Just Above Sunset
May 23, 2004: Does Zipf's law apply to Schrödinger's cat?

Home | Question Time | Something Is Up | Connecting Dots | Stay Away | Overload | Our Man in Paris | WLJ Weekly | Book Wrangler | Cobras | The Edge of the Pacific | The Surreal Beach | On Location | Botanicals | Quotes

The World’s Laziest Journalist


By Bob Patterson


The mission statement for this weekly feature at Just Above Sunset online magazine is: “Write a column about anything you want, so that everyone on the Internet can read and enjoy it.”


Isn’t the prospect of every webster in the world tuning in to the same site at the same time the journalistic equivalent of the physicists problem concerning an irresistible force meeting an immovable object?


We’ll start out slow and each week build momentum and audience.  The first choice is: should we try to cover the most popular topics just like a myriad of other sites or should we try to come up with items and insights that are not available elsewhere?  We will deliver attempts at provoking thought such as:  Is the domain name “solipsism.org” an oxymoron?”  We will strive to present topics that won’t overwhelm you with alternative possibilities from a Google search such as:  “nudism in Antarctica.”  (When this column was being written, a search said there were no results to report, but now, if you do a search, this column will be listed as the entire search results.)


Why claim to be the world’s laziest journalist?  If columnists do their job correctly, they come up with the unique insights and the interesting overlooked topic.  If they don’t do any work at all they run with the most popular subject-matter and sleep walk through the effort.  You want to know what are the top items?  Check them out on BLOGDEX.


Pack journalism isn’t considered quality work.  We’ll try to go the extra yard and break away from the wolf pack.


From time to time, we will link our readers to other sites we think are interesting.  Many of them will be aimed at journalists such as the one of/for/by/and about newspaper editors or another one for reporters 

and in a blatant effort to encourage “guilt by association” one about the fine art of journalism itself.


We’ll point our readers in the direction of other blogs that are well done and have a differing point of view.


The word “laziest” implies doing the least amount of work possible.  We like to think, but we don’t want to “feel the burn” in that department.  Being a copycat indicates doing no work.  So, we’ll try to come up with engaging items with the smallest effort necessary on our part.  Hence the world’s laziest journalist.  It’s also a subtle sarcastic way to point out that some well known news media seem to put little effort into developing “scoops” or even “thinking outside the box.”


There was a great deal of coverage of the first courts-martial trial last week.  It seems the Republican administration has applied the “trickle down” principle (from Reaganomics) to culpability in the military.  Isn’t there an old Army saying that “Blame rolls downhill?”


There was a great deal of coverage in the American media for a 50-year-old story.  In the French media the big story from a half-century ago was the siege at Diên Biên Phu.  It’s probably a good idea for the US based media to ignore that bit of military history. 


We will drop items in at various times that form a recurring leitmotif for this feature to give it some semblance of continuity.  (Also, some weeks, when we are hard up for something innovative, we can fall back on some reliable recurring themes to get us by until the muse returns.)  Fans of “gonzo” journalism will want to see the June 2004 issue of Vanity Fair which has a long article on the Lisl Auman case in Colorado.


Occasionally we will deliver items that are the equivalent of baseball’s “brush back pitch” such as:  Is it true that Oscar Wilde once said to Rene Magritte:  “This sentence is not an epigram.”?


We noticed on the local newsstand (Talk of the Town in the Mar Vista area) that Life magazine has a special issue on scenic highways of the USA.  As a former resident of the Lake Tahoe area we were a tad disappointed that their look at the resort lake consisted of two photos on two pages.  Colorado can boast of some impressive competition in the category of mountain scenery, but, civic pride aside, why did they limit it to just the USA?  There is some spectacular easily accessible mountain scenery available to US citizens along the highways in the Banff area. 


Speaking of only Americans being eligible, what are the chances that a baseball team from Perth will make it into baseball’s playoffs for the World Series this year?


Anytime Schrödinger’s cat is involved, we will invoke Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle because cats are practically synonymous with the word finicky.


Sometimes some fact accountability will be called into play.  A reader in Paris (France not Texas) e-mailed to point out an error in last week’s column.  In the movie Paint Your Wagon the song I Was Born Under a Wanderin’ Star was sung by Lee Marvin.  In the same movie Clint Eastwood sang the song  When I Talk to the Trees.  Fifteen yard penalty lazy fact checking!


Some Radio listeners in the LA area still lament the absence of the news commentary done on KXLU by Marvin E. Quasnikki who used to end his broadcast with the signature line:  “If you untie my hands and feet, I promise to come back later.”  (Name two who miss him?  Uncle Byron and yours truly.)


Now, if the disk jockey will play “In the Jailhouse Now” (featuring Clint Eastwood among others) from the Honky-tonk Man soundtrack album.  We’ll make our escape and promise to come back seven days hence.  Until then, enjoy your freedom and have a good week.


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.

This issue updated and published on...

Paris readers add nine hours....