Friday, November 19, 2010

Deadline oopses

My friend Frank brought in a yellowed copy of the Nov. 22, 1963, issue of The Paducah Sun-Democrat. You surely know that date. The banner headline — printed in red, six columns, two lines, all caps above the nameplate — is:

The Sun-Democrat was then an evening newspaper, making it possible to publish the story the day it happened.

But the inside pages were apparently already on the plates before the AP wired the story. On page 7 of the same issue was a story with this headline:
Republicans Get Head Start On 1964 Political Campaign Against Kennedy.


To make matters worse, the story quotes Republican leaders in the Senate blasting JFK.
New York's Jacob Javits: "Things have gone from bad to worse."
Texas' John Tower: "Our international standing has clipped low, indeed."
Illinois' Everett Dirksen: "(JFK is) engaging in dangerous economic brinkmanship."
Indiana's Charles Halleck: "... almost total failure ... for three empty years."

Darn those deadlines.

By the way, do you remember what two noted authors' deaths were barely noted in the press because they occurred on the same day?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Coaches Chizik and Childress

In a press conference a few days ago, Auburn head football coach Gene Chizik said something other than what he meant to say amid allegations against his star player, quarterback Cam Newton.

Chizik: "I'm standing up here on a very important week trying to defend something that's pure garbage."
That's a harsh way to describe your star player. Maybe he meant he was trying to defend AGAINST something — the allegations — he considers pure garbage (and is "pure garbage" an oxymoron?).

He also said, "I want to get off the table up front the fact that Cameron Newton will be playing Saturday against the Georgia Bulldogs. I want to get that off the table."
The idiom "off the table" means to remove from consideration. What Chizik said, and repeated, is that playing Newton is NOT one of his options. Of course, he meant the opposite. What Chizik took off the table was the option of forcing Newton to sit out the game.

If Chizik says the opposite of what he means, another coach makes statements that tell you absolutely nothing — but at least he uses big words to say it. Minnesota Vikings coach Brad Childress said this of trading Randy Moss: "It was a programmatic nonfit, and it didn't work out. When things don't work out, you need to move quickly to take steps."
Programmatic nonfit? Why not "he didn't fit in"?
"Move quickly to take steps"? That literally means hurry to make incremental change — not an apt description of booting Moss.