Nixon would roll in his grave

By David Grima | Mar 01, 2018

Thursday, March 1, is that most special of all days in the year; yes, it is once again St. David’s Day!

The Four Seagulls of the Apocalypse and I will celebrate up here in the concrete towers at the foot of Mechanic Street, where I am forced to live, by eating Welsh cakes and leek soup.

St. David, patron of Wales, a fine, upstanding gentleman from whom I am no doubt descended, made his name glorious forever when, in the year 521, he threw all the crocodiles out of Wales, and in their place invited dragons.

This is why there is a dragon on every Welsh flag, and why not a crocodile remains in the Olde Country, even to this very day.

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Speaking of fire-breathing creatures clad in armor, what is all this we hear about plans to develop lobster traps that have no ropes attached? What is this madness?

Apparently, after consuming one or two bottles too many of Welsh Dragon Juice, somebody came up with the notion that lobster traps can be made without ropes (or lines, as we seem to call them), but with wee inflatable things installed instead.

All the lobsterman will need to do is press a button, and the inflatable thing will inflate, causing the trap to soar upward to the surface and into the hands of the waiting lobsterman.

The idea of getting rid of ropes/lines is to make it easier for whales (not Wales) to avoid being tangled up, which is surely a noble and honorable goal. But the idea of depending on automatic balloon-powered lobster traps seems a bit like a piece of science fiction.

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The latest news from the fearless souls of the gun lobby was delivered loud and clear the other day: the National Rifle Association will not rest until every kindergartner carries, and knows how to use, a loaded semi-automatic pistol in school.

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Have we reached a point where the humble signature will soon be nothing more than a charming relic of days gone by?

Certainly it seems that even those electronic signatures we are supposed to write on glowing screens in stores are no longer really necessary. Bonelda says whenever she shops for fish at Jess’s Market in the Blessed South End, she signs her name as Madonna. Nobody bothers about it.

I will try signing myself as Stalin, next time I go there.

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Some people wear short pants all winter long, but I notice the number of bare legs on Main Street is rising as daily we creep ever closer to what passes for spring.

Back in the day, I used to try to take a photo of the first person wearing short pants in town, so we could print it in the Courier as an encouragement to everybody, to remind them that better weather was ahead.

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Speaking of short pants, I notice there is a table at Rock City which has knitted leg-warmers fitted around its legs. It is the same table where the Wednesday knitting group meets, and I wonder if there is a connection here?

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I recently began reading detective novels set in Russia, written by the late Stuart Kaminsky and featuring a Moscow policeman called Rostnikov. The first one I read was set firmly in the Soviet era, while the second one I am plowing through is set in the years after the end of Communism there.

To be honest, the second one is a bit of a plodder compared to the first.

When this kind of novel has the whole of the crazy Soviet system as its cultural background, it provides a layer of delicious fear and confusion that we in the west do not easily understand or interpret. But we know it is wicked stuff, and we can often enjoy watching the ordinary Russkies in these novels working hard, not only to achieve their own modest ends, but also working to survive the random madness of the whole Communist society.

But when the Soviet threat is removed, a whole layer of intrigue and fascination is removed, too. In his post-Cold War novels, I think spy novelist John Le Carré lost something of the life-or-death edge in his plots, because all he had left to write about were more-or-less commonplace bad guys with heavy foreign accents. Likewise, Stuart Kaminsky, I think.

But it was more than just a literary loss. Who would have suspected that when the Cold War was over, it would also be the end of a powerful element in Western culture itself, the Monstrous Evil Other against whom we must all stand united? It was what defined us for a generation. Not being behind the Iron Curtain. Not being Communists.

These days, things have deteriorated to such an extent that (by all that is incredible) we are actually investigating collaboration between the naughty post-Soviet Russkies and the party in the White House. The White House!

This sort of nonsense would have been unthinkable in the good old days. Even Nixon would roll in his grave.

I think it happened because, once the Russkies began to be seen as merely another bunch of international gangsters with heavy accents, it suddenly became possible to see they were no longer so very different from our own homegrown gangsters. Far from threatening our very lives with nuclear extinction, they became people with whom we might risk doing a little bit of shady business now and then.

They stopped being Communists, and became simply crooks with whom our own crooks could afford to deal.

In a deeply weird way, the Cold War might have kept us a little bit more honest than we are today. What a strange and sad idea.

Comments (1)
Posted by: Mary A McKeever | Mar 02, 2018 15:54

Profound but humorous! Sunshine here in AZ so eat your heart out David!

Mary "Mickey" McKeever +:)

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