Working at The Star in the 1970s was like riding with a guerrilla unit and raiding behind the lines. You didn't have the resources for pitched battle and the camaraderie was that of shared adversity.

For a time, however -- 1975, 1976 and part of 1977 -- the guerrilla band was efficiently organized and effectively led. We enjoyed enough morale-boosting successes to keep us going, such as the coverage of the 1976 presidential conventions.

You can rifle-shot your resources into occasions like that, and the coverage looked terrific. We also had an efficient supply base at the work space, known as "Club Sarro," in honor of its organizer and operator Ron Sarro. In the Marines he would be known admiringly as a "kumshaw artist," the man who unfailingly can procure the necessities, by fair means of foul -- in this case booze, ice, food, decently located hotel rooms and lemons for political writer Jack Germond's post-filing nightcap.

Our party after the close of the Republican convention in Kansas City was strictly a world-class blast that lasted till dawn and attracted fellow degenerates from nearly every other news organization there. The major attractions were the tangos and rumbas (or so we fancied them) that severals of us danced, with long-steemed roses in our teeth at the approach of dawn, with Mary McGrory, who epitomized the heart and soul and spirit of The Star.

Once again, for a glorious, fleeting glimmer, we all were young and drunk and 21 and thought we were going to live forever.