(It’s Sunday morning, and that can only mean one thing! Or possibly two, depending on if you’re waking up next to a commode. But hey, even if you are, WELCOME TO FLASHBACK SUNDAY! Ooops, sorry — I probably shouldn’t yell. I promise to keep my excitement to a whisper. What make’s this week’s Flashback particularly exciting is that it’s sponsored by the publishers of Random Day Books, who thought their release of 50 Shades of Time-Traveling Love Vampires would be a great tie-in to Flashback Sunday! So sit back — or sit up, if you aren’t wedged too tightly between the wall and porcelain — and let’s travel back to 2001… back to a time before I even had a blog.. back to a time when, even if I’d heard of Freshly Pressed, I would’ve thought it was an annual report from the Hamburger Patty Maker’s Union…)
This morning, as you sit drinking your morning coffee and reading the paper, I will be taking photographs of naked senior citizens. I should point out that 1) they are aware that their pictures are being taken, because 2) they asked me to do it, after 3) taking one look at me and realizing they had nothing to be embarrassed about.
The photos are for a goofy calendar that will be sold to raise funds for a community pool in Mapleton, Ore. You should also know that the photos will not actually show anything controversial because all private areas will be covered by a strategically positioned prop, such as a AARP card.
The idea came from Nancy Walker, who reads the column and, after finding out that I’m also a photographer, approached me about taking the calendar pictures. Why? Because — as Nancy put it — she and her friends feel they know me well enough through my column that being around me with little or no clothing is “no big deal.” Continue reading
Some time between Friday night and Saturday morning, it happened. And let me just say the last time something this exciting happened while I was asleep, I was 11 years old.
In both cases, we’re talking about a personal milestone; although in this case I didn’t have a talk from my Dad the next morning about my reproductive system. No, this milestone is particularly important because it has come as a result of sharing it with you — which was another talk my Dad had with me, but again doesn’t apply here.
Last night, blogger Jim O’Sullivan at GingerFightBack, which is an extremely important blog dedicated to the plight of redheads, i.e. “gingers,” officially became my 1,000th follower. This, as you can imagine, comes with many fringe benefits, such as entry into the WordPress executive lounge at any Greyhound bus station, membership in the Prolific Speller Club, and a free iTunes download of the John Denver classic “Follow Me.” Continue reading
With the release of her highly anticipated online novel Time-Traveling Vampires of Love just a few days away, I held little hope of getting a second interview with Ima Knowitall when I called her private number this morning. As I mentioned in my first interview, she is the author of more than 40 online novels this past year, and has received multiple awards, including the coveted Prolific Speller Award, the Hemmingway Award for “longest run-on sentence of 2012 and 2013” (same sentence) and, most recently, was honored by the Society of Illiterate Columnists (SIC) for her contributions to “…the advancement of people who write without the shackles of proper grammar.”
Despite knowing I had almost no chance of landing a second interview with an author of Knowitall’s caliber on the eve of her latest release, the fact that she had given me her private number meant I had to at least try. During our initial interview a month ago at a nondescript Del Taco location, she explained that her secret phone number is part of an elaborate system of security measures to protect her from hoards of overzealous paparazzi and fans. Nervously, I called the number and was ready when a man who identified himself as “Shizzle” answered from what sounded like the inside of a phone booth. Continue reading
[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our news room…]
Editor: “It says here that this year’s Holistic and Psychic Fair is going to be…”
Me: WAIT!! Don’t tell me….
[An anticipatory silence in the newsroom]
Me: “… Sorry — I got nothin'”
Editor: “Just for that, it’s your assignment now.”
Me: “Somehow, I knew that.”
After years of creating ad campaigns for high-profile companies like Coca-Cola, a good friend of mine in Atlanta has decided to do what many successful advertising people do when they reach that point in their careers where they can simply LOOK at a new product and, without any hesitation whatsoever, begin to vomit:
And that, of course, is to go into the lawn care business.
Like some of history’s most successful entrepreneurs, Fred spent time studying his new market, its trends and the competition before assembling a detailed business plan, which he described as follows: “I bought a lawnmower.”
On the surface, this may not sound like much of a business plan. But as Fred pointed out, what sets him apart from other lawn care enterprises around Atlanta — aside from his limited grasp of Spanish — is the TYPE of mower and equipment he’s using. While other lawn care enterprises utilize gas-powered equipment and emit enough exhaust smoke to divert air traffic as far west as Alabama, “I use manual-reel mowers, electric gear and hand tools in order to reduce emissions and promote more responsible, planet-friendly yard work,” Fred explained. Continue reading
[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our news room…]
Editor: “Did anyone get a photo of the Coast Guard retrieving the diving mannequin that sank after its head popped off?”
Jenna: “I was there covering the boat show and got one with my camera phone.”
Editor: “Great. Let’s do a photo with a deep cutline. Any ideas on what to put?”
Me: “How about, ‘Coast Guard exercise demonstrates why it’s important to not loose your head when drowning?”
Editor: “Get out.”
The photo in question, documenting the importance of keeping your head in the event of drowning. Especially if you are made of heavy plastic.
The Door is Oregon’s equivalent to a journalistic Smithsonian. Pretty much.
While it’s true The Door
is a weekly feature written by a journalist, about journalism, and inspired by clippings taped to a 50-year-old door that shields real journalists from dangerous emissions from a mostly-working commode located in an actual newsroom, it is — like the commode itself — available for anyone to enjoy! That’s because The Door
does not judge. It does not discriminate. It does not prejudge.
It also does not seal properly, but that’s beside the point.
As regular followers of this feature know, The Door celebrates the best and worst in journalism since the 1970s, when reporters here at the Siuslaw News taped the first erroneous clipping to The Door in an effort to highlight the “shame, blame and brilliance” of journalism, as well as cover a fist-sized hole in The Door that, while a handy pass-through for toilet paper, made decorum nearly impossible.
Think of The Door as the Oregon Coast equivalent of a journalistic Smithsonian, except without all the pompous credibility and historic distinction. Journalist or not, join us now as we travel back to 1999, when Eugene’s Register-Guard printed a report from the Associated Press that falls under the rare “brilliance” category of The Door. Continue reading
(Think of this week’s Flashback Sunday as my own version of “Looper,” where we encounter a younger version of myself from a mind-bending span of… two weeks ago. That’s when part one of this post, “Shooting a Music Video? Avoid the Black-eyed Four-Step” first materialized from 2004 in our Sunday flashback. As you may recall, depending on how you spent last night, I was invited to the making of Adam Marshall’s country music video “Cowboy Hat,” which I quickly took him up on — and he just as quickly regretted. So now, as we do each week, let’s go back in time, back to when the only followers I had were promised free Sea Monkeys — and when I thought Freshly Pressed was a magazine for snooty French coffee drinkers…)
As I mentioned several weeks ago, I was invited to participate in a music video by country singer Adam Marshall during the filming of his music video for “Cowboy Hat.” Though I haven’t actually seen the finished video yet, I can tell you the music is great, that everyone in it is attractive, and they can all dance really well. Which is why I can say, with some certainty, I am not in the final cut.
Yes, I was wearing a cowboy hat and boots.
Yes, I met Adam Marshall.
And no, I didn’t realize “Coyote Ugly” was a euphemism for someone at a singles bar who is highly attractive; at least not until I met my dance partner and politely introduced myself as “Wowwy.” Continue reading
They say change is good, especially if there’s a nickel involved. Why a nickel? Because that’s all you need each Friday for Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing! For newcomers, this is the day I share my collective wisdom from 15 years as a columnist and share it with you, at half the price of my hourly wage! Here are a just a couple of testimonials from regular readers of Ned’s NWOW…
“I discovered this website totally by accident — I haven’t slept since”
“Thanks to what I’ve learned from Ned’s NWOW, I’m now pursuing a rewarding career cleaning hazard cones!”
Enough accolades! Let’s get to it…
There’s nothing quite like staring at a blank page, knowing that with a few strokes of the keyboard you will transform a landscape devoid of life into a living, breathing thing of your own creation. There’s also nothing quite like finishing that fourth cup of coffee only to find that same blank page staring back at you. Sure, you may have typed several sentences — or maybe even the same sentence several times — in hopes of gaining some kind of momentum to carry you over that first hump, but the cursor repeatedly stalls out in the same spot, leaving you with the same blank page after riding the “delete” button back to the beginning.
That’s why it’s called a “cursor.” Continue reading
Scientists at Cornell University have created a device capable of measuring the weight of a single cell. This is big news because it moves us beyond the limits of sub-gram measurements “nano,” “pico” and “femto,” and into an exciting new realm of measurements known as “zeppo,” “harpo” and “groucho.” This could eventually lead to the smallest and least-known unit of measure, “shempo.”
Many of you are probably wondering how useful this information really is when it seems most things — cars, houses, Americans in general — are actually getting bigger. Personally, I see no benefit in being able to describe my weight as “a little over 70 trillion harpo-grams.” And I can tell you no husband wants to be around when his wife discovers, after eating that extra helping of potato salad this July Fourth, that she not only gained back the 17 trillion zeppo-grams she’d lost, but also put on an extra two million grouchos. It doesn’t matter that all of this adds up to less than a single uncooked lima bean.
What matters is that if he made the potato salad, he will be held responsible. Continue reading