The Friends of California Libre...

28 October 2001

What's So Special About 11?

Greetings, distant friends,
here's some words of encouragement.
>From: Oversoul7@aol.com
>"Laughter is the best medicine"
>> >>Original Letter:
>> >>
>> >>The date of the attack: 9/11 - 9 + 1 + 1 = 11
>> >>September 11th is the 254th day of the year: 2 + 5 + 4 = 11
>> >>After September 11th there are 111 days left to the end of the year.
>> >>119 is the area code to Iraq/Iran. 1 + 1 + 9 = 11
>> >>Twin Towers - standing side by side, looks like the number 11
>> >>The first plane to hit the towers was Flight 11
>> >>I have more.......
>> >>State of New York - The 11th State added to the Union
>> >>New York City - 11 Letters
>> >>Afghanistan - 11 Letters
>> >>The Pentagon - 11 Letters
>> >>Ramzi Yousef - 11 Letters (convicted or orchestrating the
>> >>attack at the WTC in 1993)
>> >>Flight 11 - 92 on board - 9 + 2 = 11 >> >>Flight 77 - 65 on board - 6 + 5 = 11 >> >>
>> >>Dave's response: >> >>
>> >>Oh my God! How worried should I be? There are 11 letters in
>> >>the name "David Pawson!" I'm going into hiding NOW. See you
>> >>in a few weeks. >> >>
>> >>Wait a sec ... just realized "YOU CAN'T HIDE" also has 11
>> >>letters! What am I gonna do? Help me!!! The terrorists are
>> >>after me! ME! I can't believe it! >> >>
>> >>Oh crap, there must be someplace on the planet Earth I could
>> >>hide! But no ..."PLANET EARTH" has 11 letters, too! >> >>
>> >>Maybe Nostradamus can help me. But dare I trust him? There
>> >>are 11 letters in "NOSTRADAMUS." >> >>
>> >>I know, the Red Cross can help. No they can't... 11 letters
>> >>in "THE RED CROSS," can't trust them. >> >>
>> >>I would rely on self defense, but "SELF DEFENSE" has 11
>> >>letters in it, too! Can someone help? >> >>
>> >>Anyone? If so, send me email. No, don't... "SEND ME EMAIL"
>> >>has 11 letters.... >> >>
>> >>Will this never end? I'm going insane! "GOING INSANE???"
>> >>Eleven letters!! >> >>
>> >>Nooooooooooo!!!!!! I guess I'll die alone, even though "I'LL
>> >>DIE ALONE" has 11 letters..... >> >>
>> >>Oh my God, I just realized that America is doomed! Our
>> >>Independence Day is July 4th ... 7/4 ... 7+4=11! >> >>
>> >>~ Dave >> >>
>> >>PS. "IT'S BULLSHIT" has 11 letters also.
PPS So does FUCK NEW YORK.
See you New Year's,

20 October 2001

Modern Art Is Rubbish

Okay, friends, here's something that will really tickle you in the right spot:
http://dailynews.yahoo.com/h/nm/20011019/od/hirst_dc_1.html
Modern Art Is Rubbish?
Oddly Enough - Reuters LONDON (Reuters) - Modern art really is rubbish. Damien Hirst, master of the modern British art scene, may fetch huge bids and draw international crowds, but in the eyes of one gallery worker, his art belongs in the bin. And that's exactly where cleaner Emmanuel Asare tossed an exhibit that Hirst created at a launch party for a recent show of his work. The pile of empty beer bottles, dirty ashtrays, coffee cups and sweet wrappers left over from the party at the trendy Eyesto'rm Gallery in west London had been arranged by Hirst into an impromptu installation, newspapers reported on Friday. But when Asare arrived at the gallery the morning after the night before, he dumped the whole lot in the garbage. "As soon as I clapped eyes on it, I sighed because there was so much mess," the cleaner told the Sun newspaper. "I didn't think for a second that it was a work of art. It didn't much look like art to me." Alarmed gallery employees hastily retrieved the items from the rubbish bags and used photographs to recreate the exhibit, which has echoes of fellow BritArt star Tracey Emin's conceptual unmade-bed display. The 35-year-old Turner Prize-winning artist was quoted as saying the misunderstanding over his work was "fantastic, very funny." Neither the gallery nor Hirst's assistant had any comment on the gaffe, which is just the latest bit of publicity to thrust Hirt's name into the limelight. Leader of the so-called Young British Artists, high-living Hirst has earned a reputation for sensational work, which has seen him float pickled sheep, sharks, and cows in formaldehyde.

14 October 2001

Radioactivity

Greetings, friends,
Okay, while we were worried about other things, here's one that slipped beneath the radar. Dig this idiot: (From Deutsche Welle)
The German government ordered a review of security at nuclear plants yesterday after the discovery in a blackberry bush of a glass tube containing plutonium, apparently borrowed by an employee at a reprocessing plant. As ecologists threatened to sue, J�rgen Trittin, the Environment Minister, accused the authorities of the southern Land of Baden-W�rtemberg of "flagrant security failures" at the Karlsruhe facility. Abnormally high radiation levels were measured in the employee, a 49-year-old man, as well as in his girlfriend and her daughter. The worker and the girlfriend were detained yesterday for smuggling the material out of the plant. The incident came to light when a routine urine test on the employee detected radiation levels several hundred times above normal. Further checks revealed radioactive hot-spots in the man's home and his car. The suspect led investigators to an abandoned French military airfield in southern Germany.
(From the BBC) THE arrest of a 49-year-old worker who successfully smuggled plutonium out of a recycling plant has highlighted the lax security of German nuclear reactors and the risks of closing down atomic plants. The man, named only as Johannes M., was helping to dismantle a recycling plant in Karlsruhe in southwest Germany. He told police that he was merely trying to expose the weak security of the plant but detectives are investigating whether he was trying to sell the plutonium to terrorists or aspiring nuclear states. The smuggled quantity appears to have been small � a tiny phial that could be hidden in a rubber glove � and well below the mass needed to produce a bomb. Even so, security at the plant was so poor that the man could have made several smuggling trips. A spokesman for the Stuttgart Environment Ministry said last night that every worker in the plant had to take off his safety suit at the end of the shift. He or she then takes a shower using an especially strong soap and can put on private clothing only if a geiger counter registers zero radiation. Some workers have to pass through five separate controls. Plainly, however, the system does not work. Herr M. carried the tube out in his trousers and kept it at home. When a routine urine check showed that he had high levels of radiation in his body, he told his wife to wrap the tube in a glove and bury it under a hedge. A spokesman for the Greens, the junior partner in the German Government, said that security at the plant seemed to be about as thorough as in a chip shop.

Oh, do wonders never cease? I wish I had a poem for these weird times. Instead I picked one out by Philip Larkin, a librarian who changed my life, helping me sit in the dark alone and rush into the future with you on this electronic tether, my friends,
FORGET WHAT DID
Stopping the diary
Was a stun to memory,
Was a blank starting,
One no longer cicatrized
By such words, such actions
As bleakened waking.
I wanted them over,
Hurried to burial
And looked back on
Like the wars and winters
Missing behind the windows
Of an opaque childhood.
And the empty pages?
Should they ever be filled
Let it be with observed
Celestial recurrences,
The day the flowers come;
And when the birds go.

And then one by Mahmud el-Sakh, an Arab poet living in Israel:
TEARS WILL BE TEARS
Tears will be tears
And sadness will be sadness
And the roses that laugh everywhere
Keep uniting us in love
Will the terraces write us down some day
In their lovely notebook?
Will the Earth read us
Some day
Into its sweet song?
One year buds
Another follows
While the heart pines for the rose
Is pained by war, is pained by war.

04 October 2001

The South Shall Rise Again

Greetings, friends,
I can't stop watching all these exciting documentaries. Tonight all the product was strictly domestic, and some of you shared the fun: first that chiller about the recent history of Afghanistan, the Frontline about Ronnie Reagan's war against Lebanon, and then a real rib-tickler for me, a documentary about the protests in South Carolina against the Confederate battle flag. The Afghanis undoubtedly possess the one characteristic that really ranks a culture, and that's good hospitality. Even in the middle of a war, they showed the righteous American photographer an open hand, and in return he showed the Taliban at their worst, so hopefully we'll get the lesson (twelve years too late) of what we've abandoned these people to. That Iran gives weapons to the opposition of the Taliban (like more weapons were necessary) just as they previously armed the Hezbollah when American battleships were shelling a residential neighborhood of Beirut, a point not made by either documentary might be that they have a better idea than us of what the hell is really going on. The Arabs see a confused ideology at work, selling weapons to both sides, propping up an empire that makes no sense, but they miss the broader point. Neither documentary made a statement as to how much money the arms contractors made, but growing up in Los Angeles next to Lockheed, I got some idea. TV dinners and a new pick-up in the driveway, yessir, moving out to Palmdale and buying a new house, making cruise missiles but never wondering how the toys actually get played out. Well, that's the goddamn American Way, ain't it? There's the real slap in the face, the terrorists can't even afford our own high-tech weapons, so they steal commercial jets (remember 1983?) and write a lesson that would take the Unibomber 600 pages. Just to emphasize the point, then I laughed through the Struggle of the Concerned Conservative Coalition (the "CCC", sound familiar?) embarrassing the South once again by proclaiming, sweat popping out on their Julep porch-sits, "People respect us because we respect the past." My favorite was some state senator in Charleston, sitting on his boat dock on Sullivan's Island, the Stars & Bars aflutter over the Cooper River, saying with a smile, "Why, I do believe that the Southern race is the finest example of Homo Sapiens on God's Earth." Jesus, is the guy actually converting to heathen EVOLUTIONISM? There's one for Darwin to ponder, after they pull that white hood over his head, of course. As one rather droll novelist put it (urban Charleston accent, not "Swamp Fox"), "That's an old fight, and we lost. That flag is for losers." True enough, there's a tiny battle flag painted on a shed at the cemetery in Texas where my grgrgreat-grandfather Reverend Thomas Jefferson Darby is buried (20th Texas Infantry), but none for his father-in-law James Womble (30th Texas Cavalry) who disappeared in Oklahoma, or my grgreat-grandfather James Champion (Alabama Volunteers) who died with two of his brothers at Vicksburg. That's a loss, and that flag led them to it, and the poverty afterwards drove my family to Arizona, then to California. It was pretty stunning to see the League of the South proclaim a new Confederacy in Columbia; the Stars & Bars didn't fly so high in Charleston, but then again, the Rice Kings always disdain the stupid ideas of the Up-Country. Like the Camden belle said to me, "Why, the Up-Country's lovely, but the people are so ill-mannered." Reminds me also of what some Anglican missionary said about the Up-Country just before the Revolution, "ignorant, mean, worthless, beggarly Irish Presbyterians, the scum of the earth, and refuse of mankind." Yeah, and if you read the history of the Revolution, it was those scum, my people, who whipped the British at the Cowpens and brought the war to a conclusion at Yorktown. Forget Yankees, that's how the South does their own people. Oh, but I'm sorry, good thing my Grandma's dead, I'll find some adorable Southern belle and smear grits & gravy over her injured pride. How 'bout y'all, Miss Amy? Okay, enough of the South Shall Rise Again screed,

03 October 2001

More Strange News

Greetings, friends,
Deutsche Welle showed lots of cute bits last night, including a expose on the town of Ulm, but not too much about the "crisis" other than how great everyone thought Tony Blair's speech was. On ITN and the BBC they're ready to extoll him as the next Winston Churchill. My personal little chill, however, came when DW showed some meaningless international business conference in Berlin, and it turned into another amazing love in. The Vice-Something of Poland said (in perfect German) that "we must put our differences aside and love like brothers", and then the German Secretary for Economic So-and-so said, "let us recognize the class division we have created between us and the "Ossies" (East Germans) and work to create economic opportunity all over Europe." Poles in league with Germans! West Germans reaching out to East Germans! Friends, I am looking forward to our next trip to Europe. It's a regular love-in.

The highlight of my evening was seeing the Deputy Foreign Minister of Iran on "Charlie Rose". Here's one country that won't join the love-in, and they sent a bureaucratic wonk with a brilliant sense of language. Not only could he deflect every jab against Iran, no matter how trivial, but without attacking the U.S. directly he presented alternatives that made our decisions look rash. Most notably, when asked if Iran would ever join a coalition against terror with the U.S., the minister said, "we are ready to cooperate with the only legitimate coalition, one which can draw on the resources of all members. It is located in New York City and is called the United Nations." He also repeated, again, that Iran encourages American visitors. I like that...no other sovereign state is making us that offer.

If you want to read the other interesting things our friends in Iran have to say, try these web sites:
http://www.irna.com/ (Islamic Republic News Agency)
http://www.mfa.gov.ir/ (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
http://www.daftar.org/ (Iranian Interests Section, Embassy of Pakistan)
http://www.iran-press-service.com/
The world's not as small as everyone thought, eh?

Okay, for those of you with an insatiable appetite for destruction, here's a website for you:
http://www.nycsubway.org/irt/westside/wtc-damage/
It's about 16 photos of the Cortlandt Street Station, directly beneath the World Trade Center.

If any of you are reading La Opinion these days, what happened on Tuesday in Mexico City? On Azteca the news was showing old footage of Tlatelolco from 1968, then Vicente Fox making some speech, and then what looked like recent footage of more UNAM students getting the crap beaten out of them. And what's with the puppets delivering the news! It's the news, not "Super Bla Blazos"! Crazy Mexicans.

Okay, and here's a final question, to my nearest neighbors...hey, what's with that fucking helicopter? It's been sitting up in the air over Silver Lake for the last 30 minutes, annoying the neighborhood with its prop-wash and blocking our view of the full moon. Don't they know there's a WAR on?

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