On the Subject of Spelling Chicago Correctly


I typed that into my word processor to begin my blog entry.  No red line appeared underneath it.  No alternate spellings were suggested.  I have run into that issue, living in towns Microsoft Word didn’t consider real.  If I accepted spell check, I currently reside in Bleeder, Illinois.  I’m not sure if that’s better or worse than my previous address in Hangover Park.  But Chicago – as the third largest city in the United States – apparently merits an entry in the built-in dictionary.


I typed that into Google.  In .12 seconds, the web site returned more than 720,000,000 links.  Again, no alternate suggestions came up.  Google didn’t politely ask, “did I really mean to search for… ?”  While a Chicago search on Yahoo! did offer some alternates, they all included “Chicago” in them: Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears, Chicago Tribune.


I really hoped to give the staff working up north at the Green Bay Press-Gazette the benefit of the doubt.  Green Bay is a nice little town full of folks who are good and solid citizens.  But – no matter how I try – I can’t figure out how they screwed up last week when the Packers beat the Falcons and the paper led with the following headline Monday morning:

Even now, my word processor is screaming at me.  While its first guess – Chicano – isn’t right either, Chicago makes the top three choices.  Google actually comes out and finds Chicago information for me when I type in CHICACO.  It doesn’t return a blank page, it doesn’t helpfully suggest, it just knows that I spelled it wrong and this is what I really want to know about.


Mistakes happen.  You can see misspelled words all around.  I cringe every time I drive past McDonald’s and see the broken English announcements on the yellow board below the main sign.  The Chicago Tribune magnanimously pointed out they once thought Dewey would defeat Truman.  But – in their headline – both names were spelled correctly.  Big illuminated signs don’t have a spell check function.  I’m thinking whatever software they use to publish the Press-Gazette probably has a dictionary function built-in.  Ten minutes of research on the Internet proved that and one of those minutes was lost when I typed in “newspaper sofware” by mistake.


The Green Bay Press-Gazette regrets the error.  They probably regret the error more now that it has been reported around the world.  They understand how to spell Chicago.  They promise not to spell it wrong again.  They further promise to spell Dallas correctly, the home of this year’s Super Bowl.  That will – of course – come in handy next Monday when they have to report on who will be making the trip there.



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