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Leave Oscar Mayer out of this

I haven’t had the stomach to look for it myself, but @mrose_SJ tweets, “Actual headline on CNN news: Dems Let Weiner Roast Alone.”

It was too much to hope that American journalists would have the strength of character to forgo obvious, childish puns on Rep. Anthony Weiner’s name. Once again our low expectations have been met.



Posted by John McIntyre at 2:56 PM | | Comments (30)


I was listening to Midday yesterday. Dan Rodricks had a pun expert on. In discussing the puns to which headline writers et al are resorting to, he called the puns "low-hanging fruit." No kidding.

Isn't it the headline writer's prerogative to pun? How often does such an aptly-named subject feature in a sex scandal? I say, let fly! (um, oops)


Just saying, not a good juxtaposing of your "low hanging fruit" notation in the same context of any manner of ' suggestive' "Weiner" puns/ jokes.......... if you get my (naughty) drift.

I guess that might be termed a 'full package' pun. (Hopefully no dangling participles involved. HA!)

Heard a couple of fairly high-profile media gents named Weiner on NPR/ KPCC 89.3/ Pasadena's Madeleine Brand morning show today. Host Brand, and the two Weiners had a mostly humor-laden discussion on what it was like to be saddled one's entire life w/ the name "Weiner", in light of Congressman Weiner's recent public embarrassment, and such.

The NPR Weiner guesting duo did make the distinction that their last name should actually (and correctly) be pronounced, 'Whiner', like a kvetcher, or constant complainer.

You say weiner, I say whiner

Weiner, whiner

Whiner, weiner

Let's call the whole thing off.

As for the "hanging fruit', let's pass.


P.S: -------Prof. McI, please be gentle. I know I've been a naughty blogger........... but couldn't resist. Blame my inner child. Definitely a bad seed. HA!

I will never understand headline writers' infatuation with puns and alliteration. I thought the goal of headlines was to draw the reader in to the article, not annoy them and turn them off.

Front-page full-page lead headline in The (London) Sun below a pic of Elton John's wedding to David Furnish:

"Elton Takes David Up The Aisle"

Made me proud to be British.

That reminds me, is leaving the HW out of a word like 'whiner' a New York thing? 'Where' =/= 'wear', where I come from.
Alos, are the people who do that also likely to pronounce 'huge' as 'youge'?

A reader reports a headline in the ever-classy New York Post: "Disgusted Democrats letting Weiner shrivel."

Anyone remember the name of the comedian who said that she always bought a copy of Hustler at the newsstand to have something to wrap around the New York Post on the subway?

It must be hard for all the other Weiners (like Deborah Weiner over at Channel 11) to endure these puns. I'm sure they've gone their whole live enduring the jibes. Now to have every newspaper and blog trying to out-do each other with cornball, semi-salacious ribs must be very frustrating.

Sid Smith,

The headline writing naughty pranksters at The (London) Sun could have opted to choose another part of church 'anatomy' other than "The Aisle" for that Elton/ Furnish nuptials header, namely "The Apse", which would likely have created an even more thunderous collective titter amongst their loyal, slightly depraved readership, than the actual one they ran. (Oh behave!)

@Kem, of course we have one of the more high-profile Weiners of cable TV renown-------Matthew Weiner---- the creator and executive producer of the hit retro-'60s-advertising-era drama, "Mad Men". Likely no relation to the currently much embattled Congressman, Anthony "The Sexter" Weiner, but a proud, and upstanding Weiner nonetheless.

The plot gets curiouser and curiouser don't it?


P.S.: Prof. McI., the lady comedian who jokingly suggested that in transit she would buy Hustler magazine to conceal her copy of the New York Post sounds like it could have been either Joan Rivers, Phyllis Diller, or Rosanne Barr.

Sarah Silverman, or Chelsea Handler, two of the raunchier female comics out there today, might have come up w/ the aforementioned line, but the joke is slightly mild (and dated) for their provocative, pushing-the-envelop brand of humor, so I would imagine it came from a comedienne from before their time.

I would think that people who are born with such infortunate names as Wiener, Schmuck, etc, should legally change their names the minute they are of age.

The Hustler/New York Post joke sounded like Elayne Boosler to me, and I found at least some anecdotal Googlage to support the idea.

Brian Throckmorton,

You could very well be on target w/ your suggestion of veteran comedienne, Elayne Boosler coming up w/ that Hustler/ New York Post joke. (Frankly, I was just guessing on that one.)

She's one of the better, more intelligent anecdotal/ observational standup comics who came on the comedy scene back in the early '80s L.A. Comedy Store/ The Improv era, along w/ the likes of Jay Leno, David Letterman, Richard Lewis, Freddie Prinze, Andy Kaufman et al.

So, in my view, this mildly suggestive Hustler/ NY Post 'funny' would kind of fall right into Boosler's comedy stylistic 'wheelhouse'------ a little out-there, timely, w/ the clever take-away of how trashy, and close to the proverbial gutter The Post can often get------- out raunching even Hustler.

Of course, w/ the sheer volume of 'no-holes-barred', hardcore porn of every kinky genre becoming so readily available on the internet these days, Larry Flynt's Hustler has become almost tame, mainstream fare; just one of a whole gamut of XXX-rated 'venues' consumers can go to satisfy their apparent insatiable appetites for erotic stimulation, or diversion.

I gather that Ms. Boosler was one of the recognized pioneer/ role models for a whole new generation of up-and-coming women standup comics, having followed in the footsteps of the Joan Rivers, Phyllis Dillers, Tottie Fields, Mini Pearl, and Moms Mablies of early standup, paving the way for the likes of today's popular comediennes, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Chelsea Handler, and Wanda Sykes, to name a few.

Clearly, the lady standup comedians of today often tend to lean more toward more outrageous, shocking, sexually explicit material, which can be a turnoff to those senior folk, (and their 'boomer' progeny), who newsman Tom Brokaw coined as The Greatest Generation.

Shock and awe has sadly replaced subtly, well-crafted innuendo, and clever irony. Working 'blue' used to be reserved for the Las Vegas standup scene. Today, the permissiveness of cable TV has liberated standup, and almost anything goes. For better, or for worse.

As Art Linkletter used to say, "Kids say the darndest things." (Bleep! Bleep! Bleep! )


ALex, Alex, Alex - You spend far too much time and attention on the so- called 'popular culture.' The world is larger than that. It can also be quieter and far less vulgar.

P the T, we must not forget that Alex lives in the greater LA area, where pop culture is king.

In some of the television coverage of the Weiner mess I caught a glimpse of a tabloid front page with the headline "Yes, I'm a Schmuck." Short and to the point (groan ...)


The distinction between "w" and "wh" is now preserved only in a few areas of English speech: most anglophones pronounce "wine" and "whine" exactly the same. More than 80% of North Americans make no distinction at all, and in England, Wales, the Caribbean, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa it's essentially 100%.

There are certain regions (North and South Carolina, most of Georgia, parts of Alabama, central Mississippi, southern Missouri, and parts of northeast Texas) where 50% or more continue to make the distinction, but there is no large part of North America where the distinction is universally made any more. I know a Whitlock from Virginia who refuses to answer to Witlock (or "Witless", he calls it), on the indisputable grounds that it is not his name. But I think in the next generation of his family the distinction will be lost.

Scotland and Ireland (except Dublin) also preserve the distinction, although the merger is spreading into the rest of Ireland from Dublin.

Thank you, John--I had no idea how outnumbered I am (as an Alabamian, though of Northern extraction.)
That ship has sailed, I guess, but I can't regret that I'm not on it. Thanks again.

Dahlink - Perhaps he should be 'relocaed,' for his own good. And ours!

Patricia the T.,

Hmm......... respectfully, perhaps you should be a little more careful in spelling 'relocated' , and maybe consider being a tad less judgmental, going forward, even though I appreciate that some of your 'digs' directed toward yours truly are done in a spirit of jest, and not intended ill will. (At least that's my hope.)

And even though it may appear that I have some kind of peculiar 'pop-culture' obsession, or deep-seated fetish (after all, I did work in the animation/ entertainment industry for close to thirty-some years), I believe you can acknowledge that my contributions to this blog over these many months have gone far beyond this narrow area of interest.

In fact, i have personal enthusiasms for a myriad of life's bounties and pleasures, from bird-watching, world travel, the joys of food, history, sports (both as a player/ participant and a fan), archaeology, tribal art, language, quality non-fiction, most of the visual arts, erotica, political intercourse, poetry, Native Amertican/ Pre-Columbian cultures....... Hopefully you get my point.

On, and much to your chagrin. I'm pretty much planning on staying put in what many L.A. bashers refer to as La La Land, and quite frankly wouldn't trade this little piece of paradise for all the tea in China, or for that matter all the Laproaig whiskey on the Isle of Islay. (Sorry Picky.)

(After almost 31 years living here in L.A., I can pretty much tolerate the ongoing threat of earthquakes---The BIG ONE--- and the occasional buffeting of the balmy, off-shore, mountain Santa Ana winds that can 'encourage' those nasty local seasonal forest, and brush fires. For me, all the pluses of So Cal living far outweighing the much ballyhooed negatives.)

I guess i'm just one of those glass-half-full kind of guys, who likes his L.A. entertainment straight up, and slightly stirred. HA!


P.S.: Dahlink, thanks for that earlier moral support. Much appreciated. At least you don't see me as a one dimensional, pop-culture hanger-on.

We here on the other side of the continent prefer to think of California - when we think of it at all - as the land of nuts and fruits. O yes, and uncontrollable spending.

Patricia, Patricia, Patricia,

Your Royal Terseness, I believe you may have picked up the "fruits and nuts" reference to Californians from a fairly dated quotation/ joke by standup comic Gallagher, which goes, "Living in California is like living in a bowl of granola; what ain't fruits and nuts, is flakes."

Now seriously, coming from a spaced-out dude whose main claim-to-fame has been his serially bashing ripe watermelons, live-on-stage, w/ a sledge hammer, I wouldn't hold too much stock in his California-living's-like-a-bowl-of-granola bit. Just sayin'.

Truth be known, California is full of transplanted folk from all over the country, including back east, and from around the entire globe. So the granola analogy, in my view, just don't cut it, sister.

As far as "uncontrolled spending" as somehow a particularly California-exclusive phenomenon, I might suggest you look not much further than your own backyard, and the profligate Feds in Washington, D.C., who spend our hard-earned taxpayer dollars as if we had an infinite wellspring of funds, when in fact our government is currently leveraged up the ying-yang, floundering in major debt, w/ the likes of China and other hefty foreign creditors having us by the veritable short hairs. (Sorry for the crudity.)

Granted, Southern California, and the greater L.A., Orange and Ventura County region claim their fair share of über-wealthy individuals, since its a major hub for the entertainment industry, as well as a big player in high-end commercial/ residential real estate, and tourism.

Yet with mega personal wealth often comes philanthropy, and the likes of real estate mogul/ arts patron Eli Broad, and entertainment high-roller, Israeli expat, Haim Sabin-----two self-made California-based billionaires who have given back most generously to their communities, funding both the arts and several new, cutting-edge healthcare facilities in the Southland.

Broad recently almost singlehandedly rescued our downtown Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) from almost certain closure by infusing their dwindling coffers w/ several million dollars of his own money, keeping this important visual arts venue afloat.

His prospective Broad Museum, sited a mere stone's throw from the magnificent Frank Gehry Disney Hall is currently just in its infant, foundation construction stages, but will eventually add yet another jewel to L.A's. burgeoning, vital downtown art scene on completion in a few years.
This facility will be almost fully funded by Broad, w/ little, to no public financing involved.

So my motto is, if you've got it, flaunt it.

Granted Patricia, the flagrant display of "uncontrollable spending" is a big turn off, for most folks. Yet I'm sure there are rich people here in Southern California who have so much personal wealth that they get carried away w/ showy, over-the-top spending, to basically stroke their egos.

But as I've pointed out earlier, there are those who have made their fortunes following their personal California dreams, and realized the importance of sharing their wealth, and good fortune w/ others, for the greater community good.

Sadly, i'm just a relative pauper, yet I'm so rich, and fulfilled in a myriad of other ways, and choose to give to several charities on a regular basis., to boot.

Patricia, always great verbally sparring w/ you. You are a worthy opponent, but really I count you as more of a blog buddy, hardly a rival, and really do appreciate your feistiness, and pluck.


I hate pluck.

Then all I can say, Patricia, is that you have evidently never been a boy scout.

Quite right. But I was a Brownie and a Girl Scout - I still buy the cookies!

Rather than Oscar Mayer, should we not be looking at Hebrew National?

Patricia the T.,

Have to confess, over the years, ever since I was a young lad, I've rarely turned down a plump, plucky (HA!) Hebrew National brand weenie w/ of course, a splash of mustard, a dollop of verdant, sweet relish, and a generous sprinkle of finely-diced onions. Yum! Yum! (Oops., forgot the steamed bun. Get's a little messy, otherwise.)

But Patricia, w/ your most recent 'pointed' association of the famed phalliform meat product in the same breath as the much maligned Congressman, Anthony "The Sexter" Weiner, I'll never look into the puckered 'eye' of of another Hebrew National frank in quite the same way. (Yuk!)

The late Hollywood vamp of the suggestive double-entendre fame, Mae West, might have offered, "Hey big fella, is that a Hebrew National in your pants, or are you just happy to see me? (Just couldn't resist, Your Royal Terseness. I know, I always seem to bring our conversations down to the gutter level, but in this instance, i think you will agree, we kinda had at least one foot in the muck, and mire already.)


P.S.: I much prefer MY Hebrew National w/ it's signature hint of garlic, not scandal, and protracted public mockery. Just sayin'.

Curiously, my Captcha 'words' are: "objama 381". Would that be short for Pres. Obama in his PJs? (Groan.)

I actually prefer Hoffmann's Franks, a white pork mixture, that have a nice spicey - but not garlicky - twinge to them. They used to be the big attraction at a place called Heid's on Onondaga Lake here. Then new owners took over and immediately removed the brand that made the place a success in the first place. It is now possible to buy the franks in grocery stores, so Heid's former customers are happy again. Maazel Tov, Alessandro!

Anyone growing up post-World War II in my fair hometown of Toronto, w/ an abiding appetite for a scrumptious hot dog, would tell you the best weenie-for-the-buck (or salami, or corned beef for that matter), north of the 49th parallel, frankly (groan), had to be a juicy, plump Shopsy's frank. Boiled, or grilled these kosher red-hots were especially snappy, pudgy, and had just the right mix of 'magic' spices. (And still do.) Yum!

Way back in 1921, the husband and wife team of Harry and Jenny Shopsowitz opened their own modest sit-down ice cream parlor on Spadina Ave. in downtown Toronto, which soon morphed into Shopsowitz's Deli. (I guess the ice cream trade was likely too seasonal to sustain a steady profit.)

(Interestingly, the great acting icon of early motion pictures, Mary Pickford, was born in Toronto, and as a youngster lived on Spadina Ave., before she and her mom moved to L.A., and her future gigantic fame and fortune. But I digress.)

With the passing of the family patriarch, Harry Shopsowitz, in 1945, his two sons, Izzy and Sam took over the family business helm, and by 1947 their little local deli w/ their incredibly delicious, signature hot dogs, and tasty corned beef and pastrami became available to a wider consumer public, as the Shopsowitz boys established a major meat-processing plant in town----and as they say, the rest is deli meat products mass marketing history.

Today, from 1992 on, Maple Leaf Foods is the sole manufacturer of the traditional, original-recipe Shopsy's brand franks, corned beef, salami and pastrami, having bought the company from Unilever Corp. who had purchased the rights to the unique Shopsy's product line back in late 1971.

The Shopsowitz family had operated their original little hole-in-the-wall deli on Spadina for almost 62 years, until they moved operations to a more touristic/ commercial location downtown, at Front and Yonge Sts. in 1983. They lost their lease at this locale in 2009, and moved to the Sheraton Center on Richmond St. West.

I'm sure all this chronicling of Shopsy's Deli's comings-and-goings is pretty boring to you folks, unless you know downtown Toronto. (Now you local Baltimoreans know how I feel when you folks get rather specific about locales in your fair city. Just sayin'. I'm learning, slowly, but surely.)

Bottom line, this long-lived, and still thriving proud tradition of Shopsy's hot dogs and deli meats has become a treasured Toronto institution--------I dare say a cross-country-made-in-Canada deli fare experience.

I look at the phenomenal rise to notoriety and great success of Shopsy's as a much similar scenario to the rise of Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs empire, from it's very humble beginnings back in 1916 on Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY.

Their founder, Nathan Handwerker, who ironically, I discover, was born on this very day, June 14th, in 1892 Poland. emigrated to the U.S. w/ dreams of
making a better life for he and his family. From his single tiny Coney Island hot dog stand eventually grew a world famous hot dog dynasty.

Similarly, back in Toronto around about that same time period, entrepreneurially savvy Eastern European immigrant Jews, Harry and Jenny Shopsowitz decided to set up shop in the midst of the famed Toronto downtown shmatteh (rage trade), fashion district in the early 1920s, and like their south-of-the-border Handwerker counterparts, eventually struck pay-dirt, appealing to North Americans' new-found fondness for the perfect weiner-on-a- bun.

I dare say, over the years, the Shopsowitzs and Handwerkers managed to keep their special weenies firmly in their buns, and made their fortunes accordingly, whilst the much bedeviled Congressman, Anthony "The Sexter" Weiner clearly has difficulty keeping 'his' in his trousers-----virtual, or otherwise.

Mazel Tov right back at you, Patricia.

(Hmm..... can a women be a mensch, or is it an exclusively Yiddish male appellation? Inquiring goyem minds want to know. HA!)

Hope you had a great weekend.


P.S.: ----I have to give Wikipedia its just due in my gleaning some of the historical info I've cited on both the Shopsy's and Nathan's hotdog enterprises' formative years.

Enough, already, about the sleazy and revolting about to be former Congressman Wiener. I never liked him before all this drek came to light. I'm always amazed that people like that can find someone willing to marry them.

The Wall Street Journal online edition has the current headline:

Colorado Out of Joint Over Pot Shops

Cities Crack Down on Proliferation,Say Medical Marijuana Not So Medical

Hmm, it must be in their blood. Wall Street Journal also has this current headline:

Joint Effort? Barney Frank, Ron Paul Team Up on Marijuana Bill

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About John McIntyre
John McIntyre, mild-mannered editor for a great metropolitan newspaper, has fussed over writers’ work, to sporadic expressions of gratitude, for thirty years. He is The Sun’s night content production manager and former head of its copy desk. He also teaches editing at Loyola University Maryland. A former president of the American Copy Editors Society, a native of Kentucky, a graduate of Michigan State and Syracuse, and a moderate prescriptivist, he writes about language, journalism, and arbitrarily chosen topics. If you are inspired by a spirit of contradiction, comment on the posts or write to him at
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