Just Above Sunset
February 6, 2005 - "...sealing wax, cabbages, and kings..."

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World’s Laziest Journalist

Sunday, February 6, 2005

By Bob Patterson


“…sealing wax, cabbages, and kings…”


The time has come, the walrus said, to write the column of many topics.  The sea was boiling recently, but that’s been written about extensively, elsewhere.


Just so our regular reader in New Jersey knows, when words are underlined in this column that means that if you put your cursor over those word and click, you will activate a link that takes you to a relevant page elsewhere on the internet.  For instance, with this week’s headline, if you click on the underlined words, that will take you to another site where you can read a copy of the Lewis Carroll poem, in which that phrase appears.


Many other websites, especially the sites for the online versions of various newspapers, are quite reluctant to give their readers links leading away from the site.  Not so with Just Above Sunset - the more links we provide to other items elsewhere on the internet, the bigger our audience gets.


Recently, at WLJ central, we misplaced our copy of the Nikon FA Instruction Manual and, before we found it by straightening up our “throw it on the floor” file, we had the thought that one of the untapped potentials for the internet would be for companies to scan and post reference material such as obsolete instruction manuals.  It would be a subtle way to reinforce brand loyalty at a rather low cost and provide a valuable service for their customers in need of that particular extra service.  Those companies are never going to reprint and sell the old information, so why not recycle it in a low cost form that enhances brand loyalty?


We notice that the conservative pundits seem to see the crisis with Social Security just as clearly as they did the WMD threat coming from Iraq a few months back.


Isn’t it nice for the president to reassure folks 55 and over they have nothing to worry about as far as changes in Social Security are concerned?  Isn’t the biggest group opposed to the change, the AARP?  How old do you have to be to be eligible to join AARP?  Don’t you have to be 55 or older to join AARP?  Wow!  Wouldn’t that be a remarkable co-inky-dink.  Or is it just a clever ploy to neutralize AARP’s opposition to the change?


Weren’t your emotions stirred by the reports of the big voter turn out in Iraq?  If the reporters are sequestered inside the “green zone” and a few are embedded with military units, where did the reports of large voter turnouts originate?  The UN observers were out of the country.  The American journalists are on a short tether (can’t use the word leash, eh?).  Did the accounts of large voter participation come from Al Jazeera?  Or Pravda?  It’s just a small detail, if the people who wrote those stories know who supplied the facts for those dispatches detailing a high turnout, shouldn’t that, in itself, be a part of the turnout stories?


While doing some casting about for topics for this week’s column we did a Google search for “Donovan Consulting.”  Why do so many people named Donovan go into the consulting business? 


The first week in February of 2005, is fecund with column topics.  Will Jacko get off?  Will there be another Super Bowl upset?  (I knew I shudda tried harder to get a bet down on Joe Nameth.)  Is there ever a “sure thing” in sports?  (Dang!  I thought Native Dancer was a cinch bet.)  Does the news about the Pope remind anyone of the time a radio network broke into a broadcast with a bulletin about the health of Pope Pius XI, and when they went back to the regular program, they were playing a song titled: We’ll Be Glad When You’re Dead, You Old Rascal, You?


We heard on CBS radio news a story about Kinky Friedman running for Governor of Texas.  We’ll check back on that story as it unfolds during the year.  CBS’s World New Roundup morning broadcast will soon be celebrating its birthday.  Wasn’t it started 66 years ago?  Aren’t several members of the original team roster who could participate in a nostalgia filled anniversary celebration broadcast?


In his “State of the Union” speech on Wednesday, February 2, 2005, president Bush said:  “The United States has no right, no desire, and no intention to impose our form of government on anyone else.”  That’s good because I have the distinct impression that if the folks in Saudi Arabia got a chance to vote, they might select the rival royal family known for “flip-flopping” rather than the current rulers who are resolute in their programs.  Who wants a king known for “flip flopping?”


In that same speech, president Bush also said: “And to the Iranian people, I say to night; As you stand for your own liberty, America stands with you.”  Iranians need elections, too.  Didn’t a former American president intimate that if a besieged group in Iraq rose up against Saddam, they would get help, and then, when they did rise up, he gave them the “I never said we’d send troops” reaction when the obstreperous faction began to be forcefully suppressed because of their dissent?  (Saddam gave the unruly faction the old Frank Sinatra line: “It’s a gas.”)


In the State of the Union Speech George W. Bush also said:  “…we’ve… prosecuted corporate criminals….”  Did the trial of the Enron executives take place already, or are they not considered in that category?


He also said: “Because one of the deepest values of our country is compassion, we must never turn away from any citizen who feels isolated from the opportunities of America.”  When is someone going to pay me to promulgate a change for the presidential term limits, so that the 2008 election can be George W. vs. Bill Clinton?  Wasn’t there some recent speculation that some pro-American blog in Iraq may be subsidized?  Punditry for pay.  That has a nice ring. 


Speaking of government bankrolled thought control, back when Hill & Knowlton was being paid to drum up public and Congressional enthusiasm for the Gulf War, did they ever provide a detailed accounting of where all the money they received was spent?  Items on the internet suggest they were paid $10 million.  Did any journalists or conservative talk show hosts get cut in on the “pandering for pay” action, or did they just play along with the Hill & Knowlton folks gratis? 


Last week there were news reports saying that a good percentage of young people approve of government supervision of the various news media.  Wouldn’t the Reichsgesetzblatt and the Voelkischer Beobachter in Germany, during the 1930’s, be likely models for such an endeavor?


Last week blogdex was linking folks to the column by Mark Brown in the Chicago Sun Times that speculated that maybe Bush has been right about Iraq all along.  Does that mean that Bush was too modest to show off the WMD’s and brag about the find?  Is anyone from Texas ever afraid to brag?


You probably saw some news stories last week about John Phipps and the early Valentine message he wrote for his wife and kids.  At a news conference in LA his wife, Leslie, noted: “Hallmark is never going to top this.”  So, why doesn’t Hallmark make a deal so that they can use his message on one of their cards and hire him as a spokesperson to appear in ads to advise guys not to wait until it’s almost too late before expressing their emotions?


Lt. General James Mattis, last week, was shown on the evening news saying:  “It’s fun to shoot some people.”  Will that be in a future edition of Bartlett’s Familiar Quotations?  What will the conservative talk show folks say to deflect the criticism of the General?  Can you imagine Laura Ingraham or Rush resorting to the Hippie Philosophy Handbook to respond?  Can’t you just hear them quoting the old Sixties maxim: “Hey, man, if you haven’t tried it; don’t knock it.”


Oscar Wilde said: “The advantage of the emotions is that they lead us astray.”


Now, we will all give the disk jockey a big hug, and he will manipulate our emotions by playing Richard Wagner’s “Ride of the Valkyres” at high volume, while we drop something that smells like Victory.  Tune in again next week, when we’ll do our best to trifle with your emotions, and play up the victory at the polls angle in Iraq.  Until then have a stage-managed week.






Copyright 2005 – Robert Patterson


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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