Friday, June 1, 2018

Gone Fishin’


Dear Reader:

You have been so patient. So forgiving. Of course you feel like it’s been a long year. Jeez, every day is one maddening thing after another, and we’re all exhausted. 

Contrary to our dearest hopes, promises and expectations back on Opening Day in August, The WORD has been practically no help to anyone in making sense of the world in this Drumpfocene Era. Sorry about that.

188 WORDs later — from Carl Hiaasen to Chris Hedges, John Cheever to Kurt Vonnegut, from Jack Shafer to Susan Sontag and Toni Morrison to Sophia McClennen — we have to acknowledge that nothing really helped.

Just yesterday, The WORD quoted Nick Kristof, who made the case for thinking, hearing, reading about something — anything — other than what he charmingly called “T***p Porn” (I really can’t even say his name anymore). 

That made a lot of sense, so The WORD has decided to take Kristof’s advice and go think about something else for a while. Last night, in the darkling hours as Friday began, while fishing optimists prepared to celebrate the opening of salmon season, the nice men in the white coats pulled the padded truck into the driveway. As usual, he was tired, and didn’t resist.

By now, wearing only a tassled Argyle strait jacket and weary smile of relief, The WORD is aboard the ferry, crossing the choppy waters to St. Mumbles Home for the Terminally Verbose, where his quiet place, Scrabble team and hammock await. 

He said to tell you he’s sorry, but he did his best. It’s been a brutal year. “You’re too marvelous,” he said, “I don’t have any words.” 

He hopes to find some new ones while the world takes a breather. If only that asshat would take the summer off as well. 

https://youtu.be/hV2ZwftnaHg

Barring some global cataclysm, The WORD will be back in late August for Season 24, fresh and aglow with optimism. In the meantime, he leaves us with this inspirational number. Click on it.

Have a good summer, all.
Ted,
The WORDmeister


FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Out of Focus



“I worry that our national nonstop focus on Trump is helping to usher America into a hole: a Trump obsession. The danger is that Trump sucks up all the oxygen, so that other issues don’t get adequate attention.

“In America today, it’s all Trump, all the time. We’re collectively addicted to him. The nonstop scandals and outrages suck us in; they amount to Trump porn.” 

—Nicholas Kristof, columnist, “Our Addiction to Trump,” The New York Times, May 5, 2018.





Editorial Comment: That’s why so many thoughtful people walk around these days with fingers in their ears, crooning “Lalalalalalalalalalalalalalalalala...”




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PeezPix










Kinetic Clown, Arcata, CA



FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Lively Tom


“I think I was a lively newspaper writer, but that’s a long way from being a good writer.”  

—Tom Wolfe (1930-2018), a pretty good writer, interviewed by George Plimpton, “Tom Wolfe: The Art of Fiction, No. 123,” The Paris Review, 1991.










Editorial Comment: Still, lively is always good.





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PeezPix







Sparkle the Horse, 2018 Kinetics Grand Championship, Arcata, CA



FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Conscience and Football


“The National Football League has expanded its list of banned substances to include the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, the league confirmed on Wednesday.

“Although the N.F.L. has long banned substances such as anabolic steroids and growth hormones, the First Amendment is believed to be the only right guaranteed by the Constitution to be included on the list.

“Roger Goodell, the commissioner of the National Football League, said that, by adding the First Amendment to the list of banned substances, the N.F.L was establishing a ‘policy of zero tolerance on tolerance.’”

—Andy Borowitz, writer, “N.F.L. Adds First Amendment to List of Banned Substances,” The New Yorker, May 24, 2018.



Editorial Comment: America’s Game.




Peezpix

Lupine in Bloom, Bald Hills










FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Friday, May 25, 2018

Oh, Forget It!


“You know, one of my daughters teaches writing at a community college. She teaches kids how to put sentences together, and then make the sentences hang together so that they can express themselves in writing as well as they do in speaking. Anybody with a normal IQ can manage that. But saying anybody can be a writer is kind of like saying anybody can compose a sonata. Oh, forget it!”
 
—Ursula K. Le Guin (1928-2018), fantasy novelist, in Interview magazine, 2015.








 • Editorial Comment: As well as they can express themselves speaking? Have you tried to talk to those kids?




Peezpix

Fishies










FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Prophetic Bill



“This act will pave the way for massive broadcast conglomerates to increasingly provide local viewers with nationalized cookie-cutter news and corporate propaganda that’s produced elsewhere.” 

—U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-FL, on Federal Communication Commission moves to allow more big players in media ownership, “Trump’s FCC paves way for media consolidation,” CNN, Nov. 16, 2017.


Editorial Comment: The result: Sinclair’s robo-newscasts reach 72% of us. Thanks, FCC.




Peezpix

No Poop















FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Wait for It


“[A] choreographer I know was creating a ballet. He was stuck, and he asked me to come help.

“I said, ‘How could I help you choreograph a ballet?’

“He said, ‘I’d like you to come and sit there while I’m doing it. You’re so judgmental I would find it helpful.’

“So I went to his studio several times while he was making the ballet. I saw the only job that was worse than writing. My idea of pure hell. The dancers sit there waiting for him to come up with something. It would be as if the letters were sitting there, or the words, smoking cigarettes, staring at you, as if to say, ‘Well? OK, come on.’” 

—Fran Lebowitz, humorist and writer, “A Humorist at Work,” The Paris Review, 1993. Image: Edgar Degas.



  Editorial Comment: Finally, your sentence gets tired of waiting and goes into the kitchen to check the fridge




Peezpix
Eureka Slough







FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Cat News



“One reason that cats are happier than people is that they have no newspapers.”  

―Gwendolyn Brooks (1917-2000), Pulitzer winner and U.S. Poet Laureate, “In the Mecca,” 1968.










 Editorial Comment: But they watch a lot of daytime TV.




Peezpix
Sea Swirl








FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Monday, May 21, 2018

No Hoax



“Always take a trustworthy newspaper, and thus keep thoroughly posted in regard to the transactions of the world. He who is without a newspaper is cut off from his species.” 

—P.T. Barnum (1810-1891), the “greatest showman,” circus titan and celebrated hoaxster, from “The Life of P.T Barnum Written by Himself, 1888.







 Editorial Comment: Like the latest in snakeoil.





Peezpix

Banana Slug














FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Friday, May 18, 2018

Good Doggie


“My stories run up and bite me in the leg. I respond by writing down everything that goes on during the bite. When I finish, the idea lets go and runs off.”

—Ray Bradbury (1920-2012), writer and frequent bite victim.















Editorial Comment: I was once gently gummed by a limerick.



Peezpix
Still Life











FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bump in the Night


“It’s not optimal to have as president an authoritarian who denounces journalists as enemies of the people, but he has given us a sense of mission and a ‘Trump bump.’ Every time he denounces us we get more subscriptions.”

—Nicholas Kristof, columnist, “Our Addiction to Trump,” The New York Times, May 5, 2018.






Editorial Comment: The whole freakin’ country has a wicked bad case of Trump Bumps. Is there a cure, I hope?




Peezpix

Nature Dog








FREE! Get TODAY'S WORD ON JOURNALISM in your email This free “service” is sent to 2,000,000 or so subscribers around the planet more or less every weekday morning during WORD season. If you have recovered from whatever illness 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. Don’t shoot the messenger.) 
 
Ted Pease, Professor of Interesting Stuff, Trinidad, California. 
(Be)Friend The WORD

“I don’t think writers are sacred, but words are. They deserve respect. If you get the right ones, in the right order, you can nudge the world a little.” —Tom Stoppard