Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Hut One Hut Two Gobble

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WORDmeister Note: The WORD—Lazy bugger!—is taking a couple of days off, the better to loll and eat and generally goof off. This benevolence should be noted in your giving of thanks this week. I’ll be back Monday, once I’ve digested this perfect American holiday of food, sloth, family, food, TV, sloth, food. Have a lovely interlude. 
  
Go Long for Pie

“Thanksgiving dinners take eighteen hours to prepare. They are consumed in twelve minutes. Half-times take twelve minutes. This is not coincidence.”


—Erma Bombeck (1927-1996), columnist


Editorial Comment: Gratitude and a savory sauce, with cranberry, before the second-half snap.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Thankful for Feet






TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Kiddies

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. . . and Idiots



COLBERT: “Why do you write for children?”

SENDAK: “I don’t write for children. I write — and somebody says, ‘That’s for children!’ I didn’t set out to make children happy or make life better for them, or easier for them.”

COLBERT: “Do you like them?”

SENDAK: “I like them as few and far between as I do adults — maybe a bit more, because I really don’t like adults at all.” . . .

COLBERT: “What does it take for a celebrity to make a successful [children’s] book. What do I gotta do?”

SENDAK: “You’ve started already by being an idiot. That is the very first demand.”

Children’s author Maurice Sendak (1928-2012) with Stephen Colbert, wannabe, in “Grim Colberty Tales,” The Colbert Report, January 2012. 

Editorial Comment: A lot of us can make it through the first step. Next?


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Eureka Waterfront










TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Monday, November 24, 2014

English Majors

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Customer Service

“On behalf of the newspaper industry (new, cost-cutting motto: ‘All the News That’) I wish to announce some changes we’re making to serve you better. When I say ‘serve you better,’ I mean ‘increase our profits.’ We newspapers are very big on profits these days. We’re a business, just like any other business, except that we employ English majors.”
—Dave Barry, columnist/philosopher, Miami Herald, 2001

Editorial Comment: But maybe not enough copy editors and fact-checkers. Read on . . .

Semi-Related News: From the New York Times WTFOooooops! Department: 

“Editors’ Note: November 22, 2014: An earlier version of this column was published in error. That version included what purported to be an interview that Kanye West gave to a Chicago radio station in which he compared his own derrière to that of his wife, Kim Kardashian. Mr. West’s quotes were taken, without attribution, from the satirical website The Daily Currant. There is no radio station WGYN in Chicago; the interview was fictitious, and should not have been included in the column.” —Correcting Joyce Wadler’s “I Was Misinformed” column, Nov. 21, 2014. No kidding.

Here’s the uncorrected Wadler column, which ran Friday. Thanks to Poynter.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Dorymen







TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

Block that Quote!

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If It Sounds Too Good to Be Real . . . 

Author, writer and blogger Lev Raphael offers this advice, pertinent to The WORD:


“A lot of people swear by Goodreads. I swear at it. Often. It’s a font of unsourced quotations, some of them fake, just like Wikiquotes. Take the line that tops the list of George Eliot quotes: ‘It is never too late to be what you might have been.’

“There’s no proof she ever said it. None whatsoever. Nobody has found that line in her letters, journals, stories, novels, or even discovered anyone who knew her claiming that she said it.”

4 Fake Quotes by Famous Authors to Watch Out For,” HuffPost, Nov. 19, 2014


Raphael goes on to document a couple of other quotes that didn’t sound right. It’s worth a read. I take his point. I do fact-check quotes that appear on the WORD (with sometimes funny or horrifying results), but some older stuff gleaned from collections (no, never Wikiquotes!) may slip through as counterfeits. 

The thing is, WORD victims are, well, word people, editors, writers and pretty well-read. They’re not shy about telling me when I screw up.

Image: Domenico Ghirlandaio, “Portrait of St Jerome Writing in his Study,” 1480 

Friday, November 21, 2014

Mike Nichols

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That’s a Wrap

“Directing, he said, ‘is mystifying. It’s a long skid on an icy road, and you do the best you can to stay on the road. . . . If you’re still here when you come out of the spin, it’s a relief. But you’ve got to have the terror if you’re going to do anything worthwhile.”

—Mike Nichols (1931-2014), film, TV and theater director and EGOT winner (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony). See “Mike Nichols, acclaimed director of ‘The Graduate,’ dies at 83,” Los Angeles Times, Nov. 20, 2014

Editorial Comment: He must have been terrified a lot.

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

John Deere











TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Thursday, November 20, 2014

Animal Jokes

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Laughing Hyenas


So, I asked Mr. Oliver: Is he engaging in a kind of new journalism? He muttered an oath, the kind he can say on HBO for comic emphasis, but we don’t say here, adding, ‘No!’

“‘We are making jokes about the news and sometimes we need to research things deeply to understand them, but it’s always in service of a joke. If you make jokes about animals, that does not make you a zoologist. We certainly hold ourselves to a high standard and fact-check everything, but the correct term for what we do is ‘comedy.’”

—John Oliver, quasi-comijournalist and host, “Last Week Tonight,” HBO, in David Carr, “John Oliver’s Complicated Fun Connects for HBO,” New York Times, Nov. 16, 2014

Editorial Comment: So is a journalist covering comedy a laughing hyena?

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Golden Day











TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

The Daily Screed

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Modern Discourse

“We no longer have news. We have springboards for commentary. We have cues for Tweets.

“Something happens, and before the facts are even settled, the morals are deduced and the lessons drawn. The story is absorbed into agendas. Everyone has a preferred take on it, a particular use for it. And as one person after another posits its real significance, the discussion travels so far from what set it in motion that the truth — the knowable, verifiable truth — is left in the dust.

“The economy of contemporary journalism encourages this. It favors riffing over reportage, and it’s lousy with opinions, including the one expressed here.” 

—Frank Bruni, op-ed columnist, “Full Screed ahead,” The New York Times, May 31, 2014

Editorial Comment: I stopped reading after 140 characters.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Country Roads








TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Wanted: News Guys

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Super Scribe

“Tim Redmond is a local news guy. He stops his bicycle to interview taxi drivers protesting Uber on the streets. He attends accreditation trials about a local community college—by choice. He knows how to pull building permits, interview city council members, and uncover shady dealings between the city and its most profitable businesses. . .

“‘Democracy cannot survive without reporters,’ [says] Redmond, 56, who has a bushy gray mustache, often speaks in a fast, clipped voice, as if there’s a deadline to be met, which there usually is. ‘You have to have people whose full-time job it is to go out and follow politicians around, to try and hold corporations accountable.’”

—Tim Redmond, former editor, San Francisco Bay Guardian, which closed last month. In Alana Semuels, “Is There Hope for Local News?” The Atlantic, Nov. 10, 2014 Image: Sacha Bryning


Editorial Comment: And leap tall buildings in a single bound.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Pacific Evening







TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Monday, November 17, 2014

Everyone’s a Critic

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At the Movies

“We are still suffering the effects of 34 years of censorship. Sex and romance on the American screen remain in a state of separation. Our love scenes are the least convincing in the Western world. Actresses remain second-class citizens, and our films (good and bad) are almost entirely concerned with external, public life, with few devoted to the internal movements of the soul. These are all legacies of the [1934 Production] Code. . . .

“For 19 out of 20 years, starting in 1934, a reactionary anti-Semitic goon named Joseph Breen, who had the story sense of a drooling idiot, controlled screen content in the United States. He and his successors were a calamity, and it would have been better if the Code had never happened.” 

—Mick LaSalle, film critic, “Ask Mick LaSalle,” SFGate.com, October 2014

Editorial Comment: Jeez, Mick. That’s pretty mealy-mouth. Say what you think.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Summer Dream








TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Further Research Is Need

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How Does This Thing Work?


“Research is what I’m doing when I don’t know what I’m doing.”
Wernher Von Braun (1912-1977), German and American aerospace engineer, the father of rocket science 






Editorial Comment: As it happens, I do a lot of “research.”



PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Blue Pacific







TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Thursday, November 13, 2014

K.I.S.S.

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A Sacred Lesson for Writers


“As for your use of language: Remember that two great masters of language, William Shakespeare and James Joyce, wrote sentences which were almost childlike when their subjects were most profound. ‘To be or not to be?’ asks Shakespeare’s Hamlet. The longest word is three letters long. Joyce, when he was frisky, could put together a sentence as intricate and as glittering as a necklace for Cleopatra, but my favorite sentence in his short story ‘Eveline’ is just this one: ‘She was tired.’ At that point in the story, no other words could break the heart of a reader as those three words do.

“Simplicity of language is not only reputable, but perhaps even sacred. The Bible opens with a sentence well within the writing skills of a lively fourteen-year-old: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and earth.’”
—Kurt Vonnegut (1922-2007), writer, who would have turned 92 this week, from his essay, “How to Write with Style,” 1985. Image: Vonnegut with Pumpkin, a Lhasa Apso, Jill Kremetz, 1982  

Editorial Comment: Amen.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Button Poppy








TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Footnotes

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Notes from Academe



“I hate footnotes. ‘Having to read footnotes,’ Noel Coward once said, ‘resembles having to go downstairs to answer the door while in the midst of making love.’” 


—Alex Beam, columnist and author, “Footnote in mouth,” The Boston Globe, September 2014 (Thanks to alert WORDster Javan Kienzle) 








Editorial Comment: Is that APA or Chicago style?



PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Konga!







TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Net Neutrality

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Opening the Internet

“Ever since the Internet was created, it's been organized around the basic principles of openness, fairness, and freedom. There are no gatekeepers deciding which sites you get to access. There are no toll roads on the information super highway. This set of principles, the idea of net neutrality, has unleashed the power of the Internet and given innovators the chance to thrive. Abandoning these principles would threaten to end the internet as we know it. . . .  

“We cannot allow Internet service providers to restrict the best access or to pick winners and losers in the online marketplace for services and ideas. 

—President Barack Obama, supporting a four-point net neutrality plan to preserve free access and information flow online, Nov. 10, 2014 See Daily Kos


Editorial Comment: Free tubes and wires in every pot!

Related: What is Net Neutrality? The ACLU



PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Punk Pelican*









 * name thanks to Donna Ulrich

TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

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Monday, November 10, 2014

Traits of the Newspaperman

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Mental Vacuity

“Of all the people expressing their mental vacuity, none has a better excuse for an empty head than the newspaperman: If he pauses to restock his brain, he invites onrushing deadlines to trample him flat. Broadcasting the contents of empty minds is what most of us do most of the time, and nobody more relentlessly than I.” 

—Russell Baker, author, journalist and Pulitzer-winning columnist, 1990




Editorial Comment: What’s that whooshing noise?



PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Yelloweyes








TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM is a free “service” sent to the 1,800 or so misguided subscribers around the planet. If you have recovered from whatever led you to subscribe and don’t want it anymore, send “unsubscribe” to ted.pease@gmail.com. Or if you want to afflict someone else, send me the email address and watch the fun begin. (Disclaimer: I just quote ’em, I don’t necessarily endorse ’em. But all contain at least a kernel of insight. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California.
(Be)Friend The WORD

“Words are sacred. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

.