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August 16, 2013

Songs, scams, and sailboats

By Bob Patterson

What will happen when the number of political scandals exceeds the number of paid journalists available to cover those stories?

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Will next year's defending America's cup champ be New Zealand?  

If the mainstream media is ignoring the plight of the Los Angeles county assessor, the story of how San Francisco taxpayers got hustled by the yachters, and any potential link between a California Senator's husband and the bullet train that voters don't seem to want, shouldn't the World's Laziest Journalist extend an example of interline courtesy and join with the big names in journalism by blowing off those topics?   We won't harp on the idea that the San Francisco Board of Supervisors seem to be envious of the situation in Marina del Rey that has critics of the Los Angeles Board of Supervisors alleging that the unique situation there handed the politicians a cash cow for their reelection campaigns.   Mum's the word.   Why spoil the surprise for the voters in the San Francisco Bay Area if they are in for an expensive example of "getting blind sided" (again!)? 

There is an old folktale (which we just made up) that tells the story of a columnist from the Leprechaun Journalism tradition, who is driving late at night in the industrial section of a large university town and sees an automobile accident occur.   He rushes to the car which is starting to burn and pulls a beautiful damsel from the wrecked vehicle.   Since she has magical powers and she doesn't want to demean his integrity with offers of numerous writing awards, she makes him an offer that cuts to the very core of his being.   She says he can either win the lottery but must never write again or he can have a very limited online audience which will include the newsrooms at the New York Times, the Columbia Journalism Review, CBS Evening News, and the Berkeley Barb.   If he chooses the latter, he will see some of his most unique insights into national politics in rewritten form used by those august news media but he won't get any royalty checks.

The World's Laziest Journalist was reminded of that grim fairytale recently when he noticed that Jalopnik ran a story about taking a flight in the Goodyear Blimp and, a week later, another about a taking a flight in a B-17 G WWII bomber.   We had written about experiencing both modes of transportation many moons ago while functioning as a staff writer for "Just above Sunset" online magazine. 

It might seem foolhardy for a columnist, who can wonder if his newest offering will be read by folks at the Sydney Central Backpack Hostel, a film critic in Great Britain, and the 1961 SPHS Scranton Pa. guy, who is one of   the Vice President's best friends, and, if we send him the link, one of the top editors at Playboy Magazine, to mention the possibility that the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) may go on   strike because they would have the Rhett Butler reaction to such a remote labor dispute.   If, however, the columnist goes to extensive lengths to provide evidence that bolsters a contention that a continuing effort to bust unions and reduce wages is exemplified by that very local bit of labor strife, then such a hypothetical effort might, at least, get a closer read by the denizens of the New York Times newsroom.

Back when the pundits were discussing the possibility that President George W. Bush would order troops to go to Iraq, some wags mentioned "the Pottery Barn" rule.   Now that things in Iraq are spinning way out of control again, we await the resurrection by the war hawks of that principle and a debate about urging President Obama to send some new troops back to Iraq to insure Democracy for the Iraqi people there and to uphold America's commitment to that country's freedom fighters. 

After noting that Edward Snowden did not seem to reveal any information that was new and heather to, completely unknown by the American public, we have started to wonder if a pundit on the Internets could get into hot water by commenting on facts already known to the American public.   There was a small item online that indicated that Snowden had accused America's Free Press of complete dereliction of duty after 9-11.   That story was ignored by the mainstream media.

With all that in mind, the World's Laziest Journalist is starting to think that it might be prudent to search for other more innocuous tidbits of information that would be much less likely to instigate patriotic American Republicans to bandy about the word "traitor" and the phrase "war criminal."  

Would it be an example of irony if some over zealous American Patriot recklessly labeled Edward Snowden as a war criminal for doing what the lead American Prosecutor at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trails, Robert Jackson, said must be done when an individual perceives that his country is perpetrating some immoral actions in world affairs?    

Wouldn't a columnist be much better off using items such as the information that the San Francisco Beard Papa outlet is a local franchise for a company in Japan that specializes in French pastry and that they are on the verge of expanding into the Hollywood section of Los Angeles? 

Folks who regularly read the material produced by the World's Laziest Journalist know that the columnist has a high regard for the events that took place 79 years ago when Ernest Hemingway and thousands of troops for the Allied Forces liberated Paris might expect that after he finishes reading Michael Neiberg's new book "The Blood of Free Mena:   the Liberation of Paris, 1944," a full column review may follow.

This book describes the scoop columnist Alice Moats scored when she sneaked into Paris more than a month before D-Day.   Hemingway got much more publicity for claiming that he arrived in the City of Light a day or two before the other soldiers. 

Speaking of WWII, fans of the fifty year old novel "Catch-22" will want to consider reading the new book by Patricia Chapman Meder titled:   "The True Story of Catch-22" (the real men and Missions of Joseph Heller's 340th Bomb Group in World War II).   The author was the daughter of Willis E. Chapman, who was "Col. Cathcart" and she provides the fact finding keys for the classic war novel romain a clef.

Fans of Heller's novel may well want to learn all the background information knowing that this new book will increase their enjoyment of the half century old classic and, perhaps, inspire them to go back (to their college days?) and reread Heller's book. 

That reminds us, we should go back and search for the passage that explains how Yossarian bought eggs for a nickel each and sold them for three cents each but still made a profit.

The Occupy the steps of the Berkeley Post Office Building effort was still continuing as this column was being posted. 

Recently, we bought a used bargain copy of "Beyond Coincidence" by Martin Plimmer and Brian King.   Chapter two, which is a series of examples, opens with a story of a woman in Berkeley CA, who went outside her home and became locked out.   While fretting about her dilemma, the postman arrived and handed her a letter from her brother in the state of Washington.   He had visited recently and sent the letter to return a spare key he had been using.

Speaking of obscure but influential, one might think that there would not be an example of the concept "an obscure recording by Elvis Presley" but since these are the dog days in the news (and punditry?) business when the Congressional summer vacation means that there won't be much political news and since Friday August 16, 2013, is Elvis Memorial Day, we'll try to listen to the laughing version of "Are you lonesome tonight."  

While a performance in Las Vegas was being recorded, Elvis changed the lyrics and broke himself and the band up with laughter.  

The musical group Daddy Yankee has posted a video on Youtube for their song about gasoline.   Since the anniversary of the day Elvis Presley (supposedly) died will coincide with the publication date for the next World's Laziest Journalist "the week in the rearview mirror" column, we found that the Elvis track, allegedly proclaimed by Paul McCartney to be the best recording ever by Elvis, had less views than the ditty about what makes cars go.   The laughing version of "Are you lonesome tonight" was at the 70,000 hit level when we checked.   "Gasolina" has racked up more than 38 million hits. 

New words for 2013?   How about "selfie"?   It means a self portrait and usually referrs to something of the kind of tourist snapshot plus mug shot combined that are posted by young folks on Facebook.   It seems like a gimme to think that this word will land on the list of new words for this year.

[Note from the photo editor:   The sports world extravaganza known as the America's Cup Yacht Races is being assessed as a fiasco for this year, but the media is overlooking one important aspect of the minor sports news story:   taxpayers in the Bay Area, thanks to some contract lawyers who earned their fees, will be obliged to cover any financial shortfall.   News photos of the sporting event may have some stock shot value for political pundits if the citizens ever decide to make a retroactive fuss over the fact they have been hustled.] 

"Kim" Hubbard said:   "Now and then an innocent man is sent to the legislature."

Now the disk jockey will play a song that tells the story of Elvis set to music in Bill Parsons' (Bobby Bare) song "The All American Boy," Elvis' saddest song "Old Shep," and the laughing version of "Are you lonesome tonight."We have to go see if we can purchase a Kangaroos Football Club t-shirt.   Have a "do you look in the mirror and wish you had hair" type week.  



Submitters Bio:

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 Pulitzer Prize winner. (Eddie Adams in the AP lunch room told him to get rid of the everready case for his new Nikon F). A Pulitzer Prize winning reporter broke BP in on the police beat for a small daily in Pa. By 1975, Paul Newman had asked for Bob's Autograph. (Google this: "Paul Newman asked my autograph" and click the top suggested URL.) His co-workers on the weekly newspaper in Santa Monica,(in the Seventies) included a future White House correspondent for Time magazine and one of the future editors high up on the Playboy masthead. Bob has been to the Oscar ceremony twice before Oscar turned 50. He is working on a book of memoirs tentatively titled "Paul Newman Asked for my Autograph." In the gold mining area of Australia (Kalgoorlie), Bob was called: "Col. Sanders."

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