Archive for the ‘Column’ Category

Impeachment again?

May 10, 2013

Republicans, who hate President Obama with a white heat level of intensity, impeached President Bill Clinton for a lie under oath about getting a blow-job and have been searching for a reason to impeach Obama since he was “President elect,” have managed to get the mainstream media to misunderestimate the political potential of the deaths of Americans in Benghazi and may be in position for an ambush attack regarding impeaching Obama.

America’s mainstream media’s tendency to practice wolf pack journalism (led by Fox?) was operating at warp speed this week as all hands became obsessed with a Cleveland crime story, while the Republicans performed the chess moves needed to put the pieces on the playing board in place for achieving the ultimate goal of the political maneuvering regarding the investigation of the Benghazi debacle.

Would the Republicans be so disloyal as to move towards impeachment while the President was distracted by American involvement in a new war in the Middle East? Doesn’t folk wisdom advise that everything is fair in love, war, and politics?

Realization of the ultimate political advantage of discovering deliberate lies regarding the events in Benghazi might explain the level of enthusiasm at Fox regarding the need for a full investigation into the back story about the handling of the events in Libya. When sharks smell blood, it’s a good idea not to get caught between them and the source because the concept of “feeding frenzy” is something you don’t want to experience first hand.

If reporters and politicians still trade information in the “off the record” mode of communication, then all parties might realize the political potential to be found in revelations about Obama’s whereabouts the night of the Benghazi events and thereby know that a headline grabbing search for the truth might be worth the effort, then a long replay similar to the Monica Lewinski circus may soon push the national discussion about guns off the top of the political agenda list.

Where were the drones when the attack in Benghazi was happening? Aren’t drone strikes as readily available in Libya as the delivery of a certain brand of pizza is in the USA?

The fact that the President’s whereabouts for the night of September 11, 2012 isn’t being reported, may mean that the Benghazi investigation may be a stealth way to introduce some embarrassing information into the news cycle without looking like it is just another political smear campaign. If President Obama has to lie under oath about the particulars of his schedule for that night, the Republicans would, once again, be able to loudly proclaim their brand identity with family values while evoking echoes of the Clinton proceedings.

Wouldn’t it be ironic if Congressman Mark Sanford, who was a leading critic of President Clinton’s inability to manifest the family values embraced by the Republicans, regains his status as a leading guardian of public morality by speculating where President Obama was (and what he was possibly doing) on the night of September 11, 2012?

In an era of a kaleidoscopic aspect to news coverage, a return to the constant drum beat of a slow procession to impeachment proceedings might have some additional nostalgic appeal for the Republicans. (We noticed a small item online this week informing readers that the North Korean missile units had quietly implemented a stand down order.)

Mike Huckabee, according to a Google News search earlier in the week, was the only Republican breaking the informal “news embargo” on the word “impeachment.”

If the lame duck President wants to drag out the process, that will only be to the advantage of the Republicans who would love to have impeachment proceedings coincide with the mid term elections in 2014.

If, on the other hand, the Democrats don’t want a long and nasty series of news events, while they contend with the riggers of reelection, then they might have to explain to the President that expediency trumps loyalty quite often in Washington D. C.

The mainstream media, for the most part, are owned by wealthy conservatives who would (presumably) be very cooperative with any efforts to act as accessories (like the chorus in a Greek tragedy?) for the effort to bang the drums slowly and gradually build the volume to a the level of a howling (lynch?) mob demanding “justice.”

Meanwhile, the Republican pundits seem to be missing a chance to ask why the terrorist’s widow isn’t being questioned by the interrogation specialists at Guantanamo.

The conservative pundits don’t want to exploit the impeachment implications of the Benghazi attack because they don’t want to tip their hand too soon.

The leftist pundits don’t want to bring the subject up because they don’t want to give the Republicans the idea of going that route.

“Bert Stern Original Mad Man” a film about the career of photographer Bert Stern provided us with a one night opportunity to experience time travel back to New York City in the Sixties. We considered doing a review of the film as the only topic for this week’s column, but, even though we enjoyed the movie thoroughly, the historic nature of the first full week of May 2013 overwhelmed the value of focusing exclusively on the pop culture diversion.

We had also considered doing a column about gun songs, but our effort to solicit suggestions on Facebook, produced only one title: the Beatles’ “Happiness is a warm gun.” We did some fact checking and found that Lorne “Bonanza” Greene had recorded a song titled “Gunslinger’s Prayer” and Weird Al’s song “Trigger Happy,” was on Youtube. Doing all the fact checking for an entire column about gun songs wasn’t feasible due to the time available and so perhaps, since guns seems to be the key issue for the 2014 mid term elections, we will ration out mentions of popular gun songs over the next year and a half.

The California Supreme Court disappointed pot smokers, who had approved a 1996 measure to sanction medical marijuana, by saying that cities had a legal right to quash dispensaries within their municipal borders.

On Tuesday of this week, the Armstrong & Getty featured a guy from the save the plastic bag dot com web site, who alleged that the idea that wildlife dies because of plastic bags is a myth and that since he has never seen pictures of the garbage island in the Pacific Ocean (apparently his Google image searches were unsuccessful) it doesn’t exist.

Isn’t it remarkable that all the things that treehuggers say always turn out to be myths but that any attempts to question facts from conservatives are automatically classified as lunatic conspiracy theories?

How long will it take conservatives to note that the case of the missing women in Cleveland, the terrorist discovered last week, and the recent flawless inspection of millions of homes in the Boston area might, if taken together, be enough to prove a need for a police inspection of all homes in America?

Speaking of the homeless, we heard a story on KCBS news radio that indicated that the (compassionate Conservative Christian?) citizens in the San Jose area wanted several million dollars to be appropriated to hire park rangers to keep encampments of homeless people out of some parks in the area. What happened to the “austerity cuts” meme?

Randi Rhodes, on Thursday, told her radio audience that if the police fumble on a call about a woman being held prisoner in a house, perhaps the Good Samaritan caller should just say they suspect that marijuana is being grown on the premises. That should, she asserted, get the SWAT team to investigate the tip and search the home.

Norman Goldman, (who is a lawyer) also on Thursday, gave his listeners a heads-up about the Cleveland case. The DA there has filed murder charges stemming from the alleged amateur abortion efforts of the suspect. If the abortions provide the basis for a murder conviction, the case could become a landmark game changer for the pro life abortion foes.

Charles Ramsey became an Internet celebrity this week when he provided the quote of the week: “I knew something was wrong when a little pretty white girl runs into a black man’s arms, I said, ‘Something is wrong here’.”

The disk jockey (for his suggestions for best gun songs) will play the Victory at Sea theme music, the 1812 Overture, and the theme song from the TV show “Have Gun Will Travel.” We have to go see “Gatsby” and see if it is as bad as the reviews lead us to believe. Have a “Kapooyah, kapooyah!” type week.

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Is getting hacked a new fad?

February 20, 2013

 

Link to new column

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/bob-patterson/48206/oscars-hacking-and-sequestration

 

<B>Posting a whimsical lighthearted column about the movie industry might not be a questionable move for a writer working in a country where approval, of the non-verifiable results from  electronic voting machines, is almost unanimous despite an overwhelming number of recent news reports saying that Google and Facebook have been hacked</B>.

 

The Oscar™ Ceremony will arrive just as American politics and punditry are put on “pause” while waiting for the sequestration train wreck (Why didn’t Obama just leave well enough alone and not put the wars back on the books?) to take center stage.

 

While living in tinseltown, there was one question that we were never able to ask let along get an authoritative answer from a qualified expert.

 

We would like to ask a simple binary choice question for two hypothetical film projects.

 

The first one would be this imaginary dream project:  Shane Black is one of the very best script writers available.  We get a script from him and it’s going to be a downhill coast to the bank.  So, hypothetically speaking, he hands us a “top of his game” script and then we ask the dean of the USC Film School to pick student actors and a crew from the junior class to film it.

 

Or

 

The most promising script writing student we can find delivers something that got him an A+ grade from a hard marking professor and then (magically) we get Martin Scorsese to direct, an Oscar™ winning cinematographer to work the cameras, John Williams offers to toss a few tunes on the soundtrack and then Robert DeNiro and Merle Streep sign on to head an all star cast.  They have to adhere strictly to the kid’s script.

 

If, after those two projects are completed and you could only go to see one, which one would you choose?

 

Speaking of Robert DeNiro, we loved seeing him team up with Al Pacino in “Heat” and that did good business.  So now we gotta ask:  Will Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise ever be matched up in one flick?

 

For that matter, wouldn’t you love to see what would have happened if Clint Eastwood ever get to play opposite John Wayne?

 

Can you imagine a cop, played by Angelina Jolie, tracking down a master criminal played by Nicole Kidman?  What if they both think Lenardo de Caprio is telling the truth when he tells each one  “I want to spend the rest of my life with you”?

 

Speaking of Brad Pitt, when we were in Kalgoorlie (in the W. A. [Western Australia]) we met a guy whose uncle had written a kids book about two spies who were married to each other.  Sounds like a flick Brad Pitt did with Angela Jolie, doesn’t it?  The last we heard the uncle was asking the Writers’ Guild to consider the possibility that there might be grounds for a plagiarism suit.  It’s been awhile.  We wonder how that worked out.

 

Did you like “Pritizi’s Honor”?

 

Folks watching “Apocalypse Now” are supposed to know that it is loosely based on Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness,” but didja know that Orson Well had a film based on the Conrad novel in development before he started “Citizen Kane”?  The Wells project was never completed.

 

Which would be better for music fans:  a new band gets to be the first to record a song written by the Glimmer Twins (Mick Jager and Keith Richards) or the Rolling Stones record a song that won an amateur song writing contest?

 

Far fetched speculation is fun as long as it doesn’t get taken seriously, but these days the best minds at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory (ACTF) are ready to signoff on American Politics because by clever mind games any attempt at telling the truth is automatically classified as an ungrounded conspiracy theory from a psycho case.

 

Movies cover a bell curve for truth.

Documentaries are supposed to be an accurate cinematic report on the real world.

Some films are accurate representations of real events.

Some films based on a true story sex up the script a bit to sell more tickets.

Some films distort things completely.

Other films such as Star Wars are complete fantasy.

 

American journalism has gone the “Star Wars” route.

 

How phony would photos of the World’s Laziest Journalist cutting brush on the WLJ ranch in the Berkeley Area be?  Why then did “journalists” sit silently by when President Tex, who was surrounded by Secret Service agents, posed for a few staged pictures and then the “newsmen” let the world think that a man who was surrounded by good guys with guns and had someone standing nearby with “the nuclear football,” would not hire some local trabajadors to do the work?  Hogwash!  It was a game of political spin and the Journalists were accessories to the deception.

 

The 2000 and 2004 Elections were both stolen, but suddenly and magically, after 2006 the unhackable electronic voting machines become completely beyond the capabilities of the foreign hackers who have been in the news lately and reverted to producing reliable results.  Stories reported by Brad Friedman indicate that the American people are being scammed by the assurances that the machines are unhackable but facts are now extinct and irrelevant for use in any debate with conservatives.

 

Some time back when election official in Washington D. C. challenged hackers to take their best shot at their new voting machines, a team from U of Michigan reported that while they were hacked into the machines they noticed that teams from Iran and China were also getting in there and taking a look around.

 

If the World’s Laziest Journalist can post the des key number for the electronic voting machines (F2654hD4) what makes the citizens, both liberal and conservative, so certain that hackers both foreign and domestic can’t crack the “unhackable” electronic voting machines?

 

Do you suppose that those hackers had anything to do with the light failure at the Supebowl?

 

The work crew at the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory (ACTF) will have to be furloughed because of austerity budget measures and so they would be better off concocting some “pitches” to take to Hollywood and maybe try to get an agent who appreciates a good imagination and a command of current events.

 

Or?

 

If the guys in white smocks at the ACTF just want to kick back and take life easy (as their boss already assumes they are doing) they should just try to become Republican Congressmen.  According to a highly classified ACTF report, here is a summary of a Republican Congressman’s weekly schedule:  Tuesday morning call in filibuster holds, ring out, and go off to their girlfriends’ apartment to start the weekend.

 

Hangfire!  That sounds good to the World’s Laziest Journalist, too.  Flo of Progressive Insurance has 5 million friends on Facebook.  How can we get her to “share” a link to one of our columns?  If we could become a Republican Congressional representative we’d only need a few dozen good friends on K Street to feel appreciated.

 

Meanwhile, we’ll pound out some columns just for (as the kids now say) sh*ts and giggles.  We know that we will never make more than a handful of readers (at best) stop and think about the theater of the absurd being played in D. C.  Why did just one kid point out that the emperor wasn’t wearing any clothes?

 

Orson Wells once said that making a movie is getting the biggest train set a boy could ever want.  Unfortunately we don’t have the exact quote for fact checking so we’ll just go with the most famous movie sound byte of all time:  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

 

Now the disk jockey will play Ringo Starr’s “They’re Gonna Put Me in the Movies,” Clint Eastwood singing “For All We Know,” and Paul Newman singing “Plastic Jesus.”  We have to go and take a break for a few days.  Have a “I want to thank the members of the Academy  . . .” type week.

Earning a black belt in double think

February 19, 2013

When the Berkeley Barb was busy railing against the Vietnam War, the editors would have to throw in some change-of-pace items to provide readers with a bit of serendipity outrage and so occasionally lefties would be asked to save a ration of their activist energies to become upset with the fact that some kindred spirits were being given life sentences for possession of a single marijuana cigarette.

The conservatives were adamant that the hippies in flyover country were getting what they deserved.  Now they wonder if they’d catch the liberals off guard by suggesting that any of those lifers who are still in prison should be given a pardon and their freedom.

Any kid who was given a life sentence in 1968, will if he or she were 20 years old at the time, be turning 65 this year.  What conservative wouldn’t be a walking example of schadenfreude in action if the folks who have been in prison all this time are given a full pardon (and thus save their state the cost of their incarceration) and face a life of retirement coping with a monthly Social Security check of Zero?

Isn’t it odd that in the states that had a liberal attitude towards pot smokers back when LBJ was the president, they are now experiencing a wave of change that indicates that rather than bring a liberal attitude to the states where some pot heads may still be serving out their life sentences, the states that were liberal are now being urged to fill their privatized prisons with culprits who wanted to toke up.  Would that be a retroactive “win” for the states that handed out life sentences for pot, all those years ago?

The CBS Evening News recently reported that many youths who are detained on possible violations of gun laws in Chicago must be released because of crowded prisons which make incarcerating the gun packing kids impossible.

No liberal or conservative will ever suggest sending the pistol packin’ punks from Chi to a privatized prison in Cali because the folks who run the privatize prisons aren’t going to want to deal with thugs.  Doesn’t it make sense that running a prison for space cadets who just want to chill is a much more appealing prospect than supervising a building full of toughs who know all about zip guns, shivs, and gang war brawling?

So it is that after all these years, the life sentences for pot are being retroactively ratified rather than revoked.

The kids who got a life sentence in the Sixties for a single reefer are now reaching that stage of life where constant medical attention will be subsidized by the states where they reside.  What conservative would not endorse the cost reduction option of cutting them loose at this late date and teaching them the value of self reliance via the old sink or swim tough love pardons?

If filling California privatized prisons with pot smokers while cutting shooters loose in Chicago doesn’t make sense to the readers of this column, perhaps they can start to change their thinking by rereading George Orwell’s novel “1984” and paying particular attention to the passages explaining the concept of “double think.”

At first the challenge of simultaneously holding two contradictory thoughts may seem like an impossible assignment, but if a white belt in a “double think” class watches the Republicans holding political offices it soon becomes evident that proficiency in “double think” can be achieved.

Students of double think, naturally, start their journey to enlightenment with the most difficult assignments.

For instance, a student will learn that George W. Bush didn’t have to have provide a coherent explanation for how the World Trade Center buildings fall down and go boom, other than “fool me twice . .  . won’t get fooled again!,” but President Obama must explain where he was and what he was doing (and with whom) when the attack on Bengazi was first being reported and then he must provide a full minute by minute account of how it was permitted to occur.  A double standard for explanations?  Are you really baffled by the question of “Why would one standard be applied to ‘Tex,’ and another to a Democratic President from . . . Hawaii?”

Students start shouting “Tell us!” and repeat the chant over and over again until they work themselves into a frenzy.  Try this at home and see if, after a couple a strong drinks and a few hours of chanting, you aren’t ready for a good old fashioned “necktie party.”

If a country is full of frustrated long term unemployed people, why not open up the employment market more by giving citizenships to resident illegal aliens?

Why would Americans believe that sending troops into harm’s way in a country where it is are just as likely for the locals to blow them up as it is for the enemy to set off an IUD, is a matter of necessity?  Isn’t it obvious that a country that has been reliant on the patriarch tradition that is centuries old, they’ll be ripe for change and anxious to try this Democracy fad?

If invading Iraq in a search for nonexistent WMD’s worked out so well, what’s the delay for doing a replay in Iran?

In a nation that fought WWII to preserve the Four Freedoms, isn’t it obvious that as the liberal media does the Cheshire cat disappearing act there will be growing need for liberals to buy a copy of “Conservative Thinking für Dummkopfs” before they get tossed into Room 101 for a bit of attitude adjustment?

Speaking of that, it seems to us that the St. Patrick’s Day festivities at O’Kelly’s bar (and the nearby Tiki bar?) at Guantanimo will be the wildest blowout since the good old days at the Purple Porpoise.  (If you have to ask, you don’t have the security clearance to get an explanation.)

That brings to mind an old perplexing question:  Was Felix Rodriguez pulling our leg when he bragged that, oh so long ago, a member of the Berkeley City Council (whom only he called “Che”) was causing a sensation singing at amateur night at the local C&W bars?

Rather than spinning our wheels futilely on liberal causes that will be filibustered in the court of pop culture, the new thinking at the World’s Laziest Journalist headquarters is that we should point out that Mick Jagger has song numerous noteworthy duets and Willie Nelson has had an album using all famous singing partners (“Half Nelson”), so why haven’t they teamed up with each other?  Who wouldn’t like to hear them do a duet for a rerecording of “On the road again”?  Or “Crazy”?  Or “Satisfaction”?

What would it sound like if a clever recording engineer, spliced together the Mick Jagger (from “Ned Kelly”) and John Wayne (from “The Quiet Man”) versions of the song “Wild Colonial Boy”?

If it’s true, as we have read in James Michener’s novel “Texas,” that when Texas joined the Union, they included in the agreement, a clause that says at their option they could break up into five separate states (which would mean 10 men in the Senate), we wonder if the talk about secession might not take a surprising new turn someday soon.

We have been told (hearsay evidence isn’t admissible in court)  that at one time in the past, the airplanes at a Texas Air Force base were picking up the AM band broadcasts (on super station XERF) of Wolfman Jack.

Speaking of going in new directions and doublethink, we might start to do some market research fact finding to learn the potential for forming a group to promote and appreciate hypocrisy.

Liberals who have never even tried doublethink can not conceive how a gay, pot smoking, Republican could ever endorse his party’s agenda, but if the liberals ever embrace hypocrisy it will be “game over” for the Republicans at election time.

Meanwhile, until that day comes, we have an FDR utterance for our closing quote.

Bartlett’s quotes a speech given, by FDR, on October 30, 1940, as saying:  “Your boys are not going to be sent into any foreign wars.”

Now the disk jockey will play George Hamilton IV’s “Abilene,” Dean Martin’s “Houston,” and Marty Robin’s “El Paso.”  We have to go do a Google News search for Sgt. Sunshine, the SF policeman who toked up on the front steps of City Hall way back when.  Have a “I’m a rich boy now!” type of Giant week.

Just a link

February 17, 2013

I will just post a link to my new column

http://www.smirkingchimp.com/thread/bob-patterson/48174/the-case-of-the-worlds-greatest-dog

It’s complicated and I’m running out of computer time at the Library.

Just dig it.

 

The case of the Overgovernmentalizing trend in Conservativeland

February 15, 2013

“Reporting at Wit’s End (Tales from the New Yorker)” (Bloomsbury USA, New York, N. Y. ©2010), which was written by St. Clair McKelway, is chock full of true life feature stories, mostly from the true crime genre file, from the Thirties and Forties.  The one titled “Who is the King of Glory” (written with A. J. Liebling), which was an example of a profile of a personality in the news, caught the eye of this columnist because we heard the name Father Devine years ago but have had no other information to add to his dossier.

The story hints that the famous cleric from the past was a tantalizing mixture of an amazing philanthropist and, simultaneously, (perhaps) a charlatan who gave mesmerizing sermons which were a jazz like riff using words rather than notes produced by a musical instrument.

According to information found online Johnny Mercer heard one of those remarkable talks and was inspired to write a song when he heard the phrase “accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative.”

The story in the book collection did not make a decisive conclusion and inform the readers about a final verdict on the question of any possible fraud or deception about how all the money that flowed into the coffers was spent.  We may have to look for a biography of the famed cleric to learn more.  That, in turn, made us question the journalistic quality of a piece that leaves a reader in the lurch about a central question.

The passages about Father Devine’s unique vocal style don’t do justice to it because in a transcript (page 112) much of the mischievous tone of the word play loses its magic.  “It has been tangibleated, and it can be retangibleated, it can and will continue to materialize, and repersonify, rematerialize, and repersonify, for the great materializing process is going on.”

The fact that a devotee left Father Devine a mansion and a large tract of land in Pennsylvania, made the World’s Laziest Journalist, who can barely get friends on Facebook to share a link to his columns, question his own ability to enunciate enchanting words and phrases.

At this point some skeptics (who want to ask a question in the manner of a Peggy Lee song) might wonder: “If that’s all there is to a career in online column writing, why not chuck it all and say ‘fuck it!’?”  To which we would reply “No my friends, not me.  I’m going to stick around, make fun of both the Republican and Democratic politicians, lace the columns with arcane, esoteric, and obscure facts that will provide Google bait to lure in new eyeballs (which in turn will cause the management to be [just a bit] more tolerant of this columnist’s eccentric style caused by misguided admiration for the three dot journalism pioneered by Walter Winchell and Herb Caen], occasional unintentional malapropisms, typos and/or misspellings, (lapses into poor taste?), and invent some new words (such as promobabble) in the hopes that some day some reader somewhere (Kalgoorlie W. A.?) might notice that sometimes this frazzled and idiosyncratic columnist has occasionally racked up a noteworthy achievement, such as posting a column like last Friday’s (It proved to be an echoed in advance of a news analysis on the front page of the New York Times on the following Sunday.) and thus be inspired to donate a mansion with a lavish surrounding estate, where the World’s Laziest Journalist Headquarters can then be relocated.

[Note here is the URL for the New York Times news analysis online.  People who are registered online as subscribers can copy and paste this link into their browser.  Otherwise it won’t work.

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/10/world/obamas-turn-in-bushs-bind-with-defense-policies.html?_r=0]

Until that happy day arrives, we will have to provide our self with our own rewards for churning out a stream of occasional original insights, underreported stories, and pathetic attempts to replicate the wit of George Carlin.

You want original insights?  Did the USA win the Invasion of Iraq or did a lot of Americans get killed and wounded and a number of defense industries experience a boost in business for conducting the most expensive criminal execution in the history of the world?  If it was an undisputed KO win, what exactly did the USA win?  Did the prognostications that oil revenue would pay for that military adventure turn out to be accurate?  If (subjunctive mood) the U. S. did not win will corporate owned media let any reporter say that, let alone just ask the question?

Need another example?  We have done volunteer clerk work for the Marina Tenants Association, which has been embroiled for years in a running dispute with the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.  Some members of the MTA have the opinion that the Supervisors grant real estate developers very lucrative deals to develop businesses in Marina del Rey, which is county owned land, and (hypothetically speaking) are given vast sums of money for their reelections funds in return.

In San Francisco, famed Candlestick Park, which is located on county owned land, will be demolished after the last Fortyniners’ Game of the 2013 season and the county owned land will be used for new private ventures.

The MTA is busy enough with Los Angeles County matters and they won’t have the time or resources to expand their citizen watchdog work into the San Francisco area.  The journalists in the Bay area will, mostly, be unaware of the fact that for more than fifty years some Nosey Parkers have been writing newspaper stories calling for investigations of the way Marina del Rey has been handled by the Board of Supervisors and thus the Bay Area reporters will not be alert to the potential for a monkey see, monkey do bit of (possible) chicanery in their circulation area.

The World’s Laziest Journalist does do repeated Google News searches to monitor the evolving story of the Los Angeles County assessor who has been incarcerated and has failed to post bail.  We keep wondering:  Is some law enforcement agency trying to negotiate some testimony in return for a sweetheart plea bargain deal?  If so, who are they trying to go after?

In the San Francisco area we noticed that as the 2012 Baseball Season drew to a conclusion, some baseball players had to sit out a few games because they had readings that showed a too high level of testosterone.  We have seen ads on TV that offer to increase the zest for life level of viewers by increasing their testosterone levels.  That made us wonder why Baseball players get punished for increasing their testosterone levels but viewers of the Evening News are urged to take measures to increase their testosterone levels.  Is that fair?

Would George Carling approve of the quip we made while watching the ads for the testosterone boosting products?  While watching the ad we blurted out the comment:  “If my doctor said I had low-T, I’d beat the shit out of him!”

On Thursday February 14, 2013, the Armstrong and Getty Show opened their phone lines and asked folks to make suggestions about how to protest the rising tide of overgovernmentalizing (we invented that word while waiting on hold for our turn to talk) in American Society, so we were full of testosterone and just wanted to suggest that folks call radio talk shows and say words that offend the FCC.  We didn’t want to actually say those words and incur a big fine.  We were immediately disconnected and the 10 second delay must have consigned our attempt to oblivion via the “memory hole.”  Guess they don’t have a sense of humor (at least we got a good item for the column from the effort).  Do conservative talk show hosts have an irony allergy?  Would Lenny Bruce approve our attempt to criticize big government?  Would Father Devine approve our attempt at wordification?

Speaking of increasing testosterone levels for feeling young, virile, and sexy, after we noted that this year will be the Chinese year of the Snake, we thought immediately of our quest to drive (or at least get a ride in) a Cobra and so we fired off an e-mail to the Los Angeles Shelby American Automobile Club (LASAAC), which includes a goodly number of examples of the famed car made by Carol Shelby, asking if they were planning any special Cobra events other than their annual car show, which is usually held in September on the Santa Monica Pier.

A club spokesman replied that there were no current plans for adding an extra Cobra event to their schedule to celebrate the year of the Snake.  Our expert authority concluded his reply with a quote that we will use for the column ending wisdom quote.  We were informed:  “Confucius say: Man who run in front of car get tired… man who run behind car get exhausted… and man who get hit by car get that run down feeling!”

Now the disk jockey will play the “Logical Song,” Joan Baez’s “Diamonds and Rust” (because of the line about “you were so good with words”) and Mama Cass’ “Words of Love.”  We have to go look up the meaning of omphaloskepsis.  Have a “senescence” type week.

Turnabout is fair play

February 8, 2013

“Turnabout,” the 1931 novel by Thorne Smith was given a very strong recommendation that sparked a relentless search in used book stores from New York City to Los Angeles.  The story is about the struggles of a married couple who became the victims of an ancient Egyptian god’s practical joke when he magically (as ancient Egyptian gods are permitted to do) switched their minds into the other’s body.

Our quest to find that obscure literary treasure came to an end in Los Angels many moons ago.  The book delivered the expected level of entertainment and in an odd twist of fate that copy of that particular paperback was handed off to the fellow who had given the original recommendation because he wanted to re-read the hilarious antics again.

It turned out that the concept of two fictional characters trading minds had previously been used in an obscure short story, written by A. Conan Doyle, about a student and one of his professors.

The concept of two disparate personalities switching host bodies was used in the Tom Hanks film “Big” which told the tale of a father and young son who experienced that particular transformation.

In a week in which Republicans were castigating a Democratic President for not following the rules of warfare and the Dems were shrugging off the criticism with studied nonchalance in the “I can’t hear you” mode of saying “bugger off,” the entire staff at the World’s Laziest Journalist headquarters was coping with a strong attack of déjà vu . . .

President Obama let an opportunity to investigate the possibility that George W. Bush and his posse might have (subjunctive mood) exceeded the bounds of good taste slip away and then when Obama gave his acceptant speech at the Nobel Peace Awards, he sounded a tad bellicose.  Now, the Obama supporters approach the subject of impeachment and charges of war crimes with a very Karl Rove-ish sounding collective voice and the Repubs (does that word mean folks who visit a tavern for the second time in one night?) are snickering with fiendish delight.

Isn’t there an old legal adage that states “Silence Implies Consent!”?

So if Obama was silent about any possible Bush complicity in war crimes (and he was), then, at the very least, the possibility has to be considered that Obama was an accessory after the fact for any (hypothetically speaking) Bush War Crimes.

The German High Command in WWII went to great lengths to insure that the citizens of their country didn’t know what was happening and thus they had a legitimate claim to say to the members of the various allied armies that occupied Germany after the war was over that the average German in the streets didn’t know what was being done in their name by their leaders.

George W. Bush made goddamn sure that his policies were reported by America’s Free Press and thus insured that sooner or later Americans would be accessories before, during, and after the fact to his dirty deeds, if, indeed, there were any.

How many conservatives completely ignored the precepts contained in Robert Jackson’s opening statement at the Nuremberg War Crimes Trial and cried;  “He (Bush) didn’t know that there was no WMD’s!”?  More than a few.

Any debate, at this point, over which Party’s guy did or did not commit war crimes is an exercise in futility.

The War Crimes Studies Center operates on the University of California Berkeley campus and since they haven’t made any headlines about launching an investigation into the possibility of any Bush war crimes, that aught to settle the question once and for all.

By a remarkable coincidence, John Yoo, who led the team of legal advisors that George W. Bush used to insure that he never, either deliberately or accidentally, did anything which might arouse suspicions of potential War Crimes, works on that same campus and perhaps the War Crimes Study Center could invite Yu to be a guest lecturer who would be able to suggest to other countries what effective measures could be used to insure that their leaders would never commit a War Crime.  Isn’t preventing War Crimes as the Yoo team did, just as important as studying other countries’ War Crimes?

On Thursday February 7, 2012, Senator Diane Feinstein explained to excitable, gullible political activists that their concern about civilian casualties from drone strikes are based on only seven or eight fatalities and that efforts to allay their fears and rectify their gross misperception, based on a regrettable clerical error, should be made.

The fact that the Dems now sound like Bush supporters and the Repubs sound like some old Berkeley peaceniks, might appeal to some people with a connoisseur’s appreciation for irony (Isn’t the dictionary definition of irony:  saying the exact opposite of what you mean?  Don’t many people often incorrectly use that word [irony] when they mean poignancy?).

The cavalcade of confusion this week on talk radio is what brought the old literary gem, Thorne Smith’s “Turnabout,” to mind this week.

Many of Smith’s comic novels were turned into classic movie comedies and later TV series.  His novel “Topper,” became a hit movie for MGM in 1937 (with Cary Grant as the ghost George Kirby) and later a popular TV series in the Fifties.  Smith’s “The Passionate Witch” ultimately became the 1942 hit movie “I Married a Witch” and subsequently that morphed into the TV series “Bewitched.”

Smith’s novel “The Bishop’s Jaegers,” which told a story about a rich geek accompanied by his adventurous secretary and recounts their reactions when they land in a nudist camp.  It was ahead of its time when it was published in 1932.  Apparently it is still a little too edgy to be adapted into a film script today.

The acquisitions librarian at the World’s Laziest Journalist headquarter’s tried for twenty years to acquire a copy of “The Bishop’s Jaegers.”  At one point he balked at the chance to purchase a collector’s hard back edition for a hundred bucks.  Ultimately, at a used bookstore on Wilshire Blvd., in Santa Monica, he stumbled across a used paper back in the bargain bin for a dime.

Isn’t it rather poignant to note that Germans are not afraid of nudity but they are ashamed of their country’s participation in war crimes while Americans are terrorized by the concept of a nudist camp but are completely unfazed by the remote possibility of any hypothetical involvement in War Crimes.

At this point, some of this columnist’s faithful readers might expect this column to segue into a column’s end quote using Australian outlaw Ned Kelly’s final words, but that, like a War Crimes trial for an American leader, aint’ gonna happen.

In an opinion piece titled “Fear and Loathing in the Bunker,” published in the New York Times on January 1, 1974, Hunter S. Thompson predicted:  “ . . . an American invasion, seizure and terminal occupation of all oil-producing countries in the Middle East.”

Now the disk jockey will play “The Age of Aquarius,” “Springtime for Hitler,” and Randy Newman’s “Let’s Drop the Big One Now!”  We have to go dig up a new wedge issue.  Have a “no foul, no harm” type week.

Who ya gonna call?

January 10, 2013

“Did Mr. Houdini really make the elephant disappear?”

“Yes,” I said.  “Isn’t it pretty to think so?”

Did President Bush make the expenses of running two wars disappear?  Telling the truth to Dubya’s loyal admiring fans would be as cruel and vicious as trying to take away their guns would be . . . and just as unproductive.

Modern Society is fueled by misperceptions.  Ridiculing the Emperor’s new clothes has always been a sure fire way to become an outcast.  A book of literary criticism summed it up in its title:  “Naked is the best disguise.”

In the early part of the Twentieth Century, there was a Congressman (everybody in Congress was a man back then and so the correct designation was Congressman) who was very popular and seemed destined to land in the Senate or the Governor’s office in Minnesota . . . until he criticized the role that bankers were playing in the effort to get the United States into the War to End All Wars.

That fellow, as a young lawyer, got into trouble when a bank sent him out to foreclose on a farm and he returned with the money that paid the farmer’s loan up to date.  The Bankers were furious and fired him.  He got his revenge by becoming a political activist who worked on behalf of farmers.  To show their gratitude, they elected him as their Congressman.

When a European member of nobility got shot and millions of soldiers were called on to die in the ensuing war, some influential decision makers in the USA saw the fracas as a sure way to increase profits for certain businessmen.  The fellow, who had been born in Stockholm Sweden, started saying things like:  “The war-for-profit group has counterfeited patriotism.”

Wasn’t patriotism what fueled the British soldiers’ charge into machine gun fire in the subsequent battles for “no man’s land” in WWI?  According to information we stumbled upon in a non-fiction book by Len Deighton, a curious thing called “the creeping barrage” may have augmented the patriotism.  It was alleged that in an effort to encourage soldiers to participate in the charge against the German line, an artillery barrage was laid down by the British.  It started behind the front line.  The shells were gradually moved farther forward and the soldiers in the trenches had the option of taking their chances with the barrage or running at the German line and see if they could get past them.  The image of brave young men running enthusiastically at the dreaded Bosch was very reassuring to the families on the home front.

The American Congressman had sealed his fate and his career in the halls of Congress was doomed.  He remained popular with his constituents, but they just couldn’t reelect him because of his views.  He tried in vain to become governor, but that didn’t work.

He was quoted as telling his son “In war it is not safe to think unless one travels with the mob.”

His achievements faded into the history books but not his name.  His son, Charles A. Lindbergh, Jr. became a celebrity pioneer in the field of aviation.

In an article on a notorious TV appearance by the singer Madonna, writer Norman Mailer hypothesized that celebrities (and politicians?), who were rascals, would be forgiven so long as they didn’t commit the one unforgivable sin, which is going against type.  Hence celebrities who project an image of virtue are dealt with severely, by the media and fans, when they are caught in a scandal.

You could be a cynic who tells America that Houdini didn’t make the elephant disappear, but showing them how he did it would be completely unacceptable.

Did Robert Capa fake his most famous picture?  According to his biographer Richard Whelan, Capa was a rake-hell who often embellished his achievements with heaps of exaggeration and so the possibility that the “Falling Soldier” photo was an elaborate ruse is irrelevant.

Why is it that Elvis Presley was drafted but James Dean wasn’t?

When we first encountered a best selling history of the USA that had a title that (we thought) hinted it would be a “tell all” expose, we had visions of giving it a place of honor in the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory reference library.  Upon closer inspection, it turned out to be “more of the same” that breathlessly described how various legendary American heroes had made the elephant vanish into thin air.

[Note from the photo editor:  the photos we had of Banksy’s Los Angeles art installation called “The elephant in the room” have disappeared from the World’s Laziest Journalist’s photo archives and so this column will run without an accompanying photo.]

Is it hard work to be the World’s Laziest Journalist?

Did a well known folk singer really “burst on the scene already a legend”?

Was Amy Sample McPherson really kidnapped?

Did one bullet really do all that damage in Dallas?

Did a famous editor lie to a little girl named Virginia?

Are Federal investigators still trying to learn who made money on short selling airline stocks on Sept. 10, 2001?

Did Building 7 ever really exist?

Was President George W. Bush really able to reduce taxes, wage two wars, and not make a significant increase in the deficit?

When it comes time to make the call always remember the old journalism axiom:  “Always print the legend.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Do you believe in magic,” “That old black magic ” and“ Magic moments.”  We have to go try to score some tickets for Houdini at the Hippodrome.  Have an “abracadabra” type week.

The sad state of Journalism in the USA

January 9, 2013

During the last half of the 1930’s, Europe was flooded with journalists from America, who were being paid to report on the ominous developments that indicated a trend towards fascism was occurring, and they, subsequently, became the subject for a trend spotting item for historians to unearth.  Concurrently radio was in its Golden Age stage and Hollywood was about to release the movies that marked the high water mark.  Critics agree that the films receiving Oscar™ nominations for 1939 were a remarkable collection of excellent movies that has never been equaled in the following years.

What makes 2013 different from 1939?  How good is radio these days?  In typical Irish style we’ll answer that question with another question:  Was there more or less political propaganda on radio in Germany in 1939 or in the USA today?  In the late Thirties in Germany, citizens caught listening to foreign radio stations were dealt with in a very severe manner.  Why doesn’t the app that lets Americans listen to American radio stations on their cell phone let them listen to foreign origin radio stations?

Have the movies gotten better?  An obsession with maintaining political correctness while attracting the largest possible number of paid admissions has rendered cinema moribund.  How many Ten Best lists included “Killer Joe”?  Is regimented thinking a bad symptom in a country that was founded on the principle of freedom of speech?  Ja,wohl!

How much demand for foreign correspondents is manifest in American Journalism today?

CBS had a list of foreign correspondents in Europe in the Fifties that was on the “all star” level.  Today about the only foreign correspondent working in Europe that we can name is Silvia Paggioli and she works for NPR.

Do the students attending college this year have any idea who Gerda Taro was let alone consider her a woman’s lib role model?

Those who forget the past are doomed to repeat history but what happens when the young generation is discouraged from learning history at all?

Back when LBJ was in the White House, the current issue of the French language magazine Paris Match was sold on the newsstand in the PanAm building each week.  (Where?)  Recently Al Jazeera bought Current TV as a way of gaining entrée into the American media market.  So far the response seems to be a cold shoulder reception.  Copies of Paris Match are available in Berkeley Public Library each week, but due to postal delivery the latest issue may be a tad outdated.

Are foreign language magazines (and points of view) a superfluous, unnecessary expenditure in a country that has renamed French Fries as Freedom Fries?  Has Freedom of Speech become an expensive, useless luxury in a time of austerity budgets?

Yes, you can use your Interenets connection to read foreign language web sites if you can read and understand sites using foreign languages or can fiddle with the “translate this page” option, but the few that do can easily be dismissed as unpatriotic conspiracy theory nuts.

Reportage in Washington has become a breathless scramble for spin rendering journalism into a copy of coverage of Hollywood luminaries.  When was the last time you encountered news using the phrase “an investigation has revealed” rather than “according to a reliable source”?

Rogue pundits out in the boondocks have as much chance of uncovering a scoop as do the members of the in crowd in D. C.   Neither group is going to get anything but announcements and news releases because everything that happens now in D. C. happens behind closed doors and journalists sit back and wait for the official press release to be delivered to their desk.

While the World’s Laziest Journalist was in the process of writing this column, we encountered a used copy of James Fallows’ 1996 book “Breaking the News (How the Media Undermine American Democracy)” for fifty cents.  We have read that book before but our copy of it is still out on loan somewhere in the San Francisco Bay area so we bought a new used copy to refresh our memory.

If well educated Americans didn’t heed Fallows’ 1996 warning what would be the use for this columnist to finish writing this column in early 2013?  On a cold day with rain in the forecast for Berkeley CA, it boils down to a line from “Rebel without a Cause:”  “We gotta do something.”

On page 74, Fallows starts off chapter three by saying:  “Any reporter born before 1965 did not go into journalism for the money.”

Was he trying to imply that Robert Capa got his self kilt for altruistic reasons?

Could stories about how the small coalition of military, bureaucrats, police, and clergy in Spain, who tamped down the demands for better condition from the farmers and workers in the mid Thirties, be a warning to the protesters wearing Guy Falk masks to the Occupy events?

Isn’t it enough for Fox News to run a quote from the President saying that holding the debt ceiling hostage won’t be tolerated and a quote from John Boner (from the codpiece party) saying “We’ll see about that!”? Isn’t that a marvelous example of fair and balanced journalism?  Aren’t the buttinskis who inject any commentary way out of line?

Do the liberal pundits think that Americans have to be told that if an order doesn’t carry an implied threat, it is useless?  If a fellow receives an order from a boss, a sergeant in the Army, or his girlfriend there is an implied threat behind the order.  If you don’t follow the boss’ order; you will be fired.  If you don’t follow the sergeants’ orders you won’t get a weekend pass.  If you don’t follow a girlfriends’ orders . . . something bad will happen.

When a kid delivers an ultimatum and indicates that if the threat isn’t accepted, he will eat worms how much gravitas does it carry?  How much serious consideration does it inspire?  If the Republicans hold the debt ceiling hostage, will President Obama hold a press conference and eat worms?

If America has a debt crisis on Super Bowl weekend (or thereabouts) will anybody care?  Will the Yankees finally win Super Bowl rings?  Can the Super Bowl and Oscar™ events be compared to a chance to dance to “our song” on the Titanic?

Is Jim Morrison’s wish to see anarchy reign supreme in America about to be granted?

Recent news reports indicate that there may have been as many as 400,000 unjustified home foreclosures.  (How many foreclosed homes were owned by journalists?)  Does that upset journalists?  Fallows quotes Michael Kinsley, of Crossfire, as saying:  “Being paid more than you are worth is the American dream.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Born to lose,” Iggy Pop’s “I wanna be your dog,” and Frank Zappa’s “It can’t happen here.”  We have to go see about joining the SF Press Club.  Have a “the check is in the mail” type week.

December 28, 2012

The woman who said “I don’t pay taxes; the little people do” may have inadvertently undercut the level of seriousness that some people will give to the looming prospect of a theoretically higher tax rate for the one percenters in return for giving them a chance to see how people addicted to consumerism handle austerity.  A thirty-nine percent tax rate that won’t be paid does sound more devastating than an irrelevant thirty-five percent tax rate, doesn’t it?

Wasn’t it established that Mitt Romney only pays about 15% in income tax?  If so, how serious of a threat would it be to tell him that if the USA goes off the financial cliff the theoretical rate he should be paying will be increased and life will get grim for the people who get government benefits.  Didn’t he dub them the 47 percenters?

Wealthy folks (like Mitt), after the first of the year, will be able to turn on the evening news, tune in to the nightly images of misery and drop out of the ranks of caring Christians.  Those with cash register hearts will see going off the financial cliff as the starting gun for a race to exploit the rest of society in a time of hardship and suffering.  Wasn’t there a Country song about chilling beers by holding it next to a cad’s heart?  Did he get a job as a CBS TV reporter?

Looking forward to an apocalyptic event that coincided with the end of the Mayan calendar because it would provide excellent material for use in a column may have been just a tad immature and illogical and now that it hasn’t happened writing about how CBS Evening News has morphed from a televised version of the World News Roundup into a contest to see which reporter can be the first to get an interviewee to cry on camera seems a bit anticlimactic and mundane.  If you had a buck for every time a person cried on camera this week and next on the Evening News, would you have a fistful of dollars or not?

After walking away unscathed from a rendezvous with certain death, it seems concomitant upon this columnist to inject a high level of joie d’vivre into our attempts to ridicule the arena of politics and perhaps in an year when not even Congressional representatives have to face the rigors of reelection to just focus on the other aspects of contemporary pop culture that are fun to observe.

Isn’t the yell that Wile E. Coyote gives when he goes sailing into the void a trademarked item that can’t be used without getting permission from a movie studio’s legal department?

When the fiscal cliff chapter of the political history of the USA started to unfold, didn’t Nancy Pelosi reassured Americans that she would bring up a measure in the House that had passed in the Senate last summer and thus avert a crisis?  Did she forget her solution to the problem?  Do the mainstream media journalists consider it rude to remind her of her promise?

How many skeptical commentators asked about how many Trevon Martin type incidents would occur in the schools if armed people are put in every school?  Is it realistic to expect that the armed guards will provide the law enforcement example of baseball’s unassisted triple play with a Rambo reaction to a school shooter?

If Fox News reported that its viewers were exceptionally well informed and that the concept of “the dumbing down of America” was part of a bogus Liberal conspiracy theory, and their viewers believed them; would that be an example of the Epimenides paradox?  Why is it that every time we hear the expression “I saw it on Fox News,” we think of the title of Ross Thomas’ mystery novel “The Fools in Town are on our side”?

Traditionally Ann Coulter used to use crazy talk to divert attention away from George W. Bush when the liberal criticism of him was getting intense.  Apparently the Republicans asked Wayne Lapierre to substitute for her recently when they wanted to turn a discussion on gun control into ideological gridlock.

When we heard of the investigation into the incident on TV that involved David Gregory holding up an extra capacity ammo clip, we were reminded of the time back in the Sixties when a New York City local news anchorman (Jeraldo Rivera?) was arrested on camera by someone dressed like a NYPD cop for holding up a roach (ie a marijuana cigarette) while he was on the air.  Who was that journalist?  What happened to that case?  Maybe if that on air personality is still serving time for that stunt, he can truly report that (for him) the Sixties still have consequences and aren’t over yet.

On one episode of the popular Sixties TV series Star Trek, the crew of the Enterprise was told that when the 21st century arrived massive land wars would be obsolete and that wars would be limited local struggles called Bush Wars.  Is that sound byte on Youtube?  If so we could write a column about that sometime during 2013.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist is going to relegate politics in the USA to the back burner, we could concentrate on other topics.  We might even shift our tendency to post on early Friday morning (PST in the USA) to a different day and time.  Maybe that would permit more readers an opportunity to skim our offerings?

Some cynics might suspect that a shift in emphasis away from politics to more of the “let the good times roll” reports might just be an excuse for this columnist to make the task of writing the columns more like an excuse to go out and have fun.  Watching a lava lamp and being inspired to write heavy philosophical think pieces might have been appropriate before the arrival of the last day on the Mayan Calendar, but now that we have cheated death isn’t every sandwich going to be a treat?  Didn’t a famous musician, after he learned he had a very serious health problem, advise people to “enjoy every sandwich!”?

Perhaps we should write a column about the old movie serials where a Hero (such as The Shadow as played by Victor Jory in the 1940 serial series) shrugs off a brush with certain death and plunges ahead with life in next week’s installment.  Will the saga of the post economic cliff America be a similar story line?

If a person rolls his car and winds up lying on a remote highway with a bunch of broken bones there are two ways to react.  One can either say:  “Oh dear, this means a long stay in the hospital” or he can exuberantly exclaim: “I’m still alive!”  We think that T-shirts that say “I survived the Mayan Apocalypse!” might sell well.  With or without an augmentation to the bank account, this columnist thinks that all the members of the  Mayan Apocalypse Survivors Association should make a concerted effort to make 2013 an enjoyable experience.

Yes, we realize that the suspension of unemployment checks is a serious economic situation, but if people who encounter that problem overcome the challenge just think of how baffled and aggravated the rich people, who expected to see soap opera existential crises every night on the evening news, will be.  It will be just like in the movie serials.  When 2012 ended it looked like “curtains” for sure, but when 2013 begins the financial cliff (except on Fox) will be No Big Thing (NBT).

If, somehow, the unemployed workers, manage to adopt a Zen existence that isn’t dependent on a weekly paycheck, just think how incensed that will make the capitalists who are counting on seeing the victims of their strategy suffer extensively.  It would almost be as if the victims refused to suffer just out of spite.

Back in the Eighties there was a spate of self help books that advised people to cut back on their standard of living and retire at a young age.  Perhaps some of the people getting their last unemployment check next week, should buy some used copies of those books this week?

After a few moments of contemplating what would make a good topic for a more feature oriented column, we realized that it might require a great deal of fact finding to produce a good trend-spotting column.  On the other hand, the obvious absurdities in politics are so readily available and the mainstream media makes no effort to point them out and so such columns full of “these columns practically write themselves” material need very little effort to produce, so maybe we will just slowly transition into some of the alternative topics.

Do the places that sell marijuana for medicinal purposes make extra profits by selling such periphery items as lava lamps?  Are T-shirts featuring a famous rolling paper logo still being sold?  Do the pot clubs sell those rolling papers?  Do rock concerts still include light shows?  When is the Jefferson Airplane going to release a new album?

Was it George Carlin who first said:  “If you can remember the Sixties; you weren’t really there.”?  Shouldn’t the closing quote for this column be something more intellectual such as Nietsche’s quote:  “ . . . when you look into an abyss, the abyss also looks into you.”  (We preferred to use the Wile C. Coyote howl of despair, but, alas, it was not to be.)

Now the disk jockey will play “Rescue me,” “Cry me a river,” and “Sea of heartbreak.”  We have to go find a good VHS tape to play on New Year’s Eve.  Have a “ . . . but what if an armed guard had been there” type week.

Ontology, Santa, and Guns

December 21, 2012

Could the Republicans be missing an excellent opportunity to make new inroads in the gun debate by politicizing Santa Claus and advocating that the only safe and sane way to prevent an invasion robbery at Santa’s toy factory, which would spoil an incalculable number of children’s Christmas celebrations, is to provide the elves with guns and give them firearms training and require them to spend time on the firing range every month.

 

Would it be politicizing freedom of speech to maintain that no topic on God’s Green Earth is so sacred that it merits an automatic exemption from the tendency of politicians to turn every possible subject of conversation at the local pub to their own advantage?

 

When hundreds (thousands?) of Santa’s Elves turned out on a cold rainy day in San Francisco to participate in the 2012 Santacon pub crawl, wasn’t the absence of any political activists supporting their about to become illegal right to be naked in public just a matter of common sense and not a verdict on the issue itself?

 

Theoretically freedom of speech is a good thing, but there are (as the Supreme Court decreed) limits.  People are not free to disseminate misinformation (as Mike Malloy pointed out on his radio show for December 17, 2012) such as yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater where there is no blaze.

 

Fox News, however, has used a case in Florida to establish their right to broadcast falsehoods as news.  Is there a difference between yelling “Fire!” in a crowded theater where there is no blaze and pretending that fibs are news?

 

Does Fox’s right to tell fibs in newscasts override the United Supreme Court’s “Fire!” ruling about misinformation?  If so, does that mean it is OK to slip some fabricated facts into the gun control debate?

 

Jesus, Mary and Joseph, dontcha know that opens up a new can of worms and now the lawyers will insinuate themselves into the fookin’ debate and the issue will get sidetracked (and completely bogged down) with defining words such as trying to establish what the meaning of “is” is?  Isn’t it best to just ignore certain things?

 

In the mid Sixties, in Stroudsburg Pa., on Christmas day a fellow stressed out, killed his family, set the house on fire, and walked off into the sunset.  He was put on the FBI’s ten most wanted list but after a decade of remaining there, he was quietly and surreptitiously removed from that version of the Criminal Hall of Fame.  It is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible, to find his name on the Internets.  Did he use a gun?  Who knows?

 

The movie “Rare Export” provided a scientific explanation for several of the Christmas myths (such as flying reindeer) but it was ignored by the pop culture radar and was relegated to the “cult movie” category and is given the silent treatment by political pundits.  For connoisseurs of esoteric entertainment, it is a treasure to be cherished.

 

Speaking of Norway, Simo Häyhäy used a rifle to kill 542 men and became a national hero.  He was a sniper helping fend off an attack from Russia.

 

United States Marine Corps sniper Carlos Hathcock used a rifle to take out a Viet Cong general from more than a mile away.  He had one confirmed kill from 2,500 (no typo) yards out.  For a time he held the record for a sniper kill record from the longest distance.  Do gun critics want to establish 2,500 yards as the radius for gun free zones around schools?

 

Hathcock used one bullet carefully aimed to achieve precision with each of his shots rating rather than sending a “Hail Mary” style fusillade of ammunition towards his target. Critics of the large capacity magazines might want to emphasize Hathcock’s enviable skill and efficiency and disparage the use of a rapid burst of bullets with results that illustrate the law of averages.  Stressing quality rather than quantity when it comes to displays of marksmanship might get gun enthusiasts to listen to the opposing point of view.  Unfortunately that line of argumentation doesn’t apply in the Lanza case.

 

Some people have wondered why this particular mass shooting has provoked such a universal interest and emotional response.  Has any pundit pointed out the fact that usually such incidents involve a massive number of shots fired and the law of averages.  The shooter in the Connecticut school killed 26 people and was reported to have fired a hundred rounds.  The numbers make him sound more like some one using the execution style rather than randomness and perhaps that subconsciously disturbs the public more than the other killers who use the law of averages to do their dirty work. He was a one man firing squad and not a man unleashing a fusillade of random shots.

 

The contrast of the One Percenters vs. everyone else is especially sad this year when TV ads challenge the fat cats to buy luxury cars for those on their Christmas gift list while some of the unemployed have to face the possibility that their unemployment checks will be terminated on New Year’s day.

 

Pop culture scholars tend to credit some pre-war (WWII for those of you who want to know which particular war is being referenced) magazine ads for a popular brand of soda pop for being the source of the Santa image as being the incarnation of the Christmas spirit.

 

Let’s imagine that a privately owned item was secretly done on assignment several decades ago.  How valuable would a (hypothetical) Norman Rockwell painting be if it depicted an exhausted but happy Santa late on December 26 relaxing by cleaning some of the items in his gun collection?  ([Gun control advocates can never understand why one gun is never enough.]  The thought of being killed by an intruder whilst cleaning your weapon can only be assuaged by always having another loaded gun available when cleaning pistols or rifles.)

 

Yahoo highlighted the story about the one woman who took an item her father had brought back from WWII to a police gun buy back program and was advised to keep it.  It was a Sturmgewehr worth approximately $40,000 to discerning gun collectors.

http://gma.yahoo.com/blogs/abc-blogs/valuable-wwii-gun-police-buy-back-022155231–abc-news-topstories.html

 

If American pop culture could include Lenny Bruce’s humor and Stan Freberg’s sarcastic criticism regarding the capitalistic aspect of Christmas, then surely it must be ready, willing, and eager to add something new to the gun control debate.

 

Speaking of Stan Freberg, in Berkeley CA, <a href =http://www.caroldenney.com>Carol Denney</a> led some local carolers in a singing protest against the continuing efforts by advocates of a sit-lie law in “bear country.”  Recently the citizens of Berkeley voted against a sit-lie ordinance, but the friends of the homeless expect a renewed attack on the poor sometime in the future.

 

Blame it on the Kellys?  Speaking of Australia, there is a sidewalk plaque in (if memory serves) the Kings Cross Section of Sydney (NSW), that offers up the idea that space is a mark of wealth.  Some wealthy playboys might own several houses but a poor (but honest?) working man might have to crowd his entire family into a one room apartment close to his work place.  (Have you read Upton Sinclair’s “Jungle”?)

 

The concept of a poor but honest working man trying very hard to cram a happy holiday into a tight living space might be useful at a time when news stories about exceedingly small apartments are getting good play.  (Didn’t Dave Ross [or was it Charles Osgood?] feature that very topic on one of his recent radio reports?)  Examples of conspicuous consumption can not be shoehorned into a micro apartment.  Suppose that a fellow with a tiny apartment wins a giant screen TV.  It would be incompatible with his life style and cause an existential crisis.

 

Have you noticed how none (that we could find) of the high priced journalists have explained how the shooter’s mother could afford such a fine big home nor have they mentioned her place of employment.  We can’t imagine that the managing editors we have dealt with in the past would let such a gaping hole in the narritive slide, but this is the era of Murdock style news.  Did she inherit some of movie star Mario Lanza’s money?

 

What if (hypothetically speaking) a fellow were temporarily operating out of a hostel in Paris or Perth and there was no room in the suitcase for any additional material possessions?  What if such a person had a truly enjoyable Christmas without getting or giving anything physical?  What kind of craziness is it to think that good conversations with new friends, delicious food, and a trip to Cottesloe Beach makes for a wonderful holiday?

 

Wouldn’t that tend to validate the Apache philosophy that if you can’t take it with you on your pony when you move on, then you don’t need it and thereby invalidate the American compulsion to buy, buy, buy right up to the time when Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve begins?

 

What if some emotionally unstable person where to think that God gave him the assignment to assassinate Santa Claus and his helpers?  Shouldn’t Santa arm the Elves and require them to have firearms training just in case?

 

The Republican philosophy about the true meaning of Christmas may best be epitomized in a quote that is often attributed to Collis P. Huntington:  “Whatever is Not Nailed Down is Mine and Whatever I Can Pry Loose is Not Nailed Down.”

 

The World’s Laziest Journalist disk jockey agrees that poverty sucks and is assessing the possibility of composing a song that becomes a perennial holiday standard because that, he assures us, means a large royalties check every January.  Do we need to provide readers with a long list of examples?

 

Now the disk jockey will play the song “Santa’s in a wheelchair” by the Kids from Widney (not a typo) High, John Prine’s “Christmas in Prison” (there are several songs titled “Christmas in Jail”) and Stan Freberg’s “Green Christmas.”  We have to go see if the world has ended and we just didn’t notice.  Have a “no chains can hold me” type week.