Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Alll* (for All, etc.)

It’s August in Arkansas, at least for this one final day, and it’s all about hot weather and ragweed allergies. In Fort Smith, not even an hour south of here, there were 18 days this month with high temperatures at or above 100°F. And in Fayetteville, you can’t buy rain, but the ragweed is still flourishing.

Alll* is another high on the Ballard typo list. It occurs 25 times in records for English-language materials in the OhioLINK catalog. Sometimes it’s a misspelling of “all” (the exception being AllLookSame), but it also occurs in words like “alliance,” “allowed,” and “allegro.”

And now if you’ll pardon me, I have to go sneeze.

(Ambrosia artemisiifolia, or Common Ragweed, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, August 30, 2010

Econim* (for Economy, Economic, etc.)

The global economic crisis has had far-reaching effects on our society. The language we speak is just one example. The Guardian reported last week that among the newcomers to the Oxford Dictionary of English are “toxic debt” and “staycation.” The latter term refers to a vacation spent in one’s home country, or even at one’s own home. While some folks have always done this, either from personal preference or because of their financial situation, the fact that there’s now a special term implies a critical mass of people who can’t afford to go away on holiday.

Econim* is a high-probability typo on the Ballard list. There are 17 OhioLINK instances of “econimic(s)” and “econimies” sprinkled throughout English-language title fields, notes, publisher statements, and subject headings. An additional 7 are for the French, Italian, and Spanish equivalents. But if you’re on staycation, please refrain from checking your catalog until you get back to work!

(Wouldn't this be a nice staycation retreat? Patio by scottsnyde
, from stock.xchng)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, August 27, 2010

Highschool* (for High school*)

The kids in Louis Sachar's fiction book series about Wayside School (beginning with Sideways Stories from Wayside School) are students in a particularly high school.

Wayside school is built sideways, in a way: it's 30 stories high, with one classroom per story. There is, however, no 19th story--much like real life buildings without a 13th floor. One student wonders, if there's no 19th floor, why isn't the school 29 stories tall?

Are you confused yet? Not as confused as our typists seem to be: highschool is in fact a high probability typo on the Ballard list, appearing over 50 times in Ohiolink and 1200 times in Worldcat!

(Book cover image from Amazon.com)

Leanne Olson

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Brookyn* (for Brooklyn*)

Little League baseball is a very good thing because it keeps the parents off the streets. - Yogi Berra

I don't know if Berra actually said this, or if it's just one of many probable quotations that has cropped over the years, but I can't argue with his premise.

I'm thinking of baseball today because of an anniversary: Major league baseball in the U.S. was first broadcast on television on August 26, 1939. The doubleheader between the Cincinnati Reds and the Brooklyn Dodgers was shown on New York station W2XBS. W2XBS also televised a game between Princeton and Columbia earlier that year. Japan, however, beat the U.S. to televised baseball by several years -- showing a game in 1931.

While I'm Canadian and should have hockey in my DNA, I must admit to a special love for baseball -- perhaps because it moves slowly enough for this non-athlete to follow the rules?

Leanne Olson

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Accesor* (for Accessor*)

While I'm no fashionista, I know the right accessories (not accesories) can make an outfit, whether it's gold cuff links and a Mickey Mouse tie for a man, or a diamond necklace and a peacock feather fascinator for a woman.

So, where's a fashionable gal or guy to get some marvelous jewellery? I wouldn't recommend buying your diamond-encrusted watches from a guy off the street, or you may wind up being an accessory to a crime. And of course, a criminal record can deny you access (not acces) to the kinds of fancy balls where you might show off your accessories.

Accesor* is a moderate probability typo on the Ballard list. Watch out also for acess*, and make sure to count your Cs and Ss!

(Cartoon from freeprintables.com)

Leanne Olson

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Sqaur* (for Squar*)

I grew up watching Sesame Street in the 1980s, and so I learned their parody songs, featuring letters, numbers, shapes, colours, and (of course) puppets, long before I ever knew the "real" classic rock hits.

One of my favourites was "It's Hip to be a Square", which twisted the lyrics of the Huey Lewis song, "It's Hip to be Square", and features squares, rectangles, circles, and triangles dancing and singing. It can still be found on YouTube, in all its glorious '80s animation, teaching tolerance:

When I go to the playground
And a triangle says 'How do you do'
Then comes in a circle
And a rectangle shows up too

Well I play with the triangle
And the circle can join the game
I play with the rectangle
Who cares that we're not all the same?

Of course, while tolerance for nonconformity is great on the playground, you have to watch out for it in the library catalogue: sqaur* is a moderate probability typo on the Ballard List.

(Square image from Wikimedia Commons.)

Leanne Olson

Monday, August 23, 2010

Braod* (for Broad*)

Today is the birthday of American dancer and actor Gene Kelly (1912 – 1996). He first won acclaim on Broadway (not Braodway) for the musical Pal Joey.

Kelly developed his own particular style for motion pictures, saying that “the only dancer in the movies at that time with any success was Fred Astaire, but he did very small, elegant steps in a top hat, white tie and tails. I was too big physically for that kind of dancing, and I looked better in a sweatshirt and loafers anyway. It wasn't elegant, but it was me."

He also used film technology to the fullest, dancing with himself in Cover Girl and with the animated mouse Jerry (of Tom and Jerry) in Anchors Aweigh. And of course, he’ll always be remembered for the joy in his performance of Singin’ in the Rain.

(Photo from us.imdb.com)

Leanne Olson

Friday, August 20, 2010

Gaurd* (for Guard*)

Some of the more gardeny gardeners I know have already begun to harvest some gorgeous gourds in their gardens. (Although a more guarded gardener might want to wait until after the first frost.) A gourd is defined as: "Any of several trailing or climbing plants related to the pumpkin, squash, and cucumber and bearing fruits with a hard rind; the fruit of such a plant, often of irregular and unusual shape; or the dried and hollowed-out shell of one of these fruits, often used as a drinking utensil." Some gourds are edible, but the word generally refers to the ornamental kind, which should be left alone to dry out on the vine. By the way, if you need a good way to call someone foolish or crazy, you can say that he's "off (or out of) his gourd." Be on your guard against today's typo, for which we got 17 hits in OhioLINK, including "Jimmy Gaurdino" (i.e., Guardino, who once played the voice of Charlie Brown on a TV special, although not the "Great Pumpkin" one) and "Gaurdi" (for the 18th-century painter Francesco Guardi). In the picture above, it looks as though the pumpkins are guarding the other gourds. Taken all together, though, I'd say they all look pretty happy with the arrangement.

(Pumpkin art on a church lawn in Needham, Massachusetts, 2007, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Conversat* + Conservat*

I cannot be entirely sure of this, O Best Beloved, but I almost feel as if I can trace my unabashed love for alliteration to my first reading of "The Elephant's Child" by Rudyard Kipling, a pourquois story first published in 1902. "I am going," the Elephant's Child declares one day, "to the great grey-green, greasy Limpopo River, all set about with fever-trees, to find out what the Crocodile has for dinner." While searching in OhioLINK for today's typo—which got a whopping 175 hits in OhioLINK—I had to stop and smile at one rather lengthy one, which read in part: "... on the effectiveness of the African Elephant Conversation Act ..." I am not conversant with this act, but it certainly has my wholehearted support (I'm not a conservative, after all). Still, no matter how many lawmakers sit around jawing about elephant conservation, I doubt it will ever do as much for our love of these gentle giants as that wonderful Kipling tale has done. The Elephant's Child, with his 'satiable curtiosity, chatted up nearly every single animal in the jungle, and got repeatedly spanked for it. But in the end, those conversations served him well, as did the spanking new nose he received from the Crocodile. (Please note that not all 175 records retrieved contain typos; the majority, in fact, proably don't. For example, the first one in the list is for a 1938 publication called Conservation conversation, concerning the Civilian Conservation Corps in Tompkins, New York.)

(Original woodcut illustration for the Just So story, The Elephant's Child, by Rudyard Kipling, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sibyl* + Sybil* (for Sybil* or Sibyl*)

Got room for one more cutie pie? Originally groomed to be competition for Fox Studio's Shirley Temple, Sybil Jason was a talented little actress in her own right. Jason was born in 1927 in Cape Town, South Africa, where she began to play the piano at the age of two, and was doing full-blown public impersonations of Maurice Chevalier by three. Though her career with Warner Bros. was relatively brief, she continues to thrive today and is an active member of the International Al Jolson Society. (Jason co-starred with Jolson in The Singing Kid in 1936.) She never achieved the cultural status of Shirley Temple, but she did have supporting roles in The Little Princess and The Blue Bird and remained close friends with Temple her entire life.

A sibyl was one of approximately ten ancient Greek or Roman oracles; the word is now generally used to mean any female prophet. According to FreeDictionary.com: "The most famous was the Cumaean sibyl, described by Vergil in the Aeneid. When she offered Tarquin her prophetic writings, the so-called sibylline books, he refused to pay her high price. She kept burning the books until finally he bought the remaining three at the original price..." Today marks the 90th anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment to the Constitution. Let's all take a moment to celebrate the 19th-century sibyls who struggled so long for women's suffrage and prophesied the rise of feminism in the coming decades. Long live the right to vote, along with the right to be cute! Sibyl* + Sybil* turns up 25 records in OhioLINK, nearly all of which predictably contain at least one typo.

(Sybil Jason, from ClassicMovieKids.com.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Hitchock, etc. (for Hitchcock)

Continuing along with yesterday's theme of cute and geeky child actors, today we're featuring the memorable Edna May Wonacott, a complete novice who got her start in Alfred Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt, filmed on location in her hometown of Santa Rosa, California. The film (with screenplay by Thornton Wilder) was purportedly Hitchcock's personal favorite, and is definitely one of mine. It's the story of a devoted niece and namesake (Teresa Wright), her smart and skeptical kid sister (Wonacott) and oblivious little brother (Charles Bates), their dotty, trusting parents (Henry Travers and Patricia Collinge), and unctuous Uncle Charlie (Joseph Cotten), who suddenly shows up on their doorstep without much of an explanation. Wonacott plays that frequent Hitchcock character (frumpy, quirky, bookish, wise, and often ignored by the others; another one I love is the ornithologist, Mrs. Bundy, in The Birds), the one who can see most clearly and dispassionately the evil that surrounds them. There were 19 cases of Hitchock, five of Hichcock, and five of Alfred + Hitchock lurking in OhioLINK this morning.

(Edna May Wonacott and Teresa Wright contemplating a quick trip to the library, in Shadow of a Doubt, 1943, from Toutlecine.com.)

Carol Reid

Monday, August 16, 2010

O'Brian + O'Brien (for O'Brien or O'Brian)

Of all of "America's sweethearts," from Mary Pickford to Shirley Temple to Natalie Wood and so on, one of my all-time favorite child stars was Margaret O'Brien. She had a very naturalistic way of portraying youngsters who were naturally melodramatic; her histrionics seemed genuine and heartfelt. She was always sticking up for herself, her size, and her sex. O'Brien was a girl-power gamine, a true force of nature. She could be both howlingly funny and seriously affecting. Plus she could sing and dance up a storm. Everybody has seen this kid somewhere: adorably paired with big sister Judy Garland in Meet Me in St. Louis, tending The Secret Garden with Colin and Dickon, tugging heartstrings and jerking tears as the dying Beth in Little Women. Or perhaps as the young heiress of a castle haunted by The Canterville Ghost, the idealistic farmer's daughter in Our Vines Have Tender Grapes, or the psychically scarred war orphan who adopts Robert Young in Journey for Margaret (her first film and the one that gave young Angela O'Brien her stage name). There were 16 instances of O'Brian + O'Brien in OhioLINK, only a couple of which were cases where the spellings correctly refer to two different people.

(Margaret O'Brien, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Friday, August 13, 2010

Greee* (for Gree*)

There are plenty of greens in our vegetable gardens this time of year, including mesclun, collards, chard, mustard, and often, most strikingly, kale. But how to realistically consume all this vitamin-rich, leafy, high-fiber greenery? I recently discovered that you can satisfyingly (and surreptitiously) add it to a smoothie, which is also a good way to avoid heating up the kitchen on a hot summer day. Put the green stuff in the blender first and turn it up till it makes a noise sort of like today's typo. Then add the softer, sweeter ingredients (banana, avocado, berries, whatever you like). Delicious and nutritious! An ape called Kanzi, profiled in Time magazine last week, might have been wishing he had had a blender too when he used the words "Slow Lettuce" to indicate the kale he'd been given for lunch, an apparent reference to the fact that kale takes a long time to chew. I was equally enchanted the other day to learn that James Barrie had been a member of the so-called "Kailyard School." These were authors who wrote about rural life in turn of the century Scotland. (Kailyard is Scottish for "kale field.") According to one such story, the town of Kilmaurs was justly esteemed for its excellent kale, and had been offered a princely sum for some seeds. The "cunning" farmers of Kilmaurs (perhaps greedily) agreed, but gave the seeds a "gentle roasting" on a shovel over some hot coals before delivery, thus guaranteeing that the greens wouldn't grow for the neighbors. Greee* has bloomed 38 times in OhioLINK and should, in virtually every case, be pruned to a more manageable gree*.

(Ornamental kale blooming in January in Washington, DC., by Terren, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Cutural* (for Cultural*)

Like me, many of you work in the cultural field (my library is actually under the aegis of something called the "Office of Cultural Education") and, if so, you're probably suffering from massive budget cuts as well. We were recently advised not to call ourselves a "library of record" or "backup library" anymore. Nor should we consider ourselves "collection-based," but rather, well, let's just say "service-oriented" instead. I feel sorry for writers who've had their books published during the past few years because we probably weren't able to buy them (it's nothing personal!) and most likely never will. The only lasting testament to this fact will be a large lacuna in our catalog for the lean years in question. Cutural* turns up 20 times or more in OhioLINK, so let's cut the cr--, I mean typo, from our own library of records, and hold onto a bit of culture while we still can.

(Ribbon cutting ceremony at a local branch library that was recently renovated, from the Albany Public Library website.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Congess* (for Congress*)

How Congress decides to spend our money is truly anyone's guess. Sometimes the whole thing seems like a giant con. When it comes to reading, writing, and 'rithmatic, our reprobate reps seem to be remiss in at least one of the 3 R's. Today's typo for this congealed mess is also missing an R: Congess* turned up on 104 records in OhioLINK this morning. Yes, that is a lot, but fortunately it's not 104 billion ... or 9.6 trillion. Mind-boggling debt and deficit numbers tend to inure folks to the current problem, but if you want an accessible and entertaining explanation of what we're really up against these days, check out the 2008 documentary by Patrick Creadon, I.O.U.S.A.

(Benjamin Harrison, whose legislative branch was known as the "Billion Dollar Congress," portrayed here as wasting the surplus gained under Cleveland, from Puck magazine, 1892. Remind you of anyone?)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Instuc* (for Instruc*)

Teachers and other teaching instructors sometimes feel stuck in their jobs. They've either got tenure or they don't; they're bored with the curriculum; they're weary of their students and of "teaching to the test"; they simply want to do something else. (Those who can, do; those who can't, teach, as the rather offensive, but perhaps somewhat persuasive, saying would have it.) Some instructors feel stuck in a tiresome stereotype: I saw an elementary school production of a contemporary adaptation of Alice in Wonderland recently, in which Alice's pedantic tutor went by the colorful name of "Mr. Knowsitallsmartypantsmcfool." Others eventually come to the conclusion that they're just "too cool for school." However, few of them ever get as literally stuck as the one in the book Let's Take Over the Kindergarten, by Richard Hamilton and Sue Heap. Here Miss Tuck gets hopelessly entangled in the indoor jungle gym, until the rambunctious and anarchy-addled youngsters figure out how to work together in order to free their teacher and restore order to the classroom. Instuc* appears 45 times in OhioLINK today.

(Cover of Let's Take Over the Kindergarten, 2007, from Amazon.com.)

Carol Reid

Monday, August 9, 2010

Runway* + Runaway* (for Runaway* or Runway*)

Runaways sometimes become prostitutes, but they rarely become models. Which is not to say a girl or boy couldn't be all three, and perhaps even write a runaway bestseller called From Runaway to Runway: A Whore's Horatio Alger Story. (Okay, I made that one up. My imagination is running away with me.) I found seven hits in OhioLINK on Runway* + Runaway*; however, two were for the song title "Runway Runaway" and one was for a videodisc of the 1938 movie serial about Dick Tracy: "The Runway of Death" and "The Runaway Torpedo." Such compound typo searches often yield useful results, but these generally include some legitimate word hookups, so think carefully before attempting to change either one.

(Cinema quad poster artwork for UK re-issue of Pretty Woman, from Flickr. Coincidentally, Roberts and Gere went on to costar in the 1999 movie Runaway Bride.)

Carol Reid

Friday, August 6, 2010

Annives*, etc. (for Annivers*)

In search of a good gift to bring to a 30th wedding anniversary celebration, I decided to consult one of those lists that tells you what the traditional present should be, based on how many years it's been. One year is paper, five is wood, ten is tin, and so on. I knew that by thirty, the more obvious applications would be out of my price range (plus, I wasn't exactly married to the idea, or to either honoree), but I was still curious what substance three decades of marriage might imply. It turned out to be pearls and, as I'd already been toying with the idea of purchasing a nice selection of tins from our local tea shop, it occurred to me that both "jasmine pearls" and "white tea pearls" might be the perfect affordable offering: deliciously soothing and perfumey, with a wee winking bit of wordplay on the side. Pearl tea is really fun to make too. As you pour hot water over the tiny balled-up leaves, they start to unfurl like little sea monkeys in a floral-scented ocean. Annives* appears ten times in OhioLINK, Annivrs* four times, and Annavers* once. A couple of other variants on today's typo have also been written about here: Aniversary and Anniversay.

(Jasmine pearl tea, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Amoung (for Among)

According to Wikipedia, "Moung is a khum (commune) of Moung Ruessei District in Battambang Province in northwestern Cambodia." And: "The Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of Vietnam, Laos ... Thailand [and] southern China." Lush and verdant scenery, colorful costumes, and delicious food await the weary traveler, who understands immediately that he's among friends. There were 75 hits for today's typo in the OhioLINK catalog. Note that amoung is an outdated spelling for among that appeared with some frequency up until the 1920s. Of the first 20 hits in OhioLINK, however, only five or so are on records for books published before that time.

(H'moung kid, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Secruit* (for Securit*)

In the 1940 screwball comedy The Bank Dick, W.C. Fields plays Egbert Sous√©, an inadvertent security guard who's accorded the post after he accidentally trips up a bank robber. Fields also wrote the screenplay for the film, under the equally screwy nom de plume Mahatma Kane Jeeves—which is, of course, to say, "My hat, my cane, Jeeves" in a fanciful nod to Mohandas Gandhi and P.G. Wodehouse. One imagines that at the end of the day the befuddled Bank Dick might have been ready to say "Screw it!" and add bankers, brokers, embezzlers, and auditors to his list of personal anathemas (one that famously included dogs, women, and children). Somehow or other, though, it all ends happily for the thoroughly soused Sous√©. We found five cases of Secruit* in OhioLINK, so let's get on the case pronto. Holes like this need to be plugged up immediately, and I don't just mean with a shot of whiskey and a cigar!

(Promotional poster for The Bank Dick, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Casualit* (for Casualt*, Causalit*, etc.)

Reluctant readers (some would call them casualties of the public school system) required to rack up a few English credits before they can graduate from college might wish they had something in the course catalog called "Casual Lit." Yeah, that's the ticket. And, yeah, it would have to be lit, not "literature," perhaps even lit lite. And reading it would have to be both quick and easy. ("More fun than Cliff Notes, faster than Clifford Odets!") Maybe a sort of survey thing—some chicklit here, some fanfic there, a graphic novel or two ... perhaps a little Harry Potter, a coupla vampire stories ... some classic Superman, Mad Magazine, Tintin ... or how about that so-called "classic" they made you read in high school and then it turned out you really liked it? ... Or wait, let's see, what about maybe ... Huh? What class do I wanna take? Uhhh, any room left in Casualit*? (Today's typo was found 67 times in the OhioLINK database.)

(Lernender, or "Learning," August 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sourth* (for South*)

Southern drinks tend to be sweet, or sour, or sweet and sour. After all, citrus fruits and sugar cane both grow in southern climes. And Southern manners (at least according to stereotype) consist of both sweet hospitality ("Honey, chile!") and sour hostility ("Damn yankees!") in more or less equal parts. Southern Comfort is a "whiskey-flavored liqueur" containing honey and lemon and can be used in the making of a whiskey sour. The beverage dates from its earliest manufacture in 1874 and is said to have its origins in New Orleans. It also won the gold medal at the 1904 World's Fair in St. Louis, Missouri. Southern Comfort now produces "ready to pour cocktails," such as Sweet Tea, Hurricane, and Lemonadewith Southern Comfort Lime primed to debut this summer. Today's typo unites both North and South, giving rise to Sourth*, which appears 22 times in OhioLINK.

(Southern Comfort Lemonade, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid