… This Just In …

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…TAT-tat-tat-TAT-TAT-tat-tat-TAT…

[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our newsroom…]

Ok, in what is quite possibly the most irrelevant moment in our newsroom so far this year — which is saying a lot — I thought I would share Halloween photos of some folks who work here at Siuslaw News.

Oddly, I took these photos in September… Continue reading

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Nose whistling is the heart and soul of any relationship

imageIt’s one of life’s little mysteries, the fact that I can fall asleep in front of the television during a documentary chronicling man’s loudest explosions, yet be kept awake by the sound of my own nose whistling. In my defense, this was a new phenomenon, and something that, under any other circumstances, would have been amusing. However, at 1:30 in the morning, having your nose emit a solid C-major every time you exhale is just plain annoying.

What made matters worse was that I wasn’t alone in my musical endeavors. My wife was also blowing her horn — I’m guessing in E-flat — which, between the two of us, sounded like a pair of jug blowers trying to tune up for the spring dance. Instinctively, I grabbed the earplugs from the nightstand and inserted them. As I quickly discovered, this is a little like covering your ears so you can’t hear yourself sing. I then contemplated the idea of inserting the plugs directly into my nostrils, but decided against it for two reasons.

First, I would be forced to breath through my mouth, which would lead to snoring and bruised ribs.

Secondly, should my mouth somehow fall shut during the night, the resulting pressure would create a pair of high-velocity projectiles ricocheting through our bedroom without warning — the mere thought of which would keep me awake. Continue reading

Excuse me, but I really need to get… The Door

The Door... sentinel of journalistic history and protector of olfactory senses prior to flushing.

The Door… sentinel of journalistic history and protector of olfactory senses prior to flushing.

Do NOT adjust your screen! There is nothing wrong with your computer! Unless, like mine, you’ve actually seen it in a 1980s movie, where it represented the era’s most advanced computer technology as part of a high-tech military defense system that becomes self aware. But assuming you’re looking at a screen smaller than an industrial sized microwave oven, then yes — you really are seeing an image of The Door (of Shame, Blame and Brilliance) in our newsroom.

As I mentioned when I closed The Door a few weeks ago, it would be re-opened as the situation warranted. And today, my friends, we have a SITUATION.

For those of you just joining us, or those unfamiliar with The Door for personal reasons, I should explain that it is the most important door in our two-door newsroom. Not just because it leads to the commode, but also because it displays the best and worst examples of print journalism clipped and taped there by reporters at Siuslaw News since the 1970s. We like to think of The Door as the Smithsonian of journalistic history, except with the occasional sound of flushing. As iconic anchorman Dan Rather recently said, “It is unquestionably our most important relic representing modern journalistic history — or my name isn’t, uh… Barbara Walters?” Continue reading

Today’s Halloween costume is tomorrow’s therapy session

(Welcome to this week’s Flashback-Flashback-Flashback Sunday! No, that wasn’t an echo, or the remnants of a hangover. You read it right; this week’s post is an extremely rare flashback within a flashback within a flashback. OK, just to clarify, that wasn’t an echo either. It’s just that this week’s post covers three generations of Halloween costume traumas. In short: a Halloween flashback Tri Fecta..! Tri Fecta…! Tri Fecta..!
Ok, that time really WAS an echo…
)

They may not look traumatized now, but I’m saving up for my children’s therapy sessions anyway — just in case.

It was a conversation that I had been putting off for as long as possible, even though I knew it was my responsibility as a parent to sit down and have “The Talk” with my daughter.

It’s better that it come from me rather than her getting crazy ideas from someone at school, I told myself.

So I sat my daughter down, held my breath for a moment, then and asked:

“What do you want to be for Halloween?”

For some of you, this is an exciting time that allows you to bond with your child by making their Halloween-costume dream come true.

For the rest of us, it’s a time when we cross our fingers and pray that our child’s “Halloween costume dream” is hanging on a rack somewhere at Wal-Mart. Because if it isn’t, we’ll have to make something, and therefore put our child’s emotional health at risk by creating a costume that could potentially scar them for life. Continue reading

Giving a good interview means revealing yourself (and other reasons I won’t be in Playgirl)

It’s time once again for Ned’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing, a weekly feature in which I utilize my 15 years as a columnist to offer advice that has been heralded by Oprah Winfrey as “possibly someone in our Book Club, I think.” This week’s NWOW is going to be a bit of a departure. Not because Oprah is flying us all to Chicago, but because I had the privilege of being interviewed by A Drip of Truth, a blog about writers and writing, hosted by the talented R.G. Dole. It’s also a departure because, after looking back over this interview, I realized I actually said some things that could be interpreted as helpful…

image 1) What’s your name? Where can we find you? Blog? Twitter? Facebook?

Without question, the introduction part of this interview would be a lot better if I had a really cool name like “Blaze” or “Vin.”

My name is Ned, which doesn’t set an exciting tone.

However, if all goes well, we’ve just passed through the low point of this interview. I’ve been a newspaper humor columnist for 15 years, the last year of which has been in syndication through News Media Corporation. A began blogging a little over a year ago and, after careful consideration and meeting with a team of marketing analysts, titled my blog with the compelling name: Ned’s Blog. I’m also on Twitter and Facebook. To be honest, I’m still not sure why — but I’m told it will help me establish a media empire rivaling our local public access channel… (Read more here)

… This Just In …

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…TAT-tat-tat-TAT-TAT-tat-tat-TAT…

[Breaking News: from another strangely irrelevant moment in our newsroom…]

Each week, our entire editorial staff — all four of us — gathers for a meeting to discuss what we’ll be reporting on, any upcoming news-worthy events, and individual assignments. After 15 years, my editor has learned to stop asking why I attend these meetings. Case in point: Today’s editorial meeting… Continue reading

No pumpkin-carving experience is complete without a near-fatal knife wound

image Carving a jack-o-lantern used to require little more than a pumpkin, an oversized kitchen knife, and a tourniquet. It was a simple matter of plunging a 10-inch French knife into the gourd of your choice and creating a triangle-eyed, square-toothed masterpiece of horror. In those days, the trickiest thing about making your jack-o-lantern was deciding on how to light the candle.

Option one: Light candle, then attempt to lower it into the pumpkin without catching your sleeve on fire.

Option two: Put the candle inside the pumpkin first, then attempt to light it without catching your sleeve on fire.

Option three: Accept the inevitable and just light your sleeve on fire, then go find a candle.

After a quick trip to the emergency room for stitches and some light skin grafting, you could return home and set your jack-o-lantern on the porch, where it would remain until gravity and molecular breakdown eventually caused it to collapse in on itself like the birth of a new star — appropriately enough, usually around Christmas time. Continue reading

Getting to the bottom of another random moment from The Box

After getting the blindfold on Tippy the wild squirrel last week, I've decided it's just easier to leave it on.

After getting the blindfold on Tippy the wild squirrel last week, I’ve decided it’s just easier to leave it on.

RELEASE THE SQUIRREL!
That’s right! It’s Tuesday, which means it’s not only a deadline day here in our newsroom, but also the day I quietly dump the contents of The Box — a collection of unclaimed photos dating back to the 1980s — onto the floor and randomly pick an image with the help of a wild, blindfolded squirrel. The photo closest to the person in the room who screams or gets bitten (quite possibly both) first is chosen! Given that last week was our first edition of this exciting new feature, I still maintained the element of surprise this morning, thanks to my stealthiness and what a fellow journalist called my, “gall to pull the same stunt that sent an intern screaming all the way to her guidance councilor.”

“HEY!” I offered in my defense, then drew a blank.

Which brings us to this week’s randomly selected photo from The BoxContinue reading

Study reveals male-pattern baldness doesn’t include ears

(Welcome to this week’s edition of Flashback Sunday, which is when we travel back in time to when my only followers were agents from Homeland Security, thanks to my calling Alabama fireworks “the backbone to our nation’s first strike capabilities.” This week’s flashback is an important reminder to all men that a well-laid comb over will go completely unnoticed if it must compete with ear hair that resembles a family of chinchillas…)

If you are a male over 40, chances are your ear hair has grown 2 centimeters since you read this.

If you are a male over 40, chances are your ear hair has grown 2 centimeters since you read this.

What I’m about to tell you may be considered vain. On the other hand, it could also be considered a responsible act of brushfire prevention. I’m talking, of course, about excessive ear and nose hair. I bring this up because of a recent conversation I had with someone who wanted to express his opinion on…

Something.

To be honest, I can’t remember what it was because I couldn’t overlook the fact that he appeared to have a chinchilla stuck in each ear.

I tried to be a good listener.

Tried to look reflective.

At least until I realized saliva had pooled in my open mouth.

As you might expect, this person was a male over the age of 40, which seems to be about the time follicles in men’s ears and noses begin producing hair at an alarming rate. I say alarming because I’ve heard of men purposely growing enough ear and nose hair to make a comb over. Continue reading

To be heard above the crowd, a writer needs to establish their voice

Typewriter at mic It’s time once again for my weekly Nickel’s Worth on Writing, when I utilize my 15 years as a columnist to offer writing wisdom some of today’s most successful authors have called “Full of…words,” “Utterly…complete,” and “Total…advice…”

Or as Stephen King described, “The place I go to scare myself.”

But enough accolades already!

For only the second time in NWOW history, this week’s offering is a re-post. The reason has nothing to do with laziness or lack of inspiration, and everything to do with answering a question that many new followers have been asking since last week’s Nickel’s Worth on Writing:

Have you ever considered plumbing as an occupation?

As I consider that suggestion, I thought I’d answer the second most frequently asked question since last week’s NWOW post, which was:

You have a unique writing style. How do I avoid it?

So let us begin… Continue reading