Tim Chitwood

Monday Mail: Must 'snuck' be 'sneaked' or what?

Put on your red dress, baby; wear that wig hat on your head: It's Monday Mail.


Today's opening is from the song "High Heel Sneakers," written by Tommy Tucker and recorded in 1963.


Former journalist and retired police officer David Hopkins sends this email in regard to a colloquialism that snuck into a recent crime report:

I have long-since quit using my Stylebook, but when did "snuck" creep in? Wednesday's story about the purse snatcher said, "he snuck up behind her."

If it's any consolation, I've heard Judge Judy use it, too.

Dear David:

Which one's Judge Judy? Has she got a docket call coming up? I can't keep up with all the judges we have in this circuit now.

Dictionary.com says "snuck" is OK. I know some prefer "sneaked," but it slows the sentence when you need some suspense in recounting a crime.

Cool it

Every now and then I get a marketing pitch I can't resist relaying, like this one titled: "Can you imagine a day without air conditioning?"

I am sure no one can, but did you know that the idea originated from a man in Savannah, Ga., to transport ice from the north to create cooling systems?

Now I would like to introduce you to a great new show coming to PBS in October that I know your readers will love. "How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson," a six-part series looks at little-known stories behind the big ideas that have made the modern world possible.

In the episode COLD, the grueling heat inspired Frederick Tudor to work out how to transport ice from the north. This ended up creating a chain reaction that led to changing the way we eat (frozen fish finger anyone?) and the way we live: air conditioning for instance created the biggest human migration in history (if it wasn't for air conditioning, Las Vegas would be a tiny village and Dubai would probably not exist.)

This is just one of the many fascinating aspects that "How We Got to Now with Steven Johnson" has to offer....

Alexandra Stromer,

DKC Public Relations, Marketing & Government Affairs, New York.

Dear Alexandra:

I bet millions of Americans have no air conditioning now, so at least one of them probably can imagine a day without it.

I have heard that story about hauling ice, because some editors once used it in a newsroom meeting to compare the Internet to the invention of refrigeration. It was an apt analogy, in that just telling that story took up almost half of a 90-minute mandatory meeting and made the whole proceeding seem a lot like watching ice melt.

Tim Chitwood, tchitwood@ledger-enquirer.com, 706-571-8508.