(image by Bob Patterson)
In mid-July of 1939, few Americans had international events on their minds. A century ago, by mid summer, the war to end all wars was inevitable. Fifty years ago, as the class of 1965 prepared to start Senior year, only worrywarts were concerned about the future of South Vietnam. To some, ignoring this summer's tense world situation may seem foolhardy, but for the connoisseurs of nostalgia, a whimsical innocuous column about a holiday weekend in San Francisco (AKA Fog City) seems mandatory.
"Carsick (John Waters hitchhikes across America)" became available as an autographed new item at Pegasus Books in Berkeley at the same time that a high school classmate called and said he had bought that book and thought we would enjoy reading it, so we'll read it and review it after he sends us his used copy. It will be the latest installment in a literary genre that has fascinated us since Jack Kerouac went on the Tonight show to plug his latest endeavor titled "On the Road." (Do you remember: Marilyn Monroe was also on that episode?)
The World's Laziest Journalist has, like Ricky Blaine (Humphrey Bogart), been to both Casablanca and to Paris France. We prefer Paris. Going on the road usually is made to sound like an impulsive lark.
Our illusions of grandeur have been taunting us with some delectable possibilities for going on the road this month or next. Bastille Day, July 14, is like the overture for the festivities that will accompany the celebration of the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Paris that will be happening there next month.
Realizing that we can't just run out onto the center field in Yankee stadium for the opening day game, we decide to do a bit of "Spring training" by paying AC Transit the senior fare that would get us to San Francisco to see "What's the haps" there on the Forth of July weekend in 2014. Is it just a co-inky-dink that one of this summer's new songs is "I've got a lot of Travelin' to do" by Willie Nelson? Or is it a sign? (Because of the line "I can't forget the sh** you've put me through," you're never gonna hear that song on the radio.)
Recently the news reported the results of a survey done to find the best hamburgers in America. Sam's Pizza in the North Beach area of Frisco serves burgers that have been proclaimed by a cable TV food critic as one of the top three in the world. Since chain burgers were the only eligible candidates for selection for the newsworthy survey. Nothing like stacking the deck in favor of the people known as corporations, eh/
Whist in the vicinity of the Beat Museum, we stopped by. Full Disclosure: our goal of becoming one of the guest lecturers there is rapidly approaching "scratch that off the bucket list" status. More Full Disclosure: Since the Beat Museum doesn't charge admission to attend an installment of their guest speakers lecture series and since that means we shouldn't expect a speaker's fee, our agent is rather skeptical about being enthusiastic about this career opportunity (some time this fall?). Hangfire! If we get a good column from the experience; why not give a go?
We encountered a wide variety of tourists in the North Beach area over the Forth of July weekend. For a family from Melbourne, a trip to Fog City, where it was a cloudless day with balmy temperatures, was a chance for them to get away from the howling winds and deep snow drifts of the Australian Winter. Later we learned that FBi radio down under was going to give a listener a trip to up to Iceland in the Northern Hemisphere were it is time for a summer vacation. (Google hint: FBi radio. [Note the lower case is used for the last letter.])
On Sunday, of the July Forth weekend, we decided a return to Golden Boy tavern was a good lunchtime decision. We arrived at opening time and had a few minutes to chat with the bartender slash pizza slinger duo known as Lisa Pizza and Killah K. (Is she a Jerry Lee Lewis fan?) Then when the clock struck noon, things got too hectic to hold a conversation. (We shouldda asked what ever happened to the ubiquitous tavern pastime called "Liars' Poker"? It seemed to be everywhere in the Sixties.)
Recently at Pegasus bookstore, we noticed copies of "Another Great Day at Sea," by Geoff Dyer, which tells about the author's experiences aboard the U. S. Navy aircraft carrier George H. W. Bush. It is one of the best sellers for the summer of 2014. If the Dyer book is brand new, why did it sound "old hat" to the World's Laziest Journalist?
Ernie Pyle, who wrote a book of road adventures titled "Home Country," became a Pulitzer Prize winning war correspondent whose name was synonymous with coverage of the soldiers and Marines who fought WWII. Pyle had included a chapter titled "Life on a Flat-Top," in his last book, "Last Chapter." We pulled out our copy to refresh our memories of Pyle's version of life at sea. Pyle gives only veiled hints as to the ship's name: "She was known in the fleet as "The Iron Woman," because she had fought in every battle in the Pacific in 1944 and every one to date in 1945." Subsequently, we did some fact checking online and found out that Pyle was referring to CVL 28, the Cabot.
Recently Dan Saltzstein wrote an article for the Sunday New York Times Travel section that looked at San Francisco through the eyes of a noir mystery fan. Our default viewpoint is from the eyes of a Beat writers fan. While we were gathering material for this column, we spotted some people doing the Go-car tour of Fog City. We asked them where they were from and they said they lived in San Francisco.
An ambitious writer would find plenty of material to review for inclusion in a book about the history of column writing in San Francisco. America's (the world's?) oldest radio station is just part of The City's history. Much to the consternation of the World's Laziest Journalist, Bruce Bellingham has authored a book about being a Herb Caen wannabe in the San Francisco Bay Area. (Dang!)
No one challenged the accuracy of Don Sherwood's claim to have been the greatest disk jockey of all time. If you find world events unavoidable, then you might like to know what part Frisco played in the history of the United Nations. Did the music world have a category just for "the San Francisco sound"?
San Francisco values, which seem to cause great distress for the conservative pundits, seem to be becoming ubiquitous in the USA. "We don't wear our hair long and shaggy like the hippies out in San Francisco do."
In "Bellingham by the Bay," Bruce Bellingham wrote (on page 12): "Later the White Line sent bills to the families of the musicians (on the Titanic), demanding payment for the players' uniforms."
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