Honor America, damn it: The New York Times had a story yesterday on the measures the Yankees take to get ballpark patrons to pay attention to the playing of the national anthem and “God Bless America.” It’s simple, actually: The team has ushers block the aisles with chains during the ritual musical moments. That prevents people from proceeding to their seats (during the anthem) or getting up to buy a hot dog or beer or to take a leak (during “GBA”), until the last strains of the patriotic airs have wafted out over the Bronx. I like the Yankees’ explanation: It’s not that the team wants to force its customers attention to the business of honoring America; it’s just that the team is responding to complaints from fans who were scandalized that other fans weren’t showing proper deference during this quasi-religious exercise. (Personally, I admire my fellow citizens who take time out from honoring America to make sure the rest of us are, too. I also believe the seventh inning of major league games and half-time of pro football and basketball games should be suspended forthwith for the mandatory playing of, and listening to, patriotic songs and speeches. Medals to be awarded to those who spot and report those whose attention wanders.)
Today’s jay report: Two scrub jays — not knowing any different and influenced by my straight upbringing I assume a male and female pair as opposed to a same-sex couple — are still attending their little nest in our back-porch trellis. The number and condition of the nest’s occupants are mysteries; they seem to be completely silent till the adults show up, then they give out with enthusiastic though wheezy chirping. The only drama to date of which nearby humans are aware: the appearance of a black cat prowling the backyard in the early morning. The apparent parent jays get pretty excited about the cat, which is wearing a bell. This morning, we let out Scout, resident dog, to try to send a message to the jaguarine visitor; but Scout’s not given to chasing cats — digging up pigs’ ears he has buried around the yard is more his speed — and I’m not sure our intent was clear.
‘Death Ray’ inventor dies: Really.