Friday, June 13, 2003

For June 11, 2003.

Visit the News Gorilla store . We've added nifty T-shirts, tote bags and other stuff that will bring confused stares in your newsroom. Like, the Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar tote is a great tool for shutting down the J-school geeks lording it over everybody who didn't get an internship. "Projects team?" they'll ask. "You got on the projects team!?" Don't answer any questions. Shuts 'em down fast, guaranteed.

Busted!? Oh no, not Martha Stewart! Oh no, not Sammy Sosa! Oh no, not Don Rumsfeld! Oh no, not Howell Raines! Oh no, not Bill Clinton trying to save Howell Raines! Oh no, not Bill Clinton by the missus to sell a few million books! When is this Clinton-hating going to stop (he didn't cost us as much as George Bush's box-seat Wall Street buddies did, after all), asks the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 626!

TAGLINES THAT VEX. Steve Jahrling posits:
"Use of 'chili' in Bong Bull No. 624 to describe the fiery pods of the red, green and habaƱero varieties -- or, as you wrote, 'chilipepper.'
"At The Daily Times in Farmington, N.M., we use chile instead of chili (the goshamighty AP Stylebook be damned. If we goof and use chili instead of chile for the aforementioned vegetable we are boxed about the ears with a bag of frozen Big Jim green chile by our editor, who raises a crop of the stuff in his backard. And then we are threatened with expulsion to Chile (or is it Chili?)
"The spelling has been a tradition here forever, if not longer.
"But we understand your slip if you happen to be one of those slaves to AP fashion, because you're one of those danged easterners, after all.
"Sincerely, former copyboy (at The Atlantic City Press, 1973), rim rat, Jersey guy, and lackey at large and current features writer (well, OK, still a lackey at large), Steve Jahrling."
Yes, well, there's a full plate of issues for the Committee on Menu Diversity and Professional Foodfights. First, we are not slaves to AP style; we didn't say The AP, did we?
Second, the committee has its own back yard and the peppers are decidedly anemic for the second year, though the place seems to be a newly discovered gateway into the summer squash dimension, and by threatening napalm we have almost beaten the okra back to a reasonable, if surly, colony. Texas and New Mexico perennially fights the chile-chili battle, and it doesn't help when a New Mexican rouses the Texans' already toxic macho thing by calling the Texas stuff "grease and gristle"; sure, truth is a defense, but we have to drive on the same roads with these nitwits in their curly-toed boots and even their hypermacho (ital) wives (unital) have SUVs, so give us good guys a break.
As for the easterner thing, yeah, from the high desert Ohio looks like the east but Ohioans, having learned to judge traffic signs' messages by their shape even when plastered with horizontal gale-force snow (signs and Ohioans, both), consider the East to be a small enclave between that pile of smoking slag near Youngstown, Ohio, and a toxic waste dump called Bayonne, N.J., except for West Virginia.
Which brings us to Jersey guy, to which the committee says: Spurs in six games.

HOW TO KNOW YOU'RE THERE. On Highway 36 a few miles south of Comanche, Texas, is the overhead gate sign announcing the entrance to the Deep Shit Cattle Company.

THE AP CORRECTS. "BC-SARS Virus, CORRECTIVE,0113 Eds: Members who used a0725, BC-SARS Virus, sent as an undated story on
May 22, are asked to use the following story.

By The Associated Press=

"In an early version of a May 22 story about the SARS virus, The Associated Press quoted World Health Organization official Dr. David Heymann as using the phrase 'three chinks a month in the chain' in describing the way the virus was transmitted. Heymann said he used the phrase 'three links.'"

Thanks, Asian-American Journalists Association.

CAREER CHOICE IS VERY IMPORTANT. Fast Company magazine (cheap; ask for this week's special at describes seven characteristics of spectacularly unsuccessful executives. The handicaps are:

1. They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment.

2. They identify so completely with the company that there is no clear boundary between their personal interests and their corporation's interest.

3. They think they have all the answers.

4. They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn't 100 percent behind them.

5. They are consummate spokespersons, obsessed with the company image.

6. They underestimate obstacles.

7. They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past.

Reporter Sydney Finkelstein names real-life big-business examples, some of them not even indicted yet. But now go back and read the list again. Was there ever a better description of a modern, committee-lizard, multi-married, blame-spreading, floor-walking newspaper middle manager?

WAR IS HELL. The Washington Post reports that since the fall of Saddam, dozens of newspapers have sprung up in Baghdad.

THANKS FOR THE CORRECTION, WASHINGTON POST. "The last name of National Spelling Bee winner Sai R. Gunturi was misspelled in a May 30 KidsPost article and on the front-page promo and caption."

ARE JOKES ABOUT AIRLINES OK TO PRINT HERE? A mother and her son were flying Southwest Airlines from Kansas City to Chicago. The son (who had been looking out the window) asked, "If big dogs have baby dogs and big cats have baby cats, why don't big planes have baby planes?"
The mother couldn't think of an answer, so she told her son to ask the stewardess.
Hearing the question, the stewardess responded, "Did your mother tell you to ask me?" The boy admitted that this was the case.
"Well, then, tell your mother that there are no baby planes because
Southwest always pulls out on time. Your mother can explain it to you."

Visit the News Gorilla store .
BONG Bull and Newsgorilla are the product of Chief Copyboy Charley Stough, a copy editor at the San Antonio Express News. Email for any reason.