Friday, July 29, 2011

Enginne* (for Engine*, Engineer*)

The Little Engine that could probably couldn't had he been drinking that day. And it's probably best if the engineers stay sober as well. There's even a push right now to ban alcohol consumption on the part of some European train travelers. But rather than getting drunk in order to watch the passing scenery, how much better it would be to watch the intoxicating Ramesh Meyyappan chew up the scenery (in a good way) in one of his highly acclaimed performances in cities all over the world. Meyyappan is a Glasgow-based Singaporean and "multi-faceted theatre practitioner who creates performances using an eclectic mix of visual and physical theatre styles." His 2007 production Gin & Tonic & Passing Trains is based on Charles Dickens’ classic ghost story "The Signalman" and garnered the following review from Singapore's The Flying Inkpot: "Sublime storytelling, pure and simple. Meyyappan out-Dickenses Dickens... Cheeky, magical, sickening." We found 39 cases of Enginne* in OhioLINK and 870 in WorldCat.

(Meyyappan in Gin & Tonic & Passing Trains, from the artist's website.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Repot, Repots, Repoter*, Repoting (Report, Reports, Reporter*, Reporting)

What goes around comes around, and that would appear to apply to both "bogarting the joint" as well as the overall consideration of cannabis as medicine. Medical marijuana is currently legal in 16 states, as well as up in Canada, where our neighbors to the north have been able to freely smoke pot (with a note from their doc) for going on several years now. The old-fashioned "fluid extract" shown to the left is described on the label as an "antispasmodic, sedative, and narcotic." It's also 80% alcohol. I recently heard of a friend of a friend who often enjoys a homemade version of this elixir, but I'd never heard of a major drug company offering such a thing to its customers. Perhaps Eli Lilly should quit manufacturing questionable "antidepressants" such as Prozac and go back to this tried and true tincture made from the world's most well-known mood-elevating plant. There were reports of today's typos occurring a total of 15 times in OhioLINK (and 267, 63, 23, and 16 times apiece in WorldCat). Although there seemed to be some false "hits" among them, it's a typo of pretty "high" probability.

(Label of an Eli Lilly Cannabis Fluid extract bottle, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Offf* (for Office*, Official*, etc.)

A scrappy stray puppy dog, who would come to be known as Owney, wandered into a downtown Albany post office one dark and stormy night in the winter of 1888, or so the story goes. And the story certainly does go. Owney was discovered by some postal employees sleeping on a canvas mail bag and appeared to be quite satisfied with the accommodations. He started stowing away on mail trains, and before long became the "unofficial mascot" of postal workers throughout the country. They adorned him with various "tags, tokens, trinkets, and medals" to commemorate his travels, which in 1895 took him all the way around the world. Although fully a dozen (!) books have been written about him so far, the U.S. Postal Service is making it that much more official today by releasing a postage stamp in Owney's honor. The occasion is being celebrated here in a "day of entertainment with storytellers, Owney videos and Dog Star sightings in the Henry Hudson Planetarium, music by the Owney String Band, an exhibit by the Mohawk & Hudson Humane Society, and a guided walking tour to the former downtown post office that Owney called home." An official count of our typo for the day comes in at 38 in OhioLINK and 524 in WorldCat.

(Photo of Owney in 1897, from the Smithsonian Institution, and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Homesex* (for Homosex*)

Homosexual behavior used to be considered rather outré and usually something you had to leave home in order to engage in. But with the legalization of gay marriage, we've come a long way toward making it as commonplace and pedestrian as the "domestic bliss" that most heteros endure, I mean enjoy. On Sunday, hundreds of gay and lesbian couples were married in New York City after the passage of the Marriage Equality Act on June 24. This made New York the sixth and largest state in the union to legalize the tying of the gay knot. Most same-sexers present a united front in the fight for "marriage equality," but, just like with straight folks, there are bound to be a few ideological holdouts—such as Larry Kramer and Fran Lebowitz. There were three examples of Homesex* in OhioLINK and 44 in WorldCat.

(Marriage of Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon by San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, June 16, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 25, 2011

Martime (for Maritime)

The burning and sinking of the General Slocum, which killed 1,021 people from New York City's Little Germany neighborhood, was the deadliest maritime disaster (unrelated to war) in U.S. history. And, prior to the terrorist attacks on 9/11, the biggest one (in terms of lives that were lost) to ever befall that city. It's been compared to the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911 and the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, but the story of the General Slocum is not nearly as well known. (The former involved exploited immigrant factory workers who had been agitating for labor reforms; and, as Adella Wotherspoon, formerly Adele Liebenow, the youngest survivor of the General Slocum inferno, would later point out: "The Titanic had a great many famous people on it. This was just a family picnic.") It happened on June 15, 1904. The casualties were mainly women and children, all of whom had climbed on board for the 17th annual Sunday school picnic of St. Mark's Evangelical Lutheran Church. They were headed to Long Island on the East River when the paddlewheeler caught on fire, a catastrophe for which the operators were scandalously unprepared. Lifeboats had been wired to the deck and life preservers (illegally weighted to meet certain standards) had virtually turned to dust from disuse. The captain, William H. Van Schaick, made some very poor decisions in the heat of the moment, including ignoring a young boy's cry of alarm for the crucial first ten minutes, then steering the steamboat away from the shore in order, he said, to keep the fire from spreading to nearby buildings and oil tanks. He was later found guilty of criminal negligance (failing to conduct fire drills and maintain fire extinguishers) and served three and a half years of a ten-year sentence in Sing Sing. (He was paroled and then pardoned by President Taft.) There were 21 hits on Martime in OhioLINK and 404 in WorldCat.

(Adele Liebenow, 18 months old, at the dedication of the memorial to the victims of the General Slocum disaster, from the New York Historical Society and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 22, 2011

Robins + Robbins (for Robbins or Robins)

Baskin-Robbins has 31 flavors* and author Tom Robbins has nine novels (plus numerous essays, short stories, and a 2005 collection of such things). His first book was Another Roadside Attraction (1971) and his latest one is called B Is for Beer (2009). Perhaps his most popular work was Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, which was made into a film by his good friend Gus Van Sant in 1993. Today is Tom's birthday; he was born in Blowing Rock (great name!), North Carolina, in 1936. According to Michael Dare, this is how Tom writes: "When he starts a novel, it works like this. First he writes a sentence. Then he rewrites it again and again, examining each word, making sure of its perfection, finely honing each phrase until it reverberates with the subtle texture of the infinite. Sometimes it takes hours. Sometimes an entire day is devoted to one sentence, which gets marked on and expanded upon in every possible direction until he is satisfied. Then, and only then, does he add a period." Without working too hard, we found 60 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK and 474 in WorldCat. While some of these are bound to be false hits (both terms correct in context), the majority would appear to be genuine typos.

*Had, actually; they now boast over 1,000.

(Tom Robbins, September, 24, 2005, in San Francisco, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Rasberr* (for Raspberr*)

My raspberries are off the bush in the backyard now, but raspberry was on the blackboard at the cafe where I ate my lunch yesterday. It was misspelled, however, which is a pretty common mistake, I think, given that the P is sort of "silent." But rather than rudely give the wait staff the old "Bronx cheer"—otherwise known as "blowing a raspberry"—I stayed silent as well, making a mental note to consider this one a candidate for "Typo of the Day." And, like the luscious fruit itself, it proved to be rather a good one! I found 75 examples in OhioLINK this morning, and 492 in WorldCat. (Although, considering that there are eleven surnames in NACO spelled Rasberry, many, if not most of those, are assuredly not typos; when personal names are excluded, the results go down to 25 and 221.) I also found myself curious as to the derivation of the phrase "blowing a raspberry" (or occasionally a "strawberry"). According to Wikipedia, this crude gesture, which basically involves sticking out your tongue and blowing, is known as a "raspberry, rasp, or razz" and was originally an instance of Cockney rhyming slang: "In this case, 'raspberry tart' rhymes with 'fart.' It was first recorded in 1890." Some people believe the term "raspberry" (or "strawberry") has more to do with the look of a partially protruding tongue, or even the red mark left on a baby's tummy (in a variant of this activity), but I wasn't able to verify that theory. The fruit itself is (possibly) called raspberry due to the "raspy" look of its stem.

(Two raspberries on a spoon, 2007, by Pierre Camateros, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Serveral (for Several)

Restaurant servers are usually bound by a dress code, but that code can be more or less bound by propriety. For example, Hooters waitresses (they're always waitresses) are expected to don skimpy attire and show a lot of cleavage. Other wait staff are outfitted more like the several bland and unassuming food servers pictured to your right. (The sketch looks like a pencil doodle of someone's coworkers done on an order pad during a dining lull.) And not to stereotype people here, but, much like librarians, you'll often find these folks with their hair up in a bun, wearing comfortable shoes. (Food for thought, anyway.) We were served 29 portions of our typo du jour in OhioLINK today, and over 500 in WorldCat.

(Drawing of "waiter and waitress dressing" by Vorzinek/F. Cecconi, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Japonese (for Japanese)

The World Cup was on this weekend, but the Japanese women's soccer team was especially on. Widely considered the underdog, from a badly battered country that's just barely begun to recognize (and fund) this kick-ass sport for women, the team known as Nadeshiko—a pink mountain flower in Japan and traditional symbol of femininity there—surprised and thrilled its fans and soccer watchers around the globe when it took home the highest accolade the sport has to offer during the recent finals in Frankfurt, Germany. According to the Albany Times Union: "Back home, their story has bumped baseball and sumo off the sports front pages. 'They're not just playing a soccer game, they're playing to heal a wounded country,' said Tony DiCicco, the U.S. coach of the 1999 World Cup-winning team. 'They have won fans not just in Japan and not just here in Germany, but all over the world.'" Amid all sorts of sports controversies, and depressing news stories in general, it's as utterly nice and unexpected as a hardy pink mountain flower to find a sports team we can all find good reason to root for. We found five instances of Japonese in OhioLINK and 177 in WorldCat.

(A woman reacts as she reads the extra edition of a Japanese newspaper reporting that Japan beat the U.S. in the final match at the Women's Soccer World Cup in Germany, in Tokyo, July 18, 2011. Photograph by Shuji Kajiyama/AP.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 18, 2011

Psycopath* (for Psychopath*)

Many Americans tried to maintain a decorous distance from the tawdry TV that's been constituting the Trial of the Century for the last month or so, but lately it seems that resistance may be futile. Whether you believe there ought to be a law against this kind of coverage, or find it to be a guilty pleasure, at a minimum—like any good prison it's pretty hard to escape. Even that genteel escape from reality shows, Turner Classic Movies, appeared to be giving the "Tot Mom" tale its devilish due, by airing in the wee hours of the morning on Saturday the chilling, campy, and altogether disturbing 1956 horror flick The Bad Seed. I blogged about this film a few months ago, but in the wake of the viral verdict last week down in Florida, it's begging to be brought up all over again, allowed to hog the spotlight just a little bit longer. Patty McCormack plays Rhoda, "a parent's worst nightmare"—one's own child a murderer. Except, of course, for that other worst nightmare, the murder of one's own child. Nancy Kelly and Eileen Heckart exquisitely portray this excruciating equivalence as the two grieving mothers striving to get a kernel of truth out of the Bad Seed. The movie's sugar-coated tension mounts inexorably to a climax, but the final moment is arguably its best—a denouement comprising humor, humanity, and, ironically enough, the only instance of "violence" depicted on-screen throughout the entire film. There was evidence of nine cases of Psycopath* in OhioLINK and 142 in WorldCat.

(Warner Bros. poster of The Bad Seed, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reidight

Friday, July 15, 2011

Jospeh* (for Joseph*)

Not everyone was a fan of Samuel Richardson's Pamela or its far weightier companion, Clarissa (published in 1748 and considered to be the longest novel in the English language), but fellow novelist Henry Fielding did something about it. In both the satirical "pamphlet" Shamela as well as the novel Joseph Andrews, he pokes furious fun at what Wikipedia calls "the stylistic failings and moral hypocrisy that Fielding saw in Richardson’s Pamela." The eponymous Joseph is Pamela's brother and male doppelgänger, forced to fend off the aggressive advances of the opposite sex until he finally receives his own romantic reward. Fielding took some inspiration from Cervantes' Don Quixote and termed his novel a "comic epic-poem in prose." We found 209 cases of Jospeh* in OhioLINK and over 3,000 in WorldCat, making today's typo one of very "high probability" on the Ballard list.

(Frontispiece etching of Henry Fielding from a 1920 edition of The History of the Life of the Late Mr Jonathan Wild the Great and A Journey from this World to the Next, by William Hogarth, first published in 1762, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Pamplet*, Pamphet* (for Pamphlet*)

Topping 800 pages, Pamela, or Virtue Rewarded, by Samuel Richardson, is quite a bit more than a pamphlet. It's considered the first "epistolary novel" (comprising a series of letters), a genre that became popular after the publication of this book in 1740. Pamela, although not exactly a nymphet (fifteen years old at the time of her employ), is a very "comely" lass, for whom the work of defending her virginity proves rather more arduous than her assigned household tasks. We got 44 hits on Pamplet* in OhioLINK and 18 on Pamphet* (with a corresponding 1,166 and 271 in WorldCat). However, I suspect there are some false positives (names, foreign words) in there, especially among that 1000+ group. If you'll take the time today to find and correct these typographical errors in your own catalog, your efforts should be appreciated by your employer. In any event, virtuous spelling is its own reward.

(Illustration from Pamela: or, Virtue rewarded, in a series of Familiar Letters from a Beautiful Young Damsel to her Parents, by Samuel Richardson, 1741, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Natrual* (for Natural*)

"Frack" sounds like a minced oath for what a lot of New Yorkers would like to tell the energy flacks to go do to themselves. In fact, the word fracking is short for "fracturing," the questionable means used to extract natural gas from underground shale reserves. Naturally, it's a far cry from natural. Hydraulic fracturing, or hydrofracking, uses close to 750 chemicals in the process (pains have been taken to hide exactly which chemicals those are) and some victims of the practice claim their water is now unpotable and in some cases even inflammable! This is the inflamed viewpoint of Gasland, the acclaimed 2010 documentary by Josh Fox. Natural gas deposits are located in many states (fracking currently occurs in 34 of them); the most extensive of these in New York State is the Marcellus Shale. We drilled down and dug up 14 cases of Natrual* in OhioLINK today and 173 in WorldCat.

(New York State Assemblymembers Robert Castelli and Steve Katz call for a moratorium on hydraulic fracturing in the Croton Watershed, October 2010, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Brids (for Birds, Brides, etc.)

These swooning swans look as if they're about to tie the knot, but it's hard to tell which bird is the bride. Some winged creatures like to play the field, while others are more famously monogamous. In general, swans tend to mate for life, although "divorce" is not unknown among the Ugly Duckling crowd. In any case, they do look rather bridal, being all swan-necked and dressed in white, whereas another LTR species, the penguin, looks very much like a tuxedoed groom. For the sake of faithfulness, I suppose it doesn't hurt that they're "flightless." (Actually, swans are only earthbound for a month or so each year during molting season; penguins, on the other hand, are thoroughly pedestrian.) We found nine examples of Brids in the OhioLINK database, about half of which were for the birds. These included two instances of Brides (as in St. Bride's Church, London) and two where Brids was a personal surname. There were also over 100 hits in WorldCat. If you get too many in your own search for today's typo, try pairing it with Birds. Going this route, we ended up with three in OhioLINK and 32 in WorldCat.

("Lovebirds—two swans (of many in the vicinity) get up close and personal," by Steve Partridge, 2007, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 11, 2011

Flim* + Film* (for Film*)

On July 11, 1895, the Lumière Brothers illuminated for a group of scientists the latest innovations of film technology. Auguste and Louis Lumière were arguably the first filmmakers in history; according to the prevailing view, they invented cinema for the masses. Born in Besançon, France, in 1862 and 1864, the Lumières had appeared destined to work in the field of photography. (In accordance with the expression nomen est omen, or "the name is a sign," lumière means "light" in French.) After attending the largest technical school in Lyon, the brothers went to work in a photographic firm, the family business of their father, Claude-Antoine Lumière, a former portrait painter. Auguste managed the books and Louis, who was a physicist, developed some notable improvements to the dry-plate process involved in still photography. After their father retired, the brothers branched out and began exploring the possibilities of moving pictures. Their most important invention was the cinematograph, a combination camera, projector, and developer. The first footage shot with it, on March 19, 1895, was entitled Sortie des Usines Lumière à Lyon (Workers Leaving the Lumière Factory in Lyon). The Lumière Brothers passed away in 1954 and 1948, while the old dark house full of light that the two of them had shared for years faded to black around 1970. We found 42 cases of Flim* + Film* in OhioLINK and 529 in WorldCat.

(Auguste and Louis Lumière, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 8, 2011

Weater (for Weather)

A haboob was visited upon Phoenix, Arizona, recently, and if you aren't familiar with that marvelous Arabic word, it means "strong wind" or "phenomenon" and refers to a sandstorm (or dust storm), something that troubles the Middle East a lot more often than it does the United States. I once visited a local museum with a very young relative who I found at one point stalled on a marble bench with a bemused expression on his face. He'd been staring at a painting and wondering about the caption. "What," he inquired intently as I came back around the corner, "is a dust bowl again?" He was probably picturing his cereal bowl at home gathering dust instead of Wheaties, which really didn't match what he was seeing on the wall. It's hard to imagine seeing much of anything at all while in the midst of a haboob, but the Arizona drivers I saw on TV seemed to be almost taking it in stride. Whether or not that's true, it takes all kinds of weather to make the world go 'round. There were seven instances of today's typo in OhioLINK and 56 in WorldCat.

(Dust storm approaching Stratford, Texas, April 18, 1935, from the NOAA George E. Marsh Album, and Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Saftey (for Safety)

For safety's sake, bicycle riders are often encouraged (and, in some cases, required by law) to wear helmets for protection. Some folks even suggest you don special shoes, shorts, gloves, and so on when going out for a spin. But in one vacation package designed with the sentimental cyclist in mind, such modern-day contrivances are frankly frowned upon in favor of more old-fashioned fare. (If you bring a "rain cape," which it seems you should, "make sure it smells of musty canvas.") The Lake Pepin Tour is described as an "All-English and Lyra-Free Event." Essentially, it's a leisurely "time travel" back to Victorian England whilst cruising the countryside of rural Minnesota, the "Land of Ten Thousand Lakes." (Lake Pepin is where Laura Ingalls Wilder visited with her family in the book Little House in the Big Woods. The lake also lays claim to a "monster" named Pepie.) The stated goal of said bike tour is: "Reviving the heart and soul of fine English cycling, one pastry at a time." We turned up 63 cases of the typo Saftey in the OhioLINK database and 510 in WorldCat. It's probably safe to say you'll find some along the way today in your own travels as well.

(A c.1890 Humber Safety bicycle, now in the collections of the London Science Museum, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Postiv* (for Positive)

I'm not absolutely positive about this (some may be correctly spelled foreign words, variant spellings, etc.), but I'm pretty sure there were 35 instances of today's typo in OhioLINK this morning. We also got close to 800 hits in WorldCat; some, however, are undoubtedly not for the typo in question. For example, postivaras, which is Finnish for "mail storage" and possibly poštivci, which appears to have something to do with postcards in Polish. You'll have to be careful with this one and go directly to the source if you're not entirely certain what word you're dealing with. The word positive generally has pretty positive connotations, with the notable exception of the way in which it can sometimes signify the dreaded presence of HIV/AIDS. Playwright and gay activist Larry Kramer learned that he was HIV positive in 1988, but he hasn't succumbed to the disease and continues to actively crusade on the issue. You may get some false positives in your catalog search today, or even find that this one's gone viral, but if you keep a positive outlook, you should be able to eradicate a fair number of these typos.

(Larry Kramer in 2010, by David Shankbone, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Salavation* (for Salvation*)

The Salvation Army was founded on July 5, 1865, by former Methodist minister William Booth and his wife Catherine. Originating in London's East End, the Salvation Army soon became widely known for its opposition to drinking and as a refuge for the poor. Basically a Protestant church with a metaphorically militaristic bent, the Army remains rather predictably pro-life and anti-gay. However, it has long permitted the ordination of women and is said to employ the "Three S's" in serving the "down and outs": first soup, then soap, then salvation. The charitable organization enjoys a longstanding popularity with the public and is associated, for the most part, with brass bands, red kettles, thrift shops, and Christmas. It plays a featured role in the 1955 movie Guys and Dolls (based on the 1950 Broadway musical), starring Jean Simmons as a New York City Salvation Army officer primly salivating over the sinful souls of Frank Sinatra, Marlon Brando, and Vivian Blaine. I also caught a few minutes of Major Barbara, the 1941 film from the play by George Bernard Shaw, on TCM this morning. (It seems that there are actually quite a few films in which the Salvation Army plays a part.) There were six, I tell you, six cases of Salavation* in OhioLINK—and 31 in WorldCat—today, brothers and sisters! Repent your misspellings and all your typographical errors, and come to know salvation.

("A man may be down but he's never out!" Home Service Fund Campaign/Salvation Army poster, May 19-26, 1919, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, July 4, 2011

Lettt* (for Letter, etc.)

July 4th is obviously, well, the Fourth of July, but today's date also marks another bit of true Americana, the birthday of identical twin sisters and professional advice givers "Ann Landers" and "Abigail Van Buren." Born Pauline Esther Friedman and Esther Pauline Friedman in 1918, "Popo" and "Eppie" were the only children of Russian-Jewish immigrants in Sioux City, Iowa. Eppie Lederer died of bone cancer in 2002 after having refused treatment for the disease. Her ex-husband had passed away three years earlier. (In 1975, Lederer wrote: "The sad, incredible fact is that, after 36 years of marriage, Jules and I are being divorced." She received 30,000 condolence letters in response.) After her death, sex columnist Dan Savage ("Savage Love") purchased Eppie Lederer's desk. Pauline Phillips is still with us, although currently suffering from Alzheimer's disease; her daughter Jeanne continues to write the column "Dear Abby." While it seemed as though Abby and Ann could never have too many letters, the word letter* itself certainly can. There were 19 examples of Lettter* (and 21 of Lettt*) opened up in OhioLINK this morning.

(Esther Pauline Friedman Lederer, better known as "Ann Landers," by Fred Palumbo, World Telegram photographer, 1961, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, July 1, 2011

Hourse* (for Horse*, House*, Hours*)

I was sitting in the house, in the wee hours of the morning, watching some fine old horse footage in a Roy Rogers-Dale Evans flick recently with a visiting relative. It was a bit more nostalgic for her than it was for me, since I'm not sure I'd ever actually sat through of one before, either on TV or in the movie theater. But it was kind of interesting. I got to see the "Singing Cowboy" sing, Roy's "pal" Trigger get born, and what the fans obviously saw in Dale. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans were married for over fifty years (they managed to have nine children between them, both together and with other people); along with their Palomino horse Trigger and German Shepherd dog, Bullet, the couple appeared in over a hundred cowboy movies, plus the Roy Rogers Show on television. The typo Hourse* (for either Horse*, Hours*, or House*) appears 16 times in OhioLINK. Many more happy trails of this typo are surely to be found in WorldCat as well.

(Publicity photo of Dale Evans for Argentinean Magazine, May 1944, from Wikmedia Commons.)

Carol Reid