Mighty Red Pen

March 25, 2014

Waffling on the spelling

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:47 pm
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Here’s a sweet little tidbit that came my way just in time for International Waffle Day today. It was spotted at a restaurant in Chicago.

Typo spotted on a restaurant menu

This is not an uncommon typo—I’m sure I’ve seen it a time or two (or three), and you probably have as well, so let’s iron out this confusion once and for all: it’s Belgian waffles, not Belgium waffles (Belgian being the adjective, Belgium the country).

And in case you’re wondering: yes, serving MRP up a tasty typo like this one is second only to serving up an actual plate of waffles (Belgian or otherwise).  Not to pour it on too thick, but the actual first thing I did when I saw this typo was wish I were having waffles for lunch … or dinner … or lunch and dinner …

Thanks to @ScottMalouf.

Bonus MRP moment: Today would have been Flannery O’Connor’s birthday. Her work has held a special place in my heart since I did a project in high school that involved reading everything by her that I could get my hands on and then writing a 20-page paper (a project that was admittedly easier for me than it was for friends who chose more prolific authors such as Hemingway or Twain). One of the best surprises about reading all of her works was how much I loved her collected letters, The Habit of Being. In honor of her birthday, take a listen to “A Good Man is Hard to Find” by Sufjan Stevens, which is a retelling of O’Connor’s story of the same name but from an unexpected perspective.

 

March 11, 2014

Don’t panic!

Filed under: Lit review,Overseen — mighty red pen @ 6:48 pm

So today, wordies, would have been the 62nd birthday of preeminent word nerd Douglas Adams. How many of us grew up reading all five of the books in the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy trilogy? Did you make jokes about the number 42? And did you randomly say “So long and thanks for all the fish”? And do you now love to quote Adams’ sage words: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.” Sure, me, too.

Last summer, on my way to what turned out to be a delightful vacation in Wyoming visiting the Grand Teton and Yellowstone national parks, there was an unfortunate stop at the Denver airport (I promise this story will turn out to be about Douglas Adams—eventually). I’m not a good flyer to begin with (and yes, my worst-case-flight-disaster scenario involves sharks), and the approach to Denver was as I had been warned it would be: deeply, deeply turbulent. So, wasn’t feeling that great all around but happy to see we were about to hit the ground when the pilot suddenly—in a way that made me understand at a visceral level what the word suddenly really means—pulled the plane up and shot back into the sky. I think we all groaned at once.

Finally arriving on the ground in Denver felt miraculous in a certain way, but I was so sick to my stomach I was starting to doubt I could possibly get on the next plane for the final leg the trip to Jackson Hole (in a tiny plane. Who doesn’t love a tiny plane?).  I gather I missed a lot of the things there are to enjoy at the Denver airport in my airsick haze, including some kind of demonic blue horse, but as I sat down at the gate to wait for the next flight, I looked up and saw this window.

I don’t know what inspired Denver airport to have a little fun with their view here, but I loved it. And between this much-needed dose of levity and the fact that I had my towel safely stowed in my bag, I really did feel much less panicked.

January 16, 2013

A little bit of haiku

Filed under: Mad marketing,Overseen — mighty red pen @ 8:32 pm
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I’m a little in love with the Target coupon booklet that came in the mail yesterday.

I admit I just flipped through it and almost tossed it without paying much attention to its concept, largely because it’s got the regular look and feel of most Target mailings. It was just lying on my counter this morning when the front finally caught my eye. I mean, what kind of line is “Hi, Coupons!”? What could it mean?

haiku pons coupons

So I looked at it a little more closely and read the line “(Or should we say, ‘haiku-pons’?)”. Underneath that, it said, “Stock up with poetic savings inside.” This was starting to get a little strange—and a little awesome—for Target.

So I opened it up. Inside, there’s a little explanation of what a “haiku-pon” is and how to write a haiku. Neat.

haiku pons coupons 2

Here’s how it works. You look at the coupons:

haiku pons coupons 3

You see a haiku (I mean, loosely speaking. These maybe don’t follow all the rules of traditional haiku). Then maybe you use one of the coupons. In tearing out one of the coupons, you expose the lines on the back of the next coupon.

haiku pons coupons 4

Now you have a NEW haiku.

Well, the end of this story is that I Googled the Target haiku-pons and apparently this is only new to me; they have been around for a while. And it’s not particularly good or high-brow kind of poetry.

But still, it’s poetry in an unexpected place. And for that, I kind of love it.

January 15, 2013

Up on a peddle stool

Filed under: Overseen,Pop culture,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:47 pm
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In this little eggcorn, an unsuspecting YouTube commenter uses peddle stool when pedestal was the word they were seeking.

Image

 

 

 

 

Peddle stool (or pedal stool) seems to be a somewhat common rendering of pedestal (as documented, for example, by the Eggcorn Database and Brians’ Common Errors in English Usage) but what people understand a peddle stool (or pedal stool) to even be is kind of beyond me. Anyone got any ideas?

A quick perusal of the InterWebs leads to all kinds of eggcorn-related amusement, though. This guy sings a whole song about being put up on a peddle stool. Over at Language Log, there’s an entire essay composed of eggcorns. And tv show “The IT Crowd” got some mileage out of the joke.

January 14, 2013

Don’t tread on me

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:06 pm
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Apparently, folks in California are looking forward to a visit from one of their favorite folk heroes: Paul Bunion. Wonder if he’ll be traveling with his pals Tom Toenail and Harry the Hammertoe.

paul bunion bunyan

Here on the East Coast, we’ll be holding out for a visit from that other guy: Paul Bunyan.

H/t to my West Coast correspondent, who spotted this little tidbit in the East Bay Express.

November 21, 2012

Bonfire of the typos

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:32 pm
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This little tidbit spotted in Metrowest Boston struck a certain chord:

Okay, here’s the deal. If you are buying a “a unit of wood cut for fuel equal to a stack 4 x 4 x 8 feet or 128 cubic feet,” then that’s a cord (M-W). If you are a strumming on your guitar by the fire that you have built using some of the wood from the cord you just bought, then you are playing a few chords (“three or more musical tones sounded simultaneously,” M-W).

If you get a very good deal on your cord of wood, you might be getting it for a song. But that’s a lot of chords. Usually. Unless it’s a very boring song. Then maybe only one chord.  But that’s a different story.

November 20, 2012

Not too shabby

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:10 pm
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This little tidbit, spotted on Craigslist, absolutely cracked me up. The poster is trying to make their old table seem more appealing by labeling it as shabby chic. Instead, they mixed chic with sheik, and gave it a whole new meaning.

Okay, here’s the deal: If you are talking about “a male leader in an Arab country,” then the word you want is sheik (or sheikh) (Macmillan). If you are talking about something that is “fashionable and attractive in style,” then the word you want is chic (Macmillan). Is it possible for there to be a shabby sheik? No doubt. But when referring to furniture, the term you want is shabby chic.

Here’s more on chic-sheik as homophones and as eggcorns.

September 19, 2012

A shred of a typo

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 6:56 pm
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H/t to Captain Nemo, who spotted this little tidbit:

I love that someone looked at this and knew something wasn’t right and tried to make it better. Okay here’s the deal: When you have a box full of papers to shred, they are to be shredded. Not shread, and certainly not shreaded. Nice try, though.

August 15, 2012

Vamoose! (mousse vs. moose)

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 5:55 pm
Tags: , ,

Well-documented, I love a good dessert (especially one that involves chocolate. Or coconut. Or maybe both). But one thing I will not be ordering is ice cream moose.

Okay, so here’s the deal. When you order “a molded chilled dessert made with sweetened and flavored whipped cream or egg whites and gelatin” (M-W), you are hoping for a delicious mousse.

If instead the waiter brings you “a ruminant mammal (Alces alces) with humped shoulders, long legs, and broadly palmated antlers ” (M-W), he has brought you a moose, which, unless it’s actually made of ice cream, is not likely to be that satisfying, you know, dessert-wise.

Typo spotted here.

July 18, 2012

Tossed typo

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 6:20 pm
Tags: ,

Surely, it was caprice that caused someone to spell Caprese this way:

 

Okay, here’s the deal: If you want “a sudden, impulsive, and seemingly unmotivated notion or action” (M-W), then that’s caprice. When you want a delicious salad made with mozzarella, tomato, and basil, that’s an Insalata Caprese. Which happens to be one of MRP’s favorite salad combinations. Um, excuse me, I’m feeling a little hungry . . .

H/t to Sam, who spotted this tasty little typo at Jose McIntyre’s in Boston.

 

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