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The events of September 11, 2001, has resulted in the movie The Siege being pulled from the shelves of Blockbuster Videos and Hollywood Videos nationwide in an attempt to avoid impropriety.

I found this out when I attempted to rent it tonight and was informed it was not available right now, that likely it would be put back on the shelves in a week or two.

By the same token, mentioning or showing the image of the World Trade Center towers has become taboo. (http://www.msnbc.com/news/628592.asp?0sp=w12b3)

I understand a need to be respectful....but our society is weird.

Today has been another day of strange musings and anticipation. Fortunately, Jaubertmoniker has been keeping me on the path of righteousness.

The lyrics to It's The End Of The World As We Know It suddenly have a wierdly prophetic ring.

I watched The Spy Who Shagged Me, and the scene where Dr. Evil threatens Washington D.C. with The Alan Parsons Project is no longer as funny as it used to be.

I'm listening to people at work talking the talk of genocide, talking about loading up on ammo, going home and sighting in their assault rifles.

The backlash is beginning, and I fear for us.

An American flag went up in my window today. It felt strange.

Everything feels strange. Fortunately, when Everything gets too weird, there's always Everything 2...

small, the tiny flame in front of me and i can see hundreds of little humans inside of it. it sways to the side and i see how they've fallen, it reaches just a little higher and it looks tall, it is proud.

every life that is lost every single day is important. it means something. it always does.

i have seen you lose your faith. i have seen it in old men who will never change, and not because they can't. i have seen it in those who look up to them and believe hatred that spills from thought that will only hurt us all more. i have seen it in a woman thankful for the death of people she could not have known, and now, will never know. i have seen it on the faces of those who believe so much hurt can be passed off as deserved.

and i have seen it alive. i have seen a human breathe for another. and i have seen strangers cradling small noggin's, hiding eyes and trying to make it okay, even though it couldn't be, not now.

i have seen so much and i have not lost faith in any of you. it will all change soon. everything. life is not the same anymore and i feel it in wind, in words, in thoughts.

i lit a candle tonight and i lit it for everyone. i lit it for the people who are not here to light one. i lit it for those who are here, the angry ones, the sad ones, the hurting and the relieved.. this candle is for hope. i am filled with it.

we are all here on this little planet, together.. perhaps some day, we will all stop wanting to hurt eachother.
I was going to do something on The White Man's Burden - I found a node with a few writeups there already and suddenly couldn't decide if my addition would be worthwhile.

Kipling's quaint, racist, arrogant notion of service to his fellow man was at least noble - but it was perverted by first the British and French and then the Americans - though Americans would recognize the idea more in the words of President William McKinley speaking about our invasion of the Phillipines. It would be our purpose, said McKinley, "to take them all and to educate the Filipinos, and uplift and civilize and Christianize them." They were "our little brown brothers."

Should I node the King-Crane Commission Report with all the British and French bashing that would entail? How can Americans be so blind to our own history? In foreign policy we've become the imperialist British we so despised. So many peoples looked to us as a force AGAINST colonialism, a force FOR liberty and democracy, instead we chose dictators and despots and played the game of realpolitik and ignored the cost in human pain and suffering - because it wasn't our pain and suffering.

Should I detail the Kurds and their history of being mustard-gassed by the English in 1923 and the fact they are the largest ethnic group in the middle east without a homeland - not the Palestinians. That the Kurds represent a population larger than any country in the middle east save Egypt?

Should I summarize the United Nations report released today that says 6 million Afghans are on the brink of starvation and survival through the winter is likely only if they flee the country -- that nearly a million of them are completely dependent on UN and/or foreign-aid for their subsistence. And with all the US saber-rattling the UN and foreign-aid workers have left the country. We don't need to bomb Afghanistan, the economic sanctions are slowly killing their people anyway.

I don't have the energy. I'd only be preaching to the choir anyways. They must not teach Huxley's Ape and Essence in school anymore. Nationalism is still one of the world's greatest ills. Arbitrary lines on a map. I'll never figure it out. I remember fighting this same battle back in 1991. Which reminds me, I hope Steven Brust has a new book out again soon -- the two of us seemed the only inhabitants of the old SFRT on GEnie that weren't caught up in all that Desert Storm jingoism.

I haven’t worn make-up in a long time.

Once in a while something will possess me to go down the cosmetics aisles in the pharmacy or grocery and pick plastic cases of 4 hour beauty. I feel like a child in a room full of precious metals and gemstones: bewildered, fascinated, and sometimes blinded by the colors and plentitude. So I’ll buy a lipstick or a nailpolish. I even went out on a limb and purchased to sets of three eyeshadows. They are fun. Wearing masks can be fun as long as you let your true self out once in a while.

My dad roused me and convinced me that taking a shower, getting dressed, and going to shul was a good idea. For six days I’ll throw on something that conceivably matches and perform self-hygiene daily. For one day I’ll actually take time to pick out a nice necklace and/or ring to go with dresses only worn on special days with nice shoes and calm. And I’ll wear make-up, for to appear before the Sabbath Queen is a duty and a honor. Anyways, it’s like I said: make-up is fun, especially when you look at it from the point of view of a four year old in mommy’s cosmetics bin.

I don’t know. The lipstick is soft on my lips, hours after applied, like someone increased the saturation in a picture. Maybe the eyeshadow has remained where I applied it. Most of it has probably receded to the transient crevices that appear when I lift my eyelids. Not rubbing my eyes is a conscious task. If I turned on the light I’d probably find shimmery spots on my sheets. At least something around here looks magical.

Me? Perhaps a faerie whose glamour has long since left. Sleep, the teasing wench, has eluded me. I have been rejected by Dreams these past nights. It leads to too much thought. I feel greedy.

Once there was a girl who dwelt in the gates of Delirium. She liked it, for she could come and go as she pleased and usually people didn’t notice because she was a dabbler, and, after all, only at the gates. Then the gates became more difficult to pass through, though this was a great relief. These gatekeepers, however, were weak, and she would find herself trying out new ones. There were earnest ones and mercenaries whose credibility was dubious, but she never gave up. No matter what, she could always see in through the gates. This, too, was a relief.

Slowly, not only did the gatekeepers fail, but they began to help the girl journey slowly into Delirium. She felt herself flung in and out of the strange realm, though not always on her whim. This made certain people upset and frustrated. Their new gatekeeper was an enforcer. In the beginning he brought relief and normalcy, but soon the girl’s desire to be began trickling away, and in time, she lay with spring at the door and winter in her mind.

An assistant was brought in as a mediator. She was very nice and ambitious and heralded the return of a yearning to be again. A zest grew through the girl, a necessary life force, but she had no one with whom she could share parts of it. While she burst with life, she wearied of it because it needed someone else as well to be sated. The girl was fill with a fire that she let no one else see, for she saw herself as undesirable and saw no one whom she desired. Even if she did, she felt no point in chasing it, for she found people of this sort as elusive as Sleep.

I want to crush it sometimes. The dreams, illusions, fantasies. I don’t want to meet you (and you know who you are) because I let you corrode me. Because you distract me when the situation demands concentration. Because everyone else knows those special secrets and you are the mirage that promises to reveal them to me. Go away. I no longer want of your challenge.

So, here I am, sleepless with lipstick and desire and guilt. Sleepless because I watched yous and mes die on a grotesque theater stage before the world. Wracked in my consciousness by my half-ness and the ambitious gatekeeper whose ‘gift’ makes the world warp from my frustrations. Comforted by small kindnesses and beauties rising from the wreckage of huanity. Unity, song, belief. Calmed by the darkness that comforts me with its veil and the view granted by being awake at three o’clock am. Slowly dissipating as the raging white waters return to a more peaceful river in my mind.

’ll never escape this, will I?

“The world is weary of hate.”
Mahatma Gandhi

I'm not sure I can explain in words how deeply I have been mourning the happenings over the past couple of days. I have cried tears, and my heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones. The world has lost many innocent people, and that in itself is a tragedy.

However hatred is not a solution. The people responsible will get what they deserve...... But I feel physically sick when confronted with the hatred in the world today. If the events of the past couple of days have taught us anything, then it is the value of human life, love and compassion. Don't harbor hatred... Don't let it fester inside, and find a permanent home in your being........... That’s all I have to say.

“Retaliation is counter-poison and poison breeds more poison. The nectar of love alone can destroy the poison of hate.”
– Mahatma Gandhi

So the other day in my paleontology/evolution course I learned that it took photosynthesizing bacteria 2 BILLION years to produce the oxygen rich atmosphere necessary for the evolution of other animals, including humans.

That's 2 000 million...

About 25 million human life times.

And in about 2 to 2.5 of these same life times we have made a significant impact on the atmosphere, not to mention change the face of the earth, which has been happenning for a LONG time.

This is very sad. Its discouraging and really awful when you think about it.

But what are we supposed to do really? Yes, we could all stop driving, flying and moving about in any way but foot, or any means driven by magnets and granola. But how do you get an entire WORLD of people to take a giant step backwards, even if it will take us forwards? Nearly impossible.

I think about what I can do, and reduce, reuse, recycle is about it. Either that or I could leave my home to go live in the Amazon some where, only to have my new home eventually turned into some sort of garbage pit or amusement park.

Humans are greedy, and we live in excess. A radical change will only happen when our resources are nearly or completely exhausted.

Unless of course by then we have found a new planet to ruin, and have the means to get ourselves there.

In other news, I can no longer drink. I have a hangover from 3 drinks.

Also, I'm worried about what CNN calls "America's New War". I don't want to live in a war zone, or watch any type of war happen. I especially don't want to watch any military/navy/marine people die over this. Why must the death toll rise for there to be satisfaction?

Today I had an interview at at 6pm at Bar XS, a pub in Fallowfield. It was a goup interview. Out of the 12 people asked to come, 7 turned up and only 4 of us were to come out with jobs.
To cut a long story short, I got the job. Straight away I then got my Bar XS shirt and a tour of the place. Next was learning to use the tills and then we got assigned to a member of staff who showed us how to pour a pint of beer. The handling customers bit was no trouble since I spent 2 years serving people in various states of sobriety in a Victoria Wine in Stockport.

The night progressed and I served beer. Everyone was tripping all over each other with an extra 4 new staff behind the bar.
At the end of the night, the ar shut at 2am and clearing up lasted until 2:45. I collected my tips (£3.80) and went and got a pizza with one of my new work mates and walked to my girlfriends house to rest my poor feet and my heavy eyelids.

First off, Hoover Dam is closed. We were on our way to take the tour, figuring that even if the tour was closed we would still park in one of the lots and hike down to peer over its breathtaking edge, because my wife Angela hasn't seen this mighty example of American can-do in its glorious immensity.

Nature called along the way so we pulled into the Nevada Welcome Center. They handed me two free God Bless America t-shirts (neither in my size) and informed me that right now nobody stops ON or NEAR the dam. You can drive across it, but you'd better keep on going to Arizona, boy, 'cause there ain't no sightseeing at this day and time.

So we puttered around Boulder City for a bit, which isn't a bad thing. We ate lunch at the beautifully restored Boulder Dam Hotel (they make a good open-faced turkey sandwich), looked at the quaint old bungalows that housed the workers back in the 1930s, and then headed back down to Henderson for our rendezvous with destiny.

By which of course I mean Roninspoon. Where he lives is confidential, but I will say that his directions included an adult bookstore as a landmark. My home town, ladies and gentlemen!

Angela and I and Ed and Cameron hit Maggie Moo's Creamery first, for some delicious ice cream. Then it was back to Casa del Spoon for a rousing game of Scrabble (my best word was "doyen"), viewings of the Clerks cartoon and George Lucas In Love, much playing with cats and dogs,and a truly fantastic dinner prepared by our beloved Noder himself. He was kind enough to include cheese grits just because I asked. There was also corn.

Then it was back out into the Vegas night for Krispy Kreme doughnuts! The "Hot Now" sign was on so life was good, and they had an awesome black Krispy Kreme Las Vegas t-shirt with tumbling dice on it, but once again my size was not available. What, is extra-large such a freakish size? Am I some sort of monster??

Then we returned to the Pagoda of the Ronin Spoon. By this time exhaustion had crept up on Angela and I and we had to bid our hosts a reluctant good night. We drove back to my parents' house where we tumbled face-first into bed and fell fast asleep.

And then things exploded apart. I realized a few days ago that I witnessed a great moment in history. If I had ever wanted to be a part of history then that hole in myself would have been filled. But I had never even imagined myself floating in the river of history. I was just floating in the void – I think we all were. There was no history here, no great moments, but a constant change and growth and more and more and more.

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