win: An Interesting Weekly for Young America, September 27,1907, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 14, 2012

Facilt* (for Facilit*)

Silt is like very soft sand. It's almost like powder. Unlike powder, however, certain kinds of, let's just call it dirt, can actually be good for your skin, especially your face. The Aztecs thought that clay had healing properties; Cleopatra collected it from the River Nile; and Pliny the Elder extolled it in his ground-breaking work Natural History. The early Romans and Germans employed it therapeutically, and pioneering 19th-century naturopaths like Sebastian Kneipp vigorously promoted its use. The Japanese bathe in hot outdoor mud springs, which sounds like one of the best ways to combine childhood and adulthood that I've heard of in a very long time. Of course, a little research and caution are always called for before indulging in any type of facial, but clay is considered a good way to go if you want to draw out the toxins. Facilities are set up for this sort of thing (day spa, anyone?), but it can be done with equal facility right at home. And if not exactly dirt cheap, with far less impact on your pocketbook. Check out your local health food store for the best types of therapeutic clay. (Some kinds can even be taken internally.) Facilt* was dug up 39 times in OhioLINK, and 902 times in WorldCat.

(AMEX card in flood silt after Hurricane Ike, Galveston, Texas, Sept. 19, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Pasttime* (for Pastime*)

Perhaps one of the most popular pastimes during the cold dark days of winter is dreaming about the nice warm weather to come. According to Alfred Lord Tennyson: "In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." T. S. Eliot tells us that spring is a time for "mixing memory and desire." But for certain young men it's more a matter of mixing business with pleasure. The picture shown here "depicts nanshoku-type relationships between samurai and their boyfriends. Young kabuki actors who played female roles were known as onnagata or kagema and doubled as sex workers. They were much debated and sought after by the sophisticates of the day." Of course, this sort of thing is long in the past, but it still looks like a wild time. Kabuki was originally a female occupation in the early part of the 17th century, but quickly became a strictly masculine endeavor. Currently, both the art of kabuki and the love that dared not speak its name are finding favor in modern-day Japan. We found 14 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK (two of which were for the properly rendered PastTimes Press), and 176 in WorldCat.

(Spring Pastimes, Miyagawa Isshô, Shunga hand scroll, ca. 1750, sumi, color and gofun on silk, from a private collection, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 10, 2012

Rachal + Rachel (for Rachel or Rachal)

In 1968, Joanne Woodward appeared in a rather astonishing movie called Rachel, Rachel. It was produced and directed by Paul Newman, to whom she had been married for ten years. Based on the book A Jest of God by Canadian author Margaret Laurence, it tells the story of a 35-year-old school teacher living in Connecticut with her controlling and widowed mother. It features notable scenes of Rachel fantasizing in public and pleasuring in private ("just so I can sleep"); sharing a lesbian kiss with her best friend and fellow teacher (Estelle Parsons), who also happens to be a giddy Pentacostal; and losing her long-held virginity to a former high school classmate home visiting his family. Woodward is at her slightly weird, mockingly wry, somewhat spunky, buttoned-up best in this part. Oh, and did I mention that Rachel, like the graphic artist Alison Bechdel, was an undertaker's kid who grew up in a funeral home? (That role, in flashback, was played by Woodward and Newman's then nine-year-old daughter, Nell.) Check out Rachel, Rachel, showcasing the wonderful Joanne Woodward, and then check your local catalog for Rachal + Rachel, which rates as a "low probability" typo on the Ballard list. There were six of these in OhioLINK (though only four were legit), and 26 in WorldCat.

(Screenshot of Joanne Woodward from the trailer for the film Rachel, Rachel, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 7, 2012

Creatue* (for Creature*)

I blogged about beasts the other day; today I'll speak of creatures. Which are pretty much the same thing, actually, though beast would seem to have more of a more negative connotation and be not so all-encompassing. "Beasts" are generally thought to be four-footed vertebrates, but apparently in some cases can be any "animal." All God's creatures—the very word itself evokes creation, as well as a certain gracious inclusivity. All creatures great and small—to quote the homely hymn by Cecil Alexander (who was, in spite of her name, a woman) and the popular TV program and books by James Herriot—makes the point even more clearly. And yet it seems that "creatures" are often contradictory. The first Google-supplied definition that pops up for them is oddly paradoxical: "1) an animal, as distinct from a human being; 2) an animal or person." In fact, creatures of the mythological sort are very often half-human, half-animal. Another set of definitions has it both ways as well, with this all-purpose label for "a human being; person: used as a term of scorn, pity, or endearment." I scornfully pity the poor, dear creature who would try and pin this sort of thing down. The word seems to mean pretty much whatever you want it to mean. Today's typo is a "low probability" one on the Ballard list, having been created in OhioLINK seven times (like the number of days it took God to make the world, according to creationists) and 70 times in WorldCat.

(Screen shot from Flaming Creatures by Jack Smith, 1963, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prefect* + Perfect* (for Perfect* or Prefect*)

A friend and avid friend of libraries says he's got the perfect name for a barbershop quartet composed entirely of librarians: the Sibilant Postalveolars. According to Wikipedia: "The sibilant postalveolars (i.e. fricatives and affricates) are sometimes called 'hush consonants' because they include the sound of English Shhh!" I suppose publicity for such a group's appearances might go something like this: "Come and hear the SPs do it up right, there's a kind of hush all over the world tonight!" Speaking of fricatives, my friend is also a big fan of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which counted George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and the members of Monty Python among their more famous pals, and once recorded a song called "Labio-Dental Fricative." The band, whose original name was actually the Bonzo Dog Dada Band (rock bands are often inclined to change their names and I could well imagine my friend's imaginary band deciding to call themselves the Hush Consonants instead), was formed on September 25, 1962, when "Vivian Stanshall ... and fellow art student Rodney Slater ... bonded over a transatlantic broadcast of a boxing match between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston." It wasn't until 1967, though, when Paul McCartney asked them to do a cameo in the film Magical Mystery Tour (performing their song "Death Cab for Cutie") and around the time they also appeared on a British comedy show called Don't Adjust Your Set, that they really emerged from relative obscurity. In a nod to Monday's blog entry, Vivian Stanshall's second marriage was celebrated in the song "Bewildebeeste," while my own love affair with the Bonzos is consummated in the tune "Hunting Tigers out in Indiah" (although the original song was actually written in the 1920s by another band of British songwriters). As great as all of this is, however, nothing is perfect, as seen in the case of today's combination typo, found 14 times in OhioLINK (with six false positives among them, perhaps the best being "The coming of the prefect and of the perfect: Pilate of Rome and Jesus of Nazareth") and 203 times in WorldCat.

(Vivian Stanshall, by his wife Ki Longfellow-Stanshall, in England during the summer of 1979 or 1980. Photo in the public domain.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 3, 2012

Breats (for Beast or Breast)

Beast is kind of a funny term. From tongue-in-cheek variants like "beasties" and "roast beast" to foreign ones like wildebeest, it can serve equally well as a reference to Bigfoot and his crypto-companions; a gentleman who's been behaving badly; and by linguistic extension, the unfortunate victim of a zoophile (in the paraphilic sense). It famously falls victim itself to an oft-misquoted aphorism: "Music hath charms to soothe the savage beast [i.e., breast]." And coincidentally, I just watched a fascinating profile of Theo Jansen and his Strandbeest (Dutch for "beach animals"), creatures made of PVC pipe who "walk" with strangely articulated limbs and joints. The word Beast has been posited as almost the polar opposite of Beauty. I guess the beauty of beasts is that they often raise more questions than they answer. Still it's hard to explain the four bubbly young women who grew increasingly ditzy as they rode around New York City in the Cash Cab the other night. When asked: "In Arabic there are a thousand words for what desert-dwelling beast of burden?" there was immediate whispering of camels. But then defeat was snatched from the jaws of victory and their final answer was set down: "Scorpion." When taxi driver/emcee Ben Bailey informed them of the right answer, the one in the backseat demurred: "But a camel isn't a beast." Yeah, and they don't tend to walk "a breast" either. Although, unless they're dromedaries, they usually do have two. Bah-dum-dum. Today's beastly typo turns up four times in OhioLINK, and 33 times in WorldCat.

(Patty, the beast with two breasts, in the 1967 Patterson-Gimlin film, which can be seen here on YouTube.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 30, 2012

Nobem* (for Novem*)

It might be a bit of a stretch (it can often be difficult coming up with decent puns for some of these), but I guess I'm gonna go with the 17th-century writer Aphra Behn today. (Great name, by the way, isn't that? It sounds a little like the first two letters of an imaginary alphabet, or perhaps part of a college sorority: "I'm pledged to Aphra Aphra Behn.") It might be better if today's typo were Noben* rather than Nobem*, but let's try and work with what we've got here. A friend was talking about women novelists throughout history the other day, so I asked him if he knew about Aphra Behn. No, he answered, sounding slightly puzzled. I don't think most people do. While relatively few details are known about her life, it looks as though Behn may have been born in the month of November, since she was apparently baptized Eaffry Johnson on December 14, 1640. Considered the first woman to earn money by writing (along with Delarivier Manley and Eliza Haywood, Behn was one of what was called "the fair triumvirate of wit"), she is best known for her books The Rover, Love-Letters Between a Nobleman and His Sister, and Oroonoko. A fervent Catholic and monarchist, Behn operated as an English spy in the Netherlands and later served time in debtor's prison. Although her life and literature are currently studied in universities, Harold Bloom once called the "resurgent popularity" of Aphra Behn a case of "dumbing down." However, Virginia Woolf claimed that Behn's career, along with her distinction as the first woman novelist, were far more significant than the actual works that she produced. Despite her checkered past and her various friends and foes, Aphra Behn may have summed it up best in the inscription on her tombstone: "Here lies a Proof that Wit can never be / Defence enough against Mortality." There were nine cases of today's typo in OhioLINK this morning, and 433 in WorldCat.

(Aphra Behn, by Mary Beale, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Genuis* (for Genius*)

It doesn't take a genius to know that an 18' x 30' 19th-century mural should not be covered up for over a decade in the musty if rather magnificent auditorium known as Chancellors Hall, housed in the State Education Building in Albany, New York. It did, however, take a new commissioner (John King, Jr., the state's first black education commissioner) to finally raise the curtain on this politically incorrect sticky wicket. The painting, by Adolphe Yvon, hung in the hall for over half a century, but by the year 2000, some African-American employees had begun to complain about its portrayal of slaves and Native Americans, particularly the image of "a slave in a loincloth ... rising up with a two-handed assist from a bearded white figure." Commissioner King wrote the following apologia in defense of his decision to throw some light on this dark chapter in our country's history: "Because the interpretation of history changes over time, this 'lesson' in American virtues can be seen as outdated and offensive. Liberated slaves and Native Americans, for example, are depicted through the sensibilities of the time, and the romantic images conceived by the artist contrast sharply with reality. Indeed, late-nineteenth century America was not a land of opportunity for all. Learning stories of the past is necessary, however, in order for us to understand where we are in the present, and what may shape our future." Staff from the New York State Museum have created an informational website about the mural. We uncovered 32 cases of Genuis* (for genius*) in OhioLINK (about half of which were proper names or foreign words), and 442 in WorldCat. Untruncated, there were 16 and 210.

(The Genius of America by Adolphe Yvon, 1858, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 26, 2012

Expection* (for Expectation*)

Is "expection" the opposite of inspection? Short answer: No. But it is an example of today's typo, which was found, through close and careful inspection of OhioLINK and WorldCat, 24 times and 369 times respectively. The Charles Dickens classic Great Expectations has been given the movie treatment eight times so far, including a 1917 silent film. Now there's another version on the horizon, starring Jeremy Irvine as Pip, Holliday Grainger as Estella, and Helena Bonham Carter as the permanently jilted Miss Havisham, a sort of would-be Dorian Gray in wedding-dress white. Speaking of expecting, there's also a new book out called Great Expectations: The Sons and Daughters of Charles Dickens, about the rather disappointing offspring of the famous author. I happen to have a much older book at home called Dickens's Children, although in that case it refers to the fictional children in his books, not his actual ones. Published in 1912 by Charles Scribner, it tells of the half-real, half-mythical "London of Dickens," along with the young people who inhabit it, and contains ten beautiful color plates by Jessie Willcox Smith. As an aside, one of the OCLC records found for this title spelled the operative word Dicken's (as opposed to correctly as Dickens's), causing it to appear out of sequence in the catalog. Another surprise included the subject heading: Children with disabilities in literature, which at first seemed a bit too broad, or possibly too narrow, for the likes of Oliver, Pip, David Copperfield, Tiny Tim, Little Nell, and Dombey's son. But considering how many fiction records omit subject headings entirely, I can see where it might be a helpful pointer for a disabled young reader who might have lots of books to play with, but somewhat fewer friends, and hasn't yet been introduced to Mr. Dickens and his children. For another take on this writer you might not expect, check out editor Bernadette Rule's In the Wings: Stories of Forgotten Women, a newly minted anthology about various female figures in the lives of famous men. One of my favorites, "Maiden Aunt" by Richard Van Holst (a fascinating story about Charles Dickens's sister-in-law) is a true exercise in tact.

(Studio portrait of Martita Hunt in the 1946 version of Great Expectations, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 23, 2012

Loosing (for Losing)

Loosing for losing is a very common typo, it seems. Partly because of the seeming pronunciation and partly because loosing is a real word (meaning "releasing" or "loosening" and often showing up as an antiquated one rather than a contemporary English one). In any case, I got quite a few hits on it, a decent number of which were actual typos. There were 92 cases of Loosing in OhioLINK and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat. When I combined Loosing + Losing, I got four in OhioLINK and 38 in WorldCat. And when I truncated those terms to Los* + Loos*, I didn't get any in OhioLINK (I think this may be a glitch that occurs there at times when you try and truncate too much or something) and once again, "too many records found..." in WorldCat. I know this is all a little loosey-goosey, but you may want to check it out anyway. Just be careful to consult the original work before you make any corrections. I always thought the reason a woman who was promiscuous or had sex outside of marriage used to be called "loose" was that her morals were supposedly a little flexible. I say "used to be," but these things are horribly slow to change—in the words of Anita Loos, "Fate keeps on happening"—as witnessed by the current spate of "slut shaming." Women back in those days were generally required to be tightly corseted, buttoned, and covered up to a fare-thee-well, which probably is also why the word "loose" has come to refer to women who color outside the lines, as it were. But seeing this picture of a 19th-century model en déshabillé persuades me that "loose hair" was also a signifier of such fallen status. It's like the old stereotype of a (seemingly sexless, old-maid) librarian with her hair wrapped up in a tight bun. However, just like librarians can be sexy, a hair bun can come loose. And our budget-cutting losers in Washington had better watch out or a loose horde of librarians (otherwise known as a "shush") may be loosed on their sorry asses.

(Model with hair loose, between 1895 and 1910, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Hellmann + Hellman (for Hellman or Hellmann)

Besides being a movie based on the 1931 play by Lillian Hellman, the phrase "The Children's Hour" can also refer to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, a painting by Winslow Homer, or a variety of radio broadcasts on the BBC and elsewhere. But the most famous use of this title was probably William Wyler's The Children's Hour, starring Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn. Twenty-five years earlier, there had been another Hollywood adaptation called These Three with Merle Oberon and Joel McCrea. Both films are well worth seeing, but the later one hews more closely to the Hellman original, which clearly involves lesbianism and was inspired by the true story of two Scottish school teachers. In the earlier version, the issue was framed as infidelity, not homosexuality—which is to say that in 1936, Martha is jealous of her best friend Karen; in 1961, she's jealous of Karen's fiancé. I mentioned this bit of movie trivia to a young man whose own school had recently mounted a production of The Children's Hour, and whose own parents both happen to be women. He thought about it for a minute, then nodded sagely: "Makes sense." Hellman was apparently okay with the "adulterated" version, the screenplay for which she wrote herself. (The Hays Code prohibited references to homosexuality in film back then and it was illegal in New York State to mention it on stage as well, although this ban was apparently ignored with regard to the Broadway play itself.) To Hellman, at any rate, the play was more about spreading gossip than outing gays. Today's typo was found out 23 times in OhioLINK, and 244 times in WorldCat.

(Original poster for The Children's Hour, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 19, 2012

Mataph* (for Metaph*)

Once upon a time, Frank Sinatra met Dean Martin and decided to give him what for. "You sound like a ferry boat," Frank tells him. "Toot-toot," replies Dean. "I'm not a ferry boat. I'm a very manly sloop!" A very nice example too of simile, punning, and metaphor all wrapped up into one. Actually, this racy reference to male sexuality comes from a 2010 radio broadcast entitled "Frank Sinatra: The Man & the Myth." Much of the Rat Pack's quintessentially fifties humor was rooted in just this kind of campy masculinity. At its core, a sort of winking homophobic/homoerotic joke, it relies on a form of verbal sparring that borders on seduction. The original ensemble was assembled by Humphrey Bogart; after his death in 1957, Sinatra assumed the high-ranking position in what they then preferred to call the "The Summit" or "The Clan." Although this hip group of actor and musician friends seemed to define a certain brand of cool machismo, it had its occasional female members as well (Lauren Bacall, Bogie's girlfriend and the one who first dubbed them the "Rat Pack"; Judy Garland; and Katherine Hepburn) and did not at first include Dean Martin or Sammy Davis Jr., although it did have the urbane David Niven. By the 1960s, however, the leaders of the pack were considered to be Sinatra, Frank, and Davis, who appeared in the signature film Ocean's Eleven, along with Peter Lawford and Joey Bishop. There were 23 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 347 in WorldCat.

(Portrait of Frank Sinatra at Liederkrantz Hall, New York, circa 1947, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 16, 2012

Restuar* (for Restaur*)

I was enjoying a meal with some friends at a local Greek eatery called Ali Baba the other night and found myself charmed by the somewhat hyperbolic and H-happy slogan printed on its menu: "House of Healthy Fresh Homemade Deliciousness." I've been there a couple of times now and have so far eaten, sampled, or considered ordering the iskender, the durum, the guvech, the kabob, and a cold platter of assorted globs of mystery "deliciousness"—including, of course, the traditional stuffed grape leaves. (A buddy of mine used to date a Greek woman for whom he employed the pet name dolmadaki mon, meaning "my little stuffed grape leaf.") I also had the traditional yogurt drink known as ayran, which might be a good typo candidate for Aryan, so stay tuned. (A search just now on Aryan + Ayran returned a single hit in OhioLINK and 16 in WorldCat.) Our typo du jour was found ten times in the former database and 315 times in the latter one. Due to the way the word restaurant is often pronounced, I'm always a bit surprised not to find any cases of Restarau* in the smaller of the two catalogs, although it did come up 32 times in the larger one today. Another spelling-related note here: a person who owns or runs a restaurant is called a restaurateur. The variant "restauranteur" (with an n) is widely if arguably considered incorrect.

(Greek salad, horiatiki salata, at Psaropoulo restaurant in Hydra, Greece, September 2007, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Hydrolic* (for Hydraulic*)

According to the 2010 documentary Gasland by Josh Fox, and the upcoming (?) HBO sequel Gasland 2, if you've got "fracking" going on outside your house, you might want to avoid licking, drinking, or even turning on the water inside it. The film begins with one Colorado homeowner literally lighting fire to the water coming out of his kitchen tap in order to demonstrate the apparent dangers of hydraulic fracturing. Because this method of generating energy allegedly pollutes the water at the same time that it utilizes a great deal of it in the process, and because the ultimate goal here is the extraction of hydrocarbons, some people may think the word in question is "hydrolic." However, it's actually hydraulic, a reference to the forceful pressure needed to release the underground shale gas. It's not only the technique itself that's controversial—it's what to call it, and furthermore, how to spell it. The Wikipedia article reports that this is also known as "induced hydraulic fracturing or hydrofracturing" (which, along with another abbreviation, "hydro-fracking," would seem to go a long way toward explaining today's typo) and is "commonly known as fracing, fraccing, or fracking." There were 13 cases of Hydrolic* (for hydraulic*) in OhioLINK the last time I checked, and 204 in WorldCat.

(Ad on message board in coffee shop for rally against hydraulic fracturing, 17 July 2012, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 12, 2012

Hadyn (for Haydn)

One of the comments following an online article about the front-page typo(s) "Let is snow, let is snow, let is snow" from the Brattleboro (Vermont) Reformer read as follows: "This isn't newspaper-related and it's kind of geeky, but my favorite typo came from a CD booklet. It was a classical CD so not in the widest circulation, but it was the Cleveland Orchestra, which is/was one of the giants, and it was a prominent release for them on some big label which presumably employed copy editors. Anyway it was a CD of symphonies by Haydn and they spelled Haydn wrong on the cover of the CD. And it was one of those designs that was just a field of color and then big text in bold contrasting colors: Cleveland Orchestra / Symphonies 102, 103, 104 / Hadyn..." Franz Joseph Haydn is considered the "father" of the symphony, or the string quartet, or even of classical music itself, and though he lived more than 200 years ago, he's certainly no has-been, or even had-byn. There were 58 cases of Hadyn in OhioLINK today, and 507 in WorldCat. If you combine both Hadyn and Haydn, you get 20 hits in the former and 149 in the lattter. So let's make Hay here while the sun shines and make sure we've all got the name of Mozart's close friend and Beethoven's music teacher properly spelled in our catalogs.

(Haydn portrait on German stamp, 1959, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 9, 2012

Oppresion (for Oppression)

"Born with a hatred of oppression," Matilda Joslyn Gage arrived on the scene in the early 1800s, a much more progressive and activist century than some of the present-day politically correct might realize. An "adopted" member of the Mohawk Indian tribe, Gage grew up in Cicero, New York (in a house on the Underground Railroad) and was a lifelong proponent of Native American rights, the abolition of slavery, and a woman's right to vote. Not an advocate merely of the ballot, she campaigned strenuously for women's suffrage, though she wouldn't live long enough to see it to fruition. Unlike some of her sister suffragettes, most notably those in the Women's Christian Temperance Union, she did not believe in suffrage simply because it would likely bring a needed feminine "morality" to the legislature. Instead, she regarded it simply as a "natural right," regardless of how women might choose to use it. Gage first became involved in the women's movement when she gave a speech at the 1852 National Women's Rights Convention in Syracuse. She later managed to get New York women the right to vote in school board elections, and in 1871, along with nine others, she stormed the polls demanding that they be allowed to vote. She supported Victoria Woodhull at that time and served as an elector for Belva Lockwood in her own bid for the White House in 1884. Gage was a prolific and scathingly funny writer ("It is sometimes better to be a dead man than a live woman") and was also the mother-in-law of famed children's author L. Frank Baum. (Her son and his wife had a daughter whom they named Dorothy Gage, but sadly the little girl died at five months old. This upset Gage's daughter Maud, the child's aunt, so much that her husband named his Wizard of Oz protagonist "Dorothy Gale" in her honor.) The "Matilda Effect" (coined in 1993 and meaning that if a scientist is known to be female, her work will receive less credit than if that fact were not known) was named for Matilda Gage. There were seven cases of Oppresion in OhioLINK today, and 77 in WorldCat.

(Matilda Joslyn Gage, 19th century photograph in the public domain, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pruple* (for Purple*, etc.)

It's sometimes said there's no rhyme for orange, but fellow "secondary color" purple seems to be lacking for one as well, at least according to the poet's little helper website RhymeZone. Older folks will likely remember the 1958 chart-topping novelty song "The Purple People Eater" while demonstrably less silly younger ones probably prefer the formerly known as Prince tune "Purple Rain." (Even more recently minted ones than that must recall, whether they like it or not, being mesmerized by Barney the Purple Dinosaur singing, "I love you, you love me, we're a happy family!") Purple is an often lofty, even regal, sort of color, but it's also a funny-sounding word that seems to lend itself to nonsense. Gelett Burgess (author of the "Goops" series for children, along with the excellent maxim "Love is only chatter; friends are all that matter") wrote this famous little ditty, published in 1895:

I never saw a Purple Cow;
I never hope to See One;
But I can Tell you, Anyhow,
I'd rather See than Be One.


The poem became so popular that Burgess grew exasperated by it and two years later penned the following follow-up called "Confession: and a Portrait Too, Upon a Background That I Rue":

Ah, yes, I wrote the "Purple Cow"—
I'm Sorry, now, I wrote it;
But I can tell you Anyhow
I'll Kill you if you Quote it!


If pot (now legal in eighteen states plus the District of Columbia) were purple, it might look something like this, a flower actually known as "Buddleia." There were two cases of today's perp in OhioLINK (one for purple and one for the French word peuples), and 15 in WorldCat. Smoke 'em out if you got 'em. (But don't quote me.)

(Buddleia, 7 July 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, November 5, 2012

Elction* (for Election*)

You've come a long way, baby, but hey, have you seen that viral video of the little kid crying over how sick and tired she is of "Bronco Bamma and Mitt Romney"? Sometimes it's hard to know just where to stand on Election Day and easier just to throw in the tear-soaked towel. Whether you miss the 1950s and still "like Ike" or have managed to keep hope alive and are backing Barack, or perhaps like a good German are going mit Mitt, or anything else in between, you're probably planning on casting your ballot tomorrow. Unless, that is, you tried to beat the crowds or any last-minute conflicts by voting early, something the First Lady was pushing on one of the late-night talk shows the other night. Still another option, however, though not one widely encouraged, is to skip the elections entirely, which the managing editor of Reason magazine, Katherine Mangu-Ward, makes a surprisingly good case for in the journal's November issue. It's simply not worth it, she argues. And this isn't only advice for those derided 'undecideds' who aren't quite sure who the vice president is; it's also meant for a wide range of thoughtful and informed voters and abstainers as well. It's all very interesting and debatable, I guess, but on Tuesday we're being asked to make a choice. So please do whatever it is you do on Election Day and may the best men and women win. We counted five cases of Elction* (for election*) in OhioLINK today, and 94 in WorldCat.

(Country Gentleman magazine cover, November 4, 1922. The 19th Amendment giving all women the right to vote wasn't ratified until August 1920. Note the obnoxious sign: "Women Must Give Their Ages." From Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, November 2, 2012

Hundreth (for Hundredth)

Michel Eugène Chevreul was a famous French chemist who specialized in fatty acids (including margaric acid, the precursor to margarine), formulated an early type of soap, and was a pioneer in the field of gerontology. Chevreul himself was a centenarian (plus two), having been born in 1786 and died in 1889. He made it through the French Revolution and lived long enough to see his name engraved upon the Eiffel Tower. Since frequent hand-washing is one of the best ways to stay healthy and live a long life (although most people, notoriously including obtetricians and surgeons, of whom there were several in Chevreul's family, apparently didn't realize it back then), it seems he may have been on to something with all that soap. His own longevity, however, allowed him to pursue a multitude of other interests as well. He did research into various color phenonmena, including what's known as "simultaneous contrast" as well as something called Chevreul's illusion,"the bright edges that seem to exist between adjacent strips of identical colors having different intensities." He was also a professional skeptic and tireless debunker of all manner of 19th-century charlatans. There were 196 cases of Hundreth in OhioLINK today, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat. I suspect a number of these may reflect early/variant spellings or cases where it's spelled that way on the piece itself, so be careful when making any corrections here.

(Chevreul in his hundredth year, 1886-1887, Popular Science Monthly, vol. 30, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bamk* (for Bank*)

A friend recently told me about the time that Redbank, a bank located mostly in New Jersey, opened an office in Long Branch. He added: "The article I read about this asked whether we could call it the Long Branch branch of the Redbank bank." I just glanced down at the op-ed page in our local newspaper and saw the headline: "Savings buildings saves city's history." I'm pretty sure that first word should be saving—unless the buildings they're talking about are savings banks, and in that case, you'd still have to change the word "saves" to "save." Unfortunately, I couldn't find a decent typo for savings to save my life, but I thought maybe I could bank on banking instead. Not exactly a treasure trove there, either, but I did eventually find five cases of Bamk* in OhioLINK (two of which were possibly correctly spelled personal names) and 302 in WorldCat. You might make sussing this one out a bit easier by doing separate searches on Bamks and Bamking. There were nine hits each on both of those in WorldCat, but let's face it, this is not a particularly rich typo, nor one that will probably garner a lot of interest. But should you happen to find one of these in your own library's catalog, it would certainly be worth making a withdrawal. Which is apparently what the characters in the 1895 play The War of Wealth were attempting to do in a "run on the bank" following the Panic of 1893.

(Poster for The War of Wealth by Charles Turner Dazey, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 29, 2012

Technolob* (for Technolog*)

Today's typo was lobbed across my desk this morning when a coworker returned a printout of a record I'd created, pointing out that I had misspelled technology as Technoloby. "Reminds me of a wallaby," she said laughing (if not quite kicking me while I was down). Wallabies, much like their similar-looking kangaroo cousins, are basically low-tech, but very well-designed, with built-in pouches for carrying their young. Oddly enough, according to Wikipedia, "a wallaby is any of about thirty species of Macropodidae family. It is an informal designation generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or wallaroo that has not been designated otherwise." Various types of wallabies go by lots of different descriptors: Purple-necked, Red-legged, White-striped, Yellow-footed, Short-eared, and so on. And while virtually all of them would seem to be agile, dusky, and unadorned, there are a few that actually have those traits incorporated into their very names. I especially love the alliterative way that the Wild Whiptail Wallaby is also called the "Pretty-Faced Wallaby." There were three cases of Technolob* found in OhioLINK today, and 49 in WorldCat.

(Wild Whiptail Wallaby/Pretty-Faced Wallaby, or Macropus parryi), at the road from Canungra to Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia, March 2, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eliane + Elaine (for Elaine or Eliane)

I probably shouldn't like Elia Kazan. After all, he "named names" to the House Un-American Activities Committee and I'm so not down with that. I love folks who fearlessly stick up for the First Amendment and the right to freely "associate." I also have a bit of a soft spot for those fun-loving pre-Stalinist so-called "Commies" like Woody Guthrie and Jessica Mitford. I even maintain a tenuous connection to one of the Hollywood Ten. (Very tenuous.) Nevertheless, I do like Elia Kazan. His films (A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, Splendor in the Grass, Gentleman's Agreement, Death of a Salesman, etc.) are truly extraordinary; and while it's hard to say whether his actions before the committee were motivated out of ideological principle, the irresistable desire to keep on working, a personal betrayal of sorts, or some combination thereof, there's something in it that begs for respect. And more than half a century later, Hollywood (though there remained a handful of stone-faced dissenters) appears to have felt the same way. Kazan was accorded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1999; Stanley Kubrick called him "the best director we have in America"; and Martin Scorsese made an admiring documentary called A Letter to Elia in 2010. Despite the divisive politics of the 1950s, the controversial director's body of work (its essential liberalism and humanity) speaks for itself. There were 20 instances of today's typo in OhioLINK and around 200 in WorldCat. (Searching on Eliane alone may bring up some misspelled instances of Elaine as well, but that can be a properly spelled name in its own right. There were 526 cases of Eliane in OhioLINK and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.)

(Elia Kazan, full-length portrait, standing before bookshelves at Brentano's bookstore, by World Journal Tribune photographer James Kavallines, 1967, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scared + Sacred (for Sacred or Scared)

I was reading an account recently of a young girl's supposed encounter with a sasquatch (aka bigfoot) at an Oklahoma summer camp in 1977. She wrote that prior to the incident she had been lying awake in her cabin because she was "sacred of thunderstorms." Clearly, she meant scared, but apparently a little thunder and lightning were the least of her worries that night. It's often said, "Is nothing is sacred?" but in fact there are many things dubbed thusly, notwithstanding our often secular society: everything from sacred texts and sacred cows to hearts and flowers, dogs and cats, birds and bees (or close enough), and even such seemingly sacrilegious things as performance artist/sex worker Annie Sprinkle's Neo-Sacred Prostitute. While searching for today's typo in all the wrong places, I came across a poem by the Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye called "Scared, Scarred, Sacred," which I suspect is how most of us tend to go through life. Regardless of wherever we happen to be, existence is really just one great big unknown. Or as another title I turned up would have it: Wilderness: Scared of the Sacred. There were 27 cases of Scared + Sacred in OhioLINK this morning, 18 of which involved legitimate errors. WorldCat returned 207 matches; presumably 100 or so of these were typos for either sacred or scared. Today's picture is of the scary/sacred spot in western New York where Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, claims he had a vision. Interestingly enough, Utah is a hot spot for both Mormons and Bigfoot sightings.

(Photograph of the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith, Jr. had his first vision in 1820, by George Edward Anderson, circa 1907, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apatmen* (for Apartmen*)

In Billy Wilder's 1960 tour de force, The Apartment, Shirley MacLaine plays an adorably gamine depressive and Jack Lemmon a pencil-pushing mensch, both of them caught between a boss and a heart place. In a world of gray-flannel-suited mad men, these two are testament to the ultimate power of simple humanity and love. Following on the hilarious heels of the sizzling Some Like It Hot, released in 1959, Wilder pulled off an amazing feat with another unforgettable classic: The Apartment ranks at #80, and its predecessor #22, on the American Film Institute's "100 greatest American movies of all time." Today's typo was found twice in OhioLINK and 11 times in WorldCat. You may or may not find it in your own little cubicle, but either way, shut up and deal.

(Screenshot of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in the trailer for The Apartment, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mountin + Mountain* (for Mountain*)

Annie Smith Peck was born on October 19, 1850, in Providence, Rhode Island, and died on July 18, 1935, in New York City. But despite starting out and ending up in relative flatlands, she spent most of her life climbing mountains. Born into a wealthy and rather forward-thinking family, Peck got off on a good foot, attending schools in Rhode Island, Michigan, Germany, and Greece. During the 1880s and early '90s, she taught archaeology and Latin at Purdue University and Smith College. As she continued traveling the globe giving lectures, she eventually found her true calling, and at the age of 35 began mountaineering in earnest, scaling Mount Shasta, the Matterhorn, and other impressive heights. She seemed to especially enjoy South America; in 1928 the northern peak of Peru's Mount Nevada Huascarán was named Cumbre Aña Peck in her honor. Today's typo is one letter shy of a mountain, with six showing up in OhioLINK and 61 in WorldCat.

(Hassan Cigarette Trading card showing Annie Smith Peck, 1911, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Concumer* (for Consumer*)

Are you a consumer of cucumbers? I like the phallic-looking veggies well enough myself, but I used to eat more of them when I lived with several roommates who all enjoyed tossed salad for dinner. At the time, we also shared quarters with a clowder (!) of cats and I would notice that whenever I peeled cucumbers, my sweet little feline Alfalfa would quickly come running. I finally offered him a plate full of cucumber peels to see if he would put his money where his mouth was. He did. I actually had to intervene after a few minutes since I didn't want him to end up with a distended belly full of green wax and fiber. Cucumber is a gourd, originally from India, and today comes in a wide variety of cultivars. One is even officially called "Burpless," implying that here's a cucumber that won't give you gas. I never actually had to burp my cuke-craving kitty, but I probably could have if I had wanted to. One of his most amazing qualities was his ability to hang upside down, or draped over my shoulder, completely relaxed, like a rag doll. Here's to the awesome Alfalfa as well as the totally cool cucumber. There were two of these in OhioLINK this morning, and 23 in WorldCat. A "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, this one is a relatively easy pickle to get out of.

("Dogs like cucumbers & cucumbers like dogs," 2 August 2004, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 15, 2012

Interupt* (for Interrupt*)

We interrupt our program for this special report (numerous things have conspired to slow down production lately), but we'll be right back after a short non-commercial break. Typo of the Day shall be posting intermittently for a while until we eventually settle into a (most likely) 3x-a-week publication schedule. In the meantime, here's a little brain teaser for you. How many words end in rupt? I could only think of three off the top of my head: disrupt, erupt, and interrupt. Can you come up with any more? (Hint: there are ten of them.) There were also nine occurences of Interupt* in OhioLINK today, and 278 in WorldCat. Okay, gotta go swim in some other circles now. See you soon!

(Chaetodon interruptus, by Xavier Romero-Frias, 1991, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 12, 2012

Contining (for Continuing)

People who pursue what's known as "continuing education" are often independent thinkers, audodidacts of a sort, driven to seek out learning in a way that's different from the mass exodus out of high school and into college that most younger students experience. So if, in an attempt to drum up class solidarity, your teachers try and tell you that "there's no U in continuing," you'll just have to speak up and correct them: Indeed there is. (Although twelve records in OhioLINK and 200 in WorldCat would seem to want to argue otherwise.) But listen, when you're right, you're right, even if you're the only one. Please continue to keep up the good work by correcting today's typo in your own library's catalog.

(Pinus tabuliformis, foliage and cone, Beijing, China, by Shang Ning, 18 January 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Princple* (Principle*)

The other night during a Scrabble game, while looking up a word in the dictionary, I serendipitously discovered that the word pistache means a sort of green. Pistachios are sometimes dyed red or green in order to increase their eye appeal, but the so-called nuts themselves (they're actually seeds or "drupes") can appear slightly green or even reddish in nature as well. The largest American source of pistachios is California, but the biggest producer in the world is Iran. Pistachios are grown and enjoyed all over, however, and actually look to be pretty pleased with themselves, if the tendency known as pareidolia has anything to do with it. (Another nut-like example of this is the little bearded man you can see if you carefully split apart the two halves of a peanut.) According to Food Editorials: "Pistachios are joyful. In China people refer to them as 'happy nuts' while in Iran they are known as 'smiling nuts.' Middle Easterners call the pistachio the 'smiling pistachio.' In these countries, if you hear the pistachios shells opening on a tree while you are resting beneath it, it is considered good luck..." Pistachios are also unique in that they can be roasted and salted while still in the shell. Though it's possible to buy them already shucked (probably the best way to observe their natural green color), I've often thought it just as well that they generally come in those little beige shells (which can then be saved and used for any number of things, including craft projects and slug deterrents in the garden), if for no other reason than that it inhibits overeating. (Especially if you're as nuts about nuts as I am). In fact, in 2008 Dr. James Painter of Eastern Illiniois University came up with something called the Pistachio Principle, which basically says that "the act of shelling and eating pistachios one by one slows one's consumption, allowing one to feel full faster after having eaten less." Getting back to whether or not the word pistache means the color of a pistachio (or is even an English word at all), I actually couldn't find much confirmation of that beyond the dictionary I consulted the other night at a friend's house. But marginal though it may be, I like the word anyway; it's like pastiche with the first two vowels reversed. Which puts me in mind of the movie Great Expectations with Ethan Hawke. That film had so many shades of green in it (a veritable pastiche of pistache) that upon seeing it in the theater in 1998, my friend and I thereafter dubbed it "Green Expectations." There were 25 cases of Princple* found in OhioLINK today, and 157 in WorldCat.

(Pistachio Tree at Château Noir, by Paul Cezanne, at the Art Institute of Chicago, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 8, 2012

Agengy, Agengies (for Agency, Agencies)

The mighty Genghis Khan was the grandfather of Kublai Khan, the eponymous subject of the Samuel Taylor Coleridge dream-poem that begins, "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree..." and then just gets better from there. In the twelfth century A.D., Genghis Khan showed great agency in the founding of the Mongol Empire, which became the "largest contiguous empire in history after his demise." Perhaps the most resonant words in the vibratingly vivid Kubla Khan are those recurring "sunny pleasure domes with caves of ice," which& appear to be reflected in the beautiful Kazakhstani coin pictured above. Whether you work for a stately government agency or a more privately owned dome of pleasure, you can always extend its empire a little bit further by keeping your typos in check. Agengy was found 16 times in OhioLINK, and Agengies twice, whereas WorldCat turned them up 89 and 20 times apiece.

(Reverse commemorative 100 Tenge coin depicting "Chingiz Khan," 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 5, 2012

Manly + Manley (for Manley or Manly)

A yard is a terrible thing to waste, and every summer I watch as the epic battle of Grass versus Crabgrass, Clover versus Purslane, and all the other warring weeds in between takes place out on the patchy plot of sandy dirt behind my house. I sigh as the flowers I've tried to grow shrivel up in the sun and fade in the shade. And I vow to do better at this next year. But then all is forgiven and forgotten for a time as the entire yard becomes blanketed in yellow, brown, and orange leaves from the rapidly denuded trees that are hovering nearby. One of the first poems I remember studying in high school (and the very first one I chose to memorize during a recent attempt to commit a variety of them to heart) was called "Spring & Fall: To a Young Child" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: "Margaret, are you grieving / Over Goldengrove unleaving? / Leaves, like the things of man, you / With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? / Ah! as the heart grows older / It will come to such sights colder / By and by, nor spare a sigh / Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; / And yet you wíll weep and know why..." I love that word, leafmeal. (What do health-conscious caterpillars eat for breakfast? Answer: Leafmeal!) I noticed bags full of leaves (soon to be turned into a sort of "leafmeal" by the city, and eventually into compost for the community gardeners next year) lined up along the streets this morning, waiting to be picked up with the weekly trash and recycling. Somehow it all seems rather sad, and makes me want to skip right over winter and pick up again in the spring. "... Now no matter, child, the name: / Sorrow's springs are the same. / Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed / What heart heard of, ghost guessed: / It is the blight man was born for, / It is Margaret you mourn for." There were 29 cases of today's combination typo in OhioLINK, and 210 in WorldCat. Some of them were false positives; some had or probably should have had an explanatory "sic" or "i.e." on them; some involved antiquated titles that may have included personal names written differently on the work itself than on the authorized headings in NACO. And then there was one record where I wasn't quite sure whether we were dealing with typos or wordplay: A Queer Chivalry: The Homoerotic Asceticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins, including chapter headings such as "Queer Courtship: Veiled Eros in a Manly Craft" and "Manly Beauty: A Solace and a Scourge."

(Young British poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Manuscrip, Manuscrips (for Manuscript, Manuscripts)

Most people who go into their doctor's office come out with a prescription, or "scrip" for short. Sometimes this word is wrongly rendered as "script," but that's a term better reserved for the ubiquitous Big Pharma commercials you see on television all the time, most of them ending with the ludicrous injunction: "Ask your doctor if [this latest drug] is right for you!" Fortunately, my own doctor is not the sort to hand out little purple pills (or any other kind of medication) like candy. Instead, he encourages lifestyle changes (along with natural supplements, detox programs, and anti-inflammatory diets) to encourage your body to heal itself. I recently saw a documentary, sponsored by one of the two alternative health centers in town, entitled Escape Fire; it explored the reasons why our American health care system is such a tragic mess and how it might be turned around. After the film there was a Q&A with local practitioners and college professors; author Richard Kirsch (Fighting for Our Health); and a representative from the progressive supermarket chain Safeway. I really recommend this film, along with another one I've heard good things about called Doctored. There was an amazing moment in Escape Fire in which a young veteran who'd fought in Afghanistan held up a plastic bag and dumped out all the prescription pill bottles he had amassed while on tour. Dozens of the little orange bastards skittered across the floor. He was eventually able to get off of them and dramatically reduce his pain (both physical and psychological) through the use of meditation and acupuncture, treatments now offered as part of standard care at Walter Reed Hospital. The typos Manuscrip and Manuscrips were found eight and twelve times apiece in OhioLINK, and 172/192 times in WorldCat.

(Lahainaluna Seminary, Hawaii scrip notes, from Flickr.)


Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Statisic* (for Statistic*)

It has just dawned on me that when I report the incidence of these typos in OhioLINK and WorldCat, I may not be providing you with entirely consistent statistics. It looks like most of the time OhioLINK is set for "all" language records, whereas my WorldCat search is generally limited to English-only. However, I'm not even sure that that's always the case. Yes, statistics can be maddening, as Mark Twain once pointed out ("There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"), but let's not worry too much about it. (Perhaps a better record to set straight is the one regarding the quote itself, which Twain indeed popularized, but attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. This supposed fact, however, is also in dispute.) These typo stats often vary from day to day, anyway, and by bringing them up at all I am simply trying to give you a sense of their relative probability in your own databases. Statisic* is found 30 times in OhioLINK, and 450 times in WorldCat, making it a typo of "high probability."

(Mark Twain, perhaps assessing his odds in a game of billiards with Louise Paine, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bulltin* (for Bulletin*)

Like yesterday's blog topic, People Will Talk, another "socially conscious" film I saw recently contains its own share of cinematic bon mots. Frank Capra's Meet John Doe opens with a construction worker chiseling the letters off the stone edifice of the town newspaper building ("The Bulletin—A free press means a free people") and replacing them with the spruced-up motto: "The New Bulletin—a streamlined newspaper for a streamlined era." (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?) Barbara Stanwyck plays Ann Mitchell, a reporter with an eye for gold and a heart of same, who contrives to save her job at the downsizing Bulletin by cooking up an appealingly desperate "Everyman" in order to goose the paper's circulation. She decides to write a fictional letter to the editor from an out-of-work "John Doe" who threatens to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. Her plan seems to work (the readers are intrigued), so she decides to milk it some more by finding an actual person to play the part. When she gets a gander at tall drink of water Gary Cooper ("Long John Willoughby," a former baseball player and now a "bum"), the search is over and the plot thickens. In one notable scene, Cooper gives what's got to be the best virtual spanking in all of classic movie history by managing to "whack" Stanwyck repeatedly without ever laying a hand on her. (It's just a dream.) This film is sort of half comedy, half drama, half satire. And it's probably not giving too much away to say that it ends with Miss Mitchell, her man, and The People all vowing to live freely and happily ever after. (Capra was so dissatisfied with the ending, however, that four different ones were test-screened before an audience and the film was actually altered post-release after he received an especially urgent letter from a fan.) News bulletin: there were five examples of this typo uncovered in OhioLINK today, and 140 in WorldCat.

(Walter Brennan, Gary Cooper, Irving Bacon, Barbara Stanwyck, and James Gleason in Meet John Doe, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid