MAY <-- JUNE, 2002 --> JULY

JUNE, 2002

Sat Jun 1 00:16:46 PDT 2002

This past year I lost my job, my money, my apartment, my car, lots of furniture, a cat, three subsequent girlfriends ... I started losing a lot of stuff, and I had to start from scratch some, take a low-wage job to staunch the death spiral of veritable failure that my life had become. And now I'm looking to come back. This time next month, I should be at zero credit-card debt, on my way to paying back mom for the car, and then working on student loans.

Insomnia is a bitch.

I got to thinking of that episode of Northern Exposure where the Doctor gets inducted in to the tribe, but part of that is that you have to give away all your material possessions. Goodbye, boxed books I haven't looked at in months! Good bye, closet full of clothes that I never wear! Goodbye, three month supply of tee-shirts. Goodbye socks, goodbye underwear. I could ditch the computer, the remaining furniture, spare parts, tools. Maybe keep mom's blanket, or at least give it to a very close friend. Start over ... start over ...

The ideal what-if scenario is where a man has given it all away, dropped his lease, found a home for his cat, moved 2,000 miles from home, drops the last of his clothes off at good-will, disrobes, removes his watch, and goes to sit on a bus-stop bench to wait for someone to pick him up, get him some spare clothes, and get him to a shelter. Start over with nothing but the hair on your head and your wits, and the scary thing is, could you make it? What would "making it" even be, at that point? Material success? Perhaps, ministering to the people on the bottom of our society.

Consider the practical stuff. No ID? That can be obtained, but you can find an income without it. Your credit record, if it ever comes up, will still be yours. You can't shake that off. Or your criminal record. You can't shake off your education, or your intellect. Certain skills, like knowing how to drive, whether or not you have a car. Family and friends, they won't let you "drop out" of society entirely, however sympathetic they are to your ends.

No, I'm not about to act on any of this, but it is a revolutionary thought, the type that passes through my head when I can't sleep, the type that makes you wonder if you're that fucking brilliant or completely mad, and whether there'd be a difference there, considering that the success of radical thought is mainly a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Call it foresight, or luck.

Damn I am fucking hungry.

Sat Jun 1 00:37:53 PDT 2002

... not to mention lucky.

Written 6-1-02

Well, I hope June is a good month. I've seen a few hotties in my pedestrian errands today. The first had golden-brown cheeks with eyes framed by the dark circles of her glasses. She stood by her boyfriend, wearing a short, denim dress that screamed out her lovely hour-glass shape from across the street.

It is a time like that when you wish your buddy was there so you could quietly coax his gaze in the right direction, breathe in the image, and once it passes, share a moment of mutual appreciation.


You saw that girl too, right?

Another pretty girl with a beautiful white blouse that was translucent below the bust, was flanked by two older family members as I encountered her crossing the street. She paid me the courtesy of a glancing smile.

At the coffee shop this gal walked in in a faded denim skirt, that topped a pair of long, brown legs that just kept going.

Walking down the street, later, I decided that I needed to state on the record, that a beautiful woman is as great as any work of art, with the added bonus that she could perhaps smile back at you.

For a base appreciation of beauty, why spend money on a museum? Particularly on a sunny summer day.

Mon Jun 3 10:32:04 PDT 2002

From this morning's Palo Alto Daily News, with my own headline.

Increase the Dole: Hindered Executives Threaten to Slash Consumption

The amount of severance pay doled out to corporate managers and executives is falling, a trend that could make the consumer-driven recovery a bit slower.

... that means the financial cushion for the average job-seeking manager or executive will run out six weeks before the new job is found.

"Now, there is a real threat that the growing number of unemployed managers and executives, hindered by drastically reduced severance payments, will slash consumption in order to stretch that severance until they are re-employed," said John A. Challenger, CEO of Challenger Gray.

So, there is a real threat, because we're not giving them enough money, that unemployed wealthy people will buy less crap as a way to make ends meet. Pardon me if I fail to lose sleep over this crisis.

Though, this makes BMW's introduction of the $15,000 Mini seems downright prescient. Yes, BMW, doing its part, to help the welfare kings in these trying times.

Mon Jun 3 15:26:01 PDT 2002

<SmooveB> hey captain typo
* dman grins
<SmooveB> how's that qwerty workin out for you? :)
<dman> it's qwertylicious.

Tue Jun 4 22:57:05 PDT 2002

Today, let us try some pictures:

Nortel Networks
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This is one of Nortel Networks' buildings next to Great America. Nortel makes phone equipment and is taking a really nasty beating and you can see here a big, shiny, brand-new office building with the corporate logo and a parking lot that is virtually empty at 10AM. I figure they've abandoned this building. You can make out piles of what look like cardboard boxes at the very front of the top floor.

The ebb and flow of the business cycle, as seen from the parking lot. It looks like the ebb of a Socialist utopia, with more high-tech panache.

Nortel Networks
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I took a break at work, and wandered out to sit by the pond and clear my head. I set the digital camera on the ground next to the flowers to grab this shot. I like the result.

Do you like the picture-y show-and-tell? You kids gotta tell me what entertains you and doesn't entertain you. Send me e-mail! Thanks.

Sat Jun 8 14:04:54 PDT 2002

Bless The Onion and the impressionable Chinese journalists who read it on the Internet:

Yu said he would tell Huang to "be more careful next time."

But he adamantly ruled out a correction and grew slightly obstreperous when pressed to comment on the article's total lack of truth.

"How do you know whether or not we checked the source before we published the story?" Yu demanded in a phone interview. "How can you prove it's not correct? Is it incorrect just because you say it is?"

From Parody fails sniff test but Chinese read it and weep anyway

Sat Jun 8 22:05:40 PDT 2002

Foliage on the Sidewalk
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It was very very windy in Mountain View today. Wind is pretty unusual here in this neck of the 'burbs, and a lot of trees suffered because of this. I really like the picture I caught of clumps of foliage on Dana Street in the sunset.


In one particularly telling incident, McDonald's executives were challenged on the company's claim that it serves "nutritious food": David Green, senior vice president of marketing, expressed his opinion that Coca-Cola is nutritious because it is "providing water, and I think that is part of a balanced diet." In another embarrassing exchange, McDonald's executive Ed Oakley explained to Steel that the McDonald's garbage stuffed into landfills is "a benefit, otherwise you will end up with lots of vast empty gravel pits all over the country."

Naomi Klein, "No Logo"

Sun Jun 9 16:54:23 PDT 2002

Old Man Watering Lawn
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Half naked older man waters his scraggly lawn.

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This house of Patriots has left their flag in the weather since at least September.

Solar-Powered Pickup Truck
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That pickup truck is electric. You can see the solar panels on the roof from which it derives its energy. Who needs military protection of foreign oil supplies when we have the warm California sun at our disposal?

Pretty Red House
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A pretty red house.

Sun Jun 9 21:33:10 PDT 2002

(21:21:50) Mary: i think i will now see if danny has anything new in his log
(21:22:08) dannyman: huhuhuhuh log
(21:22:37) Mary: lol
(21:22:48) Mary: i see you do have something new
(21:24:06) dannyman: got to entertain my public.
(21:24:40) Mary: how many are in your public? i like the picture of the sidewalk..
(21:24:45) Mary: i really really like it
(21:24:50) dannyman: :)
(21:24:53) dannyman: thanks dear
(21:25:10) dannyman: there's you and miho and brian and mikeya ...
(21:25:25) dannyman: mom and grandma read from time to time
(21:27:17) dannyman: There are 653 unique IP addresses having requested something with "/log/" in it from my server. :)

0-21:28 dannyman@pianosa ~> grep /log/ /var/www/logs/ \
    | awk '{print $1}' | sort | uniq -c | awk '$1 > 19 {print}' | sort -rn

So ... let us play "guess who owns that IP address!"

0-21:12 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# Must be Andrew and/or Holly
0-21:38 dannyman@yourmom ~> host is a nickname for domain name pointer
# The aforementioned Miho!
0-21:38 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# I think that's me.
0-21:39 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# Matt Levy!?  Cool.
0-21:39 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# New York City?
0-21:39 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# Someone on AT&T Broadband
0-21:39 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# Also me!
0-21:39 dannyman@yourmom ~> host is a nickname for 196.192-
196.192- domain name pointer
# The Transmeta firewall!  So, anyone from work!
0-21:40 dannyman@yourmom ~> host domain name pointer
# Someone in Chicago with a DSL connection.

Mon Jun 10 00:54:00 PDT 2002


Mon Jun 10 05:22:43 PDT 2002

I did get some sleep, but then Gray Cat had to start crying. ARGH! I picked him up by the scruff of his neck and tossed him out the front door. He looked a little surprised, and I always feel a little uncomfortable about such horrible cruelty, but waking me up in the middle of the night is horribly cruel.

Especially when I can't sleep.

Sunday evening I was at Eric's birthday party. Eric is the guy who found me to hire on at Transmeta, and has recently been appointed my manager. He's married, owns a house, he's from Hawaii. He's a year, not even, a year older than me, if he was truthful about his age.

The night before last I shared a bottle of tequila with Lisa and Jessica. Lisa just signed a lease for an apartment she's moving in to in San Francisco next month. Good for her! She's moving down from Sacramento to attend painting school. We watched "The Big Lebowski" together, which is a good movie to get drunk to, I figure.

Anyways, after tossing Gray Cat out, I started thrashing in bed, thinking about the Big Lebowski, and about the idea of maybe living the life of a rover, settling somewhere new every five years, always moving forward, about how that's not what mom would like, but then I always associated with that song they'd sing at Owasippe Scout Reservation at the opening and closing ceremonies:

When ya comin' home dad?
I don't know when,
But we'll get together then, Dad.
I know we'll have a good time then.

And, you know, mom had to work. Always, and Dad was never around. I have no complaints about that, but as this plaque on Grandma Howard's kitchen wall read, "There are two things we can give our children, one is roots, and the other wings." I've got roots, yes, but the wings are the most apparent.

So, I asked myself, what was I doing five years ago? Summer '97 I would have been living in an apartment that I subletted for the summer for $400. That summer I worked full-time for the NCSA. The big project was converting the Beckman Institute from thin Ethernet to 10baseT wiring. I had a beard, I walked around barefoot, I broke up with Asao, and a little while later I shaved my head. It was a good summer, albeit lonely.

And then, I reviewed my college summers ... '97 NCSA, '96 was EnterAct, '98 summer and fall returned to EnterAct. '99 I came out here for Tellme. But what of '95? '94 I basically slept, in between my first exposure to California, the trip where we slept on the beach in San Diego for three days, and on the way back through Texas the bus flipped on its side and I had to shepherd four kids home on Greyhound so we'd get back before school, while Dad and Gwen tried to find a replacement windshield back in Texas, ultimately driving back real carefully without.

Fall of '94, August 18, 1994, I found myself in the Army. Yeah, I flunked out and six weeks later found myself back in Illinois. But it was all for the better. I started school in January of '95, but what did I do that summer?

I can remember the girl I missed from school, and I remember going back out West again with Dad, this time with Jessica, my sister, and my dog Max. Ah, Max! Max, I remember, and I remember we made it to Utah, where we found the Rainbow Family camping out before the July Fourth holiday. Dad spent the week with the bus' engine out in a field that had become the parking lot, full of similar VWs. We'd hitch in to town and back, one time I was with a woman from Idaho who drove with a beer between her legs, and another time I got in the back of a white pickup truck. The folks in the cab asked if I smoked pot, and they later asked if I was a Communist. My answer to both questions was "No."

I also remember meeting a girl there, though I never got her name. We spent one night sharing my sleeping bag in the cold Wyoming night, near a dying campfire and my sleeping dog. She pulled off her shirt and let me play with her nipples, and that's how we fell asleep.

And you know, that's probably the only sort of memories that count. I have a hard time believing that there was a time since starting school that I was content to not work, and just bum around mom's house in Chicago. And a hypothesis I developed in my insomnia was that maybe the journal has been a positive influence in my life. I started writing on-line in the summer of 1996. Just that tiny bit of added self-consciousness, a modest public life, a periodic bit of public self-examination.

The question now, at 5:48 in the morning, is whether I can get to sleep at this hour, and sleep in, or should I shower, dress, and walk down to the coffee shop and get me a start on the day?

Well, we all have to live some time.

Sometimes there's a man.
And I'm talkin' about The Dude, here.
Sometimes there's a man,
Well, he's the man, for his time and place.
And even if he's a lazy man, and The Dude most certainly was,
Quite possibly the laziest man in all of Los Angeles County.
Which would place him high in the running for laziest world-wide.
Sometimes there's a man ...
Sometimes there's a man ...
Well, I guess I lost my train of thought here.

"Out West is where I'll be found, tumblin' along with the tumblin' tumbleweeds."

Sun Jun 16 16:24:10 PDT 2002

It occurs to me that our desire to irradiate mail and food and $DEITY knows what else dovetails nicely in to the terrorists' ambitions to detonate a dirty bomb. "Better living through radiation" is the latest fad. We'll see how well it catches on.

Blessed be our modern technology.

Sun Jun 16 19:43:52 PDT 2002

For two days in a row, I have blown off some nice folks who want to change the world. Yesterday I was drunk on a nice, red, strong, cinnamony iced tea that Erik shared with me at his new Warehouse home in Oakland. So, I couldn't make it to the meeting, across the bay in San Francisco. And today, I made no effort to meet up with them to help solicit people to make calls to a state assembly member whose vote is needed to get a bill that would prevent HMOs from forcing their subscribers in to binding arbitration out of a particular committee.

I can be sooooo greedy sometimes, eh?

I've arrived at an idea today, for going forward. I need to start observing a Sabbath. I appreciate these quite days when I just walk ... walk all over town, exploring, looking at things, daydreaming, thinking ... it is valuable stuff, and now that I'm no longer unemployed, I should set aside some time to do it.

Then, when someone invites me to an event, and I just don't feel like the effort of a social gathering, I have a legitimate reason to demure. I need my quiet time.

Quiet time to fold laundry and pay the bills, and write in my journal, among other things.

Today I spent much money. Six dollars, perhaps, on coffee and tasty snacks at the coffee shop. Then I wandered farther, to Wolf Camera, where they said that in order to merely clean out the linty view-finder in my camera, it would be a "repair charge" which in most cases, was about half the cost of a new camera. They suggested that what I ought to do, is carefully disassemble the puppy myself, and take care of business. I dropped $65 on an extra battery. Since the viewfinder is nasty, I opt for the LCD display instead, which sucks juice like some electric vampire, so it is nice to have an alternative battery to fall back on. I can swap the two between charger and camera, as needed.

Returning down El Camino, I found a car parts store. $18 for a Chilton's book on the '89 Ford Crown Victoria. A few more blocks, and I dropped in on an Army Surplus store. They sold hats! For a long time, I'd been thinking I needed a hat. Keep the sun out of my eyes, but add a unique touch of style. They had not a washroom for me to use, so I left without a hat, dropped in at Jiffy Lube, cleaned some piss of their toilet seat, and took care of business.

Afterwards, I decided I still needed a hat, and so energized by a flushed colon, I wandered back to the surplus store, carefully determined the object of my desire, and wore it around as I explored the rest of the store. $26 on my way out the door. Dang.

The shadow of the man in the
felt hat.
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Back at the ranch, I started to hunger. Well, down to the Taqueria Los Charros, where I was warmly welcomed, for the other day I had professed my love for them on a napkin that I left on my plate, also making note of the Senoritas Bonitas, or somesuch. Well ... I wanted something with onions, so I tried the ... well, I can never remember the names of Mexican food, I know not why, but it had onions in it.

I had felt ambivalent about going to Los Charros. I go there all the freaking time, you see, and that food can't be too healthy, and I felt almost like I was taking advantage of the younger, prettier, waitress the other day, who'd gushed thank you at the "card" I had all but forgotten about. Was my relationship with my favorite Taqueria healthy? Was I forsaking potentially positive explorations of all the Asian food on Castro Street for Jumbo Beef Burritos? So, I wandered up and down Castro for a while, asking what I really wanted, thinking it was onions ... onions ... I'll swoop around Charros on Dana Street then circle around and try some Chinese dish with onions in it.

But the other waitress caught me. "Hello," she welcomed me, stepping out the door to serve someone on the sidewalk.

I went in ... looked at the big board, and I found onions! I would try something new. I would make our relationship deeper and more meaningful.

And a bit more expensive. Must have dropped around $14 for the oniony special with the flour tortillas and that awesome, fresh-squeezed orange juice! Ahh, Los Charros, Te amo ...

Back at Castro Street I retreated in to the mezzanine of Books Inc, and finally finished Naomi Klein's thick "No Logo" between admiring the beautiful women who came by to patronize the store on the floor below.

Not a bad Sabbath, so far? I guess I could pay the bills. Fold some laundry. Clean the desk?

Oh yeah, I still have to mow the lawn.

Sun Jun 16 23:45:04 PDT 2002

This isn't another rough night of insomnia, is it?

Mon Jun 17 14:07:32 PDT 2002

No, it wasn't bad at all.

Mon Jun 17 15:22:51 PDT 2002

Well, I guess it is nice to see that we can still allie ourselves with the "Axis of Evil" when it comes to blocking abortion rights in the UN.

I read a cool editorial in the paper this morning that pointed out that the government claims that Al Qaeda is impenetrable by outsiders. If this is the case, the editorial went on, then how could Jose Padilla represent much of an Al Qaeda threat? If, instead, a Latino from a Chicago Street gang can gain the trust of Al Qaeda, why have we not infiltrated their organization with our own people?

Hooray for thinking.

Mon Jun 17 17:50:43 PDT 2002

So, for the longest time, my digital camera has had unholy amounts of lint in the viewfinder, such that I had to use the LCD to take pictures, because I simply could not see through the viewfinder.

Well, I found the appropriate jeweler's screwdriver, took the case off, oh so carefully, found the lint, and went at it with a can of compressed air.

And now I can see through the viewfinder again! I am such a digital camera stud.

Tue Jun 18 17:27:43 PDT 2002

How's this for a lead:

In what may be the biggest blow to national pride since the Americans conquered half of this country in the War of 1846, Mexico's World Cup soccer team, to the horror and disbelief of millions of their fellow citizens, lost by a score of 2-0 to the United States.

From The Mercury:

``I think that the United States always has seen us as inferior, and it always has tried to humiliate us,'' said Alejandro Duarte, 41, an administrator at the National Polytechnic Institute. ``And now they've really gone and done it.''

A total hoot!

Wed Jun 19 12:50:08 PDT 2002

When I was young, and first got to the gifted school, there was a black kid, Leroy Toussaint, and he carried himself very cool.

He once wrote a poem, that started:

I once knew a black cat,
His mom was born in the back of a Cadillac.

Leroy was very cool. Assuming that that was his name. It was so long ago, that for all I can truthfully say, I could have dreamed the whole thing, but damn, if he was cool.

Wed Jun 19 22:21:34 PDT 2002

Have you ever looked up and seen the horror of the world for what it is, and let that terrifying reality take ahold in you?

VTA's newest hoopty!
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I had a moment like that this morning. I got on the sexy new, low-floor light rail. I found a Wall Street Journal on it, that had a cover story, with color pictures, about how, whatever the cause, climate warming is very much a real problem in Alaska. Beetles, favored by the slightly warmer weather, have bread prolificly, and lain waste to entire forests, which are also catching on fire, so people need to clear the dead brush from around their houses, which are sinking on their foundations, which were built in to perma-frost, which is no longer permanent.

I looked out the window of the light rail, and saw the cars zipping by. I could drive to work. I'd get there quicker. It is probably even cheaper. Instead, I trade in the convenience for a VTA day-pass. My day is longer, giving me more time to day-dream, and I get more exercise walking between stations and destination. But I'm an exception. Most people around here drive.

I looked out the window, as the cars zipped past. There are so many cars. This suburban landscape is dominated by huge eight-lane roads, which break out in to double turn-lanes, feeding highways that criss-cross the map, and are far more useful and present to anyone who wants to get around, than the anemic, under-funded, un-used, slow, incoherent, conflicting rail and bus networks that nobody uses.

I looked out the window, and I understand why people drive, I like to drive, but I looked out the window and saw all those cars, and I knew that those were only a few cars, there were more cars, and more cars, everywhere, all over this country, driving overweight Americans around, needlessly wasting energy, wasting money in a world where so many people are poor, and each putting some carbon into the atmosphere, warming up the planet, causing problems. All these separate people in their separate cars with their separate combustion reactions going different places, wasting energy to warm the Earth.

I could feel this madness ... the madness of how things have been working the past fifty or so years, this weird bubble in history, that people take for granted, because they grew up driving cars.

I began to see it as a metaphor. Economic prosperity, the, well, one of, the highest standard of living on the planet, that's jump-started when people can get from place to place with speed and easy convenience. Cars are wonderful!

But once you lay out the paths, when so many people end up heading the same ways so frequently, well, why can't we build a more efficient system? Why can't we develop a more creative solution? Cars are a wonderful bootstrap, but they use a lot of energy, and we are way over our budget in terms of environmental impact, and sustainability, never-mind sloth!

Cars are that first loan we used to get us started after we graduated from World War II, into the industrial age. Now we're getting ourselves in to the information age, and we can't drop this fascination from our younger days. It's like some bad habit, some easy, comforting addiction, and we're trading our future for it. Oh, we are starting to be aware of little warning signs, and our European friends, who have the same problem, but to a lesser degree, like to tease us that they are more aware of the addiction, and are farther along than their rich buddy at getting it under control ...

It's like credit card debt, which is very popular in this country, and that I will at last be free from as soon as I get my latest bill. We can spend and spend and spend the energy, because there's a virtually limitless supply of it, and we know that some day we'll have to pay it off - the Earth's environment is a closed system, that can only process excess carbon so fast, and everyone else on the planet is trying to catch up with us, combustion-wise, and we're just a tiny minority consuming a lot of energy, and boy is something going to hit the fan all the more so when the rest of the world catches up ...

Well, I felt that madness take hold of me, that rambling, incoherent, yet beautifully true realization that we were damned for the way we're doing things and we seem to not give a poop about avoiding the inevitable calamity, no hopes that the future us will suffer less because of the foresight of the present. Well, I felt like I'd lose it, but it didn't seem like losing it would do anyone any good. I can't just blow my mind on the fact that everything seems terribly wrong, because it won't help - it won't solve it.

The only way to be is to be cool. "Yeah, drive ... driving is fun. Hey, have you ever taken the light rail? That's quite a trip! You get to hang out and read and occasionally grapple with the madness of our modern world."

Boom new toon, write songs in my room
Sleepin' with the bride even though I aint the groom
Your husband assume, come back with his goons,
Put me in the trunk on your way to your honeymoon
But they don't scare me, I'm in the trunk, I aint sorry
Natural-born killer, who slept with the enemy
Think quick, what should I do, what did 007 do?
I pulled a bomb from my shoe,
And exploded the trunk, I woke up half drunk,
Overlooked by by a bunch gypsies with a bag of skunk.

I just got laid off, anything can happen
What what, say what, say what? Anything can happen,
You don't wanna go there, 'cause anything can happen
What what, say what, say what? Anything can happen

Anything can happen, you can't stop the shining
You lookin' at my watch but my mind's really the diamond
Nine to the seven, you better off steppin'
When I'm writin' with my pen it turns into a lethal weapon

Wyclef Jean
"Anything Can Happen"

I got off the train, and wanted to write my thoughts down, so I went to sit at the bus stop, instead of walking that last mile to work. There was a woman sitting next to me. I felt she wanted to talk. Before long, she did, asked if I was a student, what bus was I taking?

She got layed off last month, and has been looking for work every day. Unemployment doesn't go far enough. I shared with her my own recent experience. I explained how ultimately I came to the conclusion that if I could pull in $15 / hour, I'd be satisfied that I could stay in the Bay Area for a while, instead of going back to Chicago. So, I took the job waiting tables. My personal interim success story.

"Why not go back," she asked? The weather is nice out here, I have friends, I'm enjoying myself, but mostly, however much I love my mom, it is more of a challenge to rough it out here, and while there's no dishonor in going back to live with her in tough times, I don't want to admit failure. Though last year was very rough.

She asked about the cost of living in Chicago. It's high, I said, but not higher than here. She wanted to get out of the area, but she don't know the country, having just come from the Philippines not very long ago, and her mother is disabled, which just makes things rougher.

After trying to document the insanity that gripped me on the train, I was instead reminded of more immediate concerns. I felt strongly for her plight, because she was in a rough spot. I had been in a rough spot, but instead of a foreign country and a hurt mom, I had youth, a college degree, and my handsome good looks about me.

She gestured upwards and mentioned that He was taking care of her. But then she had to wonder that He was testing her. "What's your religion?"

"Atheist," I admitted, always feeling a little reluctance to present my Theist friends with undue complexity of world view.

She figured that, whatever you believe, or don't believe, that as long as you got faith, you got it.

And then the bus came.

Thu Jun 20 10:36:23 PDT 2002

I rarely bother to read those e-mails people always forward. I usually delete them, but since I skipped Linn's BBQ, and since she usually forwards semi-decent stuff anyway, I think I'll share with you a few of the nineteen things that purportedly took Dave Barry fifty years to learn:

8. When trouble arises and things look bad, there is always one individual who perceives a solution and is willing to take command. Very often, that individual is crazy.

13. You will never find anybody who can give you a clear and compelling reason why we observe daylight savings time.

18. A person who is nice to you, but rude to the waiter, is not a nice person. (This is very important. Pay attention. It never fails.)

If I started a ballot initiative to remove Daylight Savings Time from the State of California, would you be down with helping me get it through? It's kind of like clearing away cruft. And if we do it in Cali, everyone else will think it is trendy, and eventually they'll do it in Michigan as well.

Mon Jun 24 14:06:31 PDT 2002

The great thing about "SOMEONE SET UP US THE BOMB" is that the English-speaking mind is perfectly willing to accept the garbled Engrish phrase, but only up to the point that it adheres to unconscious, "deep" patterns of grammar, which is why it is so often mis-quoted as "SOMEONE SET US UP THE BOMB".

If that makes your brain cells jump with excitement, then, I suggest that you LAUNCH ALL ZIG, and check out Steven Pinker's The Language Instinct, FOR GREAT JUSTICE!!

Tue Jun 25 16:53:31 PDT 2002


Zippy's enduring appeal is as elusive as his lips are loose. He is prone to say whatever he wants as he wends through the angst and agitation of contemporary life, playing the optimist and the paranoiac, the pragmatist and the opportunist, the buffoon and the philosopher, as the occasion demands!

That is what I aspire to, I guess.

Tue Jun 25 17:06:55 PDT 2002

Says Rober Ebert of "Minority Report:"

American movies are in the midst of a transition period. Some directors place their trust in technology. Spielberg, who is a master of technology, trusts only story and character, and then uses everything else as a workman uses his tools. He makes "Minority Report" with the new technology; other directors seem to be trying to make their movies from it. This film is such a virtuoso high-wire act, daring so much, achieving it with such grace and skill. "Minority Report" reminds us why we go to the movies in the first place.

For the record, this is a most excellent movie, that shall be included in the canon alongside "Bladerunner", and "A Clockwork Orange".

Wed Jun 26 13:05:18 PDT 2002

Score one for the non-monotheists!

Personally, I'd be very glad to see that silly, offensive, bigoted anti-Commie reactionary bullpoop phrase removed from the Pledge of Allegiance, where it never belonged anyway.

Bless America!

Fri Jun 28 09:44:59 PDT 2002

From: dannyman
Subject: I was a Sixth-Grade Atheist

Dear Forum,

When I was young, developing my own secular religious values, I began to question the phrase "under God," and as a young person I concluded on my own that that phrase was inappropriate to have in the pledge of allegiance to our secular government. In sixth grade, I began silently dropping the phrase from this affirmation of national allegiance.

I owe my allegiance to the flag, and the Republic, and the principles of the Constitution. I don't believe in God, I have no allegiance to Him. I will swear an oath for my country, but I will not lie about my own moral and religious priciples in so doing.


-danny howard
mountain view

Fri Jun 28 15:31:08 PDT 2002

<nebkor> How are people so blind to their own irony??
<nebkor> "I don't feel those two words in the pledge constitute pushing religion on students," Gordon said. "Faith is a part of our heritage. Think about it: Our country was founded by people fleeing religious persecution."

MAY << JUNE, 2002 >> JULY

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