The Passing Parade: Cheap Shots from a Drive By Mind

"...difficile est saturam non scribere. Nam quis iniquae tam patiens urbis, tam ferreus, ut teneat se..." "...it is hard not to write Satire. For who is so tolerant of the unjust City, so steeled, that he can restrain himself... Juvenal, The Satires (1.30-32) akakyakakyevich@gmail.com

Thursday, January 11, 2007

BALD EAGLE PORNO: I’ll have you know, just so we don’t get started off on the wrong foot here, that I am as a loyal and patriotic an American as the next guy, assuming that the next guy is not your average hysterical semiliterate jihadicommie fanatic whack job, and therefore I have no objections to many of the steps taken to preserve, protect, and extend the nation’s population of bald eagles. I think this is a noble venture, one many Americans do not appreciate, and I think the news that the bald eagle population in the lower 48 states is growing, if not by leaps and bounds, then at least steadily, over the past few years is one of the great rescue efforts in the history of species preservation in particular and ornithology in general. Clearly, the scientists, ecologists, lawmakers, and local communities throughout this our Great Republic deserve our thanks and gratitude for pulling this great symbol of our nation back from the edge of extinction, but now they’re becoming a pain in the ass. Not the birds, of course; the birds remain as noble and proud a group of creatures as any mob of pea-brained sushi eaters can be; it’s not their fault that they pig out on Japanese cuisine on a more or less constant basis. No, indeed, the birds are paragons of virtue, if a bit sloppy with their table manners; the people saving the bald eagles, on the other hand, have undergone that most ugly of metamorphoses, having entered the chrysalis of the state capital as the righteous crusaders for a great cause worthy of all of our support, and having emerged from this two-bit pupal state as bureaucrats.

The regular reader of The Passing Parade will know by now that I have two major hobbies, one of which you are perusing at the moment, the other being photography, which is a damn sight more expensive than writing is. If you take a look to the right of your screen, you will see a link to Akaky’s Amateur Photo Hour, wherein you can take a look at some of what I do with my spare time when I am not thinking up these frivolous concoctions for your dining and dancing pleasure. So this past weekend, wherein our happy little burg enjoyed 71 degree temperatures, blue skies, and a warm and variable wind, I decided that the time had come for me to take a long walk down to an abandoned brickyard along the shore of the river that flows two ways; the Lord, in his infinite wisdom, apparently forgot to jiggle the handle on this waterworks after flushing on the seventh day; and take a great many black and white photographs of said brickyard, if, for no other reason, that industrial decay looks good in black and white, especially if you catch the sun shining in columns through the holes in the ceiling. I even bought a roll of Kodachrome 64 in order to show the brickyard in its full tacky stained brown brick ruin. I set off the for the river, my mind full of plans for how to get the best angles, what lenses to use, and wondering if I ought to bring my tripod and maybe another five rolls of film, just in case.

This neurotic need to make sure I have all my bases covered is an ongoing problem with me, I fear. I need not have worried so much about the problem: as I approached the brickyard, I noticed there was a sign telling me to stop. I shouldn’t say that I noticed the sign, as that gives the impression that I could have missed this sign, which was a physical impossibility for anyone except the blind or the truly absent-minded, given that the thing was at least five foot square and parked squarely in the middle of the path down to the brickyard. Stunned by the appearance of this sudden obstacle to all my photographic plans, I stopped and read the sign.

I did not know this, but it seems as if bald eagles have been using the area around the brickyard as a breeding ground, and the state department of conservation, the authors of the sign, put up this sign to ask all of us hikers to kindly go in another direction until the beginning of March; having people wander by as they tried to do what other birds, bees, and educated fleas do annoyed the eagles no end and kept them annoyed for hours afterwards. At the end of this otherwise very polite sign there was the standard warning that if I didn’t take the state’s hint and buzz off, the state department of conservation would be more than happy to toss my backside into the clink for a few years and lay a whopping fine on me as well, just so the message got through. Not wishing to do time for my art, I walked in the other direction, furious at this development, or rather, lack of development.

Do you know how bald eagles copulate? Well, if you don’t, here’s how: male and female fly about as high as they can stand, grab each other by the talons, and then tumble ass over heels down towards the ground while doing the wild thing. Yes, you read that right; that’s how bald eagles get their rocks off. This is what the state does not want me to photograph. First, I resent the hell out of the implication that I am some voyeur who gets some kind of weird thrill out of watching avian live sex shows. Second, I really resent the notion that I am some kind of purveyor of bird porn; I think at this juncture I am a fairly competent amateur photographer and I really dislike the state’s unspoken yet definitely clear belief that I would be willing to go pro selling pictures of this country’s national symbol disporting itself in a manner definitely unbecoming a national symbol. And third, and what I truly find offensive, there is the state, the state where I have lived and paid taxes to all of my adult life, a state, I’ll have you know, where more and more people are leaving because they cannot bear the high taxes and the overwhelming, and this case overreaching, bureaucracy, my native state, spending my hard-earned money to promote weird and kinky sex amongst these irresponsible nitwits.

Now, before we go any further, I want you to know that I am not one of those conservatives who thinks that the government should stay out of every room in the house except the bedroom. What people do in the privacy of their own homes is none of my business, but I don’t think the government should be openly promoting perversions with the public’s tax monies or allowing winged freaks to perform them over large bodies of water where unsuspecting children can see this sort of thing and have their psyches scarred for life. I’m sorry, that's just the way that I am. I am a taxpayer and a property owner and I think I have as much right to photograph the industrial decay here in our happy little burg as the bald eagles have to their psychosexual quirks, and maybe more; having your picture on the tax money is not the same as actually paying those taxes. If they don’t like my taking pictures near their dens of iniquity, fine, they can go somewhere else, which is pretty easy for them; it’s not like the state has to pay their airfare, is it?

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