Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Conditon* (for Condition*)

For such a concise little conjunction, if can really pack a punch. It's the title of quite a few songs (by the likes of Perry Como, Joni Mitchell, Bananarama, Pink Floyd, and the Red Hot Chili Peppers), along with a handful of other cultural products (film, comic strip, sci fi mag, video game, couple of TV shows, etc.). Perhaps the most memorable of all of these, though, is the inspiring poem by Rudyard Kipling, which begins: "If you can keep your head when all about you / Are losing theirs and blaming it on you / If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you / But make allowance for their doubting too / If you can wait and not be tired by waiting / Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies / Or being hated, don’t give way to hating / And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise..." It may also be the longest teaser in existence to a conditional sentence beginning with "If...". After four eight-line stanzas, the poet finally produces the payoff: "You'll be a Man, my son." We've blogged about Rudyard Kipling before, but given as today is the great man's birthday (born in Bombay in 1865), I say, "What the hell? One more time!" There were 54 cases of today's typo found in OhioLINK today, and 1,414 in WorldCat.

(Father and son, John Lockwood Kipling and young Rudyard, circa 1890, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 28, 2015

Toleren* (for Toleran*)

'Tis the season to be indulgent, and 'twould certainly seem that there are many ways of doing that. Adults can indulge in too much booze and fattening foods, and kids in too many presents. It's often said, though frequently ignored, that if you over-indulge your brood, you may end up with a bunch of spoiled brats on your hands. But even God might have once turned a blind eye, at least when it came to His Catholic flock, who were officially offered "indulgences" for their sins. I saw a television ad the other night for lip balm (a "velvety blend of shea, mango, and tucuma butters"), the wearing of which was reported to be a "truly indulgent experience." Indulgent? I thought. Or self-indulgent? Or do those two words overlap sufficiently such that the first can often be used in place of the second? (As with disciplined and self-disciplined, perhaps. But not educated and self-educated. Or righteous and self-righteous. Etc.) It just seems odd, I guess, since logic would suggest that the more one person indulges another, the more that first person would have to deny (or fail to indulge) himself. (There are words that contain their own opposites, though. They're called contronyms.) In any case, I figured it might be okay to occasionally use the word indulgent to mean self-indulgent and this proved to be true, at least according to a couple of online dictionaries that included definitions such as "done or enjoyed as a special pleasure" and "showing, characterized by, or given to self-indulgence." But others omitted that secondary meaning entirely. In 1823, the poem "A Visit from St. Nicholas" was printed anonymously in a Troy, New York, newspaper. Twenty years later, Clement C. Moore claimed it as his own and the nation has indulged him in that self-indulgent notion ever since. However, according to Don Foster, in the 2000 book Author Unknown: On the Trail of Anonymous, it was very likely written by a different man entirely: Major Henry Livingston, Jr. "Another possibility," says Foster, "is that Mr. Moore wrote 'Old Santeclaus.' In fact, if 'Old Santeclaus' was not written by the original Grinch, Professor Clement Clarke Moore himself, then call me 'Rudolph' and never let me play in reindeer games. That 1821 Santeclaus poem has the Professor's stylistic fingerprints all over it. Giving credit where credit is due, I think Moore may be credited with having written one of America's first Santa Claus poems—not 'A Visit from St. Nicholas,' but 'Old Santeclaus.'" The former poem has "visions of sugarplums" dancing in childish heads, and it describes St. Nick thusly: "A bundle of toys was flung on his back, and he look'd like a peddler just opening his pack." In the latter poem, however, Moore ominously warns: "But where I found the children naughty / In manners rude, in temper haughty / Thankless to parents, liars, swearers / Boxers, or cheats, or base tale-bearers / I left a long, black, birchen rod / Such as the dread command of God / Directs a Parent's hand to use / When virtue's path his sons refuse." So which poet and parent do you think was the most indulgent? (Note: I wasn't able to find many typos for that word and its various forms, so please indulge me in the substitution of a synonym, Toleren*, for which there were 13 found in OhioLINK, and 577 in WorldCat.)

(Photo taken of "heckler" at "The Trial Before Christmas," Rensselaer County Courthouse, December 18, 2013.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 25, 2015

Stanwick + Stanwyck (for Stanwyck or Stanwick)

I love Preston Sturges films, and this little-known gem from 1940 (the last screenplay Sturges wrote before going on to direct), was bound to be no exception. Mitchell Leisen's Remember the Night, starring Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck (paired again four years later in Double Indemnity), is an odd but charming cinematic hybrid—equal parts romantic comedy, Christmas movie, and courtroom drama. Known for her sizzling yet plain-spoken persona during the "Pre-Code" thirties and as a bit of a "tough broad" in general, Stanwyck plays a rather cavalier shoplifter of expensive jewelry, while MacMurray, in an equally tough but softhearted role (twenty years before his pater familias in My Three Sons reared its reasonable head), is the smitten attorney who manages to take her home for the holidays, instead of off to trial, at least, that is, for a little while. All ends almost happily for these two—along with love, capitalism, and the American legal system. Although Preston Sturges always makes sure both sides are clearly heard from. Today's typo was apprehended once in OhioLINK, and 53 times in WorldCat.

(Cropped screenshot of Fred MacMurray and Barbara Stanwyck from the trailer for the film Remember the Night, 1940, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Sotck* (for Stock*)

In the famous 1823 Christmas poem A Visit from St. Nicholas, the author (i.e., Clement C. Moore or Henry Livingston, Jr.) observes that "the stockings were hung by the chimney with care." In the 1975 Broadway hit Chicago, unrepentant inmate Velma Kelly declares, "I'm gonna rouge my knees and roll my stockings down." And in 1945, Japan surrenders to the Allies, and DuPont issues a press release announcing: "Peace, It’s Here! Nylons on Sale!" For many months, in what the press would gleefully dub the "Nylon Riots," American women stood impatiently in long lines, knocked down store displays, and even scratched and pulled each other's hair over what would turn out to be drastically limited stock of the heralded hosiery. (This ultimately led to an antitrust suit against the company as well.) Stockings have played an important part in our nation's history (dare I say herstory?) and the story, as they say, continues to have legs. Prior to the invention of nylons, which were rolled out to the public at the 1939 World's Fair, stockings had been made out of wool, linen, cotton, rayon, or silk. Which were itchy, baggy, difficult to get, and/or easily destroyed. Nylons were the answer to a prayer. However, during the war, all of the available nylon (Japan had stopped exporting silk) went toward the production of parachutes, airplane cords, and rope. Nylon stockings eventually made a comeback, though, and were enjoyed for another ten years or so before morphing uncomfortably into "pantyhose." And while today's girls and young women can scarcely appreciate the fact, it would be several decades more before we were finally blessed with things like organic cotton tights, Spandex, and footless leggings. Today's typo was pulled up three times in OhioLINK, and 118 times in WorldCat. Stock it to me, baby!

(Photo of a girl in "flapper" garb taken in Moscow, Idaho, in 1922, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 21, 2015

Propery (for Property or Properly)

Last week during a particularly underwhelming webinar at work, I wearily propped up my head and read the following words: "Is the term a real property?" Followed by a line that read: "Is the term defined properly?" I was genuinely mystified as to whether I was witnessing an actual typo there or not. Later on, I tried searching on Propertly, but nothing came up, so I decided to omit both the T and the L—and voilà: Propery, with 22 hits in OhioLINK and 339 in WorldCat. Even though typos are considered improper by definition, there's a lot to be said for investigating them properly. In their own ungainly way, they can prove valuable property when it comes to the business of "keeping our online catalogs free of errors." I also had a hard time finding a salubrious illustration for today's posting—until I came across this one, which, despite the cold gray rain coming down outside, fills me with hope for a speedy spring.

(Before the Thames gets properly wet, on a bike ride along the Thames pathway, August 2006, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Constructon* (for Construction, etc.)

On December 26, 1928, Joseph E. Withrow and Lyman W. Close of Toledo, Ohio, filed an application with the United States Patent office for an invention called “Burner.” In essence, they had created an apparatus for use in “street torches, such as are commonly used for illuminating road obstructions, and usually referred to as construction torches,” with the purpose of “increasing the efficiency of such torches and militating against extinguishment of the torch flame.” More specifically, the goals were “to provide a burner so constructed and arranged that liability of extinguishment of the flame by high winds or by rain is reduced to a minimum” and to offer a device “which may be inexpensively manufactured.”

The patent, number 1732708, was granted on October 22, 1929 to assignee the Toledo Pressed Steel Company. Now what, you ask, has this to do with anything? Well, if you’re of a certain age, you might remember that these little kerosene smudge pots, looking for all the world like cartoon bombs, were once used throughout the United States to mark road construction projects and other hazards. They were sold under the moniker “Toledo Torch,” and as a child, I loved them. They’re no longer made by the original manufacturer, but authentic specimens can still be found for sale on eBay and other Web sites.

There are 11 instances of today’s typo Constructon* in OhioLINK, and WorldCat can lay claim to 162 entries.

(A Toledo Torch, from eBay listing)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, December 11, 2015

Marjerie* (for Marjorie, etc.)

"Don't put a cold in your pocket! Use Kleenex," advises Little Lulu in an ad from a 1948 Ladies Home Journal. Although the unseasonably warm weather outside doesn't look nearly as frightful as it does inside the pages of this vintage magazine, I've already caught my first drippy bug of the season and can certainly see her point. Little Lulu was the brainchild of a woman named Marjorie Henderson Buell, or just "Marge," as she was often known in the burgeoning world of newspaper comics (and perhaps even in part to ward off the continual misspelling of her name). She was born in Philadelphia on December 11, 1904, and homeschooled along with her two sisters until the age of 11 or 12. She showed a penchant for drawing early on (her mother was an "amateur cartoonist" and her father a "raconteur") and was only 16 when her first cartoon was published in Philly's Public Ledger. Her first syndicated comic strip, "The Boyfriend," and another called "Dashing Dot," both ran during the Roaring Twenties. In 1934, the Saturday Evening Post was looking to replace Carl Anderson's stolid, yet solid, "Henry" strip and offered Buell a job. She created Little Lulu on the theory that "a girl could get away with more fresh stunts that in a small boy would seem boorish". Well, and perhaps even in a girl. In her debut on February 23, 1935, Marge depicted "Lulu Moppet" as an anarchic flower girl, strewing banana peels down the aisle instead of rose petals. Buell was a hard-headed businesswoman who shunned the spotlight. Little Lulu, the Flappers' younger sister, is a bit of a feminist icon. Buell gave up drawing Little Lulu in 1947, but retained control over her image until she retired in 1971. Lulu often seems to be making the best of a patch of bad weather, and so should you and I. While there are various spellings of the name Marjorie (e.g., Margerie, Margorie, and even Margory), the only one I could think of that didn't appear in at least one name authority record was Marjerie—ergo, our typo for the day. Feel free to sniff around any of those other ones, though, in various combinations if you like, and please use Kleenex wherever appropriate. (Or maybe even where inappropriate.) This one was found just once in OhioLINK, and 14 times in WorldCat.

(Ladies Home Journal, 1948, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Decemv* (for Decemb*)

December is the twelfth and final month in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, but it was the tenth month in the Roman one, which began its year with March. (Decem means ten in Latin.) It's a good month in which to party, at least in parts of the world where December is cold and dark, and is perhaps most famously associated with Christmas and Hanukkah. However, there are quite a few religious and ethnic holidays to commemorate his month, as well as a long laundry list of other partisan, facetious, thought-provoking, and serious "days" to choose from, such as "Children's Day" (celebrated in different places on different days, first proclaimed in 1925, then universally established in 1954); Great Britain's "Chewidden Thursday" (marking the discovery of "white" or smelted tin—by a saint); "Military Abolition Day" in Costa Rica (where the military and police are pretty much one and the same thing); Turkmenistan's "Good Neighborliness Day" (kind of speaks for itself); and Canada's "White Ribbon Day" (on which to recall the 1989 École Polytechnique massacre, in which an armed student murdered fourteen women in the name of "fighting feminism"). The flower for December is Narcissus, which to me might signify the very best thing about this month: that it's all downhill from here and that soon enough we'll be seeing lovely yellow and white daffodils waving in the yard. There were 58 cases of today's typo found in OhioLINK, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Narcissus papyraceus, Kyoto, Japan, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, December 7, 2015

Faye + Fay (for Fay or Faye)

Fay Okell Bainter was born this day in Los Angeles in 1893. While no longer exactly a "household name," she was a very fetching and talented actress back in the day. She has often been described as dignified and reserved, classy, but exceedingly pleasant. She deserves to have her name spelled right. By the age of fifteen, Fay Bainter had begun acting on stage, and in 1912 she debuted on Broadway in The Rose of Panama. She stayed there for the next twenty years, but was eventually launched onto the silver screen in 1934, in the MGM film This Side of Heaven. That year she also appeared in the Broadway play Dodsworth and the film It Happened One Day. In 1938 Bainter was nominated "Best Actress" for White Banners and "Best Supporting Actress" for Jezebel, winning an Oscar for the latter, and garnering the distinction of being the first performer to have been nominated for two roles in the same year. (There have been only nine others since then.) She was in the film adaptation of Thornton Wilder's play Our Town; the Tracy-Hepburn vehicle Woman of the Year; the wonderful movie Make Way for Tomorrow; and many more. Her final role was that of the imposing Mrs. Tilford in the 1961 version of Lillian Hellman's The Children's Hour. Fay Bainter even appeared on the Donna Reed Show one time, which somehow strikes me as charmingly apt. There were 26 instances of Faye + Fay in OhioLINK today, and 339 in WorldCat.

(Portrait of Fay Bainter, by Robert Henri in 1918, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, December 4, 2015

Woodwro* (for Woodrow, etc.)

It’s hard to imagine now, but on this day in 1918, Woodrow Wilson left Washington, D.C. for Versailles, France, thereby becoming the first sitting American president to make an official trip to Europe. Wilson went there to head the U.S. delegation for the peace talks ending World War I and to advocate for the establishment of his League of Nations. Even if these two endeavors cannot be considered entirely successful when viewed through the lens of subsequent history, his work toward a “just and stable peace” were enough to earn Wilson the 1920 Nobel Peace Prize.

Today’s typo Woodwro* is another uncommon one. There is only one entry in OhioLINK, and WorldCat has a mere 15 (for Woodrow, woodworm, woodworker(s), and Woodworth).

(Woodrow Wilson returning from the Versailles Peace Conference in 1919, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Illnesss* (for Illness, etc.)

As if you needed another reason to hate mosquitoes … say “hello” to chikungunya, the latest mosquito-borne illness to reach the shores of the United States. Transmitted by the species Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus, the virus causes symptoms similar to those of malaria—fevers and aches and pains—but then throws in debilitating joint pain and chronic arthritis for good measure. Now, a new study published in the journal Neurology (and summarized by NPR) tells us that once people have been infected with chikungunya, they appear to be at increased risk for developing encephalitis or other central nervous system diseases. The virus is present in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Indian and Pacific Oceans, and so far in the Americas, it’s been discovered in the Caribbean, Mexico, and the state of Florida. For more details, visit the Centers for Disease Control Web site.

It's too bad that mosquitoes are far more common than the typo Illnesss*. There were only 4 entries in OhioLINK and 44 in WorldCat.

(Aedes aegypti, by Muhammad Mahdi Karim, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak