Thursday, February 17, 2005


"The Judgement is Coming! How Will You Travel, Smoking or Non-Smoking?"



Yesterday I was sent to do a story about a crime that occurred on a deer lease. Now, of course, you know what a deer lease is. Who wouldn’t? It’s the kind of thing people are born knowing. It’s the kind of thing that is so fundamental to everyday life that you would have to be an absolute moron or completely closed off from society not to know what a deer lease is.

I don’t know what a deer lease is. Or at least I didn’t yesterday. Now that it has been explained to me, I’m only halfway sure what a deer lease is. But it took a good deal of work to gain my limited understanding.

My education came after I was foolhardy enough to ask the photographer I was working with, “What exactly is a deer lease?”

And he’s all, “You’re kidding, right Comedy Boy?”


“How could you not know this?”

“I just don’t.”

“Listen to the words, you can’t just figure it out?”

“Are you going to tell me what a deer lease is, or are you going to make fun of me for the rest of this drive?”

“Come on, what does it sound like?”

“It sounds like a place you’d go to lease a deer, but that seems pretty unlikely!”


“I’m serious. You asked what it sounded like. That’s what it sounds like. There! Now are you going to tell me what a deer lease is or what?”

Then he says it’s a piece of land that is owned by somebody who isn’t going to sell it, but you can buy hunting rights on it for a period of time. So to be clear, I ask my “friend,” “So if you lease it, you can come hunt on it, but you can’t develop the property or anything. Right?”

“Well, not really. My dad has a deer lease in Texas and he’s built a cabin on it. He actually dug up a natural spring and got indoor plumbing in the cabin.”

“Then he built these elaborate tree house things. At first, they were no more than deer stands, but then he added…”

“Uh, excuse me, but…”

“Oh come on! Do you not know what deer stand is?”

“No! I’m from California and upstate New York! Why would I know this?”

“Well, what does it sound like?”

“It sounds like something you’d use to stand up the deer you’ve leased. Like a kickstand on a bike. Now shut up because I know that’s not what a deer stand is! Just tell me what it is and you can make fun of me afterwards.”

He said it was something you use to hide in a tree and wait to shoot a deer. Last winter someone was shot in Wisconsin in a deer stand, or because of a deer stand. I read that story, but wasn’t really so sure about the deer stand part of it. And unfortunately, the newspaper I was reading wasn’t able to mock me for my complete ignorance of hunting or fishing, or whatever happened on the Blue Collar Comedy Tour last year.

Next time: What is a "mudbug," and why should you care?

Saturday, February 05, 2005

From the Church Sign Down the Street

"Stop, drop and roll won't work in hell"


Friday, February 04, 2005

It’s The News!

That’s what I hear a lot when I call people for stories. I’ll identify myself, and the TV station I work for, then the person on the other line will cover the receiver and say something like, “Janet, it’s for you! It’s the news!”

It’s the news. The sentence implies that I am, in fact, The News. I’m not exactly sure what that means, but it makes me giggle every time someone says it. Last week, I decided to try something. It went a little like this…

Me: Hi, this is Matthew Workman calling from News Channel Six. May I speak with Raymond Whitney (not his real name).

Person: Alright, hang on. (covers receiver)… Hey Ray! Pick up the other line! It’s the news!

Raymond: Hello?

Me: I know you were expecting Huey Lewis, but hopefully I’ll do.

This line of extremely sophisticated and understated humor has failed to produce a laugh both times I have attempted it. Perhaps their disappointment (what with me not being Huey Lewis and all) overwhelms their laughter.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Guided Meditation

Julie Wrote this for a co-worker. It seemed like the kind of thing that would be appropriate to share here.

It's a beautiful day. It's sunny outside. You have a lovely walk to the office in the crisp morning air. The day is golden. You enter the office and greet your friends. They love you. You love them. You like seeing them every day, and you enjoy your friendships here. You sit down and log into your computer. Everything's fine. You can handle this. You're competent and strong. You're organized, and everything is fine. Someone new enters the room. You look up. It's your manager. You take a deep breath and relax. You smile. Everything's okay. After all, you live in Utah, where concealed weapons in the workplace are A-okay. You can handle this. You're competent and strong. You're packing heat. No one's gonna mess with you. It's a great day. The day is golden. Today is going to be just fine.

Today's News

Flu Bug Does Not Hit Area School

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Meet the Press

I work in a mall. Not at the Gap, but at a television news bureau located in a mall. A gig at the Gap would be pretty sweet, as their employees make substantially more money than a small-market journalist. But anyway, it’s like working inside an exhibit at the zoo. People walk up to the glass and stare at you. Some people even tap on the glass to see if you’ll move.

Every now and then, somebody gets bold enough to actually knock on the door. Usually, they want to join the Viewer’s Club. Being a member of the Viewer’s Club entitles you to… I’m not exactly sure. You get something, trust me. So people come in and sign up for this club and usually leave you alone after that. But every now and then, people sit down and strike up a conversation. This is one such incident.

Two people come into the bureau and fill out VC cards and head towards the door. One woman stops at the door and says, “I think we need to talk about something.” Her friend gets an odd look on her face and says, “I’ll meet you back at the car.” Not a good sign.

The woman sits down on my desk and begins talking about the poor condition of her home. You see, there’s the thing, it was built in the 1960s, and the cabinets are practically falling off the wall. The floors aren’t so good either. I look at her puzzled.

“Something needs to be done about this,” she says.

I tell her I don’t really know what I can do about it, so she continues.

“The real thing is the septic tank. It needs to be replaced. It’s just too old.”

She goes on and describes in detail the travails of using the plumbing in her home, especially the toilet. Then she looks at me as if to say, “So, what are you going to do about this?”

“I can’t install a septic tank for you,” I say. “I don’t know how, and I don’t have the time.”

She then suggests the station have some sort of telethon to raise money for the septic tank. When I tell her that we don’t really do that kind of thing, she keeps talking.

“Something has to be done about this, and people need to know. Maybe the president should hear about this.”

The president? As in the President of the United States of America?


As an avid watcher of “All the President’s Men,” I have just the answer for her.

I write the number down on a post-it note and hand it to her. I tell her it’s the president’s phone number in Washington, DC.

“He’s in Crawford a lot. Do you have his number there?”

“Just call the Washington number, and they’ll know what to do.”

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