On the morning of August 18, 2011, while the cable channels with new were delivering non-stop monitoring of the numbers for the Dow Jones industrial average, people who were more concerned with automobiles were pouring into the town of Monterey California where their attention was focused on more esoteric topics such as the pre-auction estimate that a privately owned Ferrari would sell for two to three million dollars.
Anyone who asks why someone would be willing to pay that much for a car that had been driven in the 1952 La Carrera Panamericana race by Alberto Ascari and Giuseppe Scutuzzi should generate such expectations would probably not comprehend the answer.
Recently in both Berkeley and San Francisco, the ranks of the homeless asking for spare change seems to be growing exponentially, so which bit of news tells the true story about how the economic picture for the USA looks this week?
Journalists who focus on one aspect of contemporary culture can be compared to a gourmet critic who goes to a smorgasbord takes one bite of one offering and then basis his entire evaluation on that isolated bit of factchecking.
A writer with a sharp sense of irony might find it curious that at a time when more and more people are becoming homeless, the story for travelers arriving in Monterey was a modern variation of the "no room at the Inn." A single at a nationally know chain of hotels was available for $309. The local hostel was booked solid.
In a predicament like that a columnist might envision writing something that Chuck Thompson, author of "smile when you're lying: confessions of a rogue travel writer," would be proud to submit.
A Hunter S. Thompson wannabe might find enough material to make an expedition to this year's installment of the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance sound like it should be titled "Beer and Loafing in Monterey." Would "Champaign and Loafing" be more appropriate?
In an era when austerity measures have nearly crippled the concept of "paid vacation" assignments, if the Ferrari (serial number 0226 AT) with Vignale coach work sells for considerably more than the pre-auction estimates, the resulting sensation will trigger a desperate scramble at various news organizations that had failed to send someone to the weekend event.