Justice Never Sleeps (And Neither Does Commerce)

January 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

I can’t start the New Year of 2013 without saying something, although it isn’t much. Today Diana and I were driving up to Threadgill’s to tend to a dead car, and we passed Capital Plaza; Target’s end of the parking lot was packed like a sardine can. She marveled at all the stores that were open today. Even the Sonic on Slaughter Lane was doing just shy of a land office business. Quite a change from 40 years ago, when you were lucky to find a gas station open and HEB was closed for the day, and Sundays too, for that matter. But who among us is complaining? No one that I can think of.

Despite the spirit of Puritanism that gripped us in 1973, New Year’s Day 1883 was rocking and rolling, at least when it came to the toss of the dice, as the Statesman reported the next morning:

Several of the “bloods” were out in plug hats for the first time last evening. Those young men will find that to wear those hats until they become used to them will be worth at least $400,000 to their harrowed feelings, on account of facetious remarks and humorous slaps on the head, etc.

County court transacted the usual routine business. The following were all up for gambling and fined in the sums following their names: Bailey Sparks, $25 and costs; John Brown, $25 and costs; Jack Franklin, George Rose, Tony Wallace, Ben Brown, Dave Lynch, Jim Pigran, Sam Slaughter, “Squire” Robards, George and “Squire” Blanton, Roger Blunt, “Mingo” and Bob Nichols, all were fined $10 and costs, each. Sixteen gamblers in a day, paying fines aggregating $190 exclusive of cost, is a very good beginning for New Year’s day. The mayor’s and justices’ courts all took holiday yesterday, it being New Year’s day.

For some reason, Joan Didion’s collection of essays, “Slouching Toward Bethlehem,” has been on my mind these last few weeks; really since the November elections. The title comes from the last line of William Butler Yeats’ poem,


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: a waste of desert sand;
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

My gut feeling is that I will be spending this newly born year “Slouching through Babylon.”

Happy New Year, y’all.

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