October 12th, 2004


How To Protect Yourself From The Atomic Bomb

While Stumbling this morning, I found this: a Web dissemination of a documentary booklet on nuclear holocaust, prepared in 1950 at the government's behest by a research company in the private sector.

It's interesting for the information within it (which isn't too far off from cold reality; just don't mistake it for state-of-the-art) and for the glimpse of what I remember as that fearful 70's-and-early-80's mentality, back when everyone - even grade school kids - knew, as incontrovertible fact, that we were going to get "A-bombed" eventually... that was just how the world was going to end, and it was going to happen in our lifetimes, and there was no way around it.

If you yourself aren't old enough to remember that dull never-ending fear, this snippet from the introduction should give you a haunting idea of what it was like: "Each generation is born, lives and dies. The A-bomb, if it comes, like any disaster, will prune human lives. Finally each of us must die. It is a question of timing."

Thank god for Glasnost, eh?


When I was finishing up high school in the US Virgin Islands, I made money to buy my own clothes and food by DJ'ing part time after school for a local radio station.  There was (and is) a pretty big Islamic presence among the Cruzan locals, and the station I worked for made an effort to gain some listener loyalty amongst those folks by doing things like playing the muezzin at all the appropriate times during the month of Ramadan.

I always found the call to prayer haunting and beautiful.  My friends used to talk about "that horrible screeching" and grimace, but when I was in the control room by myself doing homework and playing some godawful failure-pop record on the air, I would sometimes grab the cart for Azan and cue it up on the monitor, where nobody but me could hear it, and I'd imagine myself in a dusty souk somewhere, hearing one of God's faithful pouring out his tortured and impassionate plea.

It's interesting to me how different cultures and different religions seem to express themselves the most movingly.  The beauty that I see in Islam, when I see it, lies within the expression of so much genuine passion leaking through the boundaries of so much tortuous ritual.  When you hear the muezzin wailed, it sounds so very heartfelt.  You (or at least I) hear all the pain of it, all the stricture of adhering to hard ritual in a hard world, and yet so much impassioned feeling crying out around it.

By contrast, the more a Christian hymn or gospel song talks about the laws of the faith or God's rules or anything else to do with law and restraint, the less joy I can hear in it.  It seems to me that within the Christian faith, the more authoritarian it becomes, the less passion is allowed to remain - that while Islam emphasizes the passion and the heart of its followers through tortuous constraint, Christianity simply stifles and oppresses more with the more it tries to control.  The Christian music that moves me is that which is the least concerned with hidebound restraint; the sort that seems to care not in the slightest about what you have done or who you should be, but simply expresses a carefree barefoot joy; a transport of forgiveness that someone has felt, and feels that they've gotten simply because the world is an innately good place after all.

If you'd like, feel free to listen to these examples, and see if you hear the same things that I do.  (If it matters, I myself am a rather agnostic flavor of atheist.)

Carl Story and his Rambling Mountaineers - I Saw the Light (MP3, 3.4MB)
Azan, a call to prayer (RealAudio, 387K - go here and download RealAlternative if you need a spyware-free RealAudio player)
static (transparent)


I never thought it would happen, but Laura and I are broken up.  For real.  Finally.

Part of me is very sad because I wanted it so much.  But most of me is just glad that finally, finally, FINALLY our interactions - what of them there are - are honest again.  She isn't in love with me.  I can accept that.  I've been suspecting it for... way too long now.  What I really needed was not to pretend to things that weren't there any more, but instead to bring what is out, and to look at it, and nod sadly over it, and put it away again.  I just wish the honesty hadn't taken this long; it certainly made things a lot harder than they had to be.

Well, work calls.  And I have, unfortunately, been neglecting it somewhat.  Talk to you later, internet.

jesus christ, what a day.

Jesus.  Fucking.  Christ.  What a day.

Sarah, who I've known for about three or four months I think, called me hysterical and crying, not a single fucking hour after my last post.  She's been living a really fucked up life here; she came to this town chasing after a boyfriend that things didn't work out with, and wound up trying to keep it together living in weekly motels with a big white cat named Cotton on phone center money.  Something happened, she can't take it anymore, she's come unglued, and she's desperate to get home.  This, honestly, works out kinda well for me, in a fucked up way, because she's been making it obvious that she likes me for a while now, and there's just no chance in hell even if I wasn't all fucked up over Laura.  And honestly, I'd been a little worried that the temptation of what I could have - even if I didn't really want it - being right there when what I couldn't have... well, my sentence structure is starting to get as fucked up as my love life, so let's just say I was worried I'd do something really stupid and fuck my life up worse if she kept calling.  So I polished up my shiny armor, got on my white charger, went down there to pick her up and hear her story, and I took her to the Greyhound station and bought her a ticket home.

So that's two crying little girls I've assisted out of my life today.  One who I wanted very badly, and one who I never really wanted in the first place.  And the fucked up thing is, the one that never told me a single lie is the one I never wanted to begin with.