Spirit Spelling

Southwest Airlines began nonstop service from Newark to Phoenix this month, just in time for my brother’s retirement party, which I attended last week.

Bob served the City of Campbell (California) for 23 years, and although he did not achieve all of his goals¹, he did leave a considerable legacy. Thanks to Bob, for example, the historic Ainsley House was moved to Campbell (and rotated 90 degrees), and Bob oversaw the development of many parks.

The Campbell City Council’s resolution recognizing Bob’s service is here, and his performance of Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance (at another Campbell employee’s retirement party not long ago) is here.

Screen shot 2011-06-25 at 15.41.10

But I digress. You’ve come here for the latest episode of Spirit Spelling Report.

Ironic Misspelling

“Millennium” (as “Millenium”, twice, on page 254)³


Unexpected nonmisspellings

  • “apostasy” (as “apostasy”, on page 22)
  • “Millennium” (as “Millennium”, in Spirit’s references to Chicago’s Millennium Park except on page 254)

Odd quotes

  • “Throw any mammal in the water, and it will doggy paddle.” —Mark Uhen, paleontologist, in an article about whales.
  • It goes back to me being a kid, to my sisters and I being given a quarter every Saturday to go to a double feature. —James Patterson, “World’s best-selling author” [emphasis added]

Lest you consider me uniquely picky about Spirit’s typography (which is lately much improved), I draw your attention to a fellow from Incline Village, Nevada, who wrote the editors to bewail their failure to italicize the price of Maryland Crab Cakes in a menu within a story about menus. (The other prices on the menu were italicized.) The editors’ cleverly sneaky response? “Usually we’re better at proofreading than we are at math.” Given the quality of proofreading in past Spirits, well.

Finally, a non-Spirit seat-pocket observation: The Late Spring 2011 SkyMall catalog was disappointingly thin. Economists, take note.

¹ The Campbell Soup Company remains in Camden, New Jersey, for example, despite Bob’s tempting offer to have the city’s water tower repainted Warhol-style.

² Etymology: Latin anniversāri-us returning yearly, < ann-us year + vers-us turned, a turning + –āri-us: see -ary suffix. [Source: The Oxford English Dictionary]

³ Although millenary (synonymous with millennium, from post-classical Latin millenarius) is correctly spelled with -n-, millennium (from classical Latin annus) is correctly spelled with -nn-. The OED notes that these spellings “have frequently been confused.”

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Roundup from the December Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. (Which was thankfully captivating, there being no new SkyMall to which to turn.)


  • “Luxury” (as “Luxuy”, in large type on page 58)
  • “Remembrance” (as in “Pearl Harbor Rememberance Day,” page 126)

Arguable misspellingGoogleDamnit

  • “DAMMIT” (as “DAMNIT, page ??¹) 

Unexpected nonmisspelling

  • “memento” (as “memento”, page ??²)

Clichés (and other embarrassments) up the wazoo

Witness this small (trust me) sample from the literal surfeit in “Crowd Control,” a single article by Scott Steinberg, CEO of the “high-tech consulting firm TechSavvy Global,” who limited research suggests speaks and writes thus prolifically.³ The Spirit article wasn’t intended as humor or parody.

  • “bet the farm”
  • “field day”
  • “trust me”
  • au contraire
  • “dress for success”
  • “won’t be a cakewalk”
  • “make no mistake”
  • “weeding out the winners” [My personal favorite. –SK]
  • No matter how unique the idea, we’ll dress it for success.”
  • Even crappy concepts generate helpful response and criticism.”

Other funnies

I didn’t note the sources or page numbers of these other Spirit gems.

  • “(Though the Baltimore monument [to George Washington] is almost 400-feet shorter than the Washington monument in D.C., it’s actually 56 years older.)”
  • “reams of red tape” [A close second. –SK]
  • “When I watch Dr. Stern practice medicine, I am struck by how little it is like those medical shows on television. She doesn’t rush around with heart paddles and needles.”

¹ Despite the appearance of the jump line “Continued on page 108” on page 99, a dozen or so unnumbered pages (presumably including page 108) immediately and consecutively followed the page bearing the number 101. The first numbered page thereafter bore page number 114. “Page ??” refers to one of these unnumbered pages, though not always the same one.

² See previous footnote.

³ The quoted description of TechSavvy Global was copied from something on the internet. TechSavvy Global’s actual website rather roundly and soundly belies the description. (Remarkably, even the blue underlined email address on the home page is not a link.)

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Roundup from the October Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine.


  • “Give” (as “Hive”, page 40)
  • “learn” (as “lea040n”, page 40)
  • “green” (as “gree”, page 95)
  • “quinceañera” (as “quinciñera”, page 97, in Neal Pollack’s quite awful short story Down with Ice Cream!

Unexpected nonmisspelling

  • “minuscule” (as “minuscule”, page 93)

At which point I went back to reading the Holiday 2010 issue of Sky Mall.

One Response to “Spirit Spelling Report”

  1. Steve Kass » Spirit Spelling Report, Episode #2 Says:

    […] Roundup from the December Southwest Airlines Spirit magazine. (Which was thankfully captivating, there being no new SkyMall to which to turn.) […]

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