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The World’s Laziest Journalist

May 31, 2004

By Bob Patterson


[Dig this: this cat is a columnist and he doesn’t have to live by the “news story” rules.]


A few years back, it came to pass that this columnist was at work on Halloween night.  At about 3 a.m. it was time for a break and since he was flush at the time it was decided to stop at an upscale coffee shop in Beverly Hills and have a breakfast for lunch.


Luckily, there was no hassle from the waitress about including a side of rye bread toasted with the meal.


Proceeding in my best “don’t bother me; I’m eating” attitude, I was surprised when the woman on the counter seat next to me reached over grabbed one of my pieces of toast, took a bite, and then returned it to my plate.  Several possibilities came to mind.  I could proclaim an affinity for equal to a guy treatment and punch her out, I could register my emotional turmoil by tossing my cookies and suing the restaurant, or I could fight fire with fire.  Since I was pressed for time and wanted to get back to work, I resorted to a frightful example of overacting and exemplified “impudent disdain” as I devoured my piece of rye toast, well-buttered, and slathered with grape jelly.  I wasn’t going to be intimidated by some puny chick’s germs.  Ha!  She said that it was something she always wanted to do.  Since I know the feeling, I couldn’t get upset with her.


Recently our reading matter has included an old book Baghdad by the Bay by noted columnist Herb Caen.  In it, he tells of a curious incident.  The author William Saroyan and Barnaby Conrad Jr. were sitting by the swimming pool at Conrad’s parents’ home.  During the course of a literary discussion the young Conrad jumped fully clothed into the pool.  His father was a bit distressed.  What will Mr. Saroyan think?”  According to Caen’s account (page 33) Saroyan said “Mr. Saroyan thinks people should do exactly what they feel like doing” before he also jumped into the pool.


San Francisco is extremely well known for the level of tolerance there.  One of the most notable residents was a fellow who proclaimed himself Norton I Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico.  His “reign” lasted about 20 years.


Another noted Frisco resident is a fellow who proved the Republican philosophy of “anybody can” by becoming a leading talk show host in the USA.  Recently he told his listeners about a king of Bavaria who caused considerable trouble for the citizens when he went off the deep end.  The royal nut case did build one particular castle that is now a large tourist draw.  Ludwig flipped his lid as the hepcats at Birdland used to say.  (How did “Dizzy” Gillespie get is nickname?)


Speaking of talk shows and expressing your opinion, while this column was being written, a friend, who says she has voted for every Republican presidential candidate since Wendell Wilkie, called to say that she has phoned the White House opinion line (202/456-1111) and informed the person she talked to, that this year, that voting streak will come to an end when she votes for the Democrat’s nominee.


Herman Wouk’s new book A Hole in Texas is getting very good reviews.  He wrote the novel, The Caine Mutiny, which was the basis for the movie of the same name.  The famous fifty year old novel asks the question: What does the crew of a ship in combat do when it starts to become obvious that the captain is beginning to go a little bit nutty?  Perhaps, now is a good time to read Wouk’s older novel before proceeding to the new one.


What exactly happened (and who did what?) at 11:03 p.m. on May 28, 1993, in Western Australia?  Did a religious group go more than a little crazy and test their own nuclear device?


Did the German people know from the git-go that their leader was going to make some bad decisions such as postponing the invasion of Russia for an ill advised invasion of and war with Yugoslavia?  (In The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich William L. Shirer (on page 824) wrote: “The postponement of the attack on Russia in order that the Nazi warlord might vent his personal spite against a small Balkan country which had dared to defy him was probably the most catastrophic decision in Hitler’s career.”  The German chancellor for life was rather popular at first, wasn’t he?


Americans of course would be much better advised to read Sinclair Lewis’ It Can’t Happen Here than waste valuable time reading about the incompetence of voters in the Weimar Republic.  Are there old German bumper stickers (Schwaben font no doubt) that read:  “Don’t blame me; I voted for Schleicher”?


Speaking of foreign rulers who do what they feel like doing, is it true that one well known despot got a telegram from a the governor of a big state in another country that threatened to depose him for trying to assassinate the irate fellow’s father and that the famous dictator replied:  “Yeah?  You and what army?”


Lucius Annaeus Seneca wrote:  “There is no great genius without some touch of madness.”  Does that mean that the greater the madness the higher the IQ?


Willie Nelson wrote it.  Patsy Cline had the hit version.  If the disk jockey will play “Crazy” we’ll bop on out of here.  If you come back next week, we’ll do another riff with words and concepts, until then be cool daddy-o.








Copyright 2004 – Robert Patterson


We asked veteran journalist Bob Patterson for a bio and he sent this along: 


Bob was born and raised in Scranton, Pennsylvania.


Graduated from the University of Scranton in . . . make that "way back when."


He has worked as a reporter and photographer for daily newspapers in California, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.  During the "way back when" phase of his life.


Did photo stringing for the AP’s Los Angeles bureau in the seventies.


Has done some freelance work.


Held other jobs to pay the rent and provide meals money.


Has written book and movie reviews, and columns for Delusions of Adequacy online magazine for the last four years.


Recently the DOA management reportedly traded him to the Just Above Sunset online magazine team for an undisclosed sum and two future draft choices.


He is known to be in the LA area and is considered dangerous.  If you see him, call for backup before attempting to get his autograph or some such fanboy nonsense. 


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. 
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