Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tought (for Thought, Taught, or Tough)

I tuned in briefly to an episode of The Beverly Hillbillies the other night just in time to catch a lovely bit of inspired wordplay. Granny (Irene Ryan) is in a dreamy reverie about a matinee idol named Bull Montana and wistfully comments: "I thought a lot of Bull..." Uncle Jed (Buddy Ebsen) sighs as if he's been hearing about this for far too long now: "You still do, Granny." The phrase "thought a lot of" can mean both to have held in high regard and to have regarded often. Granny apparently did both, as most of us frankly do when pondering our own hopeless crushes. However, in this case it seemed that Granny was trying to make a suitor from Hooterville jealous and the "bull" in question may have been exactly what she was shooting. The Beverly Hillbillies was a farcical fount of such one-way pining, most notably that of the prim Miss Hathaway for the hunky lunkhead Jethro Bodine, and pretty much everyone else for his delightfully indifferent and bodacious cousin Elly May Clampett. Today's typo is food for thought as well, seeing as how it can also mean taught or tough. There are 17 records containing this typo in OhioLINK, and 393 in WorldCat.

(Publicity photo of Buddy Ebsen and Irene Ryan from The Beverly Hillbillies episode "The Clampetts in Washington," which aired September 22, 1970, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 30, 2012

Subsitu* (for Substitu*)

The word Google, surprisingly enough, is not included in my email app's dictionary. As is the spell checker's quirky wont, however, it suggests that I might want to substitute one of the following words for it: goggle, googly, gaggle, giggle, or guggle (which apparently means to gurgle). Well, how's about Googie too, guys, while we're at it? Georgette Lizette "Googie" Withers was a stylish actress (not a style of architecture) who was born in Karachi, British India, in 1912, and went on to become a fixture in English theater, film, and television. Her nickname, which means "Little Pigeon," was given to her by her nanny. She began acting at age twelve and landed her first big movie part in 1935 in The Girl in the Crowd, in which she had been playing an extra, when one of the lead actresses was fired and she was asked to step into the role. She also appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's The Lady Vanishes in 1938 and met her co-star and husband-to-be, the Australian actor John McCallum, while making The Loves of Joanna Godden in 1947. She later played the prison warden on the British television program Within These Walls (1974-75). Withers, who had once been dubbed "the best bad girl in British films," apparently didn't wither all that much, as she lived to the ripe old age of 94, appearing with Vanessa Redgrave in Oscar Wilde's Lady Windemere's Fan when she was 85. She died at her home in Sydney, Australia, in 2011, with more than sixty films and TV shows to her credit. There were 21 examples of Subsitu* in OhioLINK this morning, and 511 in WorldCat.

(Googie Withers, found by Googling.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 27, 2012

Marital* + Martial* (for Martial* or Marital*)

There appears to be a Mars-like media meme afoot, to judge by the 8:00 television lineup the other night, which is to say a variety of "wars" involving such improbable entities as: Codes, Storage, Crafts, Cupcakes, and Weed. (Although I'm pretty sure those last two declared a truce a long time ago.) Mars was the ancient Roman god of war; the word martial comes from Mars. I've blogged about Don Marquis before (and even George Herriman, who illustrated the first edition of Archy and Mehitabel), but it looks as if I'm doing it again today. (so sue me as archy who couldn t operate the shift key on his boss s typewriter and eschewed punctuation in general might ve put it.) Last weekend I was lucky enough to catch an excellent, and free, performance of Communications from a Cockroach: Archy and the Under Side by the Mettawee River Theater Company in Schuylerville, N.Y. This prompted me to pick up the book again, whereupon I came across a poem entitled "archy hears from mars." This poem had nothing to do with war, however, except insofar as the admiring Martians were curious to learn about Earth and its unruly inhabitants. Archy tells them that the planet is populated by "a two legged animal called man who is genuinely puzzled as to whether his grandfather was a god or a monkey / i should think said mars that what he is himself would make more difference than what his grandfather was / not to this animal i replied / he is the great alibi ike of the cosmos / when he raises hell just because he feels like raising hell he wants somebody to blame it on..." While Archy isn't too martially inclined, he isn't especially marital-minded either. His feline friend Mehitabel perhaps says it best: "...always free footed archy never tied down to a job or housework..." We found 29 instances of today's combined typo in OhioLINK, and 219 in WorldCat.

(Photo taken by me of the Archy puppet on July 20, 2012.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Immgrant* (for Immigrant*)

I blogged yesterday about a misspelled pizza shop sign, but when I saw it again a few days later, the first A had been duly erased, leaving an empty space where that letter had originally appeared, so that it now reads SPE_CIAL. The sign also now had the added "words" CHEES and IC TEE. At this point, I realized that the proprietors were probably not your typical lousy English spellers, but more likely recent immigrants who were still learning the language, a situation that makes such typos far more forgivable. I haven't tried the fish yet, but their garlic knots are delicious, regardless of whether they're properly spelled or "knot." We found four instances of Immgrant* in OhioLINK today, and 45 in WorldCat.

(Immigrant children, Ellis Island, New York, 1908, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Speacial* (for Special*)

The sign outside a local pizza parlor notes a new item to be had there this week: "Fish Speacial." Hmm. The oft-dreaded anchovies notwithstanding, I suppose there is something sort of unusual about fish and pizza cheek by jowl, but certainly not special enough to warrant this particular species of spelling. Curious now about fish as a pizza topping (not just an alternative menu selection), I started fishing about in Google and caught a few rather interesting notions there. When pizza was first invented in Naples around the turn of the 19th century, anchovies were a staple ingredient, according to the Modesto Bee: "They were cheap, plentiful, and could be preserved almost indefinitely in oil and salt." Today, some folks are touting the use of tuna fish too. (Don't knock it, apparently, until you've tried it.) The pizza pictured above contains crabmeat; I suppose other types of seafood, sprats, etc. might be used as well. (I'm a big fan of sardines and may give them a whirl here.) Just think of it as another way to make pizza more nutritious and fish more fun! We were served up seven cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 118 in WorldCat.

(Neapolitan pizza topped with crab and asparagus, dish courtesy of The Boathouse at Sunday Park, 17 February 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Magzin* (for Magazine*)

So-called fanzines (short for "fan magazines") have come a very long way since their earliest sci-fi origins. In the early 1980s, Mike Gunderloy, a music aficionado, writer, and zine collector, began to organize and provide access to the current crop of these DIY publications with a review journal and guide called Factsheet Five. Gunderloy, who also authored the book The World of Zines: A Guide to the Independent Magazine Revolution, further defines the genre as "generally created by one person, for love rather than money, and focusing on a particular subject." As his large house in nearby Rensselaer County rapidly filled to overflowing, he decided to donate his zine collection (about 500 boxes worth) to the New York State Library in Albany, where I was fortunate for a while to spend several happy hours a week creating brief catalog records for them. In the process of doing this, I would often jot down titles I found especially odd or intriguing. At one point a number of these coalesced into a sort of poem (or poems). Note: lower-case word in the first verse is mine, added there for both rhythm and rhyme.

I HATE YOU, myself














There were ten cases of Magzin* in OhioLINK this morning, and 250 in WorldCat.

(Installation shot of 100 Fanzines, Andrew Roth Gallery, the Mott Collection, 21 October 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 23, 2012

Poice (for Police)

Members of law enforcement are busy every day catching criminals and harassing innocent civilians, neither of whom seem to appreciate their efforts very much, often preferring to portray them as either clueless, feckless, ruthless, or reckless. Whether it's overreaching with tasers and strip searches, or simply busting their brass buttons with a few too many donuts, the word poise may not be the first one that comes to mind when trying to describe your average police officer. Cops do tend to look a little more dignified, though, when riding on a horse, which for the purposes of this blog entry we might call "equipoise," although its actual meaning can be found in any online dictionary. And then there's its synonym counterpoise, which ... oh wait, I already did the donut joke! Counterpoise, by the way, is the title of a library review journal for the alternative press, begun by the late Charles Willett in 1997 and now recently defunct. It enjoyed a good fifteen-year run, however, during which time a few of my own book reviews were published there. Poice (for police) turns up only twice in OhioLINK and 25 times in WorldCat, so it should be pretty easy to keep your equilibrium while tracking down and correcting these miscreants in your own library's catalog.

(NYC police officer on horse, 27 March 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 20, 2012

Geneaolog* (for Genealog*)

June 20th, 1822 was the birthday of Gregor Mendel, the father of modern genetics. His research with pea plants showed that inheritance of specific genetic traits followed patterns – work that wouldn’t be seen in its full significance until the 20th century, almost a hundred years later. Today, libraries are seeing a particular significance surrounding genetics as more and more people become interested in genealogy (not geneaology, which has one too many Os), tracing their family roots back centuries, to the time of Mendel and before. And spelling can matter when you’re trying to find your ancestors the McGregors, not MacGregors. In a time when critics of social media worry that we’re becoming less connected to each other, many people are reaching out across time and over continents to learn just where they inherited particular traits. My red hair is a regressive trait clearly passed down from my grandparents, but the debate continues over nature vs. nurture when it comes to less empirical characteristics: intelligence, artistry, drive, compassion, and other pieces of ourselves we see echoed throughout history as we try to find our place in the world. While we can’t say for certain that personality comes from genetics, we have Mendel to thank for sparking the idea, anyway.

(Image of Gregor Mendel courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Nighjt* (for Night*)

Night time is really the best time to work. All the ideas are there to be yours because everyone else is asleep. -Catherine O'Hara

Staring into the darkness of night (or the pinpricks of stars) inspired a vast number of brilliant minds over the years, including astronomer Heinrich Obler whose paradox argued against a static view of the universe, poet Dylan Thomas who urged us to rage against the dying of the light, and philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who wondered what happens if the void looks back at you. I’m an amateur playwright and get some of my best ideas at night, hoping their genius will rub off on me, often while going through a bout of insomnia. I keep a little notebook by the bed for these occurrences. Unfortunately, sometimes I don’t turn on the light, and in the morning my half-blind post-midnight scrawl is less decipherable than many of the typos in our blog. Nighjt is a low-probability typo, but still one to watch out for – if you can’t see your keyboard while cataloguing in the dark after hours, double-check the glowing screen in front of you.

(Night sky photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Recordig* (for Recording*)

I’m counting down to the 2012 Summer Olympics, but likely not for an event most people are anticipating—I’m a fan of the marathon swim, which was first introduced to the Summer Olympics in 2008. It’s a grueling 10km swim in open water that took nearly two hours for the gold medal winners, leaving them limp-limbed and barely able to climb out of the water. I find their sheer stamina fascinating, though watching the whole event from start to finish on my TV can involve its own form of stamina (and a tape recording just isn’t the same). Gymnastics are more of a crowd favourite, and I can’t but help admire the grace of the competitors. It was on this day, July 18, at the 1976 Summer Olympics in Montreal that Romanian Gymnast Nadia Comăneci (only 14 years old) earned the first perfect 10 score in gymnastics for her routine on the uneven bars. The scoreboards displayed her result as 1.00, momentarily confusing the audience, but it wasn’t an error in recording the decimal point – the scoreboards were actually unable to display 10.0. Recordig, however, is an error, and a fairly common one: it’s a moderate probability typo on the Ballard List.

(Image of Nadia Comăneci courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Leanne Olson

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sainthod (for Sainthood)

On July 17, 1918, Russian Tsar Nicholas II and his family (including his five children) were killed by the Bolsheviks. The late tsar is known as Saint-Nicholas the Passion Bearer by the Russian Orthodox Church, a Passion Bearer being a person who faces his (or her) death while holding to his faith – different from a martyr, who is actually killed because of his faith. Whether or not Nicholas II is deserving of sainthood is up for debate. Some say he destroyed Imperial Russia, and some call him Bloody Nicholas for his role in pogroms and Bloody Sunday. Greatness is really up for debate, and often depends on which side you find more sympathetic. Me, I prefer the St. Nick we speak of at Christmas, who provides presents rather than bloodshed, and if someone misspells Nicholas II’s sainthood to make it a little harder to find in the library catalogue, well, I can’t really blame them.

(Image of Manizer's painting of Nicholas II courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

Monday, July 16, 2012

Deterenc* (a typo for deterrenc*) occurs over 100 times in Worldcat, making it an error of moderate probability. I’ve wondered before how many typos are actually due to the layout of our common QWERTY computer keyboard. QWERTY was originally designed in the late 1870s as a deterrent to jams – other keyboard setups would jam if two popular letter keys near each other were hit in fast succession. C.L. Sholes, the inventor of QWERTY, made sure that common letters used together (think TH or ER) were set up on two different type-bars, so that when pressed together, they wouldn’t jam as easily. At the time, this increased the speed of typing. Now that type-bars aren’t an issue, some curse QWERTY’s popularity, a deterrent to the rise of other preferred keyboard layouts such as Dvorak. Typing deterrence on a Dvorak would confuse me – the letters are so far apart in comparison to the D, E, T, R, and C all clustered on the left on a QWERTY (only the N is alone in the distance below) but fortunately for me, it doesn’t seem as though QWERTY is going anywhere anytime soon.

(Example of a Dvorak keyboard layout courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)

Leanne Olson

Friday, July 13, 2012

Harriman + Herriman or Krazy (for George Herriman)

In light of yesterday's blog entry on Arizona, I was chatting with a friend about the "Valentine State" when the name of Coconino County came up. "Hey, isn't that where Krazy Kat used to live?" I asked. Cartoonist George Herriman, creator of the long-running (1913–1944) comic strip Krazy Kat, was born in New Orleans in 1880, moved to Los Angeles as an adolescent, and later on maintained a summer home in Coconino County, Arizona. This became the setting for the iconic comic, which prominently featured Krazy, a cat of "indeterminate gender" (and race); his/her unrequited love interest, Ignatz the mouse; and Krazy's own hopeless admirer, Offissa Bull Pupp. According to Frank Capra's autobiography, The Name Above the Title, the filmmaker once asked Herriman what sex the cat was. Herriman replied that Krazy was "something like a sprite, an elf. They have no sex. So that Kat can't be a he or a she. The Kat's a spirit—a pixie—free to butt into anything." Wikipedia points out that "most characters inside the strip use 'he' and 'him' to refer to Krazy, likely as a gender-neutral [term]." They also quote Jeet Heer as saying that the strip's "love triangle" is a sort of "thwarted fantasy of miscegenation" and refer to one instance where "Krazy leaves a beauty salon covered in white makeup...Ignatz sees Krazy and is in love"; and another where "Ignatz is blackened after hiding in a pipe and Krazy's love for the mouse does not resume until his black face is washed clean." Herriman's parents were both listed as "mulatto" in the 1880 census and Herriman himself passed for Greek among his colleagues. Stories of identity "self-loathing" and a desire to "pass" (white for black, straight for gay, Christian for non-Christian, even male for female) are common enough throughout history, but are often quite disturbing to a modern sensibility. However, Herriman was clearly playing with such constructs in a very surreal and transgressive way: "In another strip published in 1931, an art critic visits and describes Krazy and Ignatz as 'a study in black & white.' Krazy responds saying, 'He means us: Me bleck, You white' and suggests that the two 'fool him. You be bleck and I'll be white' and in the next panel, Krazy is white while Ignatz is black. The critic responds by declaring the transformation 'another study in black & white.'" OhioLINK shows us one black and white example of Herriman + Harriman (nine in WorldCat) and three of Krazy + Harriman (with four in WorldCat).

(George Herriman with hat, to hide his hair, and fans, who I'm sure didn't care, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Airzon* (for Arizon*)

I'm really starting to wonder whether Arizona ought to be called "Error-zona" instead. This state simply can't seem to stop making blunders as flat-out obvious as the area's famous topography—from arresting people for "driving while Hispanic" to the phenomenon of pre-conception pregnancy. Some of their leaders appear to be as clueless as a hot-air balloon stuffed full of cactus plants. The latest sand-for-brains initiative comes from a school board member in Tucson who has managed to eliminate the school's entire Mexican-American studies program, based on its unseemly inclusion of books by the likes of "Isabel Allende, Junot Díaz, Jonathan Kozol, Rudolfo Anaya, bell hooks, Sandra Cisneros, James Baldwin, Howard Zinn, Rodolfo Acuña, Ronald Takaki, Jerome Skolnick and Gloria Anzaldúa," with Henry David Thoreau and William Shakespeare thrown in for good measure, according to a column by law professor and columnist for The Nation Patricia J. Williams. The school board spokesman boasted that his personal opinion of such literature is based strictly on "hearsay" and praised "Rosa Clark" (by whom he apparently meant Rosa Parks) for the fact that she "did not take out a gun and go onto a bus and hold up everybody." I suspect the forests aren't the only ones feeling petrified in Arizona these days, but there are some rays of hope enlightening the arid landscape. Williams tells us that one "vibrant" example of "pushback occurring against such anti-intellectualism" is a group known as Librotraficante (or "Book Trafficker"), which has been "caravaning throughout the Southwest holding readings, setting up book clubs, establishing 'underground libraries' and dispensing donated copies of the books that have been removed from Arizona's public school curriculum." (You can make a donation to this worthy cause via their website at: www.librotraficante.com/.) There were three copies of Airzon* in OhioLINK today, and 59 in WorldCat.

(Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, November 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Outsand* (for Outstand*)

With regard to working in the garden, I might not exactly be outstanding in my field. I do sometimes feel, though, as if I'm being outsanded in it. I live near a unique ecosystem known as the Albany Pine Bush, whose habitat is home to the Karner blue butterfly (discovered and named by the Lolita-conceiving lepidopterist, Vladimir Nabokov) and its favorite snack, the attractive pink and purple lupine, a lovely flower often found thriving amid rocks and pebbles along the seashore. Certain plants do better in a clay soil, while others plainly prefer sand. And there's no doubt about it: while getting to my community garden is literally a walk in the park, my actual plot there is like a day at the beach. I have a little booklet at home called Gardening in Sandy Soil by C. L. Fornari. It suggests over eighty different ground covers, herbs, and flowers—including English ivy, heather, thyme, cosmos, baby's breath, morning-glory, black-eyed Susan, creeping zinnia, purple coneflower, globe thistle, evening primrose, daylily, cinquefoil, golden rod, and spiderwort—all of which will allow you to take full advantage of the benefits (there are some) to be found in sandy soil. We dug up one sample of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 40 in WorldCat.

(Albany Pine Bush in Albany, New York, 20 June 2010, by UpstateNYer, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Spiriual* (for Spiritual*)

On July 10, 1925, an Indian mystic and spiritual master called Meher Baba (born Merwan Sheriar Irani in 1894) took a public vow of silence, cheerfully maintaining it until his death in 1969. (The slogan "Don't Worry—Be Happy" is attributed to him.) He communicated using an alphabet board, later in the 1950s switching to a set of "unique hand gestures." Born to Zoroastrian parents and nicknamed "Electricity" by his school chums, he founded the "Cosmopolitan Club" in order to raise money for charity (sometimes by betting on horse races) and to stay informed of current events. He excelled at singing and cricket. He played several instruments and spoke several languages; he also wrote poetry, and enjoyed the writings of Hafiz, Shelley, and Shakespeare. Baba later dealt directly with lepers, the poor, and the mentally ill, founding a "Love Ashram" in 1924 that was free to anyone regardless of caste or faith. Baba's spiritual awakening occurred at age 19 when he was kissed on the forehead by "a very old Muslim woman" named Hazrat Babajan, a noble from Afghanistan who had once fled an arranged marriage on her wedding day. (Ultimately considered a saint by some, "a mad woman, witch, or sorceress" by others, Babajan's age is estimated to have been somewhere between 95 and 141!) I was unable, by availing myself of the powers of Google, to dig up any major dirt on the dashing holder of darshan. Despite a few eccentric moves, dubious claims, and unpopular stands (he strongly opposed LSD and other drug use in the 1960s), he seems relatively above-board for a guru to the stars. (Baba shone among the glitterati of Golden Age Hollywood.) And what's not to love in a charismatic leader who urges us to "face all hardships with one hundred percent cheerfulness, and give no importance to caste, creed, and religious ceremonies"? Today is known as Silence Day by Meher Baba's followers, who in honor of the "Compassionate Father" will remain speechless for the duration. Baba stated that "because man has been deaf to the principles and precepts laid down by God in the past, in this present Avataric form, I observe silence." The year before he died he proclaimed: "I want all my lovers to observe complete silence for twenty-four hours, from midnight of July 9th to midnight of July 10th, 1968." Shhhh. We found three cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 32 in WorldCat.

(Meher Baba in 1925, from Wikimedia Commons.)


Monday, July 9, 2012

Aghanis* (for Afghan*)

Mulberries are delicious, and extremely nutritious. They're also rather difficult to collect, except for on the bottoms of your shoes, the tops of your cars, the tires of your bikes, the poop of your birds, etc. They say the best way to harvest them is to lay a clean sheet or tarp on the ground and then shake the tree until they all come tumbling down. Unfortunately, however, mulberries don't all ripen at once, so basically that's a whole lotta shakin' goin' on. Expect a claret-red stain on everything they touch (including you). Some mulberries are white, but the commoner purple ones start out that way as well. You should also be prepared to to consume the little white stems, since unlike raspberries and the like, these fruits are not easily separated from their host. But don't look aghast: mulberries are really quite delightful, and the pride of places such as Turkey and Afghanistan. The latter country, in fact, was once known as the "Mulberry Empire." We shook five of today's typos out of OhioLINK, and 162 out of WorldCat.

(Mulberry, Morus macroura, April 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 6, 2012

Deeer* (for Deer, etc.)

Once upon a time, Arkansas was known as “The Bear State.” Apparently we no longer have enough ursine inhabitants to warrant this moniker nowadays, but we could certainly make a case for “The Deer State.”  In our neighborhood alone they’re plentiful enough, and we refer to our unfenced flower beds as “deer salad bar.”

According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, white-tailed deer range the Americas from the Arctic Circle in Canada to south of the equator in Peru and Bolivia, and the fact that the species predates the Ice Age makes it the oldest extant deer in the world.  No wonder we’re no match for their foraging prowess.

Deeer* is a lowest probability typo on the Ballard list.  There’s only one English-language instance of it in OhioLINK, and I’m pretty sure the uniform title for James Fenimore Cooper’s classic tale is not “Deeerslayer.”

(A couple white-tailed fawns as seen on our street)

Deb Kulczak

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Poopular* (for Popular, etc.)

Oh dear, should we even mention today’s typo in polite society?  Granted, “poop” is one of the milder terms one might encounter.  But for something that’s so decidedly NOT popular, have you ever considered just how many synonyms there are for it in the English language?  

Fortunately, if OhioLINK is any indicator, the typo Poopular* is rare in library catalogs.  There are only 3 instances of it, all in reference to popular music.  So you may have nothing to clean up today!

(Jenny Lind, the famous opera singer and popular music performer, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Independec* (for Independence, etc.)

Whether the goal is “Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” “Liberté, égalité, fraternité,” or “Ash-shaʻb yurīd isqāṭ an-niẓām” (“the people want to bring down the regime”), it seems human beings everywhere will seek independence from would-be oppressors.  On this day, the birthday of the United States, we celebrate that impulse, because it is a noble one, even if the reality doesn’t always measure up.

Do your part by declaring Independec* from the tyranny of typos in your own catalog.  Right now there are 16 of these moderate probability errors in OhioLINK.  And if you’re lucky enough to have fireworks this year, enjoy them for those of us who aren’t so fortunate.  (Burn bans, you know!)

(Fireworks, by Joseph Hart, from stock.xchng)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Demonstat* (for Demonstrate, Demonstration, etc.)

“It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature!”  So went the old advertisement for Chiffon margarine.  When Mother Nature realized she had been fooled into thinking the partially hydrogenated substitute was her sweet, creamy butter, she demonstrated her displeasure with thunder and lightning.

One has to wonder if someone hasn’t seriously deceived Mother Nature to provoke the display of wrath we’ve seen in the last month or so: wildfires in Colorado, flooding and tornadoes from tropical storm Debby, and a derecho (land hurricane) that knocked out power from the Midwest to the East Coast.  Not to mention the record heat and drought in much of the country.  Sadly, there’s nothing silly about the destruction and death these events have caused.

But as for the more benign Mother Nature from the world of Chiffon, she was portrayed by actress Dena Dietrich, a Pittsburgh native born in 1928.  Her credits include roles on several soap operas, the sitcoms The Golden Girls and Murphy Brown, and various other films and television programs.

Demonstat* is another typo of high probability.  There are currently 43 English-language instances of it in the OhioLINK database.

(Mother Nature as portrayed by Dena Dietrich, from Wikiality)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, July 2, 2012

Assasi* (for Assassin, Assassination, etc.)

Care to guess how the assassin snail got its name?  Clea helena, a freshwater snail with origins in Southeast Asia, is a member of the Buccinidae, or whelk, family.  Whilst you might enjoy looking at these pretty creatures in your aquarium, their chief virtue is that they eat other snails–the undesirable kinds that can quickly overrun a tank if accidentally introduced with new plants or fish.

You can read more about assassins at the Conscientious Aquarist site.  Or if you prefer to move in for the typo kill, hunt down and eradicate instances of Assasi* in your catalog.  It’s a high probablilty error on the Ballard list with 80 English-language specimens in OhioLINK.

(Clea helena, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak