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..There's a little Samuel Pepys in all of us..

Friday, January 31, 2003

This island must really come to terms with winter. Y'know one hears tales of the weather being so bad, the Thames itself froze that deep, people could roast oxen on the ice. And that only back some two hundred years ago. Today, somewhat less Napoleonic but much less severe, the winter has brought the whole system crashing down, from the Grampians, through Yorkshire, all the way down to East Anglia.
Once again, some drivers are facing he prospect of a choice. Abandon one's car and take the lift into the nearest town or village from the AA, or spend the night in that car, waiting for the gridlock to end.
Meanwhile, the Dow appears somewhat less unhappy to end this week, with the FTSE ending the day flat.
But there's more movement coming, with Colin Powell set to address the UN on the 5th, and then supplimentary report from the Inspection Teams, later in the month.
Mind you, one is assuming the balloon doesn't go up sooner..
Tony's keeping the issue somewhere in the front page, with more rhetoric designed to keep the public's sense of outrage stewing.
One begins to wonder why they don't just get on with it..what else has yet to be effected..
And where's North Korea, gone these past couple of days from such prominence, to relative obscurity.
When dealing with governments and hucksters, always watch the hand away from the action..
If this medium is any indicator of the public pulse, then two points are becoming more pronounced, as far as topic and tone of conversation is concerned.
One, being those working themselves up, as though at a WWF matchup..'Gorgeous George v The Sheik.. the stance pro or con is really immaterial here, it's the tone that has weight.
Two being the superabundance of those who are taking parts of the puzzle, and treating it as a whole. Who appear to have some depth of information on an isolated event, and presenting that as all there is to see. Some of these arguments are quite articulate, if not hypnotic..
As one shakes one head, ponder who might be among us in the sanctity of our local chatroom, leading the faithful of both camps according to each particular dogma.
Ah to be a fly on the wall at Camp David. One could make a fortune..
And one final mention.. we have the Dow again below the 8 thousand benchmark, the markets in general maintaining a flat profile, with pension funds still steadily leaking into nothing..
After all, the money for this must come from somewhere.. military actions and the re-footing of an economy is going to cost someone eventually
What we're doing is betting our old age that things will get better by the time that gets here..
That's been a concern for quite a while now, what would happen to the world, when those who went through the 60's finally came to power.
Interesting, that in spite of the corrective waves which have flowed through the markets these past few weeks, there have been some individual moves which one might note.
Ryanair, the Irish cut-rate provider has picked up it's Dutch competition, a KLM spinoff called 'Buzz', for £16million. Less than half the price of a 707, and one gets an airline, and eliminates a competitor. There will be downstream benefits..
But nothing compared with what's been handed BAE with government orders for two new aircraft carriers. That's £2.9billion in direct contractural costs, and another £1billion in spillover. Watch this contract, for it might be the base for the government's economic recovery claims over the next year or so..
The battle for Safeway continues, and business is brisk..
Just pieces of the puzzle.
This war is going to clean up a great deal of surplus materiel, and create demand for a great deal more. The question was asked if 'ethically', could the States et al afford not to go to war. It might be more aptly phrased, if 'economically' were substituted.
And that Euro. One wonders at the long term plans for this allowance. For what it amounts to is market generated foreign aid, with billions appreciating, while the American standard slips.
Even the weather's playing it's part in this small corner of history.
For, as Tony and Spain head west for Camp David talks with George, the county's attention is drawn to domestic problems, as this winters snowfall has brought chaos to the island's roads and power services.
For those used to the North American winter, it would be a surprise to see such havoc caused by such mediocre weather. recalls one back in 1973 when skiing in the Bruce Penninsula, in Ontario, it laid three and a half feet of snow down in two days of weather you couldn't see the back of your hand in. One also recalls it was over a weekend, and it didn't stop the old Walkerton Hotel to suffer much of a shortage of customers. And most of them made it back to their beds that evening as well, as many as would have had it been summer at any rate..
But here, three inches can bring the whole infrastructure to a puzzled halt.
In some defence it must be admitted that while the snowfall itself might seem insignificant, it is constantly on the move, unless frozen solidly to something that wasn't designed to bear it's weight. The likes of badly guyed power lines, just to pick one out of the hat..
However, it does make driving a dangerous passtime for those who didn't grow up waiting for this weather, so we could take the car into Loblaw's parking lot and do spinouts. This culture is based on a twice daily migration. By car, by train, by bus, the entire country moves itself from home to office, and all this in a crowd. When one twit loses their rear end on some ice and slides to rest blocking the road, it holds up an amazing amount of traffic.
So while Tony heads off to the cold of Maryland, for what's been dubbed 'a council of war', the nation shakes it's collecive head, and mulls over more important issues.
We'll get back to the war when we've got a cuppa in our hands.

Thursday, January 30, 2003

We see the sun setting on a cold, reflective day.
The reality of what is now certainly going to be war has settled in, that barring the abdication and exile of Saddam Hussein, and one doubts he'll choose the Elba route. More in character to dive off the deep end, one would think. As a result, we have flat markets, and the media turning to the ethics of this action.
Those interested in what the BBC's providing, should perhaps try and see what their assembled panel of experts will be dishing out over these news few days, til the 5th next month, at least.
The ethics of not going to war. An interesting angle to look at this situation, for it turns the possibility of our inaction into what's tantamount to a sin of omission. If we collectively backed away from Hussein, and left him to continue living under strict sanctions, we would also be condemning all the Iraqi people to privation, both through the effects of our sanctions, and by leaving them under the thumb of such a man as Hussein.
The scholars are asking that history be brought into this, but history as far as the last conflict, it's effects as far as the military are concerned, must necissarily be somewhat curtailed. One hopes they have a couple of backup systems in place this time.
Hearsay is not the best of evidence.
A brief note here.
Time Warner/AOL have announced the biggest single corporate loss in history..some £60 billion..
It's AOL that's been dragging it's feet, and one can see why actually. The service seems intrusive, almost condescending, and it's member section, designed to make one identify with the service, are completely irrelevant to some.
Simple solution perhaps. We are seeing the division within society, both in the US and Europe, of those with group identities. The natural progression of the movement started way back in the 60's.
So go to these groups, the Religious, Political, Economic, Entertainment, Disabled, Pop cultures all exist, and would eagerly subscribe to a net provider that made their lives easier. Some poor soul wandering the back roads of the highway for months, looking for a 'socio/religious chatroom with the ambiance of Oprah and a minimum of idiots', and all the time it was within the power of the provider to have realized this lack, and provided a direct link. In fact, more than a direct link, there could easily have been a community of like thinking folks forming within the AOL structure, had the choices been offered.
Allow maximum flexibility, and cross referencing. Let the user build his own little world, without restriction.
If they can do the effects for Lord of the Rings, one would think they'd have little difficulty designing a few thousand skins.
Then, make it cheap, and available to those who don't have a credit card.
After all, what have they got to lose?
A brilliant statement from a BBC weather forecaster today: Where, on this island, it is not cold, it is very cold.
Totentanz continues on the diplomatic front, the economic crisis has bottomed for the moment, there is still concern over the Euro, but all seems well with the world and George's in his White House.
Interesting here.
Polarisation of Europe into traditional enimical groups, with France and Germany alone remaining opposed to American/British action in Iraq.
Comments heard are the likes of 'European support for America, who itself has helped hold back the forces of Nazism and Communism'.
See the connection.. Germany..Nazism..Communism..France..
People take comfort from old, familiar images..
For the record, so it be published somewhere it might remain obscure and thereby safe, those in Europe who've signed a statement of support for the US in this ussue are:
Tony Blair, United Kingdom; Jose Maria Aznar, Spain; Jose Manuel Durao, Portugal; Vaclav Havel, Czech Republic; Peter Medgyessy, Hungary; Leszek Miller, Poland; Anders Foch Rasmussen, Denmark.
Right. Now imagine if you will these counries viable in miltary action of their own. Then imagine them individually tackling Iraq.
With the possible exception of the UK, this group is a military shambles, and their statement should be seen as it is, one of economic solidarity.

Wednesday, January 29, 2003

It's a quiet thing, on this island, when someone is taken away by the police. Not that there isn't an abundance of noise and confusion accompanying the arrest itself, but it's the conversation down at the local that seems, in comparison with the hysteria is closely followed by completre indifference which accompanies such everyday occurrances in the States, subdued. Knowing. Finger to the side of the nose and a quiet wink.
Y'see for most of the people on this island, it's a rarety to see folks being hauled away by the police, which by the way is pronounced PO-lis. Something almost a source of amusement, because frankly most of the time it's one of the lads going over the top on a Friday night and playing silly bugger. However, there have been a series of arrests around the country which have a common link, for some at any rate.
The threat of terrorist attack is something these people have been attuned to since Churchill's 'secret army', and while the arrests were made in major centers, London, Manchester, Leeds, they were all down south. So while the threat of an Islamic kamikaze doesn't really pose much of a worry to the farmers who live around this village, it is something they're talking about in the local.
Interestingly enough though, it's not Arabs, or Middle Eastern folks who are the topic of conversation, not as a race. If one cast a loud racial slur in the pub, most would edge away from you, and you'd certainly have blotted your copybook. It's fine to dislike folk here, but not if it really has something to do with their pigmentation, or their ethnic origin. Not to say prejudice doesn't exist in Scotland, for it does, but not to the extent, nor the depth, of that felt in more radical countries.
No, what they're talking about is the necessity to once again head down into Africa, and make sure we've still got a foothold there. What they're talking about is the sad and futile acts of terrorism people are willing to commit, indeed have made for quite a while over here.
It's a mentality the common motk has maintained here, because this has been an empire, and has before, many times before sent armies off to ensure national security and the continuance of trade. It's not a shameful act here, but rather, a familiar one. And there have been terrorist bombs going off since Guy Fawkes.
So God Bless The Queen..keep it dry..and all of this with your finger held quietly by the side of your nose..
Had to stop for a moment, or a few of them actually, and listen to George's performance of last night. One must express admiration for a magnificent show.
Good use of words, well phrased, speech modulated to suit the content. Mention the bad guys, turn to the national picture, establishing a sequence of emotions in the listener which starts, like a good movie, with a glimpse of the end.
And what an ending when it came too.. will not allow a 'dictator', 'dominate an area vital to the interests of the United States'.
Twist the viscera.. stoke the fires of righteous indignation with pure patriotism.
Add a factor, wherein any action would be to offer 'liberation' to the 'brave, oppressed peoples of Iraq', who would eventually 'cheer' the American cause.
Great oratory. As effectively manipulative as any one has seen perhaps..
Not quite a Churchill, but an apt student of the art of riding the juggernaut.
Now comes the final push, the continued buildup of men and materiel in the Middle East, the eventual withdrawal or expulsion of the UN investigative Teams, and a short, possibly very unpleasant war.
Ah to be a fly on the wall, at a meeting of the JCS on 'acceptable' casualties. One can only hope they keep an eye on the weather forecasts before letting the dogs go out to play. A prevailing northerly wind could upset a few European stomachs.
Perhaps that's why the Euro's being allowed to rise so dramatically, a partial compensation for the risk of being gassed by their Mediterranean breeze.

It's been a busy day.
The State of the Nation Address was a great move in setting 'moral superiority' in place. While staying short of the declaration of war, it settled intent with little room for question. Taking the national issues into account as well, Bush pulled off a good one.. swinging some of the undecided his way..
'Regrettable, but necissary ma'am'..
Even got the ecology and hydrogen cars in there.. all of it now tied into the American Collective Mind..
Hydrogen good..made George smile..Iraq and terrorists bad..made George frown..and y'have to admit, George does have the 'elder of the local church' demeanour down pat. It lends tremendous weight to his proclamations, the sniggling and disbelief on the faces of the cognoscenti regardless.
One could only wish his Intelligence Services were as good at their job as are his speechwriter and speaking coach..
Tony's declared there are definate connections between Iraq and al Q'aeda, and with bin Laden himself, but none with the events of 911.
Iraq has stood, it's cue in the pantomime, to retort 'oh no I haven't', while Europe stands wringing it's collective hands.
There were arrests in London and Manchester this past couple of days, one involving the storming of a Mosque and the discovery of arms and munitions no less..the public here grows aware, but stands short of restive..
The issue has taken on a new depth in both the midle east and the States though..
The man on the keyboard.. who henceforth shall be known by the acronym motk, and is not, by the way, meant to be gender specific or imply any such taking this on a far more personal level, subjectively speaking, than has been seen before.
However, we'll follow that trail later.
Meanwhile, the FTSE and the Dow are once again experiencing static days, this time on the downside..
And that issue too, we'll look at when the day's done..

Tuesday, January 28, 2003

Y'know there are some days which might as well not have happened.
Such was today, as the world marked time for the State of the Union Address, which over here has yet to be addressed.
The markets were flat, although analysts were quick to point out the 9 point rise in the FTSE was a rise, albeit a somewhat underwhelming sign of consumer thinking, but an 11 day trend had been broken. The losing streak had come to an end, figuratively speaking.Wall Street itself was up a whopping 56 points..
Ahh yes.. a chicken in every pot, and a white picket fence and all..
Meanwhile back at the ranch, the beligerent posturing continues, with Europe drawing up lines of those with, those against, and those in who's best interests a non-commital stance has been deemed best. And the Euro continues to rise, and this in itself might be a fly in the ointment, for while this crisis has been profitable already, there still remains the war to be fought, the massive cost of the effort to be paid out, and a new regeme to be installed. But this level the Euro has reached is getting very close to where parity with the American dollar is a possibility.
That has problems on two fronts. One, it's a step closer to a global hegemony, with a common currency. Two, the Euro's really not worth it's present values. The GNP's of the collective do not justify it's present level,and eventually that itself could become a political issue with a vast price tag.
What wonders will the morning bring.

Monday, January 27, 2003

Financialphobia. It's a diagnosed condition in one in five Britons, according to the Royal College.
Not really surprising, considering the average Brit's some £2thousand in debt, housing prices through the ceiling, and credit usage is at an all time high..
This, just as a postscript to a day that will perhaps be noted more for the UN Inspection Team's report than anything else, but it should be noted that analysts are now saying it's at the point for Britain and the United States, whereat going to war is almost a financial necessity.
But of course, thus was always the plan.
Financialphobia though.
What we allow those we elect to do to us, is nothing short of insane.
Makes one ponder the merits of an Absolute Monarchy.
And so this day whimpers to an end. Actually it might be more precise to say it's merely petered out..
The pundits say there's been some £36 billion lost over the past 11 days through falling stock values, and have made it plain that most who have heavy portfolio's are pension funds, and that these losses will come right out of the pocket of those working to pay for their old age. But again, should one check the performance of the markets a decade ago, one can see the direction of profiteering and follow the trend.
And still the metaphysics are argued in the chats. The most vocal appear now to be virulently anti-Islamic, but with the odd dissenting voice making itself heard.
This, again, part of the overall pattern we walking. For all leaders know people will fight their hardest, put up with horrific privation, in defence of their faith. And with the Americans, it not as though tanks will be ploughing through their cities and countryside, it's merely a matter of once again, sending offspring away to fight in another part of the world.
The US is almost ready for it. The Europeans have made their stances plain, and the crisis is brewing quite nicely thank you.
One can't wait to see the report from the Inspection Team, and wonders how much more time will be recommended, what prevarications have to date come to light.
But for most on this island this day has finished, and it's time to collectively make tea, and digest the news on one of the available servers.
For tomorrow, will bring even more to deal with, with the Tube still closed, the market still falling, and the posturing prelude to invasion progresses.
It's a grey day here, with the odd shower scattering itself through the village..which in itself is fitting, considering what's going on down south.
The Markets are in a panic as prices continue to fall, or so intoned ClassicFM news not a moment ago.. the BBC's keeping it's eye on it, sensing as it were, an ambulance in the vicinity..
Shall we return for a moment to a brief comparison of that which we face, and that which passed ten years ago?
If one decided to take the time, or the time of an assistant researcher, one could check the markets prior to the last Gulf Conflict, and could likely plot the length of time it's going to be before the first invading boot hits Iraqi soil.
It's an intricate socio/political/economic gavotte...and while considering the information one has.. also consider the record of those who supply even greater amounts in finer detail to those who's fingers could push buttons..
Much foreign intelligence the States depends on is supplied by the CIA. This redoubtable agency is the selfsame which failed to even remotely suggest the idea the USSR might be on the verge of breakup...even while spending something more than $2billion American per year, 'monitoring' the internal developments.
There's value for money.
Now, extrapolate.
Ahh this day is unfolding slowing into some semblance of normalcy throughout this island.
Those in the City delayed by the shutdown of two of the Tube's main Central Lines have by now likely staggered to their desks, already exhausted with most of the day still ahead. The FTSE continues to fall, as those who're watching and playing bring the prices lower and lower in preparation for a war footing.
By the bye, watch the markets the day war is formally declared. If you have stocks in North Sea Oil, take out more on margin.
The stress level throughout the nation continues to rise on a gradual, almost imperceptible curve, as the threat of terrorist attacks and another foreign war settles into the national consciousness. But this is something this nation, as a people, is better prepared for than their allies in North America. There isn't a family on this island that doesn't have somewhere, a living relative who can sit, and describe what it sounds like when a one tonne bomb explodes, or what it looks like to see one's street flamelit in the early hours, or what it feels like to know a neighbour, a friend, simply isn't there anymore.
But, back for a moment to this upcoming conflict. As mentioned, the facts have been plainly reported in various national media, yet for most it would seem, there is an inability to see the whole picture, to take these snippets of information as only a part of the entire puzzle, with a place which must be filled, but in itself only a very small, and partially misleading factor. Alone it may seem innocuous. Put beside the next piece, and the combination gives a deeper picture.
Lets take the formal dance the West is performing before it mounts it's attack.
We're still assuming of course, there will be one.
Germany and France have played out their parts, doubtless the dialogue discussed at great length with the US and the rest of NATO, and thus have raised the value and the credibility of the Euro. Their eventual role in this will doubtless be unimportant, as they have only financial roles to play. We're seeing the financial setup as we write, with the debasement of stocks, and the 'uncertainty' over oil.
One must apologise, for that was news-speak. There is no 'uncertainty' over the oil situation, it's merely a catchphrase which can be tossed out willynilly by the cognoscenti thus placating the 'need to know' syndrome.
Britain has for some reason followed the band, without telling the boys at home what they're going to be heading into.There's a rush order for some 185 thousand pairs of desert trousers, and some 40 thousand pairs of desert combat boots, because the QuarterMaster General's orders are likely filed with the 'Official Reports' of the last American campaign. Not to mention gas and biological protective gear which, at the moment, we don't seem to have at hand.
Ahh well.. it'll all work out. Lets have some tea...
We'll have a glance at the Times morning edition, and see what's going on in the world..
But before we leave this time, a question. Who among us recalls the USS Cole, where and why it has present implications?
It's amazing, what with the sheer volume of information from hundreds of sources that literally passes over this desk in the course of the day, and the man-hours spent digesting and correlating facts and figures contained in countless reports, one finds ones self at the end of the day, with little more information than that served up to the general public by our media. There is of course, the lack of one's incisive interpretation of events, but the bare bones information is set out, plain and clear, for all to view.
One can only thank gods that most people, and one means most, forgets what they hear within an half hour.
We're poised on the brink of another Middle East conflict, and there's little end to going over the facts because the Globa and Mail will have them all laid out, and Time's preparing a special edition, but one wonders how many recall the events of of ten years ago, when last the boys from the west decided to go and tear up some sand for a while, and get some tans.
Do many recall the number of 'the Official Reports' of that last adventure we have filed safely away within the labyrinthian and various systems in Washington and other sundry locations about the countryside. Or is it forgotten that only 36 of the 200 pages of those Official Reports even made it to the maze in the first place. That half the missing files were wiped completely and irrevocably from the computer system at Gulf Headquarters, when a member of staff incorrectly downloaded some games.
Now one wishes this was a joke, but it's not.
And there's more. Two complete sets were sent off to Central Command in Florida, but now they can't seem to be found, and yet a third set went for a walk from a safe in a Maryland Base. Not that one wouldn't like to do the same, given the circumstances.
Let me stress at this point, this is not 'news'. These are facts years old, and publicly documented..
More to come on this.

Sunday, January 26, 2003

A simple, quiet Sunday.
Not that ambitious a plan when one comes down to it. One that most would think within their power to achieve given an empty house, a lack of chores, and nothing of any real import to complete. One that was progressing with real promise throughout the earlier hours of the day, and for once, it seemed as though a plan had finally come together.
Ahhh how frail the thread that ties the fabric of our world, and what horrors wait those who indulge in hubris.
Now before much more can be said here, one must understand what friendship means in the small villages that dot Scotland. It means that one can leave one's doors unlocked with little or no fear of things walking off by themselves. In fact one learned exactly how honest and forthright these people are one summer not long ago, when this house was left unlocked, unbarred, unguarded, for the dog was off to the kennel, while for a fortnight it's inhabitants sported in warmer waves and indulged in the novelty of sunshine. Upon return we found our milk delivery had been resumed that morning, for two new pints were waiting in the fridge, and all our mail had been neatly stacked on the hall table. It must be taken into account, that in villages the likes of this one, the 'newcomers' have had their mortgage paid off for ten years, and two of their children now own farms down the road.
One takes one's time forging friendships, but once they've been founded, they allow great liberty to those within the group. For example, one can expect a friend to simply walk into one's house without knocking, during civilised visiting hours, and with a loud clap on the letterbox accompanied by a loud 'Halloooo!' during those hours outside. It means that one is expected to take part in village fetes. It means that on any given afternoon, someone can walk in, disrupt one's work and train of thought, while by right expecting the kettle to be put on, the rolling tin to appear, and a natter to ensue. And it's a given that once one has appeared, within an hour there are three of four, and the odd bottle of ale or two, and the ubiquitous pot of tea, and there goes the day..
A simple Sunday, quiet, unstructured, was where we came in. We are this much closer to the point, the thrust of this addition to this peripatetic collection.
As afrementioned, the morning went well, and some fair amount of work was actually being accomplished when, just as the one o'clock news began on Classic FM, came the unmistakeable sounds of the front door opening, an announced 'Hallooo in there', and the sundry noises accompanying a small crowd as they parade through one's door.
Ahh it was all bonhommie and hale fellow and such, while coats were hung and gloves and such deposited on the hall table. It was smiles and general contentment that radiated from the group until one by one, their faces assumed a stoney look of incredulity, as they passed through into the lounge, orliving room if you'll have it.
One wondered had the dog died suddenly in front of the fire, so hushed and shocked seemed the atmosphere..
Now, the point of this piece.
Came a solitary voice, from the wife of a friend. "You've not got the telly on..."
Ahh jaysus, it was a statement made as though an indictment, so horrific was the idea that I'd been out of my bed for over six hours, passed through the lounge on my way to the kitchen several times for those pots of tea which continue in an uninterrupted flow even when one is alone, and had never even reached for the remote control.
This is the problem with life one finds in places even so far removed from the mainstream as this. People are no longer willing, much less content, to be alone. To have only the radio for company, although for the life of me I can't really see the difference between having the telly on and listening to the disembodied voice of Eamon Clarke from the other room, and having the radio on and listening to some far more sensible music.
But there it was. It was expected that even if I was listening to the radio, a perfectly respectable thing to do, one would still turn the television on and turn the sound down.
Just for company.
The thought strikes me. We here have only, for themost part, 5 channels to choose from, and we are suffering this 'companionship' syndrome. What it would be like where there are more than 200 choices of vicarious experience, only makes the mind boggle.
Now, add to the equation this machine we're using at this very moment.
Ray Bradbury has been proven a prophet before.

Saturday, January 25, 2003

How many times have those among us, those who number among this new society of computer-dwellers, found ourselves wondering when, indeed if, this medium will begin to mature.
Even as we write, machines the likes of this are delivering billions of characters, millions of words, hundreds of thousands of thoughts, into similar systems. People un-numbered sit, expressing themselves as best they can on issues they would never bring up with those they know, who perhaps have never had an audience before. But the evolution of a process is slow. Like the Grolsch man says, 'it takes time to be right..'
In the meantime, this Game continues, becoming more and more sophisticated by the nanosecond. We have built the Tower of Babel, and while we're still metaphorically wandering within, looking for the upward ramp, the process has begun.
Now, if we could only get past the religious fundamentalism stage, it would be a partial release..

Wednesday, January 22, 2003

These are the dark hours, between night and dawn. when the sudden sound of a car is still unusual, and the all night hum of the high tension wire still dominates.
These are the hours when it seems everything slows, with the clock timorously approaching the moment it's meant to blurt into sound, for it's modern cock-crow to echo through the layers of sleep and bring the day to it's start.
But these are the hours which have eluded sleep once again, made a mockery of the alarm and it's purpose, for here one sits, waiting, as though to deceive the timepiece and allow it a moment more of fulfillment.
In youth, these times would have held some trepidation for most. It being a moment to grasp half-awake, desperately climbing back from whatever dreamworld we occupied, into the perhaps harsher environment of the quotidian. The time to bid a fond, or not, farewell to whomever might have shared the dark. Or to fumble through morning spasticity into a blast of water, as though for a moment to return to the womb. Regression supplied by a shower head, a moment to be savoured.
There is a sound that sometimes, while there within our perception, we cannot quite hear. There is a vision which, while almost discernible on the distant horizon, seems never to become any clearer. There are words, spoken generation to generation, which provoke the same response from both the hearer and the utterer.
And there are times the constant gazing at the stars from the squalor of the gutter, becomes less impelling, and more dreamlike and soporific.
Is man a social creature by nature? Is there some tribal instinctive drive for each to seek out another, and yet another, until a congregation, then a civilisation has formed?
Or is it a drive that is confined to a few among us, who on a deep deep level find they have both the drive, and the power to draw others to them, and create their own reality; their own microcosm within the macro.
Eventually, someone, hopefully someone else, will be assigned to create a sine wave, tracing the flux in the level of intelligence shown in chat rooms, and the percentage of wisdom to utter nonsense. Hopefully this will become a concern of those with the facilities to do such a study, in the near future.
The woodwork some evenings, is entirely empty..

Tuesday, January 21, 2003

Seems these memorials, for lack of a better word, do indeed fly at one one quickly, striking as swiftly as a breeze..often leaving nothing more tangible..
But one is constantly struck, these past few hours, with the taste of a chocolate popsicle on a hot summers day, and the desperate effort to stem the inevitable flow of it down the stick and into the web of your thumb.. it was far more of a challenge while racing a bike, a bicycle that would be, chasing Peter Hall, Brian Broome, Doug Hanson through the 'woods' which went through our backyard. The sound of the tyres rushing over dried leaves and branches, dodging the worst of the rocks but so familiar with the place the smaller ones could be used for 'daredevil' stunts, such as doing a quarter-wheelie for five feet or so. That, in those days, was impressive..
The sounds of the boys voices, in a time when nearly all was said with a smile, and most accompanied by a laugh.
Red liquorice sticks, and Smarties in boxes far larger than those sold today. The smell of these things, the candy, the woods, the heat of the day itself, is all so vivid, it could be happening..
Perhaps it's a feature of age, when we are not so concerned with the concept of 'now', and the future seems to be unfolding as it will, with our resignation if not acceptance, that we can actually enjoy this present, and allow the past to return to us, for perhaps nothing more important than amusement.
Whatever the reasons we have been allowed this ability, it is a gift. We should thank ourselves.
Sometimes there are times we know will pierce us to the marrow, will remain with us in details for the rest of our lives. Some of these times come to us in chilhood, others adolescence, sometimes there are none for years on end and then things begin to happen so quickly, these moments begin to pile up, one upon another, almost faster than we can assimillate them.
There have been literally years on end, when taking paper and pen and putting the fleeting streaks of perception into my history in a permanent fashion, has never crossed my mind. There have been times I've sat, willing the words to come so that expression would be exact, precise, and no Muse speaks. Those moments are left, the pity, to fade with time and age.
For they all do, almost.
But as we began, some stay with such clarity, such a presence of never stopped happening, that we will know them forever. Forever remembering the exact words, expressions, feelings, emotions, settings, conditions, even down to what we were wearing or what we held in our hands. We'll remember not only ourselves as we appeared, but those aroud us in the same detail, the same chrystaline purity of vision, sound..
These are the memories that confuse most, give comfort to some with their faith they understand them, and insight to even others, who can recall those times not once, but as often as the mind wills.
The details, the minutae, are what separate these recollections from others.
It can be disturbing.
And that, this being where I finally come to the point, is the reason for that above. There are those who claim to have many of these 'memories' from this life, from others, and those to whom I have been speaking over these past few weeks, have been..disturbed..anxious..
There's no definition to this piece..
It's more in the way of a caveat, and to what it refers, one cannot say.

Thursday, January 16, 2003

There are times the madness of all of this almost overwhelms one..
We have spoken of Time. most recently, it's elasticity, subjectivity; we have spoken of the impending war in the Middle East, for which preparations are almost complete and waiting the order; we have spoken of 'truth' as it applies to this new medium, with it's anonymity and sheer physical coverage.
Well for a moment, let us address once again what is said in chat rooms, the thoughts of those hinged, unhinged, and completely left banging in the metaphorical wind.
For there are some 'ethical truisms' expressed within the chaos. There are short periods when conversation surpasses the ceiling set by the mediocre and overpowering, and issues of substance are examined. It is this fleeting moment, this momentary glimpse of rational that keeps these wells from running dry.
A comment made by a chatter who had been away for a month ago summed it up.
"..been gone for what..three weeks..and still the same arguments..?"
That's the point. Compare these groups for a moment, to those rabbinical schools who have been meeting, generation after generation, at the same tables in Jerusalem, or Prague, or Warsaw, and arguing the exact same points, endlessly. Compare with the groups of any faiths' Holy Men', who have gathered, discussed, pondered, the same questions for millennia.
Here were have thousands doing it every day, admittedly few with anything near the actual education or insight that has been developed in these venerable religious discussions around the world over thousands of years, but, consider the head start.
We are not the majority... those among the users of the Internet We who debate the meaning of life or denigrate any particular 'faith' for the sake of argument, are certainly a minority. However we do in our various forums, represent hundreds of thousands of people representing, in all the various stages, 'faith'. And we are all in one way or another, debating points that occasionally verge on the brilliant.
Not bloody often mind, but occasionally.
Marshall MacLuhan said 'the medium is the massage'.. this medium, even in it's nascent form, is immense.
Spiritually speaking, this meeting of minds, over time, could indeed formulate a 'truth'.. a concept that has no meaning now simply because there are none. There are no universally accepted 'truths', perhaps because there has never before been anything akin to universal communication.
There is now.

Monday, January 13, 2003

As mentioned in the past post, time itself can assume different qualities, be subject to different means of measurement.
How what would appear in a dentists chair to be, reasonably, twenty minutes to half an hour, could, upon checking with one's timepiece, have been a mere matter of five minutes, or a monumental forty-five.
Is it not then a possibility that time itself, while loosly bound by mechanical means for the sake of punctuailty, is in reality nothing more than an experience defined; an event, not truely bound by seconds, the movements of arm around a circle, or the measured ticking of a metronome, but by events, our preception of them, and the depth of our involvement in them.
Lets take an example most could relate to. Aologies in advance to those who do not.
When a man, or a woman, feel this abstract atraction we have named' love', time can assume astounding properties. Time 'apart' is endless, agonizing (and this ability of 'time' to assume or perhaps even cause human response will be spoken of later), and an enemy. It becomes something to be endured. Yet time 'together' is momentary, fleeting, speeding with alarming acceleration towards the point it once again becomes 'apart'.
Now this couple finds themselves paired, and are now spending most of their time together. Time is a friend, affording them moments shared and stored for future reference (again, the recurrance of 'time' will be addressed eventually). Time is of the essence to this pair now, for with the gift of sharing it together, comes the knowledge it will end.
Now this should in no way diminish the 'friendship' of time for tbhis pair, for in the natural passage of this 'time', comes a certain contentment with the knowledge it will come to a stop. Some believe it merely begins again, and is endless, and this also is perhaps true of this essence within us.
We ourselves are time. were we not here, time would be meaningless. The concept that it, time, would end, simply because this organism does, is perhaps along the lines of believing the earth ends when an insect passes on after feeling the pressure of a size twelve Rockport climbing boot.
Time is perhaps one of the most interesting of concepts.
It's can been evidenced by any child during an endless summer holiday, or the fleeting interest shown at a family dinner. It can change pace, as evidenced by the events we cherish, or fear, wherein an hour can pass in a second, or a second become a week.
But if there are few things about time that are constant, the one sure thing, is it passes, be it as slow as a dance with the one you love, or as fast as a speeding bullet passing through your head.
I'll take some time, before adding to this..

Thursday, January 09, 2003

There are advantages to not being able to see the face of those one speaks to, in that 'disbelief' and 'doubt' can be disguised, saving face for those disseminating crap. It allows understanding to develop on both sides, without the inevitable immediate confrontations were the couple face to face.
The foundation has and always will be truth, but in this medium available today, we as people might have more time to allow the 'truth' to come out, in a less violent, more understanding nature.
'Once Upon A Time'..
So many of Internet conversations might well begin with this old saw, for many are simply little less then fairy tales, a vicarious lifestyle perhaps based on incidents in the past, which, had they been the path followed, become reality. Histories can be elaborated upon, old recollections made fresh and imposing in their immediacy, had 'circumstance' been different. It is a medium which can allow the mind free-reign, to extrapolate on a better time, to bring the past into the present, while leaving the perhaps less palatable 'now' behind for a while.
These fantasies can be, in perhaps the majority of cases, utterly harmless, innocuous, unimportant. But, there are always exceptions.
Relationships can develop to a tremendous depth over these satellite hookups; people lives can be immensely affected by the impressions they develop concerning those who become to accepted as friends, confidants, even lovers.
It has recently come to light, that one such relationship, based completely on truth and love on the one part, was tainted by the other involved, and while as in all good fabrications there were large elements of truth, dealing exclusively with the past which was readily verifiable, the entirely of the present situation was a fabric of lies.
Now, here is the remarkable aspect of this story. The one who had remained constant in the truth of their feelings, quotidien lives, emotions, and expressions of love, when told by the other involved in deception, forgave. Without rancour, without conveying a vast feeling of betrayal and 'hurt', the reaction was one of understanding, forgiveness, and love.
This is the thrust, this simple word ''love'. It had been used many times by both involved, and indeed both did have a passionate need and love for the other. The 'Liar' simply wished to develop a persona that would impress, inspire respect in the object of his love, and the 'beloved' accepted that as part of the prosiality of the medium itself. Their 'love' was never a question of doubt; the decription of the one's social position was the sole fabrication.
If nothing else, it can demonstrate that such an impersonal medium such as the Net, can indeed spark a closeness between what might be called 'kindred souls'.. that the faults of one of the 'pair' can been seen, and tolerated. This speaks volumes for both the communicative and evocative nature of this medium, but also the devleoping nature of human understanding on an individual level.

Saturday, January 04, 2003

Ahh betimes this is a soul destroying exercise.
This Internet society we're creating has the potential to become the 'reality' for some; their real lives becoming interludes between the joyous reunion with those who have become their 'real' friends; those who will accept them as they can express themselves to be, rather than being bound by the limitations of physical imperfection.
This Internet has become a moot of minds, wherein that which is 'real' is inconsequential.
The focus is the discussion, the 'idea', the 'opinion', the philosophy or theology. A cerebral world unfettered by preconceptions born of physique.
One wonders, perhaps hopes in a cynical mien, that perhaps this initial judgement of 'mind', might eventually make outward reality unimportant.
Or whether Mary Shelly still lurks within the deepest intellect.
It is still a constant source of amazement to me, the amount of perfectly serious vitriol is expressed in these chat rooms. That those who claim inner peace, psychic powers, insufferable martyrdom, can explode with such vehemence at the most innocuous slight, is actually quite embarrassing to watch. Mind you, it's included in the price of admission, and is undoubtedly part of the Game.

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