© 2008 -- 2011 the Grandpa at The Word Mechanic. All rights reserved.

Monday, November 3, 2008

More Odds and Ends

1) Here's something I didn't know. Atomic Clocks have been in use since 1949. In 1955, they were off by 1 second every 300 years. In 2001, their accuracy had improved to 1 second every 70 million years.

2) We went to the Atlanta Symphony on Saturday. It was our first time there since moving to Georgia. Before we went, I took a look at the symphony's Web site and found a page entitled "New to the Symphony." Here are a few passages from that page.

From a section headed "There is no dress code":
Still, evening gowns and tuxedos are pretty rare unless you've bought tickets for a fancy gala—and if you have, you'll know! If you do decide to dress up, though, go easy on the cologne, which can distract others near you and even prompt them to sneeze — and may distract you.

From a section headed "Plan to arrive 20 minutes before concert time":

Most concertgoers make a point of coming early to read the program notes to familiarize yourself with what you are about to hear. Rushing to your seat at the last minute doesn't really give you enough time to get settled, so you may not fully enjoy the first piece on the program. And there's another good reason to come early: Most concerts start on time. If you're late, you may end up listening from the lobby!

From the last paragraph:
In most classical concerts—unlike jazz or pop—the audience never applauds during the music. They wait until the end of each piece, then let loose with applause. But this can be a little tricky, because many pieces seem to end several times — they have several parts, or "movements." These are listed in your program.

I've added the italics and bold type. Whoever wrote the piece, I'm sure, wanted to be helpful. But whoever wrote the piece, didn't take the time to envision the audience. The tone is condescending, which makes the whole piece insulting to an adult concert goer. A writer taking time to think of who the audience actually is (it's not a group of fifth graders) can make all the difference in how a message comes across.

3) It's great to read writing by someone who actually enjoys it and enjoys being read. James Greer's article about time in the November Discover magazine is a delight to read. You can read it on line here. And when you come back, don't forget to visit today's Spotlight post. It too is delightful.


  1. That's why I don't give out storytime rule sheets.

  2. You mena you didnt get to wear your tuxedo Grandpa. Yes I read it as a writer being frustrated by rude concertgoers more than it being condescending. I be they get sick of rude people who wear too much cologne (oh dear). I shall be off to read your spotlight post now!

  3. You know Grandpa, it sounds an awful lot like a high school teacher volunteered their time to write that information. That tone is very high school handbook!

    Peace - Rene

  4. Good for you, Rebecca. I say if a kid wants to clap in the middle of a story, he should be allowed to clap.

    Yes, Lilly, but it wasn't the tuxedo that upset me. I got this really great cologne the other day and I wanted to try it out. I don't really care that the writer was trying to show all the ignorant people coming to the concert that he was better than them. I just wanted to get even for them making me get there 20 minutes early sans colgne.

  5. I'm afraid you may be right, Rene. And symphony hall was only about half full on a Saturday night. So the empty seats probably belonged to high school kids who decided to cut class. ;-)

  6. We're not allowed to wear perfume or strongly scented deorodants at work, either, because many are allergic to scents. I have perfumes at home that my family had given me over the years that I can only wear when I'm off duty.

    Thanks for the info on atomic clocks. It's interesting to know. I'll be sure to go to read the Discovery magazine article when I can find more time.


  7. Hi, Gran. Actually the symphony was good. We heard Bernstein's Symphony no 1, "Jeremiah." We were supposed to hear Kelley O'Conno do the Mezzo-soprano part, but she was ill, so it was sung by NAncy Maultsby. Then BArber's Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Garrick Ohlsson playing the piano. After intermission we heard Rachmaninov's Symphonic Dances. I would have applauded at several points, but the Web page scared me. We go Friday to see Gil Shaham. I think I better leave my Zippo at home. Got a feeling they frown on waving it in the air while the music's playing.

  8. Thanks for coming by, Tasha. The article on time is worth the time.

  9. Good music. Tragic that you can't fly that Zippo through the air, Dude.
    I'm used to the relaxed ways of Seattle.