Friday, December 19, 2008

What Recession?

Lest my faithful reader fret, allow me to assure him or her as the case may be that, in my neck of the woods at least, there are no signs of increased unemployment. Three cases in point:

1. Every work day, I discover a pipsqueak of a man on the platform where I catch my daily PATH train. He's dressed in the togs of a laborer, but with no insignia to identify his employer. He sometimes has a soft bag of tools lying at his feet, and sometimes not, but I have yet to catch him working, with tools or otherwise. Sometimes, he leans against the wall, watching the trains come and go. Sometimes, he steps forward and chats with the conductor of one of the trains as it pauses at our station. More often, he's chatting up some sweet young commuter; his idleness affords him ample time in which to befriend the more photogenic members of the traveling public. But he never actually does anything. And yet I cannot overcome a powerful suspicion that he's on the clock. Somebody's clock.

2. The crowds of commuters leaving the World Trade Center PATH Station who are headed south or east of Ground Zero are herded into the little intersection where Vesey and Church Streets meet. There stands a construction worker, complete with hard hat and fluorescent vest. In his hand is one end of a chain. The other end of the chain is attached to the fence around Ground Zero. The links of the chain are coated in yellow plastic. When the light is green for traffic on Church Street and pedestrian traffic is halted, he stands next to the fence, chatting with a companion. When the light changes, he strolls about twenty feet out into Church Street, until the chain is taut. By so doing, he creates a boundary between the traffic waiting on Church and the crossing pedestrians. When the light changes again, he retreats with his chain to the fence. And so it goes. Someone is paying this man; I feel sure of it.

3. Just north of Beaver Street, blocking northbound traffic on Broad Street and preventing it from approaching the New York Stock Exchange, sits a pickup truck. In it sits a man. Guards in front of the truck review the credentials of all vehicles seeking to pass beyond the pickup to the sensitive areas beyond. From time to time, the guards grant admittance to someone; whereupon the man in the pickup comes to, shifts into gear, and backs the truck up just far enough to allow the vehicle to pass. After it passes, the pickup returns to position 1. I cannot help thinking that the man in the pickup truck supports himself in this manner, and perhaps a family, as well.

I have not yet discovered who employs these men. But I greatly fear that I do.

Friday, December 12, 2008

All Together Now, Folks--!

Bernard Madoff has been arrested in a $50-billion Ponzi scheme.

Wow--he sure madoff with a lotta dough!

I don't need your pity.

Saturday, December 06, 2008


That Guy really is turning the clock back 75 years. I suppose That Guy is hoping that no one now alive can actually remember what a hash of things That Man in the White House made. If, by chance, those who can't remember take the trouble to look That Man in the White House up in a history book (and that's cheating, folks!), That Guy's probably prepared to argue that no one really gave the ideas of That Man in the White House a fair chance.

May God have mercy on America.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Tyranny, in the Good Ol' Orwellian Fashion

The Rev. George M. Docherty has cashed in his chips. I, for one, must temper my grief for the death of this unwitting friend of tyranny.

And why do I call him so? Because he induced that pack o' ho's that we call Congress to add the phrase under God to the Pledge of Allegiance. I don't object to the phrase because it twists an affirmation of Caesar that every American can endorse into an affirmation of the Deity that some Americans cannot, although that is what it does; nor do I object to it because it turns the phrase one nation indivisible into one that is either meaningless or redundant, although it does that, too; nor do I object to it because it destroys the beautiful rhythm of the original, although it also does that. No, I object to it, because it represents an assertion of power on the part of the aforesaid pack o' ho's that scares the living daylights out of me.

Nowhere in the United States Constitution is the power given to Congress to re-write works of authorship. The man who wrote the Pledge, whom I shall call Francis Bellamy for the sake of convenience, is an author. The same, in essence, if not in stature, as Shakespeare, Dante or St. John. What he wrote is what he wrote. Neither he nor any other author should have his work re-written by the State to suit itself. If the State doesn't like Mr. Bellamy's Pledge, let the State write its own dam' Pledge!

I could fulminate for pages, but it is enough to say that what Congress did is what the Ministry of Truth would have done in the same circumstances.

Here's the real Pledge. Paste it in the lining of your hat:

I pledge allegiance to my flag
and the republic for which it stands:
one nation indivisible
with liberty and justice for all.
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