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Life Arts

Got Nihilism?

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On the night of Thursday September 20 to Friday September 21, we caught a local TV news broadcast that delivered the information that the Space Shuttle Endeavor would do a fly-by at the Golden Gate Bridge between 8:30 and 9 a.m. on Friday morning.   We calculated that if we got up early and took some busses, we could be in position for a great news photo opportunity before mid morning.  

Fatigue, which may have been a residual effect of the aforementioned cold, convinced us that some extra sleep might be a better executive decision.

We had breakfast and then aimlessly wandered over to the area in Berkeley where the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory "campus" is located and had a chat with a fellow who was on a smoke break enjoying his cigarette amid some magnificent Indian Summer in Berkeley weather.   

We heard an airplane and when we looked up there was the Space Shuttle Endeavor on top of a Boeing that was banking west for a landside approach to the Golden Gate Bridge.   We wondered if the airplane's itinerary had been selected as a way to pay tribute to the hard working staff at the Amalgamated Factory.   Would the Government say they were paying tribute, instead, to a nearby weapons laboratory?  

We pulled out our beloved Nikon Coolpix and commenced to avail our self of the once-in-a-lifetime photo opportunity.   The Nikon Coolpix viewing screen in daylight is not as clear and sharp as is the viewfinder image provided by a Nikon F, but that old reliable workhorse doesn't fit into the front pocket of our jeans; so you go with whatcha got.

We have always been vaguely aware that watching something happened and taking photos of the same event are two different activities and so while we scrambled and fumbled with the various factors (such as a the telephoto zoom option and the hard to see screen) that needed our immediate attention, we sacrificed the option to just stand there and "drink in" the spectacle.  

Simultaneously we had a variation of the St. Paul moment and our lifelong fascination with the category of philosophy called nihilism snapped into focus because we realized that we had thee options:   A. We could suspend our weeklong experiment with Internets avoidance and immediately start the process of editing, preparing, and posting the images we had taken.   B.   We could maintain our boycott and post the results on Monday.   C.   We could skip over the results and put them away in our digital shoebox photo storage area.   That was when we had the St. Paul epiphany moment.   Ultimately, in the grand scheme of "the History of the World," the result for all thee options was (in Texting talk) IDFM.   (It Doesn't F****** Matter!)

Posting on the Internets and Solipsism have a great deal in common.   Often, posting a column is like delivering a grandiose soliloquy at a dress rehearsal.  

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LIFE magazine had been posting the best newsphotos of the day on their website, but they dropped that feature awhile back.   We have been intending to write a column lamenting the lack of one major resource for still photos online.  

The San Francisco Chronicle had a magnificent photo of the flyby at the Golden Gate Bridge on their front page Saturday morning.   The shot will probably win more than a few regional photojournalism clip contest awards and become a historic image (similar to the shot of a Pan Am China Clipper doing the same thing) in the future.   Our humble efforts pale in comparison.  

The weeklong experiment provided the World's Laziest Journalist with a reality challenge.   In a country where a fellow who's business experience seems to mimic the antics of the cartoon character Snidely Whiplash, and where that same fellow becomes the Republican Party's Presidential nominee, who consistently gets fifty percent of likely voters to say they will vote for him; then the tendency to rely on nihilism to provide the narrative thread for the writer's lifetime becomes expedient again.   IDFM.

So why continue writing columns?   We find it amusing to think that in the future some unknown (but pop culture savvy) historian will chortle over a snide online comment that asserts that Bishop Romney's secret plan to end the Recession will ultimately remind some folks of a Twilight Zone episode that ended with the line:   "It's a cookbook1"

Now the disk jockey will play Bobby Darin's song "Mack the Knife," the Doors' "Alabama Song," and the Three Penny Opera.   We have to go do some fact checking for a possible column on the current state of football in the USA.   Have a "so what?" (Just like a noteworthy NY Daily News front page headline?) type week.

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BP graduated from college in the mid sixties (at the bottom of the class?) He told his draft board that Vietnam could be won without his participation. He is still appologizing for that mistake. He received his fist photo lesson from a future (more...)

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