1) our webfooted friend is never far from sight. two points to anyone who
can flush him out of our blind.
2) "The opposite sex always gets better looking after the first
edition is out." Oh, how true... but somehow, I'm always the only fool
left when the presses turn.
3) There are still some paragraphs too risque to clear the
newswire. Bet you didn't think "glass belt-buckles" were in any of
4) ALL news is local.
Date: Wed, 30 Jul 1997 15:51:52 -0700
From: firstname.lastname@example.org (Mike Linksvayer)
Subject: BONG Bull No. 434!
THE BURNED-OUT NEWSPAPERCREATURES GUILD'S NEWSLETTER
Copyright (c) 1997 by BONG. All rights reserved.
To subscribe: Email to email@example.com. In the text say
THE RULES. Here are some professional canons compiled by elements of
the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette news staff, submitted by Judd Slivka:
Never draw to an inside straight. The further you go in your
career the more control you have over it. Never underestimate the
Viet Cong. Don't dip your pen in company ink. The opposite sex always
gets better looking after the first edition is out. It's much more
important to look busy than be busy. The interview process is a lot
like making a sausage. Keep a pair of socks in the trunk.
Also, if it's a big story, expect all 12 calls you made to 12
sources to come within 10 minutes of deadline. Don't anger the
interns; though they are powerless, they have the most to gain by
your demise. Call before you go. Don't make nouns verbs. If you do
dip your pen in company ink and get dumped by a reporter, read T.S.
Eliot; if you get dumped by a copy editor, read Emily Dickinson; if
you get dumped by a photographer, read Dr. Seuss.
Also, use moisturizer if you chafe. Learn to curse in at least
one foreign language. Sometimes there is no moral to the story. Use
of the phrase "Who's your daddy?" in the newsroom constitutes
gloating. Dogs love peanut butter. Leave Biblical references to
editorial writers. To figure what someone with decent math skills is
making, multiply your salary by 12.
FULLDECKISMS, TEXISMS AND YAKKOLA. "If he was any dumber he'd
photosynthesize his own food." "If she had a brain, she'd take it out
and play with it." Those are from Adam Weintraub, "Freelancing in
Minnesota for more than 28 Days."
"He's not the best-shined shoe in the closet," offers Texas
reporter Jennifer L. Rankin.
"Same dog, different fleas," proposes Janea Jackson, Dayton
(Ohio) Daily News.
"All bark and no tree," declares Thomas Mangan of Peoria, Ill.
"All frosting, no cake," suggests Jo Parris of Idaho State
"A couple of roos short in the top paddock," advises Stephen
Mcilwaine, with the Down Under point of view.
"He fell out of the Stupid tree and hit every branch on the way
down," aggregates someone going by Duck.
"The elevator doesn't go to the penthouse," asserts Donald W.
"If brains were cotton, he wouldn't have enough to make a
tampon for a pissant," adds Joe D. Williams of the Midland (Texas)
Reporter-Telegram. He says the contribution is from his girlfriend,
who has "a real job" and this paragraph will not be found in the
wire-service version of this column.
"Needs a glass beltbuckle to see where he's going," a western
Oklahoma aphorism recalled by D.P. Reazer. This one either.
MAYBE A REGIONAL VARIATION. Before there were editorial computers
few editors had to think about spacing. Then in the early days of
journalists taking over printers' jobs, em spaces were called either
mollies or mutts. Copy editors could set up tabular templates for
most business-page agate, but the weekly Ups and Downs required
tailoring and some stock's 7/16 had to fit on the pile with another
stock's 3/8. And in the low-seniority end of the copy desk, an
editor would be moving his or her lips to the tune of "molly, molly,
nut, nut, thin space."
Or maybe "mutt, mutt, nut, nut, thin space." Al JaCoby of
Copley calls them mutts. A certain midwestern font of knowledge's
harried old-timers still say mollies. Most systems since about 1980
eliminated this little chore, giving a mere 17-year rookie something
to use when lording it over the interns today.
FIRST THINGS FIRST. At the Hudson Dispatch in New Jersey, the staff
was agog with reportage on the trial of notorious politico-bad guy
Joe Mocco, facing 114 counts of taking bribes from toxic waste
dumpers. And by the way, a golden retriever escaped from the local
shelter and eluded dogcatchers, according to a small inside story.
"For the rest of the week, our readers flooded us with calls to
ask us what was happening with the dog," reports David H. Lippman,
now flacking for the U.S. Navy in New Zealand. "They didn't care
about corruption or toxic waste. They wanted to know about the dog.
So every day, we had the 'stray dog update.'
"The dog was finally caught, and taken to the Newark animal
shelter. It had a case of malnutrition and fleas. We had to call the
shelter every day to find out the dog's fate. Luckily for us, a local
woman adopted Lucky the Dog.
"And still nobody cared about the Mocco trial. He was found
guilty, sent to prison."
LESSONS IN LITTLEHOOD. Ken Allen agrees with an earlier BONGer's
respect for small-town news, and here are two reasons why:
-- "During the mid-1970s I flirted with buying a newspaper in
Twisp, Wash., called The Methow Valley News (I believe). The best-
read feature in this weekly was actually the Abrams Chevrolet ad.
The dealer, instead of flogging his line of coupes and sedans, ran a
wonderful essay by a (presumably) mythical Aunt Hattie. She told
gossip and gave opinions. Sort of a pre-Garrison Keilor observation
on small-town life.
-- "If this other story isn't true, it ought to be. During
my student intern days at the Hickory (N.C.) Daily Record, I was told
that up through the 1950s, the publisher started each year by marking
in a phone book the names of local residents as they appeared in the
newspaper. On Labor Day, he gave the book to the managing editor with
instructions that every name not already checked off should appear in
the paper before the end of the year. The publisher's theory was that
in a small town, everybody does something newsowrthy in the course of
a year, if you only define news broadly enough."
CORRECTION. The Toronto Star on May 31, 1993 had to say: "TV
personality Barbara Walters tapped the lectern -- not her face, as
the Star later reported -- when she told a laughing audience: 'Every
once in a while I have to knock on plastic.'
What the correction didn't say is that the story described her
face as "surgically altered" when she tapped it, said John Miller.
COMIX SECTION. The Further Adventures of Herman "Speed" Graphic,
Ace Photographer for the Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar, and
his Faithful Companion, Typo the Wonder Pig.
PANEL ONE: The Deft Duo stroll the Miami Beach waterfront,
contemplating the evils of fate, as Typo declares, "Sure the
caretaker should get the reward, Boss, and somebody should pay you
for that time you ratted on the governor's double-parked limousine!"
PANEL TWO: Typo continues, "And that time you told the photo
editor you weren't going to throw out perfectly good coffee just
because it was four days old, you were doing a good deed!"
PANEL THREE: Typo orates, "And I think you deserve a reward
for letting Features Editor Hyperba Lee down easy at the company
dance, especially considering the risk of knife wounds! She was in a
lambada mood, Boss!"
PANEL FOUR: Typo pontificates, "But most of all, Boss, I think
you should get great credit for strolling here along this glass-
smooth sunny Atlantic frontage, at one with the colorful people of
the world, doing your best to overcome the pink-organza look that has
paralyzed this town since that dreadful movie 'The Bird Cage!'"
PANEL FIVE: Wrapping himself tighter in his trenchcoat, a
deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service executive editor on
a fog-shrouded eastern island, Typo responds, "It isn't that, Typo!
It's just that no one told me thong bikinis were so outre for men
Unafraid to enjoy the outdoors anywhere between Henry Miller titles,
BONG Chief Copyboy Charley Stough, Dayton Daily News, 45 S. Ludlow
Sts., Dayton, Ohio 45401 salutes NYTNS exhibitors worldwide. Phone
(937) 225-2445 after 5 p.m. eastern. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Fax