Thursday, May 28, 2015

Consev* (for Conservancy, Conservation, etc.)

Good news for our furry bat friends!  Nearly five years ago, I blogged about White-Nose Syndrome, a little-understood disease that was destroying bat colonies in the United States and Canada.  But just last week, the Nature Conservancy reported that, for the first time, infected bats have been cured.  Thanks to the collaboration of individual researchers, agencies, and donors, 150 bats were treated and released back into the wild on May 20 at the Mark Twain Cave Complex in Hannibal, Missouri.  It turns out the fungus responsible for the disease, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, can be greatly inhibited by a common bacterium, and scientists are now hopeful for long-term success.

Congratulations to the bats and their helpers.  And you, dear reader, can do your part to Consev* the health of our catalogs by eliminating today’s typo.  OhioLINK is host to 25 instances, and 322 English-language entries can be found in WorldCat.

(MexicanFree-Tailed Bats or Tadarida brasiliensis at Carlsbad Caverns, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Alcohl* (for Alcohol, etc.)

“You're an adult. You've got things to do. You don't have time for a rough morning. That's where we come in. Pedialyte - See the Lyte.”

You read correctly—that’s not today’s typo. The folks at Abbott Laboratories are now pitching their product to grown-ups too, urging us to rehydrate after “diarrhea, vomiting, exercise, travel, heat exhaustion, occasional alcohol consumption, occasional morning sickness.” They’ve even developed some new flavors to appeal to the older crowd.

This advertising campaign is apparently working. According to a recent CBS News report, a third of Pedialyte sales currently are to adults seeking to cure their hangovers. So if you’re planning to indulge tonight, first visit your favorite pharmacy to stock up on this not-so “secret to a good morning.” Who knows—tomorrow you might feel refreshed enough to tackle the typo Alcohl*. There are five entries for it in OhioLINK and 71 English-language results in WorldCat.

(Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec’s Hangover (The Drinker), from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, May 22, 2015

Optimun* (for Optimum*)

If you're trying to write a poem (and if you haven't ever tried that, you should!) and you should happen to get stuck, you can always check out RhymeZone for suggestions. And to get into a sing-song mood first, you might even want to give a listen to an old Bob Crosby and the Bob-Cats number called "Way Back Home." (Bob Crosby was Bing's baby brother and fused traditional Dixieland jazz and emerging "Big Band" swing music.) The song consists of six main verses, each one containing up to six rhyming lines, and it starts out like this: "The roads are the dustiest / The winds are the gustiest / The gates are the rustiest / The pies are the crustiest / The songs, the lustiest / The friends, the trustiest / Way ba-ack home..." Each one of these line-ending words ends in —iest, and since we've already done the most common typo for the word rhyme, we're going to go with optimum instead, one of many synonyms or near-synonyms for the word superlative, according to There were three occurrences of Optimun* in OhioLINK today, and 263 in WorldCat.

(Count Basie and Bob Crosby, Howard Theatre, Washington DC, 1941, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Scenary (for Scenery)

The other day I heard a local newscaster remark, "Scenery is one of the things that make this state unique." Really? I thought scenery was one of those things that all places had, pretty much by definition. Of course, he meant the specific scenery found in New York State, not scenery in general, but as my 91-year-old Lebanese neighbor says (she learned this from her mother): "Everywhere you go, the earth is brown and the trees are green." During car rides as a child, my grandfather (an amateur painter and nature lover) would constantly adjure us kids to "watch the scenery." This was probably in part to make us stop squabbling and direct our attention outside the vehicle, but it also gave the word scenery a rather special import. I selected this picture because it depicts a gorgeous scene, although the author doesn't identify its actual location. Everywhere you go there's scenery and today's typo for this word appears nine times in OhioLINK, and 296 times in WorldCat.

(A beautiful photo of a bird flying high in the sky during sunset, 24 November 2011, from Wikmedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, May 18, 2015

Coucil* (for Council*)

A gentleman from the great state of Florida gave a wacky workshop last week on how to deal with women on the city council, who apparently "ask a lot of questions" and don't like to read financial data. The voters of Austin, Texas, had just elected their first largely female (10-1) council and staff naturally wanted some help with this nutty anomoly, so they turned to Jonathan K. Allen for his wise counsel. He advised them to be "patient" and to try and reframe monetary issues in ways more palatable to females. He suggested "playing nice" with the people you meet on these boards and things because you never know when they just might get elected and be the ones on top! When he got to the inevitable subject of Hillary, however, he suddenly seemed to stammer: "If Hillary Clinton just runs, just runs for the office, you are going to see even greater numbers in leadership positions," then adding: "If she wins, you will see even greater numbers starting at the bottom on top." I'm not sure what that even means, exactly, but it's true that there is no stopping progress. Or for that matter, regress. As someone famously once put it: "It's turtles all the way down." (An image depicted in various ways over the years, but perhaps nowhere so dramatically as in Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss—although the message there is a somewhat different one.) Also known as "Which came first? The chicken or the egg?" and "Who created God?" We probably should table those questions till our next council meeting, however, and end today by reporting that there were 32 cases of this typo in OhioLINK, and 1411 in WorldCat.

(Black-knobbed sawback hatchlings, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, May 15, 2015

Humantiy (for Humanity)

On May 15, 1925, Yusuf Ibrahim Yazbak, general secretary of the Lebanese People's Party, released a communist newspaper called الإنسانية (Al-Insaniyyah) in Syria and Lebanon. It was named after the French communist paper l'Humanité. A friend notes that it "seems almost meaningful" how the transliteration of the Arabic word for "humanity" is so like our English word insanity. I noticed this too, of course, and replied that I was tempted to make a mild joke of it somehow. Something about it reminding me of the Weird Mr. Yankovic, perhaps, or even Crazy Eddie, who would pretend to be a real mensch (his prices were IN-SA-A-A-A-A-ANE!), but was really anything but. However, I may be trying to divine too much humor from "humanity." The rabble-rousing rag lasted for just five issues before it was shut down by French authorities on June 6 and its editors and other party members arrested. Yazbak escaped to France, where apparently the natives were preferable to the colonialists who were then ruling his homeland. The French and the Arabs (who currently constitute the second largest ethnic group in that country) continue to have a fraught relationship, as can be attested to by various flashpoints ranging from the debate over Muslim head scarves to the attack on Charlie Hebdo. There were zero examples of today's typo in OhioLINK, and ten of them in WorldCat.

(Al-Insaniyyah masthead, courtesy of Wikipedia.)

Carol Reid

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lehman + Lehmann (for Lehmann or Lehman)

On an episode of the Dick Van Dyke Show entitled "My Part-Time Wife," Laura fills in at Rob's office for a few days while Sally is out on leave. It's mostly secretarial work, but she's so good at it that it secretly infuriates her husband. At one point, Rob and Buddy are playing around with a possible joke and Rob goes, "What was the purpose of the journey to the center of the earth?" Without blinking an eye and barely looking up from her typing, Laura smirkingly replies: "To find out if it was chewy or chocolate cream!" Rob clearly thinks that she's showing off, but for a real know-it-all on the subject, he might've turned to Inge Lehmann, the Danish seismologist who, in 1936, proved what the center of the earth was really all about, namely "an inner core with physical properties distinct from the outer core's" and "not a single molten sphere." Inge Lehmann was born on May 13, 1888, in Copenhagen, Denmark. The daughter of an experimental psychologist, she attended a progressive high school operated by Hanna Adler, Niels Bohr's aunt. She died in Copenhagen too, in 1993, at the age of 104. She garnered a great many accolades and, perhaps most wonderfully of all, was once described as "the master of a black art for which no amount of computerising is likely to be a complete substitute." Lehmann was terrifically important, but the only reason I even know who she was is that I clicked the icon on Google's home page today. I seem to be seeing a lot of interesting women over there lately and was gratified to have my suspicions confirmed by the Washington Post this morning. So thank you, Google, and Happy Birthday, Inge Lehmann! There were 81 hits on this combined typo in OhioLINK, and 1476 in WorldCat. Certain of these records, however, do not contain typos, but rather variations in spelling or transliteration, as with genealogy resources and foreign language materials. Still, if you're willing to go to the core on this one today, you should be able to ultimately separate the chewy Lehmans from the creamy Lehmanns. (And watch out for Ingelehmann too. It's not a typo with a missing space; it's an asteroid from outer space, named in Inge's honor.)

(Portrait of Inge Lehmann, 1932, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Monday, May 11, 2015

Harriett + Harriet (for Harriet or Harriett)

Harriet Quimby was born a hundred and forty years ago today, in the town of Arcadia, Michigan. Adventurous, ambitious, and well ahead of her time, Quimby had been a journalist in San Francisco and a theater critic in New York City for nearly a decade when she decided to take up flying in its somewhat scary salad days. She soon became the first woman to receive a pilot's license from the Aero Club of America, as well as the first one to cross the English Channel by air. (The latter feat was pretty much ignored by the news media, however, who were busy covering the sinking of the Titanic the day before.) Quimby was Amelia Earhart's role model; she was called "the bird girl" by her readers and the "Dresden China aviatrix" by reporters. Ever the eager self-promoter, she designed and wore a vivid lavender satin flight suit, which prompted Vin Fiz to recruit her as an ad icon for a new grape-flavored soda (reportedly, terrible stuff) following the death of the biplane's pioneering navigator Calbraith Perry Rodgers. Tragically, on July 1, 1912 (eleven months to the day after first getting her license), Quimby was also killed in a fluky flying accident. At an air show near Boston, Massachusetts, the plane she was in suddenly pitched forward, ejecting Quimby and the event's organizer William Willard into the waters below. It's believed that had they been wearing seat belts, which were not yet fully standard at the time, they probably would have survived the aircraft's soft landing. Horrific though it must have been, a 2012 article in the Atlantic rather poetically notes: "There were 5,000 spectators there to watch her fall, shimmering against the sky in her purple outfit." Along with being America's first lady of flight, Quimby also authored seven screenplays for director D.W. Griffith at Biograph Studios and even had a small part in one silent film, which is sadly no longer extant. Harriet Quimby was not one of those people who sit around waiting for the right to vote, the movies to start talking, or women to sprout wings. She walked the walk, flew like a hawk, and pretty much wrote the book on female aviation. Or at least the first few chapters. There were 71 cases of today's typo in OhioLINK, and 892 in WorldCat.

(Harriet Quimby, 1875-1912, in the Moisant monoplane she learned to fly in, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

Friday, May 8, 2015

Meddic* (for Medicine, Medical, etc.)

The next time you have your nails done, you might want to consider tipping your manicurist handsomely.  In fact, think of it as a form of hazard pay.  According to a report in the New York Times today, medical evidence is starting to confirm what many in the business have known anecdotally for a long time—that the chemicals in all those nail products are harmful to your health.  Prolonged exposure means manicurists are more likely to experience respiratory or skin ailments, cancers, miscarriages, birth defects, and a variety of other conditions.  Not surprisingly, history repeats itself again as regulatory agencies are slow to respond and the cosmetics industry opposes tightened restrictions.

There are 14 entries in OhioLINK for Meddic*, and 131 in WorldCat.  A fair number are for the proper name “Meddick.”

(Nail polish, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Restara* (for Restaurant, etc.)

For years I managed to avoid the lure of reality television programs entirely.  But that changed when I watched a few episodes of the Food Network’s Restaurant Impossible with a friend of mine.  I’m not sure why THIS show in particular caught my interest—after all, the formula is one that’s repeated in other series like Bar Rescue and Kitchen Nightmares.  In some ways, it’s like that long-running staple column in Ladies’ Home Journal, “Can This Marriage Be Saved?” “Chef Robert Irvine has 2 days and $10,000 to do the impossible!”—save a failing restaurant.

For me, I suspect it comes down to the sheer likableness of Mr. Irvine himself, who combines tough love with just plain tough but still isn’t afraid to show a little tenderness now and then.  And after the many obstacles and not inconsiderable tears that ensue, it’s a lot of fun to see the transformation at the end.  Yes, I realize that everything doesn’t actually take place in just a couple days and that some of those restaurants aren’t ultimately successful.  In fact, the New York Times ran an interesting piece on this back in 2012, and the show’s Web site also allows you to follow up.  But why should a little reality get in the way of enjoyment?

If you don’t enjoy typos in your catalog, get rid of Restara*.  It shouldn’t be an impossible task, because there’s only one in OhioLINK and 48 English-language instances in WorldCat.

(Chef Robert Irvine, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Monday, May 4, 2015

Sate Univ* (for State University, etc.)

For those with ties to Kent State University, today is a day of remembrance. While there are varying interpretations for the events surrounding May 4, 1970, the fact is that forty-five years ago, Ohio National Guard troops opened fire on our campus, killing four students and wounding nine. Rather than trying to elaborate here, I will simply point out a few resources for those interested in learning more. For contemporary accounts, Life just today posted How LIFE Magazine Covered the Kent State Shootings, and the original New York Times story is also readily available. For in-depth information, check out Kent State’s May 4 Visitors Center. In 2010, the May 4 site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Kent State might be a dim memory for many Americans today, in part overshadowed by the subsequent shootings that have taken place at numerous elementary schools, high schools, colleges, and universities across the country. And those events are all indeed tragedies. However, for me at least, the Kent State shootings are more akin to another type of violence that occurs daily on our nation’s streets—the brutal treatment some citizens receive at the hands of our policemen and policewomen. For in both situations, the violence is perpetrated by those who can be, and often are, a source of great good in the community.

If this is more reflection than you wanted on a Monday, focus your efforts instead on today’s typo. A search for Sate Univ* brings up 50 entries in the OhioLINK database and 877 in WorldCat. Not all are for the exact phrase (although you will find stand-alone “sate” errors with this search), and not all are actually typos.

(Bullet hole in Don Drumm’s Solar Totem sculpture caused by a .30-06 round fired by the Ohio National Guard at Kent State on May 4, 1970, by M. Stewart, from Wikimedia Commons)

Deb Kulczak

Friday, May 1, 2015

Anglel* (for Angel* or Angle*)

A friend has requested a favor of me that I might literally be one of the very few people on Earth capable of granting. She wants to borrow a book that I happen to own for scanning and then sending overseas to be published in a new foreign-language edition. (This book is currently out of print, unavailable online, and only held by two libraries in WorldCat.) She called me her "angel in distress." Which is really sweet, of course, and would seem to be yet another case of "conflated idiom": that is, "damsel in distress" (her) + "angel in disguise" (me). We found 18 examples of Anglel* in OhioLINK, and 361 in WorldCat. Most were typos for names like Angelika or Los Angeles, although a few of them were for titles in a children's series about math−for example, Sir Cumference and the Great Knight of Angleland (2001) by Cindy Neuschwander. Be an angel and save the day by correcting this typo in your own catalog of books today.

(Piscator Bible, Apocalypse Angel with book, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid