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

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Requirements of the law

"European Union laws require you to give European Union visitors information about cookies used on your blog. In many cases, these laws also require you to obtain consent."

 This warning appears in the editing functions of this blog and I'll be honest, I never really paid any attention to it. This bit of legal argle-bargle, to quote the late Justice Scalia, was just another example of the usual boilerplate nonsense that you have to expect in an increasingly bureaucratic society, something that the mind dismisses without ever having processed the information in the first place.  Now that I have noticed it, however, it seems more than a little presumptuous, doesn’t it? First, there is the question of sovereignty: can the European Union, which by its very name is clearly located in Europe, order me, a citizen of this our Great Republic, to do anything?  Second, how do I know which of my visitors are from the European Union and which are not? I am not some international Internet traffic cop who has the time and the energy to keep up with the people who come here and then question them about who they are and where they come from. Strange as it may seem to the European Union and the, I assume, very well paid paper pushers who devised this rule, I have an actual life here in the United States of America and that this actual life requires the majority of my time and attention and does not require me to pay attention to the European Union or its strictures about cookies and visitors.  Third, as to the question of consent, I wish to point out to the Eurodrone bureaucrats in Brussels who are behind the aforementioned bit of legal argle-bargle that nobody is forcing anyone to read The Passing Parade—the management of this blog can barely get the writer who provides the content here to write for the damned blog—and so the question of consent is largely moot, unless, of course, said Eurodrones are demanding that I get the reader’s consent, in which my response is that you can go kiss my royal Irish ass, guys.

However, in the spirit of international amity, I will point out that The Passing Parade is not terribly fond of cookies, but that we do have a very nice pineapple upside down cake that my mother makes from scratch and that on occasion we will indulge in some freshly made gourmet doughnuts from the new place across the street from the egregious mold pit wherein I labor for my daily bread.  If you are ever up this way, I invite you to drop in and share a doughnut, unless you are intent on getting me to follow European Union law, in which case I will call the police and have you removed from the premises. Thank you for your time and attention.

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Friday, April 21, 2017

Still thinking



These last few days I have been getting strange notices from someone named Andrew giving me all sorts of technical information about this blog that I really didn’t ask for, which leads me to suspect that our congenial host is getting tired of my ongoing battles with writer’s block and is letting me know that I either get snapping and cracking with my next bit of worldly wisdom or they are going to take The Passing Parade away from me. And we wouldn’t want that, would we? No, we wouldn’t. On the other hand, dispensing worldly wisdom requires that you have worldly wisdom to dispense, and since I don’t have any, I am more or less up the metaphorical creek without an outboard engine (I’m sorry, but I don’t paddle. I just don’t).  So what to do?  Well, I could comment on the world situation, but there are many people who can do that much better than I can and, let’s face it, the world situation is crappy, largely because the world situation is always crappy.  That’s just the way things are. A century ago, World War I was in its third year, the century before that Europe was putting itself back together after twenty-five years of war with France, and a century before that Europe was putting itself back together after fourteen years of the War of the Spanish Succession, which was a big hit with the ruling classes who cared about who got to be the King of Spain; the people who had to fight the war really didn’t care one way or the other, which is the way most wars are, you know. Does anyone, other than the Spanish, really care who the King of Spain is? No, I don’t think so, and my guess is that most Spanish people do not care either, except to check out what his wife (who is really good-looking) is wearing that week. Anyway, given how things have gone for the past three hundred years, it is a good bet that a hundred years from now that the world situation will still be crappy. So why bother talking about it?

I suppose I could talk about politics or about social mores, but I am not a politically inclined person; one of my deepest held beliefs is that wanting to run for political office should disqualify the candidate from having that office; and I am, as a person, horribly unsocial to the point of being asocial.  I am not antisocial—I understand that humans, being primates of the biological and not the religious type (unless, of course, you happen to be an actual primate of the religious type, in which case both categories apply to you. And while I have your attention, Primate, could you please explain to me why Ireland, which is not the biggest place in the world, gets two Roman Catholic primates while the United States, which is a fairly large place, doesn’t have one at all. Hardly seems fair, if you ask me), need the society of other humans or we risk madness or worse, enjoying peanut butter and liverwurst sandwiches.  I also see no reason why I should take advantage of the Vampire State’s retirement system for the perennially antisocial, which involves three bland meals a day, sharing one’s room with the not terribly nice, and unfashionable bracelets. No, I am asocial, which means that no matter how much you would like to share my company, I’d prefer that you go somewhere else. I’m just like that, I fear.  Having said that, please rest assured that I am trying to think of subjects you would find interesting to write about and that at some point I will have something worth looking at here. And I would like to thank you again for your continued support.


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Friday, March 31, 2017

Apologies

Yes, I know I said that I would have something new here in a week and that it's been almost a month since I posted anything, but I am working on a couple of things here and I will put them up just as soon as I can. I promise. Really, I mean that....you know, I can hear you snickering out there, dammit!

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Wednesday, March 01, 2017

And so it goes



The thing of it is, of course, that I keep intending to get back to the writing desk and do something new. Yes, I do. Now I understand that some of you are snickering right now, that you have heard me sing this song before and that you are thinking to yourselves that he’ll never get back to it unless someone with a gun makes him sit down and write, but you would be wrong—I have every intention to sit down and write some more for the blog, just as I have every intention of losing thirty of forty pounds; I just haven’t decided when I am going to do this. But I am writing for the blog, I am, I really am,
and I don't care how much you say otherwise. I have my pencils out and the paper (I use yellow legal paper, just in case such things interest you. I can’t imagine why this would interest you, but there are people in this world who collect sports memorabilia even though they know that most sports collectibles are fakes and there are others who think that having the world’s greatest collection of fifteenth century Moldovan bathroom fixtures is an actual accomplishment as opposed to being a sign that these people have way too much time on their hands).  And there is actual writing on that legal pad! Yes, there is. I am writing something right now despite what the cynics and the backbiters and the faultfinders say behind my back and to my face.  So take that, smart guys! 

In other news, my mother has the flu. I realize that my mother having the flu is not really a big deal; lots of people have the flu at this time of the year—it is flu season, after all—but she was one of the first people to get her flu shot this past year and finding out that the twenty-five dollars she shelled out for the shot was for naught did not make her happy, as if the coughing, sneezing, fever, and all the other foulness that accompany the flu were not enough to make her unhappy. What is really rankling her, however, is that she could not go to church today.  If you live in a place where there are a decent number of Roman Catholics, you will have noticed today that many of them are wandering the highways and byways with dirt on their foreheads.  The Papists are doing this on purpose (they’re like Commies that way, you know). Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of the penitential season of Lent, and on this day Roman Catholics have their foreheads marked by a priest who intones, remember, man, that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return—like so many things, this sounds much more impressive in Latin: Meménto, homo, quia pulvis es, et in púlverem revertéris.  This is to remind us all of our shared mortality. Well, my mother has had a priest slather dirt on her forehead every year since 1934 and is deeply annoyed that she could not go to church today to keep the streak going. What makes the end of the streak even worse is that she is blaming me for this. 

I am not sure how this is my fault: I did not give her the flu, I did not plan for her to get the flu, I did not enter into a grand conspiracy with the forces of secularism and British imperialism to give her the flu, and I did not deliberately expose her to people with the flu. I did not do any of these things, but her having the flu is my fault, just as it is my fault that the deer chow down on her azaleas and hedges. In short, logic and rational argument are not going to work in this case. Like original sin, the fault is mine whether I want it or not, and despite the fact that I haven’t done anything to deserve the opprobrium. And so it goes, as a wise man once said.

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Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Last post of the year, I think



Hi there. I trust that you are all enjoying the holiday of your choice here in the holiday season and that all is going well for you and yours at this wonderful time of the year. I will spare everyone the yearly retrospective that seems to be the fashion at this time; yearly retrospectives in December privilege the papal imperialist sexist racist Gregorian calendar over other calendars and I see no reason why I should be a party to such an attack on diversity merely because the Gregorian calendar deviates from the solar year by one day every 3,326 years. So I am not going there at all. 

I am just here to say that it seems to me that I have neglected this place for quite a while and that I really should make an effort to write some new material for you to read. That is always easier to honor in the breach than in the observance, but it seems to me that I have been overdoing the reasons not to write these past few months and that I really should get snapping and cracking here.  I thought about simply giving up The Passing Parade, just write a short note saying I wasn’t coming back and thanking everyone for their support, sort of like one of those old Bartles & Jaymes wine cooler commercials, and if you know what I am referring to then you are a lot older than you say you are. But jumping ship after all this while didn’t seem right, so I will keep at it for the time being, if you can call my slothful desultoriness keeping at it; I know I don’t and I don’t think you should, either. Otherwise, you are simply enabling my laziness and you would not want to do that, would you? I didn’t think so. It is important for all of us to support the American work ethic, especially those of us, like me, who wouldn’t know what the American work ethic was if it stood up and bit us on the rump.

In any case, I shall get at this soon, as my mind is already not teeming with brilliant ideas to write about and I cannot wait to sit down and put all of this not teeming stuff down on paper. Until then, enjoy a politically correct New Year!!!

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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Results and how to deal with them



It is wintertime, and the fish are not jumping—fish being entirely too sensible to that sort of thing at this time of year—the cotton is not high, although I am sure there are many who would disagree with me; there is a certain countercultural quality to cotton that one does not associate with such bourgeois fabrics as nylon or burlap; and Hillary Clinton is not the President-elect of this our Great Republic, which has the snowflakes in a bit of a tizzy.  They are blocking the streets, as snowflakes are wont to do, and they are refusing to acknowledge the results of the late election and demanding that the Electoral College refuse to elect Mr. Trump. The snowflakes are quite vociferous with their demands and have even taken to smashing windows in Oregon and playing with Play-Doh and petting therapy dogs to get their way. Now, I believe that there is nothing wrong with refusing to acknowledge reality; I have done it myself on more than one occasion. I remember the 2004 American League Championship Series, for example, where I could not make myself believe that the Yankees had blown a three game lead to the Red Sox and then spent much of 2005 refusing to believe that such a thing had actually occurred (I’m still not sure I believe it entirely, but I have stopped screaming at people who tell me that Boston won that year. Time heals all wounds…almost).  And I have spent the better part of forty years refusing to acknowledge that I could really stand to lose about thirty pounds, and I will thank you not to remind me of the fact, but the thing of it is this: I haven’t rioted in the streets because I didn’t get my way. I didn’t break any windows, I didn’t set fire to anything, I understood that life would go on.
I understood this in 2004, and I understand this now, because I know that there is something called objective reality. Objective reality, for the vast numbers of people who have apparently never heard of it, is that which exists independent of oneself.  There is such a thing, despite the best efforts of French philosophers to convince us all otherwise. Asia, for example, is there whether or not I have ever seen it myself or been there to affirm its existence. Asia does not need my affirmation in order to exist and the billions of people who live there do not care whether or not I accept the concept of Asia at all. Asia just is and my refusal to accept Asia’s existence does not change the fact that Asia is still there. 

Similarly, in the United States there is an institution called the Electoral College. It is an excellent institution—the menu could use some updating, though—and as venerable as few things are in this country that worships change, and it exists to elect the President of the United States and to give local political hacks a chance to go up to the state capitol for a couple of days and chase girls and get drunk on the taxpayer’s dime.  Recently, however, Mrs. Clinton failed to matriculate at this august institution and Mr. Trump did. That is a fact. That is objective reality, which is not wildly popular with snowflakes this year. For the snowflakes, this reality must, absolutely must, change. For them, the idea that Hillary Clinton is not going to be the next President of the United States is too horrible to contemplate and therefore this must change…because they said so.  That their ideas for how this happy outcome should occur are whimsical to the point of tweeness does not seem to bother the snowflakes, for no one has ever refused them before and they have no intention of permitting a precedent to start now. The snowflakes suggest, for example, that the electors of the Electoral College not vote for Mr. Trump, and have begun a campaign of pleading and only vaguely disguised arm-twisting to get the electors to change their votes. Yet others are suggesting that the voting machines in at least three states were in some way interfered with and that the results should be thrown out. I am sure that there are probably even more fanciful notions abounding in the dim alleyways of the East and West Coasts, but all of these notions have one problem: objective reality.  Did Mrs. Clinton win the popular vote? She probably did, and what does that have to do with the price of tea in China? The Electoral College elects American presidents and has ever since the first presidential election in 1788. Having the popular majority is nice, but it is not the point of the exercise. I would venture to say that if Mrs. Clinton had the electoral votes and Mr. Trump had the popular vote, these very same snowflakes would be singing the praises of the Framers and how wonderfully clever they were, even if they were dead white misogynistic racist bastards.  History records any number of faithless electors; there was once a mass defection of twenty-three, I think it was, from the Virginia delegation, said electors objecting to the Vice President-elect’s public relationship with a slave mistress.  This only happened once and I do not believe it will happen again, slavery having gone the way of all flesh.  As for the claims that someone interfered with the voting in three states, Carl Sagan once pointed out that extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof, and I do not believe, based on what we know now, that such proof is forthcoming. No, I think that the snowflakes will have to live with a President Trump, although I will admit that maybe something will come of this faithless elector thing; it is 2016, after all, and the Chicago Cubs did win the World Series, so maybe the impossible can happen here.  One never knows, do one, as Fats Waller used to say.

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