Saturday, April 17, 2010


During my 41 years in newspapering, I committed many, many errors, some of which came close to being career-enders. (One of them was putting a photo of Dick Cavett on the cover of the Chicago Sun-Times' TV magazine when the subject of the story was David Frost.)

But none of my bloopers rose into the league of that recently made by some unnamed wretch at Penguin Books Australia, whose crime was so egregious that some 7,000 copies of the newly published Pasta Bible had to be destroyed.

The sin? One of the recipes called for "freshly ground black people."

Still, when we complain about the errors that get into print today because all the alert copy editors have been laid off, we should remember that the good old days weren't always so good. There may have been fewer mistakes, but many of them still were humdingers.

Another of mine was to get a little too clever when writing a headline for a Chicago Daily News story that said men who shared the housework were found to be less apt to get their wives unexpectedly pregnant.

The head: "Hubby's Apron an Effective Birth-Curb Aid".

That made it into the paper . . . and into Playboy Magazine, which had the decency not to identify the miscreant.

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