Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Filmak* (for Filmmak*)

This typo turns up an amazing 898 times in OhioLINK today. Undoubtedly, some of these are correctly spelled foreign words or trade names, while others are misspellings on the piece itself. Filmmaker and its ilk are very commonly misspelled words, in which one M is mistakenly substituted for the two M's the words actually should contain. German filmmaker Fritz Lang is largely known for Metropolis, the most expensive silent feature ever made at the time of its release, and the thriller M, which was his first sound movie and the one he considered his best. Although Lang denied the connection, M was thought to be based upon the case of Peter Kürten, the "Vampire of Düsseldorf." According to Wikipedia: "A police psychiatrist in the film cites serial killers Fritz Haarmann and Karl Grossmann as examples of how such criminals can conceal themselves in everyday society." Double letters are not concealed in those two surnames and in fact show up in a great many German and English words. Don't let the two M's in filmmaker and its relatives get away from you; you're sure to catch a least of few of them in your own catalog. Although in the case of transcribed fields, you'll probably have to do some additional investigative work.

(Fritz Lang and his wife Thea von Harbou in their Berlin apartment, 1923 or 1924, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, June 29, 2009

Lanuga* (for Language*)

With 22 hits in OhioLINK on Lanuga*, this typo for language* shows up in the B or "high probability" section of the Ballard list. It turns out that lanuga actually is a word in Esperanto, meaning "covered with fine hairs or fluffy." Esperanto was conceived in the late 19th century by Dr. Ludociv Lazarus Zamenhof, a Jewish ophthalmologist from Bialystok, Russia, and was created to help promote global harmony and understanding. It is currently spoken by an estimated two million people worldwide, although at one time speakers of the language were persecuted by both Hitler and Stalin. Surprisingly enough, none of the typos we found were for Laguna Beach in southern California, another locus of love and peace, and former haven for those who like it long, straight, curly, fuzzy ... hair!

(Picture of baby Ginger Monkey, all orange and lanuga and looking as if it might start speaking Esperanto any minute, taken by "Rob" in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, June 26, 2009

Belguim (for Belgium)

On this day in 1945, the Charter of the United Nations was signed by 50 of the 51 original member states (Poland’s representative signed it later).

Belgium was one of the original signing members of the UN. Making a spelling error such as “Belguim” (a high probability typo on the Ballard list) on a document as important as this one would be most embarrassing—fortunately, this didn’t happen.

Perhaps legitimately embarrassing for Belgium was its inclusion in Life, the Universe, and Everything, the third book in Douglas Adams’ Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. The U.S. edition of the book was censored, with swear words replaced by such terms as “kneebiter” and “swut”. “Belgium” was also used as a substitute word, and it was described as the most offensive word in the galaxy.

Pictured are tulips in Brussels, photo taken from http://www.travelphotoguide.com/

Leanne Olson

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Lizst (for Liszt)

The boatman in his small craft
Is seized with longings, and sighs.
He sees not the rocks fore and aft;
He looks only up towards the skies.

I fear that the waves shall be flinging
Both vessel and man to their end;
That must have been what with her singing
The Lorelei did intend.

- translation of verses from Heine's Die Lorelei,
set to music by Franz Liszt

Franz Liszt (1811-1886) was a Hungarian composer, pianist, and educator, one of the leaders of the Romantic movement. He also had a rather difficult name to spell: the typo Lizst occurs over a hundred times in Worldcat.

Liszt was known for his piano works and his virtuosity at the instrument, but his song compositions should not be overlooked. He paid strong attention to interpreting the words of the poems and the emotion therein.

According to Grove Music Online, he wrote notes throughout his manuscripts with instructions to the singer such as “‘fast gesprochen’ (almost spoken), ‘mit halber Stimme’ (with a half-voice), ‘geheimnisvoll’ (mysterious), ‘phlegmatisch’ (dull or heavy) and ‘hintraumend’ (day-dreaming).”

(image of Liszt from pianoparadise.com)
Leanne Olson

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Pheonix (for Phoenix)

In both Eastern and Western mythology, the phoenix is a rare flaming or glowing bird, representing the sun and symbolizing new beginnings.

In Greece and Egypt, it embodied immortality, often tied to the sun god (Helios or Ra). Just as the sun moves across the sky, disappears and is reborn the next morning, the phoenix dies in fire and is regenerated from its own ashes.

The phoenix has no mate and one of these creatures can only be born from the death of the previous one. In some Renaissance writing, the phoenix was considered a delicacy—since only one is alive at a time in the entire world, dining on phoenix is the rarest of possible meals.

While the phoenix may be a lonely bird, the typo pheonix has plenty of company. Pheonix is a high probability error on the Ballard list, occurring 12 times in OhioLINK and over 300 in Worldcat. It can occur in any number of places in the catalogue, as a location of a conference or publication, an author or actor’s name, a spacecraft, a publishing company, part of a title, or even a comic book character.

(Phoenix painting from http://kalaalog.com/)
Leanne Olson

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Helsinski (for Helsinki)

This typo for the capital city of Finland, Helsinki, is a high probability error on the Ballard List, and there are over 450 occurrences of Helsinski in Worldcat!

It’s not unfitting that Helsinki is a frequently misspelled name, since the city actually has its own slang which does not conform to normal Finnish spelling and grammar rules.

This slangi is a mishmash of colloquial Finnish and words borrowed from other languages: English, Swedish, German and Russian.

Slangi is characterized by a very quick speech, shortened or diminutive forms of words, voiced consonants not commonly used in Finnish, such as d, and a breaking of the rules of vowel harmony.

Often, an extra S is added to the beginning of words in slangi—this would not, however, justify that extra S near the end of our typo Helsinkski!

Pictured above is the Helsinki Cathedral, a major landmark in the city.

(Photograph from http://taivasalla.net)

Leanne Olson

Monday, June 22, 2009

Lenon, Lennen, or Lenonn (for Lennon)

There's room at the top they are telling you still
But first you must learn how to smile as you kill
If you want to be like the folks on the hill
A working class hero is something to be

-from "Working Class Hero" by John Lennon

On this day, June 22, in 1981 while on trial for the murder of John Lennon, Mark David Chapman dropped the insanity defense and changed his plea to guilty, citing a conversation with God as his reason.

Lennon was famous for his work with the Beatles, but in his short life he also made marks with his solo music and political protests.

His solo recordings were experimental, such as the noise collages on his Unfinished Music albums. The often harsh, confessional pieces on the album John Lennon/ Plastic Ono Band were influenced by Lennon’s foray into primal scream therapy.

The song "Working Class Hero" made waves for its unforgiving language. Some radio stations banned the song because of the F-word, while other station managers defended it, facing penalties including fines of up to $10,000.

Try not to misspell Lennon’s name, lest you accidentally censor him in your own catalogue!

(Photograph from Allmusic.com)
Leanne Olson

Friday, June 19, 2009

Audibook (for Audiobook)

WorldCat lists many examples of "audibook" (for "audiobook") or "audibooks" (for "audiobooks"). Originally released in 2007, "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" was ranked in the top 10 bestselling audiobooks on Amazon this week.

Catherine Scullion

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Contianer (for Container)

WorldCat lists many examples of "contianer" (for "container").
"A novel, in the end, is a container, a shape which you are trying to pour your story into."--Helen Dunmore

Catherine Scullion

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Porduc* (for Produce/d, Production) + Reporduc* (for Reproduce/d, Reproduction)

OhioLINK lists 10 examples of "reporduction" (for "reproduction") and 5 examples of "porduction" (for "production"). "Porduced" (for "produced") and "Reporduced" (for "reproduced") is each listed 4 times in OhioLINK.
"Were I called on to define, very briefly, the term art, I should call it the Reproduction of what the senses perceive in nature through the veil of the mist."--Edgar Allan Poe

Catherine Scullion

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Presentaton (for Presentation)

"Presentation" is commonly used (and misspelled as "presentaton") in DVD descriptions (i.e. full screen or wide screen presentation). There are 5 examples of "presentaton" in OhioLINK. John McTiernan, the director of the 1988's Die Hard and 1995's Die Hard 3, has been quoted as saying: "The entertainment is in the presentation." Officer John McClane would definitely agree!

Catherine Scullion

Monday, June 15, 2009

Communcation, Communicaton (for Communication)

There are 31 examples of "communcation" and 17 examples of "communicaton" in OHIOLink. Communication is essential to every species.  We can communicate in various ways, from a hug, a “hello”, to a handshake.  Author Anne Morrow Lindbergh (fellow aviator/wife of Charles Lindbergh) once commented: “Good communication is as stimulating as black coffee, and just as hard to sleep after.”  The frequency of the misspelling of “communication” may also provide reason to lose sleep!

Catherine Scullion

Friday, June 12, 2009

Unvie* (for Universal, University, etc.)

The purpose of a university is to broaden the mind, which hopefully can lead to an opening of the heart. Unvindictive is defined as "forgiving; inclined or able to forgive and show mercy." It is easy to forgive a naughty child, but it's far harder, for example, to show mercy to those responsible for the gas chambers and death camps of World War II. As Portia says in Shakespeare's play The Merchant of Venice: "The quality of mercy is not strain'd..." This means that forgiveness can not be constrained or forced, but must flow freely from the injured party. The drawing to the right is by Carlos Latuff, a political cartoonist born in 1968 and currently living in Rio de Janeiro. Latuff is the second-prize winner of the International Holocaust Cartoon Competition organized by a Tehran-based Iranian daily.

(Picture from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Italain, etc. (for Italian)

This bragging bit of agitprop had lain inside a Fascist schoolbook from 1943 until recently, when it was found and posted to Wikimedia Commons. Italain was found four times in OhioLINK, along with Italin four times and Italan once. The word Fascism is derived from the Italian Fascio (or "bundle") and had long referred to political action groups across a broad spectrum. (For what it's worth, fasciate means "to swathe, wrap with bands" and is recalled mainly because it was one of the words that laid me low in a local spelling bee a couple years ago.) Benito Mussolini was a lifelong troublemaker who dabbled in various movements and parties before eventually becoming one of Europe's most infamous dictators. The Italian occupation of Ethiopia was notorious for its war crimes, which involved the use of mustard gas, forced labor camps, public gallows, and the mutilation of corpses. The 1937 slaughter in Addis Ababa was especially awful and invited the opprobrium of the international community.

(1942 Italian propaganda poster announcing "We Will Return" after the Amba Alagi and Gondar battles in Ethiopia, scanned and modified by Brunodambrosio.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Shiek (for Sheik)

There are 55 examples of Shiek in OhioLINK (and five of Shieks), making this one more exception to the shaky "I before E..." rule. Most of these records reference the song "The Sheik of Araby"; some contain [sic] or [i.e.]; a few appear to be personal names. Lo sceicco bianco or The White Sheik was an early Fellini film made in 1952. According to Wikipedia: "The male lead, Leopoldo Trieste, a playwright who did not consider himself an actor, reluctantly auditioned for Fellini. During the audition Fellini asked him to compose a sonnet that the lead character would have written to his wife. The poem which begins 'She is graceful, sweet and teeny...' was included in the film." Today's typo is none of those things, but you don't have to be an actor to play a big part in eradicating it.

(Federico Fellini from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Bronz (for Bronx or Bronze)

Though my search in OhioLINK for the typo Bronz + Bronx led me down the garden path to a big "Bronx cheer," I did get 27 hits by searching on Bronz alone. Only five, however, were for the typos I had in mind. (Most of them were personal names or else the correct spelling of bronze in Turkish.) In 1913, a series of bronze tablets were erected to commemorate the newly acquired Bronx park system in New York City. Dr. Henry MacCracken, president of the Bronx Society of Arts and Sciences, took the occasion to deliver a memorable speech: "This park of St. Mary's is unique in that it is the only park within 100 miles of our great city that is named after a woman. May not this be a little of the inherited masculine grudge which Adam felt against Eve for having him turned out of the park of Eden? ... Just because St. Mary's is named after a woman and a saint, it makes a demand on the courtesy and chivalry of the boys who enjoy this park to pay honor to their own mothers by taking the best care of it." The Bronx Victory Column, built in 1933, is a 75-foot limestone structure that supports a bronze statue of "Winged Victory." It was originally intended as a memorial to local servicemen and it's proven to be a favorite site for wedding photos. Today's typo seems like an easy mistake to make with your crooked little ring finger, and the Z and the X right next to each other, so it may be a victory of sorts that this one isn't made more often. In any case, it's fun to picture pixilated bridesmaids and ushers urging one another to meet under the Bronx Bronze.

("The Bronx Victory Column and Memorial Grove in Pelham Bay Park on a sunny midday," by Jim Henderson, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, June 8, 2009

Cheif*, etc. (for Chief)

Cheif* appears 168 times in OhioLINK, Cheif 51 times, and Cheifly 20 times. (Caveat: Punk band The Cheifs apparently spells it just so.) While scouting out a picture to go with today's typo, I felt "chiefly ill" to read about the Comanche chief known as "Shaking Hand" and the U.S. Army assault upon his people under Colonel Ranald S. MacKenzie. (One can't help but wonder if Shaking Hand was called that because he was a peace-pipe-passing glad-hander or because he was beset by fears and tremors. Or perhaps it was for another reason entirely: his son claimed that the name, which might be better translated as "push aside," referred to the time his father used a hunting knife to kill a bear who had mauled his companion.) If your hand shakes, you'll want to keep an eye on your e's and i's and make certain all your circles are carefully drawn. Wagons were drawn in a circle on Sept. 20, 1872, during the massacre of an Indian village near San Antonio, Texas. After nightfall, the natives charged their captors and stampeded the horses, freeing Shaking Hand and some others—but at least fifty villagers were killed and 130 women and children taken prisoner. A white captive at the time, Clinton L. Smith, later described the bloody attack, writing: "After what I had seen that day I was mad all over, and was willing to risk anything to get even with the soldiers..."

(Mo'o-wai, aka Shaking Hand, chief of the Kotsoteka, circa 1874, photographed by William S. Soule, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, June 5, 2009

Loathesome (for Loathsome)

Milo Minderbinder, from Joseph Heller’s Catch-22, is a particularly loathsome character. WWII mess hall officer Milo began his capitalist ventures by selling eggs to the army for a tidy profit, and moved on to double dealing with American and German armies. This resulted in the bombing of Milo’s own squadron and the deaths of his fellow soldiers. Moreover, Milo didn't draw the line at selling the army's supplies. During a bombing raid, Yossarian searches for morphine to ease the pain of a mortally wounded soldier. He finds no Syrettes in the morphine kit, only the note “What is good for M & M Enterprises is good for the country”, a parody of General Motors President Charles Wilson’s misquoted statement “What is good for GM is good for the country.”

Loathesome appears 3 times in OhioLINK, placing in the low probability category on the Ballard List.

(Eggs from Flickr)

Janelle Fore

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Zonderva, Zondevan (for Zondervan)

Zondervan is a Christian publishing company based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, a subsidiary of HarperCollins Publishers. Founded in 1931 by Dutch-American brothers Pat and Bernie Zondervan, the company began as a small operation that sold remaindered books. Today, Zondervan employs over 64,000 people. Current publications include Inspired by...The Bible Experience : The Complete Bible, an audio performance featuring well-known actors such as Cuba Gooding, Jr., Denzel Washington and Bishop T.D. Jakes, the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren, and the popular children's series, VeggieTales.

Zonderva and Zondevan are a low-probability typos on the Ballard list, appearing one or two times in OhioLINK.

(VeggieTales Bible cover from Zondervan website)

Janelle Fore

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Sweee* (for Sweet, etc.)

Urban Dictionary defines sweet as “An intensive used to express satisfaction, acceptance, pleasure, excellence, exaltation, approval, awe, or reverence. When used individually, the level of satisfaction expressed is most often directly proportionate to the duration of the vowel sound.” For examples of this vernacular, consult Dude, Where’s My Car, Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, Wayne’s World, or any comedy film that features two best slacker buds.

Sweee* is a moderate probability typo on the Ballard List and appears 10 times in OhioLINK. A few of these hits have turned up excellent titles such as Dude, you can do it! : how to build a sweeet PC. Others seem to be totally bogus content notes and should be corrected with the item in hand.

A title search for the meme "Dude, where's my" in WorldCat results in 102 hits. Among the quested-for items: country, theory, debate, spaceship, year, horse, jetpack, bailout, etc.

(Dude, Where's My Car screenshot from TV Guide)

Janelle Fore

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Fomat* (for Format, etc.)

With the introduction of the VCR in the early seventies, consumers faced a dilemma in choosing the format of their videocassette tapes. The top two contenders were VHS, marketed by JVC, and Betamax, developed by Sony. Even though the quality of Betamax was superior to VHS, VHS eventually won the format war. Some of the drawbacks of Betamax included the higher cost and one-hour recording capacity. Viewers preferred the longer recording capacity of VHS to tape movies and sports events, and were willing to sacrifice quality for quantity.

Without the VHS tape, there probably wouldn't be surviving copies of the Star Wars Holiday Special (1978), as it has never been officially released. Transferred from VHS home recordings to various formats, it has survived to the Youtube age. Celebrate "Life Day" at your own risk.

Fomat is a moderate probability typo on the Ballard List, and appears 8 times in OhioLINK.

(Betamax tape, from Wikimedia Commons)

Janelle Fore

Monday, June 1, 2009

Flannery O'Conner (for Flannery O'Connor)

The peafowl (female--peahen, male--peacock) is an aloof bird, a breed that doesn't mix well with others. Iridescent and multicolored, the peacock symbolizes the sin of vanity. Conversely, it symbolizes wisdom and truth, the markings on its plumage resembling all-seeing eyes. The American Southern novelist Flannery O’Connor admired these regal creatures, and kept as many as forty of them at her ancestral home in Milledgeville, Georgia. A reoccurring theme in O’Connor’s work is that her vanity-driven characters experience a grotesque, sudden, and violent “moment of grace” -- an instant where the mind’s eye is opened.

Flannery O’Conner appears 12 times in OhioLink, a moderate probability typo on the Ballard List.

When O'Connor's friend scolded his young daughter for chasing her peacocks, O’Connor told him to let her go. “She won’t catch them unless they want her to.”

(Quote from Flannery O’Connor : In Celebration of a Genius, edited by Sarah Gordon. Peacock tail, Wikimedia Commons)

Janelle Fore