The sin of property we do disdain
No man has any right to buy and sell the earth for private gain
By theft and murder they took the land
Now everywhere the walls spring up at their command
--- Billy Bragg, "The World Turned Upside Down"
A little Bard of Barking for Labor Day.
I have been doing this blog for one calendar year now.
The final Hangout Trivia for some time (we're being postponed until the end of fooball season) was a fair to middling success. The atmosphere was congenial, the winning team was made up of strangers who didn't know there would be a quiz and spent $100, and a good time was had by all.
I stayed out far, far too late for a working man. But when people are laughing and joking and talking about Oliver Stone films and Todd Rundgren anecdotes and Leonard Cohen and their experiences in the film industry, it's hard to tear yourself away.
(If my time in the Hangout has taught me anything, it's not to make snobby assumptions about people. Live and up close, people are more informed than the general dumbing-down of the national consciousness would suggest. I have been surprised time and again by boozy barflies telling me interesting, obscure nuggets about American history or Chinese culture or world literature. The winning team tonight was made up of people I would have written off a year ago --- a couple of baseball cap-wearing, fooball-watching yahoos and their girlfriends. Yet they were cheerful, friendly, and were able to quickly toss out geographical locations, the titles of novels, and the like. And who woulda thunk the kids today would care about, much less make witty and informed conversation on the topic of, Steve Irwin's death?)
Requiescat in pace Steve Irwin, by the way. A most unusual accident, in that stingray attacks are so seldom fatal (he had very bad luck to get it in the heart). On the other hand, if you'd asked me yesterday, "Which celebrity will be killed by a stingray tomorrow?" I hardly would have said, for example, Bill Gates.