The Sloop of Density
Volume 1 - Number 1 - Spring '99

 
Upstream of Consciousness Miniature Horses, Giant Rodents, and the Scale of Things in General:
Way back at the dawn of time, perhaps some thirty years ago, I found myself travelling west in the Volkswagen bus of my old pal Keith, accompanied by said Keith as well as our lawyer, Ray. Keith and I go way back, and have learned time and again the peril of travelling without competent legal counsel. Of course Ray wasn't really our lawyer, I'm not sure that at the time he was anyone's lawyer and if he were I'm not sure that his particular branch of the law would have been compatible with our unique juridical needs, but it adds, at any rate, a certain disreputable panache of the Hunter S. Thompson variety to our story to mention that we were traveling with our lawyer, and I'll tell you at the same time that Ray was, and presumably still is to some extent, a fine and outstanding fellow, a distinguished Virginia lawyer in the finest New England tradition, with a remarkable willingness to accept unquestioningly the peculiar and incongruous turns our journeys together often took. Never mind all that, though.

Somewhere in Michigan, and don't ask me how we got there or where we had been before, there came that sudden and urgent need to stop alongside a vacant stretch of road for a short while, and seeing no living creatures other than a few horses in the distance, we took our leave to rest by this fine pasture with its endless white fences and one handsome and convenient beech tree. It was a pleasant day, cool and sunny with a blue sky through which just the right number of clouds were passing, and as the horses had placed themselves most photogenically about the field, I decided to take a picture. It was then, upon more focused inspection, that it became apparent that the laws of perspective were being most egregiously flaunted.

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Used News We saw in the papers recently that the U.S. Marine Corps and the Navy are planning a simulated invasion of San Francisco this spring. The City is subject to many simulated invasions every day, so residents remain largely unconcerned. This invasion will involve an amphibious landing at the Presidio of San Francisco by several hundred Marines who will proceed through the unoccupied housing of the former Army base and, God willing, conquer the old Public Health Hospital.

Here's the good news, as reported in The Chronicle:

"None of the Marines in the invasion exercise will fire live ammunition. Instead they will shoot blanks. In addition, they have given assurances that none of the Marines will step on the flowers or damage any natural feature at the Presidio, which is a national park."

We're very happy to hear that the Marines won't be firing real bullets at each other, but in terms of military policy it's even more exciting to learn that our forces will be showing more regard for the local flora. Just picture our fightin' men (and gals too!) tiptoeing through the tulips loaded with the latest in weaponry, ready to annihilate a village without sacrificing a single shrub! Selective targeting has truly come a long way.

This is the first simulated invasion of an urban area during peacetime according to Spokes-Lieutenant Colonel Jenny Holberg. This type of training has become necessary, says Holberg, because by the year 2020 the American military expects population centers to be concentrated in coastal urban areas.

"That is where the enemy is expected to hit us," she said. She did not specify just who this enemy might be. In the absence of an enemy, at least the Marines are now prepared to mount an assault on the Bay Area.

In the words of Walt Kelly's great philosopher Pogo,
"We have met the enemy, and he is us."

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© 1999 P.D. Appert
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