Mighty Red Pen

June 11, 2014

Out of order

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:12 pm
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Spotted this little tidbit in the dining hall of my alma mater during my recent reunion. Although kids were disappointed that the chocolate milk was unavailable, it looks like that wasn’t the only thing that was out of order.

Sign with the word chocolate misspelled










Which reunion year was it, you ask? Well, as you know, a lady never reveals any information that could lead to knowledge of her age. But not seeing any ladies around, come over here so I can whisper it in your ear: it was my tenth.


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.


January 14, 2013

Don’t tread on me

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:06 pm

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.

August 15, 2012

Vamoose! (mousse vs. moose)

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

May 24, 2012

It’s a typo, old sport

Filed under: Pop culture,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:07 pm
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So, wordies,  behold the trailer for Baz Luhrmann’s take on The Great Gatsbytypo and all:

What’s that, you say? A typo in the trailer? Yes, feast your eyes about, oh, 0:13 for a shot of Luhrmann’s folly:

See that? Where it says Zeigfield Zeigfeld instead of Ziegfield Ziegfeld? Only time will tell whether Luhrmann’s rendition will be worth seeing, but as far as this typo is concerned, there’s nothing great about that.

April 12, 2012

Your usage is delinquent: access vs. assess

Filed under: Spellbound,Word wars — mighty red pen @ 7:27 pm
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H/t to my West Coast correspondent for sending this little tidbit.

Okay, here’s the deal: If someone is late making a payment, you may assess (M-W: “to subject to a tax, charge, or levy”) a fine.

If you are uncertain about whether you have the correct word, you may need to access (M-W: “to get at”) your dictionary.

January 25, 2012

It’s a typo made in Manhattan

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 7:24 pm
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No more pencils, no more books. . . no more typos? We wish.

Ah, poor New York. It’s just the latest place to be hit with the dreaded SHCOOL error. This time it was on a street outside a Manhattan high school. It would be funny if only this mistake didn’t happen quite so often.

The pavement’s since been torn up and replaced, but that doesn’t change the fact that dozens of children have apparently going to shcool since June 2010.

Photo from NBC New York.


October 12, 2011

Tip jar

Filed under: Overseen,Spellbound — mighty red pen @ 8:28 pm
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Yes, the story of what happened to bartender Victoria Liss of Seattle is shameful. Here it is, in a nutshell: a nasty customer walked away without leaving a tip. But what he did leave for her was even worse: a shameful typo.

Prince Charming wrote, P.S. You could stand to loose a few pounds. Well, here’s a tip for you, buddy: you could stand to lose a few typos.

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