Bicycles and Killing Machines

Good line from a post at Mimi’s Musing:

I looked it up, discovered that the Air Show–the penultimate thrill of bullies and fascists–is scheduled from 10:00 until 3:30, so advised him his friends should have no particular problem going south.

It reminds me of being in Ocean City, New Jersey during an air show two years ago.  We were down there for the weekend at the place my mother-in-law rents for a week every September, and a bunch of us had rented bikes and rode down to the boardwalk.  While we were there, the air show started up.  It consisted of a succession of vintage planes doing the usual assortment of stunt dives and loops out over the beach and ocean, moving, if I recall, from older and slower to newer and more powerful aircraft.  Then, for the big finale, modern fighter jets came screaming in from out beyond the bay.

We were on our way back when the war planes came in.  The rest of the group had rode on ahead, leaving me and my daughter, who was six at the time (and a much slower rider than her older cousins), behind.  People stood all along the boardwalk, and on the decks of the houses facing the ocean, watching these planes rip across the sky with what I took to be a mixture of awe and civic pride.  When we reached the end of the boardwalk and descended to the street, the town itself was pretty much deserted.  Down amongst the houses and other buildings, the noise from the jets was deafening, and by about the third or fourth pass my daughter had had enough.  “I hate these stupid planes,” she yelled, wobbling on her bike and hunching her shoulders as if attempting to ward off the sound.

It didn’t take much effort to imagine that this is what it must feel like to be on the receiving end of U.S. military “aid,” except that instead of dodging bombs we were just having our eardrums blown out.  Maybe next time, in the interest of putting on a more realistic show, they could work in some live explosives—not close enough to kill anybody, of course, just close enough to send a few hundred patriotic fools scurrying for the nearest sand dune.

BYO Busybodies

I can’t say I really give two shits whether Ocean City, New Jersey remains a “dry”(*) town, but you gotta love a system where about one-third of registered voters (not to mention those eligible to vote but not registered) get to make decisions for everyone else.  And it’s even more ridiculous when you consider that we’re talking about whether to allow people to bring a bottle of wine to a restaurant to drink with dinner.  This is democracy in action: A bunch of geezers in bad leisure wear and white sneakers voting to protect their town from the menace of BYOB.

(*)The dry designation is a farce, too, since you’re allowed to drink in private residences and there’s a massive booze distributor right at the foot of the main bridge leading onto the island.  My mother-in-law rents a place there every year in the off-season and we just stock up on wine and beer before going over the bridge, or bring it from home.