Friday, April 10, 2009

Fab faux pas

Once I make it home from the office at night, swap my work clothes for pajama bottoms and a T-shirt, and plop down to pour a hearty meal of Isosource down my G-tube, it's next to impossible to get me out of the apartment.

By day, I try to act like little has changed in my life since my cancer diagnosis. By night, I'm still in jammies-and-slippers mode.

Thursday night I hunkered down for another night of voluntary house arrest. Sitting at my computer while I poured myself dinner, I dropped in on my favorite place to hang out on the web, Kevin Roderick's blog at LA Observed.

Roderick, who writes about L.A. and journalism, is frantic these days staying on top of all of the changes at the L.A. Times' headquarters on Spring Street. On Thursday, however, his attention was diverted elsewhere.

The top story on Roderick's blog was headlined "Error O' the Week," and it was aimed at L.A.'s other struggling daily, the Daily News.

Like most papers, the Daily News on Wednesday reported on the big news that broke in the Beatles world this week. On Tuesday, Apple Corps and EMI Music announced that all of the Beatles' studio albums will be remastered and re-issued on Sept. 9. But in telling its readers about the Beatles remasters, the Daily News published a photo of a Beatles tribute band rather than the Fab Four themselves!

"It's not too often you see the Beatles misidentified," Roderick wrote in his blog, "but the skeleton shop that is the Daily News managed the feat on the front page of yesterday's paper."

For Beatles fans –and who doesn't love the Beatles?– it was a boo-boo akin to, say, splashing an above-the-fold photo of Barack and Michele look-alikes on the day after Inauguration Day.

The tribute band that the Daily News confused with the Beatles doesn't even look like the real John, Paul, George and Ringo. One of the members looks more like Jimmy Osmond.

No, he looks more like Bonnie Franklin. If anyone ever starts a tribute band to "One Day at a Time," this guy's a cinch as its drummer.

Clearly, somebody wants to start holding the Daily News' proofreader's hand. But there is enough blame to spread around: a paper's front page gets looked at by a lot of people before the presses roll.

Din-din can wait, I said to myself. I just had to get my paws on a copy of the Daily News with the Beatles boner.

I hastily poured the Isosource in the syringe back in the can, shoved my G-tube beneath my pajamas and bolted out the door.

My quest began at the 7-11 a few blocks away from my apartment. No luck there; they had only Thursday's edition of the Daily News. And I walked out empty-handed at another 7-11 down the road.

No worries, I thought. The newsstand in my neighborhood surely would have copies. I pulled over, scribbled a note that asked "Wednesday's Daily News?" and handed it to the news agent. "Sorry, buddy," he said.

I hopped back behind the wheel. There was another newsstand just a mile north, but as I drove I remembered that it went out of business. Then I struck out at a nearby liquor store, and then I failed to find a copy at a third 7-11.

I was feeling decidedly un-fab. Night was falling, I was dressed like I was on my way to John and Yoko's bed-in, and it seemed that all of the copies of the Daily News' historic gaffe had already been snapped up. They could already be up for auction on eBay at Beatles' butcher's photo prices, I moaned.

I decided to give myself one more chance before heading home. Sure enough, at my very next stop –a neighborhood grocery– I rummaged through a stack of random papers and found Wednesday's edition of the Daily News.

I plunked two quarters down on the counter, gave the clerk a thumb's up, and headed home.

In print, the error was even more shocking than it looked on the web. It's sad to see mistakes like this creep into print, or online. (Earlier this week, after President Obama visited Iraq by surprise, the Los Angeles Times' website reported that he paid a call on Iran.)

After finishing my Isosource meal, I sat down to write today's blog.

Not that my little blog will add further embarrassment to the Daily News, but guys in pajamas who publish blogs better be careful when pointing out flaws in others.

You just never know when Instant Karma's gonna get you.

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