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August 28, 2005 - Kreigschmerz? Try "on the road" literature for escapism!

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Book Wrangler

August 29, 2005

By Bob Patterson


Watching the NBC Nightly News, recently, we saw an ad that featured restless leg syndrome.  We thought it might be some clever ruse to help sell Jack Kerouac's best-known book, and others of similar ilk.  When we went to the website we learned that it was a real medical condition had nothing to do with books by Charles Kurault or the "Road" movies that starred Bing Crosby and Bob Hope.


Dang!  We thought we had a perfect lead-in to write another column about a theme that recurs regularly in this weekly feature of Just Above Sunset online magazine.  Readers know that eventually we hope to secure the use of a Cobra or one of the replicas available from Factory Five in Massachusetts to do a coast to coast round-trip, so we frequently refer to the "On The Road" genre of travel literature.


If we toured the country and wrote about it for an online audience, we could start in the Boston area and maybe catch a performance by Bill Knittle and the Bum Steers.


Some guys from Austin were featured in the Los Angeles Times for the project that will interest those who like the concept of "let's roam around the country."


Writers and photographers are always trying to get a new and unique perspective on America.


What's happening out there on the Labor Day weekend? 

Speaking of travel writing, we we've been reading a 1951 paperback, The Priestly Companion.  It is a collection of written and selected by J. B. Priestly.  There was a bit titled "The Underground and the Future."  He stops and marvels at London's subway system.  At Tottenham Court Road, he notes:  " … I mounted an escalator so long and high that it might have been Jacob's Ladder itself."  Have to check with the Just Above Sunset London News Bureau, because that sounds like he was writing about the very place where (about 54 years later) the terrorists struck. 


As this column is being written, (August 24, 2005) Rush Limbaugh is quoting "president" John McCain.  Is Rush subtly hinting that Michael Moore has finally convinced him that the 2000 and 2004 elections were stolen by somebody else?  It was a tough break when McCain hit those nasty rumors in the South Carolina primary.  Could Rush be indicating that the whisper campaign was out of line?


Is Henry Darger the patron saint of obscure artists? 


Going further back in the BW library we find (Pat Robertson, are ye reading this?) that John Gunther wrote (Inside Latin America page 185) this about Venezuela: "The United States does not need defense facilities or bases in Venezuela – at least not yet – since its coast is largely controlled by our new installations in the Caribbean. …  Do not be surprised if it is announced presently that Pan American Airways is enlarging its Venezuelan airfields.  Such enlargement practically constitutes a base, and it is the accepted euphemism for 'base' these days."


Have you noticed that Juan Tripp is never around when we really need him?


On The Road fans (at least this one) always held Pan Am's Flight #1 in high regard.  That flight would originate in New York City and fly East to … New York City.  Yeeeehaaa!  Take that, Flat Earth Society!  (Do they give equal time in schoolrooms to the view that the world really is flat?  Isn't "the World Is Round" just a theory promoted (until the Catholic Church reined him in) by Galileo?  (MS Word spellcheck doesn't recognize his name, so he must be an insignificant crackpot.)


Now, that the Sixties are back in full swing, will we hear Harry Harrison do the ads for Eastern Airlines ("The Wings of Man") on WABC in the morning?


Speaking of Iraq-nam, there is no such word in German as Kriegschmerz, because there has never been a need in that country for such a word.  Some Democrats in the United States seem to have need of such a word.  Maybe some clever columnist will invent it.


Speaking of being stuffed and put in a museum, that brings up the question of who is the world's best at taxidermy?  Perhaps it is Vito Marchino His work is good enough to attract the attention of the folks who run the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame.


Just Above Sunset's beloved editor and publisher wants to see the part of the BW column where we hip our readers to books they might like to read.


Through Painted Deserts: Light, God, and Beauty on the Open Road by Donald Miller  ($13.99 paperback Nelson) 


A Volkswagen van was used while gathering material for this book.


Semi True: Seasons on the Road with A Prairie Home Companion's Resident Writer and Truck Driver by Russ Ringsak  ($19.95 Globe Pequot)    

Using an 18-wheeler to gather material for an "on the road" book.  Isn't that a great (unique?) concept?


The Great Psychedelic Armadillo Picnic: A "Walk" in Austin by Richard "Kinky" Friedman (the fact checker goofed on getting the list price Crown) 


If you know someone who lives in Austin, you could just call them up and ask: "What's it like to live in Austin?"  Otherwise you might want to buy this book by a fellow who is running for Governor in the Lone Star State.


Imagined London: A Tour of the World's Greatest Fictional City by Anna Quindlen  ($20  National Geographic Directions) 


We'll have to check with Just Above Sunset's London New Bureau and see if they really are living in a "fictional" city. 


Into a Paris Quartier by Diane Johnson  ($20 Natioinal Geographic Directions) 


We'll have to check with Just Above Sunset's man in Paris and see if he knows this author.


I Should Have Gone Home: Tripped Up Around The World  edited by Roger Rapoport, Bob Drews, and Kim Klescewski ($17.95 RDR Books) 


What is it like when a writer's "on the road" project goes wrong?


Robert Kennedy has been quoted: "Justice delayed is democracy denied."  If Osama commits an atrocity, and we punish a proxy, does that mean democracy won't result?


Our Book Wrangler disk jockey was listening to Peter Choyce on KXLU and heard him play a song by Ernie Cook titled "Shut Your Big Fat Mouth," so our DJ will play it for us now, while we hum along we'll quietly wonder if the radio stations in the Crawford Texas area are getting any requests for that song.  Next week, will be the Labor Day Weekend so we'll have our "Back to School" book column.  Check it out.  Until then, have a "Texas Rich" week.




Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson

Email the author at worldslaziestjournalist@yahoo.com




Copyright 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006 - Alan M. Pavlik
The inclusion of any text from others is quotation
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