Monday, December 15, 2014

HoHoHo

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Let It Blow, Let It Blow

Well, faithful reader, Friday was supposed to have been the final WORD of the 2014 Fall season, as the last of the final exams come in and we brace for holiday hoopla. But before the WORD could be enticed into a final spate of journalistic “wisdom,” a pretty big storm hit us here on the Northern California coast—maybe you heard about it?—and everything went out: power, Internet, landlines, cells. And the WORD.

All but one of the 17 commercial crab boats that call our harbor home got out of the way beforehand, except for the oldest and slowest—Surf Rider (I kid you not)—which bounced on 15-foot and bigger waves plowing up from the south directly into the Pier. (Pix here.) Winds up to 50 knots, the Weather Service said, and a fair amount of rain, trees down, flooding. The usual thing. It was pretty exciting.

Anyway, the point is that the WORD didn’t get out ahead of the storm, and the white-coated boys came over the weekend to haul him off to St. Mumbles for the holidays. So I’ll just have to rely on inspiration and this gap in my media ethics exams to wish you and yours blissful, restful, safe and happy holidays. We’ll be back after New Year’s. 

Until then, to quote Tiny Ted, “Dog bless us, every one.”

Editorial Comment: Ho, Ho and also the very most Ho.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Trinidad Fishermen’s Memorial, Christmas Morning 2011 












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, December 11, 2014

Helloooo?

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Ethnocentrism

“For an imperial power, the United States is an oddly incurious place. Our media don’t help. They should poke and prod and demand that we pay attention to people abroad even when they’re neither disaster victims nor terrorists. Instead, by their inattention, the media perpetuate the dangerous belief that our divine right is to speak and be heeded, never to listen.”

 Edward Wasserman, Knight professor of journalism ethics, Washington and Lee University, 2007

Editorial Comment: The thing is that, from grocery aisle to Congress, we really don’t care.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Coast Guard Rescue 
(just to show I still have it)













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, December 10, 2014

Headlines

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’Nuff Said
“But the headline, whatever apologies may be made for its bad manners and its offenses against good taste, remains one of the clearest illustrations of the temper of a newspaper—of its sensational character or of a restrained desire to indicate the nature of the news beneath it without exploiting it.”

  —Lucy Maynard Solomon, journalism educator, 1923






Editorial Comment: As my mother always said, there’s no accounting for taste.




PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Winter Scenes









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, December 9, 2014

Movie Minestrone

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Soup Cubes


“Having your book turned into a movie is like seeing your oxen become bouillon cubes.”

—John le Carré (David John Moore Cornwell), British spy novelist



Editorial Comment: How big a pot do you need for an ox?


PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Country Living







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, December 8, 2014

I Like Ike

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Marching Orders

“Don’t join the book burners. Don’t think you’re going to conceal faults by concealing evidence that they ever existed. Don’t be afraid to go in your library and read every book.” 

—Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969), general, politician and book-reader

Editorial Comment: Hut Hut Hut! Next stack! Hut!


PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Heads Up











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, December 5, 2014

Cheerleaders

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Captains of Industry

“The President of the United States is given a free pass to ignore the Constitution, tap our phones, and lead us to war on a pack of lies. Congress responds to record deficits by passing a huge tax cut for the wealthy (thanks, but I don’t need it). 

“The most famous business leaders are not the innovators but the guys in handcuffs. While we’re fiddling in Iraq, the Middle East is burning and nobody seems to know what to do. And the press is waving pom-poms instead of asking hard questions.

“That’s not the promise of America my parents and yours traveled across the ocean for. I’ve had enough. How about you?”

Lee Iacocca, auto industry tycoon, 2007

Editorial Comment: Rah rah! Now I feel better. You?

PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Snowday







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, December 4, 2014

Algorithms

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Writers Needed
 
“[W]hile I’m all in favor of this new world of media startups, where truly well-intentioned people are trying to figure out how the heck to make money from journalism on the Internet, I just need to step up right now and call bullshit on pretty much all the algorithms. Cause you guys just aren’t understanding the importance of a good writer.” 

—Erin Biba, writer, “Your Newfangled Media Algorithms Are Bullshit,” Medium.com, 2014

Editorial Comment: Brave New World. Do they have writers there?

PeezPix by Ted Pease 
 
Shroomies





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, December 3, 2014

Typewriters

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Subtlety


“Composing on the typewriter, I find that I am sloughing off all my long sentences which I used to dote upon. Short, staccato, like modern French prose. The typewriter makes for lucidity, but I am not sure that it encourages subtlety.” 

—T.S. Eliot (1888-1965), poet, essayist and social critic, 1916

Editorial Comment: After the pencil stub, A Waste Land.

PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Nose








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, December 2, 2014

Campus Rush

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Truth Will Out

“And let me say emphatically that how we answer these questions is not about protecting the university’s reputation. It’s about doing the right thing. The reputation I care most about is the reputation for following the truth, wherever it may lead.” 

—Teresa Sullivan, president, The University of Virginia, on fraternity rape on campus, “UVA President Announces More Changes on Wake of Sexual Assault Coverage,” National Public Radio, Dec. 1, 2014.

“From Rugby Road to Vinegar Hill, we're gonna get drunk tonight.
The faculty's afraid of us, they know we're in the right. 
So fill up your cups, your loving cups, as full as full can be. 
As long as love and liquor last, we'll drink to the U of V.
 —“Rugby Road,” University of Virginia fight song 

See Sabrina Rubin Erdley, A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA,” Rolling Stone, Nov. 19, 2014.

Editorial Comment: Truth on campus can be slippery.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Navigation








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

.

Monday, December 1, 2014

Hi-Def

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Aging Gracefully


“With high-definition TV everything looks bigger and wider. Kind of like going to your twenty-fifth high school reunion.”
—Jay Leno, former Tonight Show host, 2001



Editorial Comment: Up close and personal.


PeezPix by Ted Pease 

Sunday 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

.

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

.

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