Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Prefect* + Perfect* (for Perfect* or Prefect*)

A friend and avid friend of libraries says he's got the perfect name for a barbershop quartet composed entirely of librarians: the Sibilant Postalveolars. According to Wikipedia: "The sibilant postalveolars (i.e. fricatives and affricates) are sometimes called 'hush consonants' because they include the sound of English Shhh!" I suppose publicity for such a group's appearances might go something like this: "Come and hear the SPs do it up right, there's a kind of hush all over the world tonight!" Speaking of fricatives, my friend is also a big fan of the Bonzo Dog Doo-Dah Band, which counted George Harrison, Eric Clapton, and the members of Monty Python among their more famous pals, and once recorded a song called "Labio-Dental Fricative." The band, whose original name was actually the Bonzo Dog Dada Band (rock bands are often inclined to change their names and I could well imagine my friend's imaginary band deciding to call themselves the Hush Consonants instead), was formed on September 25, 1962, when "Vivian Stanshall ... and fellow art student Rodney Slater ... bonded over a transatlantic broadcast of a boxing match between Floyd Patterson and Sonny Liston." It wasn't until 1967, though, when Paul McCartney asked them to do a cameo in the film Magical Mystery Tour (performing their song "Death Cab for Cutie") and around the time they also appeared on a British comedy show called Don't Adjust Your Set, that they really emerged from relative obscurity. In a nod to Monday's blog entry, Vivian Stanshall's second marriage was celebrated in the song "Bewildebeeste," while my own love affair with the Bonzos is consummated in the tune "Hunting Tigers out in Indiah" (although the original song was actually written in the 1920s by another band of British songwriters). As great as all of this is, however, nothing is perfect, as seen in the case of today's combination typo, found 14 times in OhioLINK (with six false positives among them, perhaps the best being "The coming of the prefect and of the perfect: Pilate of Rome and Jesus of Nazareth") and 203 times in WorldCat.

(Vivian Stanshall, by his wife Ki Longfellow-Stanshall, in England during the summer of 1979 or 1980. Photo in the public domain.)

Carol Reid

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