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June 27, 2004 - Return of the guillotine?

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World’s Laziest Journalist

June 28, 2004

By Bob Patterson


Last week Fark hipped us to a story about a fund raising event the Portsmouth (New Hampshire) Police Department is conducting in conjunction with Krispy Kreme Doughnuts in their city.


Police and doughnut shops go together like ... 


Do the stories about cops in doughnut shops belong on the urban legends site or does some logical connection exist that is just waiting for some industrious journalist to unearth and develop into a feature story? 


Any reporter who does police beat reporting would only have to ask to find the answer.


Back in the day when police cars were not equipped with computers, there was a very logical explanation behind the cliché relationship.  Doughnut shops were the quickest and cheapest place for an officer to find a table to use as a desk to write up the many reports that had to be filled out before the shift ended.  If they went back to the precinct, their writing time would be usurped by something more pressing and they’d be in trouble for not having filled out the required paper work.  (They would print out the words because that provides greater legibility than writing in longhand.)


Obviously, coffee shops are a good place to have a cup of coffee and some toast and get a table, but that’s a matter of economics.  The coffee shops (yes, there probably were exceptions to the rule) would charge more for a cuppa java and the most inexpensive item on the menu (add in the cost of the tip, too) than it would cost to go into a doughnut shop and get some (as truckers call it) 200-mile coffee and a cruller.  Add to that the fact that the shop proprietor would be very glad to have a few minutes when it seemed quite unlikely that there would be an armed robbery at his establishment, and you have the basis for a business relationship that has earned a place in the cliché hall of fame.


How does this columnist know?  Back in ’69, we were talking to a former LAPD officer and he explained it as a matter of detailing the routine of living the Adam-12 lifestyle.  It’s probably different now with the computers in the squad cars.


Speaking of doughnut shops, we know the two best (opinion alert!) in the LA area, but we must note with sadness that our source in the Westwood Section of LA for the best peanut butter cookies in our area has closed.  Thus, we will commence an all-out Just Above Sunset news team effort to find the heir to their “best of” throne.  Recently a fellow Scranton native, who is combing the LA area for feature material for his House of Tang blog, inquired if this columnist knows the location in LA for the best source for Buffalo wings. 


Add that to the quest “to do” list.  Sadly the only known LA source for Boston baked beans has also closed.  The way this is going, we’re gonna have to join a gym.


Previously, when we were writing for a well-known online music magazine, the editor and publisher resided in upstate New York and when we plugged local LA restaurants, such as Ray’s (since 1957 and once featured on the cover of Hot Rod magazine) on Pico, it was rather difficult for Jeff to ascertain if we had conned the place out of a free breakfast or not.  (A good friend had informed the editor that was the case, just to make the columnist’s life more difficult.  If that’s what friends do, can you imagine what the enemies do to achieve that end?)  Now, with the big Just Above Sunset kahuna living within artillery range of our humble abode, we would have to go double or nothing to cash in on such a “trade-out.”


Hmmmm.  Maybe we could link up with other LA oriented websites and orchestrate an Internet awards series for various food categories in the City of Angeles.  The definitive source for LA oriented sites/links would be over at L.A. ObservedMaybe if we contacted all those sites and formed an LA Internet writers union?  Journalists and free food are as famous a combination as . . . the doughnuts and patrolmen.


When someone new enters your social circle in LA and they ask the question:  “Where do you go for good pizza?”  You can (usually) amaze them with a Kreskin like ability to mind read by asking them:  “So you’re from New York City, eh?”  In thirty year, this columnist has found that such convoluted deductive reasoning is always a sure tip-off.  They are from NYC.  It would be a public service to comb LA and find the best pizza so that newcomers would know where to get their next pizza “fix.”


The Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame just opened in Seattle.  We couldn’t get the head of the Just Above Sunset accounting department to approve funds to go cover this breaking story, so you’ll have to do a Google search for it.  (Sometimes it cost money to provide you with original content.)


Heck, as long as we’re handing out good story/column ideas for any visiting journalists, how about this one (it’s a stretch now, but give it time): reality TV is getting desperate for new variations.  The highwater mark for stooping to new lows is, like the limbo bar, getting lower and lower.  The networks won’t show the gruesome terrorist executions.  Eventually someone will get greedy for the outrageously high ratings such an event would produce.  Has TV ever shown any restraint and inclination toward sportsmanship and self-control? 


You might say they couldn’t get any sponsors to be associated with such a barbaric enterprise.  Wouldn’t it be the perfect lead-in for some life insurance pitch? 


Doesn’t it seem that televising the executions of criminals is being advocated as part of the public’s right to know rational/excuse, so if you presume that eventually showing such events will be acceptable, then the next barrier to be conquered in the quest for ratings, will be the terrorist beheadings.  (What ever happened to the TV host Zackerly?)


Rudyard Kipling began his poem “If” thus: 

If you can keep your head when all about you/
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,/
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,/
But make allowance for their doubting too;

So now, if the disk jockey will play the old song “With Her Head Tucked Underneath Her Arm,” either the Stanley Holloway or Kingston Trio version will be fine, we’ll ride out of here like Icabod Crane. 


Until we meet again, have a “Liberte, Equalite, Fraternite” week.


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