Friday, May 04, 2007

BONG Bull 690

The Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild's World-Famous Encyclical
No. 690
Copyright © 2007 by BONG
Reproduced by permission for all needing an RSS feed.

For April 25, 2007. Hey, Senator Reid, that's no attack dog, that's Vice President Dick Cheney, Military Strategist ... er, no, um, War Hero ... er, no, um Peacemaker and Uniter of Factions ... er, no, um, Expert Marksman ... er, no. Oh well never mind, says the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 690!

THE OLDER A NEWSPAPER EDITOR GETS, the more times as a rookie he chatted with the founder's ghost in the deserted newsroom. Just an observation that struck me while reading recent Sunday columns in my Dayton retirement.

WHAT FOLLOWS IS FICTION. The pay for making up stuff in this profession
is never very good. Or if it is, it's short-lived salary. One could do a dandy weeklong j-seminar on the subject, come to think of it, and decidedly more useful to modern newspapering than page design, wot?
Also, fiction brainstorming is an excellent way to keep one's mind active while making birdhouses. I've been sculpting dried gourds of many shapes into colorful bird refuges for the garden center sale in May. Some of my themes include a doghouse birdhouse, several regulation-colored billiard-ball birdhouses, toothy monsters for only the bravest titmice and chickadees, and a line of commemoratives including Joan Crawford, Richard Nixon, Teddy Roosevelt, W.R. Hearst and Vercingetorix, one of three barbarians on the list. It's a lonely calling. Any copy editor who has ever tried to fix the first of five parts at 15 minutes to press start with the project committee gone from the building since sundown knows the same chill fear.
But I digress. It was satisfying to write the following fable for Evan, the smart 6-year-old daughter of a newspaper artist friend of mine, with CCs for my own grandchildren, all of whom wonder if water runs uphill on my particular planet. BONG's favorite pals, the newspaper artists, figure in this one. Newspaper artists are the heroic ax-wielding woodsmen of today's fairy tales, not counting that cartoonist at the Miami Herald keeping the SWAT team at bay with a toy gun on an
executive-free holiday week.

THE SOMEWHAT ASTONISHING TALE, with cautionary message, of the little girl who didn't eat Peas. (Yes, a sad story, but if we all learn from it, some good may come from confronting the horror.)
By Uncle Charley.
Once upon a time, before Smagoobers were invented, there was a little girl, not entirely a Brat, who didn't like peas.
Peas never had done anything to bother the little girl. She just didn't like them, like some people who don't like when you sneak up and put toothpaste in their shoes. Sure, your Daddy likes surprises like that (did you know?), but other people are sort of funny about it. So be careful.
The little girl, whose name might have been Evan, but I don't think so, could not find it in her heart to love peas, no matter how they found their ways to her plate.
Just look at her peas' report card:

On toast: Yes___ No_x_
With ketchup: Yes___ No_x_
In milk: Yes___ No_x_
Sat on: Yes___ No_x_
As shampoo: Yes___ No_x_
In swim pool: Yes___ No_x_
Barbecued: Yes___ No_x_
In fishbowl: Yes___ No_x_

(Optional insert: The little girl kept her own report cards on foods because, the current Food and Drug Administration having proven itself about as useful as spell-check for Texans on Myspace, said it was too busy. End optional insert.)
So, after a while, the little girl's house came to have a lot of peas in it. If it had been porridge, the place would have been hip-deep in Bears, at least until that burglar Goldilocks, the rotten brat, broke in and ate it all. That's why Mommy always sets the burglar alarm, so nobody can get in and steal your stuff. If you don't have a burglar alarm, tell me.
So one day, everybody was sitting around the house, trying to be comfortable on the mountain of peas, when Daddy's seven little friends the Newspaper Artists came over after a hard day of digging in their Bar Chart Mine.
Their names were Sneezy, Doc, Grumpy, Grumpy, Grumpy, Grumpy and
Stinky. And they were all Hungry.
(I bet you know where this is going, huh?)
So, pretty soon, Mommy got tired of all the drooling and said, "Say, can I fix you something?"
And the 7 Little Newspaper Artists said:
Wait for it ...
Wait for it...
"Oh, nothing special, just whatever you have."
(Meaning, of course, Everything You Have.)
That was the day that all the leftover peas disappeared, as well as the porridge (the 3 Bears lived right next door) and a few other things. In time, Mommy got some of the other things back, like the plates, spoons, doorknobs and four yards of her shag carpet, which the 7 Little Newspaper Artists thought was spinach spaghetti and didn't realize their mistake until almost dessert time.
Soon after, many people down at the Bar Chart Mine, except for Stinky, noticed that peas have many of the same properties as beans, since both are members of the Legume family of foods.
And people came to understand why the little girl didn't like them.
The lesson is clear. Don't rely on Daddy's friends to clean up the leftover vegetables at your house, especially when you can have a tub of worms doing it cleanly and without odor, right under Mommy's kitchen sink, and giving you lovely garden topsoil when they're through. That's certainly more than any 7 Little Newspaper Artists ever did for you.
And here's proof:
But all this happened before Smagoobers were invented. And somebody should be getting around to that just about any day now.
The End.

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: Typo jars Speed awake as he enters the photo lab cheering,
"Get your feet out of the print washer, Boss! I got us the assignment of the year!"
PANEL TWO: Jumping into his trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island, Speed enquires, "Will we need tuxedos, Typo? Do we take the Hollywood starlet silhouette directory, or is it another all-Britney chase thing? Do you think we can get away from her this time?"
Typo intones, "No, Boss! You're going to love this! Features Editor Hyperba Lee has appointed you our first Utility Content Photographer!"
PANEL THREE: Speed displays, in dialog bubble, expression and body english, a 128-point Question Mark in Goudy Stout Extrabold Italic
Typo explicates, "I knew you'd understand immediately, Boss! You will be the star graphics specialist illustrating all the little blurbs for our Web site what's-happening directory! Every front door in 23 counties! Dry cleaners, nail salons, cider presses, sheep quarantine stations, harness repair shops, poodle clippers, horseradish squeezers, every hot spot on Chagrin Falls high society's calendar!"
PANEL FOUR (in poignant silhouette): Reading from a style manual, Typo instructs, "Art is to be devoid of character, sparse on fact, free of mood and utterly bland, Boss! The writers will be sucking them in with keywords and it's our job to send them away quickly! The new W added to the old Five Ws stands for Click-Through, Boss!"
PANEL FIVE: Staking out a watch repair shop until passersby get out of the scene, Speed opines, "This is the cyber equivalent of garbage type that used to make our copyboys run away and change their majors, Typo! Hyperba doesn't know the jewelers have their own Web sites? What do the readers need us for?"
Passing the Galapagos roast mocha fizz and Swiss chocolate ricotta cupcakes, Typo smiles, "Looked at Time magazine lately, Boss? Since the buyouts, nobody wants to leave a newsroom but us! We got the Entertainment, Meals and Travel expense accounts all to ourselves into the next century!"

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.