Saturday, October 28, 2006

Clearing out the Bong backlog: BONG 682

As noted earlier this month, have been limiting both the blogging (and the e-mail checking, especially the home account) while we dig out of some other things. As a result, Charley Stough's BONG Bulls have piled up in the old inbox. Herewith, and in two subsequent posts, we clean out the larder:

The Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild's World-Famous Encyclical
No. 682
Copyright © 2006 by BONG
Reposeted by permission for anyone needing an RSS feed.

For Oct. 2, 2006. Page for the Hon. Mark Foley! Paging Congressman Foley! Anybody seen Foley? asks the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 682!

SURVIVING THE BUYOUT. At many U.S. newspapers there is good news, bad news and worse news. The good news is that even if the publisher wails about profits plummeting, it can still mean the outfit's netting 20 percent.
The bad news is that some senior journalists are getting early payoffs and arm-twisted into retirement just when they're at their peaks of expertise, experience and earnings, having sacrificed a lifetime for the dear old font of knowledge. The worse news is for the guys who miss the age cutoff by two weeks and have to stay at this dump.
So there's mixed advice when newsroom buyouts loom. Consider:
-- It's good news when you can keep the medical insurance. It's bad news when it's the same slow-paying, penny-pinching, $288-a-week clerk making medical decisions that the active-duty staff gets.
-- It's poor form to refer to your change of status as "going to stud." There's little profit in demoralizing your colleagues staying behind, even if it is fun.
-- To be sure of a place on the buyout list, make sure you noisily volunteer for every newsroom project committee and then do nothing to advance the mission. Unfortunately, this is also how to get made a manager.
-- You may get the choice of taking the buyout or winning a promotion to some airy title like "audience development editor." Does the term bear trap mean anything to you?
-- Half your high school class got married (or not) and had kids right away, struggling and sacrificing through their early years to see the brats through college and pay down their mortgages. If you were among the wiser, disciplined, career-planned ones who chose to wait and pay off the boat, Bimmer and Bimini before starting families, bet you and the tots think you're a proper boob now, huh?
-- If you take the buyout, you buy your own pens and pencils from now on. If you don't take the buyout, stock up before some MBA in the business office padlocks the cabinet.
-- Every time there was a newsroom cake party, you thought about what you really wanted to do with that cake. Your retirement party is your last chance.
-- Don't be remembered for the farewell speech. Be remembered as the guy who was in the can when someone else made the speech.
-- You can't go until you reconcile your expense account. This is a major reason so many sports writers die at their desks.
-- Be flattered if they ask you to write occasional op-ed columns or book reviews. Be wary if they tell you to just leave them at the guard's desk.
-- Retirement sounds real good when you think about wearing your pajamas all day. If you work for Hearst, you may consider this item a wash.
-- Full pay is better than half pay. But half pay plus a flack's pay is even better.

MANIPULATING AT WILL. Naughty, naughty, you photo editors smart-erasing those horseflies off the potato salad, cloning those smoke clouds, deep-sixing that cola can and (Huh? Is this right? TV Guide really did this? What were they thinking?) splicing Oprah to Ann-Margret. Only CBS's flacks and Sen. Joe McCarthy can doctor photos. Taking the moustache off the mayor's wife will only make a hames of your front page. On the news side we don't do that.
Ah yes, but after we retire we can call ourselves an artist and go to town with that software. So the Committee on Professional Standards and Other Transgressions invites BONGers to see a nartwork that began life as a hailstone shimmering in mid-air. Then, thanks to the miracles of Microsoft and suspension of newsroom rules, it was transformed to art in every lifted-pinky sense of the word. See the results here

Yahoo's photo-sharing page has a deucedly complicated url. Contact for a poster-sized photo print of Hailstone Patches, on a reasonable and businesslike basis. Come on, a little help with this pension, guys, gee whiz. And yes, we mean nartwork.

MAKE A HAMES, HE SAID? Yes, it's an Irish expression meaning to bollix. Bollix? Yes, like FUBAR. What, you don't know FUBAR? You mean you have page designers in the same room with you every working moment and you don't say "FUBAR" at least nine times every edition? Anyway, Worldwide Words newsletter, explores usages of international English from a British perspective. It's where words like
"rebarbative" get dissected. A very cool site.
As for hames, it apparently has to do with the rein hardware on draft horses' collars. Install them upside-down and you're in a cock-up.

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 review the morning prayer breakfast from the ledge outside the photo lab, admiring the sunset, as Typo remarks, "Don't worry, Boss! Features Editor Hyperba Lee's probation officer says she has to be home by sunset, so we just have to wait a little longer to be safe!"
PANEL TWO: Huddling in his trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island, Speed observes, "It's not fair, Typo! All I did was point out that Absentee Publisher Gimlet Peen's column was basically correct on fomenting democracy and freedom, but he misspelled 'cattle prod.' "
PANEL THREE: Typo coaches, "Well, he and Hyperba believe that the cause of liberty and justice sometimes requires wires to people's testicles, Boss! If the lunch line had been a little faster, she would've been distracted by the meat loaf!"
PANEL FOUR: Speed wonders, "And what was the former county parks commissioner saying about how hard he fights terrorism, Typo? I never saw him get that animated!"
Typo speculates, "Well, I think he saw a chance to get on Fox News's highlights reel with a good tirade, Boss! And besides, while he was throwing the anchovy canapes, I scored us this whole tray of cupcakes! Would you care for chocolate, vanilla and butterscotch?"

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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