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Old 05-16-2019, 01:33 AM
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Are there *new* SD columns?


I saw in the text here somewhere that you can submit questions for Cecil/Ed to consider answering
I didn't think he did that any more. Are there still SD staff answering questions?
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:17 AM
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Are you volunteering to?

But no, there haven't been any new columns in a while. That may or may not change at some point in the future.
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:38 PM
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No I ran out of topics to write straight dope articles about
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Old 05-17-2019, 04:52 PM
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No I ran out of topics to write straight dope articles about
But that's what the question submission thing is for!
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Old 05-17-2019, 07:56 PM
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Cecil retired, then Ed retired too. Both of them are on a cousin's farm, running and playing with other columnists.
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Old 05-18-2019, 05:56 PM
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Zotti retired and nobody has picked up the Cecil Adams pseudonym.
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Old 05-19-2019, 05:25 AM
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Zotti retired and nobody has picked up the Cecil Adams pseudonym.
But the "community reports" pseudonym is still available. I've often thought that, just to maintain interest, we could re-package some of the general-questions material as front-page material, even though it would be not be of the same standard.

Last edited by Melbourne; 05-19-2019 at 05:26 AM.
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Old 05-19-2019, 09:23 AM
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Cecil retired, then Ed retired too. Both of them are on a cousin's farm, running and playing with other columnists.
And when fights break out, Dear Abby settles things back down.
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Old 05-21-2019, 07:14 AM
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This idea popped into my mind:

Now that the column is retired can we finally get an official list of all the people who worked on the column over the years?

It would be nice to be able to see the actual names of the people that we can thank.
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Old 05-21-2019, 08:28 PM
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Define "worked on". I imagine that all of the SDSAB members have helped to fact-check something or another at one point or another, but we weren't exactly co-authors. Almost all of the writing was done by one person. A couple of times, there were columns that were just quoting Colibri with bookends by Cecil, and Una Persson did the experiments for a few columns, but that's about the limit of the non-Cecil contribution.
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:09 AM
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Actually, I helped extensively on a number of columns. I don't need a bouquet of flowers or anything, but just to set the record straight. Jill
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Old 05-22-2019, 10:28 AM
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Examples? I don't recall them off the top of my head, but then, I'm sure you remember those columns better than I.
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Old 05-22-2019, 12:15 PM
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The Straight Dope Science Advisory Board was (is?) always a loose, ad hoc kind of thing, with a lot of people involved over the years. If Cecil needed more information or fact checking or wanted to solicit a wide range of opinion on a subject, there was a group available to him for his needs.

Some of the SDSAB also stepped up and wrote Staff Reports/Mailbag columns over the years. Really dedicated SDSAB members like Jillgat and Chronos (to name just two), did a lot of great work.

We still see some of these people on the board today, including many of our moderators, past and present. The Straight Dope community has been fortunate they have shared their expertise and greater knowledge with the rest of us.

Here's an example of how putting a query to the SDSAB turned into a pretty good column. Does anybody actually like Circus Peanuts?

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Old 05-23-2019, 08:23 AM
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I'm talking mostly about the Cecils. And "Slug Signorino"? C'mon. Enough of the childish pretense.
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Old 05-23-2019, 09:47 AM
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Come on, gentlemen (I use the term loosely). Admit that Cecil left a bowl of milk and some crackers on his back porch, and the columns were found in the morning.
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Old 05-23-2019, 11:54 PM
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I'm talking mostly about the Cecils. And "Slug Signorino"? C'mon. Enough of the childish pretense.
Why? Why the determination to peek behind the curtain? Does it really matter? Would a "real name" imbue the columns with a greater authority?
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:03 AM
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I like Circus Peanuts.
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Old 05-24-2019, 12:27 AM
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i was thinking of the same thing basically .... just do staff reports until we empty the question box...... theres probably years worth of questions cec never got to .....
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:45 AM
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Would a "real name" imbue the columns with a greater authority?
That's usually how it works, yes.

Even aside from that, it's disrespectful to keep up a pretense like that. We do it to children for a while, because it's tradition, but "Cecil Adams" doesn't have that excuse, and we think adults are "people" more than we think children are people, so lying to adults is seen as worse than lying to children.

(We also take assault more seriously when it happens to adults, but that's an entirely different problem.)

A pen name isn't a problem. Insisting the pen name is a real person is a problem. Anyone who thinks "Miss Manners" is a real name is clearly nave, and indeed her official website acknowledges that her real name is Judith Martin and makes no pretense that Ms Martin is merely a literary agent or editor or suchlike. This is because her column is aimed at adults, as opposed to the Stratemeyer Syndicate ("Nancy Drew", "Hardy Boys"), whose real authors labored in anonymity for decades. Those books were, needless to say, aimed at children, who could be expected to buy the idea that "Carolyn Keene" was somehow one real person with prodigious output.

Finally, insisting that something is true years or decades after the lie has been exposed simply makes the person doing the insisting seem stupid.
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Old 05-24-2019, 06:25 AM
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Slug Signorino is definitely one singular person. He's also done other work, for other contexts, under that name (but in the same style). And while his parents almost certainly didn't name him "Slug", that's the only name he uses, and for all I know, he might have gotten it officially changed.

Cecil Adams is a pseudonym, and it has been used by (IIRC) three people over the column's history, but the first two lasted only something like a year each. The vast majority of the work labeled as "Cecil Adams" was all written by one man.
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Old 05-24-2019, 11:16 AM
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The mystery man, whose name must never be revealed. Because ..... reasons?
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Old 05-24-2019, 02:30 PM
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That's usually how it works, yes.

Even aside from that, it's disrespectful to keep up a pretense like that. We do it to children for a while, because it's tradition, but "Cecil Adams" doesn't have that excuse, and we think adults are "people" more than we think children are people, so lying to adults is seen as worse than lying to children.
With all due respect, I think you're taking this far too personally. Pen names, when used, typically serve a purpose. Whatever or whomever was behind the persona of Cecil Adams, whether is was one person or several, succeeded in conveying useful information in an entertaining way through a singular authorial voice, which is not an easy thing to do. The body of work exists. Why not be glad the columns are still there to be read and enjoyed and leave it at that?
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Old 05-24-2019, 07:35 PM
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With all due respect, I think you're taking this far too personally. Pen names, when used, typically serve a purpose. Whatever or whomever was behind the persona of Cecil Adams, whether is was one person or several, succeeded in conveying useful information in an entertaining way through a singular authorial voice, which is not an easy thing to do. The body of work exists. Why not be glad the columns are still there to be read and enjoyed and leave it at that?
Because the people around here aren't happy to leave it be and acknowledge that Ed Zotti was Cecil Adams for decades.

They won't leave it alone. They have to persist in the charade. Why? I have no idea. But they just can't let it drop.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:19 PM
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Cecil Adams was the pen name for Ed Zotti. There.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:21 PM
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Examples? I don't recall them off the top of my head, but then, I'm sure you remember those columns better than I.
Starting with the Sears Catalog penis column, I helped research a number of columns. I am NOT saying I wrote them, because I most certainly didn't. And by far the bulk of the work on all the columns, along with the great writing, was done by Cecil/aka Ed.
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Old 05-24-2019, 08:26 PM
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One used to be able to search the archive for topics covered by the Straight Dope column and the staff reports. I can't seem to find that search function anymore.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:44 AM
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Because the people around here aren't happy to leave it be and acknowledge that Ed Zotti was Cecil Adams for decades.

They won't leave it alone. They have to persist in the charade. Why? I have no idea. But they just can't let it drop.
I'll bet it'd be really fun to go with you to see WWE wrestling.
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:48 AM
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One used to be able to search the archive for topics covered by the Straight Dope column and the staff reports. I can't seem to find that search function anymore.
About halfway down the main Straight Dope page there is Google custom search. Does that help?
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Old 05-25-2019, 02:47 PM
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I'll bet it'd be really fun to go with you to see WWE wrestling.
Hey, they dropped the kayfabe decades ago, old timer!
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Old 05-25-2019, 07:23 PM
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One used to be able to search the archive for topics covered by the Straight Dope column and the staff reports. I can't seem to find that search function anymore.
If one could scroll down the front page of the Straight Dope site they would find a search box on the page.

Here's what it would look like if one had eyes to see:

Google Custom Search

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Old 05-25-2019, 08:09 PM
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Hey, they dropped the kayfabe decades ago, old timer!
And if we went to a performance, you'd be there to tell us so!

We know that when we watch movies, those characters aren't real people. We don't have to catcall.

Last edited by Melbourne; 05-25-2019 at 08:09 PM.
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