Huffing, puffing

A colleague told me how much she enjoyed listening to Rancho Cucamonga reporter Wendy Leung (who has since left for breezier pastures in Ventura County) and me volley back and forth from our desks. With that in mind, I scribbled down a recent exchange that will give you an idea of the kind of warped minds at work in a newsroom.

It began when I overheard an editor asking the status of a “Huff piece,” a story on Bob Huff, the state senator. I remarked to Wendy that “Huff piece” sounds a lot like “puff piece,” a derogatory expression for a needlessly flattering story.

Me: “Can one write a puff piece on Huff?”

Her: “Any piece on marijuana is a puff piece.”

Me: “What about a piece on ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’?”

Her: “That’s a puff Puff piece.”

Me: “A piece on a certain school in the Harry Potter series could be a Hufflepuff piece.”

Her: “Only if Hilary Duff is in it.”

It ended there, thankfully for the English language, before we could debate the merits of puff pieces on puff pastry or H.R. Pufnstuf.

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  • Ramona

    That sounds (reads?) a great deal like some of the inane conversations I used to have at work. There were times when I prayed for the phone to ring to bring it all to a halt.

    Of course, there were some special times when I wished I had recorded the interplay or written it down.

    Love it when witty people get together. Especially when the exchange of words confounds those who are listening.

  • Wendy Leung

    Sorry, editor. Can’t turn story in on deadline today. Having a serious conversation with David Allen.

    [It would have just been a puff piece anyway. — DA]

  • John Clifford

    So a story about the Big Bad Wolf would be a huff and puff and blow piece?

    [You’ve got it, John. — DA]

  • meg

    And a piece on both pot-smoking and glue-sniffing would be a…

    Cue the H.R. Pufnstuf jokes!

    [A puff and huff piece? Btw, nice to have John and Meg (two of the people behind M-M-M-My Pomona) here in subsequent comments. — DA, nostalgically]

  • Charles Quinn

    No guff, it’s tough enough, writing puff on Huff, so get off your duff and write that stuff.

    [No need to be gruff. — DA]