Sunday, August 31, 2003

Visit the News Gorilla store Good stuff in the store this week, and you'll me needing wardrobe like the new T-shirts and tote bags for those summertime leisure moments when the boss is away on vacation!

FOR SEPT. 1, 2003. It's Labor Day, boys and girls, when we can be grateful that the Bush administration has found so many of us ineligible for overtime pay, but at what other job could we watch Madonna lip-locking Britney and Christina on all nine company-owned newsroom TV sets? asks the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 630!

FIRST DRAFTS. As almost all BONGers have long known, motion pictures are virtually never produced as written. As somewhat fewer know, almost all movie scripts are written by sportswriters on presses-waiting overtime sweating out the 15th innings of west coast playoff games. Here are a few current releases as originally written, before Hollywood committees screwed them up:
My Boss's Daughter: A cub reporter urgently must change jobs.
Dirty Pretty Things: A burned-out columnist finds a winning formula.
The Italian Job: The probe team lifts the lid on those E&P help wanted ads.
Open Range: Mayhem over who has to clean the newsroom hot plate.
Seabiscuit: When food writers go bad.
Pirates of the Caribbean: Rising-star writers find a better base than New York for plagiarizing from the Internet.
Thirteen: USA Today shows that there ain't no story can't be said in less than 14 paragraphs.
Masked and Anonymous: Adventures in unnamed sourcing.
S.W.A.T.: Mild-mannered reporter for Southwest Abilene Tribune duels evil in unconventional ways.
American Wedding: She's an intern with an IQ to match her grade point; he's the heir to a publishing fortune.
Freaky Friday: Spiking the newsroom punchbowl (see it with someone you love).
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Obits writer pursues stardom.
Uptown Girls: Why writers don't come back from writing seminars.

IN THRIVING EAST COAST CITY HOME OF MAJOR EDUCATIONAL AND CULTURAL INSTITUTIONS. Nicole Libresco, who describes herself as "with experience in other fields but not journalism" -- hey, just like us -- and who lives in Arlington, Mass., near Boston, seeks a volunteer to help her counsel elementary school students starting a school paper.
(What a coincidence! Years ago at a dismal desert university that will remain unnamed ohwellallright Arizona State, but which operated a remarkably realistic effigy of a journalism department, there was a fellow in the dorm who apparently was a poker major, and who if you asked where he was from, said, "Kiss, Mass.")
Anyway, Libresco's requirements seem simple: "Any (not too burned-out, though we wouldn't mind gonzo) journalists, grad students of journalism, hangers-on who might fit the bill."
Now there's a fey image: A gonzo elementary school newspaper adviser. If such a paragon is found, BONG's Professional Standards and Martini Recipes Committee would not desire to find itself on the witness stand about this hire. On the other hand, one of those sixth-graders might by spring semester rise to lead Fox News's stable of stuttering pundits. So volunteers should contact Libresco directly at

HOW COME THOSE EUROPEANS GET ALL THE GOOD COMMERCIALS? See for every parent’s nightmare and a lesson about behavior having consequences.

MANGAN’S AT IT AGAIN. Tom Mangan has a blog worthy of note, and not just because he cribs from BONG. Tom knows the business and still has his head on straight. See :

ANOTHER ERROR BONG REGRETS. There are so many. Those evenings when someone said "One more round?" That blind date. Saying that awful thing to my supervisor. Not saying that other awful thing that my supervisor needed to hear. Accepting that ride home in that blizzard. Not letting the answering machine catch that call from the Dayton Daily News. Directing that Gridiron show.
In any case, this month’s regret is pegging cartoonist Dan Lynch to the South Bend paper. He worked for the Fort Wayne Journal-Gazette. "Dirty Little Secrets," a book of his works, is $19.99 plus $2 for shipping from

INDEED, HOLIDAY SHIFTS HAVE A WHOLE DIFFERENT TENOR FROM MERE ONITE TRICKS. Michael Peterson" reflected on discussion in BB629 about the loneliness of the late-night reporter and was reminded of long-ago holiday groaners. Do you suppose that ambulance crews, on seeing their schedule postings, complain, "Aw, hell, Christmas! Do I gotta talk to a damn reporter again for a damn who's-at-work story!?"
"Am I the only person, BTW," Peterson asks, "who found that newsroom ethics take a beating in Chinese restaurants? When I was a reporter I did a who's-working story at a Chinese restaurant one year and always got an extra spring roll in my order thereafter.
"I could live with that, but when I did a section cover on the (very small) Chinese community in our area, one of the families ran a restaurant and I wasn't able to get out of their without a load of freebies from then on -- and there was no point in trying to explain our issues on such things to him.
"Fortunately, it was a really good restaurant ..."

OFFER STANDS. Make any donation of US$3 or more via PayPal to and receive a genuine personalized Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar Foreign Correspondent press card by return snailmail. PayPal is a secure on-line payment system; if you're not already enrolled, use this opportunity to get there and to stun your cubicle mates with glitzy wallet fodder in one easy operation.

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: Waking from the dreary all-Republican Texas State Senate special session, the Deft Duo zoom to Albuquerque in 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, to see how the exiled Democratic members are doing.
Speed warns, "Stash the urn carefully, Typo! Chemical reaction render its contents into a potent aphrodisiac! Only copy editors are immune!"
Typo rejoins, "Got it covered, Boss! No one will touch it behind this Untouchable Carnivorous Triple-Barb Dragon's Horn Venom-Spitting Flamethrower Cactus, revered as New Mexico's state flower!"
PANEL TWO: Speed enquires, "Now, lemme see if I understand it, Typo! You say the Democratic senators had to flee the state, or else the state senate would have a quorum and the Republican governor and legislative majority would hold Democrat voters' children for ransom until the state elects a fourth for House Majority Leader Tom DeLay's weekly Capitol Hill bridge game?"
Typo explains, "Actually the game is canasta, Boss, but you got it close enough for a photo caption!"
PANEL THREE: Speed marvels, "Wow, Typo! They have everything here! A neverending buffet lunch, pool, lush gifts from Democrats around the world, satellite TV, limos, open bar!"
Typo agrees, "Yeah, Boss, and that's just for the network news crews! But wait! Look over there, setting up the microphones for the Shuffleboard Committee! It's Ursula, my unrequited love! Ursula, Ursula, you've come back to me!"
PANEL FOUR: As Speed tries to intervene, the panel is obscured by popout letters reading ka-SWOP ka-SWOP ka-SWOP ka-SWOP.
PANEL FIVE: Speed ministers to his pal, advising, "Just rest easy until the Zuni shaman gets here, Typo! He'll have you movable in no time!"
Typo murmurs, "Never mind me, Boss! Did you see those biceps? Did you see that backhand? Is there any wonder why I am destined to love her so much, the way she swings that cactus!?"

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BONG Bull is the product of Chief Copyboy Charley Stough, a copy editor at the San Antonio Express News. Email for any reason.