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November 19, 2019 / philosophermouseofthehedge

Signs. Caution: Flags and Stays.


Orange diamond-shaped traffic sign announcing traffic control flagger ahead (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

Do not think your illegally dark tinted glass will make you invisible. They are all seeing and all knowing. You will move to the left as waved. (© image)

OMG. Something ahead. Sit up straight. Do not make eye contact. Look social.

Concerned it might be some social justice warriors, those who flag opposing views, waiting ready to curb people.

There’s one poised down the way – silent and waiting like a spider and the fly.

Hmm, is it a Flag Man? One made out of flags?

An individual from the Land of Flag? (And exactly what is the protocol for greeting such?).

Judging from behavior, this individual is “one who flags” (Although you can’t always tell by appearances – even if seen with your own eyes…)

Oh, thank goodness. It’s just a “professional traffic control person” (Official title).

A designation which sounds like it was coined by an elementary school teacher or self esteem consultant…sort of like gender neutral  “Sanitation Engineer” for garbage man.

We currently only have garage guys around here…possibly because it hard, heavy, dirty work. Probably breaks fingernails – we won’t even get into the lint of undetermined origin that can lodge in lashes, or the occupational stench that could overpower any perfume, hand cream, or laundry dryer sheet.

Somewhere, someone must have been worried about offending the current abundance of victims waiting to be offended and in an attempt to avoid getting bullied on social media, stakeholders updated the job title to Flaggers.

Honestly sounds like a substitution for a curse words: “Oh, flaggers!” See? Fits.  

Christmas tree with hazard gye wires to prevent it from blowing over . Local holiday decorations (© image: copyrighted, all rights reserved, no permissions granted)

OSHA approved city holiday decorations. (© image)

Difficult to stay on the mark sometimes. Never sure which way the wind is blowing.

In this era of frivolous lawsuits and unending parade of potential victims, there must have been serious discussions concerning Christmas tree displays among this city’s legal department and health and safety teams.

The city decorating team conscientiously added metal stays…like it’s going anywhere: (“Sit! Stay!”)

Still it’s better than last year’s which featured screaming yellow crime scene tape so no one would trip over the guy-wires. (Like so many actually flock here to take selfies…)

Seriously. Can’t get a couple of styrofoam candy canes, slice them open, then wrap them around the guy-wires? Or even wrap some foil fringe around to flutter merrily?

It’s Christmas. Wish the city elves would get creative.

Noticing the signs can avoid some big missteps and ouchies.

Woman in patriotic costume standing on pier. 1917. Sayre collection of Theatrical Photo. (USPD., artist life/

Watch that first step. It’s a doozie. (1917.Sayre collection of Theatrical Photo. USPD/

Having your head in the clouds is one thing, but having uninvited snoops in your cloud is something else.

“Unless Congress stops it, foreign police will soon be able to collect and search data on the servers of U.S. Internet companies. They’ll be able to do it without a probable cause warrant, or any oversight from a U.S. judge. This is all happening because of a new law enforcement deal between the U.S. and the United Kingdom….”

Read more here at Electronic Frontier Foundation who discusses warrants, judicial authorization, probably cause, and the 4th Amendment in historical context of the revolutionary war.

Also as it is written:

“Macmillan, one of the “Big Five” publishers, is imposing new limits on libraries’ access to ebooks—and libraries and their users are fighting back”… “The publisher is imposing a two month embargo period on library ebooks. When Macmillan releases a new book, library systems will be able to purchase only one digital copy for the first eight weeks after it’s published.” Read more here

Macmillan says they are worried that library e-book copies are cannibalizing their sales. Library systems are saying new books need to be available when readers’ interest is high – as well as e-books can easily become large font size (critical for older readers and those sight impaired). There’s a petition with more information here.

The other major publishers are watching and evaluating the backlash. Soooo, you readers and authors, take note.

Stay alert and stay jolly.

Phil, the Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge


  1. easyweimaraner / Nov 19 2019 7:03 am

    at least it is not Randall Flag(g)… but maybe it is much more worse?


    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 19 2019 7:10 am

      Gosh darn. I’m flagged out from all the possibilities! (as in definition #3: “To lose vigor or strength; weaken or diminish: ‘The conversation flagged'”)
      Thanks for waving into the post with a wink and a giggle.


  2. shoreacres / Nov 19 2019 7:23 am

    Always nice to see a bit of the neighborhood highlighted. I’m with you when it comes to wishing for more creativity among the elves, although any bit of festive frivolity is good when spirits are flagging!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 6:16 pm

      The winds are a real hazard, but elves, please, maybe silver icicles or red jeweled reflectors? Nice to see such cheery sights, so gold star for them anyway. (Gosh darn you have time to get a really good look at them in all the traffic lines right now – worse than before 5-corner revamp…they must have retimed the lights once again. Just turn up the radio and sing merrily, right?)
      Thanks for adding a decorative response here

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Ally Bean / Nov 19 2019 8:14 am

    I’ve been following the Macmillan story with some interest. It is a first in testing the way ebooks can be regulated, and that worries me. I agree that “oh flagger” sounds like it could be a curse. There’s a Christmas movie, don’t know which one, in which one of the characters swears by saying “oh frostbite!” I say that sometimes too, now.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 6:20 pm

      I can identify with the publishers, but they always worked with libraries before – this move is worrisome and if continues will impact readers everywhere. We’ll see.
      “Flaggers” must be what so many drivers in a hurry are mouthing when they suddenly realize the lane is ending and there’s construction ahead. I’m sure that’s what they are mouthing, right? HaHa
      ’tis the season to be jolly – and Santa knows!
      Thanks for sleighing me with a comment

      Liked by 1 person

  4. The Hook / Nov 19 2019 8:39 am

    “Oh, flaggers!” is going to be my new catchphrase.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. sustainabilitea / Nov 19 2019 1:41 pm

    Lots to re-read and digest here, some designed to certainly give me an upset stomach! Yeah, I could see that “Oh, flaggers” could be used to great purpose. Up in the air about the e-book thing. It irritates me that Kindle books, and presumably other ebooks are so expensive, but you can’t gift them or take them to a used book store once you’ve finished them (if you want to.) I must say, “Just flag it!”

    Anyway, happy Tuesday!!



    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 6:25 pm

      E-books work really well for travel, but I’m still preferring print – and as you say, with those you can pass them on when done. Easy way to support our small city library.
      This is the time of year a get plum flagged out and ready to pull up the drawbridge, sit by the fire with a good book. I know. Anachronism but seems perfect for the winter months.
      Thanks for waving a comment this way

      Liked by 1 person

  6. PiedType / Nov 19 2019 3:35 pm

    Mixed feelings on the library issue. I worked hard for a number of years to gift my grandkids with beautiful, hardcover books, hoping to instill a lifelong appreciation for them. But I think I’ve lost out to the convenience of e-everything. Libraries need to appeal to all comers and I hope they continue to provide beautiful, REAL books to impressionable youngsters. But I also realize it’s probably only a finger in the dike holding back electronica.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 6:32 pm

      Libraries are understandably quite concerned about publishers withholding access to new titles. The truth is readers who use libraries do so because it’s affordable and convenient. Those who buy books generally are not steady library patrons. So the idea that libraries are stealing customers is a bit foolish.
      Our library, like most now, have a good mix of e-books and print. It’s quite a little universe in the community with all the programs they offer for so many ages. Libraries are adapting and relevant – as their patrons know. Still magical places – we hope a new building will be in the city budget soon – it’s outgrowing the current one trying to meet the needs of the community. Makes me smile.
      I still give beautiful books to littles and for baby showers. They never outgrow them – even if they get packed away for a bit. Eventually they are rediscovered and shared to even younger family members. That makes me smile, too.
      Thanks for bookmarking a great idea and posting it here


  7. Curt Mekemson / Nov 19 2019 4:01 pm

    I, for one, was pleased when flagmen became flaggers. I thought having women on the job was a good thing, and I expect they didn’t want to be called flagmen. But I could be wrong. 🙂 As for libraries and ebooks, I’m all for it. Anything that turns kids onto books is positive. And, lo and behold, they must like printed books. My trips to book stores show larger and larger spaces being devoted to teen and preteen sections. Then there is the case of folks who can’t afford to spend $25 on a hardback and $15 for a paperback… Thanks for the thought provoking post! –Curt

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 6:53 pm

      Learning the English language is so confusing already. Take a verb and add -er to the end and you have a noun that says “one who does (the action of the verb). Rules help, but with the words having multiple meanings and uses, it creates difficulty. In Spanish, the preceding articles (la, las, el, los) signal the gender of the following noun….wonder if the Spanish Academy is considering additional gender articles for the modern world – doubt it. Languages morph and flex as in yoga, but sometimes language contorts. Adds to the fun, no?
      After college, I knew women who were welders, construction workers, engineers, “linemen for the county”(you remember that song, yes? HaHA) and a couple did traffic control with flags in the summer. I was the second woman in my field in Houston – and had applications torn up in from of me with the smirk “we don’t hire women” – he lived to regret that as several of us became their competition and became determined to make that company suffer..and they did. We always laughed at the traditional titles – those did not bother us at all. We just smiled, “Yes, I am. And I am a woman. And I do a better job that a good percentage of male workers in the same job.” It was funny. But then again we were apparently more self confident, less insecure, less dependent on titles to tell us what we were and what we were worth, and less concerned about scribbles of lines on paper. Sad to see such timid women out there. Words/titles, lines on paper, do not earn you respect. Skill and action does.
      Libraries have been using and offering e-books for a long time – that’s why they are so concerned that a major publisher wants to hold back new titles because they think they are losing sales to library readers. Realistically, those who go to libraries are not the ones that usually purchase books. Library books are important to people on a budget, those who read a whole lot and can’t afford to buy all those titles – even e-books get expensive. Publishers usually work closely with libraries, so this is a whole new stance. So they are sending up an SOS flag.
      It’s a brave new world indeed. Ride the wave onward! Thanks for the astute observations and comment


      • Curt Mekemson / Nov 22 2019 2:38 pm

        I would argue that words are important in how we define ourselves. It’s true that a strong ego can carry you a long way toward not caring. I prefer to be called what I want to be called. For example, I have never liked the title Mr. Be that as it may, I know the name game has been exaggerated. We’ve laughed at sanitation engineer. It’s a bit high ‘falutin’ in comparison to the job. But would you really want to be called a garbage man or woman or a garbager? As for English, it’s wide open for abuse, and gets a lot of it in this day and age. 🙂 People hate that I learn all of those little scrabble words like za for pizza! But flexibility is a strength of English, ain’t it. No matter how much it makes me cringe on occasion.
        My wife Peggy just got through with a several year stint as president of Friends of the Library for our area. And I am here to report that libraries are still alive and well. But they are having to change with the times, to redefine what they are ignorer to maintain relevancy. But in this era of rapid change, don’t we all? Good conversation with well thought out arguments. Thanks. –Curt


        • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 24 2019 3:33 pm

          Yep – the individual should define themselves, not words decided by others.
          Garbager – what a great word! Just imagine the possibilities – really sci-fi. (We must start using it in various contexts and usages!!!)
          Libraries here, and south like San Antonio’s ( now there’s a grand one in philosophy and in architecture) have become similar to the town square/market square especially to non-English speakers. After school safe havens for kids, while kids do homework, crafts, have bookclub meetings, parents can take ESL or literacy classes, get community information/help with their needs, learn/work on forms needed for so much here. Weekends offer family night events – movies (with pop corn and snacks) and more. Ain’t just your old Carnegie library any more.
          One thing: people in general need to lighten up and regain a sense of humor. Hey, lots of great knock-knock joke books at the library!
          Thanks for bouncing ideas along


          • Curt Mekemson / Nov 25 2019 12:23 pm

            Sense of humor. What’s that? I usually have one before I glance at the news in the morning. 🙂 But I totally agree, humor is incredibly important, both in laughing at ourselves and laughing at the strange world we live in!


  8. RKLikesReeses / Nov 20 2019 1:03 pm

    Wow! Lots to gnaw on here!
    I know someone who took a “flagger” job after her last kid left home. She missed being able to boss people around & wanted to be outside doing it. She liked the flagger title but told me she’d prefer “Traffic Suzerain.” 😂 (She hated the job & left quickly, mostly bec she wasn’t allowed to yell at drivers.)
    Wow, the library thing is worrisome.
    And the data! Yikes! Nightmare time!
    LOL – last year’s tree had crime scene tape? Amazing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 6:59 pm

      “Traffic Suzerain.” Gosh I love that. Guess the drivers could read her lips? HaHa.
      Publishing industry is still trying to regain its’ legs under it. I empathize having been in that world, but we always worked with libraries and supported them – a sense of duty sort of to keep knowledge within reach of everyone. This is a concerning move. Seriously, the ones who use libraries are a completely different cohort than the ones who buy books. Bonkers.
      (Last year that crime tape was so hilarious…we couldn’t decide if the crime was the the boughs had broken the law or what….we sang “Yellow bells. Yellow bells, It’s Christmas time in the city….”)
      Thanks for the comment wave.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Kate Crimmins / Nov 20 2019 1:14 pm

    Sometimes the local folks putting up the decorations are not crafters or creative. Maybe it’s a flagger picking up some extra look on the side! I don’t know how our sanitation workers (what we call garbage men) do it, especially in the summer. Yikes! Stinky! E-books. Sadly I’ve also gone to the dark side. Paper books were taking up too much room especially the ones you only read once. Sometimes ebooks are just as expensive as paperbacks or hardbacks. Our local library never has a good supply of current best sellers so I gave up. My bro and SIL are sometimes number 200 on the list. Eventually they get to read it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • philosophermouseofthehedge / Nov 20 2019 7:06 pm

      You have to be right. It has to be a flagger – they were recycling found materials to be eco friendly when doing decorations. Now it makes sense
      For a small city, our library is outstanding – alway new titles – and those are conveniently placed in a u-shaped niche lined with book shelves around a comfy couch. I’m always astounded there’s new stuff all the time. So I use that area even though there’s e-books also available. E-books are great for travels – and I purchased a bunch of titles to have on hand when and if there’s ever time.
      Having said that, the Christmas list has some print titles on it…which I’ll donate to the library after a bit – not rich, but figure even donation helps them…and this house has too little room for bookshelves. I really pared down my collection when we downsized to here. Survived the anguishing HaHa
      Thanks for shelving a comment here

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kate Crimmins / Nov 21 2019 6:51 am

        I was given a new book earlier in the year from a friend. After everyone in the family read it, we passed it on to our library. It was a new release so they were grateful for the donation. No room to store here either.


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