Mind-boggling process

But it makes John McPhee’s work so good. Via Lindsay.

The process is hellacious. McPhee gathers every single scrap of reporting on a given project — every interview, description, stray thought and research tidbit — and types all of it into his computer. He studies that data and comes up with organizing categories: themes, set pieces, characters and so on. Each category is assigned a code. To find the structure of a piece, McPhee makes an index card for each of his codes, sets them on a large table and arranges and rearranges the cards until the sequence seems right. Then he works back through his mass of assembled data, labeling each piece with the relevant code. On the computer, a program called “Structur” arranges these scraps into organized batches, and McPhee then works sequentially, batch by batch, converting all of it into prose. (In the old days, McPhee would manually type out his notes, photocopy them, cut up everything with scissors, and sort it all into coded envelopes. His first computer, he says, was “a five-thousand-dollar pair of scissors.”)

 

Never tired of Dusty Baker quotes

In the Post, on struggling Nats catcher Matt Wieters:

Before the game, Nationals Manager Dusty Baker — going out of his way to point out that he is a non-Catholic, and therefore not necessarily qualified to say so — speculated that Wieters is spending this month in purgatory. Purgatory, in Baker’s baseball-driven mind, is that place where a hitter is “behind the fastball and ahead of the curveball.” In other words, no man’s land.

Yellow boxes

Trademark doesn’t understand my Cheerios people.

US intellectual property regulators are rejecting General Mills’ bid to trademark the yellow background color on boxes of Cheerios cereal.

The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board on Tuesday set aside the cereal maker’s two-year quest to trademark “the color yellow appearing as the predominant uniform background color” on boxes of “oat-based breakfast cereal.” A contrary ruling could have given the Cheerios maker an exclusive right to yellow boxes of oat cereal.

And I understand that the world doesn’t understand. “The baffling reason many millennials don’t eat cereal” (cleaning a cereal bowl takes work) and whatnot. Count me on the side of appreciating bowls.

And I’m not sure cereal and I have the same relationship as we used to. Sam Sifton’s case for making breakfast is starting to work for me in theory, if not in practice just yet.

But yellow boxes of oat cereal are Cheerios.