Category Archives: Newspapers

Cheap humor: Typos

Note: Most typos in this blog are intentional. MOST. 

Since words are my business, and business is food, then I present food for thought: Typos are the best. Instead of rapping your own knuckles with a ruler every time you make one, laugh at it, especially if it’s one that can be made into a dirty joke or longstanding bit of humor.

Case in point, the pointy case that inspired this blog: This very evening, I was texting with my Best Good Friend Renae, and I told her she needed to watch “The Walking Dead” on AMC. I’m sure all you zombie fans out there agree with that – but what made it hilarious was that I accidentally typed “The Walking Deaf.” Not to pick on the deaf, but the good deaf people I know are a skosh less scary than zombies. “They’re doing sign language! AAAAGGHHH!!” was my next text. It got Renae laughing, and lessened some of my unnatural fear of zombies. See? Cheap humor with long-lasting benefits. 

A google search of  "The Walking Deaf" brought up this very cute image. I hope that dog is not a zombie.

A google search of "The Walking Deaf" brought up this very cute image. I hope that dog is not a zombie.

Now every time “Walking Dead” comes on I’m going to imagine hearing aid-equipped folks walking around not doing much of anything. Just walking.

I worked for a long time on a sports copy desk for the Tulsa World. It was some of the best, and most educational, times of my career. And during that time, we had a lot of stressful shit go down. But through it all, the typos kept us laughing. My old deskmates and I still converse in a language that not many will understand, the language of overstressed copy editors laughing hysterically at each other’s mistakes. I’ll do my damndest to explain it.

I present, K-Tel’s Tulsa World Sports Desk Greatest Hits of Typos!

  • Sprots. This was the most common of our typos. It’s an easy mistake to make when you look at the proximity of the letters, and with the commonality of which we used the word. But it became so funny that every time one of us effed that word up, we had to tell everyone. The sports desk was made up of a circle of desk around the slot desk. The slot is the person in charge of getting the section out every night. Anyway, if there was a sprots incident, it usually got yelled loudly in our department. Which I’m sure agitated the news desk to no end. (Note, now they’re all one big universal desk. I’m sure the sprots folks have had to tone down their rambunctiousness, which is sad to me.)
  • Cowbots. Since both the Dallas Cowboys and Oklahoma State Cowboys are near Tulsa, we used the mascot Cowboys a lot in headlines and other display type (that’s everything besides the story itself.) Cowbots is a mistake I still make at ESPN, since we do a lot of reporting on that team in Dallas that I’m writing off. But that’s another story. Cowbots became such a popular typo that my dear friend Stacey named her fantasy football team The Cowbots. Pretty sure she wins the name challenge hands-down.
  • Toronot: We made-believe that Toronot was the Anti-Canada. This was a common typo during baseball season.
  • Jerf Gerden: I’m pretty sure this was only my mistake, but went down in history. For some reason, every time I typed Jeff Gordon’s name I fucked it up. It came out “Jerf Gerden” once. We had a guy on the desk named Jeff Huston who bore the brunt of this typo, since he was henceforth known as Jerf.
  • Stroms. No, not Thurmond. But since weather often affected sporting events, and Oklahoma has its own weather pattern that only meteoroligcal masterminds like Travis Meyer and Gary England can predict. Thus the need for sprots (ha!) people to write about stroms/storms. We had one whole high school baseball season that had to be played well into June to finish because of stroms.

There’s another incident that I can’t really explain — and it wasn’t so much a typo as a complete shut off of all my brain functioning while trying to get University of Oklahoma pages done in about a 10-minute window. I was trying to write a cutline (caption for you non-newspaper folks) about Bob Stoops having something stuck in his craw… and I basically wrote that Bob Stoops was stuck in his own craw. What the hell is a craw, you ask? I don’t know. Something to do with a chicken gizzard.

And on the subject of Bob Stoops, we all agreed that “Boob Stops” was a typo we were sure to make at any moment. Some nights, we  could only make fixes to pages if it something crucial, we called those “Boob Stops” nights.

I know there are a lot more. And I know I’ll make a lot more in the future. There’s one I’ve made at ESPN that fortunately I caught – we send out this thing called the Hot List every few hours. In the subject line of the email, I type, in all caps, making it even more privy to typos, “HOT LIST.” I cannot tell you how many times I’ve accidentally typed HOT KIST. That just makes me sound trampy. And that is NOT the image I want to convey as a proper, prim news editor for the Worldwide Leader of Sprots.

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Filed under Brain Disorders, ESPN, General Nonsense, Newspapers, Tulsa, TV, Uncategorized, weather

The Reason God Made… Connecticut?

… because Red Sox fans have to live somewhere? To be the rest of the nation’s tree farm? ESPN?

All of these things are in the “truth” category. Another truth? No one understands a goddamn thing I say here. From the Asians upstairs (more on that later) to checkers at the Shop-Right. And I don’t understand them either. Ray of light on this, though — they seem to understand me well enough at ESPN, because that place is a true melting pot. We’ve got Dallas, from Phoenix, Cleveland – he’s from Detroit; and Tex… well, I don’t remember where Tex come from.  Those of you who know me know that I like to pepper most conversations with quotes from Forrest Gump, so that last bit shouldn’t surprise you.

Back to my accent. I have one. I had no idea. But these Ct. folks have several different accents, all rolled into one state. There’s Boston, New York, Philly — all different, but congealed into this nice little New England melange.

And here comes this Okie, with a bit of Texas and English-degree’d clarity mixed in, adding to said melange. I went to the grocery store yesterday and was asked if I had a Shop-Right card at the checkout. What followed was a series of confused staccato sentences between me and the heavily-Boston’d-up clerk who was about 17. “Ya got a Shahp-Raight-Cahd?” he asked. “What’s that?” I replied. Somehow, I ended up with a Shop-Right card, thank God. Lord knows we can’t have me walking around Connecticut without the power of savings at my fingertips. Any little bit helps. This place is expensive.

I live in a relatively low-rent apartment, though, in a wonderful city, Collinsville, near Canton. It’s cute — and those who know me would say it’s very Sarah. Old, weird… it’s kind of a basement apartment in that part of it is underground. The other part is exposed and facing what appears to be Sherwood Forest. The whole lot of Connecticut is gorgeously tapestried in lush greenery. I understand why people flock here for the leaves. Good God, there are trillions of trees here. It’s beautiful.

It’s a really old house split into separate living quarters. An Asian family that apparently practices tap-dancing in the morning lives above me and in the other apartment too. They’re all family. I’m quite sure they can hear everything I say/do. It doesn’t help that I work nights again and am up watching foul-mouthed TV at 3 a.m. I’ve had to relearn how to be quiet. You live by yourself long enough in a your own home and you apparently become incredibly loud. I’ve been slamming doors, singing loudly and shouting at random things at all hours for seven years now.

But I can’t complain — I love my job. It’s a bizarre change, to TV from newspapers. I’m getting a crash course in TV production and how ESPN operates. For the rest of this month, and some of September, I’ll be learning. And boy, I hope I’ve learned. It’s a vastly different world. Fortunately, the desk I work on is composed of mostly newspaper people, so that helps. They can correlate one task to another — “this is like when…” type of situations.

I still feel like an idiot daily. And lost. I wish I could use my beloved GPS on the ESPN campus, which is 120 acres and growing. It’s mammoth. And kinda small at the same time. It feels like I’m in college except I live off-campus.

It’s taken some time to getting used to seeing the anchors, athletes and reporters, and the last week I’ve worked with them a lot. They’re just ordinary folks. Scott Van Pelt‘s grandparents were Okies, he told me — they lived in Miami. He even pronounced it correctly (for you non-Okies, it’s Mia-MUH. The correct way, we think.) When I marveled at this, he said, “If I’d have said it wrong, you wouldn’t have believed they were from there.” True dat, SVP.  It’s surreal, but I’m getting used to it.

I’ve certainly gotten used to the weather.

The highest temperature it’s reached here since I’ve moved was about 86. Usually it’s under 80. It’s humid, sticky — but relatively perfect for August. It’s been raining since Saturday night, so going on 24 hours, but not Oklahoma-style rain. It’s just a pleasant, slow-drip, soaking rain. Perhaps that’s why there are so many trees? I love rainy days, especially rainy days when I’m off work, so today I loaded up in the car and went to the town of Enfield to do some shopping. I listened to Van Morrison‘s “Astral Weeks” on the way — perfection. On the way home, I listened to U2’s “October.” Blissful.

So yeah, I think I’m gonna like it here. I’ve always been of the mind that home is where you make it (so you wanna see homos naked, who cares? — name THAT movie!) but Connecticut seems pretty welcoming and luscious, kinder than I thought and close enough to everything that I don’t feel like I’m missing out on anything.

I haven’t listened to any Oklahoma-based music still — don’t want to forcibly make myself homesick. I know that day is coming.

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Filed under ESPN, General Nonsense, Newspapers, Travel, Tulsa, weather

Super Creepy Newsroom, I’ll miss you

The newsroom is empty this afternoon. I expect a werewolf and/or ghost of a wolverine to jump out at any moment and devour my face.

It’s so rare that I’m in a deserted newsroom that I don’t really know what to make of it. The constant chatter on the scanner is … entertaining, and takes some of the fear out of every creak and groan this 157 year old building makes, but doesn’t completely take away my irrational fear.

It does, however, quiet the sounds of my overblown emotions. I’m sure it’s hormonal, or the fact that absolutely every single aspect of my life is in complete dis-array AND dat-array. All I know is, I was reading a story about a woman being released from prison, then the U.S. women defeated Brazil on penalty kicks, then I was crying in the bathroom. I had to call my therapist — my sister Natalie — who listened to me whine incessantly for 20 minutes or so.

Back in the newsroom, though alone, it seems inappropriate to weep at my desk unabashedly. I finally just had to turn off espn because every time I see Abby Wambach crying, I bust loose with the tears.

Sure I’m proud of the U.S. women’s soccer team. But are they worth this tantrum? Allowing myself to experience any emotion at all has been unusual lately. I have this tenuous grasp on my world. Too many balls in the air. My sense of humor and reality is tamped down into this “MUST FOCUS ON MOVING” mentality.

I know, poor pitiful me, right? Shucks, I got a great job and have to work hard to get moved to it. WAAAHHH. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. In a few weeks, when live is settled a bit and I’m working in Connecticut, I’ll be much better and hopefully sound more grateful.

It’s just surprising me that I’m so verklempt over soccer — or whatever that was about. I haven’t cried at the things I thought I would — seeing some friends for the last time for a while, driving down 11th Street past my first apartment, packing away everything… I’m such a reminiscing fool, it’s odd for me not to cry about that kind of stuff. Instead, I’m bottling it up and crying about the World Cup.

In front of the newsroom’s ghosts/zombies. I’m sorry, supernaturals. I know you don’t like people showing weakness. Newsroom supernaturals are tough old birds.

People are starting to come into the newsroom now, so I’d better suck it up and quit bawling… I’ve at least got to save face for my last week of work.

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Filed under Connecticut, ESPN, Moving, Newspapers, Travel, Tulsa, Women

Comparisons: 1995 Sarah vs. 2011 Sarah (Introspection 101)

I’m a few months from my 37th birthday. That doesn’t look as bad on the computer screen as it feels in my head.

I realize that 37 isn’t technically old. It ain’t 22, which I’m pretty sure was my favorite year on earth. I say pretty sure because I don’t remember much of it. Ah, college. Ah, Tahlequah. The entire city has an above-the-legal-limit blood alcohol level, I’m convinced.

I’ve been a Tulsan since 2002, after spending 10 years in Tahlequah. This year, especially, has been pivotal, and I have a feeling the Wheel of Fortune hasn’t stopped turning, either for bad or for evil. (I’m not talking about the show, though in my advanced years, I like that a lot now too.)

Events in my life seem to be spiraling quickly. Once you set the ol’ wheel in motion in my life, you have to hold on. I’m slow to motivate, but once I’ve got my mind made up, it’s on. I blame my fiery Aries mama for this.

Some new developments, for those who care: Still waiting to hear from ESPN. Lost my job at the Food Bank. Putting my house on the market. Hopefully doing some freelance work. Minimizing, my stuff and my rotund self.

To kick off this effort (that sound SO MUCH like a press release) I’ve decided to pit 2011 Sarah against 1995 Sarah. It’s a startling contrast, and I’m proud to say that 2011 Sarah wins… not in the Charlie Sheen sense, but still.

1995 Sarah’s job: Manager, Del Rancho restaurant.
2011 Sarah’s job: Assistant editor, Tulsa World.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s bedtime:  5 a.m., or whenever we heard the birds and the streetsweeper, we knew it was time to retire.
2011 Sarah’s bedtime: A much more reasonable 2 a.m. or 3 a.m., but only because I now only have one job and it’s a later start. And I’m a natural night owl.
Advantage: 2011, though 1995 was way more fun.

Oh, Sarah. Where did you get these ridiculous outfits? The hair alone is bad enough. But I thought I was bad-ass. Hilarious. It was 1995. That's my excuse.

1995 Sarah’s clothes: Hippie not-so-chic, cut-off corduroys, flower-print Doc Martens, band T-shirts, no makeup, no hairdryer, no straightener, no jewelry. Sack-like dresses
2011 Sarah’s clothes: Black pants in various cuts, black dresses, solid-print tops with black cardigans, black and more black, a spot of jewelry, hair blown dry every day and straightened, or at least brushed, makeup every day.
Advantage: 2011, by a longshot.

1995 Sarah’s diet: Pasta-Roni, Taco Bell, sandwiches. Chinese food from Grand China.
2011 Sarah’s diet: Whatever I can find, Taco Bueno, homemade Chinese food, lots of soup.
Advantage: Tie. I still eat horrible food on occasion. I really wish my parents would’ve let me have more fast food growing up so I didn’t feel the compulsion to make up for lost time.

1995 Sarah’s fitness: 12-ounce curls, bong-lifting and other recreational “hobbies,”  couch-jumping.
2011 Sarah’s fitness: Lots of walking, active gym membership (just got a new one at the Y, going today for the first time!)… but more than that, an actual knowledge of the need for fitness instead of a general lack of caring.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s relationships: Blah.
2011 Sarah’s relationships: Blah, but don’t really give a shit.
Advantage: Blah.

1995 Sarah’s inner peace: Fabricated by copious amounts of weed and alcohol
2011 Sarah’s inner peace: Somewhat tattered, but at least it can pass a drug test. Lack of paranoia is refreshing.
Advantage: 2011.

1995 Sarah’s ambition: Throwing the Best Party Ever, seeing more shows than you.
2011 Sarah’s ambition: Sky-high. Maybe I can still become a singer (kidding). Entering poetry and short-story contests.  Trying for new job on the East Coast. The Novel isn’t just a dream anymore, it’s rising to the surface.
Advantage: Depends on the outcome. Some days, I really miss the carefree days of college, when I was just accruing debt instead of dreaming about paying it off. I miss going to two shows a week, drinking shots every night, etc. But now, I wake up with more hope instead of hangovers. If I accomplish everything I hope to, then definitely Advantage 2011.

1995 Sarah’s lodging: Cheap rent house. At one time, we paid $53/month to rent this cheap little house because so many people lived in it.
2011 Sarah’s lodging: My own house, which I’m about to put on the market. Homeownership is great, some of the time.
Advantage: I wouldn’t be saying this last year, but advantage 1995. I miss renting. I miss the freedom to just up and leave. I hope my house sells.

1995 Sarah’s friends: I saw them every day. I had a lot. I loved them like family.
2011 Sarah’s friends: I don’t see them enough. I have many left. I love them like family.
Advantage: Tie. Damn we had fun. I made the best friends I could’ve ever made in college, and fortunately, most of them are still just a phone call away. The slight tip of the scale would go to 1995, but 2011 is strong in the knowledge that they’re not going anywhere. Love you guys.

 1995 Sarah’s cash flow: I lived paycheck to paycheck, but didn’t hardly have any bills. Always had money for clothes and … well, everything.
2011 Sarah’s cash flow: I live paycheck to paycheck, but I’m doing what I love. Never have money.
Advantage: 2011, though it’s a close call. In 1995, I didn’t even have credit cards. I spent like there was no tomorrow and lived for financial aid’s change checks. At least in 2011 I have some accountability, and am paying off the debt I accrued in the early 2000s.

1995 Sarah’s music: Jane’s Addiction, Liz Phair, PJ Harvey, Nirvana, The Doors, Tripping Daisy, Ween, Hole, Pearl Jam, Flaming Lips, anything “stoner rock” or “trippy rock.”
2011 Sarah’s music: Boundless. Ween (for the win!), Bob Dylan, Professor Longhair, The Modern Lovers, Sex Pistols, Nat King Cole, The Libertines, U2, Jane’s Addiction, Balfa Brothers, Roxy Music, Duran Duran, Morrissey/Smiths, Black Sabbath, Pavement, Norah Jones… the list goes on.
Advantage: 2011. Technology has made my music library swell to unbelievable heights. I don’t get to go to as many shows as before, but I can immerse myself in music so much easier than before. It’s still my No. 1 hobby, which hasn’t changed since 1978, but now it’s all at my fingertips… HUGE advantage 2011.

There are more comparisons, but these are the ones I’ve undertaken. I challenge you to pit yourself against another time and see what era comes out the winner. It’s enlightening to see how far you’ve come, and it makes you realize that you’re got it pretty good.

Advantage: Sarah.

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Filed under Childhood, Family, Food, Fun!, General Nonsense, Love, Music, Newspapers, Tahlequah, Travel, Tulsa

Why I didn’t watch the Royal Wedding

I didn’t watch  it, OK? That does not make me a love-hater, hater of love. My neglecting to watch the nuptials had nothing to do with any sort of anti-British mentality. I actually aspire to go to London first in my conquering (read: extensive tourism) of Europe. I plan to have a Joey-esque time the entire trip, shouting, “London, BABY!” as often and loudly as possible.

No, the reason I didn’t watch is was because it was broadcast too damn early and I work 12- to 14-hour days. I need sleep. Another reason? It was a wedding… a WEDDING. The wedding part would’ve been fine, I guess — one of my good friends says I should’ve watched because it cast my denomination, Episcopalian nee Anglican, in a good light. I can get behind that logic. But it had the feeling of an awards show, something else I seldom watch. I really just can’t stand all that fluff in a broadcast. I fast-forward the Oscars, or wait until the winners list is out. I just can’t do it.

Perhaps this has something to do with being an editor who’s had to cut plenty of stories to fit into tiny spaces. I can no longer tolerate deadwood. And the only opinions I care about are those of people I actually know. For instance, I will read a column by Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler after an important game, among other local columnists. I will read post-game analysis by college football beat writers. I will read a Q&A with Carrie Underwood or Blake Shelton written by an Oklahoma writer. But to hear some ditsy entertainment reporter on any host of networks go on and on and on about hats, dresses, etc.? No thanks.

Have I gone hyper-local? Perhaps. About some things.

In the case of Osama bin Laden, I went international, even watching coverage from al-Jazeera.

But that was the death of the biggest fucking plague to walk the erf in the last few decades. Killed by US — that’s U.S., U-S, One Nation Under God. At that moment, I felt united.

Friends who watched the wedding told me they felt united with the world  during the ceremony — the millions of badly-dentistried Britains in the street, while 400 million or so had their  eyes turned mistily to the tube, watching as the lovely Kate was adored by her now-husband Prince William.

The beauty is not lost on me, but  watching 14 straight hours of coverage is. I recall watching Lady Diana and Prince Charles’ wedding. I was also 6, so my Princess Phase was in full swing. I grew out of that when my Barbies became sexually active, around the time I was 8 or 9.

And truth be told, I really loved Di. I thought she was immaculate. I think her sons are too, but maybe the wound of her death would’ve been too much for me. I cry a lot. I didn’t need my whole Friday wrecked because of the spectacle.

Friends in the newsroom told me that this was “their Super Bowl,” and if I didn’t watch, I wasn’t to make fun of those who did. And I’m not. Really. It just wasn’t for me. It wasn’t my Super Bowl, or college football national championship, or Final Four, or even Frozen Four.

Game 6 of just about any NBA playoff game? A random May Rockies game that magically appears on TV (it happens rarely; I never see Colorado on TV unless I’m at the World, where they have every channel known to man, or if the Rockies are in the playoffs and Big Sports is forced to air them) I’d watch any day of the week.

I’m still not getting up a 4 a.m. to watch, however. And my DVR space is important to me. Recording 137 straight hours of wedding coverage sounds like that time I accidentally recorded “Ghost Hunters” seven-hour Halloween special: Annoying and DVR-clogging.

I’m glad so many people witnessed the beauty and splendor of the wedding. But please, do not think of me as The Elephant Man because I didn’t. I am not an animal.

Perhaps I am a love hater, hater of love. Andre Benjamin? You might have to help me out with this one.

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Filed under Fun!, General Nonsense, Haters, Love, Newspapers, Relationships, Sports, Travel, Tulsa

Garish Confessions, embarrassing or otherwise: The Spanx Chronicles (and beyond)

These are my confessions, brought to you today by Usher.

I haven’t blogged in two weeks. That’s not a confession, just a fact I thought I’d bring up as to clear the elephants out of the room. Damn things are always getting caught under my couch.

So yes, on to the confessions.  Some are Girl Style confessions, and thus, the harder ones to admit. But in case any of you didn’t know this yet, I don’t really care about embarrassing myself. It’s freeing, really.

So here goes.

Spanx

Like youd wear them if you looked like this anyway.

1.   Spanx make me look fatter. I’m convinced. Last week, I bought this cute little shift dress at Ross’s dress sale. I loved the way it looked in the store dressing room, when I was Spanx-less. I thought, Spanx could only make it better! Monday morning, I got all dolled up, put on the ol’ Spanx and high heels and headed to work. During Job 1, I ran to the bathroom, and while toddling in on the high heels I’m going to finally remove from my closet, got a side view of myself. I’m not a thin girl. I know this. Right now, juggling two stressful jobs, I’m probably not losing any weight, either. But still, the side view of me was very unpleasant. I went to the stall, then came back out with my Spanx down around my legs. I liked the look much better. The Spanx basically pushed all my flawed areas (read: fat) to the front, instead of keeping them in their natural place. Alas, there is no miracle. I took my Spanx off, tucked them under my arm, walked past a tour group, and then put them in my purse. No more Spanx for me. I also took the high heels off and replaced them with the flip-flops I had in my purse. Unless important people walked by. I kept the heels at the ready all day in case I need to walk by a big boss’s office. Fashion sucks

I'm just waiting for this moment to happen. Is that Kate Moss in the picture?

Im just waiting for this moment to happen. Is that Kate Moss in the picture?

2.   I cut my own bangs. I’ve had really long hair since eighth grade, after the picture fiasco. I have naturally curly hair, and in my seventh grade school picture, a piece of my then-short hair decided to stand up and say hi to the photographer. My mother loved the picture and wouldn’t let me get retakes. (Love you and miss you mom, but REALLY?) So I had long hair forever afterward, and I have good hair, I don’t mind saying, so length was always important to me. Until last year. I had a Delilah moment and cut off all my own power. ALL my hair was gone. It was cute, but I regretted it as soon as I did it. In fact, everyone who said, “Your hair is so cute!” got this in return: “Thanks, I’m growing it out.” And I have been. Now, it’s at least below my ears. Nearly ponytail length. And I haven’t been to see Brooke the Magnificent (my hairdresser) since November. It’s nearly May. So my bangs have been trimmed a few times by me, sometimes well, sometimes shakily, as I normally trim them in the morning before being fully awake. Fortunately I have thick hair that can cover a variety of sins. But Lord help me if I accidentally take off a whole chunk. That’ll be seventh grade all over again.

3. I have some of the same clothes I had in junior high. I am not a hoarder, but clothes are different for me. If it still fits, has its original color, and might come back into fashion, I don’t see why I can’t save it. I have this black turtleneck my sister Natalie bought me for Christmas in 1987 that I still wear. I realize now that the shirt is older than most of our summer interns who’ll be coming to the paper this year. But it’s warm and still very dark black, so it passes the test. And it’s a turtleneck. You only wear those when you’re extremely cold anyway, right? And under something, right? Oklahoma was privy to its share of extreme cold this year, thus came out the turtleneck. And the flower-print Doc Martens from my hippie days. If I was Renae, one of main homegirls, I’d have thrown that shit out years ago. She throws away everything. It’s who she is, and I’ve come to accept it. Once she threw out my spare housekey I gave her in case I died and needed her to feed Leon. She threw it out because “she didn’t know whose it was.” Thanks. Now I know Leon will starve. But yes, I keep clothes longer than I should. And since I’ve basically been the same size/shape since 1987, it’s OK.

I still love him.

4. I still cheer for Tiger Woods. He’s this generation’s Bill Clinton, for whom I still cheer. Sorry, they’re both beyond great. I realize Tiger is a lousy husband. I realize Tiger is kind of weird and awkward. But he’s still Tiger Effing Woods, and he’s still amazing in nearly every way except his personal life. Remember when we didn’t care what athletes did in their spare time? Or actors, or anyone else? Remember when we focused on our own lives or maybe those in our community? I say we take that approach again. Joe Namath is an alcoholic, and he’s still a living legend. We forgive the older generations their faux pas because TMZ wasn’t following them around exacerbating them. So yes, I still love Tiger. Good luck this year, mate. Fuck ‘em if they can’t let your private life be private.

This idiot, Rick Sanchez, is one of the main reasons I quit watching 24-hour news.

This idiot, Rick Sanchez, is one of the main reasons I quit watching 24-hour news.

5. I quit watching 24-hour news in 2004. I realize I’m a newsperson and I should probably keep up. But working for a newspaper makes you realize a lot of truths about the industry: TV people are actors, who have a very small staff that trolls for news. Usually good-looking staffers. Newspapers are large-staffed, moderate-looking people who don’t worry about camera time. We’re the ones actually pounding the pavement and breaking stories. And with websites and an actual understanding of how they work, we’re proving it over and over again. I don’t watch the nightly news, or have the ticker on. Ever. And it’s freeing. If I want to read something, I seek it out myself. And since I work for a newspaper, it’s pretty easy to find! I suggest everyone give up the 24-hour news cycle, even ESPN. See if you really miss it.

I hope you enjoyed the Garish Chicken’s confessions. I guarantee you there will be more, since I am clearly the most ridiculous person alive.

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Filed under Brain Disorders, Fun!, General Nonsense, Haters, Love, Newspapers, Sports, Tulsa

The Tulsa World’s metered model: Quit hating and support your city

On Thursday, the World announced a metered model — not a paywall, all the web folks have told me — will go up on April 4. We’ve known it was coming in the newsroom, but we just announced it after some kinks were worked out.

Of course, this brought on tons of newspaper-bashing, which is to be expected, especially from bloggers and smaller papers who don’t bring in the kind of advertising volume that we do. The family who owns the World has owned it since 1917. That family has resisted the urge — like so many other newspapers couldn’t — to sell out to corporate newspaper conglomerates. They’ve remained in Tulsa. Yes, they’ve prospered, succeeded, but they’re an Oklahoma-based company, still in Oklahoma, still keeping our tax dollars in Tulsa.

Isn’t that the mission, the core, the foundation, for “Shop Local?” Isn’t that truly what “I Heart Tulsa” is all about?

Yet here come the haters. The same hippies (and I’m not bashing hippies, I spent 10 years in Tahlequah with REAL hippies) who print “I Heart Tulsa” on their foreign-made T-shirts and coffee cups are now calling for the World’s head because we have the audacity to try to make some money off of what we do. Let me ask you this — would you give your hemp bracelets away for free? Your objets d’art? Your vinyl collection? Your concert tickets? Your pointy-eyed glasses frames? Your skinny jeans? Your vitriol?

OK, backing off a bit — I understand, it’s hard to give something away for free for five years and then say, “Sorry, you gotta pay for this now.” But truly, it’s a quality product. It’s not the same as it was in 2005, and those who run the paper know it. We were part of the Wild West of the Web in 2005, scuttling around like tumbleweeds, trying to find our place. We learned a lot, and now we’re getting somewhere. We’re not perfect.

And the management of the World have made some strides within to ensure that it gets better. Our new news editor is probably the most committed, dedicated, progressive thinker I’ve ever known. We’re all operating under new guidelines, and it’s not the same World that it was even a month ago. Sure, I hate layoffs. I hate saying goodbye to friends and colleagues. But I have to hope — for the sake of my college degree, my future, the love of my career — that something’s going to work. I have to believe that people will realize that the printed word, printed either on paper or on a webpage, is necessary for quelling graft and corruption, giving parents something to be proud of when their kid is featured on a Scene or Sports page, or following up on business and commerce. I have to believe that what I went to college for, the craft I’ve spent all these years perfecting, is worth something.

If that makes me non-progressive in your mind, I’ll stay here in my rut. I’m getting older, and as much as I love free enterprise, peace and love and organic gardening, I know there are more important things in the world. That’s why I got into journalism. I also know that money is supposed to be earned, that what you do isn’t supposed to be given away for free. That’s capitalism. And it’s NOT why I got into journalism. It’s why people start newspapers. I can’t discredit them that.

Reading over blogs and comments on Facebook and our still-free site, you’d think we publish a high school newspaper. Someone on Facebook even said that (on the wall for This Land Press’s Facebook page, a really cool little publication that’s now just showing it hates the World… sad. I thought you were going to keep some credibility) high school newspapers were better.

Thanks, my college degree from Northeastern — another place that keeps its tax dollars in Oklahoma — thanks you for that. My 15 years experience thanks you for that. My 100 co-workers, many of whom have tons more experience, families, part-time jobs and mortgages — thank you for that. The minutes I wasted this week perfecting every sentence I came in contact with — guess that was a waste of time, since it’s not better than a high-school newspaper, eh? I wish you folks were a minority of thinkers. It’s really, really easy to bash a newspaper when you don’t even read it, isn’t it? When was the last time you actually read our product, dissenters? You get mad about something you read, or deem it “too hard” or “too time-consuming” and turn your back on a product that’s been around for 106 years? Who’s fault is that?

Do you realize when you’re insulting a newspaper, you’re insulting everyone in it? All those who’ve worked all these years to report the news, print the sections, ensure the color pictures look glossy and perfect every morning? Run the presses, sweep the floors, sell the ads, write the classifieds — A lot of people go into making a newspaper. And most of us are pretty blue-collar.

Guess what? It’s not an easy job. I’ve worked in news, sports and Scene. Sports is by far the hardest job. Because of our new strategies, my hours have changed again. We’re short-handed because of illness, the layoffs and other issues. I’ve worked the 4:30-1 a.m. shift the last two days, helping sports and news. Last night, I remembered the thrill of late-night deadline as I watched the final minutes of an Oklahoma City Thunder game. I was telling the guy in charge of sports, “You’re going to have to go without it. They’re going to take more than we have to finish this game.” It comes down to decisions made in 30 seconds. And you know why we waited? Because we wanted all our readers to know the final score. We pushed until the last moment we absolutely could, then when the game didn’t end, found another story, laid it onto the page, read it, cut it, put a headline on it, and a note apologizing for the Thunder score not being in the paper and to go to our website to find the score. In less than a minute.

If you don’t think we love our readers, you don’t know how  hard we work. I don’t claim overtime at the World. Some weeks are slow, and the grind isn’t as hard. I go home early some days. But mostly, I don’t. For example, during the NCAA Tournament, you bet I worked an 10 extra hours. That was a drop in the bucket compared to some.

I’m not saying, “Pity us for working hard.” I’m not saying you have to agree with the metered model. But you do have to understand that my newspaper is a Tulsa-based business, one that’s been around a lot longer than the current crop of downtown businesses, the ones who are finger-pointing the most. We have the potential of being partners with the younger crowd, if they’d get off their soapboxes and high horses long enough to play nice.

My question is this: Why wouldn’t you pay $12 or so to know what’s going on in your city? You say you want to make such an investment in it, help out one of its largest employers. Practice what you preach.

And get educated before you start saying everyone else isn’t as smart as you. Read the paper. See what we have to offer. If you have comments, want to tell us what we can do, CALL US. Let us know. We can’t make it better without some feedback. Get onto the World’s Facebook page and leave a comment. Don’t hide behind someone else’s page or anonymity. Ask for what you want, and we’ll try to give it to you. Don’t complain about the content if you haven’t made your voice heard.

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Filed under Haters, Newspapers, Paid content, Tulsa