Just Above Sunset
August 8, 2004 - Fresno, Tigers, the Deprong Mori, and Penn State

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World’s Laziest Journalist


By Bob Patterson


Writers for the private eye genre appeal to an audience that wants a nice tidy world that follows logic.  The Horror Junta sees the universe as a symbol of chaos.  Columnists think they can take a kaleidoscope of unrelated facts and weave them together into a cohesive narrative thread.  (“Yes,” I said.  “Isn’t it pretty to think so.”)


When the chance to visit the Museum of Jurassic Technology presented itself (It attracts folks from all over, but the people who live within walking distance of it, rarely take a look inside) we went along because, like anything in a columnist’s life, it might be something to describe in the continuing adventures of “the world’s laziest journalist.”


We were baffled by the Deprong Mori (myotis lucifugus [piercing devil]) and found it thought provoking.  Do such creatures exist?  Can they live up to the claims made by their publicity agent?  Could a bat-like creature, that is allegedly able to fly through solid walls, explain some of the standard operating procedures for vampires covered by the union contract? 


The museum now features an upstairs tearoom.  While sipping tea and munching cookies, we turned to the people at the next table to ask them why they were there.  The nucleus of the group was a playwright from Fresno.  They were enthusiastic about the museum, but they were also proud of their hometown (I saw the Jefferson Airplane [airplane not starship] there some time ago.)  They mentioned the underground garden being a top tourist draw for their city.  Being someone who has had a lifelong ambition to visit Coober Pedy, (the Opal Capital of the world) I found their report fascinating even though, having been diverted by Gracie Slick & Co., I had never heard of it.  (The very next day at the Talk of the Town newsstand I browsed a new publication called Ready Made magazine and found a picture story about Fresno’s big draw.)  So why did I go to Fresno?  At the time, my classmate from high school, Russ, invited me up to “see the sights.”  Lately, it seems like the Summer of ’68 reminds me of the line in a country song “the road goes on forever, the party never ends.”


[Speaking of regional pride, the August 22 issue of Just Above Sunset online magazine will feature a review of The War Between the State:  Northern California vs. Southern California compiled and edited by Jon Winokur ($16.95 paperback Sasquatch Books)]


I’d be safe and warm if I was in LA.  The very weekend we were contending with the Jurassic Museum, a tiger was on the loose in New York City.  (It’s like the line in Apocalypse Now: “Never get off the boat.”)  It made me want to call my former Marina del Rey neighbor and ask her what the hell is it with New York City and tigers?  This was the second New York City tiger incident in (about) one year. 


Speaking of New York City, when are those folks who check up on the veracity of the campaign reporting going to toddle down to the New York City Library and peruse the front page of the New York Herald Tribune for July 31, 1941, and see if the story about Fritz Thyssen has any tie to the family of the one presidential candidates?  (It’s a long trek from my apartment on Sepulveda to the library on 42nd St., but it can be done in just a few hours.  Are they gonna make me do all the work?)


Maybe we should send a carbon copy of our rants to the folks at USC who assess online journalism?



The Jefferson Airplane and the tiger reminded me of a visit I made to Penn State (and the famous Rathskeller [Note that place is featured in the Penn State edition of the famous Monopoly game]).  Back in 1965, I was visiting a high school classmate (AKA “Tiger Joe”) who was there for his master’s degree.  One of the few things I can remember about the visit was that it was the first time I heard PF Sloan’s song “The Eve of Destruction.”  The rest of the visit was a rendered into a corrupt memory file because of the alcoholic consumption.  Oddly enough two of my high school classmates have sent offspring to Penn State.  One comes from the German posse and the other (Russ’ kid – now do you see the connection?) from New Jersey.  I wonder if those two kids will be there at the same time and get to talk to each other? 


Writing a column for an online magazine means that some items can be very obtuse such as asking if the name of the “secure location” where Dick Cheney hunkers is called (by wisenheimers) Karinhall. 


Is there some unspoken/unwritten agreement among the major media not to give any coverage to the annual exposition and convention of/for/by/and about conspiracy fans?  Or is it just a wild and irresponsible bit of speculation to believe that such an event is held every year?


We’ve been neglecting our Aussie Posse and events happening in their neighborhood, but this blog hasn’t.


We like oddities and we like “on the road” type items so wouldn’t it be great to find a website that is about oddities on the road?


[As this column is being prepared the bullpen talker for the Spin Zone radio show is talking about Kerry’s Vietnam experience.  Can anyone anywhere say when George W. Bush took the training for an F-102 model of aircraft?  The press provides excessive speculation about what did or didn’t happen to John Kerry.  Nobody says when George W. took (or did not take) the training that qualified him to pose in a flight suit next to that particular kind of aircraft.  [I love to have my picture taken posing next to various examples of the Ford Cobra sports car.  That doesn’t mean I own one or have ever driven one.]  The world’s laziest journalist can only commend the spinners for avoiding all the work necessary to find out the information about when and where he got his license (or certificate or ribbon or medal or whatever) that certified he could fly an F-102.  Let the Kerry war room do all the work and don’t laugh where the “reporters” can see you doing it.  Way to go, guys.]


Didn’t George W. Bush say something to the effect that there can be too much freedom of speech?  Just wait and see what he says after he reads the website that advocates posting home made signs of the “Quagmire Accomplished” ilk.


Did someone say:  “Rearrange the deck chairs on the Titanic”?


There’s a website for lowbrow art and they don’t mention the world’s laziest journalist?


David Halberstam has been quoted as saying:  “The lesson to be learned from Vietnam is that we must get in earlier, be shrewder, and force the other side to practice the self-deception.”  Isn’t “self-deception” like the mirage in the desert of an oasis in the distance?  You think it’s there, but no matter how hard you look, you don’t find it. 


Now, for all the young men who will have to take their draft physicals next year (and one of the regular readers in New Jersey who won’t), we’ll dig into the archives and have the disk jockey play Arlo Gutherie’s “Alice’s Restaurant Massacre.”  Next week our topic might be about exemptions from the draft.  Will gays be exempted as they were during Vietnam?  Hey, if the straight guys won’t fight and die for the right to have gay marriages in the US, who will?   Think about that and meet us back here for next week’s column.  Until then, have a fabulous week.


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. 
See the Details page for the relevant citation.

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