Just Above Sunset
January 22, 2006 - " ... rent a very fast car with no top and ... "

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World's Laziest Journalist

January 23, 2006

By Bob Patterson


Since the Smirking Chimp website has recently reprinted some of my WLJ columns, which were quite harsh in their assessment of President Bush's job performance, and since my buddy Jersey Bill voted for Bush in both recent contests, it didn't take long before the most recent phone call from my friend, who lives near the Stone Pony nightclub, to take a rather predictable path.  After a few minutes of futile debate, he said, "Gees, Bob, chill out.  Why don't you just turn off the news and skip reading the news magazines and newspapers for a little while and write about something else that holds your interest, such as the columns you wrote a while back about Ford Cobras?"


The very next day, a local friend called me because he had just learned the contact information for a club in Los Angeles devoted to all maters pertaining to Ford Cobras They were having their monthly meeting that night rather close to my apartment, so it seemed like a propitious time to forget about how bleak the prospects were for the young journalist who had been kidnapped in Baghdad and write about something else for this week's column. 


One of the members of the club, Keith Kaucher, is a guy who was preparing to enter his custom hot rod in the Grand Nationals in Pomona the very next weekend.  Perhaps that would provide material for a good column?  It would be fun to accompany the guy and perhaps get a great column about the fellow's efforts.  Immediately I thought of the possibilities for a "Rocky" type movie script about dreams of a lifetime coming true after years of preparation.  Already I was imagining that I was listening to the theme music from the first in the series of Rocky movies.


Another of the club members, Tim Herren, teaches performance driving.  A club event is scheduled at Willow Springs Raceway for Thursday, January 26 and again for February 23 of this year.  If I get to either one of those events, I'm sure I'd get the material for a great column.  Already I could hear the music from the Grand Prix soundtrack album in my head. 


The club was planning out the events for this year and a possible trip to the Parnelli Jones museum was mentioned.  This was the first I'd ever heard of such a museum and I've lived in the LA area for quite some time.  When you go to that museum, I wondered, do they have a Muzak system that plays the soundtrack album for the movie Elvis made titled Speedway?


The club members knew all about renting out their cars to the company that provides various automobiles to movie production companies, who need older and/or exotic cars.  Since a friend had already done a story about car enthusiasts who make extra money by doing just that, I spiked that idea because this columnist doesn't want to wind up being mentioned on KCRW's Minding the Media program for using ideas that have appeared elsewhere previously.  Thinking about new movies which use old cars to tell stories about the good old days, I immediately thought of the music from The Sting.


Recently - when not thinking about topics such as "Was the Teapot Dome Scandal a bigger news story than the Jack Abramoff influence pedaling investigation?" - there have been some efforts made to gather background information about Ford Cobras for a script idea, and when one of the club's founders revealed that he was selling a Series 7000 FIA approved Cobra (No. CSX 7035), I got this wild idea that maybe it would be a lot easier, if I just bought it!  Seeing the item, I could hear the theme music from Stanley Kubric's 2001 Space Odyssey.  Now watch - before I can convince Just Above Sunset's editor and publisher that I deserve a merit increase in my wages, some other enthusiast will send an e-mail to stevebeck289 via the msn.com website (have to say it that way because otherwise if we used the little @ thingie, he'd get spam) and beat me to the coveted prize.


Saturday mornings are a prime time for car enthusiasts in the LA area.  The Cobra club has a "tea time" gathering every Saturday morning at 7 a.m. at the Starbucks at 190th and Anza in the South Bay area, but they have plenty of competition (car enthusiasts just love that word) including the weekly coffee and doughnuts at the Autobooks/Aerobooks store in Burbank.  Heck, if you owned a Ford Cobra wouldn't your philosophy of life be the same as that expressed in Willie Neslon's song, On the Road Again? 


The club has various events and is considering having the car enthusiast's equivalent of what the Australians call a walkabout, on Super Bowl Sunday.  (Bleated Happy Australia Day, January 17, to our audience in OZ!)  The club seemed to be very receptive to any idea that included a trip to Las Vegas.  (Didn't Elvis drive an AC Bristol in that movie?  You know, the one with the Viva Las Vegas theme song?)  Did you know that there is a twelve-hour endurance go-kart race held annually in Las Vegas?  Now, that's something that will definitely seems to be worth some expense money from the Just Above Sunset Accounting Department (I hope) to gather enough information for a future column.


Speaking of getting some cash to go on the road and cover a story, the CJR daily website has sent one of their writers to Iraq to cover the quality of journalism originating in that country.  Obviously the CJR Daily staff member, who is sending dispatches from Baghdad, should be glad he doesn't have to contend with Ilsa, she-wolf of the Just Above Sunset Accounting Department, when he submits his expense account vouchers.  [Question for Paul McLeary in Baghdad - Do the helicopters used in Iraq do the bit from Apocalypse Now and play The Ride of the Valkyries over loudspeakers when they conduct a strike?]


After the Cobra Club's January meeting was adjourned a bit of comparison fact finding revealed that the first ten cobra's made had a hood medallion which is different from the one used on the rest of the run.  Different Cobras make distinctly different sounds.   We've mentioned in a previous Just Above Sunset column, that the woman who wrote the song Hey, Little Cobra used her profits to buy herself a sports car.  (Care to guess what brand?)


Listening to the enthusiasts discuss how different drivers treat their cars and how the machinery shows the effects of use, we did wonder just why the ever vigilant Mainsteam Media (which tends to smother some stories with extensive coverage) has never done a feature story by talking to the crew chief who did the maintenance of the aircraft used by a famous veteran from the Texas Air National Guard.   You can tell a lot about a fellow by the way he treats his cars and/or airplanes.  Why hasn't such a story been done?  If they spent a million dollars to train the fellow to have a skill to use on the weekends when his unit reported for duty, then they must have been able to afford assigning one particular aircraft to that guy, eh?  Well, someday, maybe the story of that aircraft's crew chief will come out.  Do I hear a portable radio playing Johnny Cash's version of Ghost Riders in the Sky?


One of the founding members of the LA Cobra group earns his bread and butter by working on BMW's.  Usually when a 1985 745i is mentioned folks don't know about that particularly fast sedan.  This guy has worked on that type of car.  He knows a lawyer who owns one, but it isn't my lawyer – he is not "my lawyer" in the sense that he gives me legal advice, he just gives me advice of the "rent a very fast car and get the hell out of L.A., for at least forty-eight hours" variety – who also has one.  [If that advice sounds familiar, then you have probably read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.]


Jersey Bill was right.  (That's what friends are for.)  Going to the Cobra Club meeting was very therapeutic.  Writing a column about the club was a rather pleasant experience.  [Writing an analysis of the new Osama tape would produce a rather lopsided evaluation.  It's going to hurt the Democrats in the fall elections because if there is no new terrorist attack inside the US, then folks will vote for Republicans because Bush is doing a heck of a job keeping the bad guys at bay; if something terrible does happen, then voters will go to the poles to vote for Republicans as a way of expressing their patriotism.  Either way, the Democrats will be reminded of the Myth of Sisyphus.]  Walking out of the Cobra Club meeting, I wondered if there had been a soundtrack album for the movie Bullett.


George Noel Gordon (AKA Lord Byron) wrote:


Did ye not hear it? -- No! 'twas but the wind,

Or the car rattling o'er the stony street

On with dance!   Let joy be unconfined;

No sleep till morn, when Youth and Pleasure meet

To chase the glowing hours with flying feet.


Now, if the disk jockey will play the theme song from A Man and A Woman, we'll drive out of here for this week.  Maybe the next column will be about bailing out over Chichi-Jima.  Have a great week and don't ever forget the sacrifice Lieutenant Junior Grade William G. White made for democracy.

... the Giant's Despair hill climb in the Sixties.
Jersey Bill photographs sports car action at the Giant's Despair hill climb in the Sixties.

Hal Keck - Giant's Despair hill climb in the '60's
Hal Keck participates in the Giant's Despair hill climb event in the Sixties.



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
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This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....