And if you go over to Infinitives Unsplit, the Pedant-General will, in his inimitable way, explain the intricacies of Aristotelian logic for you, especially as how this esoteric subject applies to the equally esoteric subject of modern British politics. I am sure that this is a very important lesson: I wouldn’t know because I don’t have a clue what he’s talking about. I think he’s talking about mudslinging, but parts of it are in Latin and us Papists don’t do the Latin thing very much anymore. He could be calling my mother names for all I know. In the same vein, The Devil’s Kitchen adds up the number of taxes that have gone up in the United Kingdom since the Labor Party arrived at 10 Downing Street almost ten years ago. It must be difficult living in a place where the government thinks it is doing you a favor by letting you keep some of what you earn for a living. You know, I think it takes cojones of granite for a New Yorker to say that with a straight face, it really does.
Apropos absolutely nothing at all, I came to toil here at the egregious mold pit nineteen years ago yesterday. I would like to think that my continued presence here is do to my outstanding skills as a reference librarian and a deep devotion to serving the information needs of the citizens of our happy little burg, but I strongly suspect that it has more to do with a tremendous lack of imagination on my part. Why else would I stay in this dump? Why else would anyone stay here?
The occasional reader (it seems presumptuous now to say the constant reader, given my recent demotion to ichthyologic status) of this blog will have, no doubt, noticed that over on the blogroll, along with the cole slaw, there is a blog called Akaky’s Amateur Photo Hour. One of my hobbies, along with writing stuff almost no one reads, is to take pictures almost no one sees. I like photography; I would like it more, I think, if I could develop my own pictures and spare myself the expense of sending the film (yes, I still use film) to the camera shop for development. At the moment I have about a hundred exposed rolls in a drawer in my file cabinet and I’m going to have to do something about them pretty soon; some of them have been in there since last year. Yes, indeed, I will have to do something about them, but that’s not the point of this paragraph so let’s move on to the point of this paragraph by going to the next paragraph.
Now, I am as patriotic as the next guy, which these days depends a lot on just where you live, so let me rephrase that and say that I am as mindlessly patriotic as any resident of the reddest red state out there, even if you can’t get much more blue on the blue scale than this my native state…well, maybe California and Massachusetts has us beaten blue and bluer, if not black and blue, but not by a whole hell of a lot. I love my country’s flag and everything it stands for, but every since we became the last superpower standing I am getting tired of the snotty attitude of the flag down in front of City Hall. When I want to take a photograph of Old Glory flapping and furling in the breeze, then I want the flag to flap and furl in the breeze.
What I don’t want is for the flag to hang there on the pole as limp as an old man’s willie. I want to take pictures of the Stars and Stripes that will inspire feelings of pride and patriotism in even the most hardened of un-American hearts—I don’t want to take some dull shot of the flag just hanging there as if just getting up the pole in the morning was good enough for government work. And what I really want to know is why this flag won’t cooperate with me when I take its picture. Now when the Soviets were up and swanning about the countryside, you couldn’t stop the flag from flapping and furling. Old Glory flapped and furled like its life depended on the quality of its furl and the loudness of its flap—it flapped and furled morning, noon, and night without fail; the flag even flapped in dead calms, biker rallies, Red Sox games, and on the moon as well, no mean trick since there’s no atmosphere on the moon and no oxygen at Fenway Park; prolonged anoxia goes a long way towards explaining some of the more peculiar aspects of the Red Sox nation, I think. But since the end of the Cold War Old Glory has been acting like a movie star with a severe case of paparazzi loathing. It has to be on the flagpole, there’s no getting around that—flagpole sitting is in the contract—but the flag’s just going to sit there and not do anything until I go away and take my cameras with me. Or if the flag does decide to do something, it will go out of its way to make sure I can’t take a good picture of it. All of the flapping and furling will be at an angle I can’t use or in harsh sunlight or in some other circumstance that makes it impossible for me to get a good picture of the flag. This is deeply annoying and I wish it would stop; I don’t think Old Glory wants to give its loyal public the idea that somehow or other it can live without us. Frankly, there are other flags that are just as nice and stand for things just as desirable, you know. Just take a look at the flag of Antigua. You see that flag and you know beyond doubt that somewhere in that country there is a place where you can get a really good rum drink with a piece of pineapple and a silly paper umbrella, and sit out on a really nice beach and get a really nice tan while drinking it.