Monday, October 15, 2007

BONG Bull 692

The Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild's World-Famous Encyclical
No. 692
Copyright © 2007 by BONG
Republished by peremission for those desiring an RSS feed.

For Sept. 20, 2007. Thanks for cleaning up that acceptance speech by Sally Fields, Fox. But how does your garbagemouth pal Ann Coulter get past your killbutton boys? asks the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 692!

CAREER ADVICE. Actually it's not that good an idea to take career advice from people over a certain age. Sort of like a college professor telling how to become a millionaire. And then getting graded for reciting it back. I often heard from my many Irish aunts that their grandfather used to say, "Go into a business that's necessary, or habit-forming." They thought the old man was deucedly clever. But they became civil servants, every one of them, just like him.
Then there was my old man the infantry colonel. He judged haircuts by likely survival rate after a head wound. "Probably not many snipers in the coliseum for his show, Dad, not at $280 a seat," we'd say. Insubordinate brats, we. He had good advice on how to overcome a town's hostility to a local Army post (declare the burg off limits for a couple of weeks, then pay the troops with $2 bills and turn them loose; amazing how the shopkeepers and bartenders some around). But after he retired he was a poor judge of necktie fashions, like all lifers. No risk to GQ magazine.
So, in the twilight if not stumbling dark of a press career, my thoughts on job health should be taken with a grain of salt. To wit:
Get some watercolors and hang with artist friends. Arts will outweigh all the newspaper work I ever did. I should have taken the hint from watching artists doing a quarter of the Bengals game between paint strokes. They don't know deadlines except maybe if they discover they have glued a flap of the weather map on upside-down and it's 6 minutes to engravers' lunch break. They have closets full of comic books. Me, I had a doofus Canadian department head who stopped pages until he understood expressions like "Monday-morning quarterback." Reporters can whine and blame the copy desk. Artists can say, "You don't like it? Have your mama try." They have cars, drugs, women, booze. Well OK, maybe writers have those too. But artists have 88 colors of chalk.

to see latest works.

SPEAKING OF THE END. In July the New York Times published this correction:
"An article on Thursday about the arraignment of three men in the shooting of two New York police officers, one of whom died, misstated the schedule set by a judge for a trial in the case. The trial is expected to begin by February, not by 'Feb. 30.' The error occurred when an editor saw the symbol '--30--' typed at the bottom of the reporter’s article and combined it with the last word, 'February.' It is actually a notation that journalists have used through the years to denote the end of an article. Although many no longer use it or even know what it means, some journalists continue to debate its origin. A popular theory is that it was a sign-off code developed by telegraph operators. Another tale is that reporters began signing their articles with '30' to demand a living wage of $30 per week. Most dictionaries still include the symbol in the definition of thirty, noting that it means 'conclusion' or 'end of a news story.'"
Yeah, well, it also ends something else. When a copy editor for the New York Times doesn't know what "--30--" means, as well as thinks there has ever been or ever will be a Feb. 30, something else has gone by the boards too. Sure hope somebody regrets the error.

OUT SICK. Yeah, well, it's true that dear old weekly BONG has been coming out at odd intervals recently. Regularity is a problem for all of us. This is to heads-up that BONGers can expect another delay in receiving BB693. I'll be doing a surgical appearance at a local hospital, but look forward to renewed bile soonest.

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: Cruising to Las Vegas on the copy desk coffee urn, 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, Speed reviews the photo assignment, remarking, "Charged with all those felonies for just barging into a room with a gun, terrorizing business people, holding captives and making off with valuables -- what kind of place has this Las Vegas become, Typo!?"
PANEL TWO: Typo rejoins, "I know, Boss. It sounds like any of Absentee Publisher Gimlet Peen's sales meetings, doesn't it? But Nevada isn't Chagrin Falls, is all I can say!"
PANEL THREE: Aground behind the Galactic Casino, Speed warns, "Stash the urn carefully, Typo! This use renders its contents a potent aphrodisiac! Only copy editors are immune!"
Typo gasps, "Too late, Boss! That busload of tourists has spotted us! Duck behind that limousine before ...!"
PANEL FOUR: The panel is obscured by popout letters reading OBSCENE MAYHEM and TURN THE PAGE, KIDS, QUICK!
PANEL FIVE: Speed wonders, "Wow, Typo! Look at them all, bent at the waist, making grasping gestures and tapping their feet! What's going on!?"
Typo explicates, "We should have noticed the bus banner, Boss! They're all from Idaho, and that's the Free Senator Larry Craig from Family Values Coalition, here for their convention!"

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.

Labels: ,