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The seat of power

An innocent reference last week to my office at the paragraph factory prompted unexpected responses. You have an office? An office? There was a lurid reference to casting couches.

For the record, that office is where I sit to record the weekly video joke, and the accompanying photo should confirm that it is both an actual office and a modest ten-by-ten-and-a-half-foot one. All that you fail to see on the wall by the door are the bookcase, coat rack, and cuspidor.


Posted by John McIntyre at 6:19 PM | | Comments (21)


Forget the couch. You've got a scooter!

Huh? You chew?

An amenity for guests.

I'm quite taken by the idea you have guests who need a cuspidor. Unless you are visited by llamas. Often.

An amenity remains an amenity, even if it is not used.

This is a newspaper office. It's supposed to be properly equipped.

Quite right. And I hope the coat rack has those prong things on top to catch your fedora when you throw it.

Weird, isn't it, how the brain tells the eyes what they are seeing. I would have taken an oath that the jokes are recorded in part of a larger room. But no, it's a modest (though handsomely furnished) office. Perhaps it was the secondhand kitchen cupboards on the wall that fooled me.

I think the nameplate should be removed from the wall and your name etched in glass on the door, but that's just being picky.

Bucky! Where have you been, Hon? Will you be coming by once the dreaded pay wall is installed?

Au contraire, Picky, old lad.

I could have sworn Prof. McI.'s ' ad hoc 'shooting gallery' ( his joke-of-the-week 'shooting gallery', to be more precise), was a rather cosy little open cubical space, and not his primary office quarters. I guess the fact that the joke-of-the-week establishing camera shot of the good professor was always very tight, so us lookie-loo bloggers could only imagine what lay beyond that narrow frame of reference, made me think it was just a simple 'cube'.

Those enclosed, gray, storage shelves at about (seated) head level directly behind Prof. Mci. appeared to be like the standard modular ones that are typically found in your average open 'cube'; that can attach at various locations-of-choice along slotted horizontal metal bars along the enclosure partitions/ walls.

Oh well, Picky, i guess we were both somewhat off base on that one. I think i owe the good professor a belated apology.

Yes, admittedly, I was the one who earlier came up w/ the "lurid" casting couch notion, but trust me, it was a perfectly innocent comment, nothing related to in-office carnal shenanigans........... more like 'Trout Fishing in America'. (I was fishing for a cheap laugh, 'tis all. HA!)

Prof. McI, I see you have a very healthy looking little bonsai tree at the far corner of your el-shaped desk.(Looks like maybe a mini-rubber tree, of sorts?), And that must be a framed photo of your better half, wife Kathleen, perched directly above your trusty PC monitor?

It appears your have yet another piece of potted flora in your rather homey office. One can barely see a few pointy palm fronds fingering out into view just beyond the edge of your open door frame in your 'evidential' office photo.

The cuspidor, however, is a bit of a puzzler. But whatever floats your boat. Hopefully, your occasional tabacky-chewing visitors are fairly adept spitters. I suppose you could tell inquisitive folk that you've been periodically visited by the specter of the late painter Jackson Pollack, in his little known earth-tone period, to explain the splattered brownish stains on the wall, and spittoon-adjacent carpeted floor area.HA! Just a thought......... never mind.


P.S.: Off topic, but have to share. ----Had a wonderful, nostalgic time of it last evening at the outdoor Greek Theater, nestled in L.A.'s storied Hollywood Hills , taking in a superb live (Dah!) performance of two of my all-time favorite folk/ country singer/ songwriters, namely Merle Haggard and Kris Kristofferson.

What a huge treat to see and hear these two iconic music legends work the stage together, singing many of their old, familiar chestnuts. Old Merle was the marquee headliner for the evening, w/ guesting Kristofferson, so he must have sung maybe two-thirds of the night's musical numbers. But Kris managed to solo on four, or five of his classic, sheerly poetic tunes, w/ Merle just pickin' away in the background on his acoustic guitar. Kris's self-penned "Bobby Mcgee", and "Sunday Morning Coming Down" brought the audience to their feet, and singing along.

It was a pleasantly chilly, three-quarter-moonlit night, w/ planet Venus winking bright, and as the concert progressed one couldn't escape the distinctive 'odeur' of smoldering 'weed' wafting through the giant amphitheater. Frankly, I felt like I was at an AARP/ old hippie convention. HA!

Merle, Kris, and Merle's top-notch travelin' band, The Strangers, closed w/ his signature tune, "Okie From Muskogee', which drew an almost guaranteed standing "O" from the appreciative crowd, for the grand concert finale.

No encore.These two guy aren't gettin' any younger. They gave it their all for the entire evening, none-stop, leaving us fans fully sated, getting our money's worth, and much, much more.

What a marvelous night!

Picky, the coat rack is wooden, and it does indeed have metal prongs on which fedoras and other headgear may be hung.

Alex, the bonsai and the lucky bamboo whose fronds you glimpsed were gifts from dear friends at particularly difficult times. The photo above the desk is indeed of Kathleen Capcara, my wife. The scooter, incidentally, was a gift from her on my 50th birthday. I used it in the newsroom when the copy desk was farther-flung than it is today.

The photos on the wall you do not see are of my great-grandparents and grandfather in front of the house on the family farm, Dr. Johnson, and Jane Austen.

Dahlink, you really must come over to the evil facebook. Bucky posts his Notes From The Weekly Meeting.

Tempting, Eve, very tempting. Maybe after all commenting dies here on 10/10/11.

Well, that's it: my stuff's all packed up and ready to go.  I'm just taking a last look round, and then I'll say goodbye to You Don't Say Villas.  Not that I've anywhere to go.  I've looked at plenty of places but none of them seems quite right: too small, or too dark, or too ugly; the kitchen needs replacing, or the roof looks dodgy, or there's a strange fishy smell from the electrics.

I shall just wander the streets, I suppose, growing daily more unkempt, muttering to myself and accosting passers-by and taking the cheaper forms of alcohol.

This place I'm sure will continue to be warm and bright.  My best wishes to my fellow tenants, who are such a cheery bunch.  And my especially grateful thanks, of course, to our host, whose personality and accomplishments and intelligence and skill have brought us back here day after day.  You've been a generous landlord, John, never making a fuss about the bikes in the hall or the bottles in the yard, or complaining too much about the occasional rowdiness in the small hours.  A long life to you.  Slainte (says he, mentally raising a glass of the Bowmore - but only mentally - the bottle's there, though, for later on.). Here's mud in your eye.

Everything Picky said goes for me too, Mr. McIntyre.

Picky, would you mind swinging by to pick me up on the way? I need a ride to the bus station to catch the 12:01 out of town tonight.


His Royal Pickyness,

"Parting is such sweet sorrow."

Old Will Shakespeare said it oh so well, yet frankly, I can't really see much "sweetness" in your having to pack up your fond "You Don't Say" blog memories in your old kit bag, and hit the proverbial pavements.

I'm hopeful this fine blog will continue to prosper, and hopefully thrive as new curious, intelligent folk are lured into our good Professor McIntyre's web of shared discourse, debate, and grammatical ramblings.

But IMHO, Picky old lad, your big shoes will be very difficult for anyone to fill.

My oh my, our lives of 'quiet desperation' do take some often unforeseen twists and turns-----some by personal choice, others thru pure happenstance, and the course of uncontrollable events------human foible, or Mother Nature's wrath.

I just want to thank you, Picky, for all the joy, humor, and true grist, grit, and nourishment for the brain---much food for thought--- that you have generously, and most consistently brought to this unique site for quite a spell. (Long before I ever arrived on the scene, I suspect.)

Personally, I'll especially miss your good-natured, always civil verbal jousting bouts w/ the formidable Mr. John Cowan; and will sadly miss his presence here, as well, as he too has officially declared that he'll not be separating himself from any of his hard-earned shekels for the new full-access online Sun subscription.

I'll also miss your lively back-and-forths w/ Her Terseness, Patricia. She has a real clever ability to 'pull-one's-chain', but it's always fun engaging in debate w/ such a principled, spunky, and bright gal.

I'm sure the likes of true-blue regulars Dahlink, Judge Tim, and Laura Lee will continue to hang in there for the duration, so thankfully it won't feel like a total mass mutiny has just transpired days after the official Oct.10th online policy change kicks in.

Picky, I wish you well, where ever your curiosities, desires, and proclivities take you, going forward, as we all face the challenges and uncertainties of this new decade.

Who knows? If I ever get over to the U.K. at some point, I just might have the good fortune to bump into you at your neighborhood pub nursing a wee dram of the Scottish elixir, or perchance, find you chatting up some captivated audience on a London street corner, or atop a bench in storied Hyde Park.

I might even commandeer my trusty Royal Canadian Mounties to track you down. They always get their man, you know. HA!

Cheers, and Bon Chance, old lad!

You WILL be sorely missed.


I think that Picky's valedictory is one of the finest compliments I have ever been paid. I am humbly grateful.

It's sad to see these good people depart. Picky, there's so much I could write but I'm afraid I have no words left; the heart is that sore. I only hope you know how much I appreciate each and every one of your visits here.

John Cowan, I will miss you.

Cheers to you always, Tim.

Till the wind shake a thousand whispers from the yew

No doubt about it--Picky is a class act. I hope we will see him here again, at least for his 15 free page views per month. Some Picky is better than no Picky.

If it has a cuspidor, it can't possibly be your office.

(Better a cuspidor, though, than what some of my fans at OP@CY use: a spent beer cup. Ew.)

Hey, Dahlink ... miss you, too. The Sun is just ruining my social life with my Baltimore friends ... first EL retires (not totally the Sun's fault), then they dump Reality Check, now the subscription thing. I do comment on Prof McIntyre's posts now and again, but more often over on Facebook, as he links one to the other.

Eve is correct ... you really should get a FB page. It is, for better or worse, where most of the old Sandbox crew has migrated.

My current quandry: should I spend more to subscribe to the Baltimore Sun than I spend to subscribe to the Denver Post? That I'm even in a quandry about it is a testament to Prof McIntyre.

My last post, since this is view #7 for the month. (I wasted one on a poorly written, no-new-information Ravens piece and used another on a Hancock post.)

Several years ago, when D@L was in its heyday, EL made a reference to you, McI, having scootered over to her desk. I made a mental picture of one of those motorized scooters advertised on television. All this time, I've pictured your plucky self getting up and down the steps of the ancient buildings at Loyola and around London.

Picky said it all.

I assume our Professor reads the Chronicle of Higher Education and saw that one of the regulars praised this blog and even suggested it was worth paying the fee to have regular access.

Bucky, I miss Reality Check, too. And your wonderful recaps in particular.

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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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