The Baystate Objectivist

The Baystate Objectivist

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Fun Day

Memorial Day doings.

"True, the warriors on our side of this Real War seem few and flimsy, but we have a secret advantage: we don't fight our battle out of Hate. Anger, yes, if we have to, but anger is enough. Hate is the flag the other side battles beneath. It is the ancient flag of fire and blood and agony, and it waves over the graves of millions and millions. Our side's flag is a thin, airlight blue, drifting almost unseen against the sky. Our military march is a meadowlark's song among the dandelions.

Ken Kesey

Yesterday morning I attended the Memorial Day parade in downtown Amherst. Unlike most things that go on in Amherst, the parade was non-political, although political things were percolating just inches beneath the surface. For example, among the participants were the Boy Scouts, a subject of controversy in town in part because some people consider them a hate group for banning homosexuals.

There was also a large display by the private group that has put on the Fourth of July parade in Amherst in year's past.

They are mad because the town is taking over the parade this year. Among those onboard was blogger Larry Kelley, shown here busy gathering material for his latest post.

I also ran into travel writer and right-wing activist Ben Duffy, who was attending with his girlfriend Ai-Ya Huang.

I asked Duffy for his appraisal of the current political scene, thinking that he would be glad that there are many local Republicans running this year. However he complained that most Massachusetts Republicans are too liberal for him to get excited about.

After the parade I found this sign stashed by a church. Apparently someone had brought it but then lost their nerve to march with it.

Here is a short video of the beginning of the parade.

There was also a patriotic ceremony across from the High School with all the town dignitaries attending.

I like that they read a poem by one of my favorite poets, Walt Whitman. Later on in the afternoon I went to an Alcoholics Anonymous picnic at Amherst's Mill River Park.

Everyone was on my case about my smoking pot recently, even though I told them it had done no harm. However, they kept insisting it was too dangerous to risk that a slip might occur into more dangerous drugs, and that I was too new to sobriety to be taking any chances. I finally had to agree that they were right, and so promised to stick to a straight no-drugs policy. Sheesh, those AA members are always fussin' and worryin' about you like they were your best friends or somethin' - which they are.

I'd show you some pictures of the picnic, but then I would be violating the sacred anonymity of the members. I can tell you that we played volleyball and some of the wilder spikes ended up in the river. It was a miracle how we always got the ball back!

The only guest at the picnic I can show you a picture of is Buster. He has never taken a drink or a drug in his entire two years of life and therefore has no need to be anonymous.

Finally, here is a video about a group of singing students calling themselves The University of Massachusetts Dynamics.


LarryK4 said...

Yeah, I just don’t get it. The July 4’th Parade has been taking fire for as long as we have been doing it for not allowing anti-war signs. And although I keep pointing out we have a “no politics” rule that would also ban abortion, gay rights, or free Tibet signage as well, the ONLY group we ever hear about or from is the anti-war folks.

BUT…on a day when America specifically remembers and memorializes its war dead these folks stay in the shadows. What better way to protest sending troops in harms way in a far off place like Iraq then to bring it up on a day when we pause to remember their (continuing) sacrifice?

Twenty-two years ago I was taking a course with Umass Journalism guru Howard Ziff and he had as a guest speaker, the editor of the Concord Monitor--Christa McAuliffe’s hometown newspaper.

This was only a month or so after the Challenger disaster and I could tell he was still bummed as he had interacted quite a bit with the “teacher in space”. I was pretty bummed too, as I had fought Ron McNair a couple times in the Boston area (NASA was not to happy about an active astronaut fighting in karate tournaments)

So I asked him “What if you knew--what if you really, really knew those o-rings were going to fail? What would you have done?”

He looked me right in the eyes and said: “I would have stood naked in town center with ‘Stop the Flight’ tattooed to my ass” to get peoples attention.

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