Monday, December 07, 2009

Why spellcheck can't do everything

In the winter issue of Wisconsin Magazine of History, there is an article about anarchists in Milwaukee in 1917 (yes, Sacco and Vanzetti were guilty) with the line, "the wave of grizzly assassinations and bombings..."

The image that popped into my mind, after I asked myself the question, "Did I read that right? Am I sure?" Sometimes I think the word is wrong and I'm all smug and, "Look! They made a mistake!" And I write a nasty, superior email and hit "send" and then I realize, Ooops! I was wrong and then I'm all embarrassed but it's too late, so I try to be careful with this sort of thing.

This photo from Gary has nothing to do with this post. It's just pretty. He took it on their recent trip to Greece. This is in Oia.

So I checked with my picky, detail-oriented engineer husband who was raised by wolves -- no, by an English professor and a chemist -- and he agreed that it was supposed to be "grisly" and not "grizzly."

So - back to the image that popped into my mind: A grizzly bear out there killing politicians and cops and then the grizzly bear turned into a polar bear clinging to an ice floe floating out to sea. Oh no! Because polar bears can't swim can they?

Oh wait. Yes. They can.

OK. Polar bears, killing politicians. But they wouldn't do that. Polar bears are sweet. And cuddly. And need to be saved. Save the polar bears. Really.


Maureen@IslandRoar said...

They may not be sweet and cuddly, but at least they're not grizzly.
Sorry, I couldn't resist.....

Lindy said...

Isn't it maddening!? Think of all the people who would love to write for or edit this magazine. And they give the job to some hack. Just more "proof" that you are very employable.

The adjective grisly means horrible, fearsome, disgusting. The noun grizzly refers to a large brown bear. As an adjective, grizzly (more commonly grizzled) means streaked with gray.