|Ex Austin Dispatches||
|Is it just me, or did the civic observations of Independence Day
seem perfunctory? The politicians
seemed even more lackluster at making platitudinous speeches than ever, and the word "liberty" was conspicuously absent to this citizen's ears.1 Maybe even they sense the hollowness in reading their flunkies' words while our legions settle into the empire's new territory.2 In this day and age, "The bombs bursting in air" ought to refer strictly to lyrics in the national anthem, not sorties against a Slavic backwater.3
(I am gratified, though, to realize I'm nearly 10 years ahead of U.S. Sen. Bob Smith of New Hampshire in departing the GOP,4 for similar reasons.)5
Yet having extricated myself from the large-R Republicans, I spent a third of my freedom voluntarily ensnared in traffic school. Readers expecting snide commentary in this e-zine will be satisfied to learn that traffic school was stultifying, punctuated by laughably bad instructional videos. Track down "The 2nd Annual Valvoline National Driving Test" if you want to see how far William Shatner,6 Robert Urich7 and Perry King8 can sink. The scary part: Shatner, Ulrich and King were better in this video than any true thespian role they've snared. Even scarier: they were funnier than the "comic relief" of Jerry Seinfeld9 and Joan Rivers.10 I've endured power outages that were less "off" than these two. Back to amateur night, the both of you.
All to keep my auto insurance rates to a tolerable level of extortion. Someday soon, I'll achieve real independence, from creditors, from insurance companies, the lot of them in line for the back of my hand.
Of course, I had better preoccupations that weekend. One of the barnburners11 visited. We didn't many fireworks ... outside. With the onset of monsoon season, Phoenix has been getting rain. Not "rain," but the real, spoil-your-parade stuff. Phoenicians have stopped asking me boastful variations on "Hot enough for ya?" as though my years in Texas count for nothing in matters sultry.
And indeed the Fourth was sultry, even outdoors, as the barnburner
and I admired the
|1 Reese, Charley. "Precious Independence
is Nibbled Around the Edges All the Time." OS 4 July 1999: G2.
2 Burroughs, William S. Cities of the Red Night. New York City: Holt, Rinehart & Winston, 1981: xiv; Casey, Douglas. "The New Praetorians." Liberty March 1996: 49+; Malone, Wilbur. "Going the Way of Rome." Philadelphia Trumpet July 1999: 26-27; Walker, Jesse. "A Splendid Little War." Liberty Nov. 1996: 29-30.
3 McGeary, Johanna et. al. "The Road to Hell ..." Time 12 April 1999: 36-45.
4 Barone, Michael, and Grant Ujifusa. Almanac of American Politics 1992. Washington, D.C.: National Journal, 1991: 766-767; Carlson, Tucker. "Mr. Smith Goes Third Party." TWS 26 July 1999: 15-16.
5 Podhoretz, John. Hell of a Ride: Backstage at the White House Follies 1989-1993. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1993.
6 Almanac of Famous People, 6th ed. Ed. Frank V. Castronova. Detroit: Gale, 1998: I, 601.
7 Ibid., I, 1703.
8 Ibid., I, 952.
9 Baldwin, Kristen et. al. "Thanks for Nothing." EW 30 May 1997: 20-23.
10 Castronova, op. cit., I, 1426.
11 Taraborrelli, J. Randy. Sinatra: Behind the Legend. Secaucus, N.J.: Birch Lane Press, 1997: 229.
12 Webster's, 642.