Crisis hotline on Golden Gate Bridge by Bob Patterson
A suicide hotline on the Golden Gate Bridge
"Roi Ottley's World War II: the Lost Diary of an African American Journalist" (University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas - 2011) edited by Mark H. Huddle came to our attention while we were in the Berkeley Public Library looking for books with information about the fall of Paris in 1940. We had never stopped to consider the potential existence of material that would cover the topic of the journalism in WWII done by writers with a pan African heritage. A footnote reported that an article by John D. Stevens, titled "From the back of the Foxhole: Black correspondents in WWII" indicated that there were at least twenty-seven such individuals. Could one of our columns spawn a doctoral dissertation project?
We had never before heard of the double "V" campaign that sought to publicize (and correct?) the irony that pan African soldiers from a country with segregation laws had risked death to fight a war against the white supremacist philosophy expressed by the Third Reich.
We learned that Roi Ottley had attended St. Bonaventure College and since we were preparing to act as tour guide to San Francisco for a high school classmate who had attended that institute of advanced learning, we knew we'd have something new to add to the conversation as we did the tourist bit in the bay area.
Recently we noted that Democrats were a tad disappointed in the developments in the realm of the XL pipeline, gun control, immigration reform, and the Civil War in Syria, and so we thought it would be a good idea to get a stock shot of the suicide hot line that is located adjacent to the Golden Gate Bridge combination bike path and walkway. Maybe some disgruntle Democrats need to hear a bit of the old "buck up and stay the course" encouragement rather than doom and gloom assessments of how the Bush Forever War is lasting a long, long time and seems about to be expanded into a new Middle East country.
"Jersey Bill" is an avid bicyclist, but he thought that the Golden Gate Bridge's effort to combine a walkway and a bike path was a klusterfuk. We concurred. Jersey Bill and his wife passed on the suggestion to go out to Treasure Island and see where the Pan Am office had been located. They were, however, up for a trip down Nostalgia Lane to the intersection of Haight and Ashbury.
We knew that a Ben and Jerry's ice-cream store now sits on one of the corners of that world famous intersection and we decided that a photo showing the new franchise for the chain that made the Cheery Garcia flavor and is situated less than two blocks away from a home that was once occupied by Gerry Garcia, might be a chance to work in some sly references to AARP aged peaceniks who protested the war in Vietnam and must now work up some new anti-war slogans to express their disapproval of President Obama's program to supply weapons (and technical advisors?) to the Syrian rebels.
One of the stores in the area was hosting a jam done by a local musical group called the Garden Band. We looked them up and they have a page on Facebook and that got us thinking. Some time back we had a similar experience. A local band had played a free concert in the nearby Golden Gate Park. Sure enough the Jefferson Airplane also has a page on Facebook. It's a small (digital) world after all.
Old habits die hard and when we told our fellow high school classmate that we might describe the weekend tour of San Francisco in a column about Roi Ottley along with our recent prediction that the United States Supreme Court will declare gay marriage unconstitutional, Jersey Bill resorted to his decades old (how can that be if we are only 28 years old?) tradition of calling the World's Laziest Journalist a crazy person.
He reminded us of one or two of the very few erroneous predictions we have made in our long and distinguished journalism career. Hell's Bells, man, that's half the fun of being a modern practitioner of the three dots journalism tradition. Jersey Bill was unaware of the work done by San Francisco columnist Herb Caen. He did know about Walter Winchell because he had been carried in the morning paper in the city where we had been classmates.
Since the three dot journalism style of columns indicates many rapid changes of topics and since the internet has encouraged skim reading, we had always assumed that the old style of one topic per column would be vulnerable to a skip-a-long reading method and since Herb Caen's methodology was complete unpredictability of one paragraph to the next, imitating his style would trip-up the skim readers' game plan.
A columnist who embraces the serendipity style can throw a rhetorical question, such as: "Who is the only war criminal to win a Nobel Peace Prize?," into this paragraph and then blithely move on to bankers' chicanery in the next.
We tuned into the Stephanie Miller program on Tuesday of this week and heard her, Charlie Pierce, and the mooks inform their audience that some banks had determined that they were entitled to the insurance money that would be paid out to the people whose homes had been destroyed by tornados in Oklahoma. The banks figured that they could collect the insurance company payouts to pay off the mortgages of the destroyed homes. That radio team also pointed out that many of the Occupy folks were arrested for protesting the bankers' greed but not one banker has been arrested for taking homes from hard working Americans.
Speaking of video of folks crying on camera, we learned on CBS Evening News, earlier on Tuesday, that a politician in Colorado who urged gun control is facing a recall challenge.