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Word games

— The Union-Tribune was forced to halt its presses last week when editors discovered that a four-letter word had made its way past page-proofers and into the paper's weekly "Night & Day" entertainment section. According to one source at the paper, at least 25,000 copies were run, and some made it onto the street before the error was found. A memo to employees from a copy editor followed. "You have probably heard of our little problem with the word 'shit' finding its way into the N&D section in today's run. First an explanation, then a few thoughts about how to prevent this from happening again and what else we can learn from today's events. When we proofread the Buddy Blue column, Blue Notes...we marked a few expressions that were of questionable taste, among them 'old fart,' 'crapola,' and 'pooh-butts.'..We decided that 'old fart' is not a term suitable for our newspaper in almost any context. But, in an effort to preserve Blue's 'edgy' style as much as possible, I allowed the use of 'crapola' in the body text but asked that it not be echoed in a caption. I also let pass a reference to 'pooh-butt' at the end of the column." The memo went on to say that during the proofing process, the word "pooh-butt" had been marked "stet," a proofers' term indicating it should remain in the copy. But a layout designer working on a Macintosh computer misunderstood. "A macker read [the] word as 'shit,' and corrected the Mac proof accordingly." The lesson? "...We should not allow the crude terminology such as 'crapola,' 'old fart,' and 'pooh-butts' to make it past even the first level of the editing process.... If our goal is to be edgy, use of these words distracts from that goal, because to a significant segment of our reading audience the words are not edgy at all, but rather, crude and sophomoric. Particularly in Blue's column but overall, we should take a critical look at these words and other comparable ones. Flag anything that even hints of bad taste or crudity." "Lastly," concludes the memo, "let's be circumspect about what happened today. I'm sure that the person responsible for the offensive word appearing in the paper is as embarrassed about it as we are, so let's try to refrain from a lot of critical commentary about it."

Condit at Peace As Gary Condit was in the last, desperate lap of his failed attempt to hold on to his congressional seat last week, an old friend from his days in the California legislature pitched in to pay for an independent mailer costing thousands of dollars, the Fresno Bee reports. State senator Steve Peace's mail piece attacked Dennis Cardoza, the ex-Condit aide who ultimately beat his old boss in the Democratic primary. "When people go to Gary Condit for help, Gary helps them," Peace told the voters. "When people go to Dennis Cardoza for help, Dennis calls Gary Condit, and Gary helps them." Condit and Peace were part of the fabled "Gang of Five," which unsuccessfully attempted to topple then-assembly speaker Willie Brown back in the 1980s ... A former San Diego obstetrician has been charged with the murder of her teenaged son and the wounding of his father, her ex-husband. Dr. Donna Anderson, who moved from Coronado to Minneapolis two years ago, allegedly stabbed her son to death and attacked his father February 24 at a home in Burlingame, south of San Francisco, where they were visiting the boy's grandparents, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dr. Ned Chambers of San Diego's Shelter Island Medical Group, where Anderson had worked, told the paper, "We had no problems with her."

Godmother Jailed mob boss John Gotti's daughter Victoria speaks out about the Danielle Van Dam murder case in a recent column for the New York Post: "What puzzles me as a mom is how could the child's disappearance not have been discovered until the following morning. When I return home after any night out, even before I go into my own room to kick off those ankle-breaking strappy pumps I wear, I hobble into each child's room and conduct what I call a 'bed check.' Only when I am convinced that everyone is secure do I retire. After the appalling death of this little girl, I urge all parents to conduct bed checks, if for no other reason than to remind yourself of the 'God-given angel' sleeping soundly down the hall -- and to thwart the animals that prowl the world outside."

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— The Union-Tribune was forced to halt its presses last week when editors discovered that a four-letter word had made its way past page-proofers and into the paper's weekly "Night & Day" entertainment section. According to one source at the paper, at least 25,000 copies were run, and some made it onto the street before the error was found. A memo to employees from a copy editor followed. "You have probably heard of our little problem with the word 'shit' finding its way into the N&D section in today's run. First an explanation, then a few thoughts about how to prevent this from happening again and what else we can learn from today's events. When we proofread the Buddy Blue column, Blue Notes...we marked a few expressions that were of questionable taste, among them 'old fart,' 'crapola,' and 'pooh-butts.'..We decided that 'old fart' is not a term suitable for our newspaper in almost any context. But, in an effort to preserve Blue's 'edgy' style as much as possible, I allowed the use of 'crapola' in the body text but asked that it not be echoed in a caption. I also let pass a reference to 'pooh-butt' at the end of the column." The memo went on to say that during the proofing process, the word "pooh-butt" had been marked "stet," a proofers' term indicating it should remain in the copy. But a layout designer working on a Macintosh computer misunderstood. "A macker read [the] word as 'shit,' and corrected the Mac proof accordingly." The lesson? "...We should not allow the crude terminology such as 'crapola,' 'old fart,' and 'pooh-butts' to make it past even the first level of the editing process.... If our goal is to be edgy, use of these words distracts from that goal, because to a significant segment of our reading audience the words are not edgy at all, but rather, crude and sophomoric. Particularly in Blue's column but overall, we should take a critical look at these words and other comparable ones. Flag anything that even hints of bad taste or crudity." "Lastly," concludes the memo, "let's be circumspect about what happened today. I'm sure that the person responsible for the offensive word appearing in the paper is as embarrassed about it as we are, so let's try to refrain from a lot of critical commentary about it."

Condit at Peace As Gary Condit was in the last, desperate lap of his failed attempt to hold on to his congressional seat last week, an old friend from his days in the California legislature pitched in to pay for an independent mailer costing thousands of dollars, the Fresno Bee reports. State senator Steve Peace's mail piece attacked Dennis Cardoza, the ex-Condit aide who ultimately beat his old boss in the Democratic primary. "When people go to Gary Condit for help, Gary helps them," Peace told the voters. "When people go to Dennis Cardoza for help, Dennis calls Gary Condit, and Gary helps them." Condit and Peace were part of the fabled "Gang of Five," which unsuccessfully attempted to topple then-assembly speaker Willie Brown back in the 1980s ... A former San Diego obstetrician has been charged with the murder of her teenaged son and the wounding of his father, her ex-husband. Dr. Donna Anderson, who moved from Coronado to Minneapolis two years ago, allegedly stabbed her son to death and attacked his father February 24 at a home in Burlingame, south of San Francisco, where they were visiting the boy's grandparents, reports the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Dr. Ned Chambers of San Diego's Shelter Island Medical Group, where Anderson had worked, told the paper, "We had no problems with her."

Godmother Jailed mob boss John Gotti's daughter Victoria speaks out about the Danielle Van Dam murder case in a recent column for the New York Post: "What puzzles me as a mom is how could the child's disappearance not have been discovered until the following morning. When I return home after any night out, even before I go into my own room to kick off those ankle-breaking strappy pumps I wear, I hobble into each child's room and conduct what I call a 'bed check.' Only when I am convinced that everyone is secure do I retire. After the appalling death of this little girl, I urge all parents to conduct bed checks, if for no other reason than to remind yourself of the 'God-given angel' sleeping soundly down the hall -- and to thwart the animals that prowl the world outside."

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