4.2.2021 – must see opera

must see opera
of oleaginousness
unparalleled odd

From my reading this morning, I came across this bunch of words, “unparalleled opera of oleaginousness.”


Yes I had to look it up.

When I tell you that the word means, “insincerity by virtue of pretending to have qualities or beliefs that you do not really have” I am sure you will have no problem connecting the statement with the previous President.

The phrasing was used in this paragraph.

“The former president’s first full cabinet meeting in June 2017 remains an unparalleled opera of oleaginousness. Secretary after secretary all but flung themselves at his feet, sang songs of praise and paid homage to the divine emperor of the universe.”

The former President and his antics and the antics of his Cabinet are not my focus here.

I just wanted to point out and celebrate the authors use of words.

“Unparalleled opera of oleaginousness .”

Would opera of unparalleled oleaginousness worked better?

Back in the day, I worked for a while in the Local History Collections of the Grand Rapids Public Library.

Part of the Collections was a large archive of Furniture Industry Periodicals.

In one such periodical, I am not sure but it might have been the Michigan Tradesman or maybe the Grand Rapids Furniture Record.

The lead editorial of the Michigan Tradesman was a weekly column titled, “The Realms of Rascality” where the editor castigated the actions of anyone in the furniture industry who happened to upset the editor.

I liked that.

Realms of Rascality.

You could construct a sentence along the lines of “The realms of rascality led to an unparalleled opera of oleaginousness to define the term of office of the Previous President.”

For some reason recently I was thinking about my time at the Library.

Maybe all this talk about voting and technology and verification and such.

Usually there were three, at least two, people around to work with patrons that wondered into the Local History Department.

Back then, the LHCs (local History Collections) was located in the OLD GR Public Library that was connected to the new building by a mishmash of elevators and stairways as the floors in the old building did not line up with the floors in the new building.

OLD MAIN with NEW MAIN behind hit

If you weren’t looking for the LHC you weren’t going to find it.

One Saturday was slow and the other people on the staff I was working with asked me if I would mind if they went to lunch at the same time.

I looked around at the empty reading room and microfilm room and such and told them to go ahead.

I was alone in what had been the main reading room of the Grand Rapids Public Library Main Building.

A building built in 1904.

A building built in 1904 that required a lot of light for reading.

The room was three stories high on the inside.

Book cases were built into the walls all around the wall to a height of about 10 feet and above the book cases two story windows filled the walls and they filled the room with a wonderful light.

I loved just sitting in there.

I hadn’t been sitting there long when I head the sound of young voices.

A lot of young voices.

A couple of girl scout troops had decided to visit the library and earn a merit badge by looking up a local newspaper for the day they had been born and writing down the major headlines.

This was explained to me by the troop leaders.

As they explained, what seemed like 100 little girls crowded around me at the reference desk.

What I should do was have them all sign in as researchers and then explain how the microfilm library worked (luckily the Grand Rapids Press was self serve and I wasn’t going to have to search for each box of film).

Then show them how to use the microfilm readers and let them take turns finding the information they needed.

They were EARNING a merit badge after all.

With a little luck, I could finish this group up in a couple of hours.

Then the troop leaders told me they hoped this wouldn’t take long as they also wanted to get to the museum.

I stared at them.

I stared and thought.

I stared and thought and made a descision.

The library had many film readers that had been invented maybe by Thomas Edison and they were maybe that old.

The library had one modern reader-printer.

Each print from microfilm cost 25 cents.

For staff use, we had an override key.

I grabbed the key and took the Troop leaders out to the the newspaper microfilm and explained how the rolls were filed by date.

I told them to get a girl scout and find the correct box of film and have the scout bring it to me at the reader printer.

I sat down at the machine and as each scout brought me her roll of microfilm and told me their birthday, I scanned to the date and printed a copy of the front page.

My plan worked for the most part but it was zany.

The microfilm room was in the old lobby of the main building and the walls and floors were marble.

It didn’t take long for the scouts to find out that loud sounds made really funny echos.

It didn’t take long for the scouts to find out that marble floors were great for sliding on in stocking feet.

I ignored it all and soldiered on.

I reached out, took the reel of film, threaded it on the machine and asked, “birthdate?”

I spun the reels and found the date and as the print was being made, I tried to make some comment about that days news.

I took a reel of film and a little voice said, “I’m the last one!”

I looked up to see that the scouts had been herded back into a group and the Scout Leaders were standing next to me.

I printed the last page and a scout leader said, “Can we say thank you to the nice man?”

And a chorus of THANK YOU MISTER NICE MAN rang out.

And just like that they were gone.

I shelved all the boxes and straightened up the room and my coworkers wander back in from lunch.

“Anything happen?” they asked.


I recounted in my own special way what had happened.

They just looked at me.

They looked around.

They looked for evidence of the mayhem just described.

They looked at the register which of course was blank.

They looked at each other.

“WHAT,” I said.

They looked at each other.

“Go check the counter if you think I made this up.”

The entryway into the LCS had an electric eye that counted patrons when they entered the room.

We all walked over to the counter.

It showed a total of 11 people so far today had crossed the electric eye.

The was counting us coming in to work and leaving for lunch.

They looked at me.

“I GET IT,” I said.”

“See, they came in such a mob, the counter only clicked for one person.”

They looked at me.

“THERE WERE NO BREAKS for the counter to register a click.”


We left it there.

I kept bringing up things like how much printer paper was gone and such like and my coworkers just nodded.

Just nodded and looked at each other.

At least if you can look at someone while rolling your eyes.

We closed at 5PMpm on Saturdays.

Once the doors were locked, the security guards would come through and check each room.

We were standing around the desk chatting when the guard walked in.

“Man those Girl Scouts were Crazy,” she said.

I was thinking about those Girl Scouts.

I was thinking about young Girl Scouts who in 10 or 12 years will have to research what happened on their birthday.

What happened back in 2017.

I thought of this article and I thought of the the realms of rascality that led to an unparalleled opera of oleaginousness.

As the writer wrote in his article, “It was, of course, funny until it wasn’t.”

Just have to wonder how these years will be viewed.

The writer ended his article with this warning, quoting Bertolt Brecht.

“Unhappy the land that is in need of heroes.”

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