Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Dowtown* (for Downtown*)

Dowtown might make a good moniker for the money-grubbing Wall Street, home to the Dow Industrial Average and located in downtown Manhattan. Uptown, downtown, big town, small town—bankers have never exactly been anybody's favorite folks, regardless of the redemptive fantasy of perennial favorites like It's a Wonderful Life. Like the Lord Himself, they giveth and they taketh away. Whether haughty or dowdy, their intent is the same. And once they get their hands on your dough, they hate to let go. Despite all the interest earned, however, I can't say I find it all that interesting. Though you might find it intriguing to know that when your money's in a bank, it belongs more to them than it does to you. Dowtown* was found five times in OhioLINK, and 172 times in WorldCat.

(Reginald Gray's 2007 The Banker, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 25, 2013

Humami* (for Humani*)

The Bob Dylan line "My sense of humanity has gone down the drain" (from the song "Not Dark Yet") once gave rise to a hilarious mondegreen: "My sensitive manatee has gone down the drain." According to a friend and Dylan fan, "that would have to be one really small manatee or one really big drain." (Dylan famously doesn't publish his lyrics upon an album's release and my friend intimates that he isn't necessarily above having engineered such a deliberately manateed mishearing; however, another fan, William Routhier, clearly claims it as his own.) A manatee is also what some sensitive sailors and overly gullible TV watchers might take for a mermaid, though the Animal Planet's fishy mockumentary "Mermaids: The Body Found" would beg to differ. One probably true thing about this otherwise work of fiction is the deleterious effect of Navy sonar testing on our ocean's wildlife. Let's all get in touch with our humanity and help keep animals like whales, seals, and manatees from going down the drain. There were five instances of Humami* in OhioLINK today, and 71 in WorldCat.

(Manatee, Columbus zoo, Ohio, February 19, 2005, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 22, 2013

Meting* + Meetin*, Meeting* + Metin* (for Meeting* or Meting*)

Apparently, the word metin means "text" in Turkish; therefore, I believe the caption to this picture refers to the epigraph on the statue, which loosely, if in a rather fanciful fashion, translates to: "Yurdanur Iskitler, swans sculpture park opposite the water fairies dance." This is one work of art I'd sort of like to meet, even if actual swans and fairies happened to be afoot. I love it when ugly ducklings turn out to be swans, and when fairies are not ugly names for graceful men, but little winged ballerinas flying through the air (sometimes but not always the same thing). Meting* + Meetin* garners five hits in OhioLINK and 242 in WorldCat. Meeting* + Metin* gets six and 99. Just Meting* alone produces 127 records in OhioLINK and "too many" to display in WorldCat, but many of the hoped-for "typos" in this case are probably proper names or, conceivably, the gerund form of the verb "to mete." For some reason, I get zero hits in OhioLINK on Meeting* + Met* (is "met" some sort of unknown Boolean operator or something??), though meting out an extra i to the second component yields 28. These results proved unsatisfying as well, however, revealing words like metier, meticulous, metidja, the Indian tribe Métis, etc. Swan that note, and fair[l]y or not, I'll leave it to you to figure out if such things exist in your own catalogs, and daydream instead over walks in the park and other happy thoughts on this late-winter, almost-spring day.

(Metin Yurdanur'un Kavaklıdere, kuğulu park karşısındaki su perilerinin dansı heykeli, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Norteast* (for Northeast*)

I cataloged an audit report recently for a town in New York called North East. And as if the name itself weren't amusing enough, Wikipedia tells us, under "Communities and locations in North East," that Northeast (one word, a different place) is "a location southwest of Northeast Center" and that Northeast Center is "a hamlet southwest of Millerton." Okaaay. As a coworker wryly observed: "You can't get there from here." All of these vaguely northeastern-y southwestern-ish places are situated in Dutchess County, a lovely section of upstate New York, including Hyde Park, the home of FDR, and Poughkeepsie at its center. The town of North East is apparently, at least in some directions, a little fancier than one might expect, given its cut-rate sounding name and higglety-pigglety seeming geographic positioning. This picture shows where the rich folk appear to reside, in the town's "historic district." I'm not sure I could locate North East if I had a compass taped to my forehead, but I did find six cases of today's typo in the OhioLINK database, and 124 in WorldCat.

(Hiddenhurst estate, a contributing property to the Coleman Station Historic District in the Town of North East, south of Millerton, NY, 2008, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 18, 2013

Magent* + Magnet*, Magentic* (for Magnet* or Magent*, Magnetic*)

Are you attracted to magnets? I can't remember the last time I actually used one, other than as decoration for the refrigerator or maybe that children's toy where you move a magnetized pencil around the drawing of a masculine visage to produce various images of facial hair (beards, mustaches, bushy eyebrows, spiky hair, etc.). And people who live in so-called Lustron houses rely heavily on magnets to mount things on their walls, since hammers and nails are verboten in such steel-enameled domiciles. The classic magnet is shaped like a horseshoe, often with a red or magenta paint job as seen above. In some ways, magnets seem almost like magic, but ironically enough, that's the beauty of science. The combination Magnet* + Magent* turns up 16 times in OhioLINK and 368 times in WorldCat; Magentic* alone gets 14 hits in the former and 304 in the latter.

(Magnet, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 15, 2013

Charleton + Charlton (for Charlton + Charleton)

I came up with today's typo the way I so often do—by making it myself. In such cases, I find that it's usually a good one, but not always one that I'm eager to illustrate. In a rather vain attempt to find something or someone to write about other than Charlton Heston, I was rather surprised to learn that there's a town in Saratoga County, not far from where I live, called Charlton. I've probably gone past it dozens of times and never really noticed the sign. But while I'm certain this Charlton is charming, there doesn't seem to be a whole lot more to say about it, other than the fact that it was founded in 1792, and named after a physician and a place in England. Therefore, I guess it's back to Moses on the Mount packing heat. Charlton Heston, who is mostly known for his impassioned support of the purported rights of gun owners, has not always been a conservative, however. He started out his career favoring Democrats for president, as well as liberal causes such as civil rights. He gradually drifted rightward, though, and famously fought with Ed Asner, both presidents of the Screen Actors Guild. By the early seventies, he had Richard Nixon's back and later Ronald Reagan's. Heston was born "John Charles Carter" in 1923 and, at least according to some sources, in a hamlet known as "No Man's Land" in the wealthy Chicago suburb of Wilmette, Illinois. Although it sounds a bit like a mix of "Charles" and "Carter," "Charlton" was actually his mother's surname; "Heston" was the surname of her second husband. So this son of a gun definitely kept it in the family, like a lot of law-abiding owners do with their own firearms. Heston died in 2008, but it doesn't look as if the Second Amendment is going away anytime soon. In the meantime, there were 29 misfires of Charleton for Charlton (and sometimes vice versa) in OhioLINK today, and 126 in WorldCat.

(Charlton Heston in the trailer for the film The Ten Commandments, 1956, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Planing + Planning (for Planning or Planing)

Are you planning to do some planing around your house this year? I've got a few corners that don't look quite right and a door or two that doesn't exactly close tight either. But a perfectly "sqaure" abode is a hard thing to achieve, especially when you live atop what used to be sort of a sand dune. Around 25 miles north of Albany's sandy "Pine Bush" is a charming little place called Round Lake, which one resident has described as "like something out of Mayberry." Another one claims there isn't a right angle to be found in this entire collection of somewhat ramshackle "gingerbread" fixer-uppers, but you really couldn't find a cuter town to settle down in if you planned it. Or planed it. Round Lake, a former Methodist camp, is also situated on a lake, as you may have inferred, which brings us to another meaning of planing: "to rise partly out of the water, as a hydroplane does at high speeds." This is apparently what the Australian girls pictured above are getting ready to do. It looks something like surfboarding, but with rubber rafts. I was never much good at these kinds of water sports, but back on the beach, or out on somebody's lawn, we kids used to practice a presumably amazing form of "levitation." One of us would lie flat on the ground and the others would slip a finger or two each beneath the body, chanting "Light as a feather, stiff as a board!" while lifting them up in the air. There were 68 cases of today's combination typo in OhioLINK, and 1242 in WorldCat, so lighten up, stiffen your resolve, and plan to smooth out as many of these as you can in your own catalogs today.

(Surfo planing girls, Coolangatta, circa 1934, from the Queensland State Archives and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 11, 2013

Procalm* (for Proclam*)

When it comes to keeping one's cool, I am definitely, completely, 100% pro-calm. Got a problem with that? Okay, good, good. Because calm is good. Although pharmacologically induced "calm," maybe not so much. There were five hits on Procalm* in OhioLINK today, and 42 in WorldCat, which is duly noted, but hardly worth issuing a proclamation over, especially since two were for a drug called Procalmadiol. I feel distinctly un-calm just trying to suss out how to pronounce that "word": I keep hearing comedy in there. Which in a way seems appropriate when you consider all those scarily absurd TV ads where the side effects of the remedy are worse than the symptoms of the malady, or where the drug itself sometimes causes the very condition it's supposed to cure. This is true of antidepressants like Prozac (provoking suicidal or homicidal "ideation"), along with numerous other nostrums, like the ever-popular cholesterol-lowering statins. Fully one in four Americans over the age of 45 is currently on a statin drug to help prevent heart attacks, which are commonly believed to be caused by high cholesterol. (Although this may be a case of which comes first, the chicken or the eggs, if you'll pardon the pun.) There's a recent push to start giving them to kids as well. Admittedly, this whole cholesterol mishegas is really confusing, but here are a few things you probably should know. Firstly, your numbers mean almost nothing in and of themselves. It's all about the ratios between them. Secondly, there's no such thing as "bad" cholesterol per se. LDL is only bad when the particles are small and dense; you want them large and "fluffy." (Ask your doctor about the mysterious VAP test.) Also, cholesterol that's too low (although what constitutes "high" and "low" in this regard is an ever-shifting matter of debate) can actually bode far worse in terms of overall mortality. Finally, for the millions of people who take these drugs every day, some say it's important to supplement with Coenzyme Q10. That's because statins deplete your body's natural reserves of this important element, and too-low levels have been shown to actually promote things like heart disease and diabetes. Check with your health practitioner, especially if you have other conditions that are being treated with prescription drugs, but you might want to give it a try. Generally speaking, you should avoid statins if possible (doctors recommend you keep taking them if you've already suffered a heart attack), and load up instead on the dietary cholesterol and healthy fats found in eggs, olives, coconuts, avocados, nuts, seeds, sardines, organ meats, and so on.

(Many folks get all worked up while encountering other cars and drivers, so this seeming reminder to stay calm is a welcome one, although it actually refers more to the flow of traffic than the ticked-off motorists who get stuck in it. From Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 8, 2013

Time Square (for Times Square)

I was browsing an old Vanity Fair the other day in the bathroom (fount of so much inspired thinking) when an article about the history of 42nd Street and Times Square caused me to wonder whether Time Square (without the s) might be a profitable typo. And indeed it was. There were a dozen examples of this in OhioLINK (one false positive, i.e., just the two words adjacent to each other; and one rather ambiguous one) and 289 in WorldCat. One of these in particular caught my eye. It occurred in the 710 field and was for an establishment called "Time Square Theatre" in New York City. When I checked the authority file, this DLC record indeed spelled it that way in the 110 field. For a second, I considered the fact that this could actually be the "correct" name, i.e., wrong in its original conception, but what it actually calls itself. (Or as the White Knight once explained to Alice in Through the Looking Glass with regard to a song known as "Haddocks' Eyes": there's the song, what the song is called, the name of the song, and what the name of the song is called! Or as annotator Martin Gardner puts it: "Carroll is distinguishing here among things, the names of things, and the names of names of things.") However, since there was no cross-reference for "Times Square" on the name authority record and no 670 field justification for the spelling "Time Square," I've determined that this is clearly what's called a typo and I will be notifying OCLC of this in due time by way of their "Authority Record Change Request" form.

(Speaking of bygone times, here's a picture of a "giant mailbox stamp selling booth in Times Square" with Assistant Postmaster Aquiline F. Weierich dispensing stamps from inside the booth. From Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Extremly (for Extremely)

When we all were very small (rub-a-dub-dub, three girls in a tub), my sisters and I would often take our nighttime bath together. I can still picture the youngest one, dripping on the mat, waiting impatiently for our mother to come in with a towel, and plaintively wailing, "I'm pitched! I'm pitched!" It took me a while to figure it out, but I finally realized why she put it like that. Extrapolating from the phrase "pitch black" or "pitch dark," she would sometimes say "pitch cold" (assuming that "pitch" must mean very, or extremely) and in her post-bath pinch would then simply shorten it to "pitched." It also brings to mind the idea of helping out or "pitching in" (it takes a family to take a bath); the imperious pitch of my little sister's voice; and the image of tiny tents (aka goose bumps) being pitched on one's shivering flesh. Today's typo is not an extremely common one, but let me pitch it to you this way: there was only one of these in OhioLINK, and 223 in WorldCat, though if you find some in your own catalog, you'll have a nice warm feeling once you get them all cleaned up.

(Jules Being Dried by His Mother, by Mary Cassatt, 1900, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, February 4, 2013

Partcip* (for Particip*)

From the longing of an infant for its mother's breast, to the lifelong necessity for safe, clean drinking water—be it a gulp, a quaff, a belt, or a sip (there's hardly a smaller part than a sip)—the need to quench one's thirst is a truly universal one. And a participatory one to boot. Potable, as well as portable, water is shockingly hard to come by in many parts of the world, but the problem, at least according to some people, is rather easily solved. In this 2009 TED talk, Michael Pritchard discusses "the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds." While most of us decry global warming and the polluting of our lakes, streams, and oceans, we don't need to wait for some sort of global ecological miracle to occur before people in developing countries can start avoiding the dehydration caused by diarrhea, along with various other water-borne diseases. Water filtration or purification systems such as this one can make the difference between life and death. So take a sip from that cup of coffee on your desk, or the office water cooler over in the corner, and ponder how we might all do our part in helping to solve the world-wide water crisis. Then check out today's typo, which was found nine times in OhioLINK, and 576 times in WorldCat.

(Société Industrielle de Photographie (S.I.P.) postcard, 1900s, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, February 1, 2013

Textural + Textual (For Textual or Textural)

Words have certain textures, formed by the consonants, vowels, syllables, and stresses they comprise, and are used to weave together all sorts of texts. Textiles would seem to have a certain story arc as well: a warp and a weft, a colorful background, a bold beginning, and a tight tying-up of threads at the end. Due perhaps to this similarity in both meaning and sound, the words textual and textural, much like tortuous and torturous, are very often confused. (Wonderfully enough too, in this regard, I just learned that one meaning of the word webster is a woman who weaves!) My sister once needled me for being "tactile defensive" simply because I chafe at stiff collars and pointless cuffs, wasteful waistbands and hawing hems, all fibers unnatural and un-soft, and of course those horrid little name tags that come welded onto practically any new article of clothing you buy. (They're like a literal pain in the neck to me.) When it comes to abrasive fabrics, however, whether worsted or not, wool is the absolute worst, in my admittedly thin-skinned opinion. Sort of like the opposite of The Princess and the Pea: no matter how many layers I pile on beneath it, I can still feel its itchy, scratchy, prickly there-ness up on top. In any case, and regardless of which fibers you might cotton to, don't be sheepish today and shy away from this combined typo, found nine times in OhioLINK and 84 times in WorldCat. (Be especially careful to rule out any false positives—that is, records that contain both words correctly spelled.)

(Textile crafts for sale at Palenque, Chiapas, Mexico, 17 April 2011, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid