Monday, March 08, 2010

Los and Found

I haven’t figure out what in heck Facebook is good for yet. Always seems to me like one large Twitter Board, but then I’m a luddite who doesn’t even own a cell phone, let alone an Iphone, IPad, IPod, IDon’tknow.

But one thing Facebook is good for is surprising you when people in your life you thought were long gone pop back up again to say, Hi! Such was the case with Jeff McMahon. Those of you who’ve live here for a while will remember him. Terrific writer over at New Times about 15 years ago, when owner/editor Steve Moss was still alive. I still have a 1996 column Jeff did called “Waiting for Rosebud,” pinned to the wall across from my computer. It’s there to remind me every time I sit down to write what I need to remember every time I sit down to write. It’s damned good, too, finest kind, which is also why I keep it posted there. The tap on the shoulder. The Pssst in the ear. ”

Well, Jeff disappeared years ago, headed for somewhere NOT Slotownish, and popped up next in Chicago and by gosh he’s still there, teaching journalism and other non-fiction journalism at the University of Chicago. He edits contrary magazine ( ), writes a column/section called “Scorched Earth” for True/Slant at and still maintains his blog at .

If you remember Jeff, check out his sites and/or go on Facebook and say Hi.

Friends Let Friends Write

Sandra Nielsen, who served in the trenches as a Trustee on the San Luis School Board during the Hideous San Luis School Board Wars, when Ed Denton was Superintendent, back in the 90’s, said wars covered by the Can(n)on’s own Miss Plitchard commenting on the battles. She also served on the Pismo Beach Planning Commission, went to live a few years in Las Vegas, writing an informative blog, “Sandra Off The Strip, and is now back in SloVille and has published a new book – Sex and The Zen of Shopping – which is an absolute hoot. Her premise: Sex is to men what shopping is to women, and even in this awful economy, if you get into the serendipitous zen zone, you can still shop very well indeed on very little moola. And Sandra tells you how.

Check out her website at or google the book on Amazon. Always nice when people you know do what they love. When Sandra has her local book launch/book signing party, I’ll post the info here so we can all show up for a gala time.

The Shock Locker

Interesting upset at the Academy Awards last night, though come to think of it, not so strange. Actually, it was a duplicate, sorta, of 1976/7 when a game changer of a movie – Star Wars – was ignored for a small film – Annie Hall – that’s likely unwatched today. Here we have a game changer – Avatar – ignored in favor of a small film – The Hurt Locker – that likely will be unwatched a few years from now.

While Up in the Air and Up, two gems that, I’m betting, will remain fresh for years, were pretty completely ignored.

Well, one thing I do like is the expanded list of nominees, which gives honor to more films that otherwise would get overlooked. As for awards matching art, ah, not so much. Art has to endure, and that takes time, which is why the “Best of “ lists have to be revised constantly. What seemed great one year, fades quickly while an odd little film that was completely overlooked somehow keeps plodding up the list. Or becomes a “cult” classic, earning new fans generation after generation. Like The Big Lebowski, which played recently at the Freemont’s old movie night and was positively jammed, mostly with younger people who couldn’t possibly have see that film originally. Yet there they were, some in “Dude” costumes, calling out the dialogue and having a grand time.


Alon Perlman said...

Lots of interesting stuff.
I like
The photograph raises a question;
How do you create an uncluttered writing space with a big(Chinese) Junk on the top shelf?

Ron said...

A J. Mac. sighting! (lemme see here... s-i-g-h-t-i-n-g... yep, sighting, nailed it).

Boy, talk about goin' waaaaaay back.

Jeff's great!

A tiny nugget of Los Osos journalism trivia? When I left The Bay News as a reporter in the early 90s, Jeff was my replacement... and, of course, the level of writing at the paper instantly improved ; -)

I also remember having a great conversation with him in 2000, at a mutual friend's party. We were standing there, with beers in hand, and I told him that the sewer story, in 2000, was "never better than it is right now." Shortly after that conversation, New Times published my first cover story on the issue, where I showed how the Karners' "better, cheaper, faster" project -- the project that was solely responsible for forming the LOCSD in the first place, and also solely responsible for killing the County's 1998, "ready to go" project -- was on the verge of failing.

And, of course, month after my story was published, that project failed... of course, and as predicted. (Wow. What an unbelievably GREAT story!)

And, it's my guess, that if he were to find out that I'm STILL reporting on the subject, he would just laugh and shake his head. (Oh, and, by the way Jeff, in 2010, the Los Osos sewer story has never been better.)

Thanks for the J. Mac links, Ann.

Ann wrote:

"Annie Hall – that’s likely unwatched today."

Just last weekend, I was driving with a friend of mine, and he parked about seven feet from the curb. I opened the passenger door, noticed the distance, and said, "It's o.k., I can take a cab to the curb from here."

He laughed, and then I said, " A great Woody Allen line, from Annie Hall."

That is one of my favorite screenplays of all time.

Churadogs said...

Ron, you should contact Jeff. He might find it very interesting, your blog. I had forgottenhe was editing at the Bay News. How wierd. You'd think I remember that. Duh. He couldn't have been there very long . . .