Posts Tagged ‘World’s Laziest Journalist’

Are Americans living in a world of carefully crafted illusions?

March 5, 2012

A column describing the events of Saturday, March 3, 2012 experienced and witnessed by the World’s Laziest Journalist might prove how and why the parable of the six blind Hindus is still important in the Internet era.


[Six blind Hindus touched an elephant and were asked to describe their reaction.  The one who felt the tail thought elephants were like a strand of rope.  The guy who touched the elephant’s trunk, said elephants were just like snakes.  The fellow who touched the ear observed that elephants were just like a big leafed plant.  The man who felt the elephant’s stomach was very convinced that elephants were a subcategory of walls.  The guy who touched the tusk, knew that elephants were like swords.  The guy who felt a leg concluded that elephants were very similar to trees.]


On Saturday morning, we met up with <a href =>James Richard Armstrong II, the homeless columnist</a> who lives in Berkeley CA.  This writer wanted to brainstorm some possible column topics and have a morning cup of coffee.  James was, among other things, concerned about some generalizations a reader had made regarding one of his columns about the plight of the homeless.  People who live in houses (glass or not) tend to be very certain of their perceptions as do all of the six blind Hindus.


Since the homeless writer uses Hunter S. Thompson as a role model and since Thomson’s public persona often displayed a cavalier attitude about money, we criticized theBerkeleyresident’s tendency to imitate Thompson when making financial decisions.


We suggested that perhaps Thompson’s attitude was part of a fictitious “image” that was deliberately manufactured.  This was met with a vehement denial of that possibility, which, unfortunately, was impossible to fact-check.  The World’s Laziest Journalist explained that he was basing his assertion on one actual encounter with one of the founding fathers of the GonzoschoolofJournalism.


At an appearance at the Viper Room inLos Angeles, in 1996, Thompson had made a conspicuous display of having security eject hecklers.  What many in the venue did not notice is that subsequently the persons who had been 86’d would be seen again in the sold out event, quietly observing the proceedings from the very back of the auditorium.  The victims had the material for a personal encounter story that they would still be telling many years later, Thompson had bolstered his Wildman image, and the audience had been treated to an entertaining example of Thompson’s lack of tolerance for dissention.


We suggested that (perhaps) Thompson (who owned real estate in the Aspen area ofColorado) was just helping to create an image of an outlaw journalist when he seemed to act irresponsibly about financial matters. 


We have been reading a recently acquired copy of “The Kitchen Readings:  Untold Stories of Hunter S. Thompson” (by Michael Cleverly and Bob Braudis Harper Perennial paperback) and have become aware that often the reality of stories about Hunter do not match the legend and that the tendency is to use theRio Bravoadvice:  “print the legend.”


Hence we strongly asserted that the famed father of Gonzo may have been playing a role when he used an expense account to subsidize living large.


Next we discussed the bogus aspect of the image of the homeless as free wheeling “king of the road” people who could come and go as the mood strikes them.  Unfortunately the reality is the complete opposite.  Often their movements are very restricted because they have to worry about finding a place to temporarily store their possessions if they want to  move about during the day. 


We volunteered to do a column delineating the problem.  If (for example) a homeless woman wants to go into a public building and use the women’s rest room, the backpack and bedroll is an open invitation for hassling.  If she can leave her gear with a trusted friend, she can run off, use the facility, and return very quickly.  The problem is exponentially more complicated if the homeless person wants to stash their backpack and go across toSan Franciscofor a day.  Where can he or she leave the backpack for a whole day?


Storage lockers are a quaint reminder of the past.  (We will expand on this topic for use as a full column in the future.)  So where can a person leave all his worldly possessions while taking a one day trip over intoSan Francisco?  Taking sleeping gear and a heavy backpack will certainly put a damper on any one day outing inSan Francisco.  What’s with these practical restrictions vs. the image of “go anywhere when the mood strikes you” freedom? 


A few hours later we were at the opposite end of the social spectrum.  We were inMarinCountyas the guest of a woman who has devoted her life to helping women’s causes and helping philanthropists decide where and how to make their contributions.  She has lived the “those who can, do” aspect of the story; now she also does coaching and teaches about that and related subjects.


As it turns out, the woman had met Hunter S. Thompson at the wedding of one of her close relatives.  The philanthropy coach corroborated our impression of Thompson as a fellow who created a public persona that was very different from the private person. 


The prolonged economic “recession” has added some additional new challenges to the task of encouraging wealthy citizens to make well informed decisions about making philanthropic donations to an every growing list of worthy non-profit organizations. 


As it turns out, on that very day that we were discussing the particular financial needs of various organizations devoted to women’s causes, radio personality Rush Limbaugh may have inadvertently drawn added attention to women’s causes in particular by apologizing for calling a collage student a slut, earlier in the week.  Liberal pundits noted that the apology was “out of character” for the bombastic radio talk show host.


Uncle Rushbo could add a considerable amount of credence (“What me make an insincere apology just to get myself off the hot seat?”) if it were accompanied by a large donation to a relevant women’s nonprofit organization. 


We asked the Philanthropy coach if she or any of her associates had ever asked Uncle Rushbo (Doesn’t he live in a house that is worth $24 million?) what the level of his philanthropic donations are and also ask if he would like to increase that amount of giving during the economic hard times which have perceptively swelled the difficulty level of maintaining America’s commitment to subsidizing charitable organizations. 


Wouldn’t most Americans be quite prepared to assume that Uncle Rushbo’s annual philanthropic donations are rather anemic?  Doesn’t he advocate the “bootstrap” philosophy of self reliance?


The World’s Laziest Journalist adheres to a stringent budget, but we have, in the early phase of the Occupy movement, bought fast food meals, on different occasions, for two Occupy protesters.  Could it be that the parsimonious columnist outspends Rush on philanthropic endeavors?  Perhaps Rush Limbaugh makes large philanthropic donations anonymously or very quietly while perversely bolstering the Scrooge image?


On Monday morning’s broadcast, Uncle Rushbo’s introductory monologue seemed to be an apology to his regular listeners for making the apology on Saturday.  His mistake was to lower himself to the level of leftists, he explained.  “ . . . it was way beneath me . . .”  

He did use the term “self reliance” several time Monday morning. 


When Armstrong posts and shares a link to one of our columns on <a href =>facebook </a>, we get a perceptible bump in hits.  We had shamelessly suggested that the Philanthropy coach bring the humble efforts of the World’s Laziest Journalist to the attention of some of her well known friends in the journalism industry.  Could they do better at boosting the hits? 


What would happen if Uncle Rushbo destroyed our speculation about his level of philanthropy giving on air and enumerated and elaborated on his donations and specifically mentioned that he was providing some fact checking information for the World’s Laziest Journalist?


Over the the course of this weekend and Monday morning, we realized that about one percent of journalists have about ninety percent of the clout that publicity can deliver.  The other ninety nine percent of those working in Journalism must share the remaining amount of influence. 


The folk wisdom inHollywoodis:  “I don’t care what people say about me as long as they spell my name correctly.”  Should we, perhaps, hope that Rush does mention our columns in a negative context?  What if Limbaugh resorts to ridicule and speculates about the incongruity of someone who works very hard to promote the image of being an example of Lazy Journalism?



While this columnist roamed aboutAustraliain a “sundowner” style, we often left our suitcase under a bunk in a hostel.  We were oblivious to the homeless’ concern about “stowing the gear for a day,” until Armstrong elaborated it.  This proved to me his contention that people who live in glass houses (or even sleep on a hostel’s bunk) should not assume that they fully understand what it means to be homeless.


What would life be without handy, comfortable illusionary images?

The closing quote has to be a line from “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance”  “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend. ”

[Correction:  the Howard Hawks series has not concluded but continues at the Pacific Film Archive until mid April. Rio Bravowill screen Saturday, April 14, 2012, at 8 p.m.]

Now the disk jockey will play “the man who shot Liberty Valence,” “Do not forsake me oh my darlin’” (the Oscar winning theme song from “High Noon”) and the theme song from “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”  We have to go get us a cup of celestial tea.  Have a “smile when you say that” type week.

Latest WLJ column

January 29, 2012

Those, who have made the prediction that Oakland will be the place that will provide a plausible reason for conservatives to assert that martial law is needed in the United States to maintain order, just got a specific newsworthy example of how things could hypothetically get so out of control that the only possible remedy would be a brief experiment with martial law.

Stories have been emerging in the regional news media that predict that the budgetary crisis in the city ofOaklandwill soon require a need to bring some national control over the Oakland Police Department.

Since the topic of what happened in Oakland starting at noon on Saturday, January 28, 2012 will be a popular subject for use on the Internets during the coming week, and since a columnist/photographer, who contributes regularly to this website, was a witness with a Nikon Coolpix for the first four hours of the Move In Day Protest, we will provide readers with a subjective report on Oakland’s latest contribution to the evolving history of the Occupy Movement.

Since the World’s Laziest Journalist is particularly fond of the coffee sold at De Lauer’s Newsstand (you read that right it’s an old fashioned store that specializes in newspapers and magazines) we went to Oakland and arrived about a half hour before the noon event was scheduled to begin.

There was about a hundred protesters gathered on the North side of Frank Ogawa plaza when we arrived.  We took the opportunity to take some photos of the signs and artwork because, even if the event turned out to be a total non-story, pictures of the signs would be the kind of feature photos that one website could use later.

Just before noon a fellow came up to the World’s Laziest Journalist and requested that we not take photos that showed protesters’ faces. 

At morning coffee earlier inBerkeley, a fellow inBerkeleypredicted that there would be no arrests would be made at the day’s event.

The OPD (Oakland Police Department) got the first arrest on the scoreboard before the event was five minutes old thus giving writers the opportunity to use a sports metaphor such as a kick-off return that produces a touchdown.

The protesters took a winding march route that led them to the campus of LaneyCollegewhere it looked like, to this columnist, they were cordoned off.  Then protesters who were passing by reported that local news media was reporting that the protesters had moved to a new location to the north of the College.

At the college one police officer advised citizens to stay as far away from the event as they could.  Recently in similar news events in the greaterSan FranciscoBayarea, reporters with press credentials have been detained along with protesters and so the advice seemed, to a fellow who no longer carries a current press pass, like sound advice.

If nothing else, the police and protesters seem unanimous on the idea that photographers should get lost.

When this photographer covered an event known as the Venice Canal Riot in the Seventies it didn’t seem like fatigue was a factor in the day’s events. 

Why then could that same photographer now claim that after only four hours of walking aroundOakland, going back toFrankOgawaPlazato catch a bus going back toBerkeley, might cause some negative comments on his next job performance report?

In the old days when carrying a Nikon F and needing the skill of loading 35 mm film onto a Nikor reel was part of the job qualifications, it was necessary to be aware of deadline limitations.  The photographer had to be aware of the time not only inLos Angeles, but in other cities in theUSA. 

A sports photo that moved at 9 p.m. PST, would arrive in sports departments on the East Coast at midnight, which was deadline time for getting material into the next morning street edition.

It was a commonly accepted rule of thumb that if a photographer didn’t see his work move on the wire before 6 p.m. Pacific Time, it didn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being used by the Los Angeles Times.

There are, we understand, some state of the art digital cameras that can download onto the Internets directly and instantaneously from the scene where news has occurred.  We understand that live steam video “live from the scene” is being provided to some people with the right computer equipment.

We got a feature style photo of a hand held device showing a teargas attack somewhere inOaklandto the protesters at backFrankOgawaPlaza.  No deadline lag there.

Santa Claus has not yet delivered any computer hardware that would drastically shorten the amount of time that the World’s Laziest Journalist requires to post any material online.  We have to go back to the laptop, download the files from the Coolpix, edit the images and select the best ones, then go to a place where a wifi connection can be accessed, and then post photos and a story on the Internets.

A quick check of the Internets on the way back to the laptop in Berkeley provide a glimpse of some excellent images on the Contra Costa Times website and that had the effect of slightly diminishing the World’s Laziest Journalist’s level of enthusiasm for the process of posting.

On Saturday night, we noted that KCBS’s hourly CBS radio network news was very focused on the fact that Herman Kane had endorsed Newt Gingrich.  While we were listening and editing the digital images, KCBS reported that the Protesters had entered a WMCA and interacted with some people there who were exercising. 

Obviously the explanation of just what going into that place had to do with the day’s announced goal of entering an abandoned building and establishing a claim that such a move was a humanitarian effort to provide shelter for the homeless will have to be elaborated by the nebulous Occupy Movement protesters, who take pride in featuring no management hierarchy that can provide authoritative replies to any reporter’s inquiries.

Initially, the unexplained visit to the YMCA, which KCBS reported added another one hundred arrests to the scoreboard, might seem inappropriate as part of the argument that action has to be taken to prove that empty office building might be a viable alternative to the Occupy Campsites which drew extensive criticism attributed to local business men. 

By 6 a.m. Sunday morning, KCBS was reporting that the total number of arrests had risen to the 300 level. 

The Sunday 7 a.m. PST CBS radio network newscast made a brief mention of the Move In Day arrests inOakland.

Some protesters entered theOaklandCity Hallon Saturday evening.  Initially KCBS was relaying the information that photographers at the City Hall had noticed that the protesters did not have to force entry to the facility.  By Sunday morning, reports stated that Occupy protesters had broken into the City Hall and then trashed the place.

On a quiet Sunday morning inBerkeley, the columnist/photographer wrote up his subjective report on the newsworthy Saturday protest and then planned to travel to a place where he could post it.

What makes it worthwhile for a fellow to spend all that time and effort to produce something which conservatives will ridicule as glorifying thugs and liberals, other than the ones who stumble across it where it is posted, will ignore? . . .

Can we get back to your later with the answer to that question?

Report of the Reporter on the Beatnik Beat

August 5, 2011

Now that President Obama has checkmated the Republicans and can coast to reelection, it seems that while Congress takes its summer vacation the folks who write political punditry can also kick back and use the dog days of summer to churn out some content on other more mundane matters. 

Some recent items from the Beatnik file have been accumulating on our desk and so we will use this weekend’s opening of the “Magic Bus” (Ken Kesey’s search for a cool place) movie as an excuse to do a roundup of items from the reporter who collects those tidbits of news and information about being “on the road” and lump them all together in one column.

We’ve been accumulating some new “road” books and are in the process of reading Alistair Cooke’s “The American Home Front,” which presents the story of that Brit’s road trip throughout theUSAin the early stages of WWII.  Cooke was one of the few journalists who covered the war’s effect on civilians while most of the countries journalists flocked to the various battle fronts.

At the beginning of John Steinbeck’s book “Travels with Charlie,” he talks about an encounter on an airplane trip with John Gunter and how they compared notes about how their two styles of gathering material differed.  Isn’t it odd that at the beginning of Gunther’s book “Inside the USA,” he tells readers that he used the itinerary of his crisscrossing road trip around theUSAto gather the book’s material as the outline for his way to present his material in the book?  Does that make it a “road book”?

At the Berkeley Public Library Main branch book store we discovered “It isn’t a Bus,” by Martha French Patterson and Sally Patterson Tubach, which is about Charles Everett Patterson’s (no relation to this columnist) pioneering efforts to turn a Flexible bus into a motorhome and tour theUSAin it, after World War II.

We are still plodding through a borrowed copy of Douglas Brinkley’s “Majic Bus.”

On Thursday, we learned that President Obama intends to go on a campaign style bus tour in August.  Sarah Palin did a brief bus tour publicity stunt earlier this year.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist’s efforts to become the pundit that other pundits read first has stalled out, then it might be time to post a terse ride wanted notice on Craig’s list:  “SWM seeks ride: SF – NYC” and see if we can join the vast number of journalists taking America’s pulse during this historic summer.  If we catch a transcontinental ride on a band’s tour bus, a chronicle of that journey might make us almost famous.

We noticed items on Kevin Roderick’s L. A. Observed web site recently noting that at least two writers have started an effort to walk across theUSA. 

What’s with all the bus trips?  What ever happened to hitchhiking?  Should we attempt theBerkeleytoBostonthumbing marathon?  In 1968, we used that method to get TonkawaOklahoma.  Perhaps a nostalgic series of columns could report on how theUSAhas changed (if it has) in the interim.

We’ve missed Hemingway Days for this year, but the Oshkosh Flying will be happening soon, and the 25th Annual Farm Aid Concert is coming up in Kansas City on the weekend of August 12 -14.  Would a trip to Burning Man produce some worthwhile columns?  Will this be the year we finally get to see some aspect of the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance? 

Jack London wrote a book about traveling about the USA in 1898.  Is Jack London’s book, “The Road” a road book?  Could Mark Twain’s “The Innocents Abroad” be considered a road book?

Some critics of the World’s Laziest Journalist might think that the shtick of mentioning an attempt to get a speaking gig at the Beat Museum in San Francisco during Litquake is pathetic and getting tired and old.  Is it a genuine authentic bid for such an opportunity or is it a classic example of a subconscious effort to sabotage the request?  Can you picture the World’s Laziest Journalist doing all the work that would be required to give a talk which would promote the venue’s bookstore offerings (of road books and beat literature) as well as extol the virtues of the author’s memoirs which he intends to write someday when he “gets a round tuit.”  (Bah dump bump) 

Slowly, during the summer of 2011, the number of folks who are getting on the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factor employee’s shuttle bus (used to move folks about at their secret rebel encampment) seems to be growing.  People are beginning to put things together.  If you add 2 + 2 you get 4; but if you put 2 and 2 together, you get 22.

Can the Murdoch hacking scandal, the profits from the endless wars, the stolen 2000 and 2004 Presidential Elections, the blind faith in unverifiable election results, the voter rebellion in Wisconsin, the Republican assertions that they are on the little guy’s side, the suspicion that Republican politicians are guilty of dereliction of duty (which would get them a courts-martial if they were in the military), the fact that Obama’s odd (but highly acclaimed) “reach out across the isle” style of negotiating closely resembles total capitulation, and the glaring SFW (So F*****g What?) aspect of the FAA fumbled ball story all be used as ingredients for a massive Liberal recipe for truth?  The result will serve as the answer to the standard conservative dodge:  “Something’s happening here; what it is ain’t exactly clear . . .”  

Are people beginning to suspect that the Republican refrain about how everything is unexplainable and that none of them are to blame when (not if) things go wrong, and that any conjecture about anything is automatically to be discounted as an unreliable conspiracy theory sounds just as phony and suspicious as O. J. Simpson’s adamant assertion that he was not guilty?  Or does it sound like Captain Queeg’s deductive reasoning process that lad to the conclusion that there was another key to the wardrobe?

When will Americans get to hear Michelle Bachman say:  “Tell Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.”?  Do Democrats think of “the Ballad of Lucy Jordan” when they hear the latest Republican spin?

In the summer of 2011, would there be a market for T-shits that proclaim:  “Only certified millionaires should spout Republican talking points!”?  Would that cover the recent Internet fuss over the allegation that David Gregory continues to pepper his (loaded) questions with Republican talking points?

Ken Kesey has been quoted (Bartlett’s 125th anniversary edition page 913) as saying:  “Now, you’re either on the bus or off the bus.  If you’re on the bus, and you get left behind, then you’ll find it again.  If you’re off the bus in the first place – then it won’t make a damn.” 

Now the disk jockey will play:  Ray Charles’ “Hit the road, Jack” and Willie Nelson’s “On the road again,” and his duet with Lacy J. Dalton’s on the song “Where has a slow moving, once quick draw, outlaw got to go?”  We have places to go find out more about <a href =>Willie Nelson’s new Tea pot Party</a>.  Have a “real gone” week.

Get your mind right, Luke.

July 16, 2011

There is a human tendency for people to assume that others are just like they are and that can cause some very great difficulties when two diverse groups must communicate (or negotiate) with each other.  Psychologists call that tendency “Projection.” 

This month in the United States, the Democrats, who believe that default would cause so much economic turmoil that it would be insane to choose that path, assume that the Republicans also think similarly.  If, however, they are projecting they could be making a bit mistake.  A catastrophic example of projection and some “what we have here is failure to communicate” unproductive bargaining sessions could soon produce a bad political situation for President Obama who will seek reelection next year. 

Democratic politicians and liberal pundits seem reluctant to explore the ramifications of what becomes inevitable if the Republicans secretly wish to precipitate default.  In the spirit of free wheeling and wide ranging informal analysis and strategy planning, let’s cut to the chase and ask:  “What if the Republicans want default?”

What would the Republicans have to gain and what would they have to loose, if that’s what they get later this month?

For the Democrats, default will deliver a shitstorm of rancor and recriminations to the DNC headquarters.

Regret is a natural human tendency.  (I’m sorry that I have to say that; but it’s true.)  Consequently if default occurs, some less than stalwart Democrats will lament the pain and chaos and ask the rhetorical question:  “If Obama knew this was coming, shouldn’t he have made more concessions?”  (That ignores our basic premise that the Republicans preferred default and would ignore even a complete surrender on Obama’s part. but people tend to act within the limits of natural human conduct and many surely would ask that question.) 

That, in turn, will have the unfortunate effect of diminishing the number of Democratic Party member votes for Obama’s reelection in November 2012.  The precise number of voters thus lost is immaterial because if he looses:  one that number will be irrelevant and two because of the degree of uncertainty caused by the unverifiable results from the electronic voting machines the precise number of disillusioned Democrats will be unable to be accurately measured.

That alone could be sufficient reason for the Republicans to make default an example of existential philosophy in action but there may be other bonus reasons for the Republicans to consciously work to make the default happen.

Default could bring on even more examples of mortgage loan defaults.  (Can we get a public domain image of Snidely Whiplash holding the deed and tying Nel to the railroad tracks?  [“Don’t worry, Nel, I’ll save you!”?  Hah!  Not bloody well likely.])

[Note: we heard a report on the radio (CBS radio news?) this week that banks have resumed the practice of issuing mortgage loans to unqualified buyers.  Isn’t there a classic movie that asserts that every time a bank repossesses a home, an angel gets its wings?]

Default is almost sure to provide the folks with surplus cash (Wouldn’t that mostly be Republicans?) some juicy bargains in the stock market.  When a stock market crash occurs there has to be one buyer each time some panic stricken stock holder sells.  The buyers love a bargain.

Default will prove to be a “job-killer” and thus precipitate a very intense round of the blame game.  Can’t you just picture it?  If default happens some top Republican can shrug off that Party’s role in the disaster, point to Obama, and say:  “What a man wants; he gets.”

If the default precipitates chaos, which political party will Fox News hold responsible?  If Rupert and Fox lead, is any member of the mainstream media club strong enough to buck the trend?  

There must be a downside for the Republicans to consider.  There is.  If default occurs then the exchange rate will change and vacations in Paris (or Perth?) will cost slightly more (or as the rich folks so quaintly put it:  “A bigger lump of chump-change”). 

Did President Obama make a real bad Freudian slip and give away the game when he said:  “Don’t call my bluff.”  Luke was holding nothing but he made them think he might have a pair of kings.  There is a difference.

It used to be that the political pundit’s mission was to assess for his audience all the most likely possible courses of action.  If all the available commentary on the ramifications of the debt crisis proceeds from the assumption that the Republicans aren’t crazy enough to let that happen, then American voters are being cheated out of the opportunity to consider the likely effects of one of the potential outcomes.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist isn’t the only columnist to suggest that an economic ambush/debacle is about to occur then readers are invited to post any relevant links in the comments section. 

If, on the other hand, no one else is speculating about the possibility that the Republicans may be willing to “drive the economy off the cliff,” then we are going to need a bit of help (if for no other reason than to prove to future historians that the remote possibility was considered).

If readers of this column agree with the writer, then please send the link to others (or post it on their Facebook page) to alert them to the need for being aware of a potential very nasty dog day surprise waiting in the political wings.  If the readers don’t agree, then they might send others the link (or put it on their Facebook page) just to get an example of their (reluctant?) endorsement of freedom of speech.

Before inserting the closing quote, we will add some additional substantiating evidence for the concept of “projection.”

Different ethnic groups with different religions tend to teach the members of the new generaation that theirs is the best religion and when the two diverse groups compare theologies, friction develops.  Isn’t that because each diverse group projects their values and mindsets on to the other?

White folks from Great Britain arrived in Australia and ascertained that the local natives, called Aborigines, were not really human beings and could be hunted as an animal species.  Some outside meddlers arrived and called it murder. 

If one side of a dispute considers themselves to be logical and clear thinking, then why can’t the other side be just as reasonable?  Isn’t it just a case of delivering “a word to the wise” and watching for the “Eureka!” moment?  Can dueling examples of “projection” be used to explain the deadlock? 

Which side of the abortion issue assumes that the other side “just doesn’t get it”?

There was a book that asserted that men and women think differently.  It was titled “Women Are from Venus; Men Are from Mars.”   (Will there be a sequel title:  “Democrats are from Venus; Republicans are from the planet named after the god of war!”?) 

If people think that the psychological phenomenon called “projection” really does exist, then shouldn’t members of the tea party be enthusiastic about a chance to convince college graduates that it’s just another intellectual scam from the twerps (when was the last time you saw that word online?) called “scientists”? 

BTW how come college graduates endorse taxes for school improvement and high school drop-outs think that raises for teachers is an example from the list of government give-a-ways?

In the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” the Captain (Strother Martin) explains life to the prisoners:  “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.”  Can that be used as a metaphor for political confrontations on the road to reelection?  Will John Boehner ever stand in front of the microphones and say:  “Get your mind right, Mr. President!”?

Now the disk jockey will play Eddie Cochran’s 1957 recording “Mean when I’m Mad,” the theme song from “High Noon,” and Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.”  We have to go check up on the Murdoch scandal in Australia.  Have a “standing in the rain talkin’ to myself” type week.

Just like in the end of Treasure of the Sierra Madre?

February 8, 2011

Larry Flynt pays his writers well and delivers the checks promptly.  He is one boss who doesn’t have disgruntled employees bad mouthing him behind his back.  Current and former employees of Larry Flynt Publications always speak well of him.  Hugh Hefner made Playboy magazine the highest ranked potential market for freelance writers and also made some remarkable profits with his philosophy about paying generously.  Unfortunately, Hefner was so successful at making his magazine an attractive prospect for freelancer writers he had to close down the golden opportunity.  Playboy articles are now all done on assignment (according to a reliable source who is a former boss) only basis.  Neither freelance query letters nor submissions are accepted.

William Randolph Hearst assembled a remarkably talented posse of writers by offering them more money to work for him than other newspaper publishers could.  Hearst was the source of the term “lobster shift” (AKA “lob-shift”) and caused his biographer W. A. Swanberg (<I>Citizen Hearst</I> Bantam Books paperback p-83) to write:  “The <I>Examiner</I> office was a madhouse inhabited by talented and erratic young, men drunk with life in a city that never existed before or since.  They had a mad boss, one who flung away money, lived like the ruler of a late Empire . . . and cheered them on as they made newspaper history.”  Hearst was not a sexist.  He did hire a red haired chorus girl, Winifred Sweet, who became a successful reporter.

Republicans, perhaps thanks to the book “<I>Rich Dad, Poor Dad</I>,” believe that they should pay their workers as little as possible for the most amount of work they can ring out of their workers.

Wouldn’t it be funny if a famous conservative made a bet with a wealthy Republican owner of a word plantation that she would do better than get the prols to work cheap?  What if she made a bet that she could get writers to clamor for the chance to work for free?  She could pose as a liberal, start up something cheap, and then get talented tree-huggers to embrace her “you don’t need a paycheck” response to the idea of paying writers generously by giving them a big audience as an “ego-stroke.”  Then to prove that she deserved to win the bet she could sell her publication for a shipload of money and “cry all the way to the bank” with her profit.  She could collect on such a hpothetical bet she had just won.

What if her writers were true ballsy Democrats who believed in workers’ rights and they all went on strike during the same week she collected her sales windfall?

What if on the same day they all tuned in something that was in the public domain?  Is the “Modest Proposal” essay in the public domain?  Come to think of it, a strike did fatally cripple Hearst’s L. A. newspaper.

On the same day the sale was announced, a friend suggested that this columnist could improve the quality of his words if he would spend more time fact-checking and double checking for spelling errors.  A good city editor can turn one spelling mistake into a mortifying city room ordeal, but if it takes a goodly amount of time to turn out a contribution to the Internets done in a slap dash fashion, why should any extra time and effort be made?  Fox News’ personnel (Is Fox a farm club for the stand up comedian circuit?) are backed by a court decision that says they don’t have to report news that is “true.”  If they don’t waste time and money on fact checking, then why should a rogue columnist do it?

It is one thing for a Hunter S. Thompson wannabe to spend some personal funds to go to Fremantle in the W. A. (Western Australia) and spread the Gospel of online Gonzo Journalism, but it is a different thing entirely to see a Berkeley CA based web site owner and operator urge his work for free keystorkers:  “We have to go out and work harder for Democrats in the next election cycle.”  As Tonto once said; “What do you mean ‘we’ . . . ?”  Couldn’t an imaginative writer cook up a wild conspiracy theory about such an order? 

We seem to recall an issue of Paul Krassner’s “<I>The Realist</I>” which proclaimed that the Republican and Democratic parties were twins separated at birth.  At the time, it sounded absurd to us.  It seems we may have had the opportunity to naively question Krassner about that belief in a composing room encounter in the early Seventies, but deadlines are relentless and we didn’t have time to seize that chance.  We now believe that Krassner was “spot-on” with that Sixties assertion.

If the next election is a choice between a Reagan Democrat incumbent and JEB, then maybe it’s time to double check and see if we can still cross post our material on Digihitch because the extent of our efforts over the next two years will be along the lines of doing a random bit of voter trend spotting in the automobile museums of Germany.  If that doesn’t help Obama very much . . . oh well . . . at least there will be photos in the e-scrapbook to remind the writer when he gets old of just how much fun it was to do the “Europe on 5$ a day” routine in the second half of Obama’s first (and only?) term in office.

This year Germany is celebrating the 125th year of automotive history.  Sounds like a fun thing for this columnist to cover.  Once, long before we sent our first news tip to Ray Wert, we talked our way into a top rate automobile museum on a day when it was closed.  We’d like to think Mr. Hearst would give us a “well done” on that stunt.

W. A. Swanberg (Ibid page 57) wrote that Hearst regarded journalism as:  “an enchanted playground in which giants and dragons were to be slain simply for the fun of the thing.”  Wouldn’t it be funny if Hunter S. Thompson read that book before choosing journalism for his career?

Yeah, it was great fun the one time we saw our efforts mentioned on Mike’s Blog Report.  It made us feel like we might some day get a membership card and bragging rights that we were “in with the ‘in’ crowd,” but it was more fun when Time magazine’s Reagan era White House correspondent entered our apartment in Marina del Rey (many years ago) and exclaimed:  “My God, Bob, it is a hovel!”  We’ll have to work that moment into our memoirs . . . if we ever get around to finishing that project.

Would it be funny if a TSA employee said “turn your head and cough” during a pat-down?

The Daily Curser used to plug good blog postings.  They are long gone, but still listed on a list of other blogs at a certain high profile liberal pundit aggregator site.  Did the Cursor ever mention our efforts?  What blogger holds the record for “talking shop” with the most winners of a Pulitzer Prize?  Is four a good number?

Swanberg succinctly captured the hippie commune non-judgmental democratic atmosphere of a newsroom (Ibid page 70) in one sentence:  “The <I>Examiner</I> had drinkers of all categories, moderate, steady, intermittent and inert, and the staff was so flexibly arranged that when a member fell from grace another would take his place without comment.”

[Note:  One night in late 1996 we saw Hunter S. Thompson appear at Johnny Depp’s night club on the Sunset Strip.  He drank an amber liquid from a whisky bottle for three hours and at the end of the evening he wasn’t showing any of the three symptoms of intoxication, which are:  impaired physical dexterity, slurred speech, or incoherent thinking.  What up wid dat?  Was it a hoax or a miracle?]

Nietzsche wrote:  “Nothing succeeds if prankishness plays no part in it.”  We have always wondered how that applied to the stodgy Huffington Post or if it was the exception to the rule.  Now we know.

Now the disk jockey will play the Doors’ “Show me the way,” “See what the boys in the back room are having,” and “Pour me another tequila, Sheila.”  We have to go and try to decipher the inside joke behind the word “Rosebud.”  May you have a “Let’s celebrate the $315 million sale with a big party!” type week.  This columnist is going to have a glass of A & W. diet root beer and then browse through the travel guide books to Paris (France not Texas) which are available at the Berkeley Public Library – after we check out the latest pro Egyptian student demonstration at Sproul Plaza.

Can Obama eat 50 eggs?

November 6, 2010

One short week ago, predictions that JEB Bush would be the winner of the 2012 Presidential Election  were regarded as Exhibit A for proving that the guy who made that statement was a conspiracy theory lunatic who had no concept of the reality of the contemporary American Political scene; this weekend as President Obama makes offers to negotiate with the Republicans and Nancy Pelosi makes plans to be considered for the post of House Minority leader, the idea that Karl “the Architect” Rove could pull it off is one of the possibilities for a complex and rapidly changing battle field situation.

Looking at that harsh prediction from the other “flip side” viewpoint might underscore the potential for any or all Republican candidates with their “eye on the prize” for 2012 would mean writing a column that offers the opinion that “President Obama has completed the scutt work necessary for the mid-term elections and has now magnanimously offered to negotiate with the Republicans while he prepares to coast to reelection in 2012.”

Of the two ideas, which sounds more impossible:  A.  President Obama will coast to reelection or B.  In January of 2013, Karl Rove will be the dignitary with the biggest smile as he sits with the elite watching the Inauguration on the temporary structure used every four years? 

If political pundits are skeptical about this scenario, why don’t they just ask Karl Rove for his take on this prediction?  

Is it too early for a JEB prediction?  Can an accurate prediction ever be made “too soon”?  At the end of 2009, on a different website, the World’s Laziest Journalist tried to sound the alarm (“clear the bridge, dive!  Dive!”) for the readers of liberal web sites, by writing:  “Meanwhile, the Republicans are very vocal in their assertions of being the true living patriots, while voting against every motion in sight.  Do you suppose that they know something about the unverifiable results that the electronic voting machines will produce next fall, that (t)he Democrats don’t see coming?  Maybe they should emphasis the point by making Merle Haggard’s ‘Sing Me Back Home’ their official song for next year’s elections and each time they play it, dedicate it to the Democratic candidates?”

We don’t intend to write a column reiterating the same prediction over and over from now until the results of the Iowa caucuses are announced.  We will open up the focus of the columns and address other topics in the hopes of amusing and entertaining any regular readers.   We may, throw a “brush back pitch” style column (or two?) about the possibilities that, early next year, a student loan application may come back (in the form of impeachment for perjury?) to haunt a certain high profile Democrat.

Naturally, there will be some politically oriented items along the road to the next Presidential Election, such as the fact that on Friday, November 05, 2010, Rush Limbaugh was goading the Republicans into spurning and ignoring President Obama’s generous proposal to consider any and all compromise offers from the Republicans.  Instead, Uncle Rushbo was inciting the conservatives to consider it as being similar to a chance for (hypothetical) negotiations between the Allies and Japan and Germany before they signed the documents agreeing to unconditional surrenders.

Maybe we’ll write a column about the disconnect and, for the headline, run the famous quote from the movie “Cool Hand Luke:”  “What we have here is . . . failure to communicate.” 

Maybe we’ll write a column about the “Electronic Voting Machine Club” and the fact that their second rule is the same as the first:  “You can never talk about the unverifiable results.”

We could maybe go back to doing movie reviews.  The new action adventure flick “Unstoppable” seems interesting.  Hmmm.  Wouldn’t it be great to do a column that was both a review of that movie and a way to interpret it as a political metaphor?

We noticed that the famous film critic, Roger Eber, seems to be preparing for a return to TV early next year.  Would paring the Pulitzer Prize winner with a conspiracy theory lunatic be a way to claim that the program featured “fair and balanced” reviews?

Nancy Pelosi endorsed the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” philosophy by indicating that she will seek the chance to be selected for the position of being the minority leader in the House. 

An example or a more trivial matter that deserves mention in the interim might be the fact that the Peterson Auto Museum in Los Angeles will conduct a tribute “Evening with Don ‘the Snake’ Prudhomme” Wednesday night.

In all the columns leading up to the mid-term elections, this columnist didn’t have the time to run a plug for Keith Richard’s new book titled “Life.”

Hmmm.  I wonder what Keith Olbermann would think of the World’s Laziest Journalist’s prediction about JEB? 

For do-it-yourself fact-checkers click these links,_1st_Viscount_Grey_of_Fallodon,CST-NWS-lew20.article

Edward Grey (AKA 1st Viscount Grey of Fallodon) is reported to have said (right before the British voted to enter World War I):  “The lamps are going out all over Europe.  We shall not see them lit again in our time.”  We think that quote also applies to the concept of Democracy in the USA.

Now the disk jockey will play Waylon’s “Ain’t Living Long like This,” Frank’s song “That’s Life,” and Hank Williams’ version of “A Picture from Life’s Other Side.”  We have to go attend a memorial service for Pontiac.  Have a “it’s just a flesh wound” type week.

This just in . . .

June 27, 2010

The latest efforts from the World’s Laziest Journalist can be seen by clicking on these links

You want columns?

June 20, 2010

We have posted some new columns$-$-$

Two more columns in the done column

June 13, 2010

I posted these two columns else where on the Internets today

David vs. Goliath on the web?

May 12, 2009

There is no way that the world’s laziest journalist’s blog can compete (David vs. Goliath style?) with “the best free Reference Directory for Information in the world,” so all we can do is give our readers the link to that site: