Just Above Sunset
December 25, 2005 - Surf's Up! Santa's Coming!

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World's Laziest Journalist

December 26, 2005

By Bob Patterson


Geographically based boasting seems to be a natural human trait.  If you work at UCLA, you know that the medical center is world famous, but that doesn't prevent you from saying things like "North campus is better" and being so sure that the pizza at Northern Lights cafeteria is better than any you'll find on South campus, that you never bother to do a comparison test.


When some Malibu kids formed a group called The Surf Punks and expressed their resentment of intruders from other areas with a song titled "My Beach," it spawned an answer song, "Valley Girl," (recorded by Moon Unit Zappa) and yet another LA generated national fad was launched, fer sure.


Yeah, folks in Germany were certain that they were the best, but if you ask an expert on accents, High German is better than Low German.  Jahwohl?


If a friend in LA moves to Concordia Kansas, the humorous efforts emanating from "shaky town," to indicate that it was a bad choice, are almost endless, but (hopefully) not unbearable.


No one in his or her right mind would move from LA to Baltimore, would they?  If such an event were ever to happen, it would probably get a feature story in the Baltimore Sun.


So with Christmas approaching and the local weather forecasts advising that a storm system in the Pacific was going to produce the best surf conditions since 1969, it was time for the Just Above Sunset columnist and photographer to head for the beach and check it out and get proof that California Christmases rule!


Other than giving a Scranton native the chance to send old high school friends an e-mail with "Surf's Up!" in the subject field, and a chance to look forward to 80 degree weather on Christmas Day, was the choice to move to Tinseltown that much of a big deal?


[Jersey Bill's response to that message was reminiscent of what the American commander at Bastogne said to the Germans when they asked him about surrendering.]


Well, on nights when it is raining and one spends it staying in to read a detective novel, it doesn't seem to have made that much of a difference, but there are other times when thoughts like "things like this never happen in Scranton" pop up.


The fictional location for the TV comedy "The Office" is Scranton, but it's filmed out in the Valley.


Would Paul Newman ever have asked for an autograph if this columnist had stayed in Scranton?


How about when an early morning start for a weekend trip becomes memorable because a visit to the local market meant seeing Barbara Streisand chatting with Neil Diamond.  (Dang!  Folks living in LA should know enough to carry a camera along when they make a quick stop for some inane travel supplies.)


This holiday (OK, O'Reilly, we'll say Christmas) weekend, many folks will have some extra time to read some columns that they wouldn't ordinarily see and so the compulsion to make the Christmas installment something memorable is at work, but trying to use such an opportunity to convince Bush fans that they are wrong, is futile.  Cranking out a column of Bush bashing won't even please the folks who are dissatisfied with the commander-in-chief because they will want a respite from the agony this weekend.  A nostalgia-laden sentimental feel good collection of memories isn't our style.  So what's a columnist to do?  Will Santa deliver a topic that might catch the eye of the editor of a national magazine?  Not bloody well likely, you say?


How about this:  Once upon a time, many moons ago, there was one particular Christmas.  Don't even think of using the Brenda Lee song as background music.  It was a nice all American Christmas with the family and dinner and such, but there was a sad story on the local news.  It seems some fellow had (apparently) killed his wife and his kid (or kids?) and then set the house on fire and disappeared.  It happened in nearby Stroudsburg.  The guy was put on the FBI ten most wanted list and everyone knew it was just a matter of time before they would find him.  The years went by and other names came and went on the list.  Eventually, the FBI took him off the list.


Efforts to find any mention of this online are mostly futile.  There are some vague references to this event, but that's about all.


It would take some extensive research to track down enough facts to do a real story and so it is easier to do it columnist style and rely on memories and some incomplete online research and hope that any drop-in visitors to this column and our weekly online magazine, notice that in a season filled with sentimental recollections and a plethora of Xeroxed political commentary, the World's Laziest Journalist did make an effort to be distinctive and noticeable.   Maybe sometime in the next year, you'll see a story about the man who fell off the "Ten Most Wanted" list and think of this column.  Maybe, you'll even see a by-line on such a hypothetical story and it will seem somehow familiar to you.  Do studios ever buy the film rights to a column?


Meanwhile, we'll keep our Sex Wax (for use on surf boards) handy until after this Christmas.


Los Angeles TV weatherman Fritz Coleman has been quoted (in Jon Winokur's book The War Between the State page 27) as saying – "LA isn't just a city, it's an acts-of-God theme park."


The disk jockey has been feverishly searching to see if he could find a copy of Prussian Blue singing their version of I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas, but has been unable to find such an item.  In Desperation, he will play the soundtrack album from Endless Summer.  We'll surf out of here for this week.  Next week will be our "end of the year" column.  Until then, hang ten, dudes.



Copyright (including logo) 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
for the purpose of illustration and commentary,
as permitted by the fair use doctrine of U.S. copyright law. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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Paris readers add nine hours....