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Misleading Headline Helped Cement Babe Ruth ‘Called Shot’

There’s good news and bad news when it comes to filtering Babe Ruth‘s infamous “called shot” second home run in Game 3 of the 1932 World Series through the prism of 21st century digital journalism.

BabeRuthBookCoverPer an interview with author Ed Sherman in the New York Post, the good news is that if this had all happened today, the conversation Ruth had at the beginning of the following season with WMAQ Chicago broadcaster Hal Totten – during which he explained that he was noting one more strike left, not where he was going to hit the ball – would have quickly gone viral and put an end to some foul fall-classic spin.

The bad news is that like today, “click bait” headlines were something editors relied on to try and get the attention of readers:

The phrase “called shot” was supposedly invented by New York World-Telegram reporter Joe Williams, who wrote, in that day’s nighttime edition, “…On the occasion of his second round-tripper [Ruth] even went so far as to call his shot.” His editor took the phrase a step further, headlining the piece, “Ruth Calls Shot As He Puts Homer No. 2 In Side Pocket.”

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Oxford Prof Goes Way Back to Frame Review of Chelsea Hotel eBook

ChelseaHotelBookCoverBeneath a recent Guardian-Observer byline, Peter Conrad crafted one of the best book-review ledes we’ve read in a long time. Partly because his POV is fed by decades of fermented life experience rather than a few years of home-office blogging:

In the seething, druggy summer of 1969, a room in the Chelsea Hotel gave me my first view of New York. The establishment – a Queen Anne folly with a rooftop pyramid on West 23rd Street, opened in 1884 – was not quite the dream palace of Sherill Tippins‘ title: it struck me more as a trauma ward.

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Five Floors; Two Novelists; One Lunch

StillLifewithBreadCrumbsCoverWhen preparing a list of interview questions, most journalists tend to include a few tangential, broader queries. These are usually reserved for the end of the conversation, if-when there’s time, and can produce – in our experience at least – worthwhile results about half the time.

Joe Meyers asks three such questions at the end of his delightful Connecticut Post Q&A with Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times reporter-turned-author Anna Quindlen. In all three cases, he was lucky enough to hit the bullseye.

Quindlen, whose latest novel Still Life with Bread Crumbs arrives in stores Tuesday January 28, absolutely kills it with her reply to, ‘Do you ever miss journalism?’ She shares a solid personal-read recommend in reply to another question and offers this fun response to Meyers’ final query, ‘What’s next for you?’:

“I’m going to go downstairs and make lunch for my son Quin. He’s writing a novel on the first floor, and I’m writing one on the fifth floor, and we meet on the second floor for lunch. I’m the luckiest woman, and novelist, on earth.”

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Goldman Sachs Parody Twitter Account Lands Book Deal

The anonymous man behind the Twitter account that pokes fun at Goldman Sachs employees has a book deal. The New York Times reports that Touchstone, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, purchased Straight to Hell: True Tales of Deviance and Excess in the World of Investment Banking.

The book is based on the author’s @GSElevator account, which posts bits of conversations allegedly overheard in the Wall Street firm’s elevator. How can this be a book? Touchstone is glad you asked! The publisher said that the author, who is going by “Mr. Stone,” will “offer stories from his career in banking that capture the true character and nature of Wall Street culture today — a world far more abhorrent and way more entertaining than people can imagine.”

The best part about this is that Stone works for Goldman Sachs. He got a book deal by pointing out how absurd everyone who works at the firm can be, even though he has likely said similar things.

We look forward to the eventual book from the author who creates the @WhatTheGSElevatorGuySays account.

How an LA Times Reporter Learned to Face Death to Understand Life

HayasakiErika_Credit Pat Bright

In the 2010 HBO documentary about his life, Dr. Jack Kevorkian espoused what he had learned after years of helping disease-addled patients end their own lives: Once you accept death as part of life, you will no longer fear it. Forget the rituals, the Christian ideas of afterlife. Death was the final chapter. The chemical reactions that kept your heart beating all this time ceased. In place of your consciousness, sweet, serene nothingness. Kurt Vonnegut, who wrote often about his atheism and humanism, praised his rationale — the Cat’s Cradle author even wrote a radio play entitled, ironically, “God Bless You, Dr. Kevorkian.” He shared Kevorkian’s view that understanding and accepting death could help you forge a more moral life.

In her debut book The Death Class: A Story About Life, journalist Erika Hayasaki seems to present this theory through a case study.

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There’s Something About That Cameron Diaz Book…

On December 31, Cameron Diaz published her version of a New Year’s female resolutions manifesto. It’s called The Body Book and boy, has it been fun to read the reactions and reviews that have followed. Just today for example, NOW magazine UK showbiz editor Caroline Millington, via her “My Big Fat Diet Blog,” frames a quote from Diaz about not liking sugar as follows:

Oh, do sod off Cameron Diaz. Her ‘love your body beautiful’, The Body Book, is out now. Bleurgh.

CameronDiazBeforeAfter

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AP Travel Editor Highlights Five Free NYC Things

FiveFreeThingsCoverThe NYC honors in AP’s new eBook Five Free Things ($4.99) belong to travel editor Beth J. Harpaz.

She admits it was difficult to narrow down the city’s easy-on-the-wallet attractions to that number and says she both expects and welcomes reader debate. From her list:

HIGH LINE: One of the city’s newest attractions, the High Line has quickly become a favorite with out-of-towners and locals alike. It’s a narrow park built on an old elevated freight railway along 10th Avenue on Manhattan’s West Side, from Gansevoort Street, just below 14th Street, to 31st Street.

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Kim Jong-il’s Biographer Hosting Brooklyn Event

If the United States operated like North Korea, the person(s) responsible for the healthcare.gov fiasco would have been executed and excoriated at a White House press conference. That’s the way the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) generally approaches the topic of “death panels.”

DearReaderCoverThis week’s shocking events in the DPRK, and perhaps next week’s third scheduled visit to the country by Dennis Rodman, could be among the many fertile posthumous topics this Sunday at Muchmore’s in Williamsburg (2 Havemeyer Street). Michael Malice, author of the upcoming Kim Jong-il biography Dear Reader, will be hosting a free discussion event at 7 p.m. From a report by The Brooklyn Paper‘s Colin Mixon:

“This isn’t in his [Kim Jong-il's] voice, per se,” said Malice, who visited North Korea last year, returning with a large collection of propaganda pamphlets and books to use as source material. “His voice is very pedantic and mind-numbing.”

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Susan Orlean Interviews Erica Jong

When Fear of Flying was first published in November of 1973, no one – including author Erica Jong – knew exactly what had been wrought. During her recent conversation with fellow author and New Yorker staff writer Susan Orlean, she began by recalling that she only knew she had concocted “something outrageous.”

As is customary with west coast conversation series Live Talks LA, video of the event is now up about a month following, for many more to enjoy. It’s fascinating to take a step back, on this 40th anniversary occasion, to a time when there was no Amazon, female novelists were a rarity and a writing instrument of choice was an IBM Selectric typewriter.

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The Night Walter Winchell Slept Through a Major Celebrity Scoop

TheFatLadySangIn case you hadn’t noticed, we cannot get enough of The Fat Lady Sang, Hollywood legend Robert Evans‘ brand new memoir. Our copy is ready and waiting this holiday weekend, set to take precedence whenever a football or leftovers munch break allows.

We’ve also been gobbling up Evans interview coverage and must congratulate LA Times reporter Susan King for concocting the most appealing lede we’ve read so far. She frames today’s article with a bit from the book about the time aspiring actor Evans, while on a 1950s red eye from New York to LA, had a dalliance in the sleeping-berths area of the plane with an older female movie star. Among the other passengers sleeping in the confined area containing six beds – Walter Winchell:

There was something daring, even dangerous in having a mile-high rendezvous while the influential Winchell, who could make or break celebrities, was just two feet away. “That’s the only reason I did it,” said Evans in a recent interview, flashing his killer smile.

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