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At anchor today in Stumptown

Once a year, the Navy sails up the Columbia, makes a slight left at the Willamette, and triple-parks a few big gray ships at the downtown seawall.

It's all part of the Rose Festival, a creaky old Portland tradition involving parades, a queen, and a lot of meaningless bullshit charming old-fashioned ceremony.

So I'm walking to work along the river on Sunday afternoon (yes, fear and stress make me do this now) and the "Rose Festival Fleet" is in, and the river is full of pleasure craft.

The floating part of the Eastbank Esplanade is always fun when small boats are out, because they make waves, and the Esplanade bobs up and down. Okay, so I'm easy to amuse.

Anyway, I claim a bench and watch for a while.

The Navy ships are cordoned off from the little fiberglass motorboats, like elephants from puppies. Those Sunday boaters. Could be terris, you know.

Which is why a Coast Guard launch is leading a line of the little pleasure boats, with a hand-painted sign on its stern saying, "Keep 50-foot following distance," and a guy with a bullhorn in the launch is vocally shepherding them, reminding them over and over again to stay in line and follow.

That's when I notice the machine guns.

Big, black, mounted weapons, one at either end of the launch, both manned by guys turning them this way and that. It crosses my mind, as the leisurecraft pass between me and the Coast Guard, that if one of them decided to misbehave, I'd be in the line of fire.

But I guess I can't complain. They are defending with weapons of not-insignificant destruction our right to pay thirty bucks a pop for stuff like this:

(Yes, that dot between the patriotic poles is people.)

I didn't sit there too long. Work--and my need to kiss the boss's ass--was calling, and besides, I didn't want to get shot.

I think I'd like to get back to grain ships now.


( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 13th, 2006 03:20 pm (UTC)
Yeah. But not in the good, Simon/Mal wall slammage sense.
Jun. 13th, 2006 04:57 pm (UTC)
interesting... scary guns indeed...

also, that bungee thing is really scary too.

scariest of all though, is the boss ass-kissing.
Jun. 13th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
Hee! Good to know someone shares my sensibilities.

The icon is perfect.
Jun. 26th, 2006 09:35 pm (UTC)
I am formally inviting you to join still_reading. :-)
Jun. 26th, 2006 10:02 pm (UTC)
Well thank you, ma'am! Was it something I said?
Jun. 26th, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
Hee. Yes.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )



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