"My Man Godfrey" starring William Powell and Carole Lombard from 1936 was selected to be the first film in the Pacific Film Archives new Funny Ha-Ha series and was shown on Thursday January 16, 2014. Since the film is a screwball comedy about efforts to rehabilitate a homeless guy, we made an attempt to try to get one of Berkeley's panhandlers to be our guest at the nostalgic look back at a Depression era depiction of the life of a pauper. The film confirmed the cynical view that the more things change the more they don/t.
While walking back to our base of operations, we chanced upon a new addition to the Berkeley business scene and opted for a nosh and a late night coffee. We were operating in the guise of a Herb Caen wannabe searching for column items that would be interesting, amusing, and informative.
Did you know that football injuries are not a new topic? One of the clerks at Pacific Cookie Company on Telegraph Avenue informed us that the subject had caused her grandfather, Dave Meggyesy, to quite his job as a professional football player and write a book on the subject. He was given the opportunity to go on the Dick Cavett TV show to promote his book (isn't such video content called "promobabble"?). It turned out, according to the clerk, that a fellow guest that night was Janice Joplin and the singer, we were told, came on to the author. We then had the chance to view an excerpt from that episode that was available on the Youtube website. The St. Paul moment when Meggyesy heard a bone snap sounded familiar. Seeing the snippet of the show made us realize that we had seen that particular installment of the Dick Cavett Show when it was originally broadcast. Is it time for a paperback publisher to reissue Meggyesy's book, "Out of their league"?
Extreme Pizza on Shattuck Ave. seemed like a logical place to look for a new entry in our attempts to find the best pizza in Berkeley. What we weren't expecting was a chance to cross an item off our Bucket List. While returning to the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory at its secret location in the vicinity of the UCB campus, we noticed a motorcycle with a sidecar attached. It was in front of the pizza parlor and a nearby panhandler informed us that the owner worked inside the pizzeria. We have done a story about the replicas of a 1939 BMW motorcycle (Google Imz-ural) but a ride in a motorcycle sidecar was an item that still lurked on our Bucket List. We learned that the cycle's owner was connected to the Shattuck Ave. source for a pizza fix. Since he did not have a spare helmet with him, he offered the chance for the World's Laziest Journalist to return on Saturday for a ride in a sidecar. We have ridden in a biplane and the view from the sidecar is better because it isn't restricted by wings and a fuselage.
What does a whimsical description of a trip through Berkeley in a motorcycle sidecar have to do with insightful and perceptive political commentary? Americans are avid advocates of the idea that the free press in the United States delivers the important information to the citizens that permits them to make informed decisions about which political candidates are the best choice.
Unfortunately the poor saps don't get any news about the situation at Fukushima and the most likely scenario for the attempt to contain the damage. The suckers don't get much specific information about the Target hack or where it originated. For complex political reasons, it is best if the free press just totally ignores the end results produced by the George W. Bush military adventure in Iraq. The cost effectiveness of the money being spent to support American military operations in Afghanistan is too complex for the listeners of Patriot radio.
Soap opera news that gets viewers all choked up watching a video clip that is the TV version of a classic Dorothea Lang still photo of a Depression era woman looking all forlorn and bedraggled, is now considered the modern equivalent of "This is London calling" journalism.
Journalism in the United States today might best be compared to the experience of asking a buddy about the hundred dollars he owes you and in response getting the question: "Did your mom get out of the hospital yet?"
The Pacific Film Archives retrospective of classic American Comedy moves, on Sunday January 19, 2014, featured the 1933 Marx brothers "Duck Soup," which tells the story of how a rich woman was able to coerce the fictional country of Freedonia into accepting Rufus T. Firefly (Groucho) as the country's Prime Minister. He promptly starts a war. The film seems to be a prescient parable prediction of the Presidency of George W. Bush and that idea could be expanded into a complete column.
Would a column about poor officiating and bad sportsmanship in a football game be a suitable topic for use in the realm of progressive punditry?
In the Golden Age of skim reading and the short attention span, the challenge for someone who is expected to produce a steady stream of attempts to refute the Republican strategy of disparaging Hillary by providing sexist humor (where were the sexist Republicans when Sarah Palin was in the spotlight?) that questions the wisdom of giving the vote to (to use Frank Sinatra terminology) frails, the challenge will be enormous because you can't refute a funny one liner with a classroom lecture on liberal values.
The only valid way to fight a humorous attack is to "top" the one liner. For example, when a woman said to Prime Minister Winston Churchill that if he were her husband, she would put poison in his coffee, he replied that if he were her husband, he'd drink it.
If the Republicans want to make Hillary the butt of their jokes for the next two and a half years, then the Democrats need to respond with ridicule for the Republican candidates.
The Brad Friedman's Bardblog website pointed out a marvelous bit of Chris Christie humor by showing members of his audience a duet done by Jimmy Kimmel and Bruce Springsteen. (Google hint: Jimmy Kimmel Born to Run Spoof)
The Republican strategy for the Presidential Election seems to be a repeat of 2012. They will let the media grind a series of Republican front runners into mincemeat and then at the last minute provide an unsullied "savior" candidate who has been waiting in the wings. Our prediction for the last minute reluctant Republican candidate is JEB Bush.