Howlings/Spell Check Only Works If You Use It  Properly


By Mark Howell


Peculiarly, Key West appears to have become the butt of endless jokes going viral across the land about the misprints (and often the laughable attempts to correct and apologize for those misprints) that certain readers have to endure every morning these days.



It reminds us of an observation made by our favorite Miami Herald columnist in his book, “Dave Barry in Cyberspace.” An example:



“Modern computerized word processing enables us to exponentially enhance and aggrandize the parameters, both qualitative and quantitative, not to mention adigmatic, of our communicative conceptualizations because now we can spell great big words correctly without having a clue what they mean. This is made possible thanks to ‘spell-checking.’ For example, suppose you’re trying to win the business of a prospective advertiser and you write them the following letter:



‘Dear Mr. Strompel:


‘It was a grate pleasure to meat you’re staff, and the undersigned look foreword too sea you soon inn the near future.’



“When you use your spell checker on this letter, not only does it inform you that there is no such word as ‘Strompel,’ but it also suggests words that you probably meant to use. The result is that your prospective advertiser sees the following impressive document:



“Dear Mr. Strumpet:


“It was a grate pleasure to meat you’re staff, and the undersigned look foreword too sea you soon inn the near future.”



Species survival teams operating in China are reporting that wild pandas’ elusiveness has less to do with any fear of humans than the inaccessibility of their habitat. “They don’t actually seem to mind humans very much,” reports Wang Dajun of Peking University.



He described how a female panda he’s been tracking had become so relaxed in his presence that one spring morning, as she was walking with her cub, she turned to Wang and indicated that she wanted him to babysit so she could head off to feed. A video of this shows the cub tumbling and frolicking with Wang and also the joy on the cub’s face as he scratches the cub’s belly. At one point the scientist extracts his sleeve from the cub’s inquisitive grip and then hoists the cub up in the air and dances with him. “That,” says Wang, “was the best time in my life.”



Edward Snowden, Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning and Julian Assange succeeded in leaking the two largest unauthorized disclosures of classified information in our nation’s history, including video evidence of the slaughter of innocents plus millions of documents on the secret surveillance of civilians.



Nobody seems to know quite to think about these people. It is rumored that Snowden was runner-up to Pope Francis as Time Magazine’s Man of the Year.



The undeniable reality is that they are agents of intercession, beings whose actions have spared us who-knows-what abuses in store for our future — and world history will have to recognize them as that. Imagine our fate without them.



Winter resident Dr. John Hobbins of Colorado has sent us this remembrance of the late Key West art critic Joel Blair, whose life and work were celebrated recently in the company of his sister and brother-in-law at his Elizabeth Street house:



“I first met Joel about nine years ago on the porch of the Coffee Plantation. We immediately became good friends and agreed to meet every morning to chat. Others joined in and soon we morphed into a crony club of about eight people gathering almost daily on the coffee shop porch to tackle and solve most of the world’s problems. Things never got out of control because Joel was such a stabilizing influence. He was one of the most gentle, kind, insightful and, frankly, wonderful individuals I have ever met.



Club Crony will never be the same without him and, in a way, neither will I.”


Quote for the Week:

“Never retreat. Never explain. Get it done and let them howl.”

— Benjamin Jowett 


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