Monday, September 26, 2011

Typo Potpourri

Here’s a collection of goofs and gaffes that my friends and I spotted over the past week.

A news headline spotted on the Yahoo! home page:

Loveland man treated for bite from rapid bat
(Does that qualify as a bit and run?)

An AP story printed in the Denver Post compared the length of the modern patent application and approval process to the length of time it took Thomas Edison to obtain the patent for the photograph.

Edison patented the phonograph, not the photograph. (See? There’s that “one letter makes a difference” thing again!)

In all fairness, the Post published a correction the next day. But I’m still curious whether that was a typo or just sloppy research on the part of the AP reporter.

From a caption on last night’s TV news broadcast:

            Statellite Falls
            (Um. Yeah.)

During that very same broadcast, a reporter narrated a segment about a local organization that helps people keep people and pets together. She kept referring to the group as “Haley’s Hope” while the screen said “Harley’s Hope” in two successive captions. Further confusing the matter, at the end of the piece the news anchor clarified that the reporter should have been saying “Harley’s Hope” all along.

I had to do an Internet search to figure out who was correct; most viewers probably didn’t even waste the brain cells trying. BTW, the group is Harley’s Hope Foundation, and their web site is

Let’s hope all of that confusion by the professional news staff doesn’t keep viewers from supporting a worthy cause.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Lifted from the Internet

A few weeks ago, my dear friend Maggie sent me a link to an online article posted by one of our local TV news stations. The story was about an Air Force Academy cadet who made a successful emergency landing with his glider.

“An AFA spokesperson says he didn't have enough "lifet" to return to the field at the academy…”

Several readers caught this errant aviation term. Commenter Kirk said, “I was a student pilot years ago and I never heard the term ‘lifet.’"

Commenter Ron added, “I believe lifet isnt a word, but lift Is.” (Ironically, “isn’t” without an apostrophe is also not a word. And we’ll overlook that capitalized ‘I’ for the moment. Ron’s heart was in the right place, even if his spelling wasn’t.)

Maggie’s take on the typo was this: “When you don't have a clue how to spell a word, apparently you should just put it in quotes and ignore it.”

I think we may be witnessing the birth of a new grammar rule. “When in doubt, don’t bother with the dictionary. Just put quotes around it.”


Saturday, September 17, 2011

Remembering a Friend

Today, 87 union firefighters who died in the line of duty will be honored at the IAFF Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial in Colorado Springs. One of the names engraved on the Wall of Honor is that of Captain Pamela J. Butler of the Colorado Springs Fire Department. Pam lost her battle with job-related multiple myeloma on August 15, 2010.

Pam was a character, plain and simple. Smart. Funny. Wise. Compassionate. A courageous woman who accomplished many things – not that you’d hear it from her. She wasn’t the type to toot her own horn. But she did tend to march to the beat of her own unique drum and bugle corps. And she was never afraid to “tell it like it is.”

Pam was also a writer with a gift for the written word. One of my favorite memories came during an improv writing workshop we attended. When she read her work aloud, the room fell silent in awe of her words. In ten minutes, she had written several paragraphs of beautiful, stunning prose that would take many writers an hour or longer to achieve - if they ever could.

She was my friend, and she tried her best to be my mentor from the day I started with CSFD. Pam once told me, "Take the coaching." It took me a long time before I understood what she was trying to tell me. Now I get it. And Pam, I'm finally taking the coaching.

I don’t think the world was quite ready for Pam Butler. But it is a much better place because she walked in it. 

Please take a moment to remember the firefighters who have given their lives so that others might live.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Day is Today?

Apparently there's more than one person in the country who can't keep their holidays straight.

(Photo courtesy of via

See, it wasn't just the person who made the sign. One of the commenters on this pic admits to not knowing which is Memorial Day and which is Labor Day. Another didn't even realize the error until he/she read the caption!

The worst, IMHO, is the guy who says, "Confusing Labor Day and Memorial Day is about as egregious as confusing two shades of the same color."


Talk about a nice salute to the veterans who fought for this country, and the laborers who built it. (Yes, that was dripping sarcasm, in case you didn't recognize it...)

Enjoy the remainder of your long weekend.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Spelling Headaches

Even the most stalwart and skilled spellers among us have a few words that occasionally trip us up – and I’m not talking about those off-the-wall words thrown at kids in the Scripps National Spelling Bee!  Here are some of my personal everyday word demons.

“Recommend” – For some reason, I want to add an extra ‘c’ and delete the second ‘m’. Don’t know why. I just do.

“Accommodate” – Maybe this is why I want to throw an extra ‘c’ into “recommend”! I really do pity the poor folks trying to learn the English language and its inconsistent spelling rules.

“Weird” – A word that violates the “I before E except after C” rule. (See inconsistent rules above.)

“Sheriff” – This word just screams for a second ‘r’! And I know I’m not the only one who tries to add that extra letter – see my earlier post about TV news caption errors.

“Embarrass” - Actually, this one hasn’t given me grief since the eighth grade spelling bee when I tried to spell it with only one ‘r’. If I’d gotten the word correct, I would have moved on to the state competition. As a result, I’ve never forgotten how to spell that word.

Remember, always practice safe spelling.

Have a great long weekend!