BONG Bull blogged here
Charles Stough, he the proprietor of BONG Bull, one of the great reads in the newspaper business, friend from my days in Dayton and master of ceremonies of the margarita bus (oh, I wasn't supposed to mention that, was I), regrettably has decided not to continuing republishing BONG on Blogger where an Atom feed would widen its accessability. It remains on Topix, if you would like the periodic e-mail feed. But, magnanimous as he is (OK, I hear he's been called some other things, especially in that large state that borders Mexico, but we'll just go with magnanimous here), he has granted CSJ permission to reproduce his fine work so that this becomes your address for the automated feed if, say, your overseers frown on e-mail newsletters. Thank you Charles, and here goes (We're a little behind on the first one. We promise to try to stay current):
The Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild's World-Famous Encyclical
Copyright © 2006 by BONG
For June 7, 2006. Oh, very good, Ann Coulter, that's how to bring down the level of rhetoric! Make babbling accusations against 9-11 widows and take the your drooling fans' attention off the deficit and your Adam's apple, says the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 675!
OH WELL, THE WORLD DIDN'T END. As with all great newspapers and all thecrummy ones too, BONG Bull is usually prepared the day before dateline. And those editions not prepared a day ahead were probably done a week ahead; not for nothing did we hang around the Features Department, learning pseudo-hipness and radish recipes. So the Newsrack Repairs and Editorial Stances Committee is very glad that no BONGers got taken up in the Rapture. But then we probably could have predicted that, too.
Or, if the world ended yesterday ON 6/6/06, let it be known that BONG hung on for 674 issues, longer than Cargo magazine.
BROTHERHOOD OF THE PEN. A city editor and his wife were wakened at 3 a.m. by a loud pounding on their front door. The editor stumbled down and opened to find a reporter on the porch in a driving rain, staggering drunk.
"Can you give me a push, Boss?" the reporter slurred.
"Not a chance. And if you bother me again at this time of the night, it's your ass!" the editor said, slamming the door.
But his wife was more sympathetic. "Don't you remember when you were a young reporter?" she asked. "Out late in terrible weather, digging up stories? I think you should help him, and you should be ashamed of yourself!"
The editor grumbled but did as he was told, got dressed, and went out into the rain and dark. "Hello, are you still there?" he called out.
"Yes," came the reply.
"Do you still need a push?"
"Yes, please!" said the reporter in the dark.
"Where are you?" asked the editor, squinting into the gloom.
"Over here, on the swing!" replied the reporter.
STUFF YOU SHOULD KNOW BY THE TIME YOUR INTERNSHIP IS OVER. The high-tech battery backup system in the basement will protect stuff on the computers in a power outage, unless you push the "brew" button on the coffee maker. Use it.
-- Hanging around with editorial writers won't make you smart any more than standing around a parking lot makes you a Buick.
-- When cleaning up your work area, the easy way is to sweep the cubicle with a glance.
-- Your career can thrive no matter who in the newsroom hates your guts, but stay nice to whoever sorts the mail.
-- For every action, there is an equal and opposite company policy.
-- Don't hang with reporters, don't eat junk food, don't drink, die anyway.
-- Photographers are supposed to be like that.
-- There is always one more nitwit handling your copy than you counted on.
-- Someone who uses that college education, stays sober, thinks logically and gets it right the first time provides a nice contrast to the average slot editor.
-- Don't do anything at a staff meeting that you wouldn't do at a, hmm, all right, never mind this one.
SCREEN SAVER. This week's freebie is an image of a recent 16x20 acrylic painting, "Bird in the Cold," by Charles Stough. Help yourself, or contact the Chief Copyboy to discuss how you can become the art-connoisseur owner of the original. Upload the painting here
SPEAKING OF COMPANY POLICY. One of the puzzlers about the San Antonio Express-News was the periodic demand from the second-floor office manager to produce proof of auto insurance. "I'm a copy editor, not a reporter," I protested. "I don't drive a company car." (And if I ever do drive a company car and take out a taco stand with it, it will be the company's insurance that covers it, I didn't add.)
No matter, for your safety, show your insurance proof, the company said.
So a couple of years into this ritual I asked, "Hey, if the company is so concerned about my safety, why does it care about my auto insurance but it doesn't provide toilet seat liners in the restrooms?"
In a week I got a forwarded e-mail from the appropriate functionary, reporting toilet seat liner dispensers installed. And it was true. Yes, and they were refilled regularly. And no one asked me for proof of insurance any more, either. That's power. Gee, 11 national headline prizes (12 if you count the one the slot editor put her name on) and pressing the flesh of everyone in the building! No one else at the San
Antonio Express-News could match my accomplishment.
But then, a year or so later, I had occasion to visit the third-floor
crapper -- and found no toilet seat liners. Deceived and disillusioned, I soon gave notice and returned to Ohio. Spitting raspberries at my receding back, management drove the dagger home by banning puns in headlines. Take that.
Unanswered are the questions: Was it all a Potemkin village (look it up)? Did other staffers have to keep showing redundant proof of insurance while I got a pass? And speaking of passing, did you guys up in Features or Sports ever get toilet seat liners?
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 hold positions near the pay phone in the Bait Shoppe as Typo asserts, "Keep the faith, Boss! Any minute now, Tony Ridder's gonna accept your offer and you'll be a newspaper mogul every bit as redoubtable as our own Absentee Publisher Gimlet Peen!"
PANEL TWO: Hunched under his trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island, Speed grumbles, "It isn't going to happen, Typo! I'll never get Gimlet's office, never get to fire anybody, and Features Editor Hyperba Lee will be stalking me with obscenely graphic propositions in my locker and mailbox into the next century!"
INTERPANEL EFFECTS: Phone rings with pain stars.
PANEL THREE: Typo cheers into the receiver, "Tony baby, what up!? ... Wow, cash AND stock? ... Yeah, but that's Canadian, Tony! We're talking Swiss francs and krugerrands! ... Not even if we throw in the negatives from the convention? ... Final offer!? ... OK, Tony! Love to the family!"
PANEL FOUR: Typo comforts his pal, "Well, Boss, it didn't pay out! Wilkes-Barre is the runt puppy, but you can't go back to Pennsylvania till the statute of limitations runs out! But just think of all the office pools that are cashing in today! You're a hero in the profession, Boss!"
PANEL FIVE: As Speed trudges out sadly, Typo high-signs Floyd the Barmaid to put his pool winnings on his bar tab and reassures, "And just think, Boss! In only 13 more years, Hyperba will be at mandatory retirement age!"
BONG Bull is the creation of Chief Copyboy Charley Stough, former newsman at many fine papers and a couple of yo-yos, in Dayton, Ohio. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for any reason.