Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Bamk* (for Bank*)

A friend recently told me about the time that Redbank, a bank located mostly in New Jersey, opened an office in Long Branch. He added: "The article I read about this asked whether we could call it the Long Branch branch of the Redbank bank." I just glanced down at the op-ed page in our local newspaper and saw the headline: "Savings buildings saves city's history." I'm pretty sure that first word should be saving—unless the buildings they're talking about are savings banks, and in that case, you'd still have to change the word "saves" to "save." Unfortunately, I couldn't find a decent typo for savings to save my life, but I thought maybe I could bank on banking instead. Not exactly a treasure trove there, either, but I did eventually find five cases of Bamk* in OhioLINK (two of which were possibly correctly spelled personal names) and 302 in WorldCat. You might make sussing this one out a bit easier by doing separate searches on Bamks and Bamking. There were nine hits each on both of those in WorldCat, but let's face it, this is not a particularly rich typo, nor one that will probably garner a lot of interest. But should you happen to find one of these in your own library's catalog, it would certainly be worth making a withdrawal. Which is apparently what the characters in the 1895 play The War of Wealth were attempting to do in a "run on the bank" following the Panic of 1893.

(Poster for The War of Wealth by Charles Turner Dazey, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 29, 2012

Technolob* (for Technolog*)

Today's typo was lobbed across my desk this morning when a coworker returned a printout of a record I'd created, pointing out that I had misspelled technology as Technoloby. "Reminds me of a wallaby," she said laughing (if not quite kicking me while I was down). Wallabies, much like their similar-looking kangaroo cousins, are basically low-tech, but very well-designed, with built-in pouches for carrying their young. Oddly enough, according to Wikipedia, "a wallaby is any of about thirty species of Macropodidae family. It is an informal designation generally used for any macropod that is smaller than a kangaroo or wallaroo that has not been designated otherwise." Various types of wallabies go by lots of different descriptors: Purple-necked, Red-legged, White-striped, Yellow-footed, Short-eared, and so on. And while virtually all of them would seem to be agile, dusky, and unadorned, there are a few that actually have those traits incorporated into their very names. I especially love the alliterative way that the Wild Whiptail Wallaby is also called the "Pretty-Faced Wallaby." There were three cases of Technolob* found in OhioLINK today, and 49 in WorldCat.

(Wild Whiptail Wallaby/Pretty-Faced Wallaby, or Macropus parryi), at the road from Canungra to Lamington National Park, Queensland, Australia, March 2, 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eliane + Elaine (for Elaine or Eliane)

I probably shouldn't like Elia Kazan. After all, he "named names" to the House Un-American Activities Committee and I'm so not down with that. I love folks who fearlessly stick up for the First Amendment and the right to freely "associate." I also have a bit of a soft spot for those fun-loving pre-Stalinist so-called "Commies" like Woody Guthrie and Jessica Mitford. I even maintain a tenuous connection to one of the Hollywood Ten. (Very tenuous.) Nevertheless, I do like Elia Kazan. His films (A Streetcar Named Desire, On the Waterfront, East of Eden, Splendor in the Grass, Gentleman's Agreement, Death of a Salesman, etc.) are truly extraordinary; and while it's hard to say whether his actions before the committee were motivated out of ideological principle, the irresistable desire to keep on working, a personal betrayal of sorts, or some combination thereof, there's something in it that begs for respect. And more than half a century later, Hollywood (though there remained a handful of stone-faced dissenters) appears to have felt the same way. Kazan was accorded an honorary Oscar for lifetime achievement in 1999; Stanley Kubrick called him "the best director we have in America"; and Martin Scorsese made an admiring documentary called A Letter to Elia in 2010. Despite the divisive politics of the 1950s, the controversial director's body of work (its essential liberalism and humanity) speaks for itself. There were 20 instances of today's typo in OhioLINK and around 200 in WorldCat. (Searching on Eliane alone may bring up some misspelled instances of Elaine as well, but that can be a properly spelled name in its own right. There were 526 cases of Eliane in OhioLINK and "too many records found for your search" in WorldCat.)

(Elia Kazan, full-length portrait, standing before bookshelves at Brentano's bookstore, by World Journal Tribune photographer James Kavallines, 1967, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Scared + Sacred (for Sacred or Scared)

I was reading an account recently of a young girl's supposed encounter with a sasquatch (aka bigfoot) at an Oklahoma summer camp in 1977. She wrote that prior to the incident she had been lying awake in her cabin because she was "sacred of thunderstorms." Clearly, she meant scared, but apparently a little thunder and lightning were the least of her worries that night. It's often said, "Is nothing is sacred?" but in fact there are many things dubbed thusly, notwithstanding our often secular society: everything from sacred texts and sacred cows to hearts and flowers, dogs and cats, birds and bees (or close enough), and even such seemingly sacrilegious things as performance artist/sex worker Annie Sprinkle's Neo-Sacred Prostitute. While searching for today's typo in all the wrong places, I came across a poem by the Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye called "Scared, Scarred, Sacred," which I suspect is how most of us tend to go through life. Regardless of wherever we happen to be, existence is really just one great big unknown. Or as another title I turned up would have it: Wilderness: Scared of the Sacred. There were 27 cases of Scared + Sacred in OhioLINK this morning, 18 of which involved legitimate errors. WorldCat returned 207 matches; presumably 100 or so of these were typos for either sacred or scared. Today's picture is of the scary/sacred spot in western New York where Joseph Smith, the Mormon prophet, claims he had a vision. Interestingly enough, Utah is a hot spot for both Mormons and Bigfoot sightings.

(Photograph of the Sacred Grove, where Joseph Smith, Jr. had his first vision in 1820, by George Edward Anderson, circa 1907, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 22, 2012

Apatmen* (for Apartmen*)

In Billy Wilder's 1960 tour de force, The Apartment, Shirley MacLaine plays an adorably gamine depressive and Jack Lemmon a pencil-pushing mensch, both of them caught between a boss and a heart place. In a world of gray-flannel-suited mad men, these two are testament to the ultimate power of simple humanity and love. Following on the hilarious heels of the sizzling Some Like It Hot, released in 1959, Wilder pulled off an amazing feat with another unforgettable classic: The Apartment ranks at #80, and its predecessor #22, on the American Film Institute's "100 greatest American movies of all time." Today's typo was found twice in OhioLINK and 11 times in WorldCat. You may or may not find it in your own little cubicle, but either way, shut up and deal.

(Screenshot of Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacLaine in the trailer for The Apartment, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 19, 2012

Mountin + Mountain* (for Mountain*)

Annie Smith Peck was born on October 19, 1850, in Providence, Rhode Island, and died on July 18, 1935, in New York City. But despite starting out and ending up in relative flatlands, she spent most of her life climbing mountains. Born into a wealthy and rather forward-thinking family, Peck got off on a good foot, attending schools in Rhode Island, Michigan, Germany, and Greece. During the 1880s and early '90s, she taught archaeology and Latin at Purdue University and Smith College. As she continued traveling the globe giving lectures, she eventually found her true calling, and at the age of 35 began mountaineering in earnest, scaling Mount Shasta, the Matterhorn, and other impressive heights. She seemed to especially enjoy South America; in 1928 the northern peak of Peru's Mount Nevada Huascarán was named Cumbre Aña Peck in her honor. Today's typo is one letter shy of a mountain, with six showing up in OhioLINK and 61 in WorldCat.

(Hassan Cigarette Trading card showing Annie Smith Peck, 1911, from Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Concumer* (for Consumer*)

Are you a consumer of cucumbers? I like the phallic-looking veggies well enough myself, but I used to eat more of them when I lived with several roommates who all enjoyed tossed salad for dinner. At the time, we also shared quarters with a clowder (!) of cats and I would notice that whenever I peeled cucumbers, my sweet little feline Alfalfa would quickly come running. I finally offered him a plate full of cucumber peels to see if he would put his money where his mouth was. He did. I actually had to intervene after a few minutes since I didn't want him to end up with a distended belly full of green wax and fiber. Cucumber is a gourd, originally from India, and today comes in a wide variety of cultivars. One is even officially called "Burpless," implying that here's a cucumber that won't give you gas. I never actually had to burp my cuke-craving kitty, but I probably could have if I had wanted to. One of his most amazing qualities was his ability to hang upside down, or draped over my shoulder, completely relaxed, like a rag doll. Here's to the awesome Alfalfa as well as the totally cool cucumber. There were two of these in OhioLINK this morning, and 23 in WorldCat. A "low probability" typo on the Ballard list, this one is a relatively easy pickle to get out of.

("Dogs like cucumbers & cucumbers like dogs," 2 August 2004, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 15, 2012

Interupt* (for Interrupt*)

We interrupt our program for this special report (numerous things have conspired to slow down production lately), but we'll be right back after a short non-commercial break. Typo of the Day shall be posting intermittently for a while until we eventually settle into a (most likely) 3x-a-week publication schedule. In the meantime, here's a little brain teaser for you. How many words end in rupt? I could only think of three off the top of my head: disrupt, erupt, and interrupt. Can you come up with any more? (Hint: there are ten of them.) There were also nine occurences of Interupt* in OhioLINK today, and 278 in WorldCat. Okay, gotta go swim in some other circles now. See you soon!

(Chaetodon interruptus, by Xavier Romero-Frias, 1991, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 12, 2012

Contining (for Continuing)

People who pursue what's known as "continuing education" are often independent thinkers, audodidacts of a sort, driven to seek out learning in a way that's different from the mass exodus out of high school and into college that most younger students experience. So if, in an attempt to drum up class solidarity, your teachers try and tell you that "there's no U in continuing," you'll just have to speak up and correct them: Indeed there is. (Although twelve records in OhioLINK and 200 in WorldCat would seem to want to argue otherwise.) But listen, when you're right, you're right, even if you're the only one. Please continue to keep up the good work by correcting today's typo in your own library's catalog.

(Pinus tabuliformis, foliage and cone, Beijing, China, by Shang Ning, 18 January 2009, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Princple* (Principle*)

The other night during a Scrabble game, while looking up a word in the dictionary, I serendipitously discovered that the word pistache means a sort of green. Pistachios are sometimes dyed red or green in order to increase their eye appeal, but the so-called nuts themselves (they're actually seeds or "drupes") can appear slightly green or even reddish in nature as well. The largest American source of pistachios is California, but the biggest producer in the world is Iran. Pistachios are grown and enjoyed all over, however, and actually look to be pretty pleased with themselves, if the tendency known as pareidolia has anything to do with it. (Another nut-like example of this is the little bearded man you can see if you carefully split apart the two halves of a peanut.) According to Food Editorials: "Pistachios are joyful. In China people refer to them as 'happy nuts' while in Iran they are known as 'smiling nuts.' Middle Easterners call the pistachio the 'smiling pistachio.' In these countries, if you hear the pistachios shells opening on a tree while you are resting beneath it, it is considered good luck..." Pistachios are also unique in that they can be roasted and salted while still in the shell. Though it's possible to buy them already shucked (probably the best way to observe their natural green color), I've often thought it just as well that they generally come in those little beige shells (which can then be saved and used for any number of things, including craft projects and slug deterrents in the garden), if for no other reason than that it inhibits overeating. (Especially if you're as nuts about nuts as I am). In fact, in 2008 Dr. James Painter of Eastern Illiniois University came up with something called the Pistachio Principle, which basically says that "the act of shelling and eating pistachios one by one slows one's consumption, allowing one to feel full faster after having eaten less." Getting back to whether or not the word pistache means the color of a pistachio (or is even an English word at all), I actually couldn't find much confirmation of that beyond the dictionary I consulted the other night at a friend's house. But marginal though it may be, I like the word anyway; it's like pastiche with the first two vowels reversed. Which puts me in mind of the movie Great Expectations with Ethan Hawke. That film had so many shades of green in it (a veritable pastiche of pistache) that upon seeing it in the theater in 1998, my friend and I thereafter dubbed it "Green Expectations." There were 25 cases of Princple* found in OhioLINK today, and 157 in WorldCat.

(Pistachio Tree at Château Noir, by Paul Cezanne, at the Art Institute of Chicago, courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 8, 2012

Agengy, Agengies (for Agency, Agencies)

The mighty Genghis Khan was the grandfather of Kublai Khan, the eponymous subject of the Samuel Taylor Coleridge dream-poem that begins, "In Xanadu did Kubla Khan a stately pleasure dome decree..." and then just gets better from there. In the twelfth century A.D., Genghis Khan showed great agency in the founding of the Mongol Empire, which became the "largest contiguous empire in history after his demise." Perhaps the most resonant words in the vibratingly vivid Kubla Khan are those recurring "sunny pleasure domes with caves of ice," which& appear to be reflected in the beautiful Kazakhstani coin pictured above. Whether you work for a stately government agency or a more privately owned dome of pleasure, you can always extend its empire a little bit further by keeping your typos in check. Agengy was found 16 times in OhioLINK, and Agengies twice, whereas WorldCat turned them up 89 and 20 times apiece.

(Reverse commemorative 100 Tenge coin depicting "Chingiz Khan," 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, October 5, 2012

Manly + Manley (for Manley or Manly)

A yard is a terrible thing to waste, and every summer I watch as the epic battle of Grass versus Crabgrass, Clover versus Purslane, and all the other warring weeds in between takes place out on the patchy plot of sandy dirt behind my house. I sigh as the flowers I've tried to grow shrivel up in the sun and fade in the shade. And I vow to do better at this next year. But then all is forgiven and forgotten for a time as the entire yard becomes blanketed in yellow, brown, and orange leaves from the rapidly denuded trees that are hovering nearby. One of the first poems I remember studying in high school (and the very first one I chose to memorize during a recent attempt to commit a variety of them to heart) was called "Spring & Fall: To a Young Child" by Gerard Manley Hopkins: "Margaret, are you grieving / Over Goldengrove unleaving? / Leaves, like the things of man, you / With your fresh thoughts care for, can you? / Ah! as the heart grows older / It will come to such sights colder / By and by, nor spare a sigh / Though worlds of wanwood leafmeal lie; / And yet you wíll weep and know why..." I love that word, leafmeal. (What do health-conscious caterpillars eat for breakfast? Answer: Leafmeal!) I noticed bags full of leaves (soon to be turned into a sort of "leafmeal" by the city, and eventually into compost for the community gardeners next year) lined up along the streets this morning, waiting to be picked up with the weekly trash and recycling. Somehow it all seems rather sad, and makes me want to skip right over winter and pick up again in the spring. "... Now no matter, child, the name: / Sorrow's springs are the same. / Nor mouth had, no nor mind, expressed / What heart heard of, ghost guessed: / It is the blight man was born for, / It is Margaret you mourn for." There were 29 cases of today's combination typo in OhioLINK, and 210 in WorldCat. Some of them were false positives; some had or probably should have had an explanatory "sic" or "i.e." on them; some involved antiquated titles that may have included personal names written differently on the work itself than on the authorized headings in NACO. And then there was one record where I wasn't quite sure whether we were dealing with typos or wordplay: A Queer Chivalry: The Homoerotic Asceticism of Gerard Manley Hopkins, including chapter headings such as "Queer Courtship: Veiled Eros in a Manly Craft" and "Manly Beauty: A Solace and a Scourge."

(Young British poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Manuscrip, Manuscrips (for Manuscript, Manuscripts)

Most people who go into their doctor's office come out with a prescription, or "scrip" for short. Sometimes this word is wrongly rendered as "script," but that's a term better reserved for the ubiquitous Big Pharma commercials you see on television all the time, most of them ending with the ludicrous injunction: "Ask your doctor if [this latest drug] is right for you!" Fortunately, my own doctor is not the sort to hand out little purple pills (or any other kind of medication) like candy. Instead, he encourages lifestyle changes (along with natural supplements, detox programs, and anti-inflammatory diets) to encourage your body to heal itself. I recently saw a documentary, sponsored by one of the two alternative health centers in town, entitled Escape Fire; it explored the reasons why our American health care system is such a tragic mess and how it might be turned around. After the film there was a Q&A with local practitioners and college professors; author Richard Kirsch (Fighting for Our Health); and a representative from the progressive supermarket chain Safeway. I really recommend this film, along with another one I've heard good things about called Doctored. There was an amazing moment in Escape Fire in which a young veteran who'd fought in Afghanistan held up a plastic bag and dumped out all the prescription pill bottles he had amassed while on tour. Dozens of the little orange bastards skittered across the floor. He was eventually able to get off of them and dramatically reduce his pain (both physical and psychological) through the use of meditation and acupuncture, treatments now offered as part of standard care at Walter Reed Hospital. The typos Manuscrip and Manuscrips were found eight and twelve times apiece in OhioLINK, and 172/192 times in WorldCat.

(Lahainaluna Seminary, Hawaii scrip notes, from Flickr.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Statisic* (for Statistic*)

It has just dawned on me that when I report the incidence of these typos in OhioLINK and WorldCat, I may not be providing you with entirely consistent statistics. It looks like most of the time OhioLINK is set for "all" language records, whereas my WorldCat search is generally limited to English-only. However, I'm not even sure that that's always the case. Yes, statistics can be maddening, as Mark Twain once pointed out ("There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics"), but let's not worry too much about it. (Perhaps a better record to set straight is the one regarding the quote itself, which Twain indeed popularized, but attributed to British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli. This supposed fact, however, is also in dispute.) These typo stats often vary from day to day, anyway, and by bringing them up at all I am simply trying to give you a sense of their relative probability in your own databases. Statisic* is found 30 times in OhioLINK, and 450 times in WorldCat, making it a typo of "high probability."

(Mark Twain, perhaps assessing his odds in a game of billiards with Louise Paine, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Bulltin* (for Bulletin*)

Like yesterday's blog topic, People Will Talk, another "socially conscious" film I saw recently contains its own share of cinematic bon mots. Frank Capra's Meet John Doe opens with a construction worker chiseling the letters off the stone edifice of the town newspaper building ("The Bulletin—A free press means a free people") and replacing them with the spruced-up motto: "The New Bulletin—a streamlined newspaper for a streamlined era." (Sounds familiar, doesn't it?) Barbara Stanwyck plays Ann Mitchell, a reporter with an eye for gold and a heart of same, who contrives to save her job at the downsizing Bulletin by cooking up an appealingly desperate "Everyman" in order to goose the paper's circulation. She decides to write a fictional letter to the editor from an out-of-work "John Doe" who threatens to commit suicide on Christmas Eve. Her plan seems to work (the readers are intrigued), so she decides to milk it some more by finding an actual person to play the part. When she gets a gander at tall drink of water Gary Cooper ("Long John Willoughby," a former baseball player and now a "bum"), the search is over and the plot thickens. In one notable scene, Cooper gives what's got to be the best virtual spanking in all of classic movie history by managing to "whack" Stanwyck repeatedly without ever laying a hand on her. (It's just a dream.) This film is sort of half comedy, half drama, half satire. And it's probably not giving too much away to say that it ends with Miss Mitchell, her man, and The People all vowing to live freely and happily ever after. (Capra was so dissatisfied with the ending, however, that four different ones were test-screened before an audience and the film was actually altered post-release after he received an especially urgent letter from a fan.) News bulletin: there were five examples of this typo uncovered in OhioLINK today, and 140 in WorldCat.

(Walter Brennan, Gary Cooper, Irving Bacon, Barbara Stanwyck, and James Gleason in Meet John Doe, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, October 1, 2012

Uncoventional (for Unconventional)

I just watched a 1951 film called People Will Talk, starring Cary Grant and Jeanne Crain. Grant plays his usual playfully gallant, almost indifferently gorgeous good guy, in this case an unconventional (what nowadays might be termed "holistic") doctor who treats his patients with humanity, conversation, and compassion. This unorthodox approach, of course, almost gets him run out of town on a rail. (Actually, this almost happened in the small town he previously worked in as well, when the residents became alarmed to discover he had a medical degree.) The movie is supposedly based on a true story and is a remake of the 1950 German film Frauenarzt Dr. Prätorius, itself based on a play by Curt Goetz. Director Joseph L. Mankiewicz has said the movie reflects his own experience with McCarthyism. This is most clearly conveyed during a scene in which the good doctor is interrogated in a professional misconduct hearing at the medical school where he works. According to a review on the CinemaForever website, People Will Talk addresses other social issues as well, such as the pregnancy of an unmarried woman, the "corrosive effect of unfettered capitalism [and] the human cost of the Korean war, among others." "Did it ever occur to you, Shunderson," the doctor asks his mysteriously shambolic, shaman-like sidekick, while standing in front of an anatomy class, "that skeletons always laugh? Now, why? Why should a man die and then laugh for the rest of eternity?" That's a good question, Dr. Praetorius, but in the meantime, we shouldn't have to simply grin and bear it when it comes to fixing today's typo, which occurs six times in OhioLINK, and 72 times in WorldCat.

(Poster for People Will Talk, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid