Sunday, February 11, 2007


The Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild's World-Famous Encyclical
No. 688
Copyright © 2007 by BONG
Retransmitted by permission for those needing an RSS feed.

For Feb. 2, 2007. Oh, good work, Turner Broadcasting and your Cartoon Network committee! Paralyze Boston traffic with bomb scares, send a couple of giggling doofuses to the post-bail press conference and clear it all up with an offer of $500,000 to make good! Inspired flackery and conspicuous corporate citizenship, says the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 688!

While Exxon Mobil admits making $75,000 a minute in profits, Texas is perforated by more than 17,000 holes abandoned by oil and gas drillers who are happy to leave the cleanup to taxpayers. Texas builders sell houses salted with poisonous asbestos waste, and Texas legislators interrupt a special session on school finance to punch out a law protecting builders from lawsuits about it.
It was a place that had to have a Molly Ivins.
For a brief moment there was a Molly to call out that state's shitkickers on their vile habits, with or without a good ol' boy in the White House. Now it is left to all Texas newspapers to try to take up the slack. As they say in Texas opinion page committees with their manicured fingers on the pulse of every public outrage, "Boy howdy, time to come out for a new football stadium, y'all!"

AND SO LONG ART, ARTIST OF THE WORD. Art Buchwald had a career in satiric commentary almost as long as Mark Twain's and James Thurber's put together. He certainly had the longest running obituary as a series, the rare patient and even rarer newsman ever kicked out of a hospice for refusing to die.
Buchwald moved in a flock that included Twain, Thurber, Max Shulman, Dorothy Parker, Robert Benchley, Ring Lardner, Walt Kelly -- an army who came on as gentle warriors, but whose high-hat victims didn't know they had been cut down until they reached for a handkerchief and found the seats of their pants burned away.
Roy Blount, Calvin Trillin, Garrison Keillor, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert carry the banner still, but they are too few, and witless imitators are too many.
Consider the agenda -- pageant queens, plutocrats, randy preachers, disaster relief, war as political patronage, underpants-optional pop culture, politics as comedy and vice-versa, White House daughters, congressional felons, no-pill pharmacists and no-booze cabbies. Who can't see a Sunday page front on any of these? And yet why do so few even dare?

MEANWHILE, BACK TO UGLY FACTS. A titmouse is not a rodent. A bison may be a daughter. And a grouper may at times feel very, very alone. Observing a need for education on these and other points of fact (not only for copy editors, but for people too), BONG's new subsidiary the Getting It Right Foundation announces free graphic reminders suitable for any screensaver. Choose one

LOST IN TRANSLATION. Internet lore provides these signs, allegedly from world tourist spots.
-- In a Tokyo Hotel: Is forbitten to steal hotel towels please. If you are not person to do such thing is please not to read notis.
-- In a Belgrade hotel elevator: To move the cabin, push button for wishing floor. If the cabin should enter more persons, each one should press a number of wishing floor. Driving is then going alphabetically by national order.
-- In a Paris hotel elevator: Please leave your values at the front desk.
-- In a Japanese hotel: You are invited to take advantage of the chambermaid.
-- In a Moscow hotel near a monastery: You are welcome to visit the cemetery where famous Russian and Soviet composers, artists, and writers are buried daily except Thursday.
-- In an Austrian hotel catering to skiers: Not to perambulate the corridors in the hours of repose in the boots of ascension.
-- In a Hong Kong supermarket: For your convenience, we recommend courteous, efficient self-service.
-- In a Soviet Weekly: There will be a Moscow Exhibition of Arts by 15,000 Soviet Republic painters and sculptors. These were executed over the past two years.
-- In a Zurich hotel: Because of the impropriety of entertaining guests of the opposite sex in the bedroom, it is suggested that the lobby be used for this purpose.
-- In the window of a Swedish furrier: Fur coats made for ladies from their own skin.
-- In a Swiss mountain inn: Special today -- no ice cream.
-- In a Copenhagen airline ticket office: We take your bags and send them in all directions.
-- At a Budapest zoo: Please do not feed the animals. If you have any suitable food, give it to the guard on duty.
-- In a Majorcan shop: Here speeching American.

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: Speed eyeballs Typo suspiciously as they discuss the day's photo assignments, but Typo queries earnestly, "Boss, remember that sinking feeling you used to get when the city editor said, 'I'm gonna make you a star!'"
Speed replies, "Yeah."
PANEL TWO: Typo continues, "And remember before that thing at the tango contest, when Absentee Publisher Gimlet Peen used to say, 'My boy, the new computers will put this problem behind us!'"
Speed grumbles, "Yeah."
PANEL THREE: Typo appends, "And how about all those times when Features Editor Hyperba Lee used to say, 'Oh Speedy, would you mind covering a few extra assignments every day, just until we get the overtime budget worked out?'"
Speed gasps, "Oh yeah."
PANEL FOUR: Typo cheers, "Well, Boss, I have our assignments here, and I'm glad to say we're going to get even!"
Speed croaks, "That sounds even worse than what Hyperba said, Typo!"
PANEL FIVE: Rolling out the copy desk coffee urn, soon to be converted to a low-orbit rocket by the addition of a Do-Good Pellet from the pocket of Speed's trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island, Typo exclaims, "It's true, Boss! For this assignment I got us unlimited overtime and Class A charge-everything travel budget! We're touring,
Speed reads from Hyperba's assignment slip: "'For the Dating page, find Julio Iglesias and bring him to me in satin, leather and handcuffs.' I say, Typo, have you been doing ventriloquist things in her answering machine again?"

BONG Bull is the product of Chief Copyboy Charley Stough in Dayton, Ohio. E-mail for any reason. Or what the hell, for no reason.

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