Thursday, June 14, 2007

Flag Day In The Home Office.

Today was flag day. It's a bit late in the day but here's the American flag. That's right, the flag pole is sticking out of the antenna hole in the top of the television. And it's there all the time, whether it's flag day or not. Those two round squishy things on top of the bookshelves are pillow globes of Earth and Mars.

If you click on the photo you should be able to make out the books. Parts of the Bs, Hs, Ls, and Ms are visible. Too bad the Vs aren't visible. You could see my guilty pleasure -- nearly everything written by Jack Vance.

Of the books visible in the photo, I highly recommend anything by Dashiell Hammett and much of John Barnes. If you want to go literary, the slim novel Hunger by Elise Blackwell* is unique, and Cormac McCarthy's mythic Blood Meridian has the most vivid prose.

I like writing that reminds me of the scene in the movie, A River Runs Through It, when the father is teaching his sons to write. He has them write essays and when they give their essays to him, he returns them and says, "now cut it in half." He does this several times until the writing is stripped to its essentials. Not that I can write that way.

What does any of this have to do with the American flag and the republic for which it stands? Well, as an American I received a public education at no charge and learned to read and write and appreciate knowledge. I've heard there is more literacy in Cuba than in America. So what. In Cuba, you can't read anything you want. How cruel is that? Teach your citizens to read and then deny them the right to read books of their own choosing. But as an American I can read and write just about anything I want. That is the greatest gift our country bestows on those who live within its borders.

So, show your patriotism. Read a book. Any damn book you want.


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*Full disclosure: Blackwell is a friend.

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