One of the hardest things in the world is to read something you have written yourself to check it for typos.  Sure, it helps with the modern spell-checkers that are built into word processors, but even then, it won’t sort out between too, to, two or their, there or they’re or a myriad of other such combinations of words that are correctly spelled but the wrong word in the wrong place.

I have always had a real thing about spelling.  I can’t STAND to see mis-spellings.  It drives me crazy.  That and just plain typos.  Oh, I know, I’ve made a ton of those kinds of mistakes in my life (and in this blog over the past few years!), but I still can’t stand it. 

When I worked in the high-tech world I would sometimes be looking to hire someone for a rather important position.  Often, I’d be looking for someone with a master’s degree.  Some of the resumes that would come to me through mail or email were horrible – just chock full of typos, improperly spelled words, etc.  And these were people who had gone to some of the most prestigious master’s degree programs in their field!  How, I wondered, did they ever graduate?  Invariably, when I saw typos in the resumes, they went into the “No way in the world pile!” and they got a kind letter of rejection.  Why?  I reasoned that if they couldn’t spell well enough to have an error-free resume, I didn’t want them writing software or managing multimillion dollar projects for me.  Maybe I missed some great employees, but the ones I did hire were pretty doggone outstanding and I don’t think they could have been beaten by the rejects.

Imagine, though, what it would have been like to have been an ancient Egyptian carver of hieroglyphics, chipping away in stone on a towering obelisk.  I thought about that when I took this photo…and I just imagined the stone being set up and someone saying, “Oh, I hate to tell you this, but you made a mistake way up there at the top!  You misspelled Pharaoh’s name!” 


_MG_3912ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: In 1937, a group of federal prisoners classified as “most dangerous” arrives at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay. The convicts–the first civilian prisoners to be housed in the new high-security penitentiary–joined a few dozen military prisoners left over from the island’s days as a U.S. military prison.

Although some three dozen attempted, no prisoner was known to have successfully escaped “The Rock.” However, the bodies of several escapees believed drowned in the treacherous waters of San Francisco Bay were never found. The story of the 1962 escape of three of these men, Frank Morris and brothers John and Clarence Anglin, inspired the 1979 film Escape from Alcatraz. Another prisoner, John Giles, caught a boat ride to the shore in 1945 dressed in an army uniform he had stolen piece by piece, but he was questioned by a suspicious officer after disembarking and sent back to Alcatraz. Only one man, John Paul Scott, was recorded to have reached the mainland by swimming, but he came ashore exhausted and hypothermic at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge. Police found him lying unconscious and in a state of shock.

In 1963, U.S. Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy ordered Alcatraz closed, citing the high expense of its maintenance. In its 29-year run, Alcatraz housed more than 1,500 convicts. In March 1964 a group of Sioux Indians briefly occupied the island, citing an 1868 treaty with the Sioux allowing Indians to claim any “unoccupied government land.” In November 1969, a group of nearly 100 Indian students and activists began a more prolonged occupation of the island, remaining there until they were forced off by federal marshals in June 1971.

In 1972, Alcatraz was opened to the public as part of the newly created Golden Gate National Recreation Area, which is maintained by the National Park Service. More than one million tourists visit Alcatraz Island and the former prison annually.  (It is a cool place to visit!)

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Ever wonder how babies can nurse and cry at the same time?  Up to the age of 6-7 months, a child can breathe and swallow at the same time.  Adults can’t do that! 


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