Editor's Letter: Peering Behind the Scenes

By Annie Tobey | September 3rd, 2019

Enhanced appreciation through knowledge

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Annie Tobey, editorIn August, gymnast Simone Biles landed a triple-double at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships – the first time a woman had done so in competition – and performed a double-double dismount off the balance beam. Biles’ performances awe spectators, who can appreciate the artistry of her movement.

Arguably, gymnasts, dancers and other athletes appreciate Biles’ accomplishments even more. Sure, all of us can watch her sail across the floor, land a spectacular move and think, “Wow!” But another athlete grasps more fully the magnitude of commitment, tenacity, time, sacrifice and skill required to achieve that level of performance.

Such magnified appreciation doesn’t apply merely to sports. Consider an architect admiring the engineering and creativity behind an impressive building, a musician listening to a virtuoso, or a scientist delving into the research of Nobel Prize-winning physicists.

In that spirit, this month’s issue of BOOMER takes you behind the scenes at some of Richmond’s favorite venues. As you read about what goes into planning a season, creating and erecting a set, and being a professional actor, you may more fully appreciate the finished product.

Similarly, the July-August editor’s letter illuminated how being a wordsmith encourages appreciation for artfully crafted writing, provides amusement at word-based humor and sometimes results in annoyance at mistakes. As requested, many readers responded with their own language-focused peeves and giggles.


Spelling joke from Hilary Durrette:

My mom was an English prof – talk about correcting! She even corrected people on TV, and so do I!

Q: How do you comfort a grammar fanatic?

A: Their, they’re, there.

Lyrical confusion from Jill Baughan:

Having taught composition at VCU for many years, I can relate to your frustration (and fun) with grammar goofs. Here’s one for you from Paul McCartney’s Live and Let Die: “And IN this ever-changing world IN which we live IN …” Drives me bonkers every time I hear it!

Two gems from Mike Swain

Did you hear the one about the pregnant woman who went into labor and started shouting, “Couldn’t! Wouldn’t! Shouldn’t! Didn’t! Can’t!”? She was having contractions.

Or: When I was a kid, my teacher looked my way and said, “Name two pronouns.” I said, “Who, me?”

Air wave pet peeve from Dottie Lensinboltz

Thank you, Ms. Tobey, for the opportunity to vent about a phrase heard daily on radio and on TV: “We’re back in a moment.” It would take only a second more to say, “We will be back in a moment.”

‘Judgment’ from Linda Hammer

I’m told that judgment is now able to be spelled: judgment or judgement. 🙁

Red pen fever from Anon

I am so tired of mispronunciations, incorrect spellings, and misplaced/missing punctuation marks. My red pen comes out of my pocketbook far too often.

Dual meaning from Markell

I am a grammarian myself. I just read a sentence yesterday: “My mother and I saw all the monuments we could down in Washington.” I read it too quickly, as “My mother and I saw all the monuments we could down in Washington,” but I soon realized it wasn’t an all-you-can-eat buffet.

Mixed metaphor from Martha

I remember newscaster David Brinkley reporting on a candidate in an obscure election. Brinkley quoted the candidate, giving viewers one of his wry smiles, reading: “‘I’m going to ram this issue down his throat till he doesn’t have a leg to stand on!’” After all these years, I still giggle at this memory.

The bottom line from Ray Potter

My father was an old newspaper man and high school teacher. He brooked no quarter with spelling or grammar errors. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I was editor of the student newspaper in college. Now in retirement, I do publicity for the Richmond Railroad Museum.

My wife is even more of a grammar nerd. We have lofty discussions about proper use of the King’s English. She never fails to point out misuse of the language by people on TV. Alex Trebek has been guilty as well as Rachel Maddow.

[Grammar goofs are] interesting to consider, but we must remember that in the grand scheme of things, it’s the thoughts and ideas that really matter.

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