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
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.
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.