(That headline, “Naw, this ain’t no time for jokin’ …,” by the way, is a reference to the late-1950s novelty hit “Please Mr. Custer,” which you can still hear on the radio occasionally despite it being, well, a tad politically incorrect in these intolerant-of-intolerance times of ours. But now, back to our story …)
A few miles down Gulf of Mexico Drive from the former McCaffrey Southern Command Center on Anna Maria Island, Fla., is the city of Longboat Key, which is a tad more upscale than many a Florida beach town. (And it’s home to, among others, Jerry Springer. Classy!)
Longboat Key is home to the Longboat Observer weekly newspaper, which was a whopper, size-wise, at least until the pandemic hit (haven’t seen it since). And that paper had one interesting quirk: On the publication date closest to April 1, it put out an entire edition made up of fake stories. (What, like The Washington Post does every day these days? Oh, I kid because I love …….)
They were quite clever stories, with just enough relevance that the unsuspecting might consider them to be true. But after the third or fourth story, even newbies to the tradition caught on.
Being the grumblepuss that I am, I never liked that tradition. Even 20 years ago, a younger Scotty would note that the news biz had enough trouble with credibility without going the silly route, entertaining though it was.
Somebody in the Longboat Observer power structure must have agreed, because maybe a decade ago, they stopped doing an April Fool’s edition. One small step for journalistic integrity, albeit an advancement washed away in the sea of awfulness that is the biz these days.
GOODNIGHT, G’MAN: The death this week of G. Gordon Liddy at 90 brought back a few memories.
Twice in my life was I in the same room as the G-man. First was at William and Mary, when he and (I think) Dr. Timothy Leary were doing a round-the-country debating roadshow that made a stop there. I remember nothing about it except that I was in attendance.
Second, much later, was at a bookstore in Tysons, where Liddy was promoting one of his books. My main memory there, as I think I only observed and did not interact with him, was that he was shorter than me. Or shorter than I. Or shorter than the both of us.
Short or not, he probably could have crumpled me up like an empty beer can.
Sports editor Dave Facinoli’s father was principal at a school in Maryland where the Liddy children went to class during the 1970s, and just prior to his going to the federal penitentiary (Liddy, not Dave’s father), the G-man stopped in to ask the senior Mr. Facinoli to make sure his kids were well-cared-for at school during his absence. Seemed like an honorable thing to do.
Those who have been around the, cough, “DMV” long enough that you vomit at the thought of it being called the DMV may remember the classic radio lineup on WJFK-FM back in the day. Shock jock Howard Stern in the mornings, the “Morning Zoo” team of Don & Mike occupying the afternoons, and, in between, G. Gordon Liddy reading from newspapers and commenting on the stories of the day middays.
Quite an odd juxtaposition, but somehow, it worked for years.
Anyway, best of luck up in the next life, Gordon. It was, if nothing else, an interesting ride you had.
- Scott McCaffrey