That pole ain’t big enough!
Us true patriots are fumin’ red, white and blue smoke from the stovepipes of our Uncle Sam hats!Avon’s gigantic purple – er, blue, it only looks purple – flagpole is by no means gigantic enough to express how much we love America. John Wayne is turning over in his grave – a 150-foot-tall pole with a flag that’s only a wimpy 20 feet by 38 feet? That’s just a piddling three times the size of a Hummer and only slightly bigger than many working stiffs’ living rooms. What’s worse, the Eagle Valley may be falling behind in the very flagpole race it so patriotically unfurled.Believe us, spy satellite images taken by the Eagle County Defense Intelligence Service, a clandestine branch of the Weed and Pest Department, show Aspen may be close to completing a flagpole that’s an even more purple-looking blue and a whopping 157 feet tall, potentially accommodating a flag up to five times the size of a Hummer that should also block out the view of the Maroon Bells.We sure hope Eagle County’s developers will step up with plans to keep the valley at the very peak of patriotism. At a development planned for the eastern edge of Eagle, we can foresee a flame-red 160-foot flagpole that doubles as a natural gas well, thus satiating the county’s craving for energy and old glory at the same time. We also look forward to the developer eyeing Edwards’ gravel pit building “Freedom Poles” – a pair of 200-foot poles wired with a massive sound system loud enough to drown out the giant flag flapping, I-70 traffic and low-flying 757s with various renditions of “America, the Beautiful” in between inspirational passages from the USA Patriot Act, read by Attorney General John Ashcroft.What about Avon? Avon planners and officials with the development company that built the Wal-Mart-Home Depot flagpole should therefore be scrambling to give some distinction to what may soon be a pretty puny flagpole – perhaps only Colorado’s fourth or fifth most humongous. The following is a batch of patriotic suggestions from the Vail Daily’s All Things America Bureau to enhance the flag’s ‘Mer’canness: Enable the pole to fire at least one Patriot missile, which could be launched in the county’s defense just in case WMDs are found and Saddam’s insurgents start huckin’ scuds at Ski Country. It could also protect the valley against any future incursions by wayward Air Force captains. With some simple top-secret technology, the pole could be upgraded to an MX Flagpole. The Avon flagpole should be more like the MX “Peacekeeper” missiles, which are all over Wyoming hidden in missile silos that are actually not hidden, but lit up like Yankee Stadium and can be seen from farther away than anything in this spiral arm of the universe, except, well … the Avon flagpole.The Avon flagpole should be equally mobile. We suggest planting it in the middle of Gypsum’s new roundabout, especially since some of the pole’s biggest fans seem to come from that end of the valley. If that isn’t feasible, leave the Avon flagpole in Avon, and in the Freedom Park memorial being planned in Edwards, fly Wal-Mart and Home Depot flags – or perhaps the Swedish one, in honor of that fellow with a big, big place in his heart of that parking lot for our flag. A less belligerent use, but one that still packs a punch, would be to shape the top of the pole like a giant gun barrel, out of which tiny cloud seeds could be fired into the atmosphere. Out of the sky fall tiny flags, which would eventually become huge flags and require their own flagpoles – thus ensuring that Eagle County always holds the lead, volume-wise, in the international American flag race. Of course, scientists will need to study what effect this may have on the current drought and global warming. Liberals, spacemenBased on letters to the editor sent to the Vail Daily, those who aren’t “with” the flag are against US. That’s why it’s critical to turn the flagpole into the Rush Limbaugh Liberal Detector. True Americans hate liberals with a purple passion, or is it the other way around? We’re so easily confused in these difficult days. Anyway, a bolt of anti-liberal lightning should strike down anyone suspected of being anything less than a True American, and that apparently is anyone who has any problem at all with the size of this particular display. The liberal-sensing flag also would automatically lower itself to half-staff should Al Franken appear at the Vilar Center or if John Kerry is detected raising funds in one of the valley’s mansions. At the base of the Giant Lefty Alarm would be a 6-foot-tall Saran wrap-type dispenser that valley patriots could use, free of charge, to wrap themselves up in the flag and roll around in the parking lot. This reminds us that all American flags were ordered to fly at half staff for 30 days after Ronald Reagan’s death, which is in truth a serious honor that we’ll note in a short departure from this satire. (Um, for you size-matters true-blue pats, that’s a form of humor with something of a point, which you might not be entirely familiar with since it also involves a tricky philosophical term called “sublety.” Don’t worry about it. If you’re not going to consider the neighbors with oversized flag displays, this would be too much the nuance for you. Yes, a French term.) Anyway, our question: Can you have a proper inaugural flag raising if it only goes up half way? And will it need any, well, medicinal help to get up the rest of the way? Perhaps a tad less frightening than liberals are space aliens. So if Rush won’t lend his name to keeping the commie pinkos out of town, perhaps NASA can be solicited to place a radar dish on top of the pole to help with the Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence, making the valley an intergalactic center for UFO research and magnet for kooks from across the globe. Even one-time abductees are good for a few room nights and dinners in local restaurants. Western Colorado, of course, already is visited regularly by extra-terrestrials, as well as beings from parallel universes, such as Aspen. In a tiny concession to those tree-hugging traitors, a wind turbine could be placed atop the flagpole to help power the Wal-Mart Supercenter – or at least one of the store’s cash registers for a two or three hours a day. Get over itTo sooth the distress of neighbors, the developers of the Village at Avon could build a dome over Eagle-Vail and stars could be attached to the inside of the dome to stand in for a mountain sky unblemished by any hyperactive displays of patriotism ablaze, or at least alight. No doubt, they’d also finally feel free to raise that pole to a height worthy of a flashing red beacon to alert aircraft. The neighborhood could even alter its own surroundings, perhaps having an ocean view painted on the inside of the dome – or any other feature based on how much it would increase property values. Why, they could give themselves “beachfront” property or paint a ski mountain! OK, back to reality, after a fashion: Now that their homes no longer blend in with the enormous, fluttering surroundings, nearby residents should perhaps be ordered by the Lindholm DRB, a more secretive group than the Delta force, to repaint their houses red, white and blue since Lindholm himself loves this country more than whiny natives obviously do, even if they happened to have once served their country during war.These people need to learn to empathize with and welcome their new, mega-retailing neighbors, right? The United States, after all, was built on a tolerance that allows newcomers move into a community and prosper, then overwhelm their neighbors with their sense of proper patriotism. Assuming they have enough money and have been granted the powers to do so. Those neighborhoods don’t even vote for Avon council people anyway. Perhaps volunteers could stand outside the two big boxes for the next two weeks and hand out free, one-way plane tickets to France to those who just can’t learn to love the flag. Because the next step is launching fireworks 24 hours a day off the roof of the big boxes that now serve to accessorize the Big Flag. And rather subtly now, don’t you think? Randy Wyrick and Matt Zalaznick are editors at the Daily.
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It’s fitting that Eagle County is proceeding through its reopening phases of COVID-19 in an analogy to ski run difficulties — green to blue to black. Monday marks the transition from the green beginner phase to the blue intermediate phase.