April 3, 2015

Going to the Gates of Hell and back

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:28 pm

crop of gates phot

Traveling to the Gates of Hell (a work by Rodin, which is on display in the sculpture garden at the Stanford University campus), taking a selfie, and then returning to Berkeley only to find that a homeless protest will have to be covered for use in the Easter 2015 weekend round-up, which, in conjunction with a missed installment of our weekly writing chore, caused us to do some reevaluations of the weekly effort to grind out a column. Once a columnist has traveled to the Gates of Hell, what can he possibly do next week as an encore?

A video of a homeless person being beat-up was going viral last week and caused some local TV stations to send a news crews to Berkeley to investigate and report. The video caused the local homeless citizens to protest and respond: “There you go again!”

Mike Zint, the political activist has made the assertion that the use of Downtown Ambassadors to do clean up and perform some aspects of crowd control is actually a preliminary move in an attempt to privatize police work. A great deal of fact checking could produce a piece that alerts the public to a complicated topic and an alarming possibility regarding the “privatize it” trend.

The Republicans are loudly pro police and adamantly anti- union; so how do they stand on the question of police unions? Would they surreptitiously support an attempt to slowly start to replace union member police officers with lesser paid non-union workers?

Is that what’s happening now in Berkeley?

If the poor will still be a vexation to society long after this columnist goes to the great newsroom in the sky, why bother to write yet one more column on the eternal problem?

After building up a small core audience of regular readers, the best that the World’s Laziest Journalist can hope to do with these columns is to have certain items come to the attention of a mainstream media editor or freelance journalist who can bring greater awareness of the problem to his audience and then hope the topic “goes viral.” Why bother at all? Isn’t that question a fabulous chance to quote what the scorpion said to the frog: “It’s in my nature.”?

To hold on to a loyal core audience, a writer has to try to develop a unique voice which asks some obvious questions that have never before been asked. Such as? If a vampire’s image does not appear in a mirror and does not register on film, does that mean that vampires are immune and exempt from the selfie fad? Are their images absent when they take a selfie?

Some time ago, we learned in a course at Santa Monica College, that it takes about a month of work to produce a well written magazine article. That, as they say, is above the World’s Laziest Journalist’s pay grade. We knock out a three dot journalism style column each week and if our words inspire someone else to take up one of the items and do a great deal of extra work to turn it into a magazine article, we wish them God’s speed.

The military situation for the United States forces in the Middle East has become so convoluted and weird that it defies rational and perceptive analysis, so we are gradually abandoning that topic.

The Election desk at the World’s Laziest Journalist News Organization has projected a winner (JEB Bush) in the 2016 Presidential Election, and so any subsequent analysis of the event is irrelevant.

Speaking of speed, we have not had any feedback on our attempt to solicit help from a wealthy car owner to do a column describing what makes driving a Ferrari a much better experience than tooling around Santa Monica in a 1968 Chevy van.

Did you know that the Rent a Wreck firm was spawned by Bundy Rent a Wreck in the Santa Monica/West L. A. area? Rumor was (as reported in People magazine) that folks like Paul Newman would drive in one of their “beater” vehicles as a way to avoid being recognized as a world famous movie star.

Recently the World’s Laziest Journalist spent some (futile) time fact checking the existence of some super low cost airfares from Oakland to Europe. If we encounter some other travel bargain, a week without a column may mean that we are busy crossing a trip to New Zealand off the bucket list and not an indication that we pleased our harshest critics and croaked.

Maybe we will get the chance to write a column with a hed that reads: “From the Gates of Hell to Christ’s Church” or “From Fremantle to Freemont.”

If some young, energetic, and enthusiastic freelancer want to write about the assertion that “they” are trying to privatize police work, you can go to the “First they came for the homeless” page on Facebook to track down the aforementioned Mike Zint to get some good quotes and thus get the project started.

While we were on our Gates of Hell excursion, we chatted with people who were attending a symposium at Stanford on the subject of Artificial Intelligence. We learned that a person who pretends to be much wiser and more leaned than they actually are (moi, pseudo-intellectual?) are not examples of Artificial Intelligence, but are actually classified as examples of synthetic intelligence. (“I didn’t know that!”)

Are all the police shootings of blacks just a long series of coincidences or is the first American President of African American heritage, participating in a nationally coordinated program? Again, providing perceptive and insightful comments on either scenario is above the World’s Laziest Journalist’s pay grade.

Berkeley CA is in a congressional district that may well be classified as America’s most Liberal Congressional District. Why, then, are the homeless in Berkeley consistently complaining of mistreatment and why is the city trending towards claiming the title of having the most anti-homeless laws of any city in the state (or country?)?

The topics of war and poverty will be the subject of analysis and commentary for many years to come and so to provide an assortment of topics in our weekly effort to inform, amuse, and delight (?) our faithful readers, we may, given the proper circumstances, impulsively take a week or two hiatus to avail our self of a travel bargain as a means of doing some fact checking for non-political punditry columns. (Where did we put our copy of “Europe on $5 a Day”?)

Over the course of recent years, we have failed to get any publicity for our efforts from any nationally known fellow travelers, but the advantage of that situation is that we have carved a niche that permits us to develop a unique style that permits us to range from “verboten” topics, such as predicting that a Conservative Republican majority United States Supreme Court will certainly declare “an abomination against nature” to be unconstitutional to other esoteric and arcane bits of information such as “you can’t manufacture mayonnaise during a thunder storm,” with an air of impunity that is not available to wage slaves in the mainstream media.

Is the uproar over the new Indiana law actually a stealth way to measure the vitriol level potential if Gay Marriage is determined to be unconstitutional? Do the people who believe that peyote is a sacrament get any legal acknowledgement of their religious rights and beliefs?

Speaking of the movie “Double Indemnity,” did any of your usual sources address the topic of increased liability if an airplane crash is a suicide with numerous counts of murder attached rather than just an accident? Don’t cha just love a news source that proclaims: “Lies, exaggeration, or propaganda? We deliver and then let you sort it all out.”?

Again, we wish to thank our regular readers for their continued support and hits.

Maintaining an image of uncontrollable columnist errant is one thing, but the reality is that isn’t how it is. Our closing quote for this week is a Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood) line: “A man’s got to know his limitations.”

Now the disk jockey will play Bob Dylan’s “Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door,” Lenny Bruce’s “song” “Non Skeddo Flies Again” (It’s on youtube.) and the Rolling Stones song “Flight 505.” We have to go find the gin-mill that epitomizes the expression “old school bar.” Have a “don’t even think of watering the lawn” type week.

tight crop gates plaque


November 27, 2013

Remember Quality Journalism?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:23 pm

Watching the ABC TV news program on Tuesday November 26, 2013, it seemed like it was time to do yet another column about how Journalism is doing the Cheshire Cat disappearing act in the USA.  Their lead story was about the fact that a new snowstorm was snarling Thanksgiving Day traffic on the East Coast.  We just couldn’t picture Edward R. Murrow picking that weather item as being the lead story of the day.

Recently we have heard ads on KCBS, the all news all the time AM radio station in San Francisco, featuring the voices of some of their reporters.  We couldn’t imagine Murrow endorsing the idea of a journalist doing a commercial.  Isn’t that called “crossing the craft”?

ABC followed with a brief item about using birth control pills as a basis for yet another way to give the United States Supreme Court a second chance to veto the Obamacare legislation.

Where were the compassionate Christian conservatives when some Native Americans wanted a legal basis for declaring their use of peyote was a religious right?  Did any news organization do a sidebar story about the peyote dispute?

Some time ago, in Los Angeles, a man and a woman tried to establish a church that held that sex was a religious experience.  The police and the politicians teamed up to put a quick end to that issue using the laws against prostitution as a way of keeping society under strict control of the one percent.

Next, ABC ran a story saying that the Black Friday bargains might not be a real true bargain!  Stop the press!  There was a common saying (folk wisdom?) in Los Angeles that maintained there would be T-day weekend sales in Beverly Hills.  The punch line was:  “Yeah, everything will be marked down to retail price!”

Also on Tuesday, we encountered an axiom that advised that birds born in a cage thin k flying is an illness.  Do people who have read Ayn Rand and watch Fox News know who Murrow’s Boys were and what they did?

When Sunday night rolls around and folks head back home will the inevitable stories about the weekend box office take for the movie industry put the figures in context?  If a bargain matinee ticket in San Francisco cost about $8 and a film grosses $16,000,000 this weekend, does that mean that more people saw it than went to see “Gone With the Wind” on its first weekend of release?  If the price of admission soared to a half a buck and if (just for the sake of comparison) it did the same dollar amount of business its first weekend or release, wouldn’t that mean that 32 million people went and saw Rhett and Scarlet do their emoting?

A white Christmas in Australia would be a headline event because, since the seasons are reversed in the Southern Hemisphere, the traditional way of celebrating Christmas down under is in your bathing suit on the beach (nice movie title?).

As we recall, on Thanksgiving Day in 1971, Scranton Pa. received 24 inches of snow.

Wasn’t that the same time that a guy, called D. B. Cooper, with a parachute and a bundle of money made headlines?

Are the reporters in the USA, who work on trend-spotting stories, just about to discover Parkour?  Can you do a story on that without mentioning some of the amazing stunts that Jackie Chan has done in his movies?  What?  You want a full explanation about what it is and how it works?  Can’t you look it up on the Internets?  Why do you think we are known affectionately as “the World’s Laziest Journalist”?

Maybe we should do a column that asks the question:  Who is getting shoddier treatment football players with concussions or wounded veterans?

Can a dedicated consumer buy his/her way to prosperity?

Recent news stories indicate that a majority of people don’t believe that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone.  Most of the stories about the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy quickly glossed over conspiracy theories related to the shooting and people think we’re a lazy journalist.

Carefully examining the reasons why the World’s Laziest Journalist considers being critical of American Journalism,  in a column for people who are busy contending with the best meal of the year, to be as futile as formulating a magic bullet explanation for pesky laws of physics and it just doesn’t seem like a reasonable use of time as the buying season approaches.

Aren’t Republicans very enthusiastic about sending troops into Syria and/or Iran?

Can it be that there is a light at the end of the tunnel for the War in Afghanistan?  Will the last American soldier to leave Afghanistan, please turn out the lights?

The Republicans in Congress should officially adopt as their motto, a famous line from “Gone with the Wind:”  “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!”

Now, the disk jockey will play Jimmy Clanton’s “My Own True Love,” the Revels’ “Church Key,” and Tom Jones’ “What’s New Pussycat?”  We have to go buy some Christmas presents.  Have a “Only a few shopping days left” type week.

Powered by WordPress