Friday, June 29, 2012

A Two-"For"-One Deal

Houston, we have a problem. In this USA Today article about Apollo 13 mementos, Mission Control failed to spot the excess word. Can you?

The Apollo 13 mission was launched in April 1970 with the intention of landing on the moon. The mission was aborted after an oxygen tank exploded. (The crew returned safely.)

Inserting a second "for" in the last sentence doesn't quite merit "mission failure" status, but, then again, it is a typo — and this is a blog that hunts for typos. I'll search high and low to find them, even if it takes me to the dark side of the moon.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Comic Con

"Cover your ears," indeed. You don't want to hear Margo — or anyone else — refer to "PIN numbers." PIN is an acronym; it stands for Personal Identification Number. Thus, "PIN number" is literally "Personal Identification Number number." Ugh. Same goes for "SAT test" and "ATM machine," among other habitual offenders. (And yes, these are included in the "Pet Peeves" section of my site.) Next time you see or hear one of these ridiculous redundancies, run to the panic tree. I'll be there, waiting.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Where Is He?

This is from a Sports Illustrated feature by veteran photographer Walter Iooss Jr. In this excerpt, Iooss is discussing one of his favorite subjects, former NBA superstar Michael Jordan.

The error in this paragraph may not be as thrilling as, say, Air Jordan's forceful, one-handed dunk that posterized Patrick Ewing in the 1991 playoffs, but it's worth mentioning. In MJ-like fashion, it leaps off the page. Zoom in. You'll see what I mean. The camera doesn't lie: Iooss left out he between see and was.

Can we retouch that paragraph, Iooss, especially because the he in question refers to arguably the greatest basketball player of all time? (My argument: He is.)

Friday, June 22, 2012

That's "a more"

Well, when in Rome...

I realize Pope Benedict XVI was in Italy, but I'm fairly confident he did not field questions from "a more" — which sounds suspiciously like the Italian term for love — than six inmates.

This error hit my eye like a big pizza pie.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

More Boxing

Remember that missing check box I blogged about back in January? Looks like the USA Today puzzle editors are at it again.

MPH stands for miles per hour, of course. I found miles; I circled it; I filled in the box. I found per; I circled it; I filled in the box. I found hour; I circled it; I... Hey, where's the third box?

Looks like the final mph box is MIA.

Monday, June 18, 2012

A Special Delivery

Misspellings, like elevator farts, are unacceptable, and perpetrators must be held accountable. No excuses. No exceptions.

Or so I thought.

The errors pictured at right are obvious:

  • We're losing hope
  • The fourth word doesn't feel quite right
  • Beter would be better with another letter

And yet, none of that matters. Here's why:

Just over a week ago, I returned from my Sunday-morning softball doubleheader around noon. I wasn't home more than a half hour when my mother, looking ashen, asked me to dial 911. When you're experiencing heart attack-like symptoms — and you already have mitral valve prolapse — you don't mess around. So the call was made and in less time than it takes to say electrocardiogram an ambulance, a fire truck and police cars crowded our quiet suburban street.

My mom was taken to the ER in the ambulance; I wasn't far behind, in my beat-up Accord. I won't delve too deeply into the details. Suffice it to say, a long day was spent in Room 25 at Bridgeport Hospital. EKGs were administered. Blood tests were given. Stress tests were scheduled. Nerves were frayed. Turns out, she did not have a heart attack. (Insert emphatic phew!!! here.) She had a— well, I'm not sure. Neither are the physicians. According to the discharge papers, my mom suffered "CHEST PAIN, Uncertain Cause."

Fast-forward a few days...

Ding-dong! Ding-dong!

Lily, a 6-year-old sweetheart who lives next door, blossomed at the front door, doing her best Girl Scout impersonation: delivering cookies. Not in a Thin Mints or Do-si-dos box, mind you. In a paper bag hand-decorated with hearts and, fittingly, flowers. Its contents? A half dozen baked treats. Sweets from a sweetie.

After presenting the get-well bag to my mom, flora met fauna: Lily spent a few minutes petting our mackerel tabby, Keaton, before returning home. Just like that, my mom's spirits were lifted. Contrary to popular belief, laughter is not the best medicine. Nor is metroprolol. A special delivery from a special kindergartener is just what the doctor ordered.

Lily was thoughtful.

Lily was selfless.

Lily was kind.

Lily was sweet.

That's what matters.

At heart.

Are those cookies I smell? A curious Keaton greets our special guest.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Carrying On

Today's error comes to us courtesy of my friend Lindsay, of IAMNOTASTALKER. The typo occurs in the last paragraph of a Huffington Post article about a 9-year-old who was suspended for sexual harassment when, while talking to a buddy, he referred to one of his female teachers as a certain four-letter word.

The typo is a straightforward one: The word carry is missing three letters. The sentence requires the present progressive tense, which indicates continuing action. This is accomplished by using a form of the verb "to be" along with a present participle, which is a verb with an -ing suffix. So, "is carry" should be "is carrying." It's a simple mistake, so I won't get carried away.

Oh, are you curious to know what four-letter word got the fourth-grader suspended for two days? It starts with cu-. Any guesses? Nooooooo, not that! You're disgusting! The kid was suspended for calling a teacher "cute." The nerve of that boy!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Twin Spellings

This time around, the work was done for me.

I spent an evening last week doing what I often do: watching sports. The menu was chock full of mouth-watering delights. I caught portions of the Stanley Cup, the NBA playoffs and a few baseball games.

When my channel-surfing thumb led me to ESPN's Baseball Tonight, I came across an error that had me reminiscing about "A Uniform Mess," which I blogged about in mid-April. That particular post dealt with a team name misspelled on the front of a jersey, though I pointed out at the time that it's "not unheard of for a player's last name to be misspelled." How prophetic. Allow me to explain, man to man.

In a June 6 game against the Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins pitcher Jeff Manship assumed a new identity. Hi went bye, and he became Jeff Mansihp. Why did he abandon ship? Perhaps he was tired of being associated with a last-place team sporting the worst record in the American League — a sinking sihp, if you will. I don't blame him.

Ironic, isn't it, that Jeff's surname contains the letters needed to spell mishap? You can't keep a good Manship down, however. He made a name for himself against the Royals, pitching one scoreless inning of relief in Minnesota's 4-2 victory. That name is Manship.

Monday, June 11, 2012

A Hitching Post

I have two problems with today's entry, which comes from a USA Today article about escalating travel costs.

Number 1: As any Guide to the Galaxy can tell us, the word hitchhiker has 3 h's in it, not two. These are not "ikers" looking to hitch a ride; they are hikers.

Number 2: OK, so we know what the hitchhikers did. They held up signs. But we don't know what they possessed. Hitchhikers with what? Finish the thought! Hitchhikers with acne? Hitchhikers with low self-esteem? Hitchhikers with Harvard law degrees? Hitchhikers with an open mind? Hitchhikers with an ax to grind? Hitchhikers with B.O.?

The word with shouldn't be there, of course. Then again, without with, my readers would have been without wit. My wit. What a loss that would have been. Are you with me?

Thursday, June 7, 2012

A Ration-al Thought

I left no stone unturned when reading this "Handling the rock" section, which enabled me to spot an error. This is yet another example of the limitations of spell check. In a case such as this, spell check, much like a bible to an atheist, is useless.

The ratio of correct words to incorrect words in this section isn't too shabby. It's 51 to 1, in fact. Did you find the lone incorrect word? It's ration. The word we were looking for is ratio.

With an n at the end, we have a term most associated with daily food allowances. Remove the n and we have the relationship in quantity between two or more things. Similar spellings. Different meanings. For spell check, that spells trouble.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Oh, Snap! Is a Muggle to Blame for These "Spells"?

Finding misspellings, fact errors and other blunders in a magazine or newspaper isn't too difficult to do. Those types of publications are often under tight publishing deadlines, and errors slip through the cracks. Understandable.

It takes a bit more effort, however, to spot an error in a book, especially one that is part of one of the most popular series of all time. Thanks to some eagle-eyed (or should that be hippogriff-eyed?) Potterphiles, I've been made aware of two errors in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. (Note: These mistakes show up in the first American edition, October 1999.)

In Chapter 14, titled "Snape's Grudge," the titular character is misspelled. Near the bottom of page 285 Snape is misidentified as Snap. Can't blame spell check for that one.

Near the top of page 428 in Chapter 22 ("Owl Post Again"), when Harry Potter and Dumbledore are talking in Professor Lupin's office, this line shows up:

It took a moment for Harry to realize what Dumblefore had said.

It didn't take Potter readers any time to realize Dumblefore should have been Dumbledore. Is J.K. Rowling at fault? Is the publisher, Scholastic Press, to blame? Nah. Let's pin this one on Voldemort.

Friday, June 1, 2012

"Find" Nowhere to Be Found

Mike, from MovieShotsLA, was reading an article about NBA star Dwight Howard when he caught an error. Thanks, Mike, for making sure it found its way to me. In basketball parlance, nice assist!

The article excerpt is missing a comma after the second set of parentheses and needs single quotation marks before OK and after the period that follows decision, though that's not why Mike alerted me to this Associated Press article.

He "found" a problem in the last sentence. The key word in the last sentence is would. It functions as a modal, which is an auxiliary, or helping, verb that typically is used to express ability, possibility or necessity. (Examples of modals include can, might and must.) A modal always takes a bare infinitive (an infinitive without to) for the main verb. In the last sentence, listen is a bare infinitive. Found is not.

Modals. Auxiliary verbs. Infinitives. Even if these terms are as foreign to you as a rotary phone is to a teenager, I'm guessing you spotted the same error Mike noticed. All you had to do was perform a "sound check." The last sentence doesn't sound right with found. The word we need — the bare infinitive we need — is find.

I find the writer guilty by reason of inaccuracy.