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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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The Great Northeast’s Super Bowl, or How I Fell Back in Love with the NBA

It’s not like I fell out of love with the National Basketball Association, really, I just would’ve been really ticked had they not played this year. For all the good that was done last year with the Mavericks winning, Kevin Durant and Co. bringing fun back to the game and the Heat and Lakers losing (HA! Still funny) it would’ve all been undone had the fools in suits tossed aside the year. I understand it’s a business, but for selfish reasons, I’m really glad they came to an –albeit tenuous — compromise.

Kevin Durant

Oh, Kevin Durant... you're the reason God make the Oklahoma City Thunder. Besides that whole Longhorn thing. We forgive you.

And if it wasn’t for the NBA and its glorious offspring, NCAA men’s basketball, I’m not sure I could tolerate the end of the football season. You see, I live in Connecticut, a state divided among Red Sox and Yankees fans, Jets and Giants and Patriots fans and Rangers and Bruins fans. A state that probably likes the Celtics a lot more than the Knicks, but I understand that.

What I don’t understand is how the 49ers and Ravens let this happen. For the love of Pete — it’s a rematch game. Didn’t we get enough of those during the BCS title game? I certainly did. And though I’m not a huge fan of any NFL team, I would’ve liked to have seen the 49ers back in this — and as a somewhat Cowboys fan, it’s not easy to  say that. My Canadian brother-in-law, whom I adore, is a big-time 49ers fan, even if their stadium looks like a glorified summer league baseball diamond. He loves the 49ers for who they had — namely Jerry Rice. And he’s Canadian, so he really doesn’t understand anyway. He doesn’t like being in the dark, either (points if you get that reference.)

Side note: The first time I saw Jerry Rice lurking about the ESPN newsroom I swear I felt a little faint. I haven’t spoken to him yet, but he seems like a nice guy, one who should be my friend. I’m afraid if I start talking to him I’ll go all Chris Farley and start asking, “You remember that time you were in the  Super Bowl? That was awesome.”

And I assume the rest of the world isn’t too thrilled about seeing Tom Brady trot his funky bunch out there again to face Eli “Elite” Manning and his stable of giant-handed receivers.

It’s safe to say that the good folks at ESPN who are from around these parts are thrilled with the participants of the Super Bowl, except for the large contingent of Jets fans, who’ve thrown their support to the Giants. I’ve moved on, to bigger and better — and rounder — balls. (Teehee! You know what I mean.) I have found myself watching the NBA ad nauseum lately, even insignificant games. But at the Worldwide Leader, with access to every game every night, I watch whatever I want. Yesterday I watched the team I hate the most, the Los Angeles Lakers, get defeated by the Milwaukee (Algonquin for “The Good Land,” thank you Alice Cooper) Bucks. It was glorious. And needless to say, if Kevin Durant and the Thunder are playing, they’re on my TV. Same with the Clippers, unless their times conflict.

The NBA was my first pro-sports love, the sport that harvested my very soul during the late 80s and 90s. So it seems natural that once again, I’m able to name starters for  most teams, as well as sixth- and seventh-man alternatives for a lot of them.

But going back to the Super Bowl: As a semi-Cowboys fan, I shouldn’t say this. But I will. I am cheering for the Giants. Have been in every game except the NFC Championship, when my love for my bro-in-law Joel and my yet-to-know-it-yet BFF Jerry Rice flourished. I am not a good Cowboys fan. I realize this. I loved Clinton Portis, have cheered for the Steelers, and didn’t hate Donovan McNabb as much as I should have. I did, however, laugh when The Real Roy Williams broke Terrell Owens’ leg. But let’s not go off-topic.

I will watch the Super Bowl. I will probably enjoy the Super Bowl. But I think the Patriots are going to win, even if I really, really, really don’t want them to. My vehemence against a team doesn’t usually help it, case in point Every Lakers Championship Ever. The day the Spurs beat them for the 2003 Western Conference semifinals, I went outside to make sure the sky wasn’t falling. I’m not making this up.

But know this: not everyone in the ESPN newsroom is basking in the glory of an all-East Coast Super Bowl. There are a lot of Cowboys fans in the newsroom, though few of them come by geographically like me. There are also a lot of Eagles and Steelers fans. Even a few Bengals and Browns fans, and a fair share of Packer Backers. It’s a motley crew of fandom.

But if you don’t want to watch the Super Bowl, that’s cool, it’s on a competing network so I’m not going to try to force it on you. I will, however, politely suggest that you tune into the NBA this season. It’s fast-paced and fun, and strike-shortened, which gives it a gladiator quality: Only the strong will survive. So many more injuries than a typical year.

And there’s talk that Gilbert Arenas may be a Laker soon. Talk about taking a gun to a knife fight! Arenas AND Artest aka Metta World Peace. Wow.

Another blog for another time…

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People Who Died (and those who didn’t.)

First, to explain the headline: When I was about 14, I heard Jim Carroll‘s “People Who Died” on the underground college radio station, which I picked up only on clear nights and when I held the antenna just so. I held that bad boy through countless broadcasts, finger at the ready to hit record anytime sometime cool or seemingly relevant came on the radio.

Countless volumes of badly-dubbed tapes were the result. And I still have them, catalogued and filed away in a bag. I still thank RSU radio for making me at least a teensy bit cooler.

Jim Carroll, whose life is chronicled in the book/movie “The Basketball Diaries” wrote that song, and many others (“Catholic Boy” is another gem.) But “People Who Died” is the one always in my head.

It’s good to have a list of “People Who Died.” The most recent big-name addition to the “People Who Died” list of the world is Osama Bin Laden. Hey, if you didn’t know that, you might’ve actually been in a cave, and not hanging out in palatial Abbottabad. So yeah, I’m not breaking any news on that.

I’ve been planning on blogging this since I came to the stark realization last week that — get this — GORDON LIGHTFOOT IS ALIVE. I could’ve sworn that man was dead. I don’t know why — perhaps VH1 didn’t do a “Behind The Music” on Lightfoot. Perhaps I never had reason to look him up. Perhaps I thought he died in the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. (Sorry, too easy, low-hanging fruit and all that.) I tweeted the lyrics to a GL song, jokingly saying he “went too fast.” A friend on Twitter exclaimed, “He’s dead? I hadn’t heard!” He was really upset. I had to retract that statement, or at least tweet something else quickly that I was just full of shit.

But it made me realize: There are a lot of people I thought were dead who just aren’t.

Some examples:

I want this as a handheld fan I can take to church or ballgames. ABE! ABE! ABE! ABE! ABE!

Abe Vigoda. He’s one of those people that you assume already has a memorial scholarship named for him. He was born in 1921.  Way to go, Abe! I hope I’m not jinxing you!

Shirley Temple. In my mind, she’s 137 years old (Joe Louis’ age, of course, when Rocky Marciano beat him) and has been dead for quite some time. THAT’S NOT TRUE! She was born in 1928 and is still kickin’.

Dick Van Patten. Oddly enough, he was also born in 1928. Turns out, 80 wasn’t enough. Neither is 83. Still drawing breath.

Apprently the Denver Post thought Charlotte Rae was dead too. This was in their photo archive.

Mrs. Garrett, AKA Charlotte Rhea. She was born in 1926, and apparently has all the “Facts of Life” necessary to keep herself alive for a long time. She’s even been a reference in “Family Guy” for her voluptuous bosom.

Jerry Lee Lewis. Maybe marrying children keeps you young? I shan’t try. I don’t know if I believe in marriage.

Carol Alt was everywhere in 1982. Is she off hanging with Debra Winger or something?

Carol Alt. I know, random, but it seems like she was everywhere, then she disappeared. I’m used to supermodels creeping back into the spotlight every now and again, such as Isabella Rossellini or Lauren Hutton. But what happened to Carol? Come back out, Carol. The world needs more pretty people.

Some people who are dead who may surprise you: Eddie Rabbit, Falco and Michael Jackson (haha, gotcha.)

So I’m done obsessing over death, at least people who aren’t really dead. Now to turn my attention back to people who are for real dead: OBL and ODB.

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I suck at life.

I used to be such an organized person. Not annoyingly, anal-retentively organized, but organized enough that I could avoid having major utilities shut off once a week.

For the second time in two weeks, I’m without one of these major utilities. And I’m sitting at home, awaiting the gasman’s arrival. Oklahoma Natural Gas’s decision to turn off my gas this week — after I assumed I was on autopay and happy little dollars had been trickling out of  my account straight into the warm, cozy bellies of ONG’s banks — has proved chilly. The entire state seems to be in some sort of cold wave, odd for March, when Oklahoma starts getting its storm on. Instead, it’s in the low 40s and I haven’t had access to heat in two days. I really, really want to shower. I really would like for these folks to show up so I could stop gritting my teeth. They give you a nice 12-hour window for when they’ll show up. I’ve been waiting nearly three hours and I HAVE to go to work soon. Looks like I might be going to work filthy.

Last week, my electricity was shut off. That was totally my fault, but still, it was no fun.

I have a new job at the newspaper, and I’m terrified of screwing up. I’m not comfortable in it yet by any means, and my new boss (who is also my old boss) is someone I want to keep happy. I respect him to the point that he’s like Lt. Dan, and I “sure don’t wanna let him down.” I’m thrilled to have him as a supervisor again, but I feel like I’m seeking a perfection I just haven’t attained yet.

Maybe sitting around in a cold-ass house, stinky from lack of showering, is a lesson. It is the first full day of Lent. Maybe God wants me to get all my sacrificing out of the way in one fell swoop.

Doubtful. I’m still giving up fast food except one day a week.

Which brings me to Point 2: I had to break my Lenten vow already because I don’t have natural gas to heat my food. And all my food requires it. Because I’m now working 14-hour days instead of 12, I haven’t had time (or cash) to go to the grocery store. All I have at home is stuff that has to be cooked. So last night, I ate at Sonic. SONIC. Not just fast-food, but the worst fast-food imaginable. I’m not saying it wasn’t delicious, though, because it was. I nearly licked the container.

I just need a new routine to go ahead and get started. And I need this new routine to include a complete understanding of how bills work, and how if you don’t pay them, shit gets shut off.

I swear I used to have this down. And I also attest that I’m not huffing paint, gas, canned air or anything like that. Right now, all I’m huffing is shame. Cold, cold shame.

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Honeycomb’s Big (yeah-yeah-yeah!)

My boss doesn’t get me. Maybe no one does. This alarms me.

I just asked my boss, Mark, a great guy who I think of as a brother, if our section of the newspaper — the Scene, or entertainment section of the paper — was big tomorrow. And he said, “It’s not small.”

I stifled the urge to make a dirty joke, took the high road and went with the Honeycomb cereal joke. “Well, you know, Honeycomb’s big… yeah, yeah yeah. It’s  not small… no, no no” I said to him without singing (that would be unprofessional!) and he just looked at me, stonefaced.

He doesn’t get pop culture, and I’m OK with that. But the Honeycomb commercial? Who doesn’t know that?

I consider myself a Pop Culture Savant, since I remember years and years worth of songs, commercials and individual scenes from bad sitcoms, including those involving Boner from “Growing Pains” (may he rest in peace.) So yeah, maybe I’m judging my boss and all the others too harshly. Maybe I’M the one with the problem.

Could it be that this skill, or curse, of mine, this remembering of every level of useless data, isn’t translatable to normal human beings? Could I be just THAT big of a weirdo?

This reminds of a scene from “Freaks and Geeks.” Fuck. I am that weird.

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It’s the end of the Blizz as we know it

… and I feel FINE. Beyond fine, really. Drove home tonight after spending the night in the Hyatt Regency in downtown Tulsa due to the Winter Storm of Impending DOOOOOOM :O

The morning came too quickly after too many Stella Artois, but who’s counting? I was drinking on a weeknight! I am naughty!

I walked to work this morning in the blizzard. It was probably the coldest morning I’ve felt ever, but I didn’t really feel it because I was jacked up on coffee and eggs. We had breakfast at the hotel’s restaurant and I must’ve had me about 15 cups of coffee. I make my own coffee every morning, and it’s strong enough to skin a mule, so I don’t have to drink much. And there isn’t a guy bringing me more (I MUST work on that). I was in caffeine buzz heaven and I got a lot of shit done early.

It was fun getting out of my well-worn comfort zone. My former roommate, the Ex-Gay Husband, came by in the middle of the night to let Leon out to Do His Thang. That meant I didn’t come home to shitpiles! Hurrah! Despite my near-psychosis about leaving Leon alone, it all worked out. The cats did construct and detonate an atom bomb, but that’s not important right now.

I’m really stupid tired. But it’s a beautiful night here in T-Town. The sun shined for a few hours, though it’s colder than Billy Blue Blazes, as my mom used to say, but it’s nice to be home. I’m going to settle in with some somewhat homemade food, “Breaking Bad: Season 2” and my dog. Probably a few cats, too, though I don’t want them to watch “Breaking Bad.” I’m pretty sure Percy has his own meth lab in a shady corner of my garage. I started believing more today when I got home and there were several sets of tiny kitten tracks in the snow leading to my garage. My cats don’t go out — you tell me what’s going on.

I think life will start getting back to normal, so be prepared to read more posts borne out of boredom. They’ll probably be more structured, and contain more somewhat-real stories about my family, such as my brother-in-law Justin who adores Little People.

Peace out for tonight, homeslices, and stay warm, unless you’re in Florida (I’m talking to YOU, Natalie.) You guys can get sunburned for all I care. Motherbitches.

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