When writing for publication, Rule No. 1 is to make sure what you submit is your own work and not stolen from another writer. As I often say: Ay, sir; to be honest, as this world goes, is to be one man picked out of ten thousand.
Rule No. 2 involves never writing a sentence without a noun or a verb or something like that. Examples would include, "Hey, there whatever!"
But let's focus on Rule No. 1 and Ed Jones, a former El Paso County commissioner and Republican state senator who writes (or, perhaps, wrote) a political column for the local Gazette newspaper and who, in his Aug. 19 column, committed blatant plagiarism.
Those who read Ed's columns — a group of loyal readers known as "Merv, and once in a while Edna" — will wonder if any of it is his work.
Here are a few quick and simple ways to tell:
• If the essay makes any sense whatsoever, Ed didn't write it.
• If the column does not contain the word "dudn't" (ex: "Maria dudn't know and frankly, dudn't care."), Ed didn't write it.
• If in place of the word "plateau" the author consistently uses "tunafish," Ed wrote it. And if "coat" is used instead of a question mark, Ed wrote it.
And Wayne Laugesen probably edited it. Wayne, as none of you know, writes and edits the editorial page of the Gazelle (motto: "Ain't We Swift?"). Contrary to popular belief, Wayne doesn't always write about how we all need to have a #$%^load of guns. Sometimes he writes about how we all need to have a #$%^load of ammunition.
Anyway, here's just one of many typical samples from what Ed "wrote" in the Aug. 19 Gazelle piece:
Many in the minority community took advantage of the relaxed lending rules to purchase properties they clearly could not afford.
Here's the original, from onecitizenspeaking.com:
Many in the minority community took advantage of the lax lending conditions to purchase properties which they clearly could not afford.
Apparently "lax" confused Ed, who had only seen it in the pharmacy as part of "Ex-Lax" — which, not unlike Ed's columns, will give you the runs.
Here's another example of Ed, uh, borrowing from a website — this one, sickofliberals.com. It posted:
It is the poor who habitually elect Democrats — and yet they are still poor.
From Ed, in his Gazelle piece:
It is the poor who habitually elect Democrats, yet they are still poor.
This clearly shows that Ed is capable of turning a straight horizontal line (—) into a vertical bendy line (,).
There were more examples. Frankly, the only thing that was Ed's was his photo, and that looks strange because he is bald and for many years wore what appeared to be a beaver pelt on his head. (I tried to interview him once. His hairpiece gnawed my pencil in half then slapped its tail loudly on the desk.)
Anyway, when the plagiarism was pointed out, here's what "Wanna See My Derringer?" Laugesen wrote, under the headline "Omitted Attribution":
"Jones explained to Gazette editors that he inadvertently neglected to credit the blog, which contains no author's full name, after a reader brought similarities to their attention."
Similarities? That's like saying the sleeve on a chinchilla jacket has "similarities" to that thing Ed wore on his head. Oops.
Here now is Ed's explanation, in the Gazelle "omission" story:
"In my haste, I wrote the article with intention to track down the author's name and insert attribution. It did not get done before the article went to publication, which I regret. Most of my articles are from personal experience, not research."
An example is a new essay Ed wrote for the Gazelle. I've obtained an advance copy and love his beginning: "On the far-away island of Sala-Ma-Sond, Yertle the Turtle was king of the pond."
Rich Tosches (email@example.com) also writes a Sunday column in the Denver Post.