Today's the date of the Virtual March on Washington and, due to concerns that my employers might not be too enthusiastic about my sending political e-mail from work, I'm not going to participate. However, I composed some letters a few days ago and popped 'em in the mail--hopefully, they've had time to make it to the White House and to my Congresscritters by now.

The text of the letters I sent is reproduced below...

Dear ((President Bush, Senators Hutchison and Cornyn, and Representative Combest)),

I am writing because of the concerns about the upcoming Iraq invasion that I share with many people across our nation and across our world.

I am not foolish enough to think that my voice will be listened to. The decision to invade was made long ago, several years before 9/11, by my reckoning. No matter what I say, no matter how many people in America protest, no matter how many people worldwide protest, the invasion will go on.

However, though I do not expect my government to listen, I will eagerly add my voice to the crowd. I do not favor the upcoming invasion of Iraq. Thanks to the Internet, I have been able to carefully read many, many pages of evidence and opinion, and I believe that Saddam Hussein does not threaten America at this time. I have seen no proof that he is an ally of Al Qaeda. There are greater and more important threats that we, as a nation, must face, including the nuclear threats of North Korea and the continuing existence of Osama bin Laden and Al Qaeda. I do not believe that our economy can currently sustain a major invasion and long-term occupation, especially not without the support and aid of our international allies. We do not have the world support that will be necessary for this invasion, we have no exit strategy for the war, and we've shown no interest in rebuilding anything afterwards. I do not favor this war. And I believe that this invasion will only serve to strengthen Al Qaeda and America's enemies.

I also believe that the administration has behaved in a manner that I can only describe as rude. I grew up in Texas and was taught how to play nice with others, and I know that, if I had treated my childhood playmates with the same impoliteness and arrogance that we have shown to the nations that should be our allies, I would have spent my youth friendless, ignored, and despised by my schoolmates. We must start communicating with our allies, rather than trying to command them. We must start treating our allies as our friends, rather than as useful tools. We must start respecting our allies' rights to disagree with us, rather than demanding that they behave like yes-men. We must stop squandering the goodwill that we enjoyed in the days after the September 11th attacks.

Finally, we, as a nation, must stop equating dissent with either anti-American or pro-Saddam feelings. There is, simply, no correlation. Disagreeing with the government is a punishable offense in places like Iraq, but not here in the United States. We are very fortunate, as I'm sure you agree, that the protections of the First Amendment allow us the freedom to protest and disagree. The fact that many citizens, pundits, and even politicians prefer to deride dissenters as traitors instead of trying to persuade them or refute their arguments is a depressing commentary on the value our nation seems to place in the Constitution and the First Amendment.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely, Jet-Poop

Personally, I think sending letters by snail mail makes a bigger impact on our legislators than e-mail does. Not all of these politicians really seem to understand the concept of e-mail, and I've heard that many of them see a mailed letter as taking more effort than a few lines typed into Outlook and clicked into the ether. That isn't to say you shouldn't participate in the Virtual March--much of the idea behind this is to force our representatives in Washington to confront the fact that many citizens oppose the upcoming Iraqi invasion. But it wouldn't hurt, once you've sent your e-mail or made your telephone call (though I doubt the Capitol will be accepting any phone calls after about 9 a.m., haw haw haw) to spend a few dimes on some stamps and send your missives off by the mail, just in case. And hey, you folks who favor the war should participate, too. Make sure your representatives hear your voice, as well.

Okay, Jack, bring on the illegal telephone surveillance and assorted dirty tricks!
Having cleaned myself of the physical grime of yesterday, I got in my car and drove somemore. The freshly fallen snow, with tracks crissing and crossing, crunched under my tires as I drove to the park in the center of town. Walking through the bare trees, feeling the cold air, my cheeks barely warmed by the light of the sun, I thought about my decisions made earlier that day.

This walk through the park was like a final survey of the life I was denying and leaving behind. Watching the people in their business suits walking to and fro, battling the wind and each other in their quest for a little more money. Seeing a little girl take delight at feeding the birds with her mother, the wonder of discovery flashing on her eyes. Suburbia at its finest. I walked to a bench, and lit a cigarette. Watching the sun get blotted out by a cloud, and that cloud moments later blotted out in turn by my exhaled smoke, I felt a brief tug of regret. I knew I could stay, even at this comparatively late hour in my planning. I knew I could "settle down" as everyone who has called it. And I knew I might be happy that way. But something about it repelled me. Something inherent to it, at this moment, repulsed me in such an acute and powerful manner I would accept total uncertainty and increased danger to avoid it. I would follow a path that may lead to my own regrets and personal destruction to not take the risk of whether I could be happy like that or not. And I used that fact to, in the end, justify leaving this all behind.

I walked back to my car. I felt this as the last moment that I could back out with minimal effort. I took one last long draw of my cigarette, looked behind me, and flicked it away. Getting into my car, I knew that whereever I was going, it was going to be drastically different than it was here. Whether this was good or not was beyond my caring anymore. All I knew is that I rejected that path which had been mandated for me, and I was finding my own. So good or bad, healthy or not, safe or dangerous, it was my own. It was with a certain excitement that I pulled back into traffic...

"How often can you see all of the Cascades and Mount Rainier like this?" I asked the girl at the desk.

"Whenever it's clear," she replied. Behind her was a large bay window; we were on the 37th floor where one could see most of Seattle and all of it's surrounding beauty, but only when it was clear. There wasn't a cloud in the sky. But for some reason, this isn't abnormal for me.

"See, the last time I was here, it was like this, and we could see Rainier and all the other mountains." I am in training this week, the last time I was at this same technical center the weather had been blue skies all week. But the frequency of beautiful weather in Seattle for me goes much further than these two occurrences.

"Well, you should come here more often," she giggled in response. Upon a seeming conversational inquiry to what the weather had been like I was informed that it had been overcast and drizzling as usual, but had clear up the day before...the day I came into town.

The night before when I checked into my hotel I also asked the girl what the weather had been like. "Unsettlingly pleasant, you know what I mean?" was her response. I did. It has been a very mild winter for everyone. Seattle has had no snow. The mountains have seen very little. But it's not normally like this.

To most talking about he weather is mundane conversation but for me it only reinforces a belief of mine. I am cursed. I have a sun blight. Let me clarify this. I was born in the middle of the rainiest area of the United States, the Olympic Peninsula, where it rains over 120 inches a year. The rainiest area in North American is just to the North, on Vancouver Island. Rain was a part of my everyday life. If I never had gone out to play when it was raining I would have never gone out at all.

When I was 12 we moved to the middle of the state, into a large wasteland, a dry desert and rain seized to be a part of my life. Don't get me wrong, in the last seven years that I have noticed this hex, I have had some rain fall on my head but it seems as if I must surprise Mother Nature by taking an unexpected trip. And the weather usually will clear up in a day or a day in a half at the most leaving me with blue skies.

Now I know what you're thinking; What's the big deal? I wish I could have your luck with the weather. But for me it's not that great of a thing and why I call it a curse. There is something that comforts me when I feel the rain on my head, hear the drops striking the ground, and smell the dust kicked up by the change in humidity, it is some thing of a homecoming.

Could this whole hex be part of my imagination? This is something I've asked myself many times. As I said, I've noticed it over seven years ago in the summer of 1995. I spent 10 days in Seattle and all of them were beautiful. While I was coming in it was overcast and sprinkling and when I left the clouds returned. Since then, without fail, I come to this city I get the same results. One thought that did cross my mind was that Seattle's rain is merely a propaganda ploy to keep Californians from moving here but that's just the crazy conspiracy theorist in me talking. Seattle has to have rain sometimes, else, it wouldn't be the Emerald City, the trees would all die and people would need sprinklers for their lawns. Not to mention, Seattle's suicide rate, one of the highest in the nation, wouldn't be attributed to the gloomy weather.

My wife always criticizes me when I don't bother to take an umbrella with me to Seattle. I tell her I'm pretty sure it's not going to rain. She thinks talking about it will have the opposite effect. If I claim it's not going to rain, it will just to spite my claim. Don't I wish. In fact, I believe it doesn't rain to spite me. Maybe this writeup will have a more dramatic effect than just talking about it...but I really don't think it will. So Seattleites, you're welcome for the lovely weather this week!

I guess I am the minority here that supports the governments actions in regards to Iraq and the War on Terror and today being the Virtual March on Washington I have passed my thoughts along to the President. I support the actions of the White House. There are things with the current administration I don't agree with and have voiced concern over such things to my local senator and representative, both state and national.

Another question I have is why aren't there more pro-war protests? I mean we have anti-war and anti-american protests all over the world. But what about the countries that support the actions of the president? What about the people here in the United States that support the actions in Iraq?

In interesting story I'll share before I get off my soapbox: This morning on the drive into work, I was listening to my local radio station and a lady called in to share a story about the peace protest that was happening outside of city hall. She and her family went down to protest for the war and had a sign with her brother's picture in uniform. She related how several people told her they wish her brother died while he was serving.

I hope that isn't the attitude of anyone working for peace. If so, you should be ashamed.

The Message You Will Never Get

So Valentines day is over and nothing from you. And I didn't want you to, I really didn't but nonetheless I was so very depressed and upset when you didn't. It's getting easier, the rationalisation is getting easier. Convincing myself that I hate you when I don't is not easy though.I still miss you a great deal, and thoughts still cause a physical sensation that makes me wince.

And now I'm dreaming about you. I never did early on, maybe because all my waking thoughts were about you, but now you are in my dreams. I want to reach out to you, hold your hand again, laughwith you, share it all with you. The sunshine makes me sad. Being in the sun is so wrapped up with being with you. How can I convince myself that you're not worth it. I know you're not. I know that you're back with her, been on holiday twice now with her. That you are going to go away, and maybe she will go with you. I hope that happens. For my sake I hope you and her are not around.

I never expected such a physical reaction to seeing you. I'm sorry I run away, I always feel so bad afterwards but I have no idea how to handle seeing you face to face. What would we say? And I might cry, or you might be off-hand and distant and I would be hurt again. So I run away. And I wonder fterwards what you think. Do you think it's because I hate you, I hope not, I hope you understand that it's because I still Love you that I can't see you. Are you disappointed in me do you feel like I've let you down, because before you said I Love You I said We Can Be Friends.

And I'm tired of the sound of my own voice. Tired of going over it all in my head, of lurching from one extreme emotion to another. Physically, mentally and emotionally tired. I'd like you not to be the first thing that I think of when I wake up. I'd like to be able to remember what I did last week, or last month because my head is so obsessed with you that nothing else registers. You missed my birthday. Because I ran away from you again, because you didn't know it was my birthday, because you don't care at all? I don't have the answer. And I don't have the guts to find out. I'd like to know if you'll be gone soon, I want you to go, I really do, but I know that it will be so hard when you do. But it's another hurdle, I've done Valentines and my birthday, so this is the only one left. But will I find an excuse for that too if you don't let me know.

I'll keep reading my list, reminding myself of all the bad things.

The Curse

She thought he was cute and since he was sitting alone she decided to go over and ask if she could join him.

He looks up with cold, uninterested eyes and says flatly, "I will never have sex with you."

"Excuse me?" she asks widening her eyes as if it helped her hear him better.

"No matter what you do I won't have sex with you. I mean intercourse. I probably shouldn't even kiss you or anything, because that would just get your hopes up."

"All I asked was if I could sit with you."

"Sure. I just wanted you to know."

Not knowing for sure if the guy is psycho she debates quickly whether to go ahead and sit down. What the hell, she figures, she has mace in her purse if this guy tries anything.

Before she even finishes sitting he starts up again, "Mmm, you really are beautiful. I really could make you feel good without actually fucking you."

The left side of her ass fails to hit the chair and she starts to fall before grabbing the table to save herself. She pushes up to stand again and fires back, "Jesus, you really are arrogant aren't you? Or do I just look like some huge slut?"

He is calm and begins stating "facts" like he was reading from an almanac, "You don't look like a slut at all. And I don't equate women wanting to fuck me with arrogance. It's a curse, you see."

She looks at the door as if to see if it will tell her if she should pass through it and leave this nut behind. She turns back to him and blurts the only response she can think of, "Are you insane?"

"I don't think so. I had counseling for a while, but I think I'll be okay now," he replies coldly, staring right in her eyes. There is no emotion in his face, but a tear leaks out the corner of his right eye, which he casually wipes away.

The tear is all she notices. She decides this guy isn't crazy, he's just been hurt a lot and so she sits down. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to snap at you. You just come off a little..." she doesn't know how to finish and she's hoping he'll help, but he just stares at her with no feeling. "Well," she begins again, "I was just a little taken aback."

"It's alright," he offers, but his voice is not the least bit comforting, "should we go to my apartment or yours now?"

She shakes her head in wonder and decides to bring this guy back to reality, "Look, couldn't I just have a normal conversation with you? I never said I just wanted you for sex."

"No, but you didn't deny it either. Why would any stranger want to sit with another stranger? People have friends they can talk to, but they don't desire all their friends."

"Okay, I won't deny I'm attracted to you, but you can't just go around sleeping with people these days..."

He cuts her off with a monotone, "All the women I meet do. At least they do with me. It's my curse."

She laughs a little, probably would have laughed harder if he didn't look so joyless, "That's some curse!"

"Oh, I'm not a prude. I just don't want to get anyone pregnant. And all the women who want me don't want children, at least not when they want me. You don't do you?"

"Don't? Oh, want kids, no I don't, not now, but it's not like I don't use birth control."

"You are on the pill. And you'd use a condom if you fucked me as well, but that's as far as you've ever gone. Of course you'd do more to be able to fuck me, they all would."

She wonders how he knew she was on the pill or if he was just guessing. She decides to go along with what he is saying and asks, "Well, doesn't that make you happy?"

He shakes his head, one of the few movements he's made the whole time she's seen him, "It would if it worked, but they all get pregnant. All of them. That's the second part of the curse."

She starts to think this guy may be crazy, but she's enjoying the story, so she encourages him, "How many women?"

"I've lost count. I tried more and more protection but it didn't help. But I've been good, I haven't slept with a woman in a month."

"A month? Geez...and you've lost count? You certainly aren't a prude."

"It doesn't really have anything to do with me. It's you. You come up to me -- I have NEVER hit on a woman in my life, they all come to me. Just like you. You come up to me, you convince me YOU won't get pregnant, but it's always the same."

"What about all your children?"

He looks disappointed, "Come on, what would YOU do if I got you pregnant now?"

She knows she couldn't have a baby. Not now. She tries to say something but it won't come out, and it doesn't have to because he speaks again, "Yeah, you'd kill it. They all do. I know I'm not a good Catholic, but my parents made it a special point in bringing me up to explain how the unborn are alive. And I'm not going to murder anyone else."

She thinks of how even if this guy is exaggerating, even if he's only gotten a couple girls pregnant because they forgot a pill, it would be pretty bad. No wonder he had counseling.

She tries to comfort him, "Look, I don't want you to kill anyone, I'm sorry sex has always lead to pregnancy for you, but does that mean you can't just relax a little and talk with me?"

"I'm not?"

"Well, you certainly don't look relaxed. But I suppose coffee shops don't design these chairs to encourage you to stay forever. Maybe would should go somewhere else?"

"I already asked, you place or mine?"

***

"Sorry the place is a mess, I wasn't expecting company."

"We could have gone to my place," he says as he looks around her apartment, taking in everything without seeming to care at all if it were an expensive hotel or a zoo.

"Well, make yourself comfortable," she offers as she hangs up her coat, then adds, "That's why we came here."

"I know why we came here," he states firmly.

She can't really understand why he is so obsessed about her wanting him for just sex. She wonders just how many women he got pregnant. Then she started to wonder if he was even attracted to her. He seemed so cold most of the time it was hard to imagine him getting excited about anything.

"You know I'll do anything you want besides intercourse, don't you?" he interupts her thought and she sees he is just staring at her.

"What?" she asks as if she hadn't heard him, she had, she just wasn't sure what he meant.

"You look like you want my attention. I told you you were beautiful, you should know I want you."

"People say women are beautiful all the time. And..."

"I don't," he cuts her off again but she continues, albeit stuttering a little, "You...you just seem to be so worried I'll try to sleep with you."

"No, worried you'll try to fuck me," he corrected. She liked the way he was so blunt. So dirty and yet he's worried about her trying to have sex with him! "And worried you'll get your hopes up that I'll let you. I won't."

She believed him too much to think that was a challenge, but she was feeling really sexy suddenly, so she grinned a little and asked, "And if I promise I won't?"

"I'll do anything you want."

And he did. It was the best sex she had ever had. Especially since they didn't actually have sex, or she supposed they did, well, she didn't know what to call it. Intercourse, that's they way he described it earlier, he wouldn't have intercourse, and they didn't. But as he slept next to her in the dark of her bedroom she couldn't help but think that she had never been more satisfied.

She rubbed her hand up his leg and when she went from his leg to his stomach she noticed he was hard. She turned and peered at his face in the darkness. She wanted to check if he was asleep, and she realized she didn't even know his first name. "Honey?" she asked. No response. But his hardness certainly was responsive.

She had an idea. She hadn't missed a pill in years, she had some condoms around here somewhere, she could just climb on top of him. But he might freak out when he woke up. But maybe he wouldn't wake up. She decided to do some experiments. She straddled him and held him with her hand. His face didn't move. His eyes were still closed. She leaned over to listen to him breath. Sounded pretty regular to her. "Honey?" she said a little louder. No response. This would be good. Guys have wet dreams all the time. All she wanted was to be able to tell him about this later, when she knows for sure she isn't pregnant, that will keep him from worrying so much in the future. In the meantime they can keep having fun like they did tonight. This guy may be too messed up to have any kind of relationship with, but he sure was good for sex.

She got up to get a condom. It was pretty dark so she decided she needed to turn on a small desk lamp. Looking back at him she saw he still slept peacefully in her bed. She found one and returned to her lover. Rolling the condom over him she watched his face, no sign of awakening. She was getting very excited so she slid him inside of her easily. She checked once more to see if he woke up. He didn't and so she forgot about him and thought only of it. She moved herself up and down and tried not to go too fast or let out too many moans. She increased her pace and varied her pelvic movements until some time later she could feel him throb inside her. She focused on him again, he still slept.

She went to the bathroom to get a washcloth to clean him up, she didn't want him to figure anything out until she had her next period.

***

She woke up the next morning and he wasn't in bed. She strained her eyes open and looked around the room. He was standing at the foot of her bed, he had just finished dressing.

"Thank you for last night," he said with as little emotion as ever.

"Leaving so soon?" she said glancing at the clock which told he it was six in the morning.

He smiled, "Yeah, I got what I wanted. It was great. You fuck good."

She blinked and looked hurt, "F..fucked?"

He smiled bigger, "Yeah, I know you feel stupid because you thought I was asleep, they all do, but you were really good. You should concentrate on that."

She tried to speak but was stunned. He continued, "And you got what you wanted. You got to feel powerful for a night. Feel like you could make somebody do something they didn't want to, even if you stole it while they slept. I used to let women talk me into having sex with them, but I've done the whole fake sleep thing a few times now and I really get off on it. Although I resent you even more."

She shook her head and tried to speak again but nothing came out. He just kept assaulting her with his words, "I used to be honest with women, I told them how I wanted to touch them and make them feel good. But of course they didn't let me. That would make them easy, wouldn't it? So they taught me it was easier to lie. Tell them you don't want something, that will make them try and give it to you. They want power, to feel power. Power over other people. They're afraid of being manipulated so they manipulate. And they even steal, like you. Force. A force women don't get to experience. Men can rape all the time, but only the women I've been with get to feel that kind of false control." He stopped for a moment and just smiled, "I suppose I'm bitter. I suppose it could work with some woman. I could be honest and so could she and it would work. But I didn't find it for so long. I quit. I gave up. So I'm weak, oh well. I'll use my weakness to make you all feel powerful, at least for a night.

"Maybe some day I'll meet a woman that is truly powerful," his voice was raising, "One that will want to have sex with me, and she'll tell me she has realized that she wants me, and since I'm so set against it that we are better off not seeing each other. And so I won't be able to have her. I won't be able to fuck her," he was almost screaming now, "Fuck her like I fucked you, like I fucked hundreds of women, by manipulating them into fucking me. And maybe the only way I will ever have her is to stop all my fucking lying and go back to being good. Go back to being honest," he ended by yelling, "But until then I'll just keep fucking you all and leaving you like this." And he left.

Today's Headlines

US News

10 Dead In Nursing Home Fire
An early morning fire at the Greenwood Health Center in Hartford, Connecticut killed ten residents and injured twenty five more, according to fire officials. The fire broke out at approximately 2:35 AM this morning and consumed a corridor of the nursing home before being contained. More than 100 residents had been evacuated. One person has been arrested in the case, but details on the charges have not been made public.

Grand Jury Convened to Investigate Rhode Island Nightclub Fire
Rhode Island state officials convened a grand jury yesterday to investigate the nightclub fire that killed 97 people last week. The jury is expected to probe the case thoroughly, investigating not only the nightclub owners and patrons, but members of the band Great White (who was performing in the club at the time of the fire) and city officials. The club owners have been viewed as less than cooperative during the investigation, although one of the owners, Jeffrey Derderian, is a reporter for the local Fox affiliate and has given several media interviews since the catastrophe.

Snowstorm Nails Great Plains, South
Residents of the southern states of Arkansas and Texas received more than a foot of snow in the last 24 hours, resulting in the cancellation of dozens of flights and the closing of hundreds of businesses and schools. The bad weather is expected to continue today, where both areas are expected to receive additional freezing rain. The state of Texas is reporting that as many as nine deaths are related to the storm.

International News

Bush Threatens To Try Hussein As War Criminal
US president George W. Bush said yesterday that if Saddam Hussein or his generals "take innocent life, if they destroy infrastructure, they will be held accountable as war criminals." White House spokesman Ari Fleischer took this statement a step further, saying "If we go to war in Iraq, and hostilities result, command and control generals ... cannot assume they will be safe." This is the latest step in a continuing escalation of words from the United States on the building tensions with Iraq, rooted in the United States' accusation that Iraq possesses "weapons of mass destruction."

Saddam Says He Will Die In Iraq
In a three hour interview with Dan Rather of CBS News, Iraqi president Saddam Hussein stated that he would not go into exile, but would instead die in Iraq if there was a military conflict between the United States and his country. Other statements of interest during the three hour interview included a flat denial of any association between Hussein and al Qaeda and a challenge for a debate between Hussein and Bush to discuss the war issue, to be televised and broadcasted over the radio worldwide. The interview airs Wednesday evening on the CBS news program 60 Minutes II.

Fidel Castro Visits China
Fidel Castro arrived in Beijing, China for a four day visit and was greeted by a group of Chinese officials at the Capital Airport. On the agenda for Castro's four day visit include an official talk with Chinese leader Jiang Zemin and a formal welcoming ceremony in Beijing's Great Hall of the People. The visit is expected to reinforce good relations between the two nations, as Cuba is viewed as China's third most important trading partner.

Business

AOL Launches Music Copying Service
America Online is launching a service today that will allow subscribers to listen to new music and copy it to CDs for a fixed monthly fee, which ranges as high as $17.95 a month for unlimited downloads. The first 30 days of the standard service are free for AOL subscribers. The program, called "MusicNet on AOL," is intended to increase the amount of money per month that the company can obtain from subscribers, since its subscriber base has fallen flat in recent months. The service is being run by a consortium of major record labels.

HP Profit Jumps 49% In Quarter
Citing a stronger market for consumer PC sales, HP reported a 49% increase in quarterly profit Tuesday, beating Wall Street estimates by a penny, excluding one-time charges. This is the company's best performance since its merger with Compaq last year, and provides an indication that perhaps the computer market is showing signs of a rebound after a sluggish two year period of sales.

Ex-Qwest Execs Named In Fraud Charges
The Justice Department filed charges on Tuesday against four former midlevel executives at Qwest, charging them with criminal fraud in relation to revenue inflation for a project to link schools in Arizona to the internet. The SEC also filed a civil securities fraud complaint against the same four executives, as well as four more, including one still employed by Qwest. This charge cites the Arizona school scam as well as services the company reported having sold to Genuity in 2000. This is the latest in a series of government crackdowns in securities fraud in the wake of the Enron scandal and other corporate accounting scandals of recent years.

Science & Technology

Pioneer 10 Falls Silent
After failing to receive a signal in the last two contact attempts, NASA has cancelled futher plans to contact the Pioneer 10 space probe. The last signal from the craft was received on January 22, 2003, which was extremely faint. It is believed that the ship's radioisotope power source has decayed and that the ship does not have the power to send a signal to earth. Pioneer 10 was launched March 2, 1972 and was the first ship to visit Jupiter. In 1983, the craft passed out of the solar system, becoming Earth's first extrasolar craft. It will continue to drift in space, heading in the general direction of Aldebaran, which it will reach in just over two million years.

Sun Alters Software Strategy
Sun Microsystems will reveal today details of its new software strategy, known as Project Orion. The new software is a subscription-based service which will deliver Sun's Open Net Environment software package on a quarterly basis to subscribers. The package will run on Solaris and Linux. Jonathan Schwarz, Sun's VP of software, describes Orion as "the new religion" and claims that it is "integrated and open, simple, supporting interoperable standards, predictable and ubiquitously available."

Microsoft Challenges IM To Evolve
David Gurle, Microsoft's product unit manager for the company's upcoming Greenwich messaging platform, said on Tuesday that instant messaging needs to move beyond its current paradigms and become a more ubiquitous enterprise application. Speaking at the IM Planet Spring 2003 Conference in Boston, Gurle compared instant messaging to a teenager with an identity crisis, and said that to truly grow, IM must "grow up," integrating itself into mobile and telephone networks and become a part of other applications such as stock trading.

Health

Teens Drink 20% of US Alcohol
Researchers from Columbia University's National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse released a study yesterday evaluating public statistics from 1999 which indicate that underage drinkers account for almost 20% of the alcohol consumed in the United States annually. "'These analyses show that it is not in the alcohol industry's financial interest to voluntarily enact strategies to reduce underage or adult excessive drinking,'' the researchers said.

Experts Question "Black AIDS Vaccine"
Experts called into question VaxGen's claim of developing a vaccine that works well for treating AIDS in African-Americans. The study is seen as not being statistically sound, since only 13 black volunteers became infected during the trial. This small number could cause large statistical flaws in the study, meaning that VaxGen's promoted result, in terms of treating AIDS effectively in blacks, is likely very flawed.

Sports

Match Play Tournament Excites Golf Fans
The Match Play Championship opens today, which pits golfers against each other in a golf variation known as match play, in which individual golfers compete against each other in one-on-one competition. The level of competition in the tournament is high, and with Tiger Woods and Ernie Els teeing up, fans are hoping of a dream final between the two top golfers.

Bryant Finally Fails To Score 40
After nine consecutive games of scoring 40 or more points, Kobe Bryant's scoring streak ended last night, as Bryant scored 32 as his Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 109-98, the twelfth win in fourteen games for the Lakers. Kobe's streak sits at third on the all-time list, behind Wilt Chamberlain's streaks of 10 and 14 games.

Entertainment

My Big Fat Greek Life Big Success
CBS's new comedy My Big Fat Greek Life debuted on Monday, scoring 22.9 million viewers. The series is based on the smash hit film My Big Fat Greek Wedding and stars most of the film's cast. It was the most successful sitcom debut since NBC's Jesse debuted in 1998. With the ratings victory, CBS enlarged their already wide lead in the February sweeps, leading the other networks by more than a million viewers on average.

Robert Blake Goes To Court
Actor Robert Blake will finally get his day in court today, as a preliminary hearing to decide whether or not there is enough evidence against Blake to warrant a trial is held today. Blake is accused of shooting and killing his wife, Bonnie Lee Bakley, on May 4, 2001.


And Now, Some Typical Daylog Fare

After my recent writeups on Blue Jay Way and Pinkerton, several e2 readers have written me asking what was on my "depression tape" (and also on my "antidepression tape", but that'll wait for another day) that I listened to during some of the down periods in my life. What follows is a rough track listing of the tape, which was 110 minutes in length.

Side 1
Have You Ever Seen The Rain?
Blue Jay Way by The Beatles
Tonite Reprise by The Smashing Pumpkins
across the sea by Weezer
Yer Blues by The Beatles
No Depression In Heaven by The Carter Family
Bridge Over Troubled Water by Simon and Garfunkel
Violin Concerto (Mendelssohn) by Isaac Stern
All Apologies by Nirvana
Screen Door by Uncle Tupelo
Stuck Outside of Mobile (With The Memphis Blues Again) by Bob Dylan
Hungry Ants by Barry Adamson
Piggies by The Beatles
March of the Pigs by Nine Inch Nails
Sour Times by Portishead
Muleskinner's Blues by Woody Guthrie
Infinite Sadness by The Smashing Pumpkins
Subterranean Homesick Blues by Bob Dylan

Side 2
I Am A Rock by Simon and Garfunkel
Fur Elise
Brother, Can You Spare A Dime? by E. Y. Harburg
The Sounds of Silence by Simon and Garfunkel
Help! by The Beatles
I'm Down by The Beatles
Not Dark Yet by Bob Dylan
Waiting For The Miracle by Leonard Cohen
Burn by Nine Inch Nails
Numb by Portishead
Mandolin Rain by Bruce Hornsby
The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down by The Band
Won't Get Fooled Again by The Who
One by U2
Paint It Black by The Rolling Stones
Acoustic Highway by Craig Chaquico
Alice's Restaurant by Arlo Guthrie
Butterfly by Weezer

It's pretty obvious that listening to this in a loop contributed to my feelings of depression, but at that moment in time, it was the only music that actually said anything to me.

I listened to this tape into oblivion twice; the copy I retain is my third copy of the tape. I reconstructed the whole thing from memory twice.

Some of the music reaches my ears now and seems trite and childish (Infinite Sadness is just way too much), but other tracks still ring true for me today. Take The Sounds of Silence, for instance; it's one of those songs that define the phrase "timeless;" when Simon and Garfunkel performed the song on the Grammys on Sunday evening, I was moved almost to tears by it once again after all these years.

Music is about an emotion; sometimes it captures a moment in time, but sometimes it captures a piece of who you are. My "depression tape" does both.

And The Sounds of Silence means as much today as the hundreds of other times I've heard it.

Has the essence of America, its very nature, changed from benign democracy to imperium? Why do such majorities across the water fear and despise this administration? Too much piety, triumphal arrogance?...

How many times do we have to indulge the same idiocies for which we must later be ashamed?
-- Arthur Miller, in Sunday’s New York Times

I sent my emails, doing my part of the Virtual March on Washington, fully understanding that email is incredibly easy to ignore. I’m just hoping the vast numbers aren’t. I’ll report back later today on the response in the media, etc.

When I first posted information on the Virtual March, I got some rather heated messages from Right Wing noders complaining about my rhetoric, but it was only when dem bones chimed in and asked if I wasn’t flamebaiting that I gave it serious thought. (Conversing with dem bones had an odd, calming feel to it, like chatting with a benevolent Yahweh.) He pointed out that a majority of Americans supported military action; I pointed out that a majority also supported U. N. approval, which the Bush administration has openly stated is unnecessary. He asked me if I couldn’t tone down the rhetoric, and I honestly thought about it, but in view of the level of rhetoric that the Right exploits, in nasty ways, every day, I couldn’t bring myself to retract a few provocative statements that were based in fact and tucked in at the end. I believe that the Right counts on good, polite Leftists silently shaking their heads in dismay at their antics, and reacts with an almost rabid vitriol when we speak up, in the hopes that they can shout us down with their nastiness. As I told dembones, I’m a Buddhist by practice, but a loud-mouthed brawling East Coast Irish Catholic by nature and nuture. It goes against the grain to sit down in the face of a bully, whether it hurts me or not. (Keep in mind, this was dem bones I was talking to, and I fully expected him to nuke my w/u. He did the opposite, and insured that it, and Noung's opposing rant, would remain. And my very positive experience talking to him left me eager to get back to my artsy fartsy noding. Indeed, I’m sure most of us on the Left are eager to get back to our quiet little artsy-fartsy lives, but that doesn’t look like it’s going to happen any time soon.)

As a stay-at-home dad, I mostly... stay at home. This Virtual March, easy to pooh-pooh for more outgoing activists, is something I can do. Am I discouraged by the quieting of the anti-war effort over the last week?

Yes. But I also believe that much has been done to shake the wrong-headed resolve of the Bush Administration.

Do I believe war is inevitable?

Yes.

Do I believe it is wise to fight the inevitable?

Yes. I believe that sometimes— times like these— it can be the very heartstone of wisdom.


Postscript 1 (9:21 PST): Just went to MoveOn's Online Virtual March Headquarters http://www.moveon.org/onlinehq/index_04.html They say the call count is 170,744 at this moment and going up like gangbusters every minute. Whether yer fer this thing or agin' it, I highly recommend checking out this site. It's really pretty frickin' cool.

Postscript 2 (13:35 PST):

This from The New York Times: The Mall was quiet, but the switchboard on Capitol Hill was swamped today as anti-war protesters conducted what they called the first "virtual march" on Washington. The organizers, a coalition called Win Without War, said that hundreds of thousands of people were sending messages by email, fax and telephone to the Senate and the White House....

This from Reuters: Hundreds of thousands of opponents of a U.S. war against Iraq called and faxed their senators and the White House on Wednesday in a "virtual march on Washington," jamming many congressional telephone lines for several hours....

Tom Andrews, a former Democratic representative from Maine who is running the organization, said more than 500,000 people had signed up on the Internet to take part and a half a million more were also expected to participate without registering on the group's web site (Moveon.org)....

A Time/CNN poll conducted Feb. 19-20 found 54 percent said the United States should use military action to remove Iraqi President Saddam Hussein. The number was down 5 points from two weeks before and at its lowest level since last November. Thirty eight percent said they were opposed....

This from AP: The office of Sen. Peter Fitzgerald’s, R-Ill., received more than 100 calls an hour from people on both sides of the issue, said Fitzgerald's spokesman, Brian Stoller.

Dismiss it if you will, from either a policy perspective or a logistical one, but the Virtual March on Washington is getting covered by the major press, thus it is working.

And you're standing here beside me
I love the passing of time

Today we've been married nine years. It hasn't always been easy, but that just gives us more cause for celebration. Recently I cut off most of my hair, and now all you can see is the dark roots liberally salted with grey.

"Wow," he said, petting my fuzzy head, "when did that happen?"

"I think it started around the time that I inherited my mother's migraines," I joked, "and accelerated with my grandmother's acid reflux."

"It sucks, getting old, doesn't it?" He was rubbing his wrist now instead of my head. He injured it at Jujitsu class a few months ago, and it has been very slow to heal.

"Nope," I smiled up at him, "It just keeps getting better. Besides, 35 isn't old anymore. And neither is 40. If you died now, people would say it was a shame that you died so young."

It wasn't until recently that I really felt like I belonged anyplace, even in our marriage. Now, finally, at 35, I walk the streets and trails near where I live and work, and I feel it in my legs: I know that I was meant to be here.

You are meant to be here too. Life isn't meaningless. I wish someone had told me that when I was 15 or 20. I don't know if I would have believed it, but I wish they had told me anyway.

So if you're 15 or 20, this is a message for you: Hang in there. Things can get a lot better. 30 isn't the end of the world. It's the beginning, and you're almost there.

You might not think so now,
but just you wait and see -
someone will come to help you.

Words, words. So many words, it's so easy for me to manipulate people and get exactly what I want. I know this. I just look like I don't, which makes it easier. When I look at her, I can't do it anymore. I just have emotions in my stomach refusing to come out of my mouth, sitting, heavy and effervescent. So I smile and shut my eyes and there's this aching feeling of completeness. I mean, fucking listen to me. Christ. When you have nothing, everything is so much easier to see. I miss the clarity of my lengthy bitterness.

We tell each other how we feel, but we don't say I love you. It seems too small, too easy. Laziness is a danger. So we smile a lot. We blink a lot. Sometimes we are just quiet together.

Hey, Dad. It's Shane. My car's broken. Can you gimme a ride to work?

"Here's how to tell: Hard drugs, make you not hungry, except alcohol. Alcohol makes hotwings taste real good... that is, unless you binge."

Oh, that's great, Dad. So you're admitting to using hard drugs?

"Just the ones that make me hungry."

You are fucking insane!!!

"No, really. You ever see someone eat a tray of nachos on LSD? Hell no, 'cause the second they fill their mouth with that hot processed cheese mucus, their tongue's gonna be like 'Ahhhhhh... what's this bullshit swimmin' around in here? Got pointy fish stabbin' at my cheeks' and..."

He tipped his sunglasses forward and the officer finally spoke. "Sir, step out of the vehicle."

Hey, Dad. What about heroin?

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