Thursday, March 31, 2016

Oiho (for Ohio)

Daylight Saving Time, a thing that many of us tend to look forward to in these late gray waning days of winter, was first instituted on March 31, 1918, as a wartime measure to help conserve fuel. This photograph shows the very first man to "turn the clock ahead," as three others stand nervously by—the whole lot of them looking rather like sheepish schoolboys caught in the act, or white whiskered mice having a fine old "Hickory Dickory Dock" of it. (I'm teasing. In truth, they were only senators, albeit ones who probably did feel a little like travelers in a sci-fi tall tale, somehow altering the very fabric of time.) Some people would say that the date of the occasion was inadvertently well timed too, the whole thing being perhaps a bit of a Fool's errand right from the start. In 1784, Ben Franklin published an anonymous letter entitled "An Economical Project for Diminishing the Cost of Light," in which he observed that Parisians burned candles after dark, and then slept past dawn. He proposed "taxing shutters, rationing candles, and waking the public by ringing church bells and firing cannons at sunrise." It was satire, but Franklin is also known for the proverb "Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise." (James Thurber offered a differing point of view when he stated in The New Yorker in 1939: "Early to rise and early to bed makes a male healthy and wealthy and dead.") In 1966, Lyndon Johnson signed the Uniform Time Act into law and we've all been "springing forward" and "falling back" ever since. The time-shifting system still has its critics, who say that simply trying to adjust to the shift can be unhealthy or risky, and that our lifestyles have changed so much that the purported benefits of "daylight saving" simply no longer exist or are outweighed by the drawbacks. In any event, don't forget to fool with your clocks tonight, kiddos! (Just kidding, of course. You should have already done that, on March 13th.) And now that we all know what time it is, let's turn our attention to today's typo (Oiho for Ohio), found twice in OhioLINK, and fifteen times in WorldCat.

(Senate Sergeant-at-Arms Charles P. Higgins turning the Ohio Clock forward, while Senators William M. Calder (NY), Willard Saulsbury, Jr. (DE), and Joseph T. Robinson (AR) observe, 1918, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Harald* + Harold* (for Harold* or Harald*)

Happy Birthday, Bud! Born Walter Edward Cox on March 29, 1948, Bud Cort decided take a stage name due to the fact that there was already a well-known actor named Wally Cox out there. Both men exhibited quirky, sort of geeky personas that, to some extent, belied their actual personalities. Wally Cox is perhaps best known for playing "Mister Peepers" on TV and being the voice of cartoon canine Underdog. He was also married three times; an Army vet; and BFFs with Marlon Brando. Bud Cort, despite his constant association with the 1971 "cult film" Harold and Maude, has in fact been acting in movies and television for almost half a century now. In 2004 he appeared alongside his friend Bill Murray in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. "I had three great grandfathers, all fishermen, all lost at sea," Cort claims. He admits that over the years he has feared being typecast as an oddball, and at times even wished he had never made Harold and Maude. (But we'll forgive him for that!) The previous year he had starred in the perhaps even cultier film Brewster McCloud, which garnered him a nomination for "Laurel Award for Male Star of Tomorrow." A young Roger Ebert wrote of the film: "I'm not sure it's about anything. I imagine you could extract a subject from it, and I'll try that the next time I see it. But I wonder if the movie isn't primarily style; if Altman doesn't have a personal sense of humor and wants his directing style to reflect it. One could, of course, get into a deep thing about birds and wings and freedom, but why?" Bud Cort also landed roles in Up the Down Staircase, Sweet Charity, M.A.S.H., and The Strawberry Statement, for starters. In 1971, he was cast in a movie called Gas-s-s-s (also known as Gas! or, It Became Necessary to Destroy the World in Order to Save It), Roger Corman's last film for American International Pictures. (Corman broke off longstanding ties with AIP after they cut the final scene, a shot in which the Almighty weighs in on the wacky goings-on, and one of which the director was particularly proud.) It boasts an absurdist post-apocalyptic plot line (think Edgar Allen Poe on a motorbike), though as Wikipedia put its: "Eventually God intervenes. Coel and Cilla are reunited with all their friends, and there is a big party where everyone gets along." Which may be the biggest gas of all. If, like me, you're a big fan of Bud Cort, but are yearning to move on beyond Harold and Maude, check out some of his earlier films, along with his middle and late periods as well. There were 133 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 1281 in WorldCat.

(Bud Cort in Brewster McCloud, taken from the web.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Chrisianity (for Christianity)

An amusing typo, made just in time for Easter, was brought to the attention of a church in York, England, the other day. The pastor had ordered several signs reading "Christ is Risen," but was dismayed to learn that they had been printed without the all-important letter T. "The pastor at the Baptist Church is actually called Chris," confided the assistant curate and apparent wag, "and he's got to get up for a sunrise service at 6.30 am on Easter Sunday. His predecessor didn't manage to get up for the service last year..." I'm assuming that that "getting up" business (i.e., rising) was intentional irony; the humor, at any rate, seems to redeem the blunder. Happy Easter to all you early risers, eggheads, beach bunnies, folks named Chris, and Christians of every stripe. Let's all rise up in the name of everything Good and Holy and, while we're at it, take the typos out of our own eyes. We witnessed five instances of Chrisianity (for Christianity) in OhioLINK this morning, and 43 in WorldCat.

(Misspelled Easter sign, Acomb Parish Church, York, England, taken from the web.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Botherhood* (for Brotherhood*)

Words like brotherhood and mankind were universally accepted at one time for the goodwill, compassion, and inclusiveness they implied, but it seems that we are fast becoming intolerant of such traditional usage. (Perhaps there will soon be a "sin tax" on such syntax.) While we still hear familiar formulations along the lines of "brotherly love" and "sisterhood is powerful" (though the former is often meant generically and the latter specifically), the younger generation might be somewhat more inclined to use the word cis than sis and, frankly, may see "brother" as too much of a bother. One of my favorite boy bands of yore was the so-called Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood, which comprised seven male artists (painters and poets, for the most part) in 19th-century Britain. These were William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais, and Dante Gabriel Rossetti; later they were joined by William Michael Rossetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens, and Thomas Wollner. This heterodox fraternity courted quite a bit of controversy and on one notable occasion was chastised by none other than Charles Dickens, who apparently thought that the painting Christ in the House of His Parents made the Holy Family look like a bunch of "medieval" alcoholics and slum dwellers. Amazingly, he went so far as to slut-shame Millais' Mary for being so hideous-looking that she would stand out "as a Monster, in the vilest cabaret in France, or the lowest gin-shop in England." Other critics hastily jumped on the bandwagon, decrying the notion of the young Jesus as a "red-headed Jew boy." Boys will be boys, it would seem, but fortunately, the Pre-Raphaelites eventually grew more accepting of women, giving rise to painters like Marie Spartali Stillman and Elizabeth Siddal; the poet Christina Rossetti; the photographer Julia Margaret Cameron; and many others. There was just one case of our bothersome typo to be found in OhioLINK this morning, along with 34 in WorldCat.

(Christ in the House of His Parents, or The Carpenter's Shop, by John Millais, circa 1850, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Interupt* (for Interrupt*)

Have you ever noticed this verbal tic some people have where they reflexively begin a reply to almost any question put to them with the word So? I've seen bankers, politicians, criminal defendants, and others do this, and it's always weirdly disconcerting. Because what it sounds like they really mean is: "Oh, so you're done talking now? Okay, so where was I?" or "So, as I was saying, before I was so rudely interrupted..." It's as if they've come with prepared remarks or an agenda of some kind and your comments are merely a distraction. I won't use his real name here, but I once knew a guy who was so adorable I forgave him his dithering, but who also introduced an inordinate number of sentences that way. His last name started with the letters S-O (let's say it was "Soul"), so I wrote him a poem one time that contained the line: "So, So-so [Soul]..." Wikipedia states: "It is widely believed that the recent ascendancy of 'so' as a sentence opener began in Silicon Valley. Michael Lewis in his book The New New Thing, published in 1999, noted that 'When a computer programmer answers a question, he often begins with the word so.' Microsoft employees have long argued that the 'so' boom began with them..." In any event, whoever's responsible for this annoying affectation probably shouldn't be bragging about it, There are times, though, when "So" sounds exactly right. The first known use of so as a sentence opener is from Chaucer's Troilus and Criseyde: "So graunte hem sone out of this world to pace." (So grant him soon out of this world to pass.) Some might wish the same for the overuse of so these days, but it's most likely here to stay. So. Back to the matter at hand. You know the drill. There were 16 cases of Interupt* (for interrupt*) in OhioLINK today, and 372 in WorldCat.

(Geoffrey Chaucer reading his poems to the court of Richard II, frontispiece to Troilus & Criseyde, c. 1400, Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Televisoin* (for Television*)

Of all the children's authors one could imagine writing about television, one of the least likely to many minds would have to be Ludwig Bemelmans, the father of "Madeline." However, the great man did in fact write such a book, one that is now, sadly, out of print and very hard to find. It's called A Tale of Two Glimps and it's just as odd as it sounds. Bemelmans had been commissioned by CBS in 1947 to create a whimsical, anthropomorphic kids' book to plug the company's product. He came up with a story about a couple rabbit-like creatures (reminding one a bit of Matt Groening's "Life in Hell" denizens, along with the ubiquitous "rabbit ears" then sprouting from every set) who debate and represent the tried and true of black & white versus the rara avis of the variegated. As one reviewer put it: "An evanescent little soap bubble, this bit of Bemelmania was part of a campaign to promote color TV." Having blogged about television typos on several occasions before, our pick for today is perforce one of "lowest probability," according to the Ballard list. We viewed one of these in OhioLINK, and 19 in WorldCat.

(Cover of A Tale of Two Glimps, taken from the web.)

Carol Reid

Friday, March 11, 2016

Minnsota* (for Minnesota*)

Wanda Gág, who was born on March 11, 1893, in New Ulm, Minnesota, is probably best known for having drawn Millions of Cats. Although I understand that some people who read this book to their children find the plot line a bit "disturbing" (in that the feral felines, all but one, end up killing each other in a giant cat fight), it holds the distinction of being the oldest American picture book still in print. Wanda Gág came from a family of artists: her father Anton was a painter and photographer, her sister Flavia a writer, painter, and book illustrator. Wanda appears to have been a born feminist. On his deathbed in 1908, her father told the teenager: "Was der Papa nicht thun konnt', muss die Wanda halt fertig machen." (What Papa couldn’t do, Wanda will have to finish.) Being the eldest of seven children, that meant a lot of work for Wanda, along with empathy, flexibility, and role reversal, all of which may have eventually led her to write the 1935 children's book Gone Is Gone: or the Story of a Man Who Wanted to Do Housework. In 1917, after all of the "housework" was finished, Wanda moved to New York City's Greenwich Village on a scholarship to the Art Students League, where she studied composition, etching, and advertising illustration. Bohemian in both senses of the word, she clearly enjoyed writing about her own life and process, as seen in the nearly 500-page tome Growing Pains: Diaries and Drawings for the Years 1908–1917. Notables said to have been inspired by Gág include Eric Rohmann, Ursula Dubosarsky, Jan Brett, Susan Marie Swanson, Maurice Sendak, and perhaps most intriguingly of all, Pop-Art "collagist and correspondence artist" Ray Johnson, the subject of the 2002 documentary How to Draw a Bunny. With two hits in OhioLINK and 68 in WorldCat, we can easily draw the conclusion that our typo for the day is one of "low probability" on the Ballard list.

(Portrait of the artist Wanda Gág, 24 December 1916, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Insturm* (for Instrum*)

Google had a great image today in honor of Clara Rockmore, an early proponent and expert player of the hands-free musical instrument known as the theremin. Rockmore was born Clara Reisenberg in Vilnius, Lithuania, on March 9, 1911, the youngest of three girls. She was a child prodigy on the violin, reportedly had "perfect pitch," and at the age of four became the youngest student ever admitted to the Saint Petersburg Conservatory. Clara was close personal friends with the inventor Léon Theremin and worked alongside him perfecting and finessing his instrument. (Although he actually proposed to her on several occasions, she wound up marrying attorney Robert Rockmore instead.) As we breathlessly wait out the last few weeks of winter here, enjoy this eerie and evocative rendition of Ira Gershwin's "Summertime" from Clara Rockmore's Lost Theremin Album, produced by her nephew in 2006. Although the theremin is making something of a comeback, it's still a sort of "geeky" thing to play, as wonderfully demonstrated by Jim Parsons ("Sheldon") on The Big Bang Theory in the episode "The Bus Pants Utilization." There were 36 hits on Insturm* (for instrum*) in OhioLINK today, and 636 in WorldCat.

(Clara Rockmore and Léon Theremin, birthday celebration, 1929, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, March 7, 2016

Conput* (for Comput*)

Betty Holberton (née Frances Elizabeth Snyder) was born in Philadelphia on March 7, 1917. After enrolling at the University of Pennsylvania, where she was asked by her math professor if she wouldn't be happier at home taking care of the kids, she decided to take up journalism instead, the kind of job that was both open to women and designed to get you out of town. But when World War II rolled around, Holberton was hired by the Army to compute ballistics trajectories and chosen to work, along with five other women, on the ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), now thought to have been the "first general-purpose electronic digital computer." This was deemed "subprofessional" work and the women who did it were called "computers." Holberton proved especially adept at understanding the new behemoth and was said to have "solved more problems in her sleep than other people did awake." Her achievements in the field of programming are truly impressive and far too numerous to mention here, but suffice it to say that in 1997, four years before her death, she received the Augusta Ada Lovelace Award and the IEEE Computer Pioneer Award, and was also inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. This photo of Betty and the ENIAC reminds me of the 1957 film Desk Set, about a librarian whose skills are pitted against a giant computer known as EMERAC (i.e., Electromagnetic Memory and Research Arithmetical Calculator). As well it should, of course, since the movie appears to have been based on a true story. Which may be the highest honor of all, come to think of it, to be at the inspirational center of a famous Hepburn-Tracy vehicle when you yourself are only forty years old. That's really quite a thing. So, here's to you, Betty Holberton! We computed six cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 220 in WorldCat.

(Glen Beck and Betty Snyder program the ENIAC in building 328 at the Ballistic Research Laboratory in Philadelphia, circa 1947 to 1955, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, March 4, 2016

Colombia* + Columbia* (for Columbia* or Colombia*)

Guy Wetmore Carryl was born this day in New York City in 1873. He died there in 1904, far too soon, but perhaps somewhat aptly, on April Fool's Day. Carryl had had a short but productive career as a humorist, satirist, and poet, often taking inspiration from such literary lights as Aesop, Mother Goose, the Brothers Grimm, and Jean de La Fontaine. He published six books between 1898 and 1904, two of them posthumously: The Garden of Years and Far from the Maddening Girls. Some of his titles sound a bit naughty, like Mother Goose for Grown-Ups (1900) and Grimm Tales Made Gay (1902). In "The Embarrassing Episode of Little Miss Muffet," the reader is delightfully instructed as follows: "And the Moral is this: Be it madam or miss / To whom you have something to say / You are only absurd when you get in the curd / But you're rude when you get in the whey." Indeed, Carryl's jokes were not always G-rated. He attended Columbia University and wrote the college's first "Varsity Show," by which means he managed to ruffle the feathers of Harry Thurston Peck with his wry, if not overtly feminist, observation that "it takes two bodies to make one seduction." Ironically enough, Professor Peck was later sued for breach of promise, and although nothing was ever proven, he found himself at the center of a scandal involving three women (and their bodies) from which he never really recovered. There were 423 cases of our combination typo in OhioLINK today, and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.

(Cover of Fables for the Frivolous by Guy Wetmore Carryl, with illustrations by Peter Newell, 1898, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Oaklahoma* (for Oklahoma*)

It's not so much that Donald Trump (or his hired tweeter) can't spell the names of the places he's stumping in. It's more that he won't. So far, he's managed to mess up Wichita, Kansas, Tulsa, and Oklahoma, rendering them, if you must know: Witchita, Kanasas, Tusla, and Oaklahoma. The song "Oklahoma" (from the play and Broadway musical of the same name) was made the official state song of Oklahoma in 1953. According to Wikipedia: "The lyric, which briefly depicts the Midwestern twang phonetically, describes the landscape and prairie weather in positive language. It further emphasizes the wholesome aspects of rural life, and the steadfast dedication of the region's inhabitants, against the overtly stated formal backdrop of the territory's impending admission to the Union in 1907." The Donald might be described in somewhat similar terms, minus the sincerity and attention to detail; hopefully, come next spring, we won't be feeling the need to start applying to other Unions. I'm not sure which number from the soundtrack of Oklahoma! best characterizes the Donald Trump campaign: "All Er Nuthin"; "Pore Jud Is Daid"; "I Cain't Say No"; or given his recent pissing contest with the rest of the Republicans-for-president guys, "People Will Say We're in Love." There were six examples of today's typo found in OhioLink, and "too many records found in your search" in WorldCat.

(Scene from Oklahoma, 1943-1944, Theatre Guild production, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid