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Texas tidbits you can safely use at family gatherings

By Ernie Williamson

The Bulletin

If you are looking for a column on the issues of the day, today’s column isn’t for you.

If, on the other hand , you are looking for some Texas tidbits that might provide non-political conversation at the holiday dinner table, please read on.

A BAD SPELL: In this day and age of texting and autocorrect, we’ve become accustomed to using acronyms and relying on technology to check our spelling.

There is one word, however, that seems to trip up Texans despite spellcheck.

Some background: WordTips, a word search site, compiled a list of 350 of the most misspelled words in the English language and gathered a sample of more than 2 billion geotagged tweets.

WordTips then identified the most uniquely popular misspellings in each state by comparing the misspelling rate of each word locally with the nationwide rate and picking the word that was proportionately highest in each state.

The word Texans misspell at a rate higher than residents of other states is “similar.”

Our neighboring states had their own troublesome words. It was “kernel” in Louisiana, “column” in Arkansas, “writing” in Oklahoma and “parliament” in New Mexico.

WordTips was also able to identify the words that had the highest rate of misspellings nationwide.

The top five with the rate of misspelling were: Coolly (69 percent}, minuscule ( 32.5 percent), sergeant (29.3 percent), liaison (25.5) and protester (22.5 percent).

I can only hope I spelled them all correctly here. I wouldn’t want to make a similar mistake.

SMALL STUDY: I have no idea why the company did it and can’t vouch for the study’s methods and accuracy, but an Alabama company has concluded Pearland is the most diverse small city in the country.

Filterbuy, a home air quality retail company, weighed several data factors such as ethnic and racial diversity along with economic diversity and several others to create a score out of 100.

Pearland earned a score of 75.92 to finish ahead of second-place Vallejo, Calif., and Sugar Land which finished fourth.

If you have driven down Broadway you would see Pearland’s diversity but you would also realize Pearland isn’t that small of a city. The study labeled cities under 149,000 as small. Pearland is approaching 130,000.

MULTITASKING: I probably followed Gabby Giffords and her miraculous recovery from an assassination attempt closer than most of you since we both spent time at TIRR Memorial Hermann.

So, although a recent CNN documentary on Giffords was very compelling with its home movies, I didn’t find much that surprised me.

There was, however, one nugget of information I had never heard before

At the very moment Giffords was undergoing another emergency brain surgery, her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, was performing a precision docking of the Space Shuttle Endeavor with the space station.

Talk about having a lot on your mind.

WHAT ON EARTH! We all know Texas is filled with little towns with familiar names like Paris, Athens, Naples, London, Dublin and Florence. But did you know that, according to BestLifeonline, Texas is the one place on Earth with a town named Earth?

SPEAKING OF T0WNS: The town of DISH (all caps) in Denton County used to be called Clark.

But, according to the BestLife folks, the satellite television company Dish Network in 2005 made Clark an offer it could not refuse.

In exchange for renaming the town “DISH” each of its residents would receive free basic television service for 10 years and a free digital video recorder.

(Contact Ernie at Or, send letters in care of The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, TX. 77516)


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