The Junk Drawer: A Whole Lotta Awkward Edition

It just dawned on me that there are about six rolls of Scotch Tape in here…

Welcome to this edition of the junk drawer. As we have outlined in previous junk drawer posts, this is a random collection of stuff that is important but didn’t fit anywhere else, much like that drawer in the kitchen of most of our homes.

Here’s a look at some screw-ups, stories and updates:

OLIVIA MUNN, ASSAULT SUSPECT? We talk about misplaced modifiers all the time here on the site, ranging from the underwear thief who was apparently threatening underpants to politicians who “plan to eradicate poverty Wednesday on the steps of the Capitol.”  Here’s one that caught me at first and I really didn’t know which way was up:

The way this reads, it sounds like Olivia Munn jumped in and helped with a beat down, something we could totally understand, given her “Newsroom” character Sloan Sabbith’s bad-ass nature:

The truth is, Munn helped identify the guy who did the attacking, as this other media outlet’s story clearly shows.

If I were the folks at Now This, I’d fix this before she makes it to the rage phase.

Speaking of misconstruing things….

HAL HOLBROOK, PORN STAR?: The legendary actor Hal Holbrook died on Feb. 2 at the age of 95. He was well known for multiple roles he did, especially his portrayal of Mark Twain in his one-man show that ran for decades.

In looking at one publication’s announcement of his death, I had to do a double-take, though, wondering if he’d actually had a side hustle in the adult-film industry:

The reference here to him as a “Deep Throat actor” had me gagging (sorry, had to…) because of what it was saying: He was an actor in the film “Deep Throat.” (For those of you who don’t know, “Deep Throat” was a hardcore porn film, starring Linda Lovelace that became the most successful adult film in history. Research this on your own, as I’m not even THINKING about adding a link here… )

What ACTUALLY happened was that Holbrook was an actor in “All The President’s Men,” where he PLAYED the unnamed source that kept feeding Woodward and Bernstein information about the Watergate scandal. The source, who eventually was revealed to be W. Mark Felt of the FBI, was given the “code name” of “Deep Throat.”

Thus, there’s a big difference between an actor PORTRAYING Deep Throat and an actor PARTICIPATING in Deep Throat.

Speaking of things going wrong…

IF YOU THINK ZOOMBOMBING IS BAD: Students often have “Joe Jobs” that pay the rent (and the bar tab) at a variety of bars, restaurants, stores and more, thus giving them a keen eye for thing that are happening that the rest of us might miss. These moments of “REALLY?!?!” can lead to some great stories.

Case in point: We were talking about this kind of thing in my reporting class, when a student mentioned he worked at Walmart. I asked him if he noticed any trends in terms of people shopping differently, certain items going out of stock more recently or any other such thing. He replied, “No, but we’ve been having some situations with the TVs, now that people have figured out they’re all Bluetooth compatible.”

Turns out, people walking past the TVs notice that their mobile devices want to sync with the big screens, a great feature if you’re at home and you want to show your friends a phone video you shot of your class project or something.  When you’re at Walmart? With a wall full of screens that you can control and nobody can figure out who is doing it?

(If you don’t see where this is going yet, you might want to skip J-School and get going on that successful career in the “naturally oblivious” industry…)

“We’ve been seeing a lot of-” (I stopped him here and begged him to remember I was recording this for the online kids and that I really liked my job) “- ADULT WEBSITES on those screens,” he said.

Walmart has been trying to figure out how to deal with this (and the displeasure of parents who now have a lot of explaining to do to their  grade-schoolers) all to no avail. Could be worth a couple calls.

And, finally, speaking of dogged reporting…

AN UPDATE ON PAT SIMMS: Last week, I posted a piece about one of the best journalists I’ve ever been lucky enough to meet, Pat Simms, and her bout with cancer. Folks with a much longer history with Pat also shared their thoughts and stories about her, with a lot of them focusing on her toughness. (“My favorite Pat technique was ‘umbrage,'” a long-time colleague of hers told me. “She could, with a look, tell a politician that no, I don’t believe that for a minute.”)

Pat’s daughter, Sara, has set up a Caringbridge account for people who want updates on her situation or to share supportive and kind messages with her.

I made a point of emailing Sara the link to the piece I wrote, so she could share it with Pat. Sara told me she enjoyed it and that she mentioned it to her mom. The reaction was classic Pat:

I told her about it and she said it was so nice but ‘ I’m not dead yet ‘



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