THURSDAY, OCTOBER 10, 2002
Now I know what he means by "Not one child left behind." He means, "Millions of childs left behind."
I've been mulling the sityation over and have come to the conclusion our great leaders in D.C. no longer have their eyes on the ball. All this hoorahing over Iraq seems to be just a way of avoiding the problems close to home. Education. Immigration. National Debt. None of these problems are insurmountable. Form national task forces, use the brain power of the thousands of people who are good at solving problems. Tie that in with super computers and come up with some plans and then put them to work.
And on the home front, for crying out loud, let's give up on this high rolling way of living. As some astute person said, we've become a nation of consumers, not producers. As a result we are awash in stuff. What to do? Well, for one thng, don't buy anything new. Everything we need: cars, washers, dryers, clothes, houses; they're all available by the gazillions.
The biggest problem facing families is one of money. Secret is to keep your monthly nut down as low as possible. Payments are a killer. That's why it's better to buy used stuff. Put a bike rack on your car. Park the car and ride your bike around town. What's that got to do with money? The less you spend on gas the less we are dependent on oil and the more dollars you've got in your pocket for food.
Seems like prices keep going up. Dig up that lawn and plant some veggies. Make a greenhouse out of plastic and have fresh food all year around. In other words, back off that treadmill and work close to where you live. Pie in the sky? Maybe. But every little bit helps. Neighborhood co-op groups are a good thing.
Soapbox is getting a bit creaky. Remember, Humpty Dumpty didn't have much of a summer but he had a great fall.
-- Capn skyp
WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2002
John Perry Barlow is an old friend-- he's not old, the friendship is -- who has written songs with the Grateful Dead -- Cassidy is one, I think-- is a founding father of internet freedom, a world traveler, and a writer of great merit. He can always be counted on to prick the pompous, the balloons of bombast, the buckets of bull. He has an idea how to deal with 9-11. Here it is:
We're going to celebrate the anniversary of The Massacre. We will spit in the eye of horror. And blaspheme the angry MonoGod.
Some of you will doubtless find this particular jubilee in appalling
taste. Surely, we all have a moral obligation to slap on our Funeral
Director masks at the mere mention of The Tragic Events of September
11. Surely, dancing on the graves of 3000 is not only a sacrilege but
likely treason as well.
All the more reason to do it, if you ask me.
Consider further the wishes of the dead themselves. Really, folks, do
you think they'd want to see us behaving as lugubriously as we have
since that day a year ago when they all erupted gloriously into the
Great Beyond? I don't think so. And even if this *is* the Knell of
Doom, I don't want to go down with a whimper.
Henry Miller stated my sentiments on this subject perfectly in Tropic
"It may be that we are doomed, that there is no hope for us,
any of us, but if that is so then let us set up a last agonizing,
bloodcurdling howl, a screech of defiance, a war whoop! Away with
lamentation! Away with elegies and dirges! Away with biographies and
histories, and libraries and museums! Let the dead eat the dead. Let us
living ones dance about the rim of the crater, a last expiring dance.
But a dance!"
Exactly! We will literally dance about the rim of the crater Wednesday night.
Let us kiss strangers on the lips, tell tasteless jokes, cast off our 3 piece suits and burkahs, shoot our televisions, see the sun rise at the end of raucous nights, teach our children that the world is safer than it looks, and rock Ground Zero next Wednesday, September 11.
Sometime after midnight we will grab drums and other musical instruments - which I encourage you to bring - and make of ourselves a marching, or perhaps staggering, band parade down West Broadway to Ground Zero. Ludicrous dress is encouraged. We may encounter resistance, but we will have our grins to protect us.
If you can't make it yourself, think of the most vivid, wide-awake, life-affirming, smart-mouthed, social virtuosos you know in the New York area pass this on to them. Beauty, regardless of age or gender, is also
welcome, as are firemen and off-duty members of New York's Finest.
Concurrent with the 9-11 anniversary is the Jewish new year. Here's a message from Jerusalem I got in the email today:
Harken my family, strength and courage to one and all. What we have lost in youthful vigor, we have hopefully gained in experience and maturity. Do not subscribe to cruel doubts and fears, it's now a time for acts of great
courage, not self infatuation and stifled tears. Spread the good word, feed
the good seed. Think straight, talk straight and walk it. We are divinity,
bio-energies magnificent. Hey, lets get on with all the good stuff, with the
many things we must need do. Do not flinch or founder and please, do not
succumb to the poison food of fear. Simply send your cash, jewels or
uncrossed postal orders to the above Swiss insecurity box account number,
and despite all the poppycock and nonsense take courage and great cheer.
Emulate, instigate, and fashion for your self and your loved ones, a
wonderful, constructive, creative healthy and happy, ever approaching, ever mysterious, ever unforeseen and ever shall be so, full and fantastic, brand
You might recall that John Barlow and friends were going to go to ground zero very late the night of nine eleven. John sent his report:
Finding the right moment to make our ceremonial trek to Ground Zero was tricky. One of us, Sergeant Wayne Lynch, is the NYPD desk sergeant for the 1st Precinct. He and a couple of his colleagues came by before going on duty and asked me to be sensitive to the folks like themselves who might be down there quietly dealing with their own grief.
(Wednesday was the first time that family members of those lost in The Massacre had been allowed down into the immense pit that is the only graveyard most of them can visit in this heart-rending instance.)
I assured them that we would be respectful of their feelings. While I believe that all the mawkish media mourning is just a particularly insidious and wicked way to sell both advertising and an illegal war, I have experienced so many of my own losses that I would never dance too lightly on someone else's fallen tears.
Around 5:30 am, with the first violet promise of dawn, I assessed the reductio ad absurdum of last dogs hung and decided we would comprise exactly the right healing expedition. With bubble guns, twisted grins, and a tambourine, we set forth.
There were only about 15 of us, including daughter Leah, Mountain Girl Garcia, Michael Kang, and a set of other lovely folks that I would have been comfortable to re-start the human race from should the need have arisen.
Wild winds blew through New York all day on the 11th, so the air at dawn was so clean that many stars remained visible even after the fore-light had colored much of the sky. The streets were completely deserted except for a providential donut vender who hastily set up shop in our path.
And there was The Hole. Silent, empty, kleig-lit, astonishing. It
looks almost as broad and deep as the great mining pit in Butte,
Montana (though I know it isn't). The last time I saw it, it was
still full of twisted tragedy. Now is is clean and ready for
Looming above it is a tall building wearing what appears to be a gigantic black burkah of construction shielding. Where the eyes would peer out, there is a large American flag that has torn almost in two to provide the appropriate slit.
There were no family members to disturb, only a few security guards, who seemed happy to let us pass, and some sanitation workers who were gathering up the day's flowers. We circled the hole until we were at its closest lip. Leah sprayed streams of bubbles into the air above it. Someone tapped the tambourine. We gathered ourselves into a critical mass of open hearts and, with the energy released, we cauterized the wound to the best of our abilities. It seemed like a lot.
People started filing past us on their way to work. Since we looked like refugees from a Fellini movie, we got a few odd glances, but mostly the construction workers and bonds traders filing past seemed glad to see us.
These are weird times. I don't expect them to get any less weird for a long time. But yesterday morning we established a little beach-head for hope. We hugged at the brink of disaster and found ourselves wrapped in mad courage.
Around 9am, we cleaned up from the previous nights' loft party with astonishing dispatch and crept off to bed.
-- John Perry Barlow
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