Bits of Bull No. 374!
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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Wed, 22 May 96 20:03:56 -0700
Subject: Bits of Bull No. 374!
Excerpted-from: BONG Bull No. 374!
AND NOW, THE ENVELOPE PLEASE. Nanette Logue (Pwoodgrl@aol.com) of
the (Antioch, Calif.) Ledger Dispatch and Archive Dominatrix of
the Flying Pig Contest announces the winners in that competition
for fotogs sent to take grip-and-grins and other ordinary shots
that never win prizes. Winners are posted in the website,
("The judging, a beer-fueled event, held in a seedy Antioch
apartment under cover of darkness, resulted in no arrests or
police visits," the Dominatrix avers.) In the website non-winners
can find copies of the wondrous certificates, suitable for
downloading if they have the computer gear, and the sponsors vow
to make no protest if onlookers award themselves Flying Pig
honors, especially since there were some vacancies in the awards
list. You can also click to send e-mail to judges, telling them
off for missing you. The winners:
-- Person in office. 3rd: Rohanna Mertens (The Patent Trader,
Cross River, N.Y.). Two real estate agents show the reporter how
easily they could buy and sell houses over the Internet, but they
couldn't quite log on.
-- Meeting. 2nd: Dean Guernsey (The Bulletin, Bend, Ore.)
"Willy Loman" with his "Stop the Pit" sign is from a city council
meeting where people turned out to protest a gravel pit in
-- Groundbreaking etc. 2nd: Trent Nelson (Salt Lake Tribune,
Salt Lake City, Utah). A shot from the knees down of the lady who
received the honor (a facsimile of her signature on an airplane)
sitting in a chair. Was the photographer editorializing? Let's
just say that some people should not wear short skirts.
-- Opening day. 1st: Diane Kulpinski (The Bulletin, Bend,
Ore.) Trout season. Man on shore, boats in water, ethereal and
beautiful, you can almost forgive people crazy enough to go out in
freezing-ass cold at dawn's first light just for fish when you
make a shot like this. The fotog, presumably, didn't even need
-- Bowling. General disappointment. Bowling alleys need
different lighting. Lack of surprises. Lack of bad fashion in the
photos. We know it's out there. No winner.
-- Something at a school. HM: Tomas Ovalle (Valley Times,
Pleasanton, Calif.). Kindergarten kids doing the Watermelon Dance.
Neener, neener, neener.
-- Pet o' Week. 3rd: Victor Des Roches (Porterville, Calif.,
Recorder). The turkey was living in someone's yard and it was the
week before Thanksgiving.
-- Group photos. 1st: Victor Des Roches (ibid.). Second-grade
students who wrote letters to Oklahoma City residents after the
bombing. The kid hanging upside down clinched this winner.
-- Same day every year event. 3rd: Meri Simon (San Jose,
Calif., Mercury News) Senior citizen admonishes Santa to "be good"
when he visits a nursing home.
-- Three women with objects. As was explained on the entry
form, not really a gender-specific category, nor did it have to be
three persons. The first-place photo was clearly the winner, and a
judges' favorite. 1st: Peter Haley (The News Tribune, Tacoma,
Wash.) Shot in a public urinal from behind the subjects. Two men,
well, holding objects. One guy, wearing a kilt, is holding his
bagpipes in one hand, and the other guy a sweater, so it is
actually two men holding two objects.
-- "...of the Week" 1st: Teri Harris (The News Tribune,
Tacoma, Wash.) At the "basketball game of the week," a member of
the (Seattle) Sonics Dance Team watches the game on all fours,
while the two men seated (ital) behind (unital) her keep their
eyes on something other than the game.
-- Old news. 2nd: Diane Kulpinski (ibid.). The fire was put
out just before the reax of the two women in the picture. Lady in
the middle reportedly broke down while visiting (how could we ever
guess?) her burned-out mobile home with relatives.
-- Never ran. In this category, the photographers had to
include the reason that the photo never ran. Some of the reasons
were as funny or sad as the photos themselves. 1st: Trent Nelson
(ibid.) Two high school girls interested in medical careers
examine a human head in the cadaver room. Never ran because: "It's
gory and might be someone's grandpa"; HM: Rick "Netmoser" Egan
(Salt Lake Tribune). Victim of a drunken driver demonstrates that
he appears normal following his ordeal, unless he removes his
shirt to reveal a giant scar and "smiles big." Never ran because:
The "knocked silly" expression belies the serious intent of the
-- (Combined for shortage of entries) Worst Cropped and
Misuse of a Photo. Photographers usually like to forget about
these tragedies. 2nd: Paul Hu (Press-Telegram, Long Beach, CA).
Oval crop. Need we say more?
-- Special Write-in Category, Man at microphone or Speech
giver. 3rd: Peter Haley (ibid.) "Luck and f16 made this bird
appear much closer to the U.S. Senate candidate than it was."
-- Judges' Special Never Ran Extravaganza-a-thon-a-rama
Award: Tomas Ovalle (ibid.). The beauty of having your own contest
is that when you see something that zonks you out, you can create
a special category for it. Actually a series of photos, everything
from the serious and dramatic to the comedic. The Burning Man
Festival, an inexplicable event which involves fire, darkness and
nudity in the desert. Never ran because: It would be against
newspaper tradition to show people anything new when you can show
them the same cliches month after month.
WORDS TO LIVE BY. Stephen G. Bloom, ex of Los Angeles Times and
Dallas Morning News now professing journalism at the University of
Iowa, did a dandy piece for The American Editor on newsroom
jargon. Yes, "30" translates from telegraphic code XXX, meaning
the end. Stringers were paid by story length, measured by a
string at the editor's desk.
PI (pronounced pee eye), lede, hed, graf, folo and TK are
deliberate misspellings so they won't get into print. Lede is
copy, lead is metal. Bloom didn't mention it, but even now old-
timers are edgy about using "lead" unless it's a story about
leading a band or a drill team. Wood is the big headline, often so
big that wooden type was used.
Cereal spitter was a gory photo, especially for ayem papers'
breakfast readers. Bloom suggests that some editors now use what
they call the "Wheaties test," not to cull boring shots but to
encourage something called good taste. It's the clearest proof
that times have changed.
Spike was the nail where bad stories went. Slug is a story's
name, originally cast in a line of Linotype metal. Lobster shift,
describing the overnighters, has a varied etymology. Bloom says
morning is lobster-catching time, bad lighting makes for red eyes.
The tale of Hearst's New York World being near the lobster boat
piers and both kinds of crews going to work simultaneously isn't
mentioned. Lob shift is a term virtually unknown outside
newspapering. Lobstermen don't even use it. Maybe they say
Grumpy printers with red noses from drinking on their way to work
© 1996 Peter Langston