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  ' Carrots For Breakfast '

September 2001

Saturday 9-29
Tornado News Roundup:
At The Diamondback's site, scroll down to "Campus copes with aftermath" for pictures and links to all their stories. The Washington Post put up an image slideshow, the Washington Times story has amazing eye-witness descriptions, and this CBS report has another photo.
Friday 9-28
Death on a Very Small Planet is a side-by-side photo spread comparing Belgrade 1999 to New York 2001.
(Warning: it's a slow-loader, and probably infuriating to the blindly patriotic.)

Speaking of which, If this is Patriotism, keep it -- "Bush and Company's Grab for a Blank Check" -- a Yahoo Op/Ed by Ted Rall (the great political cartoonist who draws faces like flounder (both eyes on one side)).

Bomb Afghanistan with butter, with rice, bread, clothing and medicine. I certainly favor this idea -- especially the water part -- didn't I hear somewhere that it hasn't rained there in three years?

The "Unbelievable" picture is circulating via email -- it's the Internet World Trade Center Hoax or rumor of the day, no doubt just one in a series. The debunking page confirms what I thought: the aircraft's trajectory and the person's nonchalance imply it's the first plane; but that one hit the other tower, the one without the Observation Deck, and it's the wrong airline -- however: they don't mention the chronological discrepency I've figured out. My (ca. 1994) souvenir literature says the Observation Deck's hours were 9:30AM - 9:30PM, but the first impact time was a quarter of, and the second came just after 9 -- therefore no tourists up there posing for photos, it was too early.

Why Do They Hate Us? (continued)
According to Slate (and I'll be verifying this next time I'm waiting in line at the supermarket,) the Globe says

ObLaden "suffers from a medical condition that left him with underdeveloped sexual organs, and his hatred of the US began when an American girl laughed at his problem. Because of his failure with American girls," the Globe reports, Bin Laden "detests Western celebrations of romance, railing against Hollywood movies and Valentine's Day."
Can't you just picture those Globe editors sitting around the conference table, discussing possibile scenarios for his requisite childhood trauma? And producing this humiliation? By the Prophet's beard...

Thursday 9-27

LA Times article about Windows On The World -- the restaurant's name is frequently mis-remembered as the "Windows of the World" which has actually become my own mental ode to the Tragedy -- a minor single hit by Dionne Warwick from 1967 I'd never heard until I acquired her "Anthology" compilation.

The windows of the world are covered with rain, What is the whole world coming to?
Always wanted to dine there; rode that amazing, single whooshing hundred-floors-express elevator up to the observation level of Tower 2 three times, but never got around to making that classy visit next door at the top of Tower 1.

Wednesday 9-26

All the flags out set me to thinkin' about the 49 star pattern of 1959, when Alaska was but Hawaii wasn't. I've heard that some people thought it was never "released" but my parents have one they got then -- they'd point out the difference when mounting the banner's staff in its little bracket by the door, on national holidays. Flags of the World maintains a History of the Stars and Stripes page. Fascinating, the regular configurations available by integrating two matrices, to make any number work -- they even have a 51 star flag that looks pretty sharp.

Hardly an Israeli in the ruins of the WTC --heard how they perhaps had advance warning? (Mossad trumping our own intelligience community) -- but then this big (182K) Times graph went up, listing 130 fatalities -- however, now the NY Times is retracting that story. (The latest figure's just 3, not 130). That article's link's probably expired, but it was mirrored here.) Jorn's posted a FAQ and analysis. Also reported in The Times, how some of the terrorists assumed identities of Kuwaitis murdered during the Iraqi invasion. Another persona was built around a wallet stolen from a foreign student in Texas. So, who were they, really?

Tuesday 9-25
Jeez, a tornado plowed through the old neighborhood back East yesterday, but nobody I know suffered.

Rediscovered that Archduke Ferdinand quote I mentioned 9-19; in the Looka weblog. The original St Louis Today column is gone but he posted the excerpt -- this is as close as I can link to it -- scroll down to "Very Scary Scenario."

From The media's Islamic blind spot

Despite the disturbing silence from the press, [a professor at the U of Massachusetts] says, "The most important question we should be asking ourselves is 'Why do you think they hate us so much?' And if you look at our foreign policy that question is not too difficult to answer."

The key grievance, he says, is hypocrisy.

Also in Salon, a biography and profile: it's been 50 years of Paul Harvey. His voice, familiar all my life, especially in 1975, from the "always-on" radio blaring from the back room of that burger stand in Nags Head.

Animated tv_kids GIF harvested from Boing Boing whose comment was "What is it about recursion that just screams Twilight Zone?"
(Didn't work with my Netscape, had to use IE; and is it really recursive?)

Monday 9-24
Rather than the expected late-September heat wave, we're into some truly unusual weather here -- rain, clouds and a thunderstorm -- the latter only occurs about every four years here, due to some Californian meteorological circumstance. The booms and lightning agitate the natives, while the effect on transplants is the reverse -- we get all sentimental and nostalgic.

Two random URLs harvested from stickers applied to lamp-posts in San Diego:

  • Visual Mafia -- don't recall what illustration, said "Dragon Lady" (nothing there yet except a nice-looking intro page)
  • An 'underground art gallery' with artists' links: radioactivefuture.com

Sunday 9-23
Flying northwest, following the coast, window seat;
Looking down on Catalina Island from 15000 feet...
I see the shapes
I rememeber from maps
I see the shoreline...
              (Talking Heads, 1978)
Thursday 9-20

A dozen Nobel Peace Prize winners, including the Dalai Lama, respond to the Current Situation.

Great column by King Kaufman in Salon:
For me, patriotism is more about the freedom to criticize the government than it is about waving a piece of red, white and blue laundry around and singing "God Bless America."
He'd rather do "This Land is your Land" -- I'm with him.

Light a candle!
Step outside tonight and...
you've received the email by now, suggesting participation in a satellite picture. The "Urban Legends" snopes2.com people say it's bogus. They've put up an interesting (and growing) 9-11 rumors section.

The Gus has been in Brooklyn for a couple months now -- check this month's journal entries for pictures and commentary in his unique narative style.

Wednesday 9-19
Justin's latest is a rumination on cell-phones.

Another plea for restraint (which leads to a petition) -- it's an elementary shockwave animation.

Wendy Kaminer ends this excellent column in the American Prospect with the quote of the day:

Whatever lessons we take from this dreadful attack, we should never forget that it was, after all, a faith based initiative.
Also I favor the disagreement I read -- well, I forgot to note where -- how this wasn't like Pearl Harbor; rather, like the assassination of archduke Ferdinand, the catalyst for WWI.

Tuesday 9-18
Flags, everywhere, displays of bunting the likes of which we haven't seen since those yellow-ribbon days of 1991. Can't make a big enough display of piety or patriotism, so now the competition has begun -- whose got the biggest? A small apartment complex 'round the corner just unfurled an Old Glory whose dimensions may match the original, from Fort McHenry.

Everybody's linking to Religion's misguided missiles where Richard Dawkins covers the development of biological missle guidance, then places the blame:

Religion teaches the dangerous nonsense that death is not the end.
I've heard the Fall of Rome attributed to the Christians' Heaven meme -- why work, when paradise awaits beyond death? Pigs&Fishes doesn't accept the argument:
What Dawkins is missing is that the same belief in an afterlife can motivate people to risk their lives to save others. He's also missing that religion acts in many people's lives as a force for civilization, for building bridges with people of different cultures, for helping the needy and oppressed. (Remember: I'm an atheist.)

War on Terror Will Test US in Terrible Ways (from the LA Times):

But for most Americans, the most frightening sound of last week's terrorist attacks may have been the silence. The fanatics who commandeered four jetliners on a single morning made no demands. They issued no political communique. They championed no cause. No one, in fact, even claimed responsibility for the attack.

It was as if the destruction of US lives, and US interests, was its own statement, the only statement necessary. Such intensity of hatred carriedTuesday's attacks beyond the clash of interests--the conventional political disputes--that inspire mostterrorism and even most wars. The unspeakable hostility that shouted through the silence Tuesday was so vast that it suggested the United States was facing what historian Samuel Huntington has labeled a "clash of civilizations" -- an enmity so fundamental that neither threat nor negotiation, nor any of the tools of modern statecraft, can tame it.

Robert Fisk in the Independent:

Retaliation is a trap. In a world that was supposed to have learnt that the rule of law comes above revenge, President Bush appears to be heading for the very disaster that Osama bin Laden has laid down for him. Let us have no doubts about what happened in New York and Washington last week. It was a crime against humanity. We cannot understand America's need to retaliate unless we accept this bleak, awesome fact. But this crime was perpetrated -- it becomes ever clearer -- to provoke the United States into just the blind, arrogant punch that the US military is preparing.

Every effort will be made in the coming days to switch off the "why" question and concentrate on the who, what and how. CNN and most of the world's media have already obeyed this essential new war rule.

I repeat: what happened in New York was a crime against humanity. And that means policemen, arrests, justice, a whole new international court at The Hague if necessary. Not cruise missiles and "precision" bombs and Muslim lives lost in revenge for Western lives. But the trap has been sprung. Mr Bush -- perhaps we, too -- are now walking into it.

Ask him not to by signing this petition.

Sunday 9-16

Today I hear European-perspective comments in the media like "I feel sorry for Americans, but not for America." Another: "You bomb Iraq all the time; why the big upset when you get bombed?" Why do they hate us so; the more enlightened soccer moms of suburbia wonder, trying to explain to their curious children. A column among today's San Francisco Chronicle editorals by Jonathan Curiel, The Rise of Global Anger, sums up the reasons:

For Americans, the hatred is easy to ignore when it stays within the borders of faraway countries and doesn't affect US lives.

"There are at least five sources of anti-American sentiment in the world," [Michael] Nacht, [dean of UC Berkeley's School of Public Policy,] says. "There's anti-American military sentiment, and that's why the Pentagon was hit, as a symbol of American military power.

"There's anti-American economic sentiment -- the United States (as) the engine of globalization, which is seen as oppressive to people and to the environment. That's why the World Trade Center was hit. There's a large amount of anti-US sentiment on the environment based most recently on the Bush administration's position on the Kyoto protocol.

"There's specific opposition to the US as the leader of Western civilization in the Middle East and the Persian Gulf. And there's explicit opposition to the US as the primary supporter of Israel's right to exist.

"Some combination of those five tend to drive a lot of actions of force against the United States."

Saturday 9-15
Best, most hopeful message I've heard yet was the lengthy intro to this weekend's repeat of "A Prairie Home Companion," where the gist of Garrison's message was, Life Goes On. (He was in Manhattan when.) Too bad it's not getting the usual amount of public radio airplay because of schedule pre-empting due to "the continuing coverage."

Bush Jr says "we're gonna get 'em." But then what?

Can the blame really be placed on this one guy, like he's a charismatic super-villain mastermind from a James Bond story? (They've had this $5M bounty on bin Laden's head for a while; publicizing it in Pakistan via matches and stamps on currency.) How could he, or what did motivate these fourteen terrorists? Palestinian suicide bombers are led to believe their families will be rewarded posthumously; if it actually happens that's the kind of money trail which should be followed.

Friday 9-14
So it's War -- they've just granted the shrub emergency powers -- but how to fight an enemy of suicide bombers?
The single most important fact about them is not technological but psychological, and it is something Americans continue to be in deep denial about: These people were willing, even eager, to die. That -- not any trouble monitoring their e-mail -- is what blindsided us, and that's something the United States is simply ill-prepared to face.
Scott Rosenberg, the Kamikaze Factor in Salon -- he brings up the voluptuous handmaidens associated with the terrorists' alleged hashshashin-style conditioning, which doesn't seem like it could've remained intact through their pilots' imnmersion in Western culture, while learning to fly in Florida. More about the perpetrators, by SF Chronicle columnist Jon Caroll:
I am frugal with my grief because grief can be manipulated. I am seeing the president do it now. This is a cowardly act, he has said again and again, although "cowardly" is exactly the wrong adjective to describe the hijackers. They were brave. It would be good to understand what made them brave. Self-sacrifice is always interesting, since it runs so contrary to our most basic instincts. "Cowardly" would be a good word to describe our waging of the war in Kosovo, or our current bombing runs in Iraq. I am a patriotic American, besotted with the Constitution, but I do not think our foreign policy is wise or just.

Two from the LA Times (check 'em quick, they'll expire): Three Minutes Across Europe (a slideshow) and What Became of Tolerance in Islam? by Khaled Abou El Fadl, a UCLA professor.

Finally, Noam let's 'em have it with both barrels in On the Bombings; while Ted Rall's professor takes the long view in The Inevitable Takes the World Trade Center. (Thanks Ginohn!)

Thursday 9-13

What caused the disaster, and how should we react? Essays I agree with:

America's crumbling sense of immunity by Valley of Heart's Delight author David Beers, in Salon (loved his Blue Sky Dream). Also, When Will We Learn? by former presidential candidate Harry Browne, at antiwar.com:

Our foreign policy has been insane for decades. It was only a matter of time until Americans would have to suffer personally for it. It is a terrible tragedy of life that the innocent so often have to suffer for the sins of the guilty.

President Bush has authorized continued bombing of innocent people in Iraq. President Clinton bombed innocent people in the Sudan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Serbia. President Bush Sr. invaded Iraq and Panama. President Reagan bombed innocent people in Libya and invaded Grenada. And on and on it goes. Did we think the people who lost their families and friends and property in all that destruction would love America for what happened?

From an International Herald Tribune column by William Pfaff:

The final and most profound lesson of these events is one that it will be hardest for government to accept -- this government in particular. It is that the only real defense against external attack is serious, continuing and courageous effort to find political solutions for national and ideological conflicts that involve the USA.

This means like maybe NOT walking out of the recent World Conference on Racism. Among all the relevant info noted in his Progressive Review, Sam Smith responds himself:
And too often during the day there were the incompetent, mendacious, and terminally hubristic voices of an American elite who had helped create a country so hated that some would kill themselves to define their antipathy.

Now we are told that we must take effective action. And what, pray tell is that? We seem to have forgotten, for example, that in the spring of 1996, President Clinton signed a top secret order authorizing the CIA to use any and all means to destroy Osama bin Laden's network.

Jason is compiling links to eye-witness accounts and photos in his ever-excellent kottke.org weblog.

Tuesday    9-11
911 indeed. Did today really happen?
Monday 9-10

Harry Potter won the Hugo!? I feel a vague sense of outrage. Sorcery High School being considered among the "hard" science fiction of Ringworld, The Forever War, Neuromancer, Starship Troopers and Dune?? This cannot be.
(Disclaimer: I haven't read any Rowling.)

Everybody's pointing towards the phosphorescent fish -- a genetic mutation, supposedly available at the aquarium store in six months.

How ignorant of me to mention Lynn Johnston without linkage to her comic's official site. (Doesn't seem to include any strips but you can access those via United Media, the same place we get Dilbert.)

Sunday 9-9
In the news:

A study released Monday said that

Chocolate contains compounds called flavonoids that can help maintain a healthy heart and good circulation and reduce blood clotting -- which can cause heart attacks and strokes.
Goes on to say there's many more flavonoids in fresh fruit & veggies, but still -- choco is good for you.

For Better or Worse: Lynn Johnston to retire -- in six years. But right now, she's brought back Lawrence, igniting the expected outrage.


LA Weekly article about White Power rock shows in Anaheim.


Speaking of live music, 'Jacko' just played the Garden -- do you care? Didn't think so, I certainly don't. But somebody's out there buying tickets, the highest prices were $2500 per! It was a big anniversary shindig with many special guests:

The concert crashed to a low as Marlon Brando took to the stage, his large frame resting on a couch. Though the crowd cheered at just the sight of the Oscar-winning actor, they soon became bewildered as Brando spent the next few minutes mumbling about child poverty, abuse and disease. "I saw kids in the last stages of starvation, and it was something you didn't want to see," he said. It was also something the audience didn't want to hear, as boos began to drown Brando out until he said Jackson was donating money to create a children's hospital in Florida. His exit drew another standing ovation.

Saturday 9-8
Posted a new essay in my prose section: "At the Gym". It's some generalizations about the kinds of people I see there, or rather what they do, both out on the floor and in the locker room -- it might be dumb, or even offensive to some. While surfin' up the image, stumbled into a place selling workout tapes, including for jogging. Ha! Hardly any of their selections work, but the checking of 'em triggered others, effecting a sudden bonanza which finished out my fifth running tape. [These mix tapes are vital to my my exercise routine, the tempo of their songs exactly matching my running rhythm, on the treadmill. Can take years to accumulate a tape-ful.] A surprise hit was their suggestion of the Chiffons' "One Fine Day," and "Take On Me." Other syncopated discoveries: the Animals' "Boom Boom" and the 'wah-wah' sounds of "Crimson and Clover" and my favorite during the summer of '68, the shrill "Pictures of Matchstick Men."
Thursday 9-6
Kermit and the V-chip

A 1923 visit to Japan, the daily entries from somebody's grandfather. He was in Tokyo for the big earthquake (Sept 1), and sailed away a couple days afterwards.

Tuesday 9-4

I'm always reading something, carrying around a book for idle moments, usually a novel. Been trying to get into a worthy volume, yet ever since finishing the excellent Night Soldiers nothing's really held my attention. (Highlight since then was Norman Spinrad's "abandoned Manhattan" short stories: "A Thing of Beauty" and "The Lost Continent.") Anyway, finally, something compelling: Embracing Defeat: Japan in the Wake of WWII, by John W. Dower. Its Chapter 1 is also available online.

How far will the Japanese go, with video games? Learn about Boong Ga Boong Ga (does boonga mean goose?).

The cinematic urge was strong over the long weekend, but nothing at the local theaters seemed worthwhile -- borrowed a vintage videotape and watched the "Sweet Smell of Success" with Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster, from 1957. Lots of tasty on-location shooting around Times Square but the gossip-column plot was a little too archaic. Still, a scene set out front of what I recognized as 21 set me to thinking -- was this famous old club still in operation? Well of course -- they even have a web page. (It was their jockeys that were familiar.) And how do I even know about 21? Never been there -- old Manhattan-centric films & novels, I suppose -- also from WWII stories, where grunts in combat would pause to fantasize about the good life stateside.

Saturday 9-1

The extended hiatus is over. Get comfy; we've got to cover a lot of territory today. New format? It's a laughable attempt at legitimacy -- literary cognescenti dislike dark backgrounds (I like the way flutterbye handles this dilemma, but that implementaion sounds like too much work). The down-interval was due mostly to laziness but included some trips East: first to DC and then, after a layover of just a few days, back to New Jersey on business. Unlike my first such journey (documented here) I managed to get inside Lucy this time. Whiled away the inevitable delay at the Philladelphia airport on my final return leg by reading (but of course, not buying -- tachiyomi!) the new Wired, with its theme, "Is Japan Still the Future?" A new Gibson essay is included, "My Own Private Tokyo." The tone gets a lot more ominous over at the Atlantic 'Unbound' site where there's a dialogue between James Fallows (who I always enjoy reading) and Alex Kerr, author of Lost Japan and the new Dogs and Demons: Tales From the Dark Side of Japan. It's all about Japanese cultural and environemental degradation.

With their wonderful tradition of design, how could they live in trashy cities and towns surrounded by such ugliness?
The countryside is being paved in an incentive trap of overconstruction, apparently. -- they use 40 times more concrete than the whole USA?! From Chapter 1 of Kerr's new book:
"It is a fantastic waste, done in a very systematic way that will never stop."


Saw "Ghost World," I'm weary of reading reviews by people who haven't read Daniel Clowes' comic book. (Reminds me of those crappy critiques by reviewers assigned to do a subject the dislike -- these shouldn't be published; at best, they should be labeled appropriately.) Ghost World frame Can't understand why the original is referred to as "underground" (as if such a classification still had meaning) or what's so unthinkable about picking up a copy of the 'graphic novel' anthology -- it's quite accessible, and good, better than the movie -- but as Shannon says, "People who like comics like them a lot. People who don't like comics, hate them." (It's why he's converted Too Much Coffee Man into a magazine, to combat this attitude.) Anyway, the film was interesting, but the major plot changes were disturbing, like how Bearded Windbreaker was inflated into the Steve Buscemi character, with the subsequent trivialization of Josh. Zompist has issued a correct review (but he liked the film).


Classic Cafes, or Britannia Moribundia, calls itself a 'drabfest' -- it documents their version of 'googie'. From the FAQ:

A really good cafe will almost be doomed by its own social isolation. The more palsied pensioners and day-release twitchers the better. An Edward Hopper mood should ideally prevail - all customers somehow thrown apart in the intimacy of the cafe. A feeling of crushed romance and brief escape should be uppermost.
From the 'music' section:
Also highly commended are the themes for "The Prisoner" out on a series of three cassettes and CDs. The music for this legendary show has the ability to conjure up perfectly high street Britain circa 1963 with its proto jazz noodlings and parallax background melodies. Truly this is the sound of 'contemporary' aural styling. Buy all three, and then make up your own tape selection omitting the fearful brass-band tunes. What's left is a motherlode of municipal-ambient classics that will heighten any cafe visit.
'TV & Film' doesn't mention "if...," Malcolm McDowell's first movie, its lengthy scenes my inital exposure to these venues. (For more about "if..." (which isn't capitalized!) go here and scroll WAY down, past the beautiful image of Montag & Clarisse. (That's in Sixties British Pop Culture, a worthy companion to Swingin' Chicks of the 60's.)

My own London cafe story occurs one evening in, July 1978 - I'm absorbed in Hemingway's Islands in the Stream when an older, cantankerous Cockney invites himself to sit down at my window table, and engages me in dialog -- the catalyst apparently the fact that I was reading, an activity which didn't quite meet with his approval. Oh, he'd read novels in the past, Westerns, Zane Grey, that sort of thing, but didn't have much use for them now (as, by extension, I shouldn't have either). We parted amiably enough, but as one can imagine, this scene didn't last too long.


Links from the "living web":

And what's the Living Web? See Daypop's "About" page (and add that search engine to your bookmarks.)


Mocking w
w/ Java -- after it loads, mouseover.


Another response to my Phosphorescent Dyes story has arrived:

From: "metachrom"
To: <rash@wunderland.com>
Subject: phosphorescent fabrics
Date: Thu 2 Aug

Dear Mr.Rash,
your site is very interesting. It would be very kind, if you could let us know, which company is producing these phosphorescent fabrics. Thanks a lot


peri de braganca

I did not respond. Somehow, the "really interesting" assessment doesn't sound genuine.


Scott Anderson is posting again! Back in the age of on-line journaling, I considered his the best. Fans of his notorious German Toilets page take note -- he was just asked to elaborate, for a segment on a cable TV show to be broadcast there (mit eine Wurst used as prop).


The Smithsonian shows how pink was for boys, up until before WWII. Like so many of our culture's standards, what seems like it must've always been is actually a rather recent development. (Pink = strong, since it's closer to red.)

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