Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Visit the News Gorilla store

BONG-inspired literary and artistic tomes at: Lulu As announced in BB639.5, the works now include a collection of Speed & Typo comics titled "Only Copy Editors Are Immune!"

For Feb. 18, 2004. Hey, was that Valentine's Day that just went by here? How well we remember the warm chocolate bars rolled into the Underwood typewriters, the candy hearts with their obscene messages, the cow-eyed romanticism of lovesick city editors, reminisces the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 641!

ANOTHER SERVICE FROM YOUR LOCAL PAPER. The publisher dropped in to visit the art department. He observed all the artists working fanatically, as the publisher liked. But one fellow, still enamored of ink, brush and such manual tools, seemed particularly fanatical about the opus on his old-fashioned drawing table.
"What's this for, then?" the publisher asked.
"It's for tomorrow's religion page," the artist said. "It's a painting of God."
"Huh?" the publisher asked. "But no one knows what God looks like!"
Glancing up only for an instant, his eyes a blazing searchlights, the artist smiled and said, "Well, by tomorrow they will!"

SPEAKING OF ART. Having moved to Texas in semi-retirement some years ago, the Chief Copyboy has been occasionally irritated by things Texan: The need for an SUV with bush bar and winch to get the kids to dance class, the silly Bush-bred politics, the skunks and armadillos. Among these is the painting of bluebonnets, those colorful roadside weeds.
It's almost spring, and already the spring art shows are stocking up with acres of tortured canvasses with bluebonnets trowelled on. So for an art group that shows at the San Antonio International Airport, Charles Stough painted "Enough Damn Bluebonnets," depicting an angry bull stomping and tearing up a field of bluebonnets.
The statement was not lost on the show's art judge, who liked the painting. But the airport lady said it couldn't hang there because the bull is "too anatomically correct."
For Texans? Well, the artist could re-do it as a steer. But as a sermon on the clich├ęd art theme of bluebonnets conquering the world, it should be a bull and that's that. The painting is posted here and your comments are welcome.

Visit the News Gorilla store at

BONG-inspired literary and artistic tomes at: Lulu As announced in BB639.5, the works now include a collection of Speed & Typo comics titled "Only Copy Editors Are Immune!"

For Feb. 16, 2004. No one doubts for a minute that you served honorably in the Alabama guard, Mr. President. And chickens have lips too, attest about three dozen Fox News talking heads, says the Burned-Out Newspapercreatures Guild, and this is BONG Bull No. 640!

WHERE CREDIT IS DUE. Most Internet users need only a day or two of being on-line before they get a copy of the cute little poem that goes, "If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted as a very last resort, and the address of the memory makes your floppy disk abort then the socket packet pocket has an error to report!"
Well, thanks to Eric Shackle we are reminded of how easily Internet content is pirated. The verse is by Prof. Gene Ziegler, dean of the American Graduate School of Management in Nashville. He wrote it to celebrate the reworking of his Macintosh by his grandchildren. It's much longer than the bowdlerized versions you see making Net rounds, and was not written by Dr. Seuss.
See Ziegler's entire opus, and his versified response to its pirating, at and tell the gift shop selling it on little plaques that they are thieves.

REPENT, FOR THE END IS NIGH. The San Antonio (Texas) Express-News covered the destruction of several statues in local San Fernando Cathedral by a screwball. The next day recorded the number of hits by online readers: 666.

FINAL AUTHORITY YOUR AUNT TILLY'S PRUNE PAN DOWDY. Webster's New World College Dictionary, the final authority in many newsrooms, missed ranking as worst in the language by only one position. The worst is Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, another popular one in newsrooms.
So says Robert Hartwell Fiske in Vocabula Review
wherein he examined six college dictionaries' treatments of 25 words that are commonly misused. For example, all six dictionaries allowed "alright" in their pages, when Sister Mary Angelica taught us all that "all right" is the (wham) only (wham) all (wham) right (wham) one.
Or do you say "disconnect" when you mean "miscommunication?" Only the Oxford American College Dictionary didn't fall for that.
And how about "anyways" when you mean "anyway?" Nobody got that one correctly.
Or what of fatal for fateful, fearful for fearsome, infer for imply, reticent for reluctant, or where when what you really wanted was that?
The dictionaries that Fiske examined were: The American Heritage College Dictionary, 4th Edition; Webster's New World College Dictionary, 4th Edition; the Microsoft Encarta College Dictionary 1st Edition; Random House Webster's College Dictionary, 2nd Edition; the Oxford American College Dictionary, 1st Edition; and Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition.
The mere recognition by a dictionary of an erroneous usage is enough to irk Fiske. He counts himself among language conservatives, or prescriptivists, as against the liberals or descriptivists. "Irresponsible writers and boneless lexicographers" pollute the language with trendy remakes, to the delight of descriptivists but the dismay of Fiske.
Vocabula Review is $8.95 a year from

PANIC IN THE UNION HALL. Elmer Elevator of Northampton, Mass. says of BB639's discussion of Excelsior, points, Brilliant, Diamond, Pearl, Agate, Nonpareil, Minion, Brevier, Bourgeois, Primer, Pica, English, Cicero, inches and Viagra: "My last makeup editor job ... I don't know why the boss of the composing room hated me so bad. All I did was tell him each night that as soon as I became publisher, the whole place was going metric."

CRITICAL ACCLAIM. Jackman Wilson of the Eugene (Ore.) Register-Guard, serving a college burg that, like all college burgs, has a hundred press critics for every working stiff going into the icy rain with a notebook, compiled this Top 10 Rules for Media Critics:
1. If it's not above the fold on Page 1, it's buried.
2. If it's above the fold on Page 1, it's sensationalized.
3. Everything but the entire universe is out of context.
4. If you can't criticize what's in a story, criticize what isn't in it.
5. If it's not a hatchet job, it's a puff piece.
6. And vice versa.
7. No one can ever be accurately quoted.
8. All stories that fail to mention the problems on my agenda are trivial, and therefore a disservice.
9. Facts are never reported, but "admitted," "confessed," or "allowed to creep into the story."
10. Everything newspapers do is done to sell papers, and selling papers is bad.

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: Typo sits alone on the last stool in the Bait Shop,
cheerfully greeting, "Hey, kids! The Boss is out at the teller
machine negotiating a payment on his lunch tab, so I'm keeping his
account active for him! Hey, would ya like to know how to be a big-
city newspaper reporter on a major election-year assignment or stakeout?"
PANEL TWO: Sternly wagging a finger, Typo asserts, "Well first,
you must never be without the tools of the trade! Always carry your
pen or pencil, a notebook, a pocket camera and your press card!"
PANEL THREE: Typo adds, "And the real pros also keep a few
special items on hand, like breath mints, extra matches, a pocketful
or two of the pretzels like the kind they give you here in these
little bowls, sunglasses, bar napkins like the kind they give you
here, a spare staff car key, a cell phone, a laptop, a few swizzle sticks like these, and lots of extra socks and underwear!"
PANEL FOUR: Typo smiles, "Now, you're not really going to need
those socks and underwear, but on a campaign trip of a week or more the TV reporters get gamy, and you'll be able to set your own prices! And by then you're gonna wanna give them the breath mints for free! Also, bring some playing cards! If you avoid temptations to draw to inside straights, you can use them to make up for what the front-office boys scratch off your expense account!"
PANEL FIVE: With the silhouette of Speed at the door in his
trenchcoat, a deathbed gift from an ancient mystic wire service
executive editor on a fog-shrouded eastern island, Typo concludes,
"And you'll need one of these ashtrays and a shot glass like this
one, a toothbrush and comb, your bail bond card and -- Hey, Boss! I
kept your glass refilled for ya! -- 12 bags of Beer Nuts or other
prepacked nutrition of the kind I'm putting on the Boss's account!
There you have it, kids! Now frizz your hair up and you're ready to
be a reporter in the Bigs!"