Friday, February 06, 2004

For Feb. 6, 2004. Some may count him out for his widely televised
pep-rally antics and the goofiest speech since Gov. Jesse Ventura, but
if Dean wins in Wisconsin, by Florida they’ll all be barking and
crawling on their bellies like a reptile, says the Burned-Out
Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 639 and a half!

INSIDE STUFF II. Doug Fisher’s blog Common Sense Journalism continues
at and is accessible to all, even
complainers to BONG, if they don’t try to add the period on the end of
BONG’s sentences to Doug’s url.

online for downloading, browsing, CD or print delivery. Look for "Only
Copy Editors Are Immune" at: Lulu And yes,
the Graphics Design and Any Other Excuse for a Meeting Committee will
accept plaudits for their thrilling cover design of the copy desk
urn, converted to a low-orbit rocket by the addition of a Do-Good
from the pocket of Speed's trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient
mystic wire-service executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island.

THE EDITORIAL MATTER. At the libel trial, the defense calls a prim
society matron in lace-collared velvet and pillbox hat with veil. After
she is sworn in, the publisher's attorney asks, "Good morning, Mrs.
Feebish. Do you know me?"
"I certainly do," Mrs. Feebish testifies. "I've known you since you
were a little boy. And I know you to be a lazy no-account brat who grew
up to become a louse, a drinker and a gambler, who cheats on his wife
and doesn't support his three children from his first marriage."
The courtroom stirs with gasps and muttered exclamations. Stunned,
the publisher's attorney stutters, "W-well, then. Do you know my
adversary, the attorney for the plaintiffs?"
"I certainly do!" Mrs. Feebish pronounces. "He is a liar, a cheat
a thief, the secret partner in the local pornography shop, two years
behind in his taxes, and a window-peeper!"
The courtroom dissolves in raucous laughter. As the judge gavels for
quiet without success, the publisher leans over and tugs on his
sleeve. "If you ask her if she knows me," the publisher says, "you're

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Visit the News Gorilla store at . Good stuff in the store this week, and those lurking holiday shopping obligations can easily be vanquished online! Still time to get delivery right to your door of eye-catching mugs, stylish garments and the newspaper pejoratives 2004 calendar!

BONG-inspired literary and artistic tomes at: Lulu

For Feb. 2, 2004. Come on, Federal Communications Commission, what’s the fuss? We get six more weeks of winter whether it sees its shadow or not, and being in the Super Bowl halftime show doesn’t change that, says the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 639!

YES, WELL, BUT OTHER THAN THAT, HOW WAS THE VACATION? Trail magazine, the U.K.’s biggest magazine for hikers, apologized to readers for an item on climbing Scotland’s very tall Ben Nevis. The omission of a crucial bearing took the route off a cliff.

INSIDE STUFF. Doug Fisher, who professes journalism at the University of South Carolina, has cracked the modern world with a blog. See Common Sense Journalism:

THAT’S NOT FUNNY. Editor & Publisher reports that the Philadelphia Inquirer asked for free comics from syndicates and at least the Washington Post Writers Group turned down the poor starving publisher. A couple of thoughts erupted at the Fiscal Responsibility and Shareholders Meeting Buffet Menu Committee:
1. "Oops, silly me, I forgot to budget for newsprint and now you have to work for free" is an old dodge.
2. Business office types always think they see a bigger picture than the rest of us. They have be allowed to do something really stupid every once in a while, just to keep them modest. We know a junior business type formerly with a major Midwestern font of knowledge who suggested charging the ad sales people to park in the company lot. Dumb stuff like that.
3. Syndicates aren't holy either. They have been known, for example, to sign a star, but then tell publishers they can't buy the feature unless they also take other syndicate-owned stuff like crosswords and recipes at huge rates. No, the star gets nothing of the extra take.

TYPE. Thanks to the computer age, "agate" is probably the last type size to have a name in the daily journalism lexicon. It's that little bitty stuff that brings us sports statistics. The International Typographical Union apprentice's handbook (1957) describes these:
Excelsior, 3 points.
Brilliant, 4 points.
Diamond, 4.5 points.
Pearl, 5 points.
Agate, 5.5 points.
Nonpareil, 6 points.
Minion, 7 points.
Brevier, 8 points.
Bourgeois, 9 point.
Long Primer, 10 point.
Small Pica, 11 point.
Pica, 12 point.
English, 14 point.
Great Primer, 18 point.
Double Pica, 24 point.
FYI, the pica is .166 of an inch and six of them make an inch (less .004) in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. French printers used the Cicero, at .178 of an inch. Yes, it's slightly larger than the pica, but that has nothing to do with Viagra sales.

MAJOR PUBLISHING NEWS. What the world needs is more books of short subjects, what the insiders in the pubs biz call "a good potty read." To that end, the long-awaited book Only Copy Editors Are Immune, a compilation of more than 100 pages of archival Speed & Typo adventures, will soon hit the stand at Watch Lulu and see.
Meanwhile, Real Trouble Now, a compilation of BONG Bull editorial matter, is also available as a paperback book, on CD, or as a PDF for browse or 1.3-meg download. Thanks to technology and your computer, you can have this first of many collections from BONG right in your cubicle with you forever.
And speaking of cubicles, the latest thing in sterile, depersonalized office environments is Cubicle Art. The Lulu store also offers five delightful (and downloadable, or on CD) watercolor or Photoshop artworks by the Chief Copyboy, suitable for framing as 5x7 cubicle clutter, and at only $2 who cares if they get splashed or battered at the next office party? One of the artworks, for example, is a dandy little spittoon.
That’s Lulu

APPLY ELSEWHERE. Doug Marlette repels readers who call him a tool of Satan, he told the November-December edition of Columbia Journalism Review. He tells them "That's impossible. I couldn't be a tool of Satan. The Charlotte Observer's personnel department tests for that sort of thing. They try to screen for tools of Satan. Knight Ridder human resources has a strict policy against hiring tools of Satan."
What got him the hate mail this time was a cartoon of a terrorist at the wheel of a truck carrying a nuke and the caption, "What would Mohammed drive?"
(Explainer to distant readers: Ecologists opposed to driving fuel-guzzling sport utility vehicles buy ads saying "What would Jesus drive?")

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: Reviewing Speed's finances in anticipation of tax
time, Typo observes, "Sorry, Boss! Couldn't talk the IRS guys into a two-for-one sale and they say you can only claim job searching expenses when you actually search for a job! Pennies tossed in fountains don't count!"
Huddling in his trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient
mystic wire service executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern
island, Speed grumbles, "After all these years on his audit list, now
he tells me! Eighty bucks down the drain!"
PANEL TWO: Brandishing a thick collection of papers, Typo
adds, "And bar tabs aren't deductible even if you switch bars, Boss!"
PANEL THREE: Speed grouses, "It's so unfair! Last year my
refund was $39, and the only place that would cash my check was the
Bait Shoppe, and I owed them $36!"
PANEL FOUR: Typo brightens, "But I think I see a shot here,
Boss! Cleanup expenses for toxic waste spills are claimable as
business expenses! Now here's my plan....!"
PANEL FIVE: In the conference room during the Sunday meeting, Speed
articulates, "Oh, my stars and garters! I've spilled the entire pot of Features Editor Hyperba Lee's delicious Singapore-sling chili! Masks, everyone, masks and rubber gloves please!"

A production of BONG Chief Copyboy Charley Stough, San Antonio Express-News. E-mail
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