Sunday, September 09, 2007

Werewolves of Edinburgh

I saw a werewolf with a dog leash in his hand / Walking through the streets of Canonmills in the rain / He was looking for a place called The Circle / Going to get himself a big dish of roast pumpkin salad / Werewolves of Edinburgh - (with apologies to) Warren Zevon.

I've lost count of the number of times that people have seriously asked me if Bondi is a werewolf. Today, Anna at The Circle told me that my nickname there was "the wolfman", as in "the wolfman is outside slavering for coffee".

Someone asked me if Bondi was a Balinese Mountain Dog. Melanesian is a more common geomalaprop (not to mention Malibu). I can't quite imagine anything so fluffy minding the temples of Ubud, but I guess stranger things have happened. I used to think Burmese Mountain Dog was another of these mondegreens, filtered from Bernese Mountains Dogs, but it turns out they are a real breed of temple dog.

I have encountered owners of Bernese who think their dogs are Burmese, so I'm inclined to think that it's one of those cases where the error outweighs the actuality. This takes me back to the days when I was keeper of the lexicon for Microsoft's English spell-checker. We had to be careful not to add words which masked common misspellings. So for instance, a calender is a specialized printing term, but in most everyday usage, is going to be the primary misspelling of calendar. If I'd my druthers, I would have dispatched manger from its place in that lexicon, so that its comparatively rare seasonal usage would not hide all the typos of manager.

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