December 23, 2011

Can the homeless spend America back to prosperity?

Filed under: Commentary — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 1:42 pm

Sophie in San Francisco

There is a statue in San Francisco named “Sophie” (in front of the hotel at Geary and Mason) and we have always thought that it should have been named “statue of a weary Christmas shopper.” We made an effort to get another photo of it to use with a Yuletide column that will be the columnist’s equivalent of a bunch of “stocking stuffers” because going and taking a new photograph was easier than trying to sort through a massive amount of digital files trying to find an existing image file of that statue.

As Christmas day approached we learned that the San Francisco radio station that presents liberal talk radio was about to change its lineup and format. It will go for a balanced format that will diminish the effectiveness of the few liberal radio programs available and help the conservative majority of radio gain even more air time. Glen Beck will become their 6 – 9 a.m. morning drive time show. Stephanie Miller will be moved from that time slot to an evening tape-delayed rebroadcast time of 7 to 10 p.m.

Mike Malloy will be moved from being a live feed from 6 to 9 p.m. on the West Coast to being a taped delayed version at 1 – 3 a.m. We have thought about doing a column comparing Malloy to other legendary radio personalities from the past. If you haven’t heard his show you are missing a contemporary American culture phenomenon.

We have also dabbled, many moons ago, in conjecture about the possibility that liberal radio might eventually be relegated to the “underground press” mode of existence and become a clandestine pleasure/source of real news. We imagined that in America’s drift towards fascism, true journalism might be forced to revert to the use of a high power signal originating from a transmitter in Mexico.

It would be as if the concepts of Combat newspaper (of French resistance fame) and the Wolfman Jack radio program were combined to provide Americans with news that can’t be heard in a country that is world famous for its free press.

That, in turn, made us wonder if the concept of Liberal political punditry has become extinct. If that is true, then it seems expedient that the World’s Laziest Journalist should concentrate on mundane matters and expand the scope of the columns to include topics such as speculation about the Oscars™ (look for a heavyweight championship bout between Spielberg and Scorsese this year), automobiles, travel, and feature photography.

Recently we raised a concern that the Occupy protesters might receive a much more harsh treatment than usual and wind up occupying some of the privatized prisons cells. We were assured that such concern was unwarranted alarmism. Now we see where some of the folks from Occupy Los Angeles are making an appeal to get financial help with their bail. They have to come up with several thousand dollars each. Is bail for trespassing usually that high? For more information on the topic of how to contribute, click this link:

Did the news coverage of the “tax cut” issue leave you feeling like you had been played in a manner that brings to mind the song Pinball Wizard? Were you alarmed by the fact that the (Murdoch owned) Wall Street Journal and Karl Rove brought the teabag congressmen in line very quickly?

If our concerns two years ago that JEB would be the Republican nominee in 2012 are summarily dismissed as the work of a conspiracy theory nut-job, then perhaps the few regular readers will be quick to encourage this columnist to apply for the press credentials needed to cover the annual 24 hour endurance race at Le Mans in the middle of next year.

If we are going to deemphasize political predictions and focus on feature stories, perhaps we could get a column out of a visit to the 941 Art Gallery in San Francisco (Geary St. at Larkin) and do a story on Blek le Rat, the artist who is credited with being a major influence for the British artist named Banksy.

(If Blek le Rat was in San Francisco preparing the exhibition that ends January 7, 2012, then perhaps he did the recent works in Berkeley that we have noticed and assumed to be from the Banksy school of contemporary art. Whatever happened to the old tradition of signing a signature on an artists’ work? If Broke does that, why can’t Banksy and Blek le Rat also provide that help for their fans?)

Would the time that it takes to write a column that contains some spot-on political predictions for a few dozen readers, be better spent by reading Hans Falada’s novel “Everyman dies Alone”?

If this columnist predicts that the Yankees will play in the World Series next fall, will friends or foes accuse him of being out of line? Do they use the electronic voting machines that leave no paper trail to select the participants in the annual baseball competition? How is the voting for the Baseball Hall of Fame done?

Speaking of Christmas gifts, we are wondering if it is time to do a trend-spotting column about a new candidate for addition to the list of winter solstice holidays. It seems that the Native American culture is now promoting the Winter Pow-wow. It will celebrate peace and the brotherhood of all tribes (i.e. humanity). Native Americans have always been strong supporters of non-pollution. You can find the “Iron Eyes Cody” PSA on Youtube. The Apaches were anti-consumerism and believed that if a possession couldn’t travel with you on your horse, then you didn’t really need it.

In 2011, we missed our chance recently to do a column about Herman Cain, Citizen Kane and the fellow in the Columnists’ Hall of Fame named Herb Caen.

If it is a far, far better thing to drop political punditry, then perhaps we should do a column comparing and contrasting Los Angeles and San Francisco and use a headline referencing “Tale of Two Cities.”

Were more people killed during the riots at the 1968 Republican convention or the 1968 Democratic convention? Our fact checking department says that two people were killed during the Florida convention and none during the fracas in Chicago.

We thought that next year’s Republican Convention (as it was in 1968) would be held again in Miami, but upon further fact checking, we learned that it will be held in a Florida city where the Police Department has acquired a vast amount of military style equipment (just in case?).

Australians celebrate Christmas in their bathing suits at the beach. Do the Kiwis in New Zealand follow the same tradition? Not bloody well likely since New Zealand has just had two new earthquakes and will be busy with cleanup.

If, as we have been predicting, JEB Bush wins next year’s Presidential Election, we don’t intend on being the political punditry version of Hans Brinker. We will (like the tea bagger congressmen) accept Karl Rove’s decisions and focus our columns on feature topics and not kvetching about the restoration chapter in the continuing saga of the Bush Dynasty.

We note with great sadness that George Whitman of the famed Paris bookstore “Shakespeare and Co.” died recently. If, as we have been urging, the Existentialist Philosophers of Paris ever make up their minds to start work on the Nihilists’ Hall of Fame, there should be a plaque with this bit of the philosophy of life from Treasure of the Sierra Madre: “Oh laugh, Curtin, old boy. It’s a great joke played on us by the Lord, or fate, or nature, whatever you prefer. But whoever or whatever played it certainly had a sense of humor! Ha! The gold has gone back to where we found it!… This is worth ten months of suffering and labor – this joke is!”

Now the disk jockey (who dabbles in Existentialism himself) will play Duane Eddy’s version of “Ghost Riders,” the Rolling Stones’ “contractual obligation album,” and Edith Piaf’s “Le vie en rose.” We have to go buy a ticket for “The Wizard of Oz,” which will be playing in Oakland next Friday. Have an “It’s a wonderful life” type week.

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