Archive for June, 2009

Are you ready for Comic-Con?

June 28, 2009

We thought it was about time to start looking into the possibility of getting a press pass (we got one in 2003) to cover Comic Con in San Diego next month

http://www.comic-con.org/cci/index.php

but we saw that there would be no more press passes issued for the 2009 event.

So, I guess that ends that idea.

Stay tuned to see what (if anything) we do cover in July
There’s always “The Call to the Wall” iln Malibu. We could get there on an MTA bus.

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Did Kerouac have a role model?

June 26, 2009

Recently this columnist has been doing some fact-checking (not enough to jeopardize his standing as the World’s Laziest Journalist – just enough to keep himself amused on a quiet Summer afternoon) when we stumbled across the story of Will Parker contained in the October 16, 1939, issue of LIFE magazine.  The story (lest you forget) tells about the young man’s hitchhiking journey from San Francisco to New York City.  His travel pal, Hart Preston, took the photos used to illustrate the story of the pioneering hitchhiker.

Did Jack Kerouac read and become influenced by this pre-war adventure story?  He would have been about 17 years old in October of 1939.  Did he happen to read that particular issue of LIFE magazine?  Did Neal Cassidy?

This columnist, who was greatly influenced by Kerouac, recalls reading the Will Parker story in LIFE while doing some recreational reading during his college years, in the University library.  Was it as great an influence as the reading of “On the Road” and/or “Death in the Afternoon”?  Doesn’t it at least seem likely that Will Parker was one of the contributing factors?

Now matters get even murkier for the columnist because this information would be a very great topic for the readers at the Digihitch website, but previous attempts to jump through the digital hoops necessary to be able to cross post this column on that particular site, have proven to be an insurmountable obstacle.  Dang!  Woldn’t it have been marvelous to cross post some of the dispatches from Australia on that travel oriented site?

Which brings up this bit of insight:  when railroads were in the formative stage some brilliant planner advised them to facilitate the industry’s growth by adopting industry standards so that one company’s locomotives and passenger cars and box cars could avail themselves of travel opportunities on other firm’s right of way.  Universal standards gave them the bases for unlimited growth in the United States.   Is the fact that cross posting one column on three different sites causes some formatting challenges with each new venue, be a hint that the Internets still hasn’t learned the railroaders’ secret?  Could individual firms that want to have clients pay for their own unique scripting, be causing a “tower of babble” type delay in the growth of the Internets?

The Beat Museum in San Francisco, would probably find that a copy of this particular LIFE magazine would be a worthy addition to their library and or exhibition.  As luck would have it, while this installment of the Saturday Column was being written, we wandered into Hodgson’s Antiques in South Pasadena and found that they had copies of various issues of LIFE for sale, but, unfortunately, not the particular one with the Will Parker story in it.
Getting back to Will Parker (of the LIFE magazine fame), bloggers can find information and topics that haven’t been subjected to “overkill” on the Internet if they make an effort.   

Commenting on what paid pundits have just said, isn’t journalism and, quite often, it isn’t full of stunning insights and perceptive comments, but it is easier to do than actually going out and scrounging up original material. 

Take, for example, the topic of car-spotting.  If a columnist wants to use his own time and his own (or the one at the Pasadena Public Library?) computer for a bus-man’s holiday (15 yard penalty bad “on the road” pun!) and put some photos on his blog for Jersey Bill and a few other friends to see, then he has to go out and shoot some pictures.  Some of the pictures are not examples of Ansel Adams like technical perfection, but is there a market for sarcastic critical comments about car-spotting photos?  The only logical reaction to seeing photos on a car-spotting blog would be to go out in your own neighbor hood (such as Alameda?) and take and post your own photographs.  . 

What ever happened to Will Parker?  That question brings up a rather disturbing possibility and subsequent topic.  In 1939, what were the odds that a healthy young man of 21 would live to see his thirtieth birthday?  Did Darwin take into consideration for his “survival of the fittest” theory the fact that quite often humans send only their very best off to war leaving the home front to cope with survival of the species by providing the women with an available assortment of queers, former prisoners, mental defectives, and physically impaired men.  If Will Parker died in action, shouldn’t Jack Kerouac have, at least, mentioned him in the acknowledgements section of “On the Road”?

British Sci-fi writer John Christopher wrote about the intergalactic adventures of a young man named Will Parker, but we’ll leave it up to some future doctoral candidate in literature to assertain if there is a cause and effect link here or just a co-inky-dink.

Will Parker may have been a hitchhiking pioneer but he seems to disappear without a subsequent trace while the likes of Kerouac, Cassidey, and Alan Ginsburg were left to thrive and prosper among the hordes of lonely affection starved women in the United States.

The Will Parker issue of LIFE also had “mug shots” of the various new 1940 brands of cars in the Speaking of Pictures segment and featured a promotional story for the film titled “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington.”

One of the “selling points” Parker used to help himself get rides was the fact that good current events chats were assured because he was carrying a portable radio on the journey that took 12 days and cost the traveler $23.60.

The photographer’s existence was basically ignored, which gives the story a bit of an “unrealistic” spin to it.
It’s obvious that this column isn’t an astounding example of the potential of the citizen journalist movement on the internet, but did you really want or need a columnist to add his voice to the chorus of disapproval the pundits have showered upon the Iranian elections and the American President’s response to it?  You do?  OK!  How about this:  Iran, that wasn’t very nice.  Shame on you.  Feel better now?

In summing up Will Parker’s adventure, the writer noted that Will Parker had by talking to the various 29 good Samaritans, who had given him a lift, conducted his own public opinion poll on the country’s mood.  On page 52, it was noted:  “Most were in favor of Social Security and keeping out of war.”  My how times have turned things around, since then, eh?

[Note:  does society change?  Wasn’t one of the few (only) newspapers which ran the death of Elvis Presley as the headline story on page one, the Santa Monica Evening Outlook?  Back then most newspapers didn’t want to compete with People magazine.]

Now, the disk jockey will play the Michael Jackson – Mick Jagger duet titled “State of Shock”  We’ll take a break.  Have a “moonwalk” type week.

Kitsch abides

June 22, 2009

What if there was a you-tube type site that only had kitschy things?

Well, there is and it is called “Everything is Terrible.” Check it out:

Everything is Terrible

Did Bush shave points?

June 19, 2009

Many moons ago (AKA the Fifties?), there was a scandal about college basketball players who “shaved” points. At the time, this columnist was so naïve that he figured as long as they didn’t let their team lose, it was OK. Later, as a more mature individual, who could appreciate the dishonesty of messing with the point spread and the impact that could have on the adventurous individuals who had place wagers on the outcome, it became obvious that not winning by the greatest amount possible was just as wrong as deliberately losing the contest.

Can any pundit seriously suggest that President George W. Bush may have been a mole for his family’s old business associate Osama bin Laden and “shaved points” in a way that helped make a victory in the search for WMD’s in Iraq impossible? The most fanatical of Bush critics cannot help but note that the quick road to “Mission Accomplished” was so textbook perfect and efficiently executed that only a “graybeard old loon” would dare to hint that the Baghdad Peace agreement was not only George W. Bush’s finest achievement, but also a direct result of one of the all-time great American military victories.

Didn’t Bush supply all the number of troops his generals requested?

Wasn’t Bush relentless in his attempts to capture bin Laden in the Tora Bora area?

Didn’t Bush go right to the main target? He swooped into the empty WMD store rooms and was just as surprised as anyone else when they found “the cupboard was bare.” Wasn’t bin Laden, Heussein’s ventriloquist’s dummy? Could any serious student of military history suggest that Bush’s invasion of Iraq was as foolish and inopportune as when Germany went out of its way to drag Russian into World War II?

One of Osama bin Laden’s aims was to cripple the American economy. Didn’t George W. Bush predict that Iraq was a piece of cake that could be handled quickly and efficiently and stick to that promise and not (as they say in Hollywood) go over budget?

Wasn’t his quick achievement of the Mission Accomplished goal done with blitzkrieg like efficiency so that the United States economy would not be crippled by a long, protracted and costly war? Didn’t George W. Bush studiously avoid all the errors made by the German guy precisely because he was haunted by the specter of the post war economy that left the WWII loosing country’s economy in a shambles? If you’ve seen the bonuses handed out around Wall Street recently, you wouldn’t have to ask about how America’s economic heath is doing.

To hear George W. Bush’s harshest critics, he and his cronies clung to illusions of victory much like the urban legends about remote islands in the Pacific that are still being run by Japanese military units who think they are valiantly holding out for the sake of the emperor.

George W. Bush’s goal was to import democracy into the Middle East, which had been a bastion of desert kingdoms and state sponsored theocracy. Today Americans can point with pride to the fact that elections were recently held in Iran and except for a few malcontents (like the Democrats who live in Florida) the triumph of Democracy in Iran is something which will make American hearts swell with pride. Despite what the communist agitators say, the results are (like Bush himself) unimpeachable.

Thanks to George W. Bush, President Obama has inherited a “to do list” which will afford him plenty of time for “date night” excursions and triumphant tours of the world where he will have plenty of practice for getting used to world wide adulation as Bush’s proxy.

The time has come for pundits to finally admit that George W. Bush didn’t lose the war, but, as Stephen Colbert so proudly proclaimed in Newsweek, decisively won the war in Iraq and it’s time to turn to more mundane matters.

Since journalists are used to being admitted free to various event in order to provide news coverage of the various events, maybe we should apply for a press pass to cover the upcoming columnists convention in Ventura? If journalists have events they must hand out “press credential” to folks who want to cover the event, eh?

The recent crash of the Air France flight was a major tragedy, but have any of the pundits pointed out that the number of people killed, 228, brings up the question of why were they using an airbus to do a job that could have just as easily been done by a smaller Boeing?

How many people, who attended the Summer Nats in Canberra on the New Year’s weekend, will make it to the L. A. roadster show? Will the So Cal folks dig and be hip to it if you war a “SummerNats” T-shirt?

L. A. went “uberenthusiastic” with the Lakers victory. This columnist wishes that he had bought a “West Coast Eagles” T-shirt when the chance was available because such a garment would confuse the heck out of the football fans in what used to be Rams territory.

Some time back, we wrote a column lamenting the plight of L. A. attorney Richard Fine, who, according to his supporters, is being held political prisoner. Recently Leslie Dutton featured that story on her Full Disclosure TV show.

Why does Word program always challenge a sentence written in the passive voice? How the heck can you put it in the active voice if a judge ordered Fine to jail for contempt and the guy was a victim of political vindictiveness? Does this active voice sentence work: “Fine is currently enjoying an extended stay in Los Angeles County jail, provided free by a judge who was concerned that the activist lawyer was spending too much time at work and needed some reset and so proscribed that he take a ‘time out.’’?

Isn’t it odd that one particular online company best known for printing T-shirts for bloggers would not permit a certain columnist to use a clever T-shirt design, which was critical of the invasion of Iraq and included a swastika, but now seems to sanction the selling of T-shirts that advocate using liberals for target practice?

Has anybody taken a critical look at the Governator’s idea about selling California’s assets? Do you see another windfall coming to the fat cats? Let’s say you buy San Quentin Prison. Are you going to be running it as a non-profit charity? No? Well then you have to tack on some profits when you run it. What will the net effect for California citizens be? They have to come up with more money, because they are (ultimately) the ones who pay for prisons. How the heck can adding a middle man save money? Why doesn’t the wolfbpack at Fox question this illogical suggestion?

Speaking of rip-offs, were doing some fact checking at the World’s Laziest Journalist World Headquarters and would like to know if rip-offs by businesses are become more prevalent. If you have anecdotal evidence of a business rip-off please leave a vaguely worded (no brand names or company firm names, please, because we don’t want to see you fight a libel and or slander suite) brief description of what happened and how much of your money they got.

Isn’t it odd that big business can, as was reported this week in the Los Angeles Times, sink $3.5 million into “60 Frames” and then let it slide into oblivion, while an eight year (approximately) old liberal effort has to hold recurring fundraising efforts. Didn’t Bill O’Reilly insinuate that some mysterious fat cat (called Sore-U. S.?) hands out operations funds to liberal web sites as if they were as easy to come by as the free candy in a real estate agent’s office?

Gypsy Rose Lee Quote: “If a thing is worth doing, it is worth doing slowly . . . very slowly.” Did she mean a thing like ending the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Cover ups? The world is becoming a cover-up playground and so the disk jockey will spin Dr. Hook’s “Hey Lady Godiva,” David Rose’s “The Stripper,” and an old rare copy of Jimi Hendric playing “ Night Train.” (Did you want a more traditional version? It’s time for us to take off. Have a “let it all hang out” type Sixties flashback week.

Hitchin’ a ride

June 18, 2009

While we are running items about online sources for “on the road” information, let us not forget
Digihitch

Digihitch

It has all sorts of pages to investigate. So, what are you waiin’ for? Click the link already!

What became of the Monk?

June 18, 2009

One of the great “on the road” pioneers on the Internet was Monk magazine. Two guys traveled about putting out a real magazine from their moble office. They now do web consulting (as pioneers are entitled to do). You can find out some of the Monk history by exploring around on this site:

http://monkmedia.net/MonkMedia.swf

On the Road websites

June 17, 2009

We love beatniks and “on the road” information of all sorts. Recently we saw that Rand McNally had a blog with an entry about barf bags and, since we had posted a similar item, we took a look at their blog.


http://ontheroad.randmcnally.com/

In fact checking for this, we found a lenghty list of blog links


www.blogged.com/directory/recreation/travel/travel-tips

Another good source for “on the road” stuff is Roadside America here is there web site

Better Late than Never

June 15, 2009

[<B>Book Review</B>]  At the same time that General Motors was a top news story last week, we happened upon an Avon paperback copy of J. Patrick Wright’s book “On a clear day you can see General Motors” and we snapped it up with a lightening like move that brought to mind the expression “gun fighter’s reflexes.”  It seemed likely that the 1979 book might yield up a great quotable sentence to use in one of the Saturday columns, but when we opened it up and began to skim, we realized that we had hit a gold mine for a source of many great quotes.  Unfortunately the Introduction clouded the prospect by revealing that the book was originally to be written by John Z. De Lorean himself . . . with some help from Wright.  So how do you attribute quotes from this book?  Are they John De Lorean quotes or do you give a quote about a board meeting at General Motors and attribute it to Mr. Wright? 

The title of Chapter Four, “How Moral Men Make Immoral Decisions,” alone, sparked hopes that it would provide the basis for a column with the topic being capitalism has gone out of control like a runaway truck on a long downhill road.

The money quote from all the great possibilities in Chapter Four would seem to be:  “A fraud on the American economy, because I always had a vague suspicionthat theannual model change may be good for the auto business in the short trem but that it wasn’t good for the economy and the country.” 

Hippies appreciated the fact that the “bug” didn’t change much each year.  The bug with the oval rear window, which was not split, was from 1955 – 57 (approximately).  In the 58 model, the rear window became a bigger rectangle.

On second thought, maybe the best sentence in Chapter Four is:  “It seemed to me, and still does, that the system of American business often produces wrong, immoral and irresponsible decisions, even though the personal morality of the people running the business is often above reproach.”  The writer continues:  “The system has a different morality as a group than the people do as individuals, which permits it to willfully produce ineffective or dangerous products, deal dictatorially and often unfairly with suppliers, pay bribes for business, abrogate the rights of employees by demanding blind loyalty to management or tamper with the democratic process of government through illegal political contributions.” 

A different group morality?  Mabye the Torture Truth Commission will want to explore this premise?  Could it do for the Torture question what the “magic bullet” theory did for the Warren Commission? 

Since General Motors and their plight have been in the news recently, many of this site’s regular readers and/or pundits may enjoy this book and find their own favorite of a juicy quote that is relevant in a “ripped from today’s headlines” kind of way. 

We will note, at this point, that book reviewers are often given blanket permission to quote and since this is a book review (we urge the publisher to reprint this important book and then flood the zone with it), we have availed ourselves of that privilege.  There are plenty of great quotes, you get the idea by now.  There’s no use overdoing the quoting bit.  This book review is only thirty years late but we urge our listeners to take the “better late than never” attitude to heart and make an effort to find, buy, (or borrow it from their local library) and read it! 

Lately, it seems that all the pundits have taken to all commenting on the most recent news development and no one takes time to try to draw the public’s attention to something which could help them learn about and then think about any one of these never ending divertissements, but we’ll break ranks and run this column about General Motors even though last week’s news is sooooo last week.

It’s a good book.  Read it even if you have to skip the commentators telling you what you should be thinking this week in reaction to the Iran election results.  Be bold and audatious.  Read “On a Clear Day You Can See General Motors” and then think about the issues that John De Lorean was trying to draw to the public’s attention thirty years ago.

Knowing what was going to happen to the General Motors official after the book was published, gave this read a rather spooky feeling.  If he was very moral then, how did he change between then and when he got caught on film?  Could it be that he was a “payback” victim because of this book?  If you don’t do your own thinking, then don’t expect the wolfpack of conservative philosophy purveyors at Fox to figure it out for you because this week they have to guide the country through the Iran election crises. 

Wait!  Maybe, this columnist got the fact checking wrong?  Did Fox commentators also draw your attention to this book recently?

If we ever learn how to say “Post in haste, proofread afterwards at leisure” in Latin, this columnist will then have his very own (original) motto.

Muhammad Ali boasted:  “Not only do I knock ‘em out, I pick the round.”  Does that describe the contemporary attitude in today’s American business world?  (What?  You wanted, instead the John Dillinger quote about Ford cars?)

Now, the disk jocky will play the Beatles, Stones, Flying Lizards, Led Zeppelin, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Doors  and the Smashing Pumpkins versions of “Money (That’s What I Want)” and we will go out to our swimming pool filled with money and do the Scrooge McDuck routine.  Have a “We hit the jackpot!” type week.

Yeah, I know.  He shudda played the <a href =http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KGZvQoPxhNs>Dinah Shore
</a> song.

“Heads, I win; tails, you loose!”

June 12, 2009

The old Laurel and Hardy comedy routine about turning a coin-flip decision into something which resembles the stealing of the 2000 Presidential election should be kept in mind when any liberal attempts to debate with a conservative because, conservative oratorical values and debating styles are quite different than what the liberals are used to using. To the conservative lying and being a hypocrite are splendid examples of modern Christian living. When they discuss contentious topics the conservative is not obliged to use the courteous rules of discourse. Here are some Conservative Debate Rules: The Bumper Stickers vs. White Papers Rule. Hubert Humphries complained to his staff that his oratory seemed to bore the audience. They told him that shorter, snappier points were more of a crowd pleaser than a long and through explanation of his philosophy and any possible exceptions to his general rules. The Image Rule When Hubert Humphries asked his staff why the public had a perception that he was short, they bluntly replied by telling him that he had a big head and that if you parked the Goodyear Blimp on top of the Washington Monument, it would look short. The Ann Coulter’s legs Rule If Ann Coulter is wearing a thigh high skirt when ske makes a clever point, how can a disreputable looking liberal guy refute her legs? The “Here comes the Hindenburg!” Rule The liberal, when he is permitted his 10 second opportunity to respond, must always stick to the subject. If the conservative is being trounced in the debate, he must immediately divert the topic to something completely irrelevant and extraneous. The “Never give up!” Rule In the book the leader of Germany wrote while he was in prison, he urged his followers to never admit that the opposition had the least possibility of being correct on anything. The Divide and Conquer Rule Conservatives (in public) adhere to the “One for all and all for one” advice, but the Democrats can be counted on to let a good pro-liberal talking point go unnoticed. Example: Do you think this column will be cross-posted in the Huffington Post? Not even if this particular section is cut? The Contradictions Rule Democrats operate on the premise that they should stick to proper debating tactics and that a flat-out unsubstantiated contradiction is invalid. Republicans will reply that famous social critic Montague Python would refute the premise that contradicting isn’t arguing, by saying: “Yes it is!” The too Obtuse Rule If Dennis Miller refuses to use any segment of his show to discuss the Robert Brasallich case because it was too obscure to be of interest to his audience, is it possible that he has ulterior motives? The “My God can beat up your god” Rule. The only person who can be given the chance to refute a Christian minister must be a Muslim woman in burke and facemask. The Three Examples Rule In an intermural (should the commets section be hijacked and go into a debate about the difference between “intermural” and “intramural”?) situation where the ignorant liberal must be inculcated with the correct way to think, any broad statement by the liberal must be challenged and a scholastic level of substantiating material must be provided. The conservative, who is omnipotent and infallible, can speak ex cathedra and is therefore exempt of any pesky need to digress by dispense the specifics about where the dumbfounded (conservatives have mostly found that the liberals are dumb) liberal can verify the veracity of the citations. Example: Brushing aside requests for sources to verify the broad sweeping assertion that the issue of the Queen Mary’s location on December 6, 1941 has been put to rest. If our fact checker can not find any means of verifying that statement and a conservative says “that issue was put to rest years ago and isn’t worth reexamining” that’s known as “ducking the question” and is an invaluable conservative debating dodge. On the other hand, when a liberal has the impudence to attempt to establish a contradictory statement, he (no conservative will waste time engaging a woman in a philosophical discussion) must “give three examples.” The “Always besmirch a liberal’s source’s qualifications and/or reputation” Rule When a liberal does give a source for his opinion, it must be vigorously challenged. Example. Barron Siegfried L. von Richthofen III personally told me that all German Shepherds are registered as Republicans. A conservative would refute that by reminding the audience that Siggy was very mean drunk and an SOB (no disrespect to your mom Siggy) and therefore his conclusion should not get any attention or credence (will “Looking Out My Back Door” be this week’s closing song?) when he is used as a scholarly source. The Incredulous Rule When a conservative is called something (say he is called a “conservative troll”), the proper response is to use a “I can’t believe you’d say something that stupid” reply accompanied by an expression that conveys a combination of hurt and outrage. Example: Is that supposed to be a “put down”? (Does a put down artist go around shooting horses who have just broken a leg?) The Ad Hominum Rule When a source is denounced for personal shortcomings (such as a famous night of drunken debauchery) that is an invalid debating strategy and is noted as such in any debating competition. Conservatives, however, refuse to abandon the ploy. The “Just kidding, dude!” Rule If a conservative is challenged for saying says something that is borderline racist the reply will be that attempts at humor are exempt from close scrutiny. Liberals are so very sensitive to not wanting to hurt anyones feelings, ever, for anything, that they will almost never avail themselves of this opportunity to make snide remarks. Thus giving conservatives a distinct debating advantage. The Perfection Rule Conservative need not be shackled by petty details; however if a liberal pundit makes one spelling urror; that invalidates the entire effort. Warren Commission Magic Bullet Rule If a wild idea helps with conservative goals such as refuting ideas that Lee Harvey Oswald didn’t shoot President Kennedy (because he couldn’t get off all the shots in the time span heard on the recording of the police officer’s open mike broadcast of the shooting) then go for it. Was the Warren Commission’s official motto: “You got your head right, Luke?” The “Cut to the Chase” Rule If a liberal speaker seems to be making too many salient points cut him short and snarl: “So What’s Your Point?” The altruism is for fools Rule. Wouldn’t it be very sad and poignant if sincere liberals donated their time and efforts to libear web sites only to have their efforts sabotaged by paid conservative trolls who use dishonest and misleading debating tactics? Quote (overheard in movie theater in Pasadena, earlier this week): “The effect of this bill is they’ll have no clothes but be eating caviar.” The disk jockey wants to play the “Theme from the X Files” and we want him to play Bobby Darren’s “Mack the Knife.” After loosing a coin toss, he will play the song with a shark in it and so it’s time to cut out. Have a “sharp as a razorblade” type week.

Never Give the Next President an Even Break

June 9, 2009

The headline on the front page of the Los Angeles Times for Tuesday, June 9, 2009, read: “U. S. caught in a tight spot on North Korea. Now that the President is a member of the Democratic Party, the pro-liberal (?) media is free to criticize him in a way they did not dare when the Republican President resented any negative insinuations, let alone negative tone, and he could regulate the use of the word “recession” and be immune from any disparaging remarks. Now, with a Democrat at the helm, the scrappy journalists are very eager to prove (via the use of Republican talking points) that “the gloves are off.” President Bush invaded Iraq because, he said, Iraq was about to acquire nuclear weapons. When it started to look like Iran would also be making nuclear weapons, Bush talked up a possible preemptive bombing raid. He used very tough talk and delighted all the conservative talk show hosts. Now that North Korea has nuclear weapons, the next man to occupy the Oval Office in the White House faces a loose-loose binary choice. He can either order a preemptive attack on North Korea in an effort to seize the weapons, but that could lead to a bloodbath that would make the toll being paid for the invasion of Iraq seem insignificant or he can back off and seem to observers like someone who has chickened out. Here’s a suggestion: Since Kim Jong-il’s strategy could be interpreted as a bid for attention, and since he also seems to be fascinated by contemporary American culture, especially Hollywood films, perhaps President Obama should invite him to a summit conference in Washington and then the new President could use his considerable amount of charm and a heavy serving of flattery to defuse the tension between the two countries. Bush has set up a clever “fork” for the new Democratic President to face. If President Obama goes for a military solution to the dilemma, the Democrats will feel betrayed by a new war. If he takes the other choice and just remains mum, while Kim Jong-il struts about commanding the world’s attention, he will outrage all Republican and more than a few Democrats. Most pundits who are eager to curry favor with the fat cats in the Republican party will be too polite to point out than any current confrontation with North Korea was set up as an inevitability by Bush. Unfortunately, this columnist didn’t get the memo urging the implementing of that “good Bushy” attitude. That may remind some W. C. Fields fans (Wasn’t it in “Never Give a Sucker and Even Break,”?) of the part of one of his movies that depicted a confidence game that a clever crook used to get a free lunch. The bad guy, who would be finishing up his meal at the counter would engage the guy next to him in a conversation. When it was time for Slick to leave, he would say to his new friend: “I’ll buy you lunch. When I tell the cashier, I’ll point to you and you wave and she’ll give me your bill and I’ll pay for both of us.” When the confidence man got to the cashier, he would say: “My buddy is going to pay for my lunch. It’s him.” He would then point to the sucker, who would wave back on cue. The cashier would assume that what she had been told was true and the swindle would be set in motion. Doesn’t it seem like Bush has done something similar with all the tough talk, Iraq invasion, threats against Iran, and his trademark swagger? Kim Jong Il is free to snarl: “What are you going to do about it?” Now, it’s time to pay the bill and for the new President to decide to “Put up or shut up” regarding North Korea. Bush reaped the benefit of talking touch and now his successor has to be thinking of the old Vietnam era assessment about the eagles coming home to roost. Mae West quote: “A man has one hundred dollars and you leave him with two dollars, that’s subtraction.” Was she a Republican? Now, the disk jockey will play the country tune that surely must be gaining in popularity in the West Wing these days: “Holding the bag” by Moe Bandy and Joe Stampley. It’s time for us to take our bill over to the cashier and leave. Have a “You Can’t Cheat an Honest Man” type week.