Burning the Candle at Both Ends

I will buy you a garden, where your flowers can bloom
I will buy you a new car, perfect shinny and new
I will buy you that big house, way up in the west hills
I will buy you a new life
yes I will

Everclear , I Will Buy You a New Life

I have my solidarity candle burning on the front porch tonight, lit it at 7PM just like the many emails I received told me to do. But, I have to tell you, I'm so fucking tired of all these email blasts from people I don't even know who have grabbed my email off of other email blasts. Jeez. Can't people get a website? Can’t people BCC their lists, at the very least? Yes, I'm complaining a bit. What I'm so frustrated about is that all of these emails and chain letters and petitions are telling me how to console myself and what actions to take. I never get junk mail put the last two days have seen more than the entire last year. One even told me I should put out a flag. I am so not a flag person. I'm up to here (sally waving her hands over her head) with the patriotic stuff — so many of the network stations have waving, flowing flags as their backgrounds to their split screens. There was even a woman who just got out of critical care and they were interviewing her from her hospital bed; they zoomed in on a flag-wearing Beanie Baby.

I was just on the landline with Pat and she said "There are all these things we have to do now, it's kind of confusing." which is true. It was really strange… all of those emails, each forcing its belief or ritual down your throat. I finally barked at one of my friends about it and sent her to the Cool Links section of the site that talks about how annoying chain letters are. I then sent another email saying I was sorry, but she beat me to it.

I am so tired of all of the flag waving stuff. I think it's feeding the fervor. The hate; I think it's making racists out of an awful lot of people. What I found was shocking was that someone hacked into the www.NewYork.com site (there’s flags all over this site) and posted names of people who are most probably dead in the "seen" list. At least that's what some talking head said. The more I look at the site though, the less I think that’s likely. Another rumor probably, just like that friggin’ Nosterdamus quote that came through — got about 30 of those…

Nostradamus' prediction on WW3:

"In the year of the new century and nine months,
From the sky will come a great King of Terror...
The sky will burn at forty-five degrees.
Fire approaches the great new city..."
"In the city of york there will be a great collapse,
2 twin brothers torn apart by chaos
while the fortress falls the great leader will succumb
third big war will begin when the big city is burning"


He said this will be bigger than the previous two. 2001 is the first year of the new century and this is the 9th month.
New York is located at the 41st degree Latitude.

What the Hell was that about? Then AOL ran this news brief denouncing the prediction….

Did Nostradamus really predict New York attack?
By Geert De Clercq

SINGAPORE, Sept 13 (Reuters) - Internet chat rooms are abuzz with talk that 16th century French astrologer Nostradamus forecast the attack on the World Trade Center in New York. Thousands of people have received e-mails containing this prophecy, often with a second part forecasting that the attack on the twin towers will mark the beginning of World War III. Several versions are doing the rounds. This is one of them: "In the year of the new century and nine months From the sky will come a great King of Terror The sky will burn at forty-five degrees Fire approaches the new city."

The text corresponds roughly to a verse in Nostradamus's Century (section) Six, Quatrain 97. Several books on Nostradamus have speculated that this quatrain's first line refers to September 2001, the ninth month in the first year of the new century, while the 45 degrees is interpreted as the latitude of the city of New York.

But New York lies just below 41 degrees latitude and Nostradamus's verse does not mention a great war, contrary to what several e-mails say. In many e-mails, the verse comes with a second part, which seems harder to link to Nostradamus:

"In the city of York there will be a great collapse Two twin brothers torn apart by chaos While the fortress falls the great leader will succumb Third big war will begin when the big city is burning."


"(This second quatrain) is NOT by Nostradamus," read a statement on www.nostradamus-repository.org, a Web site for Nostradamus study.

Hoax or not, various versions of the verse are being forwarded by the thousands every day.

"Initially, I was really skeptical, but I went to the web to look up something on (Nostradamus). Some prophecies have come true," Agnes Ng, a 23-year old Singaporean accountancy student, told Reuters on Thursday. She received one of the prophecies in an e-mail from a friend. Before forwarding the message to her contacts, she posted a copy on Usenet newsgroupalt.prophecies.nostradamus. The e-mail she received was even more specific, forecasting that:

"The big war will begin when the big city is burning on the 11th day of the 9th month that... two metal birds would crash into two tall statues in the new city and the world will end soon after." One of the newsgroup contributors who goes by the e-mail moniker of "Justaguy" said this was a fake. "It has been posted ad nauseam," he said. Nostradamus prophecies surface after nearly every major news event. False or real, they struck a chord in Singapore. Bookstore salespeople told Reuters there had been strong demand for books on Nostradamus since Tuesday's attacks.

I tried to link this story but AOL had it on one of its blind links…. I’ll admit it; I have broken a copyright law. I do feel obliged to tell you to go to www.Reuters.com to get your latest news. I would have searched the site for the URL for this story, but there was no “search” UI that I could easily find ;-(

Onward….I saw the services from the "official" church service this morning. The only thing I found comforting out of that was that Gore and Clinton had come in together (flown in), via George Dubya's plane he loaned them the night before. Would be nice to see them mend the fence; they had some really good times together. There were four presidents there, and lots of politicians I recognized by face. Clinton had been in Florida, Bush flew him in. At least that's what I heard, who knows what the real stories are these days. Anyhow, when the opera-trained woman began singing gospel the camera panned over to Bush Sr., and his head tipped back and his mouth fell open.... I thought for a moment that he was either dead, having an orgasm or asleep with his eyes open. Funny how one expression could fit all of the above for Bush Sr., or maybe it's just my imagination, lack of sleep and a bit of disdain mixed in. Well, the church service had all of these religious leaders saying things that I personally didn't find too awfully comforting.

And then Billy Graham was all of a sudden in my face. My brain switched off (out of self-preservation). This is the guy who says that abortion is a method to keep people of color culled. I cannot believe the things that come out of that “proper” mouth. I remember one night Pat and I were wondering around San Francisco in the early ‘80s when we were in high school and we were meandering the streets and we were all of a sudden barraged by all of these Billy Graham posters — he was coming to one of the coliseums — we pulled out a Sharpie pen and walked around The City drawing devil horns on hundreds of posters well into the early morning hours. We did get busted by a cop who pulled us over, but said he didn’t care, the city was going to be taking them down the next day and billing the company who put them up. We learned that posting posters is essentially graffiti in the first place, we were only doing secondary graffiti. The second graffiti offense does not seem to be punishable by law. If we confessed our graffiti crimes to Graham, do you think he’d be factoring in the price of the printing/manufacturing costs when giving us our Hail Mary’s? Better yet, do you think it would be the same penance if we were committing graffiti on an abortion clinic? If I ever do meet him in person, I will have to ask. Well, a year later we would find ourselves drunkenly wandering the streets of Cambridge, England to see those same obnoxious posters once again. It seemed as though he was following us; the guy always freaked me out. I can’t believe he is now shown on network TV everywhere.

Okay, so here are all these well-meaning people on my TV, they’re singing The Battle Hymn of the Republic. They look pretty sad and some people are crying, the cameras are catching every tear falling. I felt so bad for these people, I guess. This was a pretty high-profile group who knew they were going to be under the microscope. Nearly all of them have personal press agents. I can’t trust anything I see these days — all I keep thinking about is that piece of footage in Broadcast News…the tear. Is it truth, or ratings?
And then they’re passing around the money basket. At least four major networks are carrying this service live and they’ve got two guys in suits passing around the money baskets on either side with the camera following closely in on what’s being given by whom. Who has cash these days? Everything is plastic. I saw a lot of business cards filling the baskets, what were those? IOUs? Bill my secretary? I thought it was totally inappropriate and it reminded me more about why I find organized religion in need of an overhaul. It was a publically crass moment for whatever religion was responsible for it. It was like farting loudly at your First Communion, just because you could. It was supposed to be this really inspiring show, and then all of a sudden it’s all about money — money that hasn’t even been dog-eared for the victims of this thing. It’s church business, conducted live to millions. If this wasn’t a big mix of church and state I don’t know what is. This is what inspired this columns music. The song came on when I was driving and it seemed somehow very, very appropriate. I will build you some big faith, perfect shiny and new….

So, I go do some errands, come back and find Dubya on top of the heaps of rubble with his arm draped around a guy I thing is Senator Spector, but I’m still trying to figure out why he would be wearing a fireman’s hat. Dubya looks drunk. He starts saying some yahoo thing and them the cheers from the volunteers roar up — “U-S-A! U-S-A! U-S-A!” It’s like Lord of the Flies. They’re working up to eat Piggy. I tell you, all of this U-S-A! stuff is going to cause some problems. Places of worship all over the county have been damaged. People who were born Americans, people who have been here many years and become citizens, innocent people...have now become the targets of "patriotic" fanatics. Americans are being set against Americans. That haunting “U-S-A!” chant is richoishaying in my head; I now know for certain why I am not a flag person. A flag once used to show patriotism is now used to stick through your neighbor’s heart.

I think what we could have used at that service were words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama (someone who knows our enemy entirely too well), Nelson Mandela or any of a number of people on www.wagepeace.org/pagPeacemaker.htm#7 Why not bring some Nobel Lauriat Peace Prize winners into the room for some wisdom.

I just don’t get it.

Tonight I got a chance to talk with my buddy Michael Chidambaram — we’ve been through a few startups together. Well Michael and I were invited to go to a wedding in NYC, our friend Ace got married. I was unable to attend, Michael did. Afterward he went to Florida to visit his grandparents. He was on his way home from Florida to SFO when the pilot made an announcement “We have some very upsetting news.” Well, Michael thought it was the weather, or some other delay. “Two planes have been hijacked and flown into the Twin Towers in New York.”

“Well, I thought it was just some bad joke — like something you’d do in high school,” says Michael of the experience. “But, here we were with a full tank of gas going to California. We landed in Texas.” Unfortunately, United didn’t have a presence at that airport, so nothing was done for the stranded passengers. “We all went to the bar and watched on the TV and waited to see when we’d be able to take off again.” That wasn’t happening, so Michael tuned into the overhead announcements from the car rental agencies announcing that so and so has rented a car, and has three empty seats. He found a ride with some guys who were asking a pile of money, but Michael being the shrewd business guy he’s always been, was able to get a much better deal. The three of them drove straight through to Reno, but they couldn’t bring that car back to California because of its emissions, so they had to get another car in Reno. With the exception of stopping in a few reservation casinos for rest stops, they drove all the way through. He was so tired when he called. He’s going to send me something to post in The Lounge in the next few days.

Which leads us to the next few days…. Tomorrow morning is the Wild Women of Wonder breakfast (I should get some sleep). I think I’ll also go to the CyberArts International party www.cyberarts.org to go see some visionary stuff. I’ve also got some calls out about my upcoming trip to Afghanistan, or Pakistan — wherever the chips may fall. Finally...a war correspondent. My friends think I’m crazy, few people other than journalist realize that this is the Holy Grail of all coverage. I’ve missed three wars: El Salvador, Panama and China. Not that I was hoping those wars would go on any longer than they did, I just wanted to cover them. Anyhow, if I can get a flight out — I’m open to suggestions about travel if anyone wants to email me — I’m out of here and I’ll be filing stories from somewhere else soon.

I did see something that took me aback today. I was driving to drop off my dry cleaning and there, standing on a busy intersection of El Camino, is a young guy, probably around 20 or so. He has a flag bandana tied around his head, wearing jeans and a NY Yankees tee-shirt. He is standing there with this huge flag; he’s not waving it or moving. He’s just standing there, looking intensely at some far, distant place that none of us can see. People are honking, giving him the thumbs-up, they’re all very excited — and as I watch them (I stopped at a stop light and then circled the block two more times) their excitement turns to being freaked out when they see he isn’t acknowledging them, at all. The journalist sally wants to stop and get the story, the sally sally side of me wants to take him out of the hot sun, drive him to the BBC (sally sally would let him fly his flag out the sun roof) and buy him a pitcher of something cold, but the instinctual sally says, just keep on driving. And I did.

So on that note, I leave you with some words of wisdom from someone who isn’t passing around the plate.

MAY 10, 1994
Today, all of us do, by our presence here and by our celebration in other parts of our country and the world, confer glory and hope to newborn liberty. Out of the experience of an extraordinary human disaster that lasted too long must be born a society of which all humanity will be proud. Our daily deeds as ordinary South Africans must produce an actual South African reality that will reinforce humanity's belief in justice, strengthen its confidence in the nobility of the human soul, and sustain all our hope for a glorious life for all. All this we owe both to ourselves and the peoples of the world who are so well represented here today.

To my compatriots, I have no hesitation in saying that each one of us is intimately attached to the soil of this beautiful country, as are the famous jacaranda trees of Pretoria and the mimosa trees of the bushveld.

Each time one of us touches the soil of this land, we feel a sense of personal renewal. The national mood changes as the seasons change. We are moved by a sense of joy and exhilaration when the grass turns green and the flowers bloom.

That spiritual and physical oneness we all share with this common homeland explains the depth of the pain we all carried in our hearts as we saw our country tear itself apart in a terrible conflict and as we saw it spurned, outlawed, and isolated by the peoples of the world precisely because it had become the universal base of the pernicious ideology and practice of racism and racial oppression.

We, the people of South Africa, feel fulfilled that humanity has taken us back into its bosom, that we who were outlaws not so long ago have today been given the rare privilege to be host to the nations of the world on our own soil.

We thank all our distinguished international guests for having come to take possession with the people of our country of what is, after all, a common victory for justice, for peace, for human dignity. We trust that you will continue to stand by us as we tackle the challenges of building peace, prosperity, nonsexist, nonracialism, and democracy. We deeply appreciate the role that the masses of our people and their political mass-democratic, religious, women, youth, business, traditional-and other leaders have played to bring about this conclusion. Not least among them is my second deputy president, the honorable F.W. de Klerk.

We would also like to pay tribute to our security forces, in all their ranks, for the distinguished role they have played in securing our first democratic elections and the transition to democracy from blood-thirsty forces which still refuse to see the light.

The time for the healing of the wounds has come.

The moment to bridge the chasms that divide us has come.

The time to build is upon us.

We have, at last, achieved our political emancipation. we pledge ourselves to liberate all our people from the continuing bondage of poverty, deprivation, suffering, gender, and other discrimination.

We succeeded to take our last steps to freedom in conditions of relative peace. We commit ourselves to the construction of a complete, just, and lasting peace.
We have triumphed in the effort to implant hope in the breasts of the millions of our people, We enter into a covenant that we shall build the society in which all South Africans, both black and white, will be able to walk tall, without any fear in their hearts, assured on their inalienable right to human dignity-a rainbow nation at peace with itself and the world.

We dedicate this day to all the heroes and heroines in this country and the rest of the world who sacrificed in many ways and surrendered their lives so that we could be free. Their dreams have become reality. freedom is their reward. We are both humbled and elevated by the honor and privilege that you, the people of South Africa, have bestowed on us, as the first president of the united, democratic, nonracial, and nonsexist South Africa, to lead our country out of the valley of darkness.

We understand it still that there is no easy road to freedom.

We know it well that none of us acting alone can achieve success. We must therefore act together as a united people, for national reconciliation, for nation building, for the birth of a new world.