Thursday, May 31, 2012

Disign* (for Design*)

Hand gestures often designate different things to different people, especially different people in different countries. For example, the affirmative "OK" sign and the supportive "thumbs up" signal used here in the United States may, on the other hand, be seen as the most offensive of expressions abroad, a downright digital diss. We could always try and design a universal set of symbols to obviate such international incidents, but unspoken words, like spoken ones, are generally unruly and resistant to orchestrated change. In the meantime, it would behoove travelers and others who interact with foreigners on a regular basis to apprise themselves of these local connotations. However, just to be on the safe side, I might endeavor to keep my hands in my pockets, a smile on my face (happily, this one seems to mean the same thing all around the globe), and a small translating dictionary at my fingertips. Typos are often not what they seem either, so try and stay vigilant regarding any "variant," foreign, and antiquated spellings you may find in your search. Not accounting for those possibilities, we found 21 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 695 in WorldCat.

(Photograph by Rondal Partridge, 1917, of hitchhikers from Oakland, California: "A professional job of 'thumbing' ... these two boys travel together from one construction job to another all over the West ... the careful costume of the thumber with clean shirt, collegiate jacket, and polished shoes is as typical as the city limit sign ... these boys said that their ambition was to settle down to a steady job, preferably civil service." From Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Beautf* (for Beautif*)

You know how for some reason a lot of hair salons like to use wordplay in their names? Shear Magic, A Cut Above, Hair Today Gone Tomorrow? (Well, maybe not that last one quite so much.) But what's weird is that this sort of thing apparently goes on all over the world, so it's not just the fact that English words for hair, etc., happen to have a lot of homonyms, homophones, synonyms, and so on, thereby lending themselves to such facetious nomenclature. By contrast, the one shorn here (I mean shown here) is located in downtown Albany, and I have to say I really love it. It's so innocent and guileless, so simple and direct, so utterly without irony. It's like a nice cool drink of water after a big banned bottle of soda. And honestly, who needs another hoary pun when you can have beautiful hair instead? Still, I wonder if people ever stop outside this establishment for a minute, scratching their shaggy heads, thinking: "I don't get it." For our part (get it?), we got 14 hits on Beautf* in OhioLINK, and 96 in WorldCat. One was for the record The beautyful ones are not yet born, by the Branford Marsalis Trio, with an added title entry: Beautful ones are not yet born. The first instance apparently was misspelled intentionally, but I can sort of see the genesis of the second. I picture the cataloger, like a confused passerby, pausing mid-word over that unexpected Y, drifting off for a second, and then snapping out of it and adding a final F-U-L before moving on.

(Picture from personal collection.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Editd (for Edited)

You can have a lot of fun with photos. The one pictured here shows a street sign in San Francisco, edited (though not cropped) in such a way as to now read "Edit" rather than Edith. Another "Edith" made famous through photos was the eponymous doll in the series of children's books by Dare Wright, published from 1957 through 1981. Dare Wright was an author, photographer, and fashion model, born in Ontario, Canada, in 1914. In her "Edith" books, she dared to dispense with the need to write (for the most part) and let her photos do the talking instead. This was a rather innovative technique, it would seeem, especially in the world of children's lit. Edith in many ways appeared to represent the author herself: both were pretty girls with straight blonde hair, wide-set eyes, gold earrings, and rosebud lips. Dare was a sort of "lonely doll" as well. Her parents divorced when she was young and she spent most of her childhood in Cleveland, Ohio, with her mother, the portrait artist Edith Stevenson Wright. She and her brother Blaine (who had himself been raised by their father, a theater critic) did not meet again until Dare moved to New York City in her twenties. In 2010, The Guardian named The Lonely Doll one of the "10 Best Illustrated Children's Books" of all time. Today's typo was found 41 times in OhioLINK and 249 times in WorldCat.

(Picture by P. I. King.)

Carol Reid

Monday, May 28, 2012


Here's another "threebie" for you in honor of the actress Carroll Baker's birthday today. Baker was born in 1931 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, and was the daugher of a traveling salesman. She attended community college and briefly worked as a magician's assistant (why is this starting to sound like sort of a joke?) before she began pursuing an acting career. The infamous billboard image of Baker sucking her thumb in a provocative nightie was like a campy sci fi creature taking over Times Square when the Elia Kazan movie Baby Doll was released in 1956. (Another gargantuan girl tripping Freudian fear and fascination in the fifties was Allison Hayes in Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, although Baby Doll came out two years earlier and the poster was even taller!) Despite the fact that the loungewear in question actually gave rise to the term "baby doll pajamas" and their subsequent popularity, apparently a lot of people were losing sleep over this film. Kazan was reviled by both the left and the right at that time: everyone from the National (Catholic) Legion of Decency, which "banned" the film," to the the blacklisted writers and directors in Hollywood, who could not forgive him for cooperating with the House Un-American Activities Committee by "naming names" in 1952. While I was hoping (of course!) to get some hits on Billbroad* in either OhioLINK or WorldCat, sadly none turned up. So I turned instead to Billl*, which generated seven in the former and 164 in the latter.

(Photograph of the Times Square poster for Baby Doll, from the Hollywood Elsewhere website.)

Carol Reid

Friday, May 25, 2012

Desert* + Dessert* (for Dessert* or Desert*)

Are you a fool for dessert? Or just a dried-up dieter in a desert of culinary choices? In any event, a fruit fool sounds like the perfect ending to a summer meal (and at least the fruit part's got some vitamins and fiber in it). The original fruit fool was made with gooseberries and debuted in the 15th century. The first recorded recipe for it appears to have come a couple of centuries later. Here is a more recent one for Ginger and Rhubarb Fool, calling for rhubarb, whipped cream, Greek yogurt, and crystallized ginger pieces. I'll have to try this with some rhubarb I just planted in the garden (a "family heirloom" of sorts as it came from an expanding patch of rhubarb that an elderly relative has kept going for several decades or longer now, it seems). All this foolishness allows for nearly endless variations, but the essence of it is this, according to Wikipedia: "A fool (obsolete spelling foole) is an English dessert generally made by mixing puréed fruit, whipped cream, sugar, and possibly a flavouring agent like rose water." There were 27 cases of our combined typo in OhioLINK today (around nine or ten of which were false positives like "Desert Sand Cookies," "Turning the Desert into Dessert," and "Dessicated Desert Desserts") and 341 in WorldCat.

(Raspberry fool, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Wright* + Wirght*

Dammit. Something is just not right around here. An essential part of my hometown is missing. Albany, N.Y., it seems, was once awash in beavers, as was a good portion of the rest of the United States. However, according to an article in the current Atlantic, the British Hudson's Bay Company in the 1820s decided to declare war on them, while employing the dubious argument that there would be little incentive for Americans to continue exploring the West without the siren song of beaver pelts to lure them. Within twenty years, the animals were all but eliminated from the Pacific Northwest, pretty much run out of town on a rail, as it were. Nevertheless, for a quite while, beavers defined the capital of New York State. The city's second-largest park, now known as Lincoln Park, was originally called Beaver Park. Alice Morgan Wright, who is pictured to the left, was an Albany sculptor, suffragist, and animal rights activist. I'd love to see a sculpture of her holding that beaver in Lincoln Park someday, along with a copy of the Louis Slobodkin statue of Abraham Lincoln, "The Rail Joiner." (Slobodkin, of course, was another prominent Albany artist). Yet another Albany sculptor, Gertrude Lathrop (sister of Dorothy Lathrop, who received the very first Caldecott Medal in 1938), honored both the beaver and Albany's Dongan Charter (the oldest surviving city charter in the country) on a commemorative coin in 1936. In fact, Albany itself, while under Dutch rule in the 1600s, was for a time called Beverwyck (or Beverwijck), loosely translated as "beaver district." We found five examples of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 37 in WorldCat. Get busy today and do the Wright thing, restoring this typo to its proper spelling in your own library's catalog.

(Alice Morgan Wright and beaver, from the Smith College, Sophia Smith Collection website.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Capenter* (for Carpenter*)

Writing about Catcher yesterday has put me in mind of another Salinger story, Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. And calling it Catcher has put me in mind of a couple of movies I greatly enjoyed, The Good Girl with Jennifer Anniston (Justine: "Whatcha readin'?" Holden: "Catcher in the Rye ... I'm named after it." Justine: "What's your name? Catcher?") and Down with Love, in which Renée Zellweger's love/anti-love interest is the publishing mogul "Catcher Block." Catcher in the Rye, you've got to admit, is a very catchy title for a book, and so is Raise High the Roof Beam, Carpenters. The latter is named after a "fragment" of a poem by the ancient Greek poet Sappho, after whom lesbianism itself was named! The titular line goes: "Raise high the roof beam, carpenters. Like Ares comes the bridegroom, taller far than a tall man..." In the Salinger novella (paired with another one, Seymour: An Introduction), Seymour Glass, the Manhattan family's most mysterious and evolved savant, turns out to be a no-show at his own wedding, where his intended, Muriel (a lovely if rather pedestrian "good girl"), patiently awaits. Capenter* (for carpenter*) was found ten times in OhioLINK and 81 times in WorldCat. I won't carp on it, but it'll be a feather in your cap if you can manage to catch a few of these in your own catalog today.

(Fragment of the painting Sappho by Charles Mengin, 1877, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eliptical* (for Elliptical*)

I've been told that my writing is sometimes confusing. ("I liked what you wrote," a coworker said to me once. "I didn't understand it, but I liked it.") I've also been given to understand that I engage in too many "fits and starts," and have a tendency to "bury the lede" (or should that be lead?) and go off on tangents. I've been criticized as well for stuffing my sentences (with parenthentical comments) and startling the reader with italics. A professor once described my style as "elliptical." One way I try and deal with this, I've noticed, is the frequent use of the phrase "speaking of which," which I deploy as a means of softening the blow that I'm about to deliver by suddenly careening off course. I get this in part, I think, from my onetime idol J. D. Salinger, whose works I devoured as a teenager. I adored the way he wrote and remember in particular a passage from The Catcher in the Rye about a kid at Holden's school who was harassed by both teacher and students for the egregious sin of "digression." Salinger clearly sympathized with his dilemma and brazenly scorned the scolds. Much to the benefit and delight, I might add, of his many devoted fans. But I digress. Speaking of which, today's typo is Eliptical* (for elliptical*), which appears ten times in OhioLINK and 125 times in WorldCat. As an aside, one of the records I came across was for a John Cage recording of Atlas Eclipticalis, a typo twofer since the second word in the title was apparently mistranscribed by the cataloger as both Elipticalis and Elipticals.

(Amanita elliptosperma, August 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)


Monday, May 21, 2012

Tokoyo (for Tokyo)

On May 20th (or 21st—both Wikipedia and the web at large seem uncertain of the exact date) in 1936, Sada Abe was arrested in Tokyo for erotically asphyxiating her lover, Kichizo Ishida, and then cutting off his genitals ("mutilation of a corpse") and carrying them around with her in a handbag. Despite the fact that she supposedly did this for love rather than hate, and that the incident was later widely mythologized by "artists, philosophers, novelists and filmmakers" as being sort of romantic, I nevertheless find the broad smiles all around at the police station to be weirdly disconcerting. In any event, Lorena Bobbitt, step aside; such cases are apparently more common than we might otherwise believe, though thankfully still quite rare (compared to the domestic abuse that generally prompts them). I've got to confess: I started writing about this fascinating tale before I actually contrived a typo to go with it. The usual suspects did not yield any useful information, which is why I finally settled on Tokoyo, rather than something a little more pointed. There were 17 examples in OhioLINK this morning, and 389 in WorldCat. Please keep in mind that Tokoyo is also the name of another female figure in Japanese mythology, and some of these may be referencing her.

(Picture of Sada Abe's arrest in Tokyo, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, May 18, 2012

Demorcra* (for Democra*)

The 2007 South Korean film May 18 (aka Hwaryeohan Hyuga or "Splendid Holiday") tells the tragic and inspiring story of the Gwangju Massacre, in which some estimates say that 1,000-2,000 people were killed in a demonstration against the government on May 18–27, 1980. This typo is considered "low probability" (with two in OhioLINK and 41 in WorldCat) and so are the odds that democracy will come to South Korea's neighbor to the North anytime soon. But, clearly the longing for freedom is as powerful there as it is anyplace else that people live and breathe. While the word democracy need not be spelled right in order to exist, it certainly helps promote access to published works on the subject. Think globally and act locally today to correct this typo in your own corner of the world.

(Gwangju Democracy Bell, commemorating the Gwangju uprising and massacre, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Antology (for Anthology)

Ants are incredibly industrious creatures and can make quick work of moving large, stationary objects through a sort of united divide-and-conquer strategy. You rarely see them just sitting around like bumps on a log. Although once they've had their way with a luscious green branch, they're likely to leave nothing but chewed up bits of wood in its wake. I love this photo, which looks like something out of a Walt Disney film. The pieces of pretty foliage here look like they're dancing in a sort of procession, with the ants (marvelously constructed to be able to carry many times their own weight) neatly concealed beneath their leafy luggage. Seven instances of Antology are hiding in in plain sight in OhioLINK today (including one marked as [sic] and one as [!]), with another 364 in WorldCat.

(Leafcutter ants transporting leaves, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shoppp* (for Shop, Shopper*, Shopping, etc.)

While most of us probably wouldn't care to shop till we drop, or even to be dropping everything just to go shopping, a few overly enthusiastic typos have dropped into the OhioLINK database, OCLC, and probably your own OPAC as well. Stores are great places to look for typos, but don't expect to get your item for free after pointing out a mistake. Many managers seem unmoved by the problem, but I'll bet the one who ordered this sign made had a red (cerise?) face when finally faced with the error. Like a lot of shoppers, today's entry just doesn't know when to quit. However, triple-letter typos are actually quite common: we've written here about Accc*, Agreee, Alll*, Appp*, and Arrr* already, and that's just the A's! You can experiment with other examples on your own; shop around and see what turns up. In the meantime, we found four cases of Shoppp* in OhioLINK—one of which occurs in a record for the 1977 production Lily Tomlin on Stage, "conceived and produced by Jane Waner" (a typo, of course, for Wagner): "Mr. Theatre Goer and Shoppping Bag Lady"—and, oddly enough, only four in WorldCat too.

(Another in the P. I. King photo series. Click image for larger context.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Prok* + Pork* (for Pork* or Prok*)

There were only three instances of Prok* + Pork* in OhioLINK today, and only two of them were legitimate typos ("Porkofiev" and "Too much prok for just one fork"). You might want to bear that ratio in mind while searching for this sort of thing locally. Although the relatively small turnout in OCLC (34 hits) meant that I was able to check each one and determine that nearly all of them were typos (mostly of the very same sort and in more or less equal measure: that is, either works concerning the Russian composer or those pertaining to the "other white meat"), save for one clear-cut case of two different people, plus a couple more I really wasn't sure of. Sergei Prokofiev is perhaps best known for having written Peter and the Wolf, a "musical symphony for children," in 1936. And wolves, at least in the world of children's art, are probably best known for liking to eat (the three little) pigs. And if that seems like a bit of a stretch to you, then you try linking the records produced by this combination typo! In any event, it goes to show that it's just as easy to misspell a turn of the century Russian surname as it is to write "Pork" the wrong way on the side of a grocery store in the deep-fried Deep South. Interestingly enough, while there are literally no English words beginning with PROK, this is still an easy typo to make, undoubtedly because so many other English words begin with PRO (about six times as many as those beginning with POR). Be a pro and pore over your own library's catalog for similar examples.

(Click on photo for the larger context. Picture by P. I. King.)

Carol Reid

Monday, May 14, 2012

Contst* (for a variety of words)

There are 15 cases of Contst* in OhioLINK this morning, and 259 in WorldCat. Only one of them, though, is for the word contest* since it seems that today's typo covers quite a bit of ground. As did the Albany Times Union's "Bulbs and Blooms" contest, in which—though I didn't win a prize—I did merit a shout-out and my picture in the paper (or as a friend calls it, an "amused mention"). I happen to have a large collection of "international" trolls dressed in traditional costumes, and when I saw the contest announcement (prizes awarded for the most "creative, humorous [!] or beautiful" photos), I figured I'd set my grinning little Dutch doll down amid the tulips in Washington Park and see what developed. (My new favorite Dutch word is gezellig, a state of mind that to me this picture clearly evokes.) The results came on the heels of Albany's annual Tulip Festival, which was graced with a dollop of gorgeous weather this weekend, along with some plucky but drooping blooms. Note that today's truncated typo represents quite a variety as well, including: Contstitut*, Contstruct*, Contstru*, Contstraint*, Contstant*, and last but not least, Contstantinople, the novelty song about which I coincidentally found myself singing in the car yesterday on the way to visit my mother!

(Foto door mij.)

Carol Reid

Friday, May 11, 2012

Townend + Townsend (for Townsend or Townend)

I love this statue, called "The Hiker," which was erected on July 22, 1928, "in memory of those who served their country in the Spanish American War." It's located in Townsend Park, home to Albany's homeless and site of the Homeless Action Committee's annual Sleep-a-thon in the Park. The area is also known for its chess games, especially after nearby Albany Public Library banned such seditious activity from its own premises. A local police department commander stated that chess playing in Townsend Park made him feel "a little good" and that "it reminds you of what a park really should be." And I've always loved that eccentric spelling for Puerto Rico, while at the same time wondering how such a typo, if that's what it was, could have been carved into this carefully designed monument. (The other sides of the base say: Cuba, Hawaii, and Philippines.) It turns out that this was indeed a typo, but a strangely entrenched one that required correction by the U.S. Congress in 1932. It had been using the spelling Porto Rico in all of its documents since the turn of the century when the United States first acquired the territory. Both spellings had been employed by the media. For example, "Porto" was used in the Treaty of Paris, but "Puerto" was used by the New York Times the very same year. According to Nancy Morris, author of Puerto Rico: Culture, Politics, and Identity: "A curious oversight in the drafting of the Foraker Act caused the name of the island to be officially misspelled." Since the typos Peurto Ric*, Spainish or Spansih, and Memoral* have all been blogged already, I decided to go with Townsend + Townend, two of which were found in OhioLINK today, and 24 in WorldCat. (The overwhelming majority were for the word Townsend, but you may find some for the correctly spelled Townend as well.)

(Picture taken by a friend.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Violater* (for Violator*)

I'm starting to feel a bit violated by the signage in and around my building. The motto of New York State is Excelsior (which means "ever upward"), but thankfully this is metaphorical and doesn't involve taking the "Escaltor." Now I see we've got a new sign outside indicating "permit parking." It goes on to say: "Violator's vehicles towed without warning at owner's expense." Call me a prescriptivist if you will, but I still think apostrophes should be properly deployed. It should either be: Violators' ... owners' or Violator's vehicle [no s] ... owner's. I feel like towing the person who made that sign (and the one who signed off on it) somewhere with no warning and giving them a stern lecture, if not an actual ticket. At least they spelled the word violators correctly, which apparently not everyone does. (And then, of course, there can be problems with logic and chronology, as also demonstrated in the sign to the right. Although this may have been intentional humor.) There were eleven cases of Violater* (for violator*) parked in OhioLINK today, and 54 in WorldCat.

(Misspelled sign found at Engrish and Funny Typos.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 9, 2012


It was recently pointed out to me that I missed posting a blog entry on Wednesday, May 9. My Misss-take. But one that I shall rectify right here and now. A good many proper names and other words begin with M-I-S-S, but even really long ones with cool mnemonic melodies to go with them (M I double S I double S I double P I) don't properly have three S's all in a row. You know what do, though? German words. One of these, turning up numerous times in our database search today, is Missstände, translated as "grievance." However, there is no need to file one with the spelling police: Germans apparently don't mind this sort of thing a bit. And someone else who liked seeing his letters all in a line—perhaps the more, and more orderly, the better—was a little geek, er tyke, I used to read to while he would invariably listen with rapt attention. While barely more than two years old, he surprised us one time by reciting Miss Spider's ABC after only having heard it read a couple of times. "M, moths mingle!" he murmured with childlike confidence. "N, net-wings nap... O, owlflies ogle..." and so on and so forth. Today's typo was found 32 times in OhioLINK, and 1324 times in WorldCat.

(Cover of Miss Spider's ABC, by David Kirk, from the Open Library website.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Maurice + Marice (for Maurice, usually)

Maurice Sendak died today, as I'm sure you must all know by now, unless maybe you've been stuck out In the Night Kitchen or perhaps far, far away Where the Wild Things Are. Sendak was 83 years old and by his own account ready to leave this mortal coil and be rejoined with his brother Jack (despite being an atheist, he said, he fully expected to see such a reunion someday) along with his partner of fifty years, Dr. Eugene Glynn. Maurice Sendak was known for making provocative barbs and observations and one time declared: "I would infinitely prefer a daughter. If I had a son, I would leave him at the A&P or some other big advertising place where somebody who needs a kid would find him and he would be all right... Girls are infinitely more complicated than boys and women more than men. And there's no doubt about that. We just don't like to think about it. Certainly the men don't like to think about it. I have lived my whole life with a dream daughter..." This is a bit hard to comprehend given that his characters are almost always boys; however, people of all sexes, ages, and races adore Maurice Sendak. I once knew a little boy who had Wild Things completely memorized before he could even form the words properly: "Where the whaddy wah wah!" he would nightly exclaim. If Sendak had had a daughter, her name might have been Marice, which in the world of bibliographic databases is most likely to be a typo for Maurice. By combining both terms, we found eight examples in OhioLINK (one of which was a case of two correctly spelled names) and 139 in WorldCat.

(President Barack Obama, joined by First Lady Michelle, their daughters, Sasha and Malia, and Michelle Obama's mother, Marian Robinson, prepares to read Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak on Monday, April 13. 2009, to children at the White House Easter Egg Roll, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brookyn* (Brooklyn*)

Girls just wanna have fun (plus a decent job and a love life), or as Hannah put it to her putative boyfriend Adam in last night's episode of Girls: "I just want someone who wants to hang out all the time, and thinks I'm the best person in the world, and wants to have sex with just me." Girls, the new HBO sitcom about four 20-something female friends (and the various men in their lives) is set in Brooklyn, New York, and was conceived and often written and directed by Lena Dunham, who first came to the attention of moviegoers with her 2010 film Tiny Furniture. It brooks no nonsense (or maybe it does!) and is somewhat akin to Sex and the City, although these women are probably getting as sick of the comparison as they are of the lousy economy and elusivness of adulthood. It's a fun show to watch, and if thirty minutes a week are not enough for you, you can turn to the "girls" and "boys" of Slate for a thoughtful deconstruction of every episode. We found three examples of Brookyn* in OhioLINK this morning, and 128 in WorldCat.

(Lena Dunham at the 2010 Maryland Film Festival, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ally + Alley (for Alley or Ally)

I just spied on the desk next to mine a 1978 publication entitled From the Back Wards to the Back Alleys by Paul Harenberg, about the deinstitutionalization of mental patients. (Yikes, that 22-letter word there is enough to make anybody a little crazy! As a matter of fact, a video record for this title in OhioLINK misspells it "deinstitionalization.") But if you tend to spell the word for the little side street (alley) like a supportive friend or colleague (ally), and/or vice versa, you've basically got it backwards. In other words ... oops! Cartoonist V. T. Hamlin (who dropped out of college when his art teacher announced to the class: "Now here's a man with a wonderful talent and he wants to waste it on being a cartoonist!") was the creator of the popular comic strip "Alley Oop," which debuted in 1932 and ran for the next forty years. At its pinnacle, it appeared in 800 newspapers, and is continued by Jack and Carole Bender in more than 600 today. There were six cases of this combination typo in OhioLINK, two of which were false hits (i.e., correct spellings of two different words), and 55 in WorldCat. Ally yourself with your fellow catalogers to look into this situation. I'm sure it won't be a blind alley.

(V.T. Hamlin and his wife, Dorothy, having lunch on a Texas beach in 1928. Note, says Wikipedia, the resemblance of Dorothy to Alley Oop's Ooola.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Threee* (for Three, etc.)

"Oh! Hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom, whatcha do to me, it's so new to me, whatcha do to me, hot diggity, dog ziggity, boom, whatcha do to me ... Where have you been all my life?" I dearly love the hot dog vendor that's parked outside my library during the warm summer months, but I got a little extra with my usual toppings today when I noticed not one, nor even two, but fully three typos on their sign. "Big Don's Hot Dog's and more," it read. "Ask us whats for lunch tomarrow!!" We've already blogged about the typo Tomarrow, and misplaced apostrophes are impossible to catch in most database searches, so I decided to look for Threee* instead. I found ten of these in OhioLINK and 315 in WorldCat. Hoo-wheee! I suspect you'll find more than three of these dogs in your own catalogs as well.

(Hot dog stand, West St. and North Moore, Manhattan, photographed by Berenice Abbott, April 8, 1936, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Rennselaer*, Rensselear* (for Rensselaer*)

According to an article in the Albany Times Union the other day: "You know you're from the Capitol Region if ... you know Rensselaer the city and Rensselaer the county are not pronounced the same." Not every local I spoke to agrees with this assessment, but I do think that I, for one, tend to say Renssel-EAR for the city and RENSS-ler for the county. Although I was firmly informed by a Dutch friend (the Dutch used to own this burg!) that the name is rightly pronounced something like Renssel-ARE. Anyway, forget how it's pronounced for a minute; the real problem for a lot of folks is how it's spelled. The Rensselaer School was started by Stephen Van Rensselaer III, and eventually evolved into Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, New York. The Van Rensselaers were a very prominent family in this area, starting with Kiliaen van Rensselaer, a 17th-century Dutch trader who was instrumental in the founding of New Netherland. There were seven cases of Rennselaer* in OhioLINK, and three of Rensselear. WorldCat turned up 123 and 96 cases apiece.

(Engraving of the original Rensselaer School, located at 703 River Street in Troy. From Arthur James Weise's 1876 History of the City of Troy: from the Expulsion of the Mohegan Indians to the Present Centennial Year of Independence of the United States of America, and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Internatonal* (for International*)

Today is May Day, which can be celebrated in any number of ways. It's a traditional pagan holiday, for one thing, routinely spent dancing around Maypoles, leaving flowers on a loved one's doorstep (if the recipient catches you at it, you are chased down and made to kiss them), crowning the Queen of the May, and other forms of springtime revelry. In the United States, today is also known as Law Day, on which we commemorate the rule of law. But for many folks around the world, May 1 is International Workers' Day (a national holiday in more than eighty countries), with  many places combining the day's "Green Root" (pagan) and "Red Root" (labor) activities. I have a coworker who consistently takes it off from work, but most Americans seem oblivious to this international holiday. Try not to ignore our typo of the day, which was found 44 times in OhioLINK and 796 times in WorldCat.

(Workers Party poster, Donegall Street, Belfast, Northern Ireland, July 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid