We might just make it. Mr. Rewrite's Valentine's Day Apostrophe Confusion Watch (TM) stood this morning at 1,662 misspellings of Valentine's Day as Valentines Day, as indexed by Google News. Mr. Rewrite's goal: 2,000 media misspellings by Feb. 15 to capture news coverage through the big day. He'll make a donation to the American Heart Association if we get there.
Ooh, ooh! Real reader mail from someone in need of Mr. Rewrite's expertise (or at least his time). This confirms that Mr. Rewrite has at least one reader. It's the validation he needs to soldier on with this blog:
Dear Mr. Rewrite.
As a lifelong baseball fan
As a life-long baseball fan
As a life long baseball fan
When faced with such a question, Mr. Rewrite prefers the easiest possible route. Worried that opening a dictionary could strain his shoulder, he usually puts that kind of thing to a vote via Google News: lifelong, life-long, life long. "Lifelong" wins by a mile, and the media organizations that show up in the Google News index are reputable. It's a safe bet. If it's close, look it up.
Mr. Rewrite also looked it up, and it is indeed "lifelong." His first step was the AP Stylebook, which had nothing on it. Per AP style, anything not covered by the stylebook is covered by the Webster's New World Dictionary. It says lifelong.