Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Nora + Norah (for Norah or Nora)

Norah Woodson Ulreich, known to her reading public simply as Nura (a nickname invented by her husband, Eduard Buk Ulreich, because he "never calls people by their right names") was a children's author and illustrator born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1899. I discovered her work for myself amid a privately owned "lot" of books I bought a few months ago on eBay. Her stories are sweet, but rather odd. In the two Nura books I now possess—All Aboard, We Are Off and The Mitty Children Fix Things—the (two different) female protagonists both end up somehow owning and knowing how to fly a plane, and giving the various children in these stories airplane rides. It makes me wonder whether Nura herself had a pilot's license, but I haven't been able to determine that: there really isn't a lot of biographical information about her online. Here's what I did find, though. Norah Woodson studied art at the Kansas City Art Institute and the Art Students League in New York City. She met her painter husband in Chicago (Eduard had been born in Austria in 1889 and moved to NYC with his family as a child) and the pair eventually settled into a studio apartment in Manhattan. They would sometimes create murals together for the WPA, signing them "Bukannura." They never had any children, however, as Nura explained that "a real one might engross her to the point that she could not paint imaginary ones," according to a Time magazine review of her 1934 book Under the Buttermilk Tree. While there may have only been one Nura, there are plenty of Nora's in the world, some of whom spell their name Norah. There were 14 hits on today's combination typo in OhioLINK, exactly half of which were records containing two differently spelt names for two different people. There were also 288 cases in WorldCat, in presumably the same approximate typo to non-typo ratio.

(Illustration from Nura's 1944 book All Aboard, We Are Off, from the Carol Reid collection. Here the children learn a lesson about moderation in all things as they visit a land where the people do nothing but read all day long!)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 30, 2012

Reflecton* (for Reflection*)

Haven't I seen you somewhere before? You may or may not have come across our typo of the day today in your many travels, but it looks as if it hasn't been blogged here yet, nor is it to be found on the Ballard list. The word reflect means to turn, bend, or be cast back, but the most famous character in mythology to be entranced by his own reflection, Narcissus, ultimately came to grief when he may have bent too far forward while gazing lovingly at himself. (In most accounts, he ultimately died of starvation and insularity; in some renditions, though, he actually falls into the pool of water and drowns.) According to Wikipedia: "In 1898 Havelock Ellis, an English sexologist, used the term 'narcissus-like' in reference to excessive masturbation, whereby the person becomes his or her own sex object." Around 15 years later, Freud published a paper entitled "On Narcissism: An Introduction." There were 12 instances of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 44 in WorldCat, a fact I wouldn't reflect on for too terribly long here. However, you might want to take a quick peek and see how those numbers are reflected in your own library's catalog.

(Pied Avocet, juveline, near Oosterend, Texel island, the Netherlands, June 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, January 27, 2012

Moeny (for Money)

Women and girls famously "don't get the Stooges" (coincidentally, Columbia Pictures released its first Three Stooges movie, Woman Haters, in 1931) and I have to admit, I'm not exactly an exception to that rule, although I can kind of relate to Moe's bangs. Wikipedia reports that his "distinctive hairstyle came about when he was a boy and cut off his curls with a pair of scissors, producing a ragged shape approximating a helmet or bowl." I did something sort of similar on the eve of my kindergarten class photo in a strikingly unsuccessful attempt to draw a straight line above my eyebrows. (While I did not, like Moe, hide under the house for several hours, creating a "panic," my mother was just as understanding about it as Mrs. Horwitz, who was so glad to finally lay eyes on her missing child that she didn't even bring up the hair thing.) Moses Harry Horwitz was born in 1897 in the Bensonhurst neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY, the fourth of five boys and the middle one of the three original "Stooges." The passage of time has given me a little more insight into and appreciation of the Stooges, who were really quite innovative in their own way. For example, they made three different anti-Nazi spoofs during the 1940s: You Nazty Spy! (Moe's favorite Three Stooges film), I'll Never Heil Again, and They Stooge to Conga. According to Wikipedia: "Moe's impersonation of Adolf Hitler highlighted these shorts, the first of which preceded Charlie Chaplin's controversial film satire The Great Dictator by months." There were no examples of today's typo in OhioLINK, although I did find 30 or so in WorldCat (around eight of which proved to be correct spellings of the surname Moeny).

(Promotional photo of actor Moe Howard of The Three Stooges, 1933, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Shcool* (for School*)

It seems like America's sign makers may be just too cool for school these days. Or maybe it's just that they've been drinking on the job, which is sort of what it sounds like when you try and pronounce this typo out loud. In any event, the latest example is from Stanton Street in New York City, which, after a year and a half of being ignored, was finally corrected yesterday. (Apparently, there are plenty of typos to go around in this case: the "word" X-ING was missing an I; The Post article misspelled Stanton as "Station"; and the Dept. of Education reportedly had the nearby Delancey Street spelled "Delancy" in its database.) The quite similar looking picture here comes from Guilford, North Carolina, and I referenced yet another one, from Kalamazoo, Michigan, in a blog entry I posted in 2009. I suspect there may be more of these topographical typos lurking out there as we speak, confusing and/or amusing school children throughout the land. There were 51 examples of today's typo in OhioLINK and 633 in WorldCat.

(Misspelled sign in Guilford, North Carolina, from The Telegraph website.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Havey + Harvey (for Harvey)

Have you a little Harvey in your house? Or one of pretty much any size and shape, for that matter? Jimmy Stewart, in the role of Elwood P. Dowd, considered a six-foot three and a half inch invisible rabbit named Harvey (a shape-shifting nature spirit, or púca to be exact) his very best friend, in or out of the local looney bin, in the eponymous 1950 film, based on the Pulitzer Prize winning play by Mary Chase. (Ms. Chase was a fascinating figure too, it turns out, a journalist, playwright, and screenwriter, who in 1954 wrote a play called Lolita—one whose title she "hastily switched" when she learned that "a certain sensational novel" bearing the same name had just been published—and wrote two children's books to boot, Loretta Mason Potts in 1958 and The Wicked, Wicked Ladies in the Haunted House in 1968.) But back to Harvey and his faithful friend, Elwood P. Dowd. Elwood's family and friends are worried in equal measure about his sanity and his drinking habits, but the unflappable object of their concern seems to have gotten his priorities straight. He tells the doctor: "Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, 'In this world, Elwood, you must be'—she always called me Elwood—'In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant.' Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me." (Thanks, I just did!) There were five cases of Havey + Harvey in OhioLINK (make that 36 for Havey alone, or 44 if truncated as Havey*, but do be aware that Havey is not an altogether uncommon surname) and 43 in WorldCat. Have a smart and pleasant time with this one.

(Cropped screenshot of James Stewart from the trailer for the film, 1950, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Legilat*, Legilsat* (for Legislat*)

Last weekend on Portlandia, the Independent Film Channel's hit comedy show, in a sketch that I assume was probably called "No, You Go," two characters, played by Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, arrive at a four-way stop-sign standoff. They each sit there waving the other one through for so long their respective cars might have eventually turned to rust or gotten up and walked away of their own accord had the drivers not finally decided to both go at the same time. ("No, you tow" was the inevitable punchline.) In another bit from the same episode, Armisen plays an incredulous cashier confronted with a hapless customer who has forgotten to bring his shopping bag. (Armisen's head almost explodes.) "When I wake up in the morning, my eyes don't forget to open, my heart doesn't forget to beat..." chides Brownstein as the store's manager. "Yeah, I don't get in my car and forget the car and drive down the street, like running down the street, going like this, and then park it, and then put it in park, and then lock the door!" Armisen hilariously piles on. There were nine cases of Legilat* in OhioLINK today and 218 in WorldCat. (Legilsat* was found twice in the former database and 112 times in the latter.) I considered writing something about sexual harassment legislation or the entrance exam for aspiring law students, the LSAT, but hipster/anti-hipster sketch comedy and crazy public art from the Czech Republic seemed like a lot more fun. We're a few days late here, but apparently Portland's mayor, Sam Adams, has proclaimed January 21, 2011, "Portlandia Day." Many happy returns of the day, and many happy reruns of the show!

(Sculpture of a Trabbi on legs at the German embassy in Prague, 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 23, 2012

Beardon + Bearden (for Bearden or Beardon)

Today's typo was taken from real life, i.e., the schedule for a series of art films being shown at the State Museum every Thursday at noontime all throughout January and February. The one I saw last week was entitled "The Art of Romare Bearden," but the subject's last name was misspelled Beardon on the handout. Romare Bearden was an African-American artist born in Charlotte, North Carolina, although he was raised and lived most of his life in New York City, where he became a well-known figure in the Harlem Renaissance. There seems to be some dispute as to the year of his birth: Wikipedia puts it at 1911; according to his obituary in The New York Times, it was 1912; and Bearden himself claims during an interview (unless this was a transcription error) that he was born in 1914. Bearden discovered his love of art (starting with cartoons) while in high school, but didn't become serious about it until after he graduated from NYU with a science degree (he had planned to be a doctor) in 1935. He was very prolific and wide-ranging in his output, but is probably best known for his works of collage and assemblage. Bearden focused on the "black experience," but had a very catholic view of humanity. (He was light-skinned enough to "pass" and was told he could pitch for a major league baseball team because of it; the author Elton Fax once described him as "black by choice.") During that 1968 interview at the Smithsonian Institution's Archives of American Art, Bearden stated: "If you equate a lot of the things that happened in Negro life you see there's a continuity with many of the great classical things that have happened before. And this is what I tried to find in my work, this connotation of many of the things that have happened to me with the great classical things of the past." Today's combination typo was found four times in OhioLINK and 24 times in WorldCat.

("After Church" by Romare Bearden, 1941, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, January 20, 2012

Interpretatacion* Interpretataion* Interpretatation* Interpretationan* Interpretatoi* Interpretatt* Interpersoa* Interpre0* Interpretataion*...

...Interpretationan* Interpretatoi* Interpretatt* Interpritation* for Interpretation and interpret

The above are from a couple of different areas of the Ballard List of misspelled words in online library catalogs. Evidently there are a lot of ways to misspell and mistype today's word. It sort of reminds me of how my documents would look if I couldn’t instantly correct my typos when pounding too adamantly on the keyboard. (I went through a lot of Wite-Out back in the day.) Sometimes I feel like Porky Pig has taken possession of my hands – I just keep typing and I just keep hitting the wrong keys. Since it’s Friday, and this my first week of writing for this blog, I would like to share my favorite Porky Pig moment. I haven’t passed this by the people in charge, so I hope don’t get in too much trouble. But I suppose I should warn you that it’s rated PG. Here it is.

(The photo of Mr. Pig is from Wikipedia.)

Brian Dahlvig

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Mineapolis (for Minneapolis)

There was a previous entry on this blog about Mineapolis and how it is a High Probability error. I’m sure it’s still that way, lo! these four and a half years later. While there are several US cities with that name, I would like to briefly discuss the one in Minnesota (which, by the way, has a Moderate Probability of being misspelled as Minesota*). It’s January right now, so much of the country figures I have plenty of time to write these entries because it’s so cold and there’s so much snow I haven’t left my house since Christmas. Well, alright, fine, we are having a cold snap right now...and yes, it just happens to be snowing, but many people don’t realize that we get pretty darn hot, too. The record low for our state is -41 F (1888), but the record high is 106 F (1936). Granted those are the records for the entire state, but nevertheless, during any 365-day cycle, the fine citizens of Minneapolis experience a temperature range of over 125 degrees. And that is why clothiers love us so much—we have to buy a lot of clothes.

(125 degree temperature swing and the Mississippi flows right though the middle of it! Photo from Wikimedia Commons.)

Brian Dahlvig

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Biograh* and Biogrp* (for Biography)

Or, I assume it’s Biography. When I saw the misspellings, however, I immediately thought of Biograph, the early motion picture camera/projector/processor all wrapped into one. Biograph is also the shortened name of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company, an early producer of films, started by William K. L. Dickson, who invented the Kinetoscope in 1891 at the Edison laboratories. However, while it did use a film loop, the Kinetoscope was a single-person peepshow. The first machines to project a moving image on film appeared in 1894 and 1895, the Bioscop in Berlin and the Phantoscope and Cinematograph in France. The Vitascope and the Eidoloscope were then introduced in the United States within six months. In the years that followed, we can’t forget the Kineopticon, Magniscope, Cieroscope, Plattenkinematograph, Filoscope, Cinegraphoscope, Criterioscope, Phenakistoscope, Hypnoscope, Centograph, Animatoscope, Chronophotographoscope, Variscope, Criterioscope, Vitropticon, Vivrescope, Diaramiscope, Venetrope, Motograph, Zinematograph, and, well, you remember the rest.

Biograh* and Biogrp* are in section B of the Ballard list, with 16-99 hits in OhioLINK. Evidently no one has problems spelling the sundry film projector names as none of them made the list.

(Photo taken from Public Domain Review, originally shot with the Zoopraxiscope—the one that really started it all.)

Brian Dahlvig

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Massachusetes (for Massachusetts)

Massachusetes, not surprisingly, is under Section B, High Probability, of the Ballard list. Not only is the state hard to spell, but "molasses," the sweetener that was the cause of a major disaster in Boston is pretty darn tough for some of us, too. The Great Molasses Disaster happened on January 15, 1919. Twenty-one people were killed and 150 injured when a tank containing 2,300,000 gallons of the sticky stuff exploded, sending a 40-foot wave into the surrounding area with enough force to knock buildings off their foundations and break girders for the elevated train. The molasses traveled at 35 miles per hour (which answers the question about molasses in January) and either completely covered those in its way or picked them up as though they were body surfing. It took 300 people two weeks to clean up the mess, but the litigation went on for three years. For more on this, see the Wikipedia entry. For a lot more on this, see The Dark Tide by Stephen Puleo.

(Photo of the damage to the elevated train from Wikipedia, January 15, 2009. How many cookies would 2,300,000 gallons of molasses make?)

Brian Dahlvig

Monday, January 16, 2012

Brtain (for Britain)

Along with the British music invasion of the early 60s, the United States—and the rest of world—was introduced to the greatest fictional spy of all time, James Bond. So far there have been 22 films (with one on the way), all produced by the Broccoli family. (Plus two others, but we’ll let those be.) Along with his partner, Harry Saltzner, Albert “Cubby” Broccoli started producing the Bond films because he was friends with Ian Fleming, author of the Bond novels. This, of course, explains why Albert Broccoli produced the not-nearly-as-successful-as-the-Bond-films Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

While inventor Caratacus Potts and spy James Bond may seem at odds with each other, just think of the women: Truly Scrumptious and Pussy Galore. Oh yeah! One person from the Bond films that Broccoli did not bring along with him to make Chitty was Maurice Binder to do the opening credits. Hmm, wouldn’t that have added an extra dimension...? Today's typo was found eight times in OhioLINK, making it a "low probability" one on the Ballard list.

(Broccoli photo, July 2005, from Wikimedia Commons. Unfortunately, the story I had heard of the vegetable being named after the family appears not to be true.)

Brian Dahlvig

Friday, January 13, 2012

Understad* (for Understand*)

Edith Unnerstad was born in Helsingfors, Finland, in 1900 and died in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1982. Finland, I've been given to understand, as well as Scandinavia in general, produces some marvelous children's writers. Finland was the home of Tove Jansson, mother of the Moomintrolls; Denmark, of course, gave us Hans Christian Andersen; and Sweden has a long tradition of such writers, including Astrid Lindgren, the creator of Pippi Longstocking. Pippi, as you probably recall, lived happily without benefit of parents or siblings, although she did share her spacious abode with a monkey and a horse. By contrast, Edith Unnerstad's Larsson family consists of seven children and two adults coexisting in rather tight quarters. According to the publisher of The Saucepan Journey, illustrated by Louis Slobodkin (who also did the drawings for Pysen and Little O): "The background is of cramped living and the housing shortages of Stockholm in the 1940s where families with many children were often denied housing." Understandably enough, we found 11 examples of Understad* in OhioLINK today and 144 in WorldCat.

(Edith Unnerstad, ca. 1960, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Appilcat* (for Applicat*)

It's a well-known fact that cats like to climb trees (from which they traditionally require extrication on occasion by the local fire department). I had an apple tree on my property as a kid that I also liked to climb. I would bring my latest library book with me and settle into a well-worn crook for a sun-dappled, sweetly scented read. (I love this antique picture of a young girl going out on a limb for a book.) Those of you who prefer to do your reading via an online application may know that cats are notorious for liking your computer as well (perhaps it's the mouse... ;^) and will stretch right out on the keyboard if you let them. There were three cases of Appilcat* in OhioLINK this morning and 52 in WorldCat.

(Cat in an apple tree, 23 June 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Crimnal*, etc. (for Criminal*)

In the Fritz Lang movie of the same name, starring the marvelous Peter Lorre, the letter M stands for Mörder (meaning "murderer" in German). But in this case it's merely the middle letter of our typo for the day, as well as the middle letter of the alphabet itself—one that is very often misused and misplaced. (Note the way I set off that last phrase with what's known as an em dash, so named because it takes up about the same width as the letter M on a typewriter key—cf. the en dash.) I'm reading an interesting book right now entitled Popular Crime: Reflections on the Celebration of Violence (2011). Author Bill James writes about cases as disparate as those of Leo Frank and Mary Phagan, the so-called "Black Dahlia," the Scottsboro Boys, O. J. Simpson, Sam Sheppard (the putative source for the TV show "The Fugitive"), Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen, Randall Dale Adams (upon whom the first film by Errol Morris, The Thin Blue Line, was based), Katherine Ann Power, the Lindbergh Baby, the McMartin Preschool, the Menendez Brothers, JonBenet Ramsey, and a great many others, cases both utterly notorious and far more obscure. He states: "We are, not as a nation but as human beings, fascinated by crime stories, even obssessed with them. The Bible is full of them... And yet, on a certain level, we are profoundly ashamed of this fascination." There is nothing to be ashamed of, but something to be fully investigated, in the fact that there were five cases of both Crimnal* and Crimimal* in OhioLINK today (66 and 46 in WorldCat) and just one of Crininal* (17 in WorldCat).

(Peter Lorre, 1946, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Revov* (for Revolv* or Recov*)

See you later, escalator! But first I need to inform the powers that be near the place where I work that they've got a misspelled sign on their hands pointing visitors in the direction of the "Escaltor to Museum Lobby." Much like elevators, in the famous joke I made up myself, these things really "drive me up a wall." I mean, just how little regard does one have to have for the work of editors and proofreaders to neglect to run a bit of text by at least one other person (or an automatic spell checker) before sending it off to be carved in stone (or whatever the modern-day version of that, involving electroplating or galvanization or enamalizing, etc., might be). I couldn't find any typos for escalator (or elevator either, for that matter), but I decided to do a little research on them anyway. According to Wikipedia, Nathan Ames of Saugus, Massachusetts, patented the first design for what he called a "revolving staircase" in 1859. And it was all downhill (or maybe that's uphill) from there. Thirty years later, Leamon Souder patented another escalator-type "stairway" and in short order several other models followed. Weary riders of such things are no nudes descending a staircase, but their evolution does represent a revolution in getting around. When the first "moving staircase" was installed in Harrods Knightsbridge store in England on November 16, 1898, "customers unnerved by the experience were revived by shopmen dispensing free smelling salts and cognac," according to Bill Lancaster in The Department Store: A Social History. This typo seems to refer to words like revolve and revolution about as frequently as it does words like recover or recovery. There were five cases of Revov* in OhioLINK, and 150 in WorldCat.

(Seattle Public Library escalators, 26 April 2005, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 9, 2012

Caeser* (for Caesar*)

I took part in a "potluck Scrabble invitational" at a coworker and neighbor's house over the weekend and, though I promptly and predictably lost the game, I did learn a cool new word in the process. The Scrabble dictionary is an interesting reference work. It excludes "four-letter words," racial epithets, and certain other examples of offensive slang, but at one point I did manage to put down swear itself. Since the rules we were playing by allowed for a rather liberal use of the dictionary, it was there that I stumbled upon said cool word. And the next time I actually do stumble, I'll have to remember to use it! Gor, it seems, is a "mild oath" or what's also known as a minced oath. Amazingly enough, when I mentioned this find to my fellow players, the hostess replied that she had actually heard it used just the other day in the 1945 film Caesar and Cleopatra, starring Claude Rains and Vivien Leigh. No way, I thought, or rather, "Gor!" (I love a great coincidence like that.) There were nine hits on Caeser* + Caesar* in OhioLINK, and 35 on Caeser* alone (172 and 620, respectively, in WorldCat). Some, however, look as though they might be early variant spellings (such as Zealous beleevers are the best subjects to Cæser...), so be sure to check the original works for any of these you might also find.

(Still from the film Caesar and Cleopatra, courtesy of the website Acidemic.)

Carol Reid

Friday, January 6, 2012

Twon (for Town)

In the truly wonderful 2010 documentary Marwencol by filmmaker Jeff Malmberg, a miniature Belgian town, populated by Barbie dolls and World War II action figures, is lovingly created in the backyard of Mark Hogencamp as a means of self-therapy after Mark is viciously attacked and left severely brain-damaged by a gang of thugs in Kingston, New York. Rarely does an act of senseless violence have such an uplifting, heartwarming, and outright artistic outcome and, though I would love to say more about this touching and fascinating story, I don't want to "spoil" it for you. I'll just say, count your blessings, open your mind, get dressed to the nines, and go to town. You can read all about it later on. There's a good chance your local library has a copy, but it's also available from Netflix, both on DVD and streaming. Marwencol is a very moving movie that you won't soon forget. There were 25 cases of Twon (for town) in OhioLINK and 323 in WorldCat.

(Official theatrical poster for the 2010 documentary feature film Marwencol, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Devleo* (for Develop*)

Whether you believe in astrology or not, you've probably believed in a Leo at some point in your life. Those born under this sign tend to be proud, persuasive, confident, and self-assured (-absorbed, -involved, -obsessed, etc., depending on the Leo) and, fortunately for them, are often blessed with that much envied and highly valued physical asset, great hair—much like the "king of the jungle" with his glorious mane. Barack Obama is a Leo; so is Madonna. Some folks regard Leos as highly developed creatures, while others would say their egos are frankly over developed. Wikipedia puts it with a certain even-handed bluntness: "They are known to have plenty of worshipers, but also many hidden enemies, and they are normally recognized by their self-absorbed personalit[ies] and their big ego[s]." Leos are generally considered most compatible with the other two Fire signs, Aries and Sagittarius, and least so with the Earth and Water signs. We found 24 instances of Devleo* in OhioLINK and 367 in WorldCat.

(Drawing of the constellation Leo by John Hevelius, 1690, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Janurary (for January)

Many of the fun facts about the first month of the year have already been touched upon in this 2009 entry for Janaury, so let me just report that, while it's snowing ever so slightly and lightly here right now, it has been unseasonably warm and dry so far. On the other hand, hope springs (or should that be winters?) eternal in the hearts of skiers, skaters, and other fans of the cold fluffy white stuff. The ice skating rink adjoining my workplace has just reopened after several years of being shut down and, despite not having strapped on skates since I was a kid, I just might give it a whirl. In Holland, people often use skates and bikes for both fun and exercise, although bicycles are also a primary mode of transportation. Russell Shorto, author of The Island at the Center of the World, recently wrote in the New York Times that "while many Americans see their cars as an extension of their individual freedom, to some of us owning a car is a burden, and in a city a double burden. I find the recrafting of the city in order to lessen—or eliminate—the need for cars to be not just grudgingly acceptable, but, yes, an expansion of my individual freedom. So I say (in this case, at least): Go, social-planning technocrats! If only America’s cities could be so free..." We found 17 cases of Janurary in OhioLINK today, and 498 in WorldCat. Check your own catalogs this January morning and skate through today's typos with ease.

(Enjoying the Ice, by Hendrick Avercamp, ca. 1630-1634, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Bedit* (for Edit*)

At the height of the war in Vietnam, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, who were married on March 20, 1969, took advantage of the expected press attention to stage a "Bed-In" at the Amsterdam Hilton Hotel. Dressed in white and sitting in bed ("like angels," said John) beneath signs reading "Hair Peace" and "Bed Peace," the couple held court every day for a week, confusing the media and delighting their fans. ("The newspapers said say what're you doing in bed / I said we're only trying to get us some peace"—The Ballad of John and Yoko.) The two planned to hold a second Bed-In in New York City, but as John was barred from entering the country due to a pot conviction the previous year, they decided to go to the Bahamas instead. Apparently, the hotel there didn't have air conditioning, though, because they quickly changed plans again and headed north to Montreal. This time they invited Timothy Leary, Dick Gregory, Tommy Smothers, Al Capp, Murray the K (aka the "Fifth Beatle"), and others to help record the album Give Peace a Chance. Today's typo appeared 21 times in OhioLINK and 147 times in WorldCat. (Most occurrences seem to have been matters of omitting the delimiter sign in a subfield b.) All we are saying is it might have been hard to get out of bed this morning after the long, peaceful holiday weekend, but our catalogs need editing and you're just the folks to do it.

(John Lennon, Yoko Ono, and friends, recording "Give Peace a Chance," June 1, 1969, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, January 2, 2012

Lesss* (for Less*)

Perhaps you were at the store yesterday, picking up a few ingredients for a hangover cure or grabbing a quick bite to eat and were in a hurry to get in and out. If so, you may have found yourself standing in a checkout line with a sign reading "Ten Items or Fewer." This, as we all know, is more grammatically correct than its longtime predecessor "Ten Items or Less" (less refers to an aggregate amount and fewer to numbers of individual things, whereas more covers both), but it doesn't sound quite as satisfying. There's just something about shorter words that, all things being equal, makes them preferable to longer ones. This is true of speaking as well as writing. For example, "2012" is going to be easier and pleasanter to say than "2011" was. (It's not only the fewer syllables involved, but the agreeable alliteration as well.) So have a happy, pithy New Year—or, should you prefer, a Tweety 2012! And always remember that less is more (although when it comes to typos, that really should be fewer). Today's typo was found seven times in OhioLINK (all errors except for Less's Authenticity, Uncorrupted Preservation, and Credibility of the New Testament) and 1288 times in WorldCat. Lessen the impact on your own catalog by extracting, where necessary, that extra S in Lesss*.

("One Less Car" sign spotted at London Critical Mass, April 29, 2005, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid