Saturday, October 04, 2003

Visit the News Gorilla store at . As a special treat to those BONGsters who have given up on the Julian calendar, the Timeliness and Unsightly Wall-Stains Committee has created the first BONG wall calendar. It features Speed and Typo on the cover, ace art on the inside pages, a free Chagrin Falls Commercial Scimitar Foreign Correspondent press card and all the newspaper pejorative names that would fit, including even such notables as the Boston Glob and the Canton Suppository. Seize the day; what the hell, seize all 365 of them and we'll throw in the 366th for free. Go to The BONG Wall Calendar and order for your whole newsroom.

For Oct. 6, 2003. Hey, Mr. Limbaugh, you should read the little flyers that come with those pills. You know you have extra copies. They warn that excess use makes you say extremely stupid things, warns the Burned-Out Newspapercreature Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 632!

WOLF AT THE DOOR. has these recommendations for present-day newspaper names:
The Midville Demographic Calculator
The Newtown Administration Apologist
The Gotham Point of Entry
The Metro Repurposer
The Middleton Conventional Wisdom
The Eastport Celebrity Promoter
The Outback Chain Subsidiary
The Hometown Publisher Ego-Trip
The Smith County Profit Center

A MIGHTY WIND. On the same theme, Mike Marlett editor of F5 in Wichita, Kansas, tells this uncharacteristically long-winded story directed at Paul Swortz, he who sought ideas for a community newspaper name in BB631:
"I'm sure you've received a fair number of funny little ideas buy now, but I'd recommend that when you name your paper you make it a reference that is intrinsically local. Charley didn't say where you are, so I can't help you there. But I thought I'd share how I did it for myself when I started a local alternative weekly.
"I went looking for something that was regional without being kitsch. I bought some friends pizza and beer and we sat around saying, well, what is Wichita, Kan. about? What do we know about that other places don't?
"I shared an anecdote about a Knight Ridder mucky muck from San Jose, Calif. visiting the Wichita Eagle (my former employer) who was just stunned at how much we Wichita natives talked about the weather. I told him that it was a big part of everything we do -- our families are
largely from farms one or two (or zero) generations back, and the
weather is of massive importance to us both financially and physically.
He actually said it on a Tuesday in January just before he got iced in
at the airport. Of course, it had been 70 and sunny two days before
"Sometimes the weather will take only a day to go from 90 F to 30 F,
blistering heat to freezing rain ... and that wind. There is always a
wind. The name 'Wichita' means land of the south wind. One of the big
ISPs here was named Southwind, and it's been the name of a band or two.
"Well, anyway, one of my buddies blurted out 'Tornado Publications' for a corporate name. We loved it, and played with other names in that same vein. Things like 'Twister' got thrown around for a while. Then someone else said, 'F5.' Oh, perfect, we said. It is enigmatic yet regional -- an inside joke that you might get right away if you are from here. And if you do or don't, it's quick and makes for a good logo. But, anyway, everyone around here knows that tornados are rated 0 to 5 on the Fujita scale, an estimate of wind speed and the level of damage. The F5 tornados are the biggest, baddest ones.
"People love it. And our slogan: 'Work like a farmer, party like a rock star.'"

IF YOU'RE FOND OF TELLING HOW IT WAS WHEN WE HAD TO USE HAND-CRANKED COMPUTERS. Tom Mangan, in Fremont, Calif., seeks anecdotes of the eternal strife between ink-stained wretch and the technological age in those days of transition from hot type. He manages
Gee, we can't think of any, except maybe when Dayton Daily News aviation writer Jack Jones's 1,575-word story turned up in the classified ads one day around 1975, about six months after it had appeared in the news columns. Jonesy didn't have to pay for the ad so it didn't seem important at the time.
Then there was all that plugger stuff we edited, printed out and kept in what became known as the Disaster Can, to be slapped onto the pages in the event of a major breakdown; yard-long stuff about Ethiopian goats, etc. More than once we caught yahoos from the Journal Herald down on our floor, rifling drawers for that can.
And there was the midnight shift created so someone came in and purged the old Hendrix drums to make room for incoming wire stuff. Cox had a visceral hatred of night differential pay in 1976, so it offered $5 weekly merit raises to five editors for doing the lob shift. They got the chore one week out of five, amounting to a $5 per-shift differential-that-never-was. Well, it took the geeks about six months to cobble together an automatic purge and the shift was abolished, but merit raises don't end. The last of the Graveyard 5 still on the payroll, BONG's Chief Copyboy clocked something more than $6,000 for the work by the time retirement came in 2001. And yes, Guild-organized DDN does pay a night differential now: $3 per shift.

SAID. A poem from BONG in 1989. It is worthy yet today. In fact it is on one of the pages of The BONG Wall Calendar at (did we say you should order one today for everyone you ever knew?):
Assert, avow, affirm, aver
Confirm or argue, vow, forswear,
Confess, profess, express, abjure,
Assure, attest, contend, or swear,
Express, contend, protest, exclaim,
Insist, or warrant, put, proclaim,
Asseverate, vow, expostulate, maintain,
Sibilate, enunciate, ejaculate, bait,
Or if unsure, insinuate.
Retract, reverse, repudiate,
If working for Nixon, inoperate,
Or in a pinch, prevaricate,
But if sub judice, stipulate.
Pronounce, announce, denounce, renounce,
Insist, declare, or, in context, flounce.
Bluster, blubber, snivel, cry,
Shout, holler, contraindicate, deny,
Moan, bemoan, intone, emphasize,
Dispute, refute, impugn, advise,
Scream, echo, call, or verbalize,
Phrase, raise, praise, assert,
Comment, muse, reflect or blurt.
Opine, whisper, pant or peal,
Thunder, rumble, boom, reveal,
Murmur, mutter, sputter, squeal,
Hiss, bawl, snap, grunt, keen, appeal.
Patter, chatter, admit, let out,
Yawp, squawk, intonate or spout.
Coo, blat, snort, reflect or chirp,
Warble, cackle, yammer, burp,
Whinny, whicker, nicker, bay,
Interrogate Socratically or bray.
Trumpet, offer, croak, refer,
Raise a hue and cry, clamor.
From birdly crow to scholarish declaim,
The journalistic facts remain:
Of all the speeches mugient,
A simple "said" is what the guy talking meant.

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 soar to California on the copy desk coffee urn, converted to a low-orbit rocket by the insert 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 watch the vote counting.
Speed warns, "Stash the urn carefully, Typo! This use of it renders the contents a potent aphrodisiac! Only copy editors are immune!"
Typo assures, "Don't worry, Boss! I'll cover it with this faded copy of the Voting Rights Act! No one will ever find it there!"
PANEL TWO: Speed marvels, "Wow, Typo! The Gary Coleman campaign workers are getting free extra-large pizzas!"
Typo explicates, "They just look like extra-larges, Boss! Let's try the champagne and caviar at the McClintock Buy American Headquarters!"
PANEL THREE: Speed grumbles, "Hey, Typo, this raspberry jam tastes like fish eggs! And hey, all the lights are out at Porn Star Mary Carey Headquarters across the street! They must have gone home early!"
Typo asserts, "That's not jam, Boss, and lights out don't mean the same thing over there as they do here."
PANEL FOUR: Speed enquires, "Is that hymn singing I hear, Typo? And where is that truckload of whips and cattle prods going?"
Typo maintains, "The hymns are of, by and for the Democrats, Boss! And as for the whips and prods . . ."
PANEL FIVE (silhouette of the Redoubtable Duo against a klieg-lighted scene of unimaginable depravity): Typo continues, ". . . Those are for the Schwarzenegger campaign workers, Boss! For the good of their wives and daughters, they have to keep their candidate treed on that mockup of the Empire State Building until the inauguration!"

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