Now that President Obama has checkmated the Republicans and can coast to reelection, it seems that while Congress takes its summer vacation the folks who write political punditry can also kick back and use the dog days of summer to churn out some content on other more mundane matters.
Some recent items from the Beatnik file have been accumulating on our desk and so we will use this weekend's opening of the "Magic Bus" (Ken Kesey's search for a cool place) movie as an excuse to do a roundup of items from the reporter who collects those tidbits of news and information about being "on the road" and lump them all together in one column.
We've been accumulating some new "road" books and are in the process of reading Alistair Cooke's "The American Home Front," which presents the story of that Brit's road trip throughout the USA in the early stages of WWII. Cooke was one of the few journalists who covered the war's effect on civilians while most of the countries journalists flocked to the various battle fronts.
At the beginning of John Steinbeck's book "Travels with Charlie," he talks about an encounter on an airplane trip with John Gunter and how they compared notes about how their two styles of gathering material differed. Isn't it odd that at the beginning of Gunther's book "Inside the USA," he tells readers that he used the itinerary of his crisscrossing road trip around the USA to gather the book's material as the outline for his way to present his material in the book? Does that make it a "road book"?
At the Berkeley Public Library Main branch book store we discovered "It isn't a Bus," by Martha French Patterson and Sally Patterson Tubach, which is about Charles Everett Patterson's (no relation to this columnist) pioneering efforts to turn a Flexible bus into a motorhome and tour the USA in it, after World War II.
We are still plodding through a borrowed copy of Douglas Brinkley's "Majic Bus."
On Thursday, we learned that President Obama intends to go on a campaign style bus tour in August. Sarah Palin did a brief bus tour publicity stunt earlier this year.
If the World's Laziest Journalist's efforts to become the pundit that other pundits read first has stalled out, then it might be time to post a terse ride wanted notice on Craig's list: "SWM seeks ride: SF -- NYC" and see if we can join the vast number of journalists taking America's pulse during this historic summer. If we catch a transcontinental ride on a band's tour bus, a chronicle of that journey might make us almost famous.
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