June 13, 2014

Hemingway, Cadillacs, and college reunions

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:31 pm

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Back in the days when Marina del Rey was famous for being the center of the “swinging singles” phenomenon, we knocked on a neighbor’s door searching for a temporary cure for a sever bout of ennui. We asked “What up?” and learned it was Sandy’s 21st birthday. Voila! (Do bartenders still ask to see your draft card to prove that you are old enough to buy drinks?) “Put on your hat, grab your purse; let’s go!” We were off to a dive bar in Santa Monica for the auspicious occasion known as the “first legal drink” ceremony.

The years flew by and now, approximately forty years later, she is getting married and knowing that the World’s Laziest Journalist is functioning in Golden Age of Austerity Budget mode she has made a rather unique wedding gift request. Her wedding will put her into the forefront of the esoteric subject of restoring Cadillac cars and so she asked us to write a column about this new phase of her life.

She suggested we spice up the column with a list of all the great movies that have featured a Cadillac car. In addition, she wants the columnist to find a movie theater that used to be a Cadillac new car showroom.

We immediately contacted our e-buddy, British film critic Mike McCahill (Google hint: Mike McCahill’s blog) to get his suggestions, and then we set about making up our own list of the best movies featuring a Cadillac in a supporting role.

“The Solid Gold Cadillac” from 1955 has to start off the list. “Cadillac Man” and “Cadillac Ranch” were quickly added to the list. We Googled “Cadillacs in movies” and got a very long list of contenders.

Since film festivals are becoming ubiquitous, we had a light bulb moment when we started to think about the list and the need to find a movie theater that used to be a car dealer’s showroom for that particular brand of GM product.

Introducing a girl who has been a good friend for a long time to your girlfriend sounds like something that would be the basis for a question in the Playboy Advisor column. (Do they still use that feature?) Eventually all three of us saw the “No Nukes Concert” together, but we’ll save that story for another time in another column. (Can you believe that at the end of this summer, Bruce Springsteen will be old enough to cash his first Social Security check?)

Since our friend is marrying Frank Nicodemus, who is considered to be the leading expert on Cadillac car restorations and since we have been getting some calls picking our brain about how to write press releases, we began to put two and two together (getting 22?). Cadillac restorations, movie featuring Cadillacs, and a movie theater that used to be a Cadillac showroom?

We have a very strong premonition that as soon as we tell her that the AMC Van Ness 14 movie complex in San Francisco was originally built to serve as a Cadillac dealership, we are going to hear the question: “When you were a kid, did you ever dream of becoming an ‘impresario’?”

Didn’t many of Clint Eastwood’s films feature a Cadillac? Wasn’t he born in Frisco? Doesn’t he live in the Big Sur area?

If we write a column extolling the idea of something that would be “the Cadillac of Film Festivals” and if some young and energetic entrepreneur steals the idea, that might save the World’s Laziest Journalist a great deal of work.

Didn’t Sandy recently ask questions about how one would go about finding a film school student with video equipment and an interest in cars who might be susceptible to the idea of a cable TV show about running around the USA looking for barn finds? It would be a Barnfind Searching Safari, so to speak.

Hmmm. Recently there has been some excitement in the automotive world over the fact that the Chrysler once owned by writer Ernst Hemingway has been found in Cuba and is being restored. Wasn’t Hemingway a famous Cadillac owner also?

Would car aficionados like it if a cable TV show about finding barn finds drove a 1959 Cadillac convertible to Key West for Hemingway Days as a way to stir up interest in the whereabouts of Hemingway’s Cadillac?

Since a 1955 Cadillac El Dorado Biarritz convertible that her husband-to-be owns has been used by the Rolling Stones for a publicity event, we suggested that she and Frank Nicodemus get married in that same car as it rolls along on an open highway. Couldn’t the minister drive and recite the wedding ceremony words at the same time? Wouldn’t he and the bride and groom, and the two witnesses all fit into the car? Wouldn’t local news teams go wild to get footage of that event? Heck if TV can provide coverage of a freeway car chase twenty years ago, they sure as heck could cover a freeway wedding, this weekend.

While fact checking around to try to locate where Hemingway’s Cadillac might be hiding, we came across an online challenge for writers to measure the “Hemingway-ness” of their words. The New Yorker magazine is offering wannabes a Hemingway meter reading. (Google hint: “New Yorker Magazine Hemingway Test”)

Didn’t Native American leader Geronimo drive a Cadillac? What happened to that vehicle? How difficult would it be to buy up cars once owned by Elvis, Hemingway, Geronimo, and Al Capone and build a “Cadillac Hall of Fame” tourist attraction?

Is this 28 year old columnist getting too old to put together a pilot episode for a cable TV reality show titled: “On the Road, in a Cadillac, looking for barnfinds”? If so, does that mean that we are too old to do some gonzo punditry about attending our college class’ fiftieth reunion?

George Clayton Johnson, who wrote episodes for the first season of the Twilight Zone TV series (and currently is looking to expand his list of Facebook friends), could probably get a modern episode if he chronicled the trials and exacerbations of a fellow who shows up at his college class’s fiftieth reunion and he doesn’t look like he is a day over 28. What if he is accompanied by a 28 year old female companion? Didn’t Bram Stoker leave a chapter on that challenge out of his best book? Or did that happen to Dorian Gray?

Could a scribe with a great imagination write an entire column speculating about what was in “The Mexican Suitcase”?

We had been planning on banging out a quick column for this week predicting that something reminiscent of The Fall of Saigon would soon happen but we can pencile that in for next week’s column.

The Le Mans race, the start of the World Cup competition, Father’s Day, and assessing blame for the fall of Baghdad will be dominant topics on American TV this weekend so a column about a friend’s wedding will offer us a chance to stress the “Fresh Start” symbolism of a June wedding and a chance to wish our friend well in her new life.

Who knows? If we do a really great job on this column, maybe we will get a job offer and a chance to become the Castle Cadillac publicity agent.

Car buffs like the humor that says “Rolls Royce is the Cadillac of automobiles.”

Information found online indicates that there are thousands of songs with the word Cadillac in the title and ten times as many with that word in the lyrics and so the disk jockey will play Huey Lewis’ “Still the Same,” Elton John’s album “Yellow Brick Road,” and Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” We have to go share the link to this column with all of our posse on Facebook (and ask them to please do the same). Have a “Fall of Saigon 2.0” type week.



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October 6, 2011

Occupy Turtle Island

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 7:56 pm

After three unsuccessful efforts to pound out a rough draft of a column that uses the story of Geronimo as a cautionary tale for the people participating in the various local installments of the “Occupy Wall Street” protest in New York City, we realized that just writing a column about it would be a challenge because if you can’t go to one of the locations, where people are expressing their opinion by taking action, to get quotes, and to observe the proceedings; then what is there to say?

It should be obvious that people who make millions and pay no taxes while others eek out a living while paying a big chunk of their income for taxes isn’t fair.

It should be obvious that when police get rough with protesters who objecting to cagy politicians asserting that it is time to reduce the pension payments made to retired teachers and public employees (including law enforcement officers) that may be an example of self-defeating, inexplicable logic.

A pesky contradiction presents itself in the fact that many of the protesters object to the War on Terrorism because it is a vague concept with no specific goals while their efforts can be similarly criticized.

Liberals who are quite adamant in asserting that Republicans would eventually install fascism in America, and who are very concerned about the Occupy Wall Street movement being co-opted by conservatives, might ask themselves if a series of false flag operatives starts a series of violent incidents, could that provide a convenient excuse for a much faster pace for the slide towards fascism?

Since President Obama has become a stealth Republican do the Occupy Wall Street protesters want to rely on him to protect them from an overly harsh reaction to any agent provocateur activities?

Brad Friedman has been substituting for Mike Malloy on the Malloy’s radio show while the host participates in a protest rally in Washington D. C. Both Friedman and Malloy are very enthusiastic about the spontaneous manifestations of voter dissatisfaction with the status quo. We are very tempted to call and ask Friedman (who has been a point man for journalistic criticism of the electronic voting machines and the validity of their unverifiable results) if a call to hold new elections would end the Occupy Wall Street protests.

If they are working toward getting a solemn promise from the capitalists, politicians, and military to reform their ways and end preferential taxation methods and begin more efficient financial oversight then they should all read up on the plight of the Native Americans who tended to get swindled when ever they signed agreements AKA peace treaties AKA “scraps of paper.”

How did the occupation of Alcatraz Island work out?

How much did the Hippie demonstrations shorten the Vietnam War?

What did the politicians do to end the Pullman strike?

Have the Occupy Wall Street protesters ever heard of the Ludlow Massacre?

Is it true that the politicians in Washington (AKA “the Great White Father”) ultimately broke every treaty they ever signed with the various Native American groups? Is it true that the only tribe who was never betrayed by such a duplicitous agreement was the Nez Pierce who were exterminated before they ever signed any treaty?

While perusing a copy of “Geronimo his own story” (the Ballantine Books 1970 paperback edition was edited by S. M. Barrett), we learned that the Chiricahua Apache under Geronimo (who led a splinter faction tribe after Cochise surrendered) led a nomadic existence that was comprised mostly of stealing and waging war. Wouldn’t Geronimo feel right at home at the 2012 Republican National Convention?

Would a corrupt but compassionate Republican Christian have stolen Geronimo’s skull from Fort Sill and used it as a shrine to remind like minded associates of a commitment to a life of stealing and waging war?

We wish the demonstrators all the luck in the world. Don’t sign any agreements without reading them fully first.

In an introductory note to the aforementioned Ballantine edition, Frederick W. Turner III notes that the famous warrior was a crafty prisoner: “It is interesting, however, that just as he was the supreme embodiment of the Chiricahua way of life, so he became a very shrewd capitalist when the white man way was forced upon him. In fact he took on all the trappings of the white man’s civilization, becoming . . . a tireless promoter of himself, hawking photographs, bows, and arrows at various fairs and expositions. He was one Indian who exploited the exploiters better than they could him.”

Now the disk jockey will play “Old Age and Treachery (will beat youth and skill every time),” Buffy St. Marie’s “Universal Soldier,” and Paul Revere and the Raiders’ song “Indian Reservation.” We have to go check to see if the Peace Pipe is still lit. Have a “fine day to die” type week.

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