Friday, February 26, 2010

Daneil* (for Daniel*)

There are 11 examples of Daneil* in the OhioLINK database, most if not all of them typos for Daniel and other Daniel-derived names. Arguably, the most famous Daniel in history is the Biblical prophet who survived a night of unjust imprisonment in a den of lions. (Although as David Plotz writes in Blogging the Bible: "Uh, That Lion's-Den Story Doesn't End How You Think It Does.") Daniel, by petitioning God in defiance of the law, possessed the spirit of a First Amendment absolutist: he was willing to commit civil disobedience, and in fact risk his own life, in the principled pursuit of speech, religion, and happiness. And God and the king both rewarded him for this. What a great story—as I'm sure "Daneil" Joseph Boorstin, former Librarian of Congress and misspelled author of The Americans: The National Experience, would agree.

(Daniel's Answer to the King, by Briton Rivière, R.A., 1890, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Harrr* (for Harr*)

George Harrison, the "quiet Beatle," was born on February 25, 1943. He generally took a back seat to John Lennon and Paul McCartney, but George's desire for still waters seems to have run even deeper than that. He embraced yoga and meditation and mentioned in the reply to an early fan letter that "we don’t mind girls screaming in the noisy numbers, but I think we would prefer them to be a little quieter in the slow songs." Apparently, the Beatles also would have preferred not being pelted onstage with jelly beans—the best his fans could come up with after reading in the press that the Fab Four were fond of Jelly Babies, a softer British version of our own "beans." Speaking of screaming, if you can get your hands on some of these candies (originally called "Peace Babies" to celebrate the end of World War I and, since 2007, made with all-natural ingredients), you can try conducting a science experiment known as "Screaming Jelly Babies" in which you add a "strong oxidizing agent" to the confection and watch the results. (They might not be quite as dramatic with the new and improved babies, however.) Harrr* gets 17 hits in OhioLINK, which makes it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. It won't be a hard day's night (which, according to John, was a "Ringo-ism"), but an easy morning's afternoon, if you handle this one right away.

(Photograph of George Harrison on the Beatles' arrival in New York City in 1964, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Socialst*, etc. (for Socialist, Socialism)

What political party gave socialists a bad name (not to mention Germans and workers)? The National Socialist German Workers' Party—or Nazi Party—was founded on February 24, 1920. It was a weird sort of "socialism," however, one that eschewed leftists and loathed Jews. In 25 years, its membership grew to 8.5 million: only slightly more than the number murdered in the Nazi concentration camps. The party's founder, Anton Drexler, wanted to call the fledgling group the "German-Socialist Workers Party," but a guy named Karl Harrer convinced them to drop the "Socialist." Adolf Hitler, an early adopter, suggested the "Social Revolutionary Party," but this rather excitable name was also rejected. The typo Socialst appears eight times in OhioLINK, along with Socalis* three times, and Socailis* twice. What's in a name? Not that much, it seems, but if you have to choose one, go with something snazzy. (Note: Naziism is a variant spelling of Nazism, but Nazzism would be a typo.)

(Adolf Hitler in the 1920s, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cinma*, Cinmat* (for Cinema*, Cinemat*)

French star of the silent screen, Jeanne Roques was born on February 23, 1889. Taking the stage name "Musidora," she created an exotic persona akin to Hollywood's Theda Bara ("The Vamp"). She starred in numerous movies by director Louis Feuillade, including the popular Les Vampires series. She also wrote and directed ten films (all but two of them lost to history), which was an unusual feat for a woman at that time. Her last film, which she both directed and starred in, was a 1950 homage to Feuillade called La Magique Image. The precocious Musidora was raised by a feminist mother and socialist father and began performing at an early age. She published a novel when she was fifteen years old and acted in the theater with her friend Colette. (As an old woman, she even worked in the ticket booth of the Cinematheque Francaise, where probably few moviegoers recognized her as an icon.) An early figure in French cinema, Musidora had a more conventional side as well, eventually marrying a doctor and producing a "Junior" before divorcing in 1944. Musidora died where she was born, in Paris, the City of Lights. Cinma* gets five hits in OhioLINK and Cinmat* nine.

(Portrait of Musidora, 1914-1926, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 22, 2010

Spirt*, Spirtual* (for Spirit, Spiritual)

"Old Faithful" was so named by Henry D. Washburn in 1870, after his amazed expedition stumbled upon the impressive column of roiling hot water in the Upper Geyser Basin of Yellowstone Park. Its "faithfulness" had more to do with precision and punctuality than it did religion; by all reports, however, it's a divine sight. At any rate, cleanliness being next to godliness, by 1883 the park's tourist manual was half-bemoaning, half-bragging about the geyer's awesome powers of ablution. Henry J. Winser wrote: "Old Faithful is sometimes degraded by being made a laundry. Garments placed in the crater during quiescence are ejected thoroughly washed when the eruption takes place. Gen. Sheridan's men, in 1882, found that linen and cotton fabrics were uninjured by the action of the water, but woolen clothes were torn to shreds." If you look carefully up in the corner, you can see the spirit of a smiling washerwoman rinsing her laundry in the powerful spurt (or spirt). We got 50 hits in OhioLINK on Spirt* + Spirit* (most if not all of them typos) and 43 on Spirtual*.

(Old Faithful, by Albert Bierstadt, 1881-1886, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 19, 2010

Fayettville (for Fayetteville)

Twice recently, once at the bank and once at the grocery store, I've been taken for and spoken to as though I were somebody else. ( I resemble that remark!) And there was another time too, many years ago, when I was repeatedly informed that I had a look-alike freely roaming about town. One night in an auditorium, I saw my doppelgänger firsthand: she was up in the balcony and I was seated down below. (I'm not absolutely sure that that was her, but I'll bet it was.) Eleanor Roosevelt used to write a newspaper column called "My Day" that chronicled her travels and speaking engagements and thoughts on various things. In 1954, she traveled to Fayetteville, where there supposedly lived a woman who was a dead ringer for the former First Lady. On February 19, Mrs. Roosevelt began her column by announcing: "To my regret I never had time in the day I spent in Fayetteville to meet my double." Eleanor Roosevelt was one of a kind, but it would have been kind of fun had she been able to make the acquaintance of her Arkansas counterpart. We found five cases of Fayettville for Fayetteville in OhioLINK this morning. Try and find some time today to meet this typo, which contains three sets of twins: two E's, two T's, and two L's. But please keep in mind that the word properly spelled has three E's, not two.

(Anna Eleanor Roosevelt, 20 July 1933, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Natureal (for Natural)

Some folks regard "natural" food as the opposite of "real" food, which is quite unfortunate, really, but virtuous vegans and tasteless tofu fanatics may have no one to blame but themselves. In the movie Annie Hall, Woody Allen's character Alvy Singer moves to Los Angeles to be with Annie and finds himself in a health-food restaurant ordering "the alfalfa sprouts and, uh, a plate of mashed yeast." It's a very funny send-up, but the truth is Woody Allen has always been interested in health food and eating right. Like all of us, he would like to be immortal, or at least senescent, but the rules for better and longer living are clearly not carved in stone. In the movie Sleeper, Allen plays Miles Monroe, owner of the Happy Carrot Health Food Store in Greenwich Village, who awakes after having been frozen for 200 years to discover that "deep fat and hot fudge" are now known for their health-giving properties. (Hilarious, yes, but with a grain of truth: nutritional truisms are constantly being revised and both chocolate and "good fats" are currently considered healthful.) We found four instances of Natureal (for natural) in the OhioLINK database this morning. Look for it in a catalog near you and make sure it's got the real spelling and not the spelling that says real.

(Close-up of Woody Allen statue in Oviedo, Spain, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Norton + Noton (for Norton)

Andre Norton was the pen name of Alice Mary Norton, the "Grande Dame of Science Fiction and Fantasy." The original geek girl, Norton additionally went by the names Andrew North and Allen Weston, on the assumption that her readers were largely male (and sexist). Norton was born on Feb. 17, 1912, in Cleveland, Ohio, and spent a couple of decades as children's librarian in the Cleveland Public Library. Her abiding love of books also manifested in a teaching major at college, the buying of a bookstore, employment as a reader for a publishing house, and the founding of a research facility for "genre writers" (the High Hallack Library in Tennessee). But Norton's real calling was as an author. Although I'm not on the same page as my SF/F friends & neighbors, I may give Andre Norton a try one of these days. She was greatly admired by her legions of fans and was the recipient of two prestigious literary awards. Besides, anyone who loves books well enough to teach them, lend them, read them, sell them, and enable them (not to mention write over 300 [!] of them) sounds like somebody I would love too. There were five cases of today's typo in OhioLINK this morning. Check to make sure that it's Noton any of your library records.

(Voodoo Planet by Andrew North, from Project Gutenberg and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Peronal* (for Personal*)

In 1944, Maria Eva Duarte met her future husband Juan Perón at a Buenos Aires charity event for earthquake victims in San Juan. She was born in 1919 to a single mother in the Argentine countryside and moved to the big city when she was 15 years old to pursue an acting career. She married Perón in 1945; he was elected president the following year. The first lady founded the Female Peronist Party and played a large part in the promotion of trade unions, labor rights, health issues, and women's suffrage. She was ultimately accorded the title "Spiritual Leader of the Nation." She definitely had the personal touch and, despite her early demise at the age of 33, "Evita" Perón is fondly remembered for the profound effect she had on the people of Argentina. Today's typo Peronal* is found eight times in OhioLINK.

(Little Eva on the right, along with her sisters and brother at Carnaval de Los Toldos, 1921, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 15, 2010

Presedent* (for President*, Precedent*)

George Washington set a precedent for presidents, but, according to some accounts of history, he wasn't even our first. Formed on March 1, 1781, with the adoption of the Articles of Confederation, this nation existed for half a dozen years before the Constitution was ratified in 1789. Several different men led the country before Washington was elected, but John Hanson was the first "President of Congress" to serve a full term under the fledgling government. (An urban legend claims that our "first president" was also a black man, a misapprehension stemming from confusion with a mid-19th-century senator from Liberia by the same name.) There were nine instances of Presedent* in OhioLINK this morning, most of them typos for presidents of different sorts. Today is the day we celebrate Washington's birthday, also known as "Presidents Day." Why not be the first to correct today's typo in your catalog?

(Portrait of John Hanson, attributed to John Hesselius, circa 1770, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 12, 2010

Emily Dickenson (for Dickinson)

Emily Dickinson—spiritually akin to the late J.D. Salinger—was another literary "recluse" who wrote a great deal, but published very little during her lifetime. We tend to think of her as a bit of a virginal shrinking violet, but Dickinson was also an expert and extroverted gardener (fond of such sensual and heavily scented blooms as the heaven-sent heliotrope) and wholly capable of composing passionate love poems like this one:

Wild nights! Wild nights!
Were I with thee,
Wild nights should be
Our luxury!

Futile the winds
To a heart in port,
Done with the compass,
Done with the chart.

Rowing in Eden!
Ah! the sea!
Might I but moor
To-night in thee!

There are 22 occurrences of today's typo in the OhioLINK database (though among those are several records with access points for both Emily Dickinson and Donna Dickenson). You can help make Emily's work more accessible to your patrons (even if the poet Herself might have preferred it less so) by finding and correcting this misspelling. Then find some some romantic poetry by the "Belle of Amherst" to share with your favorite recluse on Valentine's Day.

(Drawing of a young Emily Dickinson, date unknown, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Holden Caufield (for Caulfield)

J. D. Salinger passed away on Jan. 27 at the age of 91, leaving grieving but curious fans of his writing to wonder what he had been up to for the past fifty-odd years. The Catcher in the Rye remains the central Salinger experience and we found three cases of Holden Caufield in the OhioLINK database, along with 16 in WorldCat. This typo registers as a "low probability" one on the Ballard list, but it's still a pretty common spelling error, I think. Google returns over 83,000 hits on "Holden Caufield." (We also got five hits on Caufield + Caulfield, all references to other people.) The L in the first syllable gets more or less swallowed up, much as Holden himself does—by boys at prep school, girls in nightclubs, adults everywhere, life itself. (He talks to his dead brother as he steps off the curb: "Allie, don't let me disappear.") The problem with the world, according to Holden, is that it's full of "phonies." The word phony is an alteration of fawney, a gilt brass ring used by swindlers, from the Irish Gaelic fáinne or ring. This will ring a bell for readers: the book's ending finds Holden watching his little sister Phoebe ride the carousel in Central Park and try to catch the gold ring. Try and catch today's typo if you can, just as Holden dreamed of catching careless kids running through a field of rye. Or the way he would rub out the F-word written on a schoolhouse wall, despite the certain knowledge that there would always be more to come.

(The Catcher in the Rye, 1979 Russian edition, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Porgram* (for Program*)

There are 20 cases of porgram* in OhioLINK, which makes it a "high probability" typo for the word program*. The acronym PORG seems to have only two current meanings: "Portfolio and Operational Risk Group" and "Person of Restricted Growth." Since the first option is TBTB (too boring to blog) and I just recently blogged about midgets, dwarfs, and little people in general, I'm sort of caught short for something to write about today. Not to be disrespectful, but the euphemism "person of restricted growth" reminds me of nothing so much as the humorous challenge to political correctness embodied in the alternative expression "vertically challenged." According to Wikipedia, "The eupheme was originally a word or phrase used in place of a religious word or phrase that should not be spoken aloud; etymologically, the eupheme is the opposite of the blaspheme..." The original euphemisms were reserved for the names of various deities, such as Persephone, Hecate, and Nemesis. Today, most euphemisms are substitutes for either sexual/scatological terms or last year's lingo for minority groups. In any case, let's cut the carp and get with the program. There were six examples of this typo in my own catalog and I'll bet there are some in yours as well.

(Proserpine, the Roman analogue to Persephone, an extract from Dante Gabriel Rossetti's 1873–77 painting, with Jane Burden Morris as the model, from Wikimedia Commons.)


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Streatfield (for Streatfeild)

Noel Streatfeild (British author, actress, and daughter of the Bishop of Lewes) would likely have seen her surname misspelled Streatfield rather frequently over the course of her lifetime. But once you've seen it spelled right, it's quite easy to keep straight and just as memorable as her books—books which nearly always have the word "shoes" in their titles. (Circus Shoes, Theatre Shoes, Movie Shows ... extra points if you can name all nine!) Of the first, Ballet Shoes, published in 1936, Streatfeild wrote: "The story poured off my pen, more or less telling itself ... I distrusted what came easily and so despised the book." Readers, on the other hand, adored it. We found four cases of Noel Streatfield in our database today, which is four too many for this wonderful writer who has been bringing joy ("Mary Noel" was born on Christmas Eve, 1895) to bookish, artsy, shoe-loving girls for over half a century now. Streatfeild was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1983, and slipped her slippers three years later at the age of 91—leaving her followers barefoot and bereft. (I also discovered four other personal-name typos by searching on Streatfeild* + Streatfield* in OhioLINK.)

(Image of Noel Streatfeild found on the Web.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 8, 2010

Preganc*, etc. (for Pregnan*)

The Miracle of Morgan's Creek is itself a miracle of mid-century Hollywood filmmaking. Preston Sturges's 1944 screwball comedy centers around a fun-loving and patriotic young lady (Betty Hutton) who goes to a send-off for servicemen shipping out the next day, and comes home married (to one she uncertainly refers to as "Ratzkiwatzki?") as well as pregnant. As in ... she had drunken, semi-anonymous sex with a soldier. In the 1940s. In America's heartland. (Did I mention it's a comedy?) Bosley Crowther of The New York Times called this film "audacious" and "delightfully irreverent" and wondered how Sturges "persuaded the Hays boys that he wasn't trying to undermine all morals," while James Agee went a step further in asserting that "the Hays office must have been raped in its sleep" to permit its release. Preganc* and Pregana* turn up eight times apiece in OhioLINK, along with a few of Pregant* to boot. (Fix this typo by moving the N's and C around. Then Netflix this movie before it gets rated NC-17!)

(Preston Sturges, pregnant with knowledge, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 5, 2010

Deposti* (for Deposit*)

I wouldn't exactly call it a deep thought, but the Post-it Note is a rather nifty idea. Post-it Notes are practical and even sort of pretty, whether in the classic pale yellow or the more vibrant saturated hues they currently come in. Almost like a Christo exhibit writ small. Speaking of Christo, whose work often involves wrapping large objects, he once sent a package to the artist Ray Johnson, who was himself known for creating postal art. When Johnson unwrapped it, he found a photograph of the package and a note saying that, since the artwork had now been destroyed, he could keep the picture as a memento. (Christo's wife, Jeanne-Claude, coincidentally born on the same day as her husband, passed away in November 2009.) Artists and pranksters alike have employed Post-it Notes in their assorted endeavors, completely covering cars with them and depositing them throughout entire rooms. In 2000, a group of artists celebrated the note's 20th anniversary and Post-its have also been featured in various cultural venues, including the Museum of Modern Art. They're widely used in film storyboarding as well, and have a virtual analogue for computers. Deposti* turns up 27 times in OhioLINK, but if you're too busy right now, you can write this typo on a Post-it Note to remind you to check for it later in the day. (Of course, you should refrain from sticking them on library books.)

(Art Fry, inventor of the Post-it Note, with one on his forehead bearing a picture of a lightbulb, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Elementry (for Elementary)

Today is the birthday of my favorite elementary school teacher and today's typo reminds me of an old joke. (Teacher sends a note home with one of her pupils. It reads: "Junior is trying... Very trying.") I'm not joking when I say there were 16 cases of Elementry in OhioLINK this morning, which makes it a highly trying typo, according to the Ballard list. A quick keyword search in WorldCat returned a hefty 180 hits on this one; I also found three in my own library's catalog. The fix is quite simple, though—dare I say elementary, my dear Watson, or whatever your name may be. If you put an A in the right place, and do it right away, you will definitely earn an A+ from me!

(There is such a thing as too many A's, though, at least in English, if not in the place pictured here... Elementary School in Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh, India. This school is adopted by Aashritha under the 'Paathshaala' project. From Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Backround* (for Background*)

Today's typo is the kind caused by a "silent letter"—in this case, the letter G. We found 34 cases of Backround* in the OhioLINK database, making it a "high probability" typo on the Ballard list. Lewis Hine (1874–1940) was a sociologist and teacher at the Ethical Culture School in New York City. He taught his students how to employ the medium of photography to document social issues, taking them to Ellis Island to photograph the arriving immigrants. In 1907, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, where his pictures proved instrumental in ending the practice of child labor. He eventually came to regard photojournalism as his true vocation and his work was widely displayed. His talent was also put to use by the Red Cross, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Works Progress Administration. The Library of Congress currently holds 5,000 of his photographs; nearly 15,000 more are held by the George Eastman House and the University of Maryland. Sadly, Hine faded into the background toward the end of his life and died in abject poverty and near anonymity. However, if a picture is worth a thousand words, Lewis Hine will never be silent.

("Power house mechanic working on steam pump," 1920, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Hitory, Hitorical (for History, Historical)

Archetypal activist Howard Zinn—author of several openly left-wing, revisionist, consciousness-raising history books—left us for good last week, borne on the wings of fellow writers Louis Auchincloss and J.D. Salinger. Achincloss had been launched into upper-crust Long Island society, and Salinger initially mixed it up in mid-town Manhattan, but Zinn was a Brooklyn boy, the son of working-class Jewish immigrants. His zeal for improving humanity, and his appeal to and love for the young, were as pure and driven as Salinger's were, yet he approached his own life differently, turning toward the masses and taking a hands-on approach to hand-wringing. The "People's Historian" taught political science at Boston University for 24 years and on his last day there ended class early so that he and his students could join a picket line. He was the recipient of many progressive awards—the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award, the Thomas Merton Award, the Eugene V. Debs Award, the Lannan Literary Award, and the Upton Sinclair Award—although he also attracted his share of critics, scolds, and ideological opponents. He was a hit with radicals and a bit rhetorical, adored by the many students and others who both knew and read him throughout the years. (Matt Damon and Ben Affleck were personal friends of his and wangled some product placement for A People's History of the United States in the movie Good Will Hunting.) Rest in peace, Howard Zinn. I hope history repeats itself by giving us lots more people like you. The people's typo for today is Hitory, which appears 15 times in OhioLINK, along with six cases of Hitorical.

(Howard Zinn at Babylonmedia's international anti-authoritarian festival "B-Fest" in Athens, Greece, May 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 1, 2010

Telvis* (for Televis*)

Elvis Presley was very telegenic, but in the last of three appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show, he could only be televised from the waist up, due to outrage on the part of the Catholic Church and various reporters who compared his style to that of "the blond bombshells of the burlesque runway." (Elvis scorned such attempts to rein him in; he even mocked the media by donning a harem outfit for one of his numbers on the show.) The King would have turned 75 last month, but to fans he will always be that hip-swiveling, lip-quivering, boundless ball of sexual energy and doe-eyed vision of post-pubescent pulchritude, which even back then had to be half-imagined. My favorite Elvis lyric goes: "I'm itching like a man on a fuzzy tree." (Go ahead and censor his nether parts if you will—who needs to actually see the fuzzed-out region after being given a phrase like that to chew on?) Elvis was both an audio- and a visual experience. He really knew how to tell it like it is. We found 17 cases of Telvis* locked up in OhioLINK today. Rehabilitate 'em by adding an E for Elvis.

(Screenshot of Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock, 1957, from the Library of Congress and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid