March 14, 2014

Land of the “Ever Young”

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:11 pm

Three American Presidents share Irish ancestry; Presidents Kennedy, Reagan, and Obama.  In recent years, that fact has made the Republicans uncomfortable, but this year, as St. Patrick’s Day approaches, their worst nightmare will bring their propensity for hypocrisy into play:  the Republicans hate the Communists and they hate Obama so being forced into a binary choice will deliver an uncomfortable decision: racism or McCarthyism?  The fact that some Republicans seem to be endorsing Putin over the American president in the Crimean Crisis speaks for itself.

Would it be ironic if some genealogists offered a theory that St. Reagan and Obama were related?

“It takes too long to retrain them!” is the punch line for an ethnic joke that might “get your Irish up,” if you were offended by that sort of attempts at “humor.”

Is it true that Adolph Hitler, who was a well known vegetarian, gave himself a dispensation from the usual rules by ordering corn beef and cabbage every year when Saint Patrick’s Day was celebrated at Berchtesgaden?

Is it true that one of the founding members of the Black Panthers would astound his posse by producing evidence that he held dual American and Ireland citizenship because he was born as an “Army brat” son of an American Air Force officer serving at a base on the Emerald Isle?

Ernesto Guevara Lynch’s son became known to the world as Che Guevara. You don’t find many references to that fact when St. Patrick’s Day celebrations are being held in the United States.

In the U. S. vs. Mexico war, induced by offers of higher pay than the American army paid and land grants, a group of gringos led by some Irish with military experience, fought on the side of Mexico.  They were called Batallón de San Patricio (Saint Patrick’s Battalion).  Many of those who survived battle were hanged (30 simultaneously) for treason.  Some (urban legend?) escaped and became Mexican landowners.

In the WTF file we see that on Monday many of the employees of the Amalgamated Conspiracy Theory Factory plan to be wearing green T-shirts with the word “Diego Garcia” printed on them.  When asked what they symbolize; they shrug their shoulders and say:  “It’s a mystery.”

John Wayne was a member of John Ford’s “repertoire company of film makers” and many of the films featured a recurring group of actors (AKA the usual suspects”) but some of his most memorable films featured Maureen O’Hara (who made many films directed by John Ford) as his costar.  The best and best known would be “The Quiet Man” from 1951, in which John Wayne sang “Wild Colonial Boy.”

[In “Ned Kelly,” Mick Jagger sings the same song.  Wouldn’t it be interesting to hear what a good sound man could do making a mash up of the two versions?]

In “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Irish History and Culture,” written by Sonja Massie, readers learn (page 191) that sparks flew when William Butler Yeats met James Joyce, who, upon learning that Yeats was thirty-five years old, said:  “I’ve met you too late” and elaborated the age meant that he (Joyce) wouldn’t have any influence on Yeats.  Subsequently the fellow summarized Joyce by saying “Never, have I encounter so much pretension with so little to show for it.”

What is it like in Ireland?  According to a reliable source, “In the summer the rain is warm; in the winter, the rain is cold.”

Aren’t sailors on the USS O’Brien the only crew in the U. S. Navy that is permitted to wear green baseball caps rather than the regulation Navy blue gear everyone else must use?

For many years, the St. Patrick Day celebration in New York City was very popular with college students because back then the State of New York had a drinking age of 18 and was surrounded by states where it was 21.  Talk about “Aye, lad there’s the rub.” Eventually political pressure was used to convince New York to change it’s drinking age laws to 21.

Self-deprecating humor is a hallmark of Irish wit.  St. Ronald Reagan told a story about knocking on a farmer’s door during the Iowa primary season.  The local looked at the former movie actor and sputtered:  “You’re . . . you’re . . . you’re.”  St. Reagan tried to offer a hint:  “Do the initials R. R. help?”  The fellow turned and yelled into the interior of the house:  “Momma, come quick and meet Roy Rogers!”

George Berkeley has been described as being the only philosopher from Ireland.  He traveled to the United States.  A town “near Harvard” was going to be named after him, but an error by a court clerk changed the spelling of the town to Berkley.  A city in California was also named for him.  The Californians weren’t content to just spell the name correctly’ it was also decided to build a better University in the city a few miles East of San Francisco.

The Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in San Francisco this weekend is being touted as the 164th installment of the annual celebration.

The California town of Dublin will also have a parade this weekend.

[Note from the photo editor:  We dug up some photos from a past Saint Patrick’s Day Parade in Frisco.

Hat tip to a clerk at San Francisco’s Beat Museum for that obscure historical sidebar item about the Saint Patrick’s Battalion.]

William Butler Yeats wrote:  “The best lack all convictions, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”

Now the disk jockey will play the Rolling Stones’ “Flight 505,” the Irish Rovers’ “The Unicorn,” and he rarely does dedications, but just this once, for Clint Eastwood, he’ll play John McCormack singing “The Empty Chair.”  We have to go try to solve the riddle:  “Why can’t Irish employees be given a lunch break?”  Have a “Sinn Fein (it’s pronounced Shin Fain and means “Ourselves alone”)” type week.

October 20, 2011

Is Che the patron saint for Occupy Marina del Rey?

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 3:01 pm

Occupy Venice CA

[Note: In an attempt to achieve humor, portions of this column have been fictionalized (it is up to readers to do their own factchecking to discern what has and what has not been fictionalized).]

(Venice CA) The Occupy Wall Street demonstrations have been gaining increased media attention recently (although some lackeys in the conservative propaganda branch of the media have taken to blatant mocking the spontaneous combustion of citizen outrage) and so the World’s Laziest Journalist went to Marina del Rey (on the Western edge of Los Angeles County) to contact and interview the leaders of the Occupy Marina del Rey (CA) at their secret rebel encampment. Unlike the other Occupy protests around the USA, the one in Marina del Rey makes a concerted effort to avoid journalists and we had to switch to stealth mode to talk with the folks who have been trying to reverse the trend of politicians, bankers, and capitalists collaborating on the fleecing of the middle class, in that area of county owned land.

For fifty years the media has been reporting on the cozy financial relationship between the politicians and the developers, but (alas) the trend continues to gain momentum to this very day.

There is no publicized, centralized location for the Occupy Marina del Rey protesters where the police can focus their efforts to discourage the voters’ discontent. The rebel forces in Marina del Rey have tended to pattern their efforts more along the lines of the Occupy the Sierra Maestro Mountains. Many years ago that protest, in a small Caribbean Island Nation, may have, inadvertently, provided the paradigm for the more visible various Occupy Wall Street clone protests springing up around the USA in the Fall of 2011.

We talked with the leader of the Marina Rebels (formed in the late Seventies) known to his followers as “el Jefe,” and he pointed out that the new Occupy Protesters who say that they “aren’t going away” will need at least a decade to establish the priorities for their demands and develop a dialogue with the opposition.

The Marina Rebels have been stymied at every move by the capitalists who dictate their agenda to the local politicians and stifle any attempts to gain converts by managing the news and thus coercing the locals into becoming “sheeple.”

El Jefe brandishes a copy of the October 20, 2011, issue of La Opiniõn newspaper and points to the lead story that details the allegations that the S-Comm program (according to Aarti Kohli at the Warren Institute at UC Berkeley) puts electronic tracking devices on undocumented foreigners in the USA and challenges the columnist saying: “Bet ya didn’t know about this, didja?”

We had to admit that we must have missed that story in our efforts to monitor the news emanating out of that school in the SF area.

El Jefe calls the fascistic politicians, who let developers deplete citizens’ bank accounts via sordid and assorted devious schemes, by the word “Batista” which we assumes means people born out of wedlock. He uses the word as a metaphor for a dictator who has a very cozy relationship with the capitalists and should be replaced by someone via legitimate democratic means or somehow.

The more traditional protest at Occupy Venice (CA) epitomized by a small encampment at the Venice Circle echoes the various bigger protests in places like New York City, San Francisco and Los Angeles, but the Marina Rebels prefer to conduct their efforts via law suits. The leader of the Marina Rebels is quick to ask the visiting columnist if he knows the details of the dispersal of the Bonus Army in Washington D. C. a few years back. We replied: “Didn’t Douglas Macarthur do a superb job of extending ‘interline courtesy’ and limiting the number of fatalities of protesting WWI veterains, to an extremely acceptable small number?”

“Evidently,” el Jefe responded, “Macarthur was intent on running interference for Ronald Reagan and establishing a precedence for the kind of harsh response to demonstrators which the California governor would condone when he said ‘If it takes a blood bath to end this dissention on campus, let’s get it over with.’”

We asked if the leader of the Marina Rebels thought there would be a heavy handed government move to help convince the protesters to abandon their efforts. “You had to be blindfolded while you were being brought here. Draw your own conclusions.” He continued: “Didn’t your mother teach you that all’s fair in love, war and politics?”

Then he pointed to the front page of the Los Angeles Times October 20, 2011, edition which had a lead story about an FBI investigation into allegations of beatings in the jail facilities.

“The protesters who compare their commitment to non-violence to Gandhi’s methods may soon want to read Albert Camus’ ‘The Rebel’ because in effect they are forcing a binary choice on America: ‘change your ways’ or endorse fascism . . . one more time. Based on America’s past history, we think we know which way the capitalists’ police force will be told to handle the problem. Camus wouldn’t have expected a Pollyanna ending to the protests, so why should I?” He paused and then asked: “How are the ‘No Justice; No BART’ protests going?” He paused and then asked another question: “After the 1968 Democratic Convention who was put on trial? Was it the cops or the kids?”

When we pulled out our Nikon Coolpix camera some of the rebels pulled out pistols. El Jefe motioned me to put the camera away. “Go over to the Occupy Venice site if you want to take photos. You can’t take any here.”

He chuckled and then added: “We have been conducting our fight for about thirty five years. We may not live to see the Promised Land where rents are fair, but we will continue fighting until we win or the day we die. Che Guevara said: ‘Whenever death may surprise us, let it be welcome if our battle cry has reached even one receptive ear and another hand reaches out to take up our arms.’ We hope the Occupy sites succeed and achieve all their aims but they should know that it may take some time to wear the capitalists down.”

Then he ended the bearded leader added: “It seems that efforts to shame the capitalists into repenting is a bit more optimistic than this old cynic is ready to expect.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Until the end of time,” and the Stones songs “When the whip comes down” and “Street Fighting Man.” We have to go check and see if there is an “Occupy Santa Monica” and see how well it is going. Have an “In it to win it” type week.

March 9, 2011

Non as blind as those . . .

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:42 pm

A forty year old movie that told the story of a group of criminals tried to cheat the operators of an illegal bookie operation out of some money may be a very appropriate piece of evidence for pundits who wish to evaluate the next American Presidential Election in the fall of 2112.

Movies about elaborate frauds are a popular theme for Hollywood and it was only after seeing the Robert Redford and Paul Newman movie that this columnist was advised to keep in mind, while seeing a film about con artists, that it will be the perpetrators who will get fooled. How many times have you seen a character get “killed” only to later learn that he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and wasn’t really killed?

What brought all this movie reviewing information to mind was that earlier this week; we saw two trend spotting stories about the competition for the Republican nomination for the Presidential Election in 2012. One was printed in the Los Angeles Times and the other was found online. (a href =>Paul West story on page AA) The story, by Paul Drake, on the Internets asserted that there was no clear front running Republican. The Times story tried to be a laundry list of potential winners.

Neither story mentioned JEB Bush and we thought that was very odd. Right after the 2008 Election it was reported that JEB was on a listening tour of the USA. JEB does not have an official website just yet but he is a member of a family that has been very prominent in American Politics. Why wasn’t JEB mentioned? There could be two possible explanations to the glaring omission: either the writers were dumb or they were part of an orchestrated effort to keep JEB’s name out of the limelight, for the time being.

Journalists don’t get assigned to be part of the political assessment team on a large daily newspaper by being dummies, so that leaves the other possibility as the most likely explanation.

Supposing that media could somehow be manipulated for an ulterior motive is absurd in a nation that has a free press as the life’s blood of a Democratic system, but we ask the reader’s permission to permit us that absurd assumption just for the sake of this column.

So what ulterior motive could there possibly be for “keeping JEB in the wings” as a stage director might put it?

If (subjunctive mood for the sake of an entertaining bit of columnistic reading matter) there was some imaginary Karl Rove type Svengali trying to orchestrate the Election Procedure, how would it play out with JEB being a stealth candidate at the one year away from the New Hampshire primary part of the count-down?

This is a hypothetical suggestion for such an imaginary scenario.

The master manipulator engineers a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses and arranges for a subservient free press to greet such an “upset” with both amazement and extreme (but reluctant?) admiration. The most unexpected political comeback of all times!

This columnist can not imagine how such a mythical king-maker would arrange for the entire news media industry to “play along,” but in this fictionalized account (a stealth Hollywood “pitch” effort?) let’s just say that it happens.

Would America be gullible enough to read such Republican propaganda tripe and take it seriously?

Well, if Sarah Palin can be considered a serious contender for the Republican Presidential nomination, we will have to reluctantly concede the remote possibility that JEB could score a decisive win in Iowa and then further be ready to unquestioningly receive a torrent of “unexplained ground swell of approval” trend spotting stories in the ever cynical American free press.

If there is a massive display of “ground swell” spin in play after Iowa, would some subsequent early primary election wins be closely questioned? Not bloody well likely, mate.

If JEB gains traction and manages to somehow land the Republican Party’s nomination, wouldn’t America’s free press be on “condition red” alert regarding the possibility that just like in 2000 and 2004, the Republicans (and by an amazine co-inky-dink) and a member of the Bush family could again score a “stolen” victory? Wouldn’t the Conservative majority U. S. Supreme Court be over zealous in their efforts to prevent a sham election?

At this point would some hyper sensitive political critics might say that a minor clerical error on the part of one of the Supreme Court Justices would cause him to recluse himself from such a political death-match? Of course, but when the winds of paranoia are loosed in the realm of political speculation, all things are possible (especially if you believe in the power of prayer as most compassionate conservative Christians do).

At a moment in history when Libya seems to be participating in a reenactment of the Spanish Civil War and when Americans are blasé about torture, and when the unions are facing a political massacre in Wisconsin, one might have to concede that one more stolen (just to keep the conspiracy theory nuts happy) election might be a possible scenario.

Americans seem rather subdued when establishing a “no fly zone” in Libya is discussed. Why wasn’t a “no fly zone” established in the Guernica area during the Spanish Civil War? Why was the rest of the world so complacent back then, but not now? Can’t we all just ignore localized manifestations of civil unrest? Did the rebels make the same mistake that Erwin “The Desert Fox” Rommel made and overextend their supply lines?

If Obama fails to solve the Riddle-in-Libyan-politics correctly, will JEB get to say: “My brother predicted this would happen and Obama fumbled the ball.”? Why is the national political media ignoring the link between what is happening in the Middle East now and the George W. Bush prediction that a wave of pro-democracy sentiment would be unleashed by the American attempt to establish democracy in Iraq? Is the American media not free to say that? If so, who is muzzling them and why are they doing that?

Wash your hands and start rereading this column again.

Che Guevera said: “The laws of capitalism, blind and invisible to the majority, act upon the individual without his thinking about it. He sees only the vastness of a seemingly infinite horizon before him. That is how it is painted by capitalist propagandists, who purport to draw a lesson from the example of Rockefeller—whether or not it is true—about the possibilities of success. The amount of poverty and suffering required for the emergence of a Rockefeller, and the amount of depravity that the accumulation of a fortune of such magnitude entails, are left out of the picture, and it is not always possible to make the people in general see this.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Red Rubber Ball,” “Ain’t we crazy,” and Wagner’s Gotterdammerung. We have to go hunt up enough information about the rumor that Che was seen in Tubruk recently (yeah, yeah, yeah we know about the photo on Felix Rodriguez’s desk. We refer the reader back to the “bullet proof vest” trick earlier in this column.) Have an “I was sure he was dead” type week.

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