Graffiti written on the wall next to my seat on the subway:



K-mart--KID
-N-
SwEE tass
FUCK
all
HatERS




Spring is officially in the air.

"I'd paint three of those murals for some of that ass"

And as I read this, R.E.M.'s Be Mine played on my CD player.

There's this girl. I've known her maybe all last semester and this semester. She's really hot. Really, incredibly hot. I'm talking beautiful. As close to a ten as you get. Last semester we knew each other casually, you know, mutual friends, see each other at the bar, that sort of thing. I noticed that she was always sort of flirty with me. "No way," I thought, "this girl is amazingly hot and cool and has her shit all together there's no way she's flirting with me!" (Let me interject here that she's not one of those hootchies who flirts with every peice of meat in sight, like I said she's cool, her flirting is serious "I'm interested in you" flirting (ahhh.. hindsight(and that's foreshadowing)). So this carries on for sometime.

Fast forward to directly after Christmas break. My roommate comes back busting with news. This girls sister lives with his girlfriend in Boston and long story short, ever since she saw me sophomore year (yea three years ago) she's thought I was hot etc... On top of this, she thought I was an asshole because she said "hi" to me on the sidewalk one day and I ignored her. Holy Shit. I figure what probably happened (I don't remember) is that this amazingly hot girl said hi to me and my brain siezed up as it's prone to do in those sorts of situations, leaving me incapable of reply. So anyways, here I am knowing that this amazing cool, hot girl, a girl so perfect for me that I didn't even hope such a woman could exist likes me, and what do I do?

Nothing.

No, wait. Worse than nothing. After finding this out, I would see her around and my ability for thought, speech, movement, would power down. I would be paralyzed like the deer in the headlights. It happened every time I saw her. That's certainly not helping my asshole image, which she has already fought through to make advances!

End of January: Two of my roommates, this girl, and myself make the 6 hour drive to Boston and we all stay at her sisters house together for the weekend. This is what happens: I establish with her sister and her roomates and my roomates that I know she's all about me and I'm all about her (because despite my frequent brain failures, we have gotten to know each other, especially on the car ride), but she and I fail completely to make this known to each other. Like we're in third grade. I take full responsibility because I suck.

But that's not the end of it. Oh no. We come back from Boston both obviously knowing what's going on, but me and her (she really shy too) both unable to bring it into the open. We do lots of hanging out, go to a play together, go on a walk (me on a severly f*ed up ankle, wincing with each step). Lots of things like that. Sounds like we should be dating by now, huh?

It's been two months since then and things have hardly progressed. We hang out more, but I am a fucking hoser. Everytime I think about calling her or seeing her, I get scared shitless. And when I do see her, I can't think. I lose my wit. My humor, my strongest aspect, flies out the window. I can make anyone laugh. But around her I'm like a fucking deacon. "Oh, yes? What you say interests me." I'm thankful I have enough brain running to keep up a rudimentary conversation, or she'd think I was a fucking zombie.

Spring break, last week. We are sitting on the beach in Ft. Lauderdale. It's night, we're watching the clouds roll in with lightning and beauty. Probably the most romantic setting ever. I can't fucking talk. She says "What are you thinking about?" SETTING ME UP. All I have to do is scream "YOU I AM THINKING ABOUT YOU AND YOU'RE ALL I CAN THINK ABOUT AND I'M FUCKING SCARED AS SHIT TO TELL YOU AND I DON'T KNOW THE FUCK WHY GODAMMIT (pause for breath) YOU ARE THE MOST INCREDIBLE PERSON I'VE EVER MET (panting)" but what do I say? Some shit about how great vacation is. I suck ass. Big fat donkey ass.

Yep, scared of girls. Or something. Damn it feels good to throw that out there.

It really is amazing what alcohol will make some people do. There are those who go crazy, those who clam-up, and those who act normal when drunk. Alcohol even influences some people without being consumed. Obtaining a fake ID, or having someone illegally buy you alcohol are prime examples of its effects without consumption. However, the oddest non-consumption effect I have ever experienced, was my girlfriend breaking up with me for it.

How a great relationship, that meant the world to me and more, can one day vanish into thin air, is almost beyond my comprehension. I've heard of all the common excuses for a breakup, but this one completely took me by surprise. Looking back on that horrible night when she revealed to me her feelings, I have come to the conclusion that it is indeed alcohol that caused her to end such a wonderful relationship. Being a member of an anti-alcohol and drug group in her school, she had never wanted to try it, and then one day decided that she "had to have it". She immediately quit the group so she wouldn't feel guilty. She broke this news to me that she wanted to go to parties and get drunk and "have fun", so she was "sorry", but she needed to do this for herself to "live life". Now I know that at some point, most people do at least try it, but that's not the problem, the problem is, that she is willing to break my heart over a liquid. To me it seems very immature, and as if getting dumped by the person I love isn't enough, it's over a stupid beverage! The past few weeks have been hard, not only because I was dumped over alcohol, but having to know that literally the next day, and every weekend since, she has gone to crazy parties and gotten wasted, has been excruciating. It is all just so hard to swallow. I have spent many sleepless nights missing the times we had together, while she was out partying.

This experience has shed light as to the real effects that alcohol can have on a person. It has successfully ended one of the best things that has ever happened to me. I miss the one I love so very much, but because of alcohol, I can never again have what has been taken away.

One of my favorites of Tara’s infamous stories involves her two young nephews. Jackson is the eldest at 4 but is flees helplessly from his brother Aden, whose bizarre growth spurt prompted Tara to compare him to King Kong. So one day Jackson is playing with his Thomas the Tank Engine playset, and presumably all the trains are running on time. Then King Kong storms in and leaves a path of destruction in his wake. Instead of giving his younger brother a playful (or not so playful) shove or running from the room in terror, all poor Jackson can do is utter "Train? Train?" in a despondent voice.

All of us in our library posse find this hilarious. As a result we are all going straight to hell.

For some reason, this story came up while Tara and Cassie and I were loitering outside the library after a particularly dull and excruciatingly boring class tonight. And then Dr. Dee exits the library and heads straight for me. Keep in mind that I am extraordinarily behind in her class as I am in all my classes this semester. And an hour earlier, a guest speaker had put me on the spot about not yet finishing my first master’s degree. When she brought up the example of her pushing her son to finish the requirements to become an Eagle Scout, I ended up revealing that I hadn’t made Eagle Scout either. So my lifetime of slack was on display for all to see tonight, and she confronted me about my lack of accomplishment in her course. She wasn’t unkind or angry at all, but still, it was an uncomfortable scene. Yet I acquitted myself well, dodging, weaving, rationalizing, distracting with humor, and not curling up into a fetal position in a moment when lesser men would have easily crumbled.

Now I can say I know exactly what Jackson felt like at that moment. "Train? Train?"

This all puts a spotlight on something I’ve been feeling for quite sometime now. Everything in my life is going really well, I have no reason for complaint, but I just can’t seem to give a shit about school anymore. A few weeks ago, I would chalk it up to impatience. "Can I be a librarian now please?" But it’s more than that.

Last night I was so furiously despondent that I came dangerously close to dropping a few hundred bucks on a small pile of consumer goods at Borders. Yet with great restraint I managed to emerge from the store with only one purchase: The Day The Earth Stood Still on DVD. Sure, I just watched my aging tape from AMC on Saturday, but it is one of my favorite films. Michael Rennie is so utterly, utterly perfect: smug and arrogant without being haughty, a biting tongue, yet a man with a giant heart who looks utterly despondent looking upon the graves at Arlington.

Klaatu has come to Earth to save us from ourselves, and for his trouble we shoot him. Twice. See, we represent a potential threat to the galaxy with our Weapons of Mass Destruction, and Klaatu threatens to open up a can of Gort-sized whoopass unless we start acting like responsible citizens of the universe. Sound at all familiar? Call it Operation: Earth Freedom.

But Dubya is no Klaatu, he’s a slack-jawed Neanderthal, a grinning baboon who revels in being a strutting alpha chimp. Fifty years of diplomacy is all gone in an instant, and gone with it was a dream that was a brief shining moment in human history, the idea that law and morality was above power and strength. Now it’s back to whose cock is the biggest. We take out Saddam not because he violated international law or because the international community decided he represented a danger to the world, but because we can.

Where is Michael Rennie when we need him to tell us those magic words that will save the world from destruction despite the fact that we need destroying? Now it all seems so utterly pointless, the things that I love about America don’t matter anymore because we all cheer Dubya and gleefully hand over our rights and freedoms. I can’t seem to care about my career because I’m thinking about making sure my passport is up to date and wondering which country I should relocate to in a couple of years when the shit really hits the fan and I don’t recognize America anymore. I watch the news for as long as I can stand, and I see the same images over and over. No POWs, of course, after Dubya asked the networks not to, but I see that kid who got shot in the hand laying on a stretcher with the amount of morphine he’s been given written on his forehead, and people running around in gasmasks, and the smoking buildings, and the tanks driving through the sand, over and over again. I’m pissed and there’s nothing I can do, it’s like someone trashed my playset, and all I can do is sit there and say "Train? Train?"

Of course, I still have to do my fucking homework. After all, they’ll still need librarians in Ireland or Canada or New Zealand after we close all ours to pay for more smart bombs to use on whatever country we’ll invade next.

It is in my nature to be an observer. It is in my nature to listen and process information. As of late I have been moving more to the side of action, taking off my ghostly onlooker mantle. At the same time I have not stopped being an observer who listens and processes information.

"Current Events Are Making Me Tense" was the title of a song recorded by Joe King Carrasco and The Crowns in the 1980s. I decided to dredge an old cassette tape out of my dusty collection and listen to the song. It was an upbeat and manic song that touched on events of that day. It reminded me that things have never been perfect but that you can still dance.

In listening to and reading more points of view than I can shake a stick at, I came down to a few very key points that remained after boiling away the rhetoric, pot banging, flag waving, insults, and general bullshit. There are key points made by both those in favor of the current action in Iraq and those who are opposed to it. For the most part, they actually agree on most points, but differ in their approach and how they feel situations need to be handled.

  • Saddam Hussein is a very bad man and needs to be removed from power. Aside from some very uninformed crazies and outright radicals with an undefined agenda, no one supports this man, his methods or his treatment of Iraq's population. They differ on whether direct military action is the correct path for dealing with him.
  • National and International Security. Opinions differ on whether Saddam Hussein's regime is a threat to International Security and the security of the United States. Endless streams of information can be found to support either point of view. None of it is conclusive. It is impossible to be conclusive on something like this. Until then it is all conjecture, which is why it is such a debatable topic.
  • Countries are acting on their own self-interests rather that doing the "right thing." This has been true since the dawn of civilizations. People love to cite examples from history to illustrate their points. It is far more rare to find examples to cite of the leadership of a country doing things against their own interests. I feel this is a very moot point that gets talked about far too much.
  • War is wrong. War is often necessary. There are those who are genuine pacifists who believe that war is always wrong. There are those who feel that war is needed only in situations where there are no other options. There are those who feel that in some situations, such as the present one in Iraq, war is necessary as the only real means of dealing with a special type of situation.
  • "You're either with us or against us." Following the events of 9/11 and the strong statements of U.S. leadership after those events, there was a major world shift. Some see the present situation in Iraq as a necessary part of the strong response to those events. Others see those events being used as an excuse to react with force to any perceived threat. Some see it as necessary for national security while others fear any attempts at peaceful resolution will be shelved when peaceful means do not bring immediate and satisfactory results. This also brings into the light the idea that the United States will act without world support against other nations regardless of world opinion. This has caused a rift in international relations and a rise in worldwide anti-American feeling. The leadership of the United States is seen by some as disregarding and often openly deriding the opinions of other nations. Others see it as avoiding past obstacles to achieving necessary goals.
  • Patriotism. Some believe that when your country is at war you need to support your country and its soldiers regardless of how you feel about the conflict in question. Others believe that if your country undertakes action you believe is wrong that it is your duty to remind them that you do not support those actions. Some feel you can continue to support those doing the actual fighting while continuing to not support and protest what the government is doing in your name. A smaller faction believes that you cannot protest the war and support those fighting it and will not support the fighting men and women themselves. This is the point of the greatest conflict.
  • "You are lucky you have the right to your opinion." It is a red herring in the debate, but warrants mention here because it has become so widely used in arguments about current events. To state that you shouldn't speak your mind on an issue because you have the right to makes little sense. There are plenty of red herrings on both sides of the debate, and they generally derail the usefulness of the debate. Message boards all over the web are filled with quick little pronouncements by people with strong opinions who think they have just found the right amount of cleverness to silence those who don't agree with them. "You would never be allowed to protest against Saddam because you'd be tortured and killed, so keep your mouth shut and be glad you live in America, whiner!" is a favorite of many of those who support George W. Bush's decision regarding Iraq. Many of those protesting the war have an arsenal of red herrings. Everything from "No Blood For Oil!" to "Bush didn't really win the election!" and so on and so forth. They also defend their position by pointing to the more extreme opinions and statements of certain individuals and groups on "the other side." These things kill any kind of reasonable discussion of real issues and are very popular with those who have made up their mind and have stopped wanting to listen to anything other than their own opinion.
  • The United Nations. Much debate has been fueled by the value of the United Nations. Almost all agree that it is of questionable effectiveness. Some believe it needs to be scrapped completely. Others feel it is in need of reform and change. Some argue that the United States and its closest allies have a mandate to bring peace and prosperity to the world by insuring that all nations become democratic free market systems. Others believe this goes against the right of self-determination amongst individual countries. Can an international collection of nations be effective in preventing war, human rights abuses and the ever present threat of terrorism? Is it time for the United States to take action in the name of its own national security and that of the world because of claims that the United Nations is impotent?
  • Answers, not complaints. A growing position of those in favor of the current military answer to the situation in Iraq is "Why don't you come up with an answer to these problems instead of bitching about them?" Indeed, it is often true. When the war ends, where will the protesters be? Will they go back to sleep or will they come up with coherent answers and ideas to stop something like this from happening again? Or will they wait until it does and go back to making a lot of noise about something they didn't really try to do anything about?


That last point unfurls and winds upwards through the points above. It is much easier to complain and to protest than it is to take action. I remember being involved in protests in the 1980s, when they were not very glamorous or widely covered by the media. Our protests involved careful attention to ongoing government foreign policy, particularly in Central America. At that time it was a case of the government politically and financially supporting very nasty regimes because they were seen as being able to prevent the Soviets from sponsoring communist regimes. Neither side in the Cold War played particularly nice, especially where the "pawns" of Third World nations were concerned. We didn't march or protest out in the streets all that much. Mostly we worked to learn, educate, find groups and political candidates that were "on our side" and support them. We were very active. It was very difficult. I burned out by the end of the 1980s because I just couldn't do it anymore.

The thing was, we had answers, we had suggestions and we had ideas. We didn't just say "This is wrong. Stop and do something else." When we didn't have an answer we went back to the drawing board and tried to come up with one. I was a political science major in college. At one time I was supposed to become a political speechwriter, but the money ran out and life got in the way, so I kind of quit after three years to get a real life education. Someone once told me I had no right to make a political statement because I dropped out of college. Red herrings run amok.

So, is there a solution? First, you have to know what you are protesting against. You can't be protesting against vague notions about right and wrong. There are no solutions to vague notions. There are only more vague notions.

So, why am I against the war in Iraq and the policies surrounding it? Let's keep it simple for the moment. First of all, I am not a pacifist. I believe in peace, but I also support revolution as part of my strong belief in the right of self-determination amongst the people of a nation. I also believe that war is necessary when one country attempts to invade another country because I believe in the right to sovereignty. My very strong stance against current action in Iraq is based on a fairly simple foundation. I believe that a "strike first" pre-emptive war against any country without the support of the rest of the world equals invasion. I believe invasion is wrong, regardless of who or what is in power in that country. I protest the international method of diplomacy exhibited by my president and his advisors. I don't see any method at all other that the "You are either with us or against us" mentality that boils down to, in my opinion, "Do what we say or go fuck yourself." I feel this further agitates an already fragile world balance and brings us closer to chaos. I believe in respecting and listening to all opinions. Name calling and finger pointing do not diplomacy make. I remember taking a class in college called "Comparative Politics" with a professor from India. It was about the differences in political systems in different countries and how culture and other factors impact those differences. During a discussion about the political system in another country, one student asked, "Well, aren't they wrong?" because the ideas presented were so foreign to him. This is a danger I see. That was twenty years ago and we still see too much only from our own point of view.

Solutions? Oh, yeah, that was my point, wasn't it. How do we protect international security, keep dangerous tyrants in check or remove them when necessary, minimize the need for war, and promote international cooperation and friendship?

Build a new international body for the modern age. Easier said than done, but not all answers and ideas are easily put into motion. Politics is a tricky business. Certain nations are very resistant to allowing an international body to meddle in their affairs. The United States is rather famous for it and this gives other countries the impression that we feel we are "above the law." This is a big part of growing international resentment against my country.

Equal and fair representation would be needed. Similar to the United States Congress, I would suggest nations be represented both individually and based on population. I'm sorry, but it is rather absurd for Belize to have the same representation as China. These houses of international representation, both serving to represent nations and their people, would serve as overseers of committees set up to address specific issues. One house would concentrate on the position of the nations and their rulers. The other house would focus on issues of the people of all nations. A Committee on Human Rights, for example, might consist of fifteen representatives selected by the world from represented countries. Those selected by the board would be reviewed by both houses with the requirement being the exposition of a superior record in that area of concern. In our human rights example, those representatives would have to be from countries showing an exemplary track record in human rights over the past twenty years. To go back any further would be absurd. Countries with human rights abuses on their record more than twenty years past who had taken it upon themselves to address the issues and eliminate the problems that brought about those abuses would likely make better representatives. Those who overcome a problem are more likely to know how to deal with that problem. Sort of like the best person to help you overcome alcoholism is a recovering alcoholic who has been sober for a long time.

No one would hold this international body hostage with a phantom veto power. All nations would be equal under international law and those who violated international law would face the judgment and wrath of their fellow members. Leaders and governments who violated international law, Saddam Hussein for example, would be subject to a trial at a world court that was overseen by the international body of nations. If he refused to submit to the trial, the international body of nations would have the power to arrest him for contempt of international law and use any means necessary to bring him to trial. That would include the ability to forcibly, by means of war, bring him to stand trial. I would prefer to see an international police force, put into action for this purpose only, detached to Baghdad to bring him to justice while the entire arsenal of the world surrounded his country and demanded that all persons lay down their arms or face invasion by the entire world. This would make it clear that you were protecting your leader, not your country, and that he or she would face a fair trial. Of course, all those who followed and committed atrocities and violations of human rights as part of the regime in question would also be subject to the world court.

Yes, the world court was already brought up and was shot down. The current balance of power in the United Nations favors some nations and is tilted against others. This is why it doesn't work. There is also the problem of certain nations feeling they are by right better than others. My own country would protest China having more population representatives than it had, even though it professes to believe that all men are created equal. I protest against forgetting that. Yet, I do have suggestions and I do have ideas. I've never been much for chanting slogans, especially ones I cannot defend and do not understand.

These are just ideas. From an American point of view. The rest of the world could help shape them into a different flavor. I suggest the U.S. model not because it is the only one I know, but because it gives the U.S. less reason to shoot it down. Something to do with that what's good for the goose is good for the gander business.


Yes, this daylog is way too damned long.

I remember the first gulf war vividly a decade ago. I used to sit with my family in our house whenever the loud sirens went off in the eastern province in Saudi. The house, and indeed the entire city of Khobar, would shake whenever patriots were fired. Our house was located 10 kilometers away from the civilian airport transformed into a temporary military airbase for the operations. We thought the explosions were scuds hitting their targets, it was not, it was patriots being launched. After I got used to the loud noises, I ventured into the roof one day whenever the sirens went off, and would watch the patriots being launched at incredible speed, at the expense of my concerned parents who would yell at me to come down, or else a missle would fall on top of my head. I was around 6th grade at the time. We used to get all our news from western sources, mainly CNN.

A decade later, living in the UAE for my higher education, things are different mediawise now. Many Arabs distrust western media for the war coverage, since they perceive it as mouth pieces for the pentagon. I've compared and contrasted western news outlets and Middle Eastern news outlets for the war coverage, and so far Middle Eastern news outlets provide deeper and broader coverage than any western news outlet. One of the most elite channels are located in the gulf region, namely Al Jazeera, Abu Dhabi TV, and the newly launched Al Arabiya TV, want to be rival to Al Jazeera. Al Arabiya is Saudi funded and has its HQ in the UAE. I saw Al Arabiya office building in Dubai media city in the past while I was crusing and exploring the city. Next to it was a building with Rueters sign on it, and another one had CNN sign on it.

I don't have TV since I live in dorms. I never really liked watching TV since I believe it can rot your brains. We have a common room in the dorms with a 50 inch TV, the students always have Al Jazeera or Abu Dhabi TV on whenever they want to know what is going on in the war. Occasionally, they would switch to CNN or FOX, watch it for 5 minutes, get disgusted or unsatisfied with the shallow reporting and then switch back to Al Jazeera or Abu Dhabi. This case is true in many Middle Eastern countries.

I've been trying to access Al Jazeera Arabic and temporary English web site, but can't, due to the report that it is under heavy DoS attack for days now.
Today's Daily Mirror:

"Once again, the British public is being denied the reality of war."

"Images of bandaged children in hospital wards are appearing on TV but you do not see the result of a Tornado's cluster bombing."

"You are not being shown children scalped by shrapnel, with legs reduced to bloody pieces of string."

-- John Pilger

The reason for this is that such images are "not acceptable", because they will disturb viewers - and the authorities do not want that. These "unseen" images are the truth. Iraqi parents have to look at their mutilated children, so why shouldn't those of us, in whose name they were slaughtered, see what they see?


I'm done with talking about this war, as of now..

This morning on AOLIM:

tinahb77: I gave an old lady three dollars today. She looked like my Aunt Thelma or my great grandmother. She only had pennies and dimes in her cup. Her face was so wrinkled. I almost cried. I felt drawn to her.

tinahb77: When I turned around to look at her again, she wasn't there. I hope I wasn't seeing my future. I wonder if she was real?

gjeffb77: Yeah, she was real.

gjeffb77: I don't think she was you.

tinahb77: she was so sad

tinahb77: and dirty. I hope she went off to get food.

tinahb77: She was counting her pennies when I walked up to her. She wasn't even begging

gjeffb77: :-(

tinahb77: we waste so much

tinahb77: we have so much

gjeffb77: I know, I know.

Today's Headlines

US News

Daniel Patrick Moynihan Dies At 76
Former senator from New York Daniel Patrick Moynihan died yesterday at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. The cause was due to complications stemming from a ruptured appendix, which was removed at the hospital on March 11, 2003. Moynihan served the government of the United States for more than forty yeas, beginning with terms in the executive branch under John F. Kennedy, then later under Lyndon B. Johnson, Richard M. Nixon, and Gerald Ford. In 1977 he was elected senator in New York and remained in that position until his retirement in 2001. "His four terms in the United States Senate were marked by grace, style and wit but most of all, by effectiveness in office," said former New York City mayor Rudolph Giuliani. "Senator Moynihan was the very example of what a statesman should be."

Police Hunt For Captor Of Nuns
Police are on the lookout for a man suspected in the shooting death of his father and the abduction of two Catholic nuns in Georgia. Officers found human body parts in the car of Adrian O'Neill Robinson, and a short time later the decapitated body of one of the nuns was found in nearby Virginia Beach, Virginia. When the officers discovered the car, Robinson was still driving; after a short car chase, Robinson managed to escape on foot and is still at large. Thirty minutes later, police in nearby Virginia Beach reported finding the body of a mutilated and decapitated woman. Wednesday afternoon, medical examiners identified the body as that of Sister Philomena Fogerty, one of the two kidnapped nuns. The other nun, Sister Lucie Kristofilk, survived the ordeal and was found Tuesday morning at a Norfolk, Virginia hotel.

House Rejects Plans For Amber Alert
The House yesterday defeated a Democratic effort to force a vote on the creation of a national alert system to respond to child abductions; Republicans said the program should be part of an anticrime package. On a strict party-line vote of 218 to 198, the Republican-controlled House rejected a parliamentary maneuver that would have allowed separate consideration of a plan to establish an Amber alert system, named for a kidnapped Texas girl. "I cannot understand why Republican leaders insist on blocking the simple, stand-alone Amber bill," said Representative Martin Frost, a Texas Democrat who has been working for House approval of the bill. "I also agree that Amber alert needs to be passed, but I think it's just as important that there be punishment for the abduction of these children," said Representative Sue Myrick, a Republican from North Carolina.

International News

Raids On Baghdad Continue
US-led forces countinued an intense air bombardment of Baghdad today as Iraq accused the United States and Great Britain of deliberate attacks on civilians. Iraqi health minister Umeed Madhat Mubarak said that 350 civilians have died in air raids since the conflict began, including 14 killed in yesterday's apparent stray missile strike on a crowded market. "They are targeting the human beings in Iraq to decrease their morale," he said in a news conference. "They are not discriminating, differentiating." Mubarak also accused US-led forces of dropping cluster bombs on civilian targets. "In Najaf, they destroyed a medical centre," he said. "They bombed an ambulance and killed its driver." The US denies intentionally targeting the market.

Blair, Bush To Meet About Iraq's Future
One week into a war that has deeply divided world opinion, the next round of the diplomacy concerning Iraq kicks off on Thursday when US and British leaders thrash out plans for its post-conflict future. In their first summit since the attack, United States president George W. Bush and Great Britain's prime minister Tony Blair will meet at Camp David to discuss military planning, humanitarian relief, and the reconstruction of Iraq. Another major issue is the future role of the UN, which the United States is not strongly interested in as a diplomatic forum for discussing the future of Iraq, especially since the war with Iraq is racking up a large price tag, both in dollars and in lives.

19 Dead In Chinese Bus Crash
Nineteen people burned to death when a Chinese bus overturned and caught fire in a remote area of Kyrgyzstan. "There were 19 people in the Chinese-made bus, including the driver," a Kyrgyz Emergencies Ministry duty officer told Reuters. "The bus caught fire, and all of them burnt." The double-decker passenger bus was bound for Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, when the bus overturned in the remote Naryn region in the Tien Shan mountains. The cause of the accident is not yet known.

Business

California Demands Rebate From BC Hydro
Powerex, a subsidiary of BC Hydro, is still owed $100 million by California for electricity it sold during a crisis that caused rolling blackouts over six days. However, US energy regulators said yesterday that they will increase the $1.8 billion in refunds due to the state from Powerex (and other energy providers) for overcharging in 2000 and 2001 after calculating the cost of natural gas price fixing. The net result: Powerex may instead owe the state money. The semi-deregulated energy industry in California is being blamed for the situation, where businesses are trying to take advantage of a large need for public service. "The free-enterprise system goes hand in hand with a responsibility to see that the playing field is level and everyone plays fair," federal commission chairman Pat Wood III said in a statement.

Senate Approves FY 2004 Budget
The Senate approved a $2.2 trillion budget for FY 2004 yesterday, which includes a more than 50% reduction in the $726 billion tax cut that President George W. Bush wants to rally the stagnant economy. The Republican-controlled chamber used a mostly party-line 56-44 roll call to approve the fiscal blueprint, which endorses just $350 billion of the president's planned tax cuts through 2013. The final say on the exact tax cut figure will come when House and Senate bargainers agree to a compromise budget, as the House last week already passed a budget that included the entire $726 billion tax cut.

Stocks Declining On Weak War News
Stocks have mostly fallen back this week amid concerns that the war in Iraq will take longer than anticipated, posing a threat to an already shaky economic recovery. The news on the economic recovery was also weak, as very sluggish economic data was released this week by the Treasury Department. The net result is a market full of anxious investors that are willing to dump stocks to cut losses, and thus results often in a much lower stock market. To compound the bad news, the Commerce Department said fourth-quarter gross domestic product, a measure of all the goods and services produced in the U.S., rose at an unrevised 1.4% annual rate, down from 4% in the third quarter. Though expected by the market, the number is still quite weak.

Science & Technology

Neanderthals Shown To Have Nimble Human-Like Hands
New evidence suggests that Neanderthals were not the clumsy cave dwellers once thought, as new computer simulations show they were as nimble-fingered as their human cousins. Although Neanderthal tools were not as complex as those of our human ancestors, the virtual modelling shows Neanderthals were just as capable of manipulating the raw materials used. Simple clumsiness, therefore, is unlikely to be part of the reason for their sudden extinction 30,000 years ago. This revises much of the thinking about the logic for the development of humans compared to their Neanderthal ancestors, greatly reducing the clarity of the reasons for Neanderthal extinction and human survival.

The Salam Pax Mystery
A writer and architect from Iraq who kept a blog continually updated on the growing crisis in the country has fallen silent, leaving many to wonder where exactly he has gone. His website, http://www.dearraed.blogspot.com, has received a tremendous amount of activity, especially since the hostilities with Iraq have boiled over into outright war. His final messages indicate that the city of Baghdad had entered into a very chaotic period, and then the log goes dark, leaving many to wonder what happened to the fellow. "Other than what he tells us, we have no way of knowing if he's actually posting live from Baghdad or is running some elaborate hoax from the middle of Kansas," Web designer Jason Kottke said.

Hubble Watches Light From Star Echo In Space
In January 2002, a dull star in an obscure constellation suddenly became 600,000 times more luminous than our Sun, temporarily making it the brightest star in our Milky Way galaxy. Although this star has long since faded, the light produced by the mysterious star is still reverberating to Earth in an echo-like fashion, according to a paper to appear in today's Nature. These details promise to provide astronomers with a CAT-scan-like probe of the three-dimensional structure of shells of dust surrounding an aging star. The echo is caused by light echoing off circumstellar dust in the Milky Way, creating the ability to carefully re-analyze the star's strange nova-like effect.

Health

New Water Treatment Process Developed
A new technique for treating and purifying wastewater has been proposed, which could potentially spare penny-pinching municipalities some of the great cost of handling the post-treatment sludge. The new technique, called activated magnetic sludge process, was described yesterday for the first time at the 225th national meeting of the American Chemical Society in New Orleans, Louisiana. The treatment involves adding magnetite to the sludge; the bacteria in the sludge consume the magnetite, then when magnetic force is applied to the sludge, the bacteria are pulled out of the sludge, thus reducing the amount of waste as the bacteria can be reused. The procedure could reduce the sludge by as much as five tons a day for a plant that serves 100,000 people.

Maryland Nurse Dies After Receiving Smallpox Vaccine
Federal health officials said yesterday that they are investigating whether the fatal heart attack of a Maryland nurse is related to the smallpox vaccination she received last month. This investigation is in conjunction with a second case in which a woman also received a vaccination that was followed shortly by a heart attack; the second victim is on life support. In total, seven people immunized in the two months since the program began in Maryland have experienced cardiac-related problems, leaving many to question the safety of the vaccine itself.

Sports

"Thorpedo" Breaks Records In Return To Competition
After a break from competition, a run of less-than-stellar finishes, and a change in coach, it was widely viewed in the swimming world that Ian Thorpe may perhaps have his best days behind him. However, in his return to competition at the Australian national swim meet, in a new event for him, the 200 meter individual medley, Thorpe broke the Australian Commonwealth record by 0.15 seconds, reducing the record to two minutes and 00.11 seconds. Thorpe is also planning on competing in the 200, 400, and 800 meter freestyle events, for all of which he has world records, at the Australian nationals, which are ongoing.

Hughes Falls Short In Early Rounds Of World Skating Championships
Sarah Hughes gave perhaps the worst performance of her career yesterday in the qualifying rounds of the World Figure Skating Championships, looking like a mere shell of the girl who won Olympic gold thirteen months ago. Hughes botched her short program badly, as she fell while trying to execute a triple flip, reduced two triple jumps to single jumps, and almost fell while executing routine footwork. The finish left her in 11th place overall in the competition, although the short program only counts for 20% of the total score. "There's always something you can make an excuse over, but I'm a strong competitor and I have a strong mind," said Hughes, who received marks as low as 4.7. "It's OK. It's only one program. I have two more. I think I'll have something inside of me to have that extra go."

Entertainment

Snoop Doggy Dogg Faces Lawsuit For Use Of Phone Message In Song
Rapper Snoop Doggy Dogg is facing a lawsuit from an unidentified man because of Snoop's use of a recorded phone message from the individual in a song that primarily focused on taunting rap mogul Suge Knight. The track, entitled Pimp Slapp'd, appears on Snoop's most recent album, Paid the Cost to be Tha Boss. The track primarily seeks to continue Snoop's long running feud with Knight, founder of Death Row Records, and the recorded message used in the song expresses support for Snoop in this feud. However, the anonymous man is now afraid for his own safety due to Knight's known association with gangs and his reputation as "a burly, convicted felon."

Ono Claims "Lennon Would've Slammed Blair, Bush"
Yoko Ono, an ardent campaigner for peace and the widow of legendary musician John Lennon, spoke in Liverpool, England yesterday where John Lennon's childhood home was officially being opened to the public. "I'm sure John would have been terribly upset" about the war, if he were still alive, Ono told BBC radio. "And I'm sure that he would have expressed his anger and told them off", she said, referring to Bush and Blair, about "how stupid it is to go through this. As Gandhi said, 'An eye for an eye will make us all blind'."


And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

My significant other and I are busy trying to select a song for our wedding reception. We've reduced our list to about nine candidates, but we need to pare these down very quickly, as time is running short. If you have any input, let me know; either in terms of new candidates similar to these or one of these you see as particularly appropriate. Neither one of us are particularly into the When A Man Loves A Woman Michael Bolton type of thing. Here are the candidates, along with some brief commentary:

59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin' Groovy) - Simon and Garfunkel
We're both Simon and Garfunkel fans and the song somewhat matches our personalities, but it will be somewhat difficult to dance to; the song isn't very rhythmically suited for it.

One - U2
The message and rhythm of this one are spot-on, but it may not entirely fit from a lyrical sense.

In The Air Tonight - Phil Collins
Much like One, the message and rhythm of this one are spot-on, but it may not entirely fit from a lyrical sense. The best man at our ceremony particularly liked this choice when it was mentioned to him.

Golden Years - David Bowie
I think this may be delayed until one of our anniversaries, however.

I'm In Love With A Big Blue Frog - Peter, Paul, and Mary
Our sense of "fun" is strongly encouraging us to pick this one.

Diamonds On The Soles Of Her Shoes - Paul Simon
We both like this song greatly, but it is difficult to dance to for a first dance at a wedding reception.

Fields of Gold - Sting
This, to me, is perfectly rhythmic for what I want. The music just nails it.

Something - The Beatles
The single best "typical" love song ever written, in my none too humble opinion.

Throne Room - John Williams
We may end up using this as our recessional instead, as we plan to shake the hands of our guests as they leave, with the bride and groom acting almost as ushers.

If I could have any song, I would have us dance to the version of All Things Must Pass from the Beatles Anthology 3, but the lyrical message is quite literally the opposite of what is wanted here.


Lent Diary, Day 23

In my daylog for February 19, 2003, I outlined my plan for a challenging Lenten discipline: no food or water during daylight hours. Visit that daylog for more details.

I bought a juicing machine recently, and I spent the last hour before sunset yesterday creating a concoction of oranges, lemons, and limes that was quite tasty. While I was peeling the fruits, my mind wandered off as it tends to when I do such things, and I couldn't help but think about where the fruits came from and the mysteries of life.

But when I took my first big drink of the mixture as the sun fell, I realized that part of the beauty of nature is the very mystery of it all.

And the sugars and water felt great as they slid across my tongue.

Unsung victory

There's a victory going unsung in this war and I think we should recognize it. I'm talking about the victory against terror inside the US during the first week of the war. It's safe to assume, I think, that the terrorists would certainly have struck if they could have. No time would have been better to punish the US than during the first days of the attack on Iraq. A successful attack would have brought out media critics, cowered a certain percentage of the US population in their homes and been played as a certain victory in the arab press.

The fact that it didn't happen is a tribute to all of those thousands of people who work to defend our homeland. We owe them all a big vote of thanks, from the big federal agencies like the FBI and CIA, to the state troopers and local police and even down to the lowly-treated security guard standing in the lobby of your office building. All of these people know that it's their responsibility to protect us and, collectively, they've managed to pull off a big victory here at the start of the war.

All of the interviews, security checks, arrests, and detentions have had an effect. The increased security at power plants, municipal buildings, places of congregation, airports and so on have succeeded. We've clearly reduced the terrorists' manpower and reduced the number of targets available to them. They would have attacked if they could have.

My hat's off to all those who participate in this battle. Congratulations. Job well done.

Of course, this is just the first battle of what will no doubt be a long campaign. Obviously, it's far to soon to declare victory or celebrate. There's nothing wrong, however, with recognizing a victory when you see it.

   Ok, I woke up today and read in the paper -- ok maybe on the back of a cereal box -- that Toucan Sam is kidnapped and needs my help. He... he was... is. Is. He is like a father to me. His fruity loops make me feel special inside. He was also allegedly abducted buy Count Chocula and Sonny from Cocoa Puffs... a notorious duo that never release their hostages alive.

   It must be some kind of cocoa vs. fruit conspiracy, and my poor, poor toucan friend, nay, mentor is caught in the middle of it. I got a box in the mail that had a fried chicken wing in it, and a note that read, "I ISE GONNA EAT YO BOIRD FRIEND FOR BREKFAST IF THE MONEY IS NOT DELIVRED TO ME! -Not Count Chocula" This has me in tears and I feel as if my world is falling apart at the seams.

War is not made upon any group of people, by any other group of people. Individually we may fight, and as a group we may rise in defense of a "way of life", but we, the people, do not wage war.

War is a leadership concept. It is the privilege of those who hold power, be it granted, assumed or taken, over a group of people ...such as us. In Iraq, Saddam has assumed and taken his power by convincing progressively larger groups that they would benefit by doing what he tells them to do, and then telling them to do things to the rest of the populace in order to secure his position as the top dog in Iraq. He would like to expand his power base, but without progressively larger threats, it becomes difficult to control more people in this fashion ...it is an exponential growth equation; to control one group of people, takes one measure of fear. To control two groups of people, requires three measures of fear.

In the United States ...Great Britain, and many other countries of the world, power is granted. We choose among those who want to run the big show, and grant them extraordinary powers of control. We do this through several levels of government, with some slow moving checks and balances ( good thing ) and for the most part this system works better for a large populace. I realise that in our lifetime we have the example of the Soviet Union controlling large numbers of people and vast land masses, using violent repression of local groups ...but we have also seen the chaos that results when that system fails.

No community on this planet can display the "flexibility of government" and "peaceful transition of power" enjoyed by the residents of the United States.

We have ...even those of us living now... each been instrumental in creating a "tribe" unlike any other that has ever existed. We are often compared to other civilizations which have florished and then died ...but by those very comparisons, it can be demonstrated that we are not the same. No other group of people in history has achieved the level of prosperity and peace that we enjoy.

Regardless of our crooked politics, economic downturns, and racial unrest ...we remain the one place on our planet that everyone wants to live

...( offer Saddam exile in the United States and see how fast he takes it ) Our immigrants ...those who keep our country vital and fresh... will do anything to leave the land of their birth ...even accepting poverty and discrimination... to have the opportunities we have in this country.

Those opportunities are in large part, due to our government ...non-repressive and ever changing ...and I seem to be somewhat far afield from where I started, but it is important that you view my comments in the context of my understanding.

In the United States, the visible point of power is our President. He is granted his power ...through an admittedly convoluted system which discourages the best candidates from even making the attempt ( but I will reserve that point for another rant :)... by the people he governs. We limit the time span of his influence through law ...and those checks and balances... but in fact, in times of domestic and international stress, real or imagined, we allow him to have relatively broad powers to make decisions ...and lead. He is not always right, but we have the ability to object, and the mechanism to shut him down if we need to... in fact there is only one scenario which he can precipitate faster than perhaps we can react ...and I could be wrong on that one, because the procedures involved are outside my scope of knowledge ...talking 10 bells, "HATEFULLNESS, HATEFULLNESS, HATEFULLNESS" here, launch the missiles.

So... Why should we support the removal of Saddam?

He is, in short, a very bad man.

Why has our President promoted this conflict so vehemently?

  • Firstly, I think he believes that the world will be a safer place without Saddam in it ...don't you?
  • The United States is the number one consumer of petroleum in the world ...we want it more than anyone else ...I do not believe we want to just take it; we are willing to pay for it. The largest known reserves of petroleum are in the Middle East, and the largest single producing oil field is in Iraq. Saddam is a loose cannon who can at any time disrupt the entire area, and thus disrupt our ability to buy the fluid on which our economy runs. This is not about taking oil, it is about assuring that the oil continues to flow. We don't need to own it, we just want to be able to continue to buy it...
    ( and as a side note, don't imagine for even a moment that the oil producing countries don't want to sell to us. Even Saddam wants to sell to us. For all the posturing, no other national economy depends on oil to the extent ours does. We are the largest consumers, but we are not depriving any other country access to oil needed for their own use ...except maybe North Korea? which is another "political" discussion. )
  • It is a point of national ( and family ) pride for our President to prosecute this war to a successful conclusion ...including installation of a working government model, and stabilization of the whole region ( which will probably ultimately fail due to religious conflict. That said... ) During the previous war with Saddam, our President's father led the popular charge to go to the rescue of Kuwait and expel Saddam from that country. As our President at the time, he then called upon the Iraqi people, particularly the Shiite ( religious group ) population in the south, and the Kurdish ( another religious faction ) population in the north, to rise up and overthrow Saddam. These people followed the suggestion of our President, who then decided the war had fulfilled its objective and withdrew our troops. This left these two trusting "minorities" in a world-of-hurt and Saddam massacred them by the thousands ...driving the Shiite remnants into Iran, and isolating the Kurds in the northern hill country of Iraq between him and another one of their sworn enemies ...the Turks. Our President would like to remove some portion of this blot on his father's legacy ...and restore international confidence in the integrity of the United States.

Points you should know about the "war" in Iraq... and a bit of opinion

  • The single moment at which we might have attained an "instant" victory ...did not accomplish that goal. We took our shot, and we may have been extremely close but thus far, it would appear that we missed Saddam ( I really wanted to see him come on television, waggle his fingers by his ears, and chant "You missed me. You missed me..." That would have really proved that he was alive :)
  • A "compassionate" war takes time. It will not be without mistakes ...civilians will die ( but I am willing to bet that Saddam, or his proxies, kill far more than we do ) And our own losses will be proportionately higher because of our desire to target only the "bad guys"...

    Anyone who expected this war to be concluded within a week will be very disappointed three months from now.

  • Our losses will be far larger than most of us are currently able to understand. The right questions have not been asked. The generals are not going to tell us what the casualty estimates are... Ask them how many coffins were purchased for this conflict. ( My "reliable" source indicates that at least 30,000 coffins were ordered by and delivered to the U.S. Government for use in the Iraqi conflict )
  • Any fight, or local conflict will quickly show you, who your friends are. War quickly defines who your friends are, on an international scale. And in case you haven't been paying attention, our friends fall very quickly into the Anglic community; Britain and Australia are the big players. Their underlying concerns revolve around economy and security, but I also believe they are of a like mind regarding the threat posed by Saddam as a "leader" ...Those who chose to lay out, and prevent the conflict -- France, Germany, Russia -- are going to be found culpable in provided aide to a known, and sanctioned, enemy state. They simply did not want us to find out what they were doing... All of this will be camoflaged in all sorts of statements ...but the leaders of these countries, each hold a certain tainted regard for the United States. Our success against them, and without them has historically been a bitter pill to swallow and they are not content to enjoy the ride, and prosper; it is outside their nature, and always has been. This war will rewrite the power alignments of the world, and you should not be surprised if thesethree no longer consider us in a friendly fashion ...and we will be compelled to defend ourselves in some fashion against their mechinations to weaken our economy specifically, and reduce our influence upon the world in general. They fear us... and regardless of the truth of this perception ...well, all perceptions are truth to the perceptor.
  • The only manner in which long term stability will be accomplished in Iraq, is for the United States to maintain a guiding hand in its government ...and a firm hand in its defense. There should be no standing Iraqi army. It would be in our best interest politically and economically to guard Iraq's independence with total objectivity. Our only mission should be to assure stability so that the spice oil can flow ...to everyone. And the UN ...the UN should be allowed to monitor our goodwill ...from a distance equal to the support we received in the removal of Saddam's threat to the region ..and the whole world.
  • Protests regarding this conflict on the streets of the United States, are a travesty. The call to advise the President that the people thought he was making a mistake was proper ...and needed. But now that our citizens are involved in the liberation of Iraq from the tyranny of Saddam ( I don't think anyone can argue the use of the word "tyranny" ) we should be showing support for their efforts to contain the operation to those responsible for the problem; and when the next Presidential election occurs, we can speak more plainly to President Bush regarding our thoughts on his decision to put our fellow -- loyal, dedicated, patriotic, compassionate -- citizens, in harm's way. It is the beauty of our system of government that we are allowed to comment anonymously on the performance of our leaders, offering encouragement to those who perform their functions according to our desires, and removing those who do not ...smoothly, peacefully, without disrupting our wealth of power and influence; those factors which serve to garantee all those "freedoms" we demand.

In Conclusion...

I believe this conflict was long overdue, but I do not necessarily agree that it was necessary. We are the "nicest" world power in history when it comes to our regard for the rights of others, and adherence to "law" ...we should have found a way to take Saddam out, one-on-one regardless of the international "rules" against the asassination of a world leader ...by sanction of another country. Saddam has never played by the rules, and in my mind that makes him exempt from their protection.

The end of the conflict in Iraq will not be the end of anything.

It will not make the world more stable, or peaceful... there are still a large number of problems in just the Middle East which we contribute to as a nation.

By choosing to separate our "state" from religion, we created something unique in the world. We are still largely unique in this respect, and it will for all of my future be the largest point of misunderstanding between the United States and the rest of the world. We do not understand the religious fervor of our "enemies" and their perception of our society as "godless" ...we hold our religious beliefs as individuals, and that is something outside of the experience of most of the rest of the world ( may have to exclude China in that statement :)

In the words of Pogo, "We have met the enemy, and he, is us."

As long as we succeed in our grand experiment we will be reviled by those whose leaders do not allow them to participate ...or even consider participation. We will be hated because we are different... and only our vigilence, strength and compassion will allow us to survive.

There is no place else I would rather be. How about you?


Source: /me ...Robert Jackson Chaney, aged 51 years, 3 months, born in Lubbock, Texas, currently living in Seattle, Washington, married, two step-sons, two daughters, expectant Grandfather, worker bee... and I think, a patriot.


Nothing like a little comment...

  • evilrooster says, "Thanks, but I don't particularly want to be in the US as it currently stands, with the arrogance of power unchecked by concern for any who may be affected by it."
  • enth says, "Hmm, I support my countrymen out fighting in the desert, and hope for the best for them; I do not support the actions of the government (ostensibly, my government) which put them there. How is it a travesty to voice my opinion on thelatter considering my opinion on the former? This is a good writeup, by the way -- well put."."
  • Wiccanpiper says, "Very good indeed! Just a few typos (courtesy Typo Death Squad: priviledge -> privilege ( I've always mispelled that one :); garantee -> guarantee ( I've been marked down both ways in my time, and believe a bit of research will show that both spellings are acceptable ); experiement -> experiment ( I just flat missed that one ). Thanks for posting this!"."
  • QXZ says, "I must completely reject your statement that anti-war protesting is a 'travesty'. If I, and many others, believe this to be an egregious crime against humanity then you, as a supposed supporter of democracy, should be entirely happy that we CAN register our dissent and do all in our power to prevent what we belive to be a horrible crime. "Shutting up and going along" does not make for good democracies"
  • RainMirage says, "Fabulous writeup, I would C! you if I had the power."
The secrit diry of George W. Bush

Thursday 27th March 2003

War going great! Lots of bombs and splosions and stuff, plenty of Eye-rackies taken out. Gave a speech yesterday to some army folk; didn't really have any facts for em, but I looked em right in the eye and said that we'd win, no matter what - I got a heck of a lotta cheers! Some whoops and hollers, too!

To top off a great day, my best friend Tony came by to visit. We went to my room and listened to records, I like that new Snoop track, but Tony thinks he cusses too much. He's such a square! I love him though. We talked about how much we'd like to kiss that April Laveene chick, and Tony went all red - and when I stared at a poster of April, I felt all hot, and my thingy went all straight and hard - Tony didn't notice, good thing too, it was scary. I hope I didn't catch anything.

Saddam has been saying nasty things about me again. I hate him so much. I asked my daddy to go and beat him up a few years ago, but I guess nothing came of it. He won't talk about it now, sends me to my room if I even mention the desert. But I'll show that Saddam, by golly! Wait'll he sees the reinforcements coming for im! It'll make him just about shit!

Casualty report so far: 22 of our boys (9 by friendly fire, 13 by dirty Eye-rackies), 20 of Tony's boys (18 by friendly fire or accidents, 2 by filthy Eye-rackies) - also 2 of Tony's boys are missing. I think they're dead, they've been gone a long time without their dinner. I bet the Eye-rackie soldiers are embarrassed as all hell, seeing as how we've killed more of our own troops than they've managed to! We bagged 27 of our own in friendly fire, they've only killed 17 of us! We're showing them dumbass Eye-rackies, by gum! Plus, we've waxed over a thousand of their troops, and a couple hunnert civilians - people got angry today about that market bombing, but hey, as we say in Texas, if you can't stand the heat, you ain't got no business in the kitchen. Pause here. Day by day, Saddam is losing his grip. Pause here a bit longer. And we will prevail. Hold for cheers, whoops and hollers. Oh, wait, I'm just repeating my speech from the other day! I do that sometimes, I forget what I'm saying and where I am! Silly me! I'd forget my own head if I dun left it in yon chicken house!

Weapons of mass dee-struction found so far: None yet. But I know he's hidin em!

So my girlfriend was featured reader at a poetry reading today, and I naturally went, partly of obligation, partly because I'd like to see what poetry is like outside of my incestuous circle of English major friends. As one might have imagined, antiwar poetry was a major theme, and in reaction I first considered writing some sort of pro-war poem, but nothing flowed right, and my heart wasn't in it. So, I just decided to write plain old war poetry.

Column

there is a column of smoke on the desert horizon
spirit of a million cigarettes, fractal
the forge always envying the pyre

there is a column of metal in the middle of the desert
and plastic, and ceramic, and the most unnatural chemicals the world has known
and it never sleeps, for fever dreams of hoof, and gear, and sinew

there is a column of words at the bottom of the desert
May syntax, December lexicon
hybrid vigor

there is no column of salt, however, in the heart of the desert
no pause, no looking backwards - we are humans,
there never was any such direction.

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