This armoured carrier and its notice - Smile! Look here! - Wait for flash! does very neatly every bit of work one could ever want done about equating Flash with violence. I encountered it at the Texas Independence Day Parade in Austin - which was officially about Texas's declaring its independence from Mexico, but has morphed into a strange amalgam of decessionist desire and patriotic fervor.
The painted horses had some very patriotic bandages.
The marching band played.
Behind them were the Vietnam vets
and then, very strikingly, there were a whole collection of Vietnamese floats, feeling grateful to have been liberated by the Americans,
... and the Plungettes, a marching/cheerleading troupe, who aim is to show that Republican Women Can Have Fun. Er, yes. But they put on an impressive show, whirling along behind a truck blaring out GOD LOVES TEXAS. It was a quite extraordinary cultural spectacle. I had to be reminded - so foreign was it - that it wasn't exactly as though Texas is currently demanding independence from the US - but the idea of Texas Independence Day certainly seemed to carry a double ring to it.
And, as if that wasn't enough, here's my favorite picture among the ones that I took yesterday ...