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Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

An Odor of Colombian Neckties

When I was a child I lived in a place several miles northeast of Washington, D.C., called Landover, Maryland. Now an area of nearly wall-to-wall shopping centers, in the late 1930's and the early '40's it was rural wherever you looked, and you had to drive for miles or catch the local, a train, into D.C. to find a store of any kind.

Once in a while the clear air, usually troubled only by the roaring of trains as they passed through a number of times each day on the main Pennsylvania RR line between D.C. and Baltimore, would be invaded by an odor that was so unbelievably acrid and sharp that it made staying outside for any length of time almost impossible. This put a severe and maddening crimp in my daily investigations into the migratory habits of the local birds, the possibilities of magical lands waiting to be explored just beyond our property lines, and into just what it would take to become a Wyandotte Indian, among many other outdoors activities of the highest interest. This mysterious and all-powerful pox upon the land, the air, and my breathing apparatus would last for several days, yet I never found out its source, and I can only guess that somewhere somebody was burning several square miles of old tires.

All this week the same kind of utter acridity made the political air equally unbreathable and therefore non-conducive to constructive thinking, though the source couldn't have been more identifiable. It was the Republican National Convention, as day after day its attendees indicated how determined they continued to be in their process of slowly asphyxiating the country for another four years, in its quest to deliver the finally prostrated nation into the arms of American-style fascism without even a whimper.


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