Death, 9-11 & Lessons Learned

Mother, mother, there's too many of you crying
Brother, brother, brother, there's far too many of you dying
You know we’ve got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today, hey

Father, father, we don't need to escalate
War is not the answer, for only love can conquer hate
You know we've got to find a way
To bring some lovin' here today

Picket lines and picket signs
Don't punish me with brutality
Talk to me, so you can see
Oh what's going on, what's going on
Yeah, what's going on, ah, what's going on

What's Going On
Marvin Gaye

(Lyrics aren’t exactly what I’m looking for, I’m pretty pissed about this whole thing, but it was the song playing in my head…).



Last night I drove out to Ocean Beach. With this deadline I’ve had a lot on my mind, especially making FutureNet the book synergize. That’s always the issue as a book comes together. I got home late, probably around 2:30 in the morning. It was a beautiful, but cold night. I sat on the breaker wall and thought a lot. Listened to the ocean and talked with the comers and goers who walked by. Meanwhile, pouring hot cocoa from my thermos and taking notes on any epiphanies that came up. It was a good night, some thoughts came. Some people work best in the morning, some late at night. I have the unfortunate talent of doing both, so I get about four hours of sleep a night when I’m on deadline. Sleep is a most overrated necessity. I drove home on Hwy 280 (and in typical native California-style) with the moon roof open and windows open and the heater full blast.

I fell exhausted onto my bed, cats in tow, and sank deeply into the mattress…with the TV on. I watched a show on PBS I had prerecorded about Silicon Valley, and watched as my friend Jamis MacNiven and his son took turns riding a camel at the Sand Hill Box Car races. Though my stocks were tanking, my cats purred loudly cuddled up next to me, and all felt safe in my world. By the looks of my twisted sheets and kinked neck, I slept a troubled sleep. I eventually became conscious of having a dream about being a hostage. Or maybe a plane crash… I broke slowly free of my thick dreams as I opened a plane’s emergency door and readied myself to step out as my mind wrestled with the complex questions of why the plane wasn’t losing pressure and why I wasn’t being sucked out. I was working the physics problems through as I came up out of sleep. Frustrated, I felt around for my glasses that had slipped off of my face and under a pillow. I put them on, sat up in bed and focused. It was no dream, my subconscious mind had been trying to make sense of what I was hearing under the wakeful eye of the TV.

I watched a New York skyline that was quite familiar engulfed in smoke, my head was still trying to sort the facts from the cobwebs that still remained. I have been many a time in that financial area, I have visited people in The World Trade Center offices. As I watched on live TV, I felt a complete surrealistic wave wash over me as the second plane went through the second tower like a napalm arrow through a soft target. There were no words escaping from my mouth. I was so freaked out. I turned up the sound. There were no sounds of explanation coming from the broadcast journalist except. “Oh my God.” A word of a different thought passed through my lips, “Fuhhhhhk.” I felt as though I was watching War of the Worlds on TV. New York was under attack? Or were planes being hurled from unseen hands into skyscrapers. What were the odds of two planes hitting buildings next to each other within minutes. My mind went back to running math problems. What the hell?

I reached blindly through the bed for the cordless phone and began hitting auto dial numbers. No one was awake. I was waking people up out of deep sleep, telling them something was happening in New York and DC and to turn on their TVs. To the many people I know who don’t believe in having TVs around, I told them to get to their computers. I left them confused one by one as I hung up and hit the next button and the next. Finally, I called my editor Jeanne at Wiley in NYC. She was hearing the sirens, but didn’t have access to a TV or radio and her Internet was down. I turned up the TV so she could hear everything as I described what was going on. She decided to go through town on foot and pick up her son from school. She said goodbye. I kept dialing. The people I had woken up began calling back. I called my parents, my dad was watching the live feeds via satellite and my mom was just stirring, my dad hadn’t wanted to wake her for this. I called my sister, we watched Jennings give us the news. She got a call that had cancelled her San Diego conference that next day. I called Pat, I knew she would be overwhelmed. I knew she wouldn’t be awake yet. I called, she immediately turned on the TV and was overwhelmed with grief. I could hear her tearing up. Pat always reminds me that I need to give into my emotional side every once in a while; I always joke with her that she’s been appointed my Chief Mourning Officer at my funeral. She had given her son a chance to stay home, but she knew he would be better off going to school and being around his peers to watch (as we had watched so many tragedies on TV in our homerooms. Yes, Pat and I have known each other THAT long) and discuss with his classmates. He went off to school.

I called my friend Jon in San Francisco, a financial analyst at a firm downtown who doesn’t have/desire a TV. I described to him what was going on; he spent time in NYC while going to Cornell, but many of his MBA friends had headed west eventually. He didn’t know anyone in the WTC. He was determined to go into the office, at that time many of the buildings in SF were open and would remain so until about 10AM. The Golden Gate Bridge was closed for a while. The airports closed. There were rumors of terrorists on their way to SF in passenger-laden planes with bombs on board. The San Francisco School District closed its schools. Everything seemed far too crazy.

I turned on my computer; I was getting a load of emails from people in Europe, all concerned. The dollar was crashing, foreign currency was dipping. I watched images on TV — people running away from the crumbling towers that fell like they had been set up for demolition. People standing, lost, journalists running with live-feed cameras. I wondered what, exactly, was going on. I started receiving more calls and then none at all as people became glued to their news sources to get the story, sink back in the chairs and become numbed by the images that seemed produced by an FX firm.

I got a call back from Jeanne, she had picked up her son. The sewers were smoking and people were running on either side of them saying the gaslines were about to blow. As she went further away from the area, she noted people had packed into the bars, watching TV and drinking heavily — people wanted to be with each other, even if those others were complete strangers.

As the president made his announcement at first, I can’t even remember the words, but he seemed lame. My trust at that moment was in Peter Jennings, who looked like hell (in a sexy, overwrought journalist way), with his watch on crooked, his tie loosened, his jacket off, his hair mussed and an utter look of exhaustion. I wondered if it was natural, or if he had been coached to do this in times of trauma to draw ratings. I noticed every person brought into any of the network studios who had been in the fray of things had not been brushed off. This one guy had at least a half-inch of ash on his bald head. Why wouldn’t they brush that stuff off?? Ratings.

But, I still believed what came out of Jennings’ mouth more than what was coming from George Dubya Bush’s. I called my VC friends in SF, they weren’t picking up the lines. The whole city seemed to be waiting for the other shoe to drop.

Speculative news came in about the possibility of Osama Bin Ladin being behind all of this after his warning in July. Could it be possible? I sat at my computer, received a note from Marcia at craigslist www.craigslist.org regarding special disaster forums they had posted because their other forums had been overwhelmed. And because they care. I checked out the site, and I was overwhelmed by the emotional postings that raged, cried and covered every range in between 9/11 Forum, craigslist These people needed a place to write, just as I do now. Then I received an email blast from the World Internet Center, they were canceling Pub Thursday, I felt relieved. I received another email blast, this time from David Winer, www.Scripting.com who always has great threads going on his site. I checked out his site, there was a long string of informative links and newsbites. One caught in my throat.

CTO/co-founder of Akamai, www.akamai.com Danny Lewin was dead. He had been on the plane from Boston that crashed into the WTC. Danny was one of the most brilliant people I have ever known. Young, but so smart. 31-years-old, two kids, great wife, bright future. It was then that the whole thing hit me and I just sat at my computer and cried. He was just one of thousands of people whom rescuers are currently digging out of the rubble as I write this. This guy was filled with promise, and I wonder just how many generations these murderers (whomever they may be) wiped out of genius, compassion, wisdom….

I got an email from my friend Paul Hoffman whom I had spent some time with earlier on the phone giving blow-by-blow CNN footage descriptions to while he sat at his desk at UCLA taking it in. I had sent him a link to Scripting. He pointed me back to a short note:

Born in Denver, Colo., and raised in Jerusalem, Danny is an officer in the Israel Defense Forces, having served in the country's military for more than four years.

I realized there was probably a lot I didn't know about Danny, I hadn’t recalled ever seeing his CV. I wondered how his military mind had worked during those few minutes of terror, if he had an opportunity to carry through a counter-attack of his own. If he had been the guy who used his cell phone in the bathroom and call 911 (which also happens to be the day Pat informed me when we looked for some kind of rhyme or reason to all of this) and tell the operator the plane was being hijacked. I went to the website where they had posted a press release about their founder. Then I went to the link where the management’s bios were. There it was, all still in present tense:

Danny Lewin founded Akamai in September 1998, along with Tom Leighton and a leading group of Massachusetts Institute of Technology scientists and business professionals. As chief technology officer, he drives Akamai's research and development strategy. Danny is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the Algorithms Group at MIT's Laboratory for Computer Science. He has published and presented several breakthrough papers at top computer science conferences and is the recipient of several awards, including the 1998 Morris Joseph Lewin Award for Best Masterworks Thesis Presentation at MIT. His master's thesis includes some of the fundamental algorithms that make up the core of Akamai's Freeflow system. Previously, Danny worked at IBM's research laboratory in Haifa, Israel, where he was a full-time research fellow and project leader while simultaneously completing two undergraduate degrees at the Technion, Israel's premier technology university. In 1995, Technion named him the year's Outstanding Student in Computer Engineering. At IBM, he was responsible for the development and support of the company's Genesys system, a processor verification tool that is used widely within IBM and in other companies such as AMD and SGS Thompson. He holds a bachelor of arts and of science, summa cum laude, from Technion. He also holds a master's degree from MIT.

Having to write and deliver a eulogy for a friend this year, I knew only too well what kind of feelings the person having to rewrite that bio to a past tense and make it all part of a stagnant past instead of promising future would go through.

My phone rang it was Jennifer Basye Sander columnist for Fortune and book packager, she had received a call from a reporter friend asking her if she knew an expert in grief counseling that he could quote, I gave her the info for Mary Anne Kelly, the founder of Centre for Living with Dying www.thecentre.org a great organization in the South Bay. Mary Anne has trained “grieving teams” throughout the world that are dispatched to disaster situations. She had to lose three husbands herself before becoming so well-versed in the art of helping others maintain their sanity and still grieve. Grieving the loss of a partner from a divorce I brought forth was bad enough; I can’t imagine still being in love with someone and losing them. Mary Anne is my hero and I have sent many people to her centre for healing. They could use the funds if you happen to have any cash.

I dug out a pack of French cigarettes I keep hidden in my desk for bad days, lit one, took a deep hit and got a most-welcomed head rush and chased it down with a Jolt cola. I settled in for a rough ride. As the day went on I heard from Nicole Kidd who was in The City for a conference where most of the afternoon talks had been canceled. I had called and called her that morning trying to wake her up, but she had spent the night in The City for the conference. Waking to the same footage as I did. She also had quite a surrealistic day and will hopefully be writing about it in the Lounge, I’ll come back and link it when we post it.

I’ve heard from a lot of people all day. Answered what seems like 200 emails, watched thousands of minutes of footage. And have learned nothing. Now I’m completely wiped out. Carla Rayacish is sending out the email invites for the Wild Women of Wonder breakfast on Saturday. We thought about canceling it; nearly every event in the next week — including the PGA and the Gammy Awards — has been cancelled. She had invited me a long to an investors event at the Stanford Museum today, but I just didn’t have the strength to put out my puddy-paw and meet and greet. I cancelled, but then she found out the event had been cancelled. We thought about not having our breakfast that we look forward to having every week. The group has really grown and we take up the entire back room at Buck’s now with incredibly wonderfully wild women. Although I wanted to have the breakfast, I hesitated. I was bummed and overwhelmed. Carla reminded me to focus on something positive — and offered up the fact that she would be bringing new life into the world in the course of eight months. Yes, that did seem like a good thing to focus on when death was all around. Well, at one point during the conversation I panicked because I didn’t know where my friend Loni Reeder, a WiWoWo member was – she was in London, but I didn’t know when she was returning. As far as I knew she could have been on that plane from Newark to SFO. I frantically tried reaching her by phone and then I shot off an email. A few minutes later I thankfully got one back.

Hey Sal,
Just got your note --- suffice it to say, communication to the outside world is rough right now. We were sitting down in the bar at the hotel with some other Americans watching CNN. This is absolutely terrifying (leave it to happen on my very first trip out of the country). I will not be leaving the U.S. anytime in the near future. That is, if we can ever get out of here. We're not scheduled to return until Saturday, but Martha's company (XXXXXX) will not allow us to fly until they know that it is as absolutely as safe as it can be. I was nearby Jim Morrison's grave when I got the news via a phone call. The hotel is doing its best to reassure everyone (but several of the entrances have been shut off, forcing everyone to enter through the front doors. I doubt I will be doing much more sightseeing (just because everyone is going through the fear of the unknown). We may have to fly back to Canada and drive back to CA, (and taking a ship back is also a consideration). But will know more in a couple of days. Martha has a couple of colleagues that were to be in NYC before flying over here later in the week to join her and her group --- we have had no word from them yet. XXXXX employees’ future travel for business has been suspended (she was supposed to go to Syria in three weeks, and Brazil next week). Well I will keep you as posted as I can --- I'm saying lots of prayers for all of us. I think we'll be in a big need of a big WiWoWo group hug when I get back --- but be sure to do one this Saturday in my absence.
Big hugs,
Loni

So we decided to have the meeting. BTW, I’m the one who told her one of the sights worth seeing was Jim Morrison’s grave. Then I received an email blast from WiWoWo member Lakshmi Pratury, a woman with a lot of clarity who recently joined the group. She had written a wonderful piece that she will hopefully allow me to post in the Lounge, or I’ll be posting to a link to it soon. Then I got another email blast from Dave Winer who wrote davenet.userland.com/ more thoughts on the day.

I got another call from Jon, he had been hanging out with his SF fellow New Yorker posse watching footage on TV. As he left work early his thoughts went to people who he remembered one by one worked in that area. He put out numerous calls and has heard back from his old gang one by one, still waiting to hear about others whom he hadn’t heard from in a while. Just as I am, he’s waiting for the other shoe to drop.

It doesn’t seem like they’re through with us yet. I mean, that’s what terrorists do, right? They make you wake up in the middle of the night and wonder, your thoughts turn back to turning off the CD, turning on the TV and listening to what else is coming, knowing there will be something else. I am definitely through with this day. Done, done, done. I need some fresh air. I’m going to turn off this damn thing, turn off the Otis Redding CD I’m listening to and go for a walk. I’m going to curl up with my purring cats, unplug and get some sleep.

Funny thing about Otis Redding. We share the same birthday (born September 9, 1941, DOD: December 10, 1967). I may have been five when he died, but I was aware. My dad did seven tours in Vietnam, and I was taught the art of survival at a young age. We lived in Hawaii and I had been shown Pearl Harbor, given the complete tour; including the part that sunk in the most — men were still inside those sunken graves. I remember asking the tour guide why they couldn't open them up, the young woman smiled sweetly and said they couldn’t open them up or else there would be explosions. I didn’t quite grasp that one; surely my dad could have found a way to open them? I began devising ways to open them without exploding them, my many endless questions to get the tour guide to work with me on some ideas made her agitated. I am my father’s princess and he my hero, I couldn’t get it through my head that they had left those sunken crypts in tact to serve a purpose for all time. For us to remember. For us to remember never to be caught off guard again, to remind us what humans with anger, focus and a mission are capable of. Yeah, I get that now. But those images of an active young girl's imagination kept me awake at night--the floating, dead sailors bumping up against the inside of those barnacle covered portals. Without even knowing it I was buying into the terrorism the original "Kamikaze" pilots. www.ringleib.com/terror/Kamakazi_Casualities.htm had originally set out to produce. Pure fear.

Even in my elementary school in Hawaii we used the word as slang to describe kids who were crazy and would make themselves the target of a teacher's wrath, not caring what the ramifications would be. I remember the drills we had in school in case of an emergency attack, and I never thought for a moment that one day it couldn't happen again. Today's Webster's dictionary describes the word as: having or showing reckless disregard for safety or personal welfare. Now we absent-mindedly use the word to describe a drink: 1 part Vodka, 1 part Triple sec, 1 part Rose's Lime Juice. Even if those pilots killed others and themselves in a world where I didn't yet exist, during a time when Otis Redding was three months old and the world was a much more hopeful place, I can't forget the original fear those kamikaze's instilled, no matter how many I drink. People were comparing today to Pearl Harbor, but Jennings kept pointing out today that at least we saw the planes with the red suns painted on them, we knew who was attacking us. That we didn't know who was attacking us now. He just didn't get it...it wasn't the who, it was the initial helplessness to do anything about it. No matter who it was. We could do absolutely nothing. It was the fear those kamikaze pilots put into us for generations to come, that's what those Pearl Harbor references were about. I heard Mayor Jerry Brown say that it was going to be business as usual, that we weren't going to let those "terrorists rule our lives." It's a fear that I heard so many say we weren't going to live with, the night we were going to take back, so to speak. Guess what, it was a lesson learned and one we must embrace so we'll remember that it can happen anywhere, any time. And to anyone. Including yours truly. Terrorism isn't just for TV viewing anymore.

Back to Otis. This is a piece I wrote for Sand Dreams & Silicon Orchards that was censored out. A part of history that somewhat reminds me of what we’re going through now. We’re confused now that the violence has hit home (again). And that’s the point that Lakshmi’s piece touches on. WHAT IF it was one of our own who did this? Nothing is certain now.

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Meanwhile, those who would become rock icons were writing it all down in songs that yesterday’s generations found enlightening and today’s teenagers are finding for the first time. The songs were filled with candor, and, for the most part, uncensored. The generation of musicians, who would leave a legacy still unrivaled, seemed to really have a bead on the situations going on around them. You don’t find their stories in history books, those young musicians hanging out in San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district captured an era and stuffed it into a hermetically sealed time capsule to be freshly opened and reopened again and again until it was finally digitized into the next generation’s history. The events of the Vietnam experience were finally captured brilliantly by Francis Ford Coppola in his 1979 blockbuster Apocalypse Now; Coppola, who fought on the frontlines of that war, used that generation’s music to perfectly illustrate everything about that moment in time.

“There’s always been a journalistic aspect in my work even from the first album,” said the late Frank Zappa in an interview conducted by Bob Marshall and Dr. Carolyn Dean in a 1988 interview. “If a person writes a song about a current event that’s a journalistic technique. I would say certainly a song about the Watts Riot, which was on the FREAK OUT! album, qualified as some form of journalism because a lot of people don’t even remember what the Watts Riot was, and so, at the point where you make the song, the Watts Riot was a recent journalistic event, it was recently in the news, but over a period of years, people forget what the news was and now it just becomes folklore.

“The fact is Channel 5 in Los Angeles, which showed the pictures of the riot, did have a story about a woman sawed in half by 50-caliber machine gun bullets from the National Guard that was down there taking care of the riot,” said Zappa of the Watts riots. “And that may be the only lasting monument to the woman who got sawed in half. There’s a lot of things like that in songs that go from journalism into folklore with people and the events that they are involved in. The songs were news at the time that they happened but over a period of time, who cares about the news anymore and then it’s just folklore.”

December 10, ’66, Bill Graham held his first concert at the Fillmore Auditorium; he leased the auditorium from owner Charles Sullivan, an African American known as one of the largest promoter of black musicians. That same year, Sullivan was found murdered, the case remains unsolved to this day.

Later in ’66, race riots were sparked in San Francisco’s Hunters Point neighborhood after a black teen, suspected of robbery, was shot by a member of the SFPD. The riots quickly spread to the Fillmore in San Francisco where forced urban renewal of ghetto areas had entire communities raging. Mayor Shelley brought in the National Guard and the riots ended in a few days. ’67 saw the opening of the movie Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner starring Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn and Sydney Portier, a blockbuster movie dealing with the issues facing a racially mixed couple. The movie was banned in several states.

By ’68 organized protesters all over America, especially those attending college, had answered the call to protest war. That same year, Johnson announced he would not be seeking reelection. Nixon was voted into office claiming he had a secret plan that would end the war. His secret plan was no less violent or wasteful of human lives that all of Johnson’s secret plans put together. Perhaps Nixon could have used a lesson or two in candor from Ginsberg.

Back in the Bay Area, in ’69, The Grateful Dead, who most of the time called San Francisco home, were on constant tour and people all over America were following them. LSD, created in 1943 by Albert Hoffman a scientist in Zurich, was the drug de jour. There was also a happening brewing on the East Coast, as word spread of a concert being billed as the party of the century. What was supposed to be a much smaller gathering, turned into an event of 500,000 — young and old people armed with a lot of drugs and not much clothes. Jimi Herdrix, Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Richie Havens and many others who would become part of rock history were scheduled to play the venue. The first concert of its type, Woodstock would be the prototype for those that would follow.

Jefferson Airplane was the first band to sign with the promoter, a group of guys with a trust fund funneled from a toothpaste empire; the concert’s promoter had never done anything like this before. Jefferson Airplane’s name leant Woodstock the credibility it would take to sign on the rest of the bands. Arnold Skolnick, the artist who designed Woodstock’s legendary dove-and-guitar symbol, was overwhelmed by the success of the numbers of people who had flocked to the New York farm. “Something was tapped, a nerve, in this country. And everybody just came,” Skolnick said.

Grace Slick, lead singer for the Jefferson Airplane a band in the thick of what was happening, was, according to Slick, the only band to play all three of the events that defined the generation — Woodstock, the Monterey Pop Festival and Altamont. Slick grew up in a suburban neighborhood in Palo Alto, where, she says, the toughest guy in school was rumored to have stolen some hubcaps. She was living in suburbia. She was a young girl full of curiosity and questions when the Beats were in their heyday in San Francisco.

“I was a little too young for the North Beach scene,” says Slick of her adventures sneaking out of her parent’s house and trekking up to The City to see what it was all about. “They wore these black turtlenecks and played bongo drums when they read their poetry, talked about nihilism, I just didn’t get it.”

After high school Slick went off to college at the University of Florida, but was called by a friend one night in ’58 telling her she had to come home because something was happening in San Francisco. She packed her bags and set off on the journey of a lifetime.

“I came from a real Leave it to Beaver home,” says Slick, “except my dad wasn’t goofy like Ozzie Nelson. But, things were going on, things were having an influence, I was reading Gertrude Stein, Aldous Huxley, Allen Ginsberg, we were listening to jazz and hearing Lenny Bruce tell it like it was. We were learning to think for ourselves, to improve things, to turn things over and over. We were looking at how to put our own mark on things. We could have the freedom to live like Gertrude Stein, or go with the pack and live like our parents — which was really boring. I was lucky enough to have been born in an era when what was going on suited my personality, others were all pushed out of shape by what was happening. I was lucky enough to love what I did for a living.”

It was also in ’68 when Otis Redding, born September 9, ’41, in Macon Georgia, captured the Bay Area’s soul in a song he wrote and mixed in a studio before his death in a plane crash a year before the song’s release. The song, Dock of the Bay, made him an instant success. Americans fell in love with San Francisco from afar, inspired by the words of a very talented dead musician.

Amidst the turmoil of race wars, assassinations and war, some Americans managed to have what is now referred to as the Summer of Love.
Grace Slick remembers that summer as well as the day that’s been dubbed in rock ‘n’ roll history as the day the music died, Altamont ’69, a concert held in Altamont, California just outside of Livermore. “I think in retrospect, for literary reasons, Altamont beautifully defines the end of an era. It was like a day when everything went wrong — everything from the moment you got up. Woodstock didn’t go very smoothly either so we expected things to happen, but everything went wrong. It was like one of those days when you get up and you brush your teeth and the toothbrush falls on the floor, and the toothpaste stains the new carpet you just got, and you have to rush out and you have a flat tire. It was like a bad concert day, and it was that way from the start. Then Mick Jagger started singing Sympathy for the Devil and that guy was killed. It didn’t occur to us at the time that it was such a disaster until that guy got killed, in retrospect I’m surprised more people weren’t.”

By ’70 Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix were dead, Jim Morrison was one year away from dropping from radar, Heavy metal and Punk would soon make their debut and soon thereafter, Disco was slowly rearing its ugly head from the horizon’s edge. America was at an awkward stage, kind of like that period when you want to start dating in junior high, and your parents tell you you’re too young. With the summer of love over, and florescent, polyester clothes and intense venereal diseases rampant, where would this generation go? The era that began with peace and love as its vision statement — a time when peaceful protestors met armed National Guard soldiers by placing flowers in gun barrels — had ended abruptly and left piles of human carnage in its wake. Would this new generation take away any lessons from the violence? They would certainly know how to manipulate their new best friend — television. Even today, wars are televised live to the viewing millions. Peace protesters were putting the pressure on government officials to end the war and all the while the violence that countered them was broadcast on national TV.

People in Middle America, who would normally never heard about the outbreaks of violence, were watching Vietnam and our own civil war unfold from a box in their living room. The American people were fed up with the amount of energy and people they were putting into a never-ending war. The draft’s heaviest casualties were college-aged men who were armed and sent to Vietnam to die in the mud. Campuses around the Bay Area held daily anti-war, anti-Nixon protests that often turned ugly when police were called in. National Guardsmen killed four students at Kent State and others died at Jackson State in Mississippi. Blood wasn’t just being spilled on foreign soil; kids were being killed at college.

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It’s the end of optimism for our era. It’s not just about pulling out of this recession; that issue seems so insignificant now. Who cares about gaining points? I’m so overwhelmed with what we’ve just lost it really doesn’t matter. We’re going to have to heal and rebuild and become stronger. Something told me when I saw the prime minister on TV today offering England’s assistance and we can tie his speech directly back to when we came to their aid in WWII…well, let’s just say lessons and allies were not lost to time. At least we had something to offer to end the war — Varian’s Klystron, what the hell do you use to stop terrorism? Nobody thinks this is over and I just know my mind is going to be wandering the collective unconscious with the rest of you tonight optimistically searching for some kind of closure.

Time to breathe deeply, walk briskly and sleep lightly. I just heard a jet fly overhead, and although I know it's probably just low-fly patrol I can't help but think it might not be. Perhaps it's time to pour another Kamikaze.
Unplugging for now,
sally