So here I sit at the office this morning. More doom and gloom in the papers, on the news. All over the television sets, the newspapers are pictures of the events going on in New York, half a world away from where I sit in Melbourne. The media has gone crazy, there's a morbid obsession with getting more information about the events of that day. TV "special events" about the "WAR on America", blurbs about the bravery of the passengers aboard various flights... Does it all begin to make sense if I read another article about it, see more footage, more images?

Amidst all that, the shocking pictures of the smoking remains of the World Trade Center, people digging, cleaning up. Americans weeping for their lost citizens. The grief on the faces of the people.

I am forced to wonder how the world would feel if we were presented with images of the innocent citizens targeted by US aggression weeping for their lost dead, displaying their grief at the loss of their people... Would that make people think twice? Outrage at the people dancing for joy at the news of the WTC destruction... Will these outraged people dance for joy at news of the destruction of the homeland of the supposed perpetrators?

In three thousand odd years of "civilization" we don't appear to have learned that there are no good wars. I often wonder if we deserve to be the dominant species on this planet.

And I'm scared. Scared that the enormous wrath of the USA will not find an outlet, will find nobody truly responsible. What then, do we just blow up the entire Middle East? Are my fellow Australians to be dragged into a war on innocent countries because the USA believes they are "strongly linked" to terrorism? Isn't that called circumstantial evidence?

I arrived home sometime in the wee hours of the morning, to find that a postcard from strôphy had arrived. It reads as follows:


Evil reigns supreme! I would have sent you another photo, perhaps of me with SCOTT WEILAND or perhaps STEFAN OLSDAL but this shot of your BIOLOGICAL wife to be will have to do… HAHAHAHA. PS. I have a lot of ELVIS related evil to get out, I think it beats any of your MEASLY OFERINGS.

PSS Love from the UK!! HAHA

Ask your sister if she got phone calls where nobody said anything

Air mail!

I am so evil

The postcard (which this came on) featured a woman wearing some kind of muzzle, in a white room, standing behind what appears to be an autopsy-related tray. Upon the tray was a badly mangled brain, and clamps.
It appears to be German in origin.

I’m not sure what scares me more:
  • The postcard itself
  • The fact that this likely mass-produced
  • Or the fact that someone saw fit to send me such a postcard

Despite this alarming piece of mail, I had the possibly the best nights sleep since who knows when. Nodding off in a chair as I listened to Radiohead and P.J. Harvey.

I am just so excited!

Spring is upon my part of the world, I learn how to pipe in Everything2, I had my 1st bee call this morning. It's all happening

For the 1st time in ages I feel happier and lighter. I may even begin to look forward to tommorrow. wow.

To explain the bee call above: basically i have decided to keep bees (- there's a wonderful new pipe link, hooray!). Don't ask me why, but it sounds fun. It sounds exciting. The utter potential for disaster is huge! I get strange looks from work colleagues, who think i'm nuts to start with, is comical. Ahhhhh the joy of today. Anyway, I have built a hive, and frames ready to go, I've paid for my beekeeping licence, and I've called all the local councils to let them know:

"hello, sui speaking.."
"yes, hello, I have some bees and,"
"REALLY! ACE! WOW! where?" .. as i cut the guy off

Turns out the guy has a bee problem, more than a swarm in his yard. I turned up to a block off flats (after having left work in the city, raced home on my motorbike (whee!), jumped in my ute, and charged around to this guys place). There's this little Italian guy point skyward. I look up. yup. There on the third floor there's bees coming in and out a crack in the wall. "how long they been doing that?" I enquire. "'bouta sixa weeks. Didn't-a worry me until they gets inside.."


"sorry I can't help you" says I. jump back into my ute and head back to work.

I have now learnt a few lessons. Ask more questions on the phone. charge money. be more prepared.


Okay, daylogs. Never done this before, but would like to rant about how i think things are going - badly, that is. There go my reputation points. But i hafta vent somewhere - might as well be in a daylog, points be damned.

So today, we took the baby to the mall for the first time, and lo and behold, the mall was dead, i mean there were maybe a hundred people, counting employees, in the entire mall. And verily i did remark to my spouse of these many years "WTF?" For we live in Jersey City, fer cryin out loud, and the mall is a cookiecutter Simon's mall just exactly like unto every other Simon's mall in the land of lactose-free milk and organic honey, and it is verily not, i repeat not a logical terrorist target in any way shape or even form. But it was dead, very dead, gathered unto the Lord even by virtue of the people's fear of crowded buildings. And behold, i began to have flashbacks to 1991 and the fun times we had in Tel Aviv, carrying our gas masks around to poorly-attended parties and generally trying to have a normal life.

And soon i observed many American flags hung from the windows and the balconies, the car antennae and the potted plants, the stoops and the balustrades and the very mannequins in the shops. And this, too, portended no good in my eyes.

And i saw T-shirts with tacky prints of the WTC, with the cunning legend "EVIL will be PUNISHED!!" Yea, verily. Indeed. And if we make a buck or two off your grief and your shock, it doesn't hurt anyone, does it? Oh yeah, i do love capitalism.

Two words have been haunting me ever since 9/11 - "freedom" and "prayer". Freedom, because on the day that the shit went down, every single politician and talking head who was asked for a reaction, said "this is an assault on our freedom". And then the Man-In-The-Street interviews all said the same basic thing - "these people hate us because they're jealous of our freedom". And i and my spouse are saying almost in unison "yeah right, that's why the complex was called the World Freedom Center, because it was a symbol of our freedom." Hmm. Are we the only people in America who think the choice of targets might actually have been calculated? That perhaps these people may actually have had some grievances beyond hating freedom, and that they chose those damn buildings as symbols of those grievances?

The other word haunting me is "prayer". Why, why whywhy does everybody have to pray now? When did everybody get so religious all of a sudden? Were all these people praying on a regular basis, and i missed it because i'm not a member of the Vast Religious Conspiracy? It strikes me as a little bit weird, this whole prayer thing. Looks like it comes in a three-step process:

  1. Fundamentalist Moslems commit unspeakable violence in the name of God, believing that this will get them to Heaven.
  2. (Mostly) Christian and Jewish Americans take a moment to pray to God. I guess they are praying for victory or a tight bomb pattern, because Stage 3 is...
  3. Americans go overseas to what they think is the staging ground for Step 1, and commit their own acts of violence. Later, it will transpire that not all of the people there were cruel terrorist types, indeed some of them were the proverbial innocent bystanders, and to avenge them, their brethren will return to Step 1.

You'll notice that a belief in God and Heaven is a basic requirement for Steps 1 and 2, and Steps 1 and 2 are neccessary for Step 3. And people try to tell me that atheists don't have a moral code.

To sum up, not a lot actually happened today, but i am getting more and more afraid that we are actually going to make good on that little "America at War" idea. And I'm not happy about that. I could have stayed in Israel if i wanted a war. At least in Israel we had nice weather, fresh oranges and a great Psychedelic Trance scene.

I don't mean to sound flippant, and now that i'm reading this, i realize that's exactly how i sound. But i really do hope that people take this war issue slowly. I've seen war, i've seen terrorism up close and personal before the WTC, i don't want to see any more. And while i do believe that every terrorist attack must bring a strong and decisive reaction, i hope Dubya realizes that bombing the shit out of Afghanistan is not going to make terrorism go away. Quite the opposite. By all means, let's kill bin Laden until he's had enough and then let's do it again. But if we use this as an excuse to invade yet another country, we're going to be very VERY sorry.

she sits writing. pen to paper. pouring words from her soul. mesmerised.
she pauses. her eyes following the path of a tiny ant. trailing up her bare leg. flexes her muscles. creating a landscape for it to discover.
then returns to writing. thoughts in pen. on paper.
she bites an apple. teeth sinking to bruised flesh. spits. watching in delight. juice dribbling down chin. sweet remnants removed by tongue on cherry lips. as ants devour their find.
returning pen to paper. she sits writing.

Lost some more weight over the past couple of weeks - a lot more. I met some one yesterday, and we were talking, I was explaining I had some more to go and she looked at me kind of funny and said, "Did you used to have a weight problem?" I was dumbstruck. Always thinking of myself as fat. No matter what I weigh. And this weekend, after going through the dressers and closet, everything fit me that hasn't in five years. I'm not fat. And if it wasn't for the health stuff with my knees, I could stop dieting right now cause I look good!

Weird relationship stuff going on with M and A. With M, I am looking at him differently (again). He seems so codependent and sick to me now. I'm sure he has not changed - it's me.

He seems pathetic, hopeless, like he will never get really healthy and love himself. He doesn't get anything about me, he even suggested (the next to last time we were together) that we were best friends. This after I told him how it was awkward not being able to talk to him about much of what was going on in my life. We are not best friends, nor ever will be again. So I invited him to Renfaire, after he invited me for the 2nd time to coffee, so he thought it was just him and me. I then invited my son, cause it's one of the 2 or 3 things we actually both like and can do together. M. came over, I told him, and he got mad and stormed off. He came back 15 minutes later, changed his mind, and I was on the phone with A. He immediately said, "Did you already find some one to replace me?" I just rolled my eyes (inside) and got off the phone. It was so ridiculous.

He was so subdued and passive, weird, I don't know, just being around him makes me feel like I'm with my mother or some obligatory person that I love but don't like. Which is the key I guess. I love Michael, always will, but I really don't even like him any more. I like his mind, but being with him feels creepy in some way. I can just feel his yearning for more of me, I guess, and it is yucky.

Now A. is another story. She's bi, married, which is fine. She also has a lesbian girlfriend, Trish, who is in love with her (and she says she is not in love with) who didn't know about her dating me. And we've been on five or six dates now. We went to Renfaire this past Sunday and I told her I couldn't continue dating her while being complicit in her cheating on Trish. I know she never wanted to be exclusive, and told Trish that a long time ago, but that was then, this is now. I'm too attracted to her vitality, her aliveness, her spirit to just fuck her. Anything could happen, she's too much of a woman for nothing to happen. I ain't falling in love with some one like that. I am not attracted to dishonesty, it turns me off. And at the same time, there's something about A. that just melts me. I still want to explore the possibilities.

Well, she told her girlfriend Trish yesterday morning and they supposedly got together last night to talk it out. I hope they don't break up, on one hand, and on the other hand - I hope like hell they break up! Trish is in love with A. and it's a dead end for Trish. A. will never give her what she wants, a committed, live-together thing. And I suspect that A. does not get from Trish what she really wants and needs - or she'd have been in love months ago with Trish, and we wouldn't be staring for hours into each others' eyes like we have been.

I don't know if A. will still want to see me after whatever happens with Trish. I sure as hell hope so. But - better to find out now than later what is really going on. I met some one else yesterday that I've been talking to on the phone; she is a pagan and into a lot of alternative music - World Beat, bossanova, lots of other cool stuff. We're going to meet again tonight cause we didn't talk for long yesterday. She seems pretty cool.

Last Tuesday at about this time, nine a.m., the first rumors were starting. I was keying orders and no one was really paying any attention.

Maybe it was ten after nine when the news came out and the radio came on and we all fell a very different quality of silent than we had been before. We all stared and stared at each other for a few minutes. Then we started looking down instead. My lips and ears were buzzing and cold, like a nerve had been pinched off somewhere, and it would not surprise me if it had.

Maybe it was about then that I started to visibly shake.

By ten I had run out onto the front steps because I could not be in the building anymore. I stayed for about three minutes. I didn't sit down. I was watching all the people walk across the diag to class, totally unaware of what was going on, no ties to the outside world, in the way of many college students. Then it was either go back inside or start yelling.

I started getting email messages from the provost. They used all the right buzzwords: "tragedy", "horrific", "classes cancelled". I was emailing everyone I know. My words were more like: "I CAN'T FIND ANYONE WHERE ARE YOU??"

I could not process and tried to sit at my desk and calm down and calm down.

I knew that I knew people in New York, but I couldn't remember who they were. I couldn't remember any email addresses, and I was at work, and their addresses were at home. I went and found Siobhan's site but couldn't find her email listed, so I guessed. It was right, but I couldn't remember any others until I came home four hours later.

I know quite well what was wrong with me, but that doesn't make it better.

John came at 12:15 and we talked for ten minutes and no one broke down but there was finally someone there not from my office, the office I started working in two weeks ago today. So there was someone I knew and someone I had contacted and someone was there besides me.

Everyone tried very hard to make their heads work all afternoon. I wore my jacket the whole time. I couldn't make any attempt to get warm.

I left at three never having taken lunch, found Isaac and John and Bethany. We went and ate, since it was the best thing to do, and no one had eaten all day, and Bethany only wanted espresso, and I really didn't want anything, I just wanted to go home, and we listened to the tv in the next room of the restaurant blaring the same soundbites over and over and over.

At home we all went to sleep. It was maybe five. I fell asleep on the couch suddenly and without warning, woke up ten minutes later asking what happened. It was a self-defense mechanism. Too much was going on and the body decided to shut down. This happened to several of us.

I had lots of alcohol and went to bed too late.

In the morning I was an hour late to work and my supervisor kept asking if I was ok. And there were wax drippings all over the diag from the vigil the night before, and sorority girls taking donations for the Red Cross with big white buckets, and a blood drive set up. And no one was talking. And F-16s flew overhead at strategic intervals. And the flag was at half-mast.

And it is a week later, and everyone seems to want to be normal, or look it, and I don't know who is succeeding or who is fooling themself.

No one I knew died. I was in Michigan, a thousand miles away, and I still am. I have never been to New York. I have never been to Washington D.C.

I have never been to New York and as such cannot actually comprehend what happened. I have movies and imagination and pictures in magazines to go on, and that's all. I cannot wrap my head around the magnitude of this, because I cannot conceive of it at all.

I read weblogs and journals and the New Yorker and hear people echoing in stairwells in my head and go to Borders to buy My Bloody Valentine and lock myself in the attic listening for half the night. I get email from the people I know in New York, people I have never met, who I only know online. I hear where they were and what they heard and what they saw and what they see. I can't see it.

Goodbye Mr. Dressup
Ernie Coombs
November 26, 1927 - September 18, 2001

Some days you wake up, thinking that the world has changed more than you imagined possible already, and then you go to bed surprised again at what has occurred.

Saturday I decided I needed to visit my parents. Fortunately, I live just 90 miles from them, and its relatively easy to drop by for a surprise visit. But I have never made the drive feeling like I was entering foreign territory. I live in San Francisco, perhaps one of the most diverse, wonderful cities in the world. In the last few days, I have seen even this place fall prey to nationalism and racism. One of my students, from Pakistan, tells me that his boss has been harassing him all week, and his landlord has been suggesting that he isn't welcome anymore. The news is full of hate, some of my students are calling for blood, and I'm afraid to tell people what I think. My parents live in Manteca, one of the more conservative, middle-class towns around, where most people commute to work in the Bay Area. As I drove, I imagined American flags on every car, waving from every house, and I imagined my family (and my grandfather), and their reaction… and it terrified me.

So I scouted around for a bit before I got to my folks' house, and found that while there were certainly more overt displays of patriotism here than in SF, it wasn't overwhelming. I walked in the front door, called hello, and my mother came running out, half tackling me in a hug that she didn't let go of for several minutes. My niece (3yrs old) was there, and she came running out to hug me, and we all talked about our relief that everyone we knew was alright.

I didn't really intend to turn the conversation to my interpretation of recent events, but it happened, rather quickly, and I found myself backed against a corner. We've never talked politics before, at least, not since I left home 7 years ago. I didn't want to fight with them, and I respected their beliefs. So we've always instinctively avoided such things. They are conservative and Christian. I am anarchist, agnostic, pacifist. Such things don't generally lead to understanding.

They've also been watching the network news all week. Which means they're going along with the calls for war, and they've always liked Dubya.

So Dad left for a few minutes, and I was talking to Mom for a bit, and I told her one of the reasons I had come home-that there will be protests next week against attacking Afghanistan (or any other country), and that I intend to be part of them, and that I want them to know before it happens. I told Dad the same when he came back in, and we all talked for a few hours, about economics, history, the media, justice, and peace. I unloaded a lot on them all at once, and apologized. How could I expect them to process all that in a day? When it has taken me 7 years to get here?

We all cried, and they talked about their memories of Vietnam, how they had not participated in the protests then, and had seen how much hurt the protestors caused, through their hatred of American soldiers when they finally came back. They talked about their worries for my safety, and eventually, they both told me that they would support my decisions, even if they did not agree with them.

I went out with my brother for a while, and he stunned me too, by agreeing that the United States should learn from this that its practices throughout the world need to change, if we are not to continue supporting tyranny, and creating the conditions from which terrorism is the only escape. This is remarkable, as my brother laps up Tom Clancy and other such writers like they're the gospel. We've tended to agree to disagree in the past, though we have at least been able to discuss things before.

I went to church with my parents. The sermon was an up-and-down affair, with some great sentiments followed by things I just could not agree with. The minister laid down an excellent case (for a social conservative) to not trust the government totally right now, but he then argued that our government is ordained by God to lead us in times of trouble. He said that our leaders need our prayers, and our unwavering support right now. And then he closed by singing God Bless America.

Now I actually believe that he meant well with this, but the song stunned me, and I found myself unable to sing. That song is being used right now for hatred, to promote the myth that America, Christianity, and freedom were attacked on the 11th, and to support the gearing up for war that we see right now. My mother grabbed my hand and squeezed it, and held it tight through the whole song.

We went for food, and then got back to the house, and sat around for a few more minutes, and my mother asked the question we've been skirting for several years: "Mark, the one thing this comes down to, and we support and respect the decisions you're making, but the thing that terrifies us, is where is God in your life?" I responded, quietly, "I'm sorry, I wish it were otherwise, but I just don't know right now."

Dad was almost in tears as he told me that he would support "to the death" my choices and right to protest, but that he was afraid that the things I talk about may be construed by some as "unamerican", and supportive of terrorism, and that I need to be very careful.

We all cried some more, and prayed, and both my folks thanked me, for telling them what I thought about this, and helping them to open their eyes, and that they hoped I would continue to talk to them about these things. Mom hugged me, and whispered in my ear, "Let me know when things happen, and I'll come over to the city and carry a sign with you."

And then I was off, driving back to SF, in tears, and thinking of the words of the Christian peace prayer, which I just wrote out yesterday:

"Blessed are the Peacemakers, for they shall be known as the children of God. But I say to you: love your enemy, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you; and to those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do unto you, do so unto them as well." (Mattthew 5:9 and Luke 6:27-31)
And from the Old Testament:
"Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation - neither shall they learn war any more. And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken."

My parents will walk the line with me, I've never been so proud, or so full of hope.

Well I've heard it more than once now on the radio on the way to work. "All foreigners should be rounded up and sent back to where they came from". As a foreigner living and working (and paying taxes like everyone else) in the USA I'm kinda pissed. I can understand outrage, I can understand anger, I can understand extreme patriotism but I can't understand it when these people start spouting hate like this. And of course the irony is that these people are all descended from immigrants themselves.

Writing this was odd, because as I read it I realize that it's not much different that the sentiments I've seen posted all week. Doesn't really matter, daylogs - for me - are for about anything- so this is mine.

It’s so easy to hate. So easy to lash out and try to take revenge for all of the hate that’s occurred in the last week- and I feel as if we’re being led down some path by a leash. We’ve managed to put on the blinders and ignore the reason and logic that we should be using - all in the name of hate and revenge.

I got an email from a friend of mine called “forecast” that gives a fictitious weather forecast dealing with mushroom clouds and destruction in Afghanistan. It’s as if the fear and dread that we’ve had for war and destruction is sliding away into blood and hate and anticipation. Do we really know what the consequences will be if we go to war over this senseless act of killing? I don’t know. Do I want justice? Yes. I do. I want those who are responsible brought to a court and tried for their crimes. Yes, I want it all to stop, but I don’t want thousands more dead just for our sense of justice.

I keep seeing all of the cries for war, for vengeance, for justice - and I don’t know what will prevail. Are we truly wise enough to mete out justice or are we simply acting out the role of victim and preparing to strike out of anger? God, I want us to be wise.

I’ve had so many conversations with people regarding all of this. Almost everyone I speak with has the same sentiment - that we want this done correctly. We want this done right… but the question I have is: do we have a government full of people thinking the same thing? Do we have leadership that understands that vengeance is not justice? Do they understand that, while some of these nations have people who hate us, the nations are also filled with people who are simply trying to make their lives as happy and peaceful as we? As a nation, we are not innocent bystanders. We HAVE done damage and we DO have blood on our hands- regretfully. We did not deserve the attack; those people did not deserve to die. But the new blood taken does not give us the right of vengeance. We must tread so carefully.

And it comes to the question of “what we are willing to do for ‘justice’?” I would only hope that we are not foolish enough to blunder into a situation that brings not only the US to the brink of destruction but also the world. There is no good war; there is no good death. We should know this. But those who forget history are doomed to repeat it.

Nuclear warfare is no laughing matter. If we think that the destruction at the WTC is horrible, then we must understand that to exacerbate the issue by indiscriminate bombing will only bring more hate and the death of the innocent. We may never get to nuclear bombardment - I only hope we won’t be so foolish to think that we could use such devices in this.

We must also learn from our mistakes in South and Central America and Iraq when we deal with those people who oppose the Taliban and the fundamentalists harboring Bin Laden. Is the enemy of my enemy truly my friend? We must determine with a clear mind and ask ourselves this question: “Would we support this group if the WTC disaster never happened?” and “Are these people seeking a free society, or are they simply another scattered faction of power with the desire to rule rather than the need to govern peacefully?”

Personally, I don’t know their motivations. I only hope we have enough sense to use our heads to not only find justice, but to truly make the world a safer place- for all.

We must be the example here; we cannot allow our pain turn into the types of ‘eye for an eye’ attacks that we currently see in the Middle East. My hope is that the time we take to investigate is well spent- not only in finding the perpetrators- but also in learning why this happened and how to change for the better. We must be the example. We must show that it is possible to fight hate with justice and patience. We must show that to strike out, without pause, when one of us is damaged only makes the matter far worse.

The most recent sign of the example we must be can be shown recently when Arafat instructed his defense force to “exercise maximum self-restraint in the face of Israeli aggression and attacks” and the Israeli Defense Ministry confirmed it was halting all offensive operations against the Palestinians.


If we must strike, I only hope that we do it because we must and not just because we can.

Normally, I don't do this kind of thing, and it makes me cringe to even think of doing this, but I think this deserves a spot on e2 and so I'm putting it here. Downvote if you feel you must, but please leave it for others to share.

Last night, the Late Show with David Letterman returned to the air. The show opened with no music, just a shot of the theater, and then a cut to Dave sitting at his desk. What he said next follows.

David Letterman's remarks on September 17, 2001...

cold opening and applause

Thank you very much.

Welcome to the Late Show. This is our first show on the air since New York and Washington were attacked, and I need to ask your patience and indulgence here because I want to say a few things, and believe me, sadly, I'm not going to be saying anything new, and in the past week others have said what I will be saying here tonight far more eloquently than I'm equipped to do.

But, if we are going to continue to do shows, I just need to hear myself talk for a couple of minutes, and so that's what I'm going to do here.

It's terribly sad here in New York City. We've lost five thousand fellow New Yorkers, and you can feel it. You can feel it. You can see it. It's terribly sad. Terribly, terribly sad. And watching all of this, I wasn't sure that I should be doing a television show, because for twenty years we've been in the city, making fun of everything, making fun of the city, making fun of my hair, making fun of Paul... well...

So, to come to this circumstance that is so desperately sad, I don't trust my judgment in matters like this, but I'll tell you the reason that I am doing a show and the reason I am back to work is because of Mayor Giuliani.

Very early on, after the attack, and how strange does it sound to invoke that phrase, "after the attack?", Mayor Giuliani encouraged us -- and here lately implored us -- to go back to our lives, go on living, continue trying to make New York City the place that it should be. And because of him, I'm here tonight.

And I just want to say one other thing about Mayor Giuliani: As this began, and if you were like me, and in many respects, God, I hope you're not. But in this one small measure, if you're like me, and you're watching and you're confused and depressed and irritated and angry and full of grief, and you don't know how to behave and you're not sure what to do and you don't really... because we've never been through this before... all you had to do at any moment was watch the Mayor. Watch how this guy behaved. Watch how this guy conducted himself. Watch what this guy did. Listen to what this guy said. Rudolph Giuliani is the personification of courage.


And it's very simple... there is only one requirement for any of us, and that is to be courageous, because courage, as you might know, defines all other human behavior. And I believe, because I've done a little of this myself, pretending to be courageous is just as good as the real thing. He's an amazing man, and far, far better than we could have hoped for. To run the city in the midst of this obscene chaos and attack, and also demonstrate human dignity... my God... who can do that? That's a pretty short list.

The twenty years we've been here in New York City, we've worked closely with police officers and the fire fighters and...


...and fortunately, most of us don't really have to think too much about what these men and women do on a daily basis, and the phrase New York's finest and New York's bravest, you know, did it mean anything to us personally, firsthand? Well, maybe, hopefully, but probably not. But boy, it means something now, doesn't it? They put themselves in harm's way to protect people like us, and the men and women, the fire fighters and the police department who are lost are going to be missed by this city for a very, very long time. And I, and my hope for myself and everybody else, not only in New York but everywhere, is that we never, ever take these people for granted... absolutely never take them for granted.


I just want to go through this, and again, forgive me if this is more for me than it is for people watching, I'm sorry, but uh, I just, I have to go through this, I'm...

The reason we were attacked, the reason these people are dead, these people are missing and dead, and they weren't doing anything wrong, they were living their lives, they were going to work, they were traveling, they were doing what they normally do. As I understand it (and my understanding of this is vague at best), another smaller group of people stole some airplanes and crashed them into buildings. And we're told that they were zealots, fueled by religious fervor... religious fervor. And if you live to be a thousand years old, will that make any sense to you? Will that make any Goddamned sense? Whew.

I'll tell you about a thing that happened last night. There's a town in Montana by the name of Choteau. It's about a hundred miles south of the Canadian border. And I know a little something about this town. It's 1,600 people. 1,600 people. And it's an ag-business community, which means farming and ranching. And Montana's been in the middle of a drought for... I don't know... three years? And if you've got no rain, you can't grow anything. And if you can't grow anything, you can't farm, and if you can't grow anything, you can't ranch, because the cattle don't have anything to eat, and that's the way life is in a small town. 1,600 people.

Last night at the high school auditorium in Choteau, Montana, they had a rally (home of the Bulldogs, by the way)... they had a rally for New York City. And not just a rally for New York City, but a rally to raise money... to raise money for New York City. And if that doesn't tell you everything you need to know about the... the spirit of the United States, then I can't help you. I'm sorry.


And I have one more thing to say, and then, thank God, Regis is here, so we have something to make fun of.

If you didn't believe it before (and it's easy to understand how you might have been skeptical on this point), if you didn't believe it before, you can absolutely believe it now...

New York City is the greatest city in the world.

lengthy applause

We're going to try and feel our way through this, and we'll just see how it goes... take it a day at a time. We're lucky enough tonight to have two fantastic representatives of this town, Dan Rather and Regis Philbin, and we'll be right back.


Thanks to Wonko for interceding with the Gods.

Today I proved my love.

I informed Christy that I was not going to attend homecoming with her, and she responded very well. I was expecting her brother, fresh out of jail, to come over and beat my ass, but I am still fully intact.

I played hacky-sack with Allie at lunch today, but I could not bring myself to tell her how I felt. I covered up my feelings with silly tricks and jokes, like I always do.

I talked to her online later this afternoon, and I brought up the subject of her and Matt. I knew that I wanted what was best for her, so I was going to set them up, after I made sure that she wanted to date him, but she seemingly devoted her entire being to the task of changing the subject. I continued to press her, and she figured out the (obvious) fact that I was still in love with her.

"Carl, I'm seriously afraid that I'll answer incorrectly and you'll either hurt me, hurt Matt, or hurt yourself."

I have no idea where she got this notion. I know I have been acting a little depressed lately, but I am her best friend, and she should know better than that. When I finally reasoned it out of her, she informed me that "Yes, I'd like to go out with him. That would be nice."

So, trying to warm Matt up to the idea, I first ask him whom he is going to go to homecoming with.


What? He must be confused; Allie isn't going with him, yet. But no, after double-checking with Allie, he had asked her earlier today, and she had neglected to tell me. I was slightly aggravated, but I was at least happy everything had worked out for her.

Afterwards, I continued the conversation with Allie, and we came to an (sort of) understanding.

For trying to help her, I would get Kudo Points.


I think that love is worthless, but then I imagine her happy face tomorow, and I know I am wrong.
Everything until the early evening is a blur to me. I biked Katie home and she showed me her house. She pays way too much rent and her housemate is screwing her over by paying only $25 more for a way better room. She doesn't see it that way, but then, I'm sensitive because I've experienced the problems that ensue when rent constantly has to be reconfigured because sometimes it's one couple and two single people, sometimes it's two couples and one single person, sometimes it's three couples, and sometimes it's two couples, two single people and a brother on the couch.

It's the first time I've given Katie a chance; I'd always thought of her as being dull and insecure, but she's really quite nice. Of course, I'm lonely, so that's coloring everything.

On my way home after that, I drove past my car and saw, to my surprise, that an American flag had been painted on it. The hood has seven red stripes and six white ones and the roof is now a blue field with 38 stars. I figured out the order the states entered the Union so that I can tell people, "yeah, starting with the Dakotas, all the rest of them are fake states. Hawaii? Ha!"

I called my friends Tag and Julie, and sure enough, they were the ones who gave my car its patriotic decoration. They were afraid I'd be mad for two reasons:

  1. I claim to dislike this country, its current and past governments, and the symbols that represent it.
  2. It's permanent paint that probably significantly lowers the value of the car.

But I don't care. I love it. I hope it gets me lots of attention.

Next, checking my email, I found that The Daily Californian, UC Berkeley's campus newspaper, had printed an editorial cartoon that depicted two stereotyped Arab Muslim figures in Hell. One was saying "We made it to Paradise. Now we will meet Allah, and be fed grapes, and be serviced by 70 virgin women, and..." He was oblivious to the fire surrounding them and the enormous clawed hand that they were standing on. A small and inobtrusive booklet that had been dropped by the other was labeled "Flight Manual" and indicated that they were supposed to be terrorists.

The local Arab and Muslim communities are already in a hard place right now. They are being threatened and harassed, and many are afraid to walk alone past sundown. I can't imagine how much worse it is in less liberal locales than Berkeley.

Because of the current political climate, a group thought that the cartoon was inflammatory and started a sit-in at the Daily Cal, demanding an apology and the dismissal of the artist involved. I was on a mailing list that was notified about this, and so I called Tag (who works at the paper) and asked him how many people were there. He said there were a bunch. I had nothing to do, so I decided to go to see what it was like.

I went next door and got Jen and Ethan, who are a little more activist, to come with me. They were not thrilled by my newly patriotic car. When we got there, the place was seriously packed (a later head count put us at 102). Protestors crowded in the lobby; the newspaper staff continued to conduct their business while the senior editorial board discussed (behind closed doors) how to deal with the protest.

Because I know Tag (and used to work there - I wrote the crosswords), I was able to move back and forth between the two groups, giving me a unique perspective. I must admit, the protest made me feel a little uncomfortable and I preferred to stay on the wrong side of the lines.

Some history: last semester, David Horowitz printed a full-page ad in the paper entitled 10 Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea - and Racist Too. This was unintentional; there was no policy for deciding which controversial advertisements would be killed by the editors and which were allowed to run, and the editors whose responsibility this was had not even looked at this particular advertisement. The African-American community was furious and stormed the offices of the paper in a very similar way. Two days later, the Daily Cal printed a front page apology, and were blasted by national media on all sides as being spineless and giving up their freedom of expression.

The similarities to the more recent incident are obvious. The editor in charge hadn't bothered to look at it, there was no policy, a group had stormed the offices demanding an apology. But having the lessons of hindsight made the editors think twice about giving in.

The protestors chanted, Tag did layout, the four cops who were there to protect the staff paced and looked wary. I looked at the clock. It was midnight.

To be continued...

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