The Nov. 10 edition of the Mount Mercy Times had a lot of good material in it—a small, core group of students works very hard on the paper which has been well done this semester.
But, that edition also had Dr. Blomkamp.
In a feature story about genetically altered food, one of the faculty members who is extensively quoted is the chair of our math and science department.
In real life, his name is Dr. Neil Bernstein. The story, however, quotes a “Neil Blomkamp.”
Well, my sister had to correct the spelling of “cupola” on my recent blog post. I had typed “copula,” which Word had accepted because it is a word. It’s either some sort of linking word in linguistics or a way of analyzing multiple variables in statistics. A copula, however, is not a cupola, and a cupola is what Warde Hall has on top of it and what I was writing about.
The feature writer in this issue of the Times is one of our better volunteer journalists, and I hope he doesn’t get discouraged by this faux pas. At least he was consistent in the story, and the mysterious Dr. Blomkamp is quoted throughout. That’s not as bad as it could be—sometimes, inexperienced writers have characters and names that shift in a story, and I would rather see a consistent error like this. And it’s not all the writer’s fault—both the editors and I should have caught the mistake before the mysterious Dr. Blomkamp appeared in print.
Yikes. Life can be full of near misses. I was trying to shoot pictures of gathering birds out my home office window this morning, but they apparently can see me as well as I can see them, and the little dinosaurs gathered when I sat down and fled when I stood to point a camera at them.
My most embarrassing moment as a journalist was working in Missouri’s Capitol in Jefferson City, covering testimony from the University of Missouri President before a Senate funding committee. I don’t recall the details—I don’t remember his name after all these years—but I got a vowel wrong in the President’s name. Lucky for me a copy editor caught the error—yet, you don’t want to the reporter who has to explain to an editor why a name—the name of the University President, for crying out loud—is wrong in your story.
Live and learn. Journalism is full of tricky little facts and attending to those details is a lesson for writers and editors (and advisors).
I do say, however, that despite the embarrassment of this obvious error, the name “Blomkamp” appeals to me. Blomkamp, what kind of a character would a man with this name be?
I imagine a cable TV police drama where our sexy but single female chief investigator doesn’t get along with our sexy but single forensic scientist despite the ongoing and overt sexual tension, and the goofy partner of the investigator is a curmudgeon of an older cop who is marking time before retirement and remembers (loudly, frequently and for mostly for clumsy comedic effect) rotary phones. His name? Sgt. Neil Blomkamp.
Or, an NBC Thursday night sitcom set in an urban New Jersey shopping mall, where a sexy but single bookstore owner struggles to compete with the chain box stores, on-line shopping and the vicissitudes of the cranky, gay, officious mall manager: Lance Neil Blomkamp.
Or a movie romantic comedy. She’s a great ape researcher following a tribe of Bonobos through a jungle in Kenya, and is paired with a slightly older, yet ruggedly handsome, genetics expert who seems rude, stand-offish, cranky and mean. Of course, she will get a bit drunk, kiss him one night, reject him the next day, become separated, but in the end, she will walk off into the jungle hand-in-hand with her true soul mate as the happy Bonobo tribe joyously dances about and slings poop.
The love of her life?
Dr. Blomkamp, I presume.