Friday, March 30, 2012

Bibilog* (for Bibliog*)

Back when I was in high school, I would earn some extra pocket money by working at the town library a couple of nights a week. In the 1960s and 70s, public libraries were often a lot smaller than they are today, and as I languidly rolled my cart to and fro throughout the tiny, but somehow still airy and sunlit rooms, carefully returning the books to their assigned places on the shelves, I gradually came to know the contents of those shelves fairly well. One day an intriguing-looking paperback with stunning black and white photographs caught my eye. It was entitled Four Screenplays of Ingmar Bergman and as I stood staring at it in the dusty stacks, it couldn't have seemed more wonderful. It was like falling down a rabbit hole and stepping through the looking glass. Darkly. All about death and chess and summer nights and strawberries, it served as my introduction to the world of foreign films. To this day, whenever I think about Ingmar Bergman, I remember reading that book, even more than I do seeing the films themselves. One actress who is often seen in the films of Ingmar Bergman is Bibi Andersson. Born in 1935 in Stockholm, Andersson appeared in more than ten Bergman films, including The Seventh Seal, Wild Strawberries, The Magician, and Persona. Her first collaboration with the master, however, occurred in 1951 when they did a commercial together for a laundry detergent called "Bris." (Apparently, this means something different in Swedish than it does in Jewish. Just kidding. It means "breeze.") We logged 17 cases of Bibilog* in the OhioLINK database today, and 1,178 in WorldCat.

(At the Skandia Cinema, Bibi Andersson receives Mr Engdahl's scholarship of SEK 2000 by Gunnar Sjöberg in conjunction with the premiere of "Summertime Wanted" [i.e., Smiles of a Summer Night?], December 21, 1957, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Sping* + Spring* (for Spring* or Sping*)

Time flies and it even jumps a little each year when we all "spring forward" by turning our clocks ahead an hour. This annual act is somewhat tiresome and deprives us of sixty minutes of sleep, but it does make it seem like the season has officially arrived. The point of it, of course, is to try and "save" daylight. This is a precious commodity, according to Benjamin Franklin, who came up with the "seed of the concept of daylight savings" during a visit to Paris (the "City of Light"), as well as the relevant adage: "Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." DST did not become a reality, however, until World War I, when it was adopted worldwide in an effort to conserve fuel for electricity. At any rate, don't spring ahead so fast that you drop one of your letters. Sping* + Spring* turns up 23 times in OhioLINK and 247 times in WorldCat. There may be a number of false hits here (the LC name authority file includes around thirty surnames beginning with Sping*), although the overwhelming majority appear to be typos, many for the publisher Springer-Verlag. I wondered whether "sping" itself was an actual word and have learned that it sort of is: it's both "short for 'spam ping' and is related to pings from blogs using trackbacks, called trackback spam" and a term for the "new combined Space and Missile Operations Badge, informally known as 'spings' (SPace wINGS)." I'm not exactly sure what it is about techno/geek argot that so often inclines it toward goofiness. Maybe these folks just get a little squirrelly after a while and need to let off some linguistic steam. Or perhaps they've got a touch of "sping fever"!

(The so-called "Spingx" from the gardens of Harewood House, West Yorkshire, United Kingdom, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ferdinad (for Ferdinand)

Talk about seeing red! In Munro Leaf's timeless tale The Story of Ferdinand, the peace-loving bull does not react to that provocative color the way a Spanish bull is supposed to do, choosing instead to simply stand (or sit) his ground and smell the roses.* Various dictators and other blowhards (er, notables) were hopping mad, however. Hitler burned the book, Mussolini banned it, Ernest Hemingway even wrote a rather weird rebuttal to it ("The Faithful Bull") in 1951. Some leftists (anti-Fascist Loyalists) took issue with Ferdinand's pacifism as well. Since the book came out in the fall of 1936, just after the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War, many readers and critics saw an overtly political message in it. But Munro Leaf consistently maintained that he had merely written an innocent children's story (albeit one promoting peaceful coexistence and being true to oneself) for his friend and would-be illustrator Robert Lawson to draw pictures for. Like most targets of censorship, The Story of Ferdinand would become an instant classic and Lawson's illustrations are considered among the finest in all of modern children's literature. Ferdinand is not easily riled, but like all of us, would undoubtedly like it if we spelled his name right. There were 11 instances of Ferdinad sitting in OhioLINK this morning, and 280 in WorldCat.

* Actually, it's not the color, but the motion, of the matador's cape that excites the bull. Ferdinand just preferred flowers to flags.

(The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Thrity (for Thirty)

"Lather was thirty years old today, they took away all of his toys. His mother sent newspaper clippings to him, about his old friends who had stopped being boys..." For some reason, this long-ago lyric came to mind over the weekend, but I guess I hadn't been "feeding my head" enough that day because I couldn't recall the 1960s rock band responsible for it. (Unfortunately, my computer happened to be down at the moment as well, so I wasn't able to simply "google" up the answer.) Worst of all, I couldn't even remember the first word, the name of the eponymous person the song was about. "I think it's something sort of ... soapy," I told my friend. But that was as far as I could get with it. When I got to work Monday morning, it was the first thing I looked up. The song is called "Lather" and it's by Jefferson Airplane. (Of course.) It appears on the 1968 album Crown of Creation and was written by band member Grace Slick. She claims to have been inspired by a two-year affair she'd been having with the Airplane's drummer, Spencer Dryden, who had recently turned thirty. As for why Slick dubbed the song's Peter Pan-like character "Lather," that remains a bit of a mystery. Is it a reference to a child's bathtime; evidence of some sort of neurological or developmental disorder ("Lather came foam from his tongue"); or perhaps anger and agitation at the prospect of growing up? Who knows? Maybe its meaning is something else entirely, or nothing much at all. It's an interesting thing to think about, but don't get yourself into a lather over it. I am well over thirty myself these days, but you can trust me when I tell you that there were fifty examples of today's typo in OhioLINK and 466 in WorldCat.

(Jefferson Airplane, 17 June 1967, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, March 26, 2012

Organzat* (for Organizat*)

Do you have a difficult time throwing things out, or even organizing the stuff you do want to keep? Me too. I suppose many people do. We're sentimental creatures at heart and often a bit scattered to boot. On the other hand, I often wonder about photographs like this one, tucked away in antique stores, resurfacing in garage sales, unmoored from their natural origins. Did the figures seen in such photos have no living relatives to save and cherish such mementos? Or are some people actually able to freely part with items like this for the sake of an "uncluttered" space? Some of the "useless" junk taking up room in people's attics includes childhood books and toys, clothes that no longer fit them, old broken appliances, and specialty items like one's wedding dress and veil. Organza is is a "thin, plain-weave, sheer fabric traditionally made from silk," according to Wikipedia, and often "used for bridalwear and eveningwear." No matter how organized I might magically become some day, I doubt I would ever take the veil, as it were, to the dump. I might need my space, but I need the things that are in my space more. Declutter your catalog today by dumping this typo wherever you find it. There were 21 of these in OhioLINK and 372 in WorldCat.

(Beach at Sandgate, Brisbane, circa 1907 ... The woman is wearing a large hat decorated with flowers and an organza veil covering her face ... from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Welch + Welsh (for Welsh or Welch)

In the 1962 movie Only Two Can Play, which is based on a novel by Kingsley Amis, Peter Sellers plays a married Welsh librarian with the "seven-year itch." In the opening scene, while shelving a stack of books, he drops one on the floor. As he picks it up, the camera lingers lovingly on the cover: Is Sex Necessary? by James Thurber and E. B. White. Everywhere our hapless, hormonally challenged hero looks, women appear to be coming on to him. When he hurries down the hallway of his apartment building in the morning, a half-dressed neighbor seems to have neglected to shut her door. When he gets crushed against a buxom blonde on the crowded bus, she gives him a flirty, instead of a dirty, look. When he stoops to a lower shelf to retrieve a title, a pair of shapely gams comes directly into view. He simply cannot escape his constant thoughts concerning, as he fretfully puts it, "women in general." I highly recommend this charming film, but especially for you "librarians in the movies" types. Oh, and the utterly apt quotation that introduces it is by Ralph Waldo Emerson: "It is not observed that Librarians are wiser men than others." Which might not make the best sig file for your email, but it's perfect here. We found 92 cases of Welch + Welsh in OhioLINK and 697 in WorldCat. Not all of them are legitimate typos, however, so take care to examine the work in question, particularly in the case of transcribed fields.

(Screen shot of Peter Sellers in Only Two Can Play.)

Carol Reid

Montly, Mothly (for Monthly)

Someone posted a message today announcing that "April is School Library Moth." While that surely should have been Month, I'm of two minds about moths. On the one hand, they produce one of my all-time favorite fibers, especially when it comes to long underwear: silk. On the other hand, I'm overcome with murderous intent whenever I see one or two of their relatives flitting around my kitchen cupboards. Pantry moths (also known as "grain moths," "flour moths," "Indianmeal moths," and "miller moths") are often brought into the house by way of bulk grains, birdseed, pet food, etc., and once you've got 'em, these little buggers are notoriously hard to get rid of. There are pheromone traps and chemical insecticides marketed for this purpose, but if the traps only seem to make things worse, or you simply seek a more natural solution, you might want to try something called Diatomaceous Earth. Other household pests are also no match for this dusty substance, "a naturally occurring, soft, siliceous sedimentary rock that is crumbled into a fine white to off-white powder" and that slices their tiny disgusting feet to smithereens. Too bad we can't just sprinkle some in our catalogs to keep them forever free of typos, although that might not be a bad idea when it comes to dealing with bookworms and other kinds of creepy-crawlies that like to eat our print collections. There were five cases of Montly (for monthly) in OhioLINK and 288 in WorldCat. (There were no instances of Mothly found in the former, but we caught 24 of them in the latter.)

(Caterpillar larva of Antheraea polyphemus, the Polyphemus moth, one of the giant silkworm moths, photographed in Connecticut, September 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Errr* (for Error*, Errata, etc.)

Grrr, typos in our library catalogs can be extremely annoying. (Er, except in the case of our little blog here, where we are actually quite delighted whenever we can discover and then erase them.) This daily exercise is in fact a rather strange admixture of pride and humility, which is perhaps precisely what makes it such an enjoyable and productive endeavor. (I often "find" a good typo by making it myself.) We found 15 typographical errors for words like errors in OhioLINK, with one exception being a song title on the Blood, Sweat & Tears CD by Ace Hood called "Errrythang" (although this appears to be a typo as well—"errythang" apparently should only have two R's), and 293 in WorldCat. Your errand today is to look for this errant spelling in your own databases and to eradicate any erroneous examples you find there. Remember: to Errr* is human, to edit is the job of a good cataloger.

("Robson & Crane in Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors," courtesy of the Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs Division.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Initat* (for Initiat*)

Tatting is a term of art found in the domestic sphere. It refers to "handmade lace fashioned by looping and knotting a single strand of heavy-duty thread on a small hand shuttle; the act or art of making such lace." Since its origin is unknown, it's hard to know if it's related to the word tattle, which, seeing as how we were all children once, is a word most of us know all too well. (But if somehow you don't, I won't tell.) Interestingly, its derivation is given as "Middle English tatelen, to stammer, probably from Middle Dutch, of imitative origin." I am fully capable of tattling, as well as stammering, but I'm pretty sure I couldn't produce a piece of lace like the one shown here, even if I tried my best to imitate it. One might wonder as well whether these words are connected to the phrase tit for tat, but it turns out that that's more of a guy thing. It means "a blow or some other retaliation in return for an injury from another." (I think I'd rather have a doily, thanks.) Another cool word for someone who's possibly been in a fight and torn his clothes (perhaps thereby exposing his tattoos) or simply one who can't afford to be wearing a lot of lace and the like, is tatterdemalion. Today's tattered typo is considered to be "high probability" on the Ballard list, with 62 cases in OhioLINK and 1,326 in WorldCat. Please take the initiative to initiate a search for this one in your own library's catalog this morning.

(Crochet lace, an example of tatting, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, March 19, 2012

Equivel* (for Equival*)

While visiting family out of town over the weekend, I noticed an interesting typo in the local newspaper: Schandenfreude for schadenfreude. (This German word is neatly defined as "pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.") I was pretty pleased with the find, but disappointed not to discover any further examples in OhioLINK or WorldCat later on. This, of course, was rather as expected (it's an unusual word, with only 37/316 cases correctly spelled); nevertheless its total absence from these two databases denied me that mild sense of schadenfreude I tend to experience whenever I find the human errors I'm so eagerly seeking. So in search of a synonym of sorts, something I could seek and find and rejoice in the exposure of, I eventually concluded that the common wisdom was correct: there is no equivalent of schadenfreude in English. (Or rather that the word itself is already an English "loanword.") Some have suggested the debatable term epicaricacy; another good, if somewhat inexact, analogue might be "gloating." According to Wikipedia: "The Buddhist concept of mudita, 'sympathetic joy' or 'happiness in another's good fortune,' is cited as an example of the opposite of schadenfreude. Alternatively, envy, which is unhappiness in another's good fortune, could be considered the counterpart of schadenfreude. Completing the quartet is 'unhappiness at another's misfortune,' which may be termed sympathy, pity, or compassion." I also like this "transposed variant": Freudenschade, which means "sorrow at another person's success." There were five cases of Equivel* (for equival*) in OhioLINK and 88 in WorldCat. One of the five in the former, however, was actually a different typo, a misspelling of the name Laura Esquivel, author of the book Like Water for Chocolate. Since I didn't get my endorphin hit from lots of hits on Schandenfreude, I might have to resort to a bit of chocolate instead; I believe they're roughly equivalent. Good luck finding some typos out there yourself today, and if you do, try not to gloat too much.

Illustration from the pulp magazine The Spider , October 1933, vol. 1, no. 1, for the story The Spider Strikes by R. T. M. Scott, captioned: "The face she had seen was cruel and repulsive—like the face of a man who gloated over some cruel and terrible act.")

Carol Reid

Friday, March 16, 2012

Possesi* (for Possessi*)

I stopped in front of a sign the other day that said: "Fantastic Sams Unisex Hair Salon." Perhaps I was just having a bad hair day, or maybe I was feeling a little less than fantastic, but my silent snipe as I stood there staring was: "Are you all out of sorts? Or are you just out of apostrophes?" I had mentioned that I was feeling "out of sorts" to a graphic designer I know recently and he informed me that the expression comes from the field of printing and typography. While that derivation is debatable, it refers to the individual metal characters ("sorts") found carefully arranged in boxes of type. To be all out of these would surely make any typesetter cranky. Whether and where to put an apostrophe is a matter that befuddles many people. Simply put, it denotes possession. (It also signifies a missing or elided letter.) However, just like with a lot of hair, there are some gray areas. One of them concerns whether to add to a name or word ending in S an "apostrophe s" or just a plain apostrophe. Another one has to do with phrases like "librarians room," "teachers association," "farmers market," etc. If the sense of possessing is strong, include the apostrophe; if it's rather that the noun is more generally for or about the adjectival group in question (the "attributive" case), you may safely omit the apostrophe. With apologies to Dr. Seuss, whose putative movie (note the apostrophe in the title) The Lorax opened last week:

I do not like salons called Sams,
I do not like them, Sam. I am
An apostrophe booster
Who just can't get useter
Seeing none where there surely should be one!

I do not like green eggs and hams, either, for that matter. But have a happy Saint Patrick's Day, anyway, folks. Drink responsibly, and don't forget your apostrophes! (There were 45 examples of Possesi* in OhioLINK, and 1,309 in WorldCat.)

(The Boy with Green Hair movie poster, 1948, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Confrenc* (for Conferenc*)

Whereas, as the attorneys say, a great many suspect typos will often turn out to be correctly spelled words in French or some other language, let me open by saying that today's entry is almost always a misspelling of the word conference. There are currently 18 examples in OhioLINK (which confers a "high probability" status upon it) and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat. Evidently, we didn't need to hold a conference in order to admit this outstanding candidate to the bar. Although I have to admit, there was only one case in my own library's database. Nonetheless, I'm confident that you and your cataloging confrères will be able to identify a few more of them in your own.

(Les Deux Confrères [Avocats] or "The Two Colleagues" [Lawyers] by Honoré Daumier, 1865–1870, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Infint* (for Infinit*)

Happy Pie Day! By the way, and by a sheer and happy coincidence, I baked a berry pie yesterday consisting of thawed organic blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries. It turned out totally amazing! The flavor was exquisite, the crust perfect. Even the whipped cream was beyond reproach. Wholesome and digestible enough for both infant and infirm alike. Pies rule! But you know what really rules? Pi. You know, pi, the number that never ends? The ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter? The "irrational" number that just doesn't know when to quit? 3.14159265358979 .... ad infinitum. The mathematical version of infinity. Today is actually Pi Day, so called because March 14th and the number pi both suggest the numerical cluster 3-1-4. Pi itself goes back a very long way, but as for where the number got its name, that was the idea of Welsh mathematician (and probable pie aficionado!) William Jones, who in 1706 proposed the use of π (the Greek letter pi) to represent the word perimeter (περίμετρος), or possibly an abbreviation for "periphery/diameter." Whichever pi/e you prefer, enjoy this most infinitely delectable day. There were 21 cases of Infint* in OhioLINK and 316 in WorldCat.

(William Jones by William Hogarth, 1740, courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery and Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Extenti* (for Extensi*)

When I was a kid, we would camp all summer long. There was Roger's Rock on the legendary Lake George (and the nearby "campiness" of Lake George Village with its resident Frankenstein in front of the wax museum waving at tourists); the beautiful and beautifully named Emerald Lake in Vermont, situated near some rock quarries (which didn't contain emeralds, of course, but did have some marvelous big pieces of marble); and a large campground not far from Provincetown, Mass. (a wonderful place my grandfather, in those pre-Stonewall days, used to call an "artists colony"). Camping was very cheap, but like most other things, it's gotten rather more expensive and overly extensive. Back then, with a tent and some stakes, enough sleeping bags and cots, a kerosene lamp, and a few basic cooking utensils at hand, you were all set for the duration. You'd see plenty of motivated campers (people) around, but very few motorized ones (RVs, trailers, etc.). Which is not to say, for example, that the newer nylon tents aren't an improvement over the old, unwieldy, and remarkably heavy canvas kind. But I guess what I am saying, by extension, is simply that less is more, simpler is better, and for the most part, why try and improve on perfection? I stumbled upon this typo today in the local newspaper: "Tax cut extention helps economy." Either way, though, and regardless of your financial situation, you can still afford to go camping. There were 116 cases of Extenti* in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Gordale Scar Camp Site near Gordale Scar in the Yorkshire Dales, North Yorkshire, U.K., 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, March 12, 2012

Teresa + Theresa (for Theresa or Teresa)

Teresa Jungman (July 9, 1907–June 11, 2010) and her older sister Zita were among what was known in Britain as the "Bright Young People" of the 1920s. Daughters of the Anglo-Dutch artist Nico Jungmann, the Jungman sisters lived together "in perfect harmony" for most of their lives, both surviving until the ripe old age of 102. Today Teresa seems to merit only the briefest of mentions on Wikipedia, but I was amused by the comment there that "the emminent [sic] novelist Evelyn Waugh was greatly taken by her but his affection was unrequieted [sic]." Waugh waxed poetic on the precocious pranksters' considerable charms: "The Jungman sisters are a pair of decadent 18th-century angels made of wax," he wrote, "exhibited at Madame Tussaud's before the fire..." Those Wikipedia typos have since been fixed and today we're focusing on cheek-by-jowl occurrences of Teresa and Theresa. If you search on both versions of this spelling at once, you may turn up some true errors. Be sure to check the source before making any corrections, though, as there will certainly be some false positives among them. We found 154 in OhioLINK and 1,489 in WorldCat. You don't have to be a bright young person, or even an awesome old librarian, in order to right such unquiet and unrequited blunders slumbering in your own library's catalog.

(Photograph of the Jungman sisters by Cecil Beaton, 1926, from the New York Social Diary website.)

Carol Reid

Friday, March 9, 2012

Milll* (for Mill*)

Ann Morgan Guilbert has a long résumé as a TV actress and comedienne. Better known to most of us as Millie Helper, the dowdy, pouty, put-upon, but sorta sexy, next-door neighbor and kooky confidante to the Petries on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Guilbert is also fondly recalled by somewhat younger viewers as Fran Drescher's grandma, Yetta Rosenberg, on The Nanny. In one episode, Guilbert's character touchingly displays a photo of the late Jerry Paris (Jerry Helper on The Dick Van Dyke Show), calling him her former husband. Seeing as how she was older than and not as pretty as Mary Tyler Moore, Carl Reiner was opposed to hiring Guilbert to play Millie, but Paris convinced him to give her a chance. Ann Guilbert was born in 1928 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and began her career as a singer and dancer in the Billy Barnes Revues, continuing to appear in numerous film, television, and theater roles for many years. She graduated from Stanford University, where she majored in speech and drama and met her first husband, the late writer/producer George Eckstein. They had two daughters, both of whom followed their parents into the acting field. Guilbert married the character actor Guy Raymond in 1969; they were together until Raymond's death in 1997. Guilbert currently resides in Pacific Palisades, California. There were 16 cases of Milll* in OhioLINK, and 297 in WorldCat.

(Ann Guilbert, courtesy of The Ann Guilbert Fan Site.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Obsses* (for Obses*)

Do you have an obsession? If so, you would probably prefer to think of it as a "collection" lest you potentially be cast as the subject of one of those hoarder shows so popular on TV right now. I'm kidding, of course, although the line between the two anal-retentive categories is probably a bit finer at times than you might care to believe. Today's typo looks as though it likes to collect the letter S and just went a little bit overboard with this one. Actually, obsession and the like are very commonly misspelled words, so this entry is probably more of a spelling error in most cases than a typo made by simply striking the wrong key. It might help to think of it in two parts: ob and session. OB can stand for many things, so take your pick. For example, you might imagine an annual session with your OB/GYN. (However, despite not exactly looking forward to such appointments, I'd say few women are truly obsessed with them.) We compulsively collected nine samples of this typo in OhioLINK, and obsessively obtained 204 more in WorldCat.

(18th-century collection of anatomical models in the Obstetrics Room, Museo di Palazzo Poggi, Bologna, Italy, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wiht* (for With*, Whit*)

Whither are we going with our typo for the day? Wiht* is the sort of typo that can signal more than a single word, in this case both with* and whit*. The legacy that photographer Ernest Withers (1922–2007) might have otherwise earned from both black and white Americans alike has predictably withered on the vine in the wake of disturbing reports that he allegedly doubled as a paid informant for the FBI concerning the movements of Dr. Martin Luther King and others. With all due respect, and while the pictures of the civil rights movement captured by Withers are obviously priceless, Dr. King also paid a very high price for being the target of a covert government operation during the 1960s. We uncovered 114 examples of today's typo in OhioLINK and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., at the funeral of Medgar Evers, photographed by Ernest Withers.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Acient (for Ancient)

A lot of words begin with the letters ACI, but when looking for a picture to illustrate today's ancient typo, this one totally aced it with the provocative Latin name Acianthus fornicatus. And no, it's not your fevered imagination: fornicatus means "prostituted" in English. I really don't know—but I dearly wish I did—how a flower's morals might come into play here; however, an orchid by any other name would certainly smell as sweet. (I wouldn't count on Rush Limbaugh, though, to make that case for you.) Acianthus fornicatus, which also goes by the more understandable and adorable name "Pixie caps," is a small terrestrial orchid native to Australia. According to Wikipedia: "It flowers in winter with a red central stripe." Perhaps that stripe is its "Scarlet Letter." There were eight instances of Acient in OhioLINK and 211 in WorldCat.

(Flowering orchid at Chatswood west, possibly Acianthus fornicatus—dead leaves in the background are Schizomeria ovata—July 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, March 5, 2012

Conecticut* (for Connecticut*)

I saw the filmmaker John Sayles (a Schenectady native) speak at the University at Albany the other night. After he had made a few initial remarks, an audience member raised her hand, anxious to know whether he resented the movie The Big Chill, which came out in 1983, for ripping off Sayles's 1980 The Return of the Secaucus 7. The questioner added that, after all, the former was simply the latter "without the politics." I thought his answer was gracious. He replied that both films were simply using a similar set-up: the "weekend reunion." He then drew a couple of analogies to make his point, which was that there are many comparable films and themes; it doesn't mean they're all hopelessly derivative con jobs. He added, surprisingly enough, that he himself had used the short story "Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" as a basis for The Return of the Secaucus 7. If you don't remember this story, you can read it online or in a copy of Nine Stories by J. D. Salinger, published in 1953. There were 15 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, but about six or so were on records for works from the 1600s, so Conecticut was probably an acceptable variant at that time. We also found 162 cases in WorldCat.

(66ème Festival du Cinéma de Venise, Mostra, 3/9/2009, photocall with John Sayles, Angela Ismailos and Todd Haynes, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, March 2, 2012

Paycho* (for Psycho)

When anyone asks me what my favorite movie is, I always say I'm torn between Pinocchio (Disney, 1940) and Psycho (Hitchcock, 1960). It's not necessarily true as I don't have "A" favorite movie, but I truly do love both. Psycho of course, has that great shower scene with its 77 different camera angles of Marion Crane getting stabbed. Pinocchio, on the other hand, has an amazing tracking shot that starts up in the steeples of the town and pans down through the street ending up on Gepetto's front stoop - incredible multi-plane camera work. Both scenes are brilliantly conceived and executed.

Psycho has so many great quotable lines - "He was flirting with you...I guess he must have noticed my wedding ring." I love that one! But how many times I have quoted Pinocchio's Honest John - "Ah, school...what would this stupid world be without it?" (That was a hypothetical, I have no idea many times, but it's been a lot.)

Psycho is SO scary! The end with Lila pondering going down to the basement! Yikes! On the other hand Pinocchio has that scene of Lampwick, the bad little boy on Pleasure Island turning into a jackass. Pretty freaky. Of course in this day and age, many people may find neither disturbing, but in their time...

The main characters of both films, Pinocchio and Marion Crane, end up in water; a washing away of their sins, as it were. Unfortunately, while Pinocchio was reborn as a real boy, Marion, well, on to a different life altogether.

What I'm trying to get at is keep your choices and options open, especially if they're completely disparate! "It's the only way to fly!" (Oops, wrong film.)

Paycho* is in the Low Probability section of the Ballard List. Pinocchio, on the other hand, shows up not at all; must be easier to spell.

(The painting, taken from Wikipedia, is Edward Hopper's "The House by the Railroad" which was used as inspiration for the home of Norma Bates and his mother. Edward Hopper and Alfred Hitchcock - that's rather disparate.)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Narct* (for Narcotic)

Consider today's column a public service announcement from yours truly. (That would be just me, the other contributors probably want nothing to do with this.) Narcotics are not a good thing to mess around with - the vast majority of them are illegal or available by prescription-only for a reason. And the ones that are legal (such as alcohol, depending on your definition) should be used in moderation. I find it interesting the things people will ingest thinking they'll get a narcotic affect.

While heroin does come from the poppy, and eating a poppy muffin will have negative affects on a drug test, according to PBS, heroin is made from the sap of the pod, not the seeds themselves. I don't think sitting down with a bag of poppy seeds and s spoon is going to do much.

While catnip may get cats feeling frisky, I've heard of people trying to smoke catnip thinking they'd get the same effect. They said it didn't work. However, it does make for a rather nice tea.

Some friends told me once that while they were in college, they had heard eating nutmeg could have a narcotic effect. So they sat down, ate a bunch and...nothing happened. That is, until the next day when their parents came to town and they - the students not the parents - were completely hung over. I'm not sure which is worse - experimenting on getting high the night before your parents come to town, or being all hung over without any of the "fun." While I make light of this, it's really not. It is possible to get high on nutmeg, but it's truly a stupid idea trying.

If you really want to get high, get the endorphins going. Exercise and get that heart pumping. Get all sweaty in the sauna and then jump under a cold shower (or snow if it's around). Or my favorite, eat some chili peppers!

Narct*, by the way, is very uncommon in library catalogs.

(Photo is from Wikipedia - it pretty much speaks for itself.)

Brian Dahlvig