Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Farewell, old BONG

The e-mail I had feared for several weeks arrived tonight.

Charley Stough is shutting down his long-running BONG (Burned Out Newspapercreature's Guild) Bull newsletter after 669 issues.

That's pretty amazing, if you think about it. And what does it say about today's "youth push" when it was the veteran with the wit and wisdom who led the charge into the digital age?

Charley, always a stalwart at the Dayton Daily News (and proprietor of the margarita bus) when I was AP correspondent, has since moved on to San Antonio and the local font of knowledge there where, shall we say, other priorities have intervened.

He had put feelers out a month ago about finding someone to take it over but I, and I'm sure others, just weren't in the position. I hope Charley keeps the previous BONGs available (at least the ones since he started his companion blog)-- the Web site should be declared a national press landmark -- but, alas, he has not filed a new one there since April (appropriately, perhaps, leaving it at No. 666), and the last BONG Bull indicates the site may not be long with us.

So thanks, Charley, for all the great stuff. There were many weeks BONG in the e-inbox made it all bearable. Of course, it helped that I knew many of the sly references to the personalities behind the jabs.

Thanks Herman "Speed" Graphic, ace photographer.

Thanks Typo the Wonder Pig, his faithful assistant.

Three cheers for the Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar.

And I hope Charley doesn't mind if I show my respect by letting Herman and Typo head into the sunset on this blog as well:
PANEL ONE: Typo finishes a phone call while Speed uses the last pica pole in the newsroom to scrape something off his trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service executive on a fog-shrouded eastern island. Typo urges, "And just tell Dubbya that he makes both sides happy if he takes stem-cell donor tissue only from prisoners on Texas's Death Row! Yeah, you can use your 'err on the side of life' line, too! Yeah, I thought you'd like that, Karl! 'Bye!"
PANEL TWO: Handing Speed another gallon of spot remover, Typo intones, "That's about as clean as it gets, Boss! No sense going overboard! Features Editor Hyperba Lee never complains about food stains!"
PANEL THREE: Speed enquires, "Is my retirement speech ready, Typo?" Typo smiles, "Got it right here, Boss! And don't forget eye contact! When they freeze in mid-swallow, you'll know you got 'em tighter than a Newhouse pension!"
PANEL FOUR: Speed practices, " 'And if you think you need a writing coach, you should fire the guy who hired the writers!' Yeah, that's a good walkoff, Typo! You think Absentee Publisher Gimlet Peen will be offended?"
PANEL FIVE: On their ways out of the photo lab, Typo places his arm on Speed's shoulder and reassures, "Not to worry, Boss! He knows we still have the negatives from the tango contest! And besides, even if he gets his knickers in a twist, I got us the Bait Shoppe's best banquet deal: We keep half the bar take and all the valet parking!"

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