WASHINGTON -- In addition to nitpicking my column to death every week, Tom the Butcher also does freelance editing, so he sees a lot of manuscripts. Some of them are from elegant writers; some are, to put it mildly, not. Without naming names, Tom occasionally shares with me a particularly egregious paragraph or two from his inbox. A recent one, ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Many years ago I somehow managed to get accepted by Harvard University into a prestigious fellowship for journalists at midcareer. Twice a week, all 20 of us snots would gather for a question-and-answer session with someone famous. One week, we had a special auxiliary guest, an elderly newspaperman we'd never heard of, who turned ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Regretfully, I must call today for my resignation.
I do not do this lightly. I am well aware that in these perilous economic times, I need my job. Moreover, I am loath to join the self-righteous Tsk Brigade, those self-appointed custodians of social propriety who demand blood every time someone in the public eye says or writes ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I consider myself a feminist. In fact, I would proudly wear one of those "This is what a feminist looks like" T-shirts, except:
(1) I'm afraid it would deliver the unintended, unfortunate message that feminists are old, fat and slovenly.
(2) Women, being smart and savvy, no doubt understand that roughly 75 percent of all men ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I was in the kitchen staring suspiciously at two jars of peanut butter when my dog, Murphy, walked to the front door and sat facing it. She was telling me she had to pee. So I let her into the front yard and then went back to the kitchen, where the peanut butter awaited.
What had made me suspicious was that the Skippy jar and the ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- I give you here more corny jokes / Retold by me in rhyme. / If these do not amuse you folks, / Not all that sorry, I'm. / So I ask that you just take a seat / And kindly quitcherbitchin'. / Or, if you cannot stanza heat, / Then just vacate the kitchen.
The Fisherman and the Voice
A man of simple mind went out to fish
And ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As you know, political candidates have been complaining lately that we in the media are conducting so-called "gotcha" interviews, in which we ask unexpected, beside-the-point, ambush-type questions designed to throw them off balance, or at least off script. They claim these are "dirty tricks."
Of course they are. But I am very ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- To be a good columnist, one must recognize one's weaknesses, particularly any tendency to return too often to subjects with which the columnist -- but not necessarily the reader -- is fascinated. For the columnist, this is like confronting an addiction: You have to exhibit self-control. My problem is that events keep occurring to ...Read more
Fallen Angel: A Spiritual RomanceK. C. Berg
Beth loves Sam so much that it hurts, but he is a prisoner to his past. Listening to her broken heart, Beth packs up her belongings and flees Eagle River in the middle of the night, hoping to leave all of the pain and the heartache behind. Five years later, a mysterious stranger—and a ...
WASHINGTON -- The Brian Williams and Bill O'Reilly war-story-inflation brouhahas took me by surprise -- mostly because, in my experience, journalists seldom discuss their close calls, let alone exaggerate them. There's a reason, and it is not modesty. Believe me, I know.
On a few occasions, I faced danger while reporting. You're getting them ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- In the scientific debate over Nature vs. Nurture, Im Neither. Or, rather, neither in particular. Ive always assumed peoples personalities are initially determined by their genes and then further shaped by their environments in roughly even proportions. Lately, Ive been steering more toward the gene theory, though, because of ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Because I live and work in Washington, D.C., I have a ringside seat at the world capital of The Persuasive Arts, or, as I like to call it, The Opinions Racket. The following story is completely true, if deliberately short on specifics.
I have a good friend whom I will cleverly call "Terry," though that is not his or her name. ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- This is a true conversation that once happened on a car trip through the country:
Wife: Look at the lambs!
Me: Those arent lambs. Those are baby sheep.
Wife: Lambs are baby sheep.
Me: I thought lambs were baby cows.
Wife: Baby cows are calves.
Me: Are you sure? Well, then what are veals?
Wife: (...Read more
WASHINGTON -- The world of journalism was most recently rocked -- it gets rocked more often than an insomniac baby -- when the publisher of the York (Pa.) Daily Record issued an edict banning cursing in the newsroom.
The use of foul language has been a treasured newsroom custom since the days of hot lead, rewrite men and sob sisters. Its how ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- As I write this, a mini foofaraw is unfoofing over whether Selma, the new movie about Martin Luther King Jr., misrepresents Lyndon Johnsons role in passing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. To add tension and conflict, the filmmakers have allegedly minimized Johnsons contribution, inaccurately suggesting he was an antagonist. The ...Read more
WASHINGTON -- Several well-known journalists have been accused in recent weeks of the cheesiest sort of plagiarism: stealing phrases from humble sources like Wikipedia. Because of the casual nature of these offenses -- the sin sometimes seems closer to laziness than theft -- some writers are looking over their shoulders, concerned about what ...Read more