The last time this columnist had a haircut was at a hostel in Fremantle Western Australia (WA) when George W. Bush was in the lame duck phase of his second term, so when we heard that human hair was needed for the oil spill cleanup in the Gulf area, we thought maybe it was about time to go sit in the barber's chair.
It seems like just the other day when we were sitting in the courtyard of a hostel in the W. A. with a charming hairdresser from England doing her best to make us look less like a hippie. She said she was from a place called Stockton. We've been through StocktonCalifornia, but we had never heard that there was a city in England with the same name. We were told it was the place where the "Northern Soul" sound was perfected. We'd never heard of "Northern Soul" either. Learning new stuff like that is why ya gotta wander away from VeniceBeach occasionally.
We were a bit skeptical about the possibility that getting the Samson trim would help the folks contending with an oil slick approaching the famous Florida beaches. Later we also found some information on line about <a href = http://www.matteroftrust.org/programs/hairmatsinfo.html> Matter of Trust</a>. On a walk to downtown Berkeley, we stopped into a beauty salon and asked if the hair that landed on their floor had any chance of helping the folks in the Gulf area and were told that someone from UCB has been stopping by on Fridays to pick up the much needed supply of surplus hair.
Since the BerkeleyUniversity's Public Affairs office was about two blocks away we immediately toddled over and asked if they could confirm the story for us. The receptionist gasped: "Wow! That's a good story!" and promised to track down a source so that we could add a substantiating quote to our potential "scoop."
We checked with a few more beauty salons. One lady said she had the business card of the person who had contacted them, but the search was unproductive and we were left with only anecdotal information about the collection of hair for use in the oil cleanup efforts.
Scoops in the Internet era become a funny thing. We were hustling to get the story first, but then realized that we'd be glad to give permission to cross post this column to both the <a href =http://www.berkeleyside.com>Berkeleyside</a> and <a href =http://www.Bekrleydailyplanet.com>Berkeley Daily Planet</a> websites.
The Berkely Daily Gazette, the Berkeley Barb, and the Berkeley Tribe are all gone, but that doesn't mean that things have quieted down as far as Berkeley news is concerned. There is a new hard copy weekly newspaper that is being reported to be in the final countdown to a launch edition.
The Public Affairs office hadn't sent an e-mail by the weekend, so we have to fall back on only anecdotal substantiation and web links for this column, but oh well such are the current conditions that prevail in the high pressure world of deadline blogging.
We can toss in some extraneous facts, such as "Berkeley against Torture Week" will soon be on the agenda of the Berkeley City Council. Wouldn't it be a great news story if University of Berkeley law professor <a href = click here;John Yoo</a> showed up to speak in favor of torture?
Michael Parenti will be the guest speaker at Moe's Books on June 23, 2010 and we expect to do a column about that event.
We noticed that the Jalopnik DOTS photographer covering "the island that rust forgot" got married this weekend, so we will send him a congratulations e-mail . . . and maybe send another on to his boss asking if they would want me to hop on an AC 51B bus and take some car pix in Alameda while the fellow is gone on his honeymoon.
Speaking of travel and hostels, we are going to apply to the Gonzo Journalism Foundation, which coincidentally is located in the very same place where the World's Laziest Journalist Home Office is located, for a writing grant to go verify a news tip we received while visiting in Fremantle. According to our source, the difference between summer and winter in Ireland is this: "In summer, the rain is warm; in winter, the rain is cold." As a journalist, Doubting Thomas is our role model and so we may have to look for a bargain fare to go substantiate the veracity of this news tip.
Then again, since Democrats are being prompted by President Obama to change their skeptical and judgmental attitude towards Bush's war crimes, we might have to go to Munich looking for some bullet holes in the ceiling of the Burgerbraukeller as a way of learning about how to ease a country's conscience about the necessity of embracing aggressive questioning of prisoners. Could those bullet holes be just an urban legend or are they still there and can one actually take pictures of them?
Heck, once you get to Munich is it that much further to continue going East and to get back to Fremantle? Maybe I could go there for my haircut and have the cut locks sent back to the folks at the Matter of Trust offices in San Francisco. Hair doesn't weigh much so it probably wouldn't cost much to send the hair from there to the Matter of Trust folks.
Writing a column about the hair collection efforts in Berkeley gives this columnist the perfect opportunity to end by quoting lines from John Greenleaf Whittier's poem titled: "Barbara Fritchie." ""Who touches a hair on yon gray head, dies like a dog. March on!' he said."
Now the disk jockey will play "Lady Godiva," "Signs" by the Five Man Electrical Band (because of the "long hair freaky people" line) and the Hair Soundtrack album. We gotta go check out the prices of some airline tickets. Have "buzz cut" type week.