There are way too many things on my mind, way too many things going on, and pretty much all of them are beyond my current expressing. (I actually put most of a post in the can today, but couldn’t quite come up with what it was all leading to–just a bunch of pointless meandering about Molly Norris and how sad it is that she’s still in hiding.)
So instead, I think I’d like to encourage everyone to read the national anthem.
Not just the first verse. We all know the first verse. And it is the absolute wrong verse to use. We sing it, proudly and forcefully and true, and… it’s not any of that. It’s a question–a quiet, desperate question from the bowels of an English ship from a man frightened by what the dawn’s light is going to reveal. Given the night of shelling. Given the length of the assault on Fort McHenry. Does the flag still fly? Have the Americans kept the fort?
The fact that we only sing the first verse leaves it a question, unanswered, forever. Which is appropriate, in a way, particularly if you hold with the assertion that liberty is only ever one generation from extinction. But it’s not what anybody means.
What they mean… is somewhat more appropriate to the song as a whole, with all four verses. In short:  Did we survive the night?  Hell yeah, we did!  We kicked their asses!  And we’ll do it again, any time we need to.
O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Anyway. Read the whole thing, it’s short, it’s a good read, and it doesn’t leave the question over whether America yet lives as a continual question.
And maybe it ought to be a continual question. But not at full-throated volume, as though there weren’t a question mark within a mile.
Tonight’s pen sketch! I like MCA Hogarth’s drawings of her kid as a tiny lioness. (I don’t know where to find them anymore, since she took most of her web presence down, but you can find her at Patreon.) It seems a fine way to preserve the girl’s privacy and add a level of cute at the same time.
And it’s like… hey. I’ve got a daughter. Why not have a salamander.
Disclaiming that I don’t have that much experience as a furry artist or anything–but I do find it ridiculously fun when I do it. (Actually, it’s funny–I was briefly trying to sell original art at sheep and wool festival shows, what with one thing and another. I had several “straight” animal prints framed and hung. And… instead, what I managed to sell was multiple anthro sketches I’d just been idly working on during the show. To normal crafters attending a fiber festival. That was kind of awesome.)
Anyway! She’s a salamander because she was born with red hair, which reminded me of fire. And salamanders (mythically) live in lit fireplaces. So that’s literally a flame on her head.