Comments or suggestions: Gerard Van der Leun
Media's "Cracked Bells and Washed-Out Horns"

LA Times to cut 250 jobs, including 150 news jobs

"Once a bear is hooked on garbage there's no cure." -- Gary Snyder

ALL ALONG OUR WATCHTOWERS where our Princes of the Media tell us our views, things are looking very shaky for their latter-day plutocracy. Their ratings tank, their circulation implodes, and revenues auger into the ground like a one-winged Gulfstream. Like the once-popular Yogi Berra Restaurant, people are staying away in droves.

Extreme measures seem to be called for and extreme solutions are tried. Some once-brilliant network exec has a new thought to save the ratings, "sex!" Katie Couric's perky points are whipped out, rubbed with ice-cubes and back lit by the blaze of Baghdad. It doesn't help. Husbands cringe and wives run screaming from the plasma-screen wall. Faced with the continuing disaster, another never-brilliant New York Times publisher has his only idea for the 600th time: "Bash Bush!" Times editors from the last time the Publisher waved his stuffed moose around convene for their 5348th Sulzberger Suckupathon and decide to "save the newspaper" by..... redesigning the web site! Ad sales and staff continue in their mutual suckage. Heroin suppository prescriptions are renewed.

Across town, employees of cable news networks whose viewer-ship has fallen to rival the circulation of "The Nation" ponder a future without houses in the Hamptons, and their forthcoming inability to land jobs as spokesmen for Ginzu Knives at the North Dakota State Fair. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Or, as we used to say in the 60s in the drug-drenched pits of Berkeley, "If you are going to have a revolution, get ready to do revolting things."

Backs to the ratings wall, they pull out their thermonuclear weapon, and video tapes

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 22, 2008 6:26 PM | Comments (32)  | QuickLink: Permalink
One Liners

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Close to mom's hometown: Firefighters work to contain the Humboldt fire which started Wednesday, had grown to 19,000 acres and threatened more than 5,000 structures, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. More than 1,300 firefighters were trying to contain the blaze, which was only 10 percent contained late Thursday June 12, 2008 in Butte Valley, CA. California Fires - The Big Picture - Boston.com

The New-Coke Cola War recalled: After a mere 79 day furlough, the original-recipe Coke was back on the market as "Coca-Cola Classic."Damn Interesting Bite the New Wax Tadpole

Confusion on Osama by Obama. No confusion by John McCain "Let me be clear, under my administration Osama bin Laden will either be killed on the battlefield or executed."

Language twist of the day: "Left-wing talking pants."

The death penalty is working. "Every time I hear of one of these cases, I am impressed with the discretion and good judgment our justice system seems to show about putting people on death row."

Was the most important goal of WWII to bring Adolph Hitler to justice or to defeat Nazi Germany? The partisan theory of Osama bin Laden's freedom

ACLU to teens, "Screw early, screw often." FIRST THINGS: The War on Abstinence

This ain't no disco, this ain't no Mel Gibson movie. Michael J. Totten sez Don't Miss the Zohan

Canada: Giving you in loco parentis good and hard -- Is Canada the Stepford Nation? @ The Anchoress

Stuff White People Like... to do. What should you do when you find typos on a restaurant menu?

Screening for the gay gene and the hammer of unintended consequences: The Rise and Fall of Homosexual Culture: could science and judicial activism lead to the eventually eradication of homosexuality? .... but.... but....

"What is a 'gay gene' in a man is a 'superstraight gene' in a woman," "Gay Genes" May Be Good for Women -- ScienceNOW

Was it really "all about the oil?" Deals With Iraq Are Set to Bring Oil Giants Back - NYTimes.com At this point, you'd better hope so.

Villainous Company: "Is it just me, or do Barack Obama and John McCain sound disturbingly alike when it comes to domestic issues?" Nope.

Energy costs up. Lumber costs down. Go Figure.Sippican Cottage: "I need pine to make furniture. And I paid 34% less for it this week than I did exactly one year ago. Same quality. Same vendor. Same everything."



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 19, 2008 11:46 AM | Comments (4)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Laguna Dawn

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THE FULL MOON is sliding down the dark sky over Catalina Island off shore. Slipping in and out of sheets of haze it throws a burnished orange path out from the silhouette of the island's steep hills and across the open slate water to the shore. Below me to the north, the winding lights of the village converge on the long dark strand of the Pacific Coast Highway arcing up and over the hills of Laguna Beach and on into the towns that string out towards LA, growing ever denser along that route until it fades into the bleak streets of the metropolis.

Driving that way towards the central coast, you'd be tempted to give up the highway for a quick transit through LA and out over the Grapevine to the featureless plain of the central valley and the torpor of Highway 5. But if you stay on the Pacific Coast Highway as it disappears into scuzzy sprawl of LA, you'll find, in time, you took the better route.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 18, 2008 9:09 AM | Comments (14)  | QuickLink: Permalink
Oceanside

When you walk along this beach
You take all that you can carry --
Dog, shoes, shadow -- even,
If you are not very selective,
"The Ride of the Valkyries."

And you think that because
You walk this beach
So easy and so free
That you will always
Stroll upon this sand.

Look up. A large black dog
Shambles and sniffs
Along this wet, black strand.
Eight dark ravens
Settle at the surf line,
And the drunken crone
Paws in the sand for a sign
Where there are no signs.

You're weary of all you carry,
So you leave it behind
In a pile upon the beach,
Heaped with the crone,
The ravens and the dog,
Hoping it will fade
Forever out of reach,
Becoming just one more
Bonfire on the beach.



Posted by Vanderleun Jun 16, 2008 12:21 PM | Comments (7)  | QuickLink: Permalink
"Ain't It Cool?"

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Truth: "uncool."

Nineteen-year-old Army Pfc. Aaron J. Ward, a Fort Lewis military policeman whose hometown was San Jacinto, Calif., was killed May 6 in Iraq's Anbar province when his patrol came under enemy fire. - Ranger, sub officer, MP with links to state died in war last month EDITOR'S NOTE: Each month, the P-I remembers the servicemen and servicewomen with ties to Washington who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"The American culture of cool has become a nation apart, an alternate-America..."

It was Easter Sunday in 2004 and we were two and a half years into the war. Good Friday evening was one of those nights when, in Southern California, the weather and the combine to create what are rightly called "balmy conditions." Balm, as in a kind of salve to the soul and the skin. The air is warm but not too warm. The skies are clear and the stars seem closer. My then wife and I had just seen some current comic book confection at one of the 20 screen multiplexes that are so numerous in this area that you can see the same movies 15 times within a ten mile radius.

We sat by a large sandstone and marble fountain in the stone circle between the vast theater and the vaster parking lot. It was date night and the beginning of Spring Break for the schools of Orange County. All around us kids from 11 to 18 were whooping and laughing and forming clusters of friends. They were dressed according to the upscale Goth-Surfer/Balkan Refugee dress-code common to the kid culture here on the coast. Most were too young to have tattoos or piercing, but you could see some were already planning where those lifestyle statements would go. They were slim, energetic and heedless of the future. In short, they were just reasonably rich kids in America in 2003. No different now in 2008, seven and a half years into a war they've been trained to hate or ignore.

The war was not and will probably never become these kids' concern. It isn't even something they consider outside of, perhaps, a few classroom exercises of dubious intent or merit. There is no reason they should consider war, nor do I wish that upon them. It isn't, in any real sense, their war. War isn't being asked of us or the affluent kids of Orange County, nor does it seem likely to be. Besides, war isn't what they're into.

Continued...

Posted by Vanderleun Jun 12, 2008 11:48 AM | Comments (24)  | QuickLink: Permalink
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