Thursday, September 30, 2004

Thursday Mini-Rant: The Draft Debacle

CBS just can contain itself, it seems. Newest on the C-BS News forefront is the question of whether the government has "secret" plans to reinstitute the draft. Much of this debate is fueled by "mass emails" circulating among parents. And what do the emails say? Malkin has the text of one such email here. Byron at Slings and Arrows has a flyer that communicates similar sentiments. Bushitler and Tricky Dick Cheney (and likely their Big Oil buddies) are secretly planning to reinstitute the draft as soon as the election is over.

There's even a website about Bush's secret plan.

Well, we should have known--right?

But wait, there's a few things that the email, flyer, website, and news story leave out.

First, the bills in question aren't sponsored by Republicans/President Bush. Fritz Hollings, South Carolina (D), is sponsoring the Senate bill. Charlie Rangel, New York (D), is sponsoring the House bill. (The "D" doesn't stand for "Dubya", by the way.)

Second, Colin Powell, President Bush and Donald Rumsfeld have said that the administration is not going to reinstitute the draft. Vice-Prez Cheney said on Tuesday, "...the suggestion that somehow there's a plan out there for a secret draft is -- I'd call it -- you could call it either an urban legend or a nasty political rumor, but it's not true."

(Of course, for those of you who disbelieve everything coming out of the administration, this is cold comfort.)

Third, CBS' "average mom" may have more of an agenda than the story implied.

So what's going on???

This is blatant fear-mongering (that thing that Kerry's campaign accuses Republicans of) on the part of Democrat supporters and groups to associate "DRAFT" with Bush, so that when the MTV crowd (which the "non-partisan" *cough* Rock-the-Vote is trying so hard to court) goes to the polls, they will think, "Duh... Bush? Ugh, Bush BAD! Bush MAKE DRAFT! HULK SMASH!!!"

Seriously. "Find out about the draft... BEFORE THE DRAFT FINDS YOU!!!" Very nice, RTV. All you're missing is Boris Karloff and a "Mwahahahaha!" sound.

Look, whatever your beef with Bush, if you're pushing this draft conspiracy, you're a friggin idiot. And a liar.

Note that Candidate Kerry carefully avoided saying outright that Bush would reinstate the draft. But the implication is there. Tricky bastard.

I'm really frustrated by this. The fact is, everyone in this administration who would be responsible for reinstituting a draft is saying no way. The noise about a draft is coming from Charlie Rangel, the angry internet kids, and sites like "BushDraft" and "Rock the Vote." And now Kerry's kerrfully tossing out implications. "Well, I don't know about that other guy, but I shore wouldn't!" Next thing you know, he'll be asking Bush if he's beaten his wife recently. That could be a debate question tonight--keep your eyes peeled.

I'm as scared of a draft as anyone else. I'll admit that. And if that means I should "count my manhood cheap", so be it. Honestly, it concerns me. As I said before, when the planes hit the WTC, that was one of the first thoughts in my mind. If this was a war, there would be drafts.

And as scared as I was, I decided that if called, I would serve as bravely and honorably as I could. Because I gave my word (by signing up for selective service) that if called, I would come. I would refuse the temptation to flee.

And I still believe in that. Fortunately, I also believe, based on what I've heard and read, that a draft won't happen under this president. Maybe that makes me foolhardy. I don't know. But I don't think so.

All I'm saying is, when it comes to these draft rumors, really consider the source.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004


Why do I still remember? Because I can't forget.

Happy birthday, Ophelia. Peace and joy to you and yours today.

The Next-to-Last Tower Update

The sixth book ends quickly, the last gasp of breath before the final cry. The gunslingers meet their maker, the Wordslinger, and learn that theirs is not the only world in crisis. The red baby is born, sealing the fate of Roland, and perhaps the Tower. The final stand must be made to hold off the forces of Discordia, and the ka-tet, bruised but not broken, prepares to stand true.

The Dark Tower, Volume One: The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower, Volume Two: The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower, Volume Three: The Wastelands
The Dark Tower, Volume Four: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower, Volume Five: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower, Volume Six: Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower, Volume Seven: The Dark Tower

Monday, September 27, 2004

Connecting with the "stoned slacker audience"...

I have to agree with April's assessment. Bill O'Reilly is a jerk. A condescending jerk. She used a bit different terminology, but we're thinking the same thing. The way he abuses the good graces of the great Jon Stewart is just the latest example of his utter boorishness.

It shames me to have people like BOR associated with many of my ideological positions. Because I just want to kick his ass sometimes.

It goes back to 9/11. (Here's a fun story.) I was (like all of you) watching the coverage of the aftermath, and his program was on. He was interviewing rescue workers just coming off the line at Ground Zero. He kept asking things like, "did you see any bodies? did you see any limbs? did you see any blood?" And the shell-shocked workers, having just faced this horrific scene, could barely respond.

It was reminiscent of the scene in Mad City where Alan Alda, playing a network anchorman, hectors a similarly stunned and upset field reporter, played by Dustin Hoffman. The scene in the movie was disquieting. The scene in real life was infuriating. From that moment, I've despised O'Reilly. He is among the dregs of conservative television pundits, and I am ashamed of him.

(By the way, Mad City was a pretty decent flick. Nothing groundbreaking--there's a reason you probably haven't heard of it--but it does deal with the important question of how much our news coverage actually taints the situations it exploits.)

Yet Another Dark Tower Update

The quest takes a turn for the worse. Yet while some members of the ka-tet are pulled away, others take up the journey. But the darkness grows steadily deeper, as they travel ever closer toward Thunderclap, Discordia, and the Tower.

The Dark Tower, Volume One: The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower, Volume Two: The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower, Volume Three: The Wastelands
The Dark Tower, Volume Four: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower, Volume Five: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower, Volume Six: Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower, Volume Seven: The Dark Tower

Friday, September 24, 2004


The new U2 single "Vertigo" has finally been released to the public.

You can find it online here.

Inital reaction after first time hearing it: hehehehehehe... kickass!

I can't friggin wait for this album.

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Daily Shrug: On Writing

I wrote three poems last night. Back when I actually called myself a writer, three poems was a decent day's effort. However, after I finished and reread each poem, I immediately tore them up, because they were total crap.

This isn't Dave being self-defeating; this is Dave being a writer. And a good writer knows when the work he's producing is utter crap. Those poems were.

I am trying to get back on the horse. I have ideas, I run dialogue in my head, but when I pick up the pen or sit at the keys, I revert to Davy-the-Retard-mode: "I like cake/Cake is great/On a plate."

Part of this process is comparing my work to that of my betters. Which, despite what your touchy-feely-encouraging English teachers may have told you, is a good idea. (Manders, I know you didn't have a t-f-e-E-t, so you are exempt from the previous.) The only way to become a good writer is to read good writers, and learn why they are good. (For the record, Dan Brown and Tim Lahaye are NOT good writers.)

I've been reading and rereading Eliot lately. (For the record, T. S. Eliot is a damn good writer.) And as I was looking over the steaming piles of crap I tried to call poetry last night, I was really comparing them to Eliot.

Anyone who compares their work to Eliot is likely to find their work lacking.

And it pissed me off. I wasn't mad at Eliot, I was mad at myself. I used to be pretty good at poetry. But I keep losing my balance, after jumping back on the bike.

Oddly enough, this frustration resulted in a piece that I'm not so frustrated with:

Tom puts me to shame with his
Life measured out in coffee spoons
And Tarot readings full of dire signs
And his Ash Wednesday prayers.
Tom makes me feel clumsy and
Brain-weak and young.
But at the same time
Tom inspires me to steal fire
From the holy mountain,
To sail out into silent seas
In search of mermaids singing
Each to each.

This is why Tom is my favorite--
He reveals how far I have to go, and yet
Still reminds me I have the chance
To chase down inspiration and
Wrestle it until dawn, refusing
To relent until I am blessed.

Daily Shrug: On Issues

I've reached the point where I almost want to relent. To just give up and say, "fine, you win."

I know I'm not alone in this attitude. I also know that everyone who shares this attitude feels alone anyway.

I have a set of values. Opinions on issues. And I like to think that these values and opinions are well-thought-out and morally justified.

I like to think that.

And in the past few months, I've been confronted by arguments and assertions that challenge some of my longer-held beliefs. Some arguments have had no merit. Some have. And like others open to growth and change, I've tried to consider all sides of the argument fairly, and make up my mind.

One of the biggest problems I face is a problem common to the modern Church: dual-citizenship. My fellow bloggers Myles and Amanda are absolutely right--you have to be a member of the Body first, and an American second. Everything I've read in the Bible supports this. Our first allegiance is to a kingdom that is not of this world.

And it's hard to embrace this. It's hard to accept it. It's hard to even consider that my desire to ensure that wicked men receive their "just desserts" is really a part of the baser nature, wrapped in pious robes. It's hard to consider that my voice in the public square should be lifted to defend the weak and afflicted, not necessarily an institution that needs no defense. It's hard to consider that I can only justify casting my stones if I am without sin.

But I'm trying to rectify my thinking and my habits to the mind of Christ. I'm trying to change my perception of others, of myself, of my role in the Body and in the world. It's difficult, but I'm working on it.


And on top of all this, it's an election year. God spare us from sermonizing of and about political figures. I'm tired of it. I'm tired of practically everything I read being against one side and for the other. I'm tired of everything else I'm reading being blindly partisan. More than this, I'm tired of caring so much.

And I'm on the verge of saying to my political rivals, "Fine. You win. I give. Your guy is a godsend, and mine is the Devil. Fine. Now can we please talk about something REAL?"

But I won't say that, because I don't believe it. You want to know what I believe? Here it is plain:

This year, we must choose between two men who each have bad ideas about aspects of public policy. Their bad ideas are in different areas and on different topics. Whatever idea or area is your passion, so goes your vote. I'm not going to vote for John Kerry. I see him as a vacillator and an appeaser. Whatever good things he may do for domestic policy (and on that front, I still have my doubts), the government of this country has one over-arching responsibility: to defend the Republic. And I do not believe John Kerry will.

On the other side is GWB. While I have lingering doubts about his political backbone on certain issues, I will say that he has faced the greatest onslaught of political, foreign, and media animosity against any public figure I can remember, and has continued to make decisions ostensibly based on what he believes is best. I don't argue that his decisions are always right; some of them are flat out wrong (with a "w", hardy har har). But good or ill, I trust that Bush will not be swayed by the jeers of a crowd, by the fears of a poll, or by the threats of foreign leaders who have never and will never have the interest of this country at heart.

For some, the passion and driving force is welfare, or jobs, or charity. Some believe that most important issue in the election is the deficit, the economy, or civil liberties. I think these are all important issues, and if one issue is more important to you than others, then do as you will. As for me, I've spoken my mind now, I say thankya. The job of defending the powerless should have been taken up by the church long ago, and I will support those within the church who want to reclaim that responsibility. But the state's real purpose, in my view, is to protect the people. And I'm not naive enough to believe that "the only thing we have to fear is four more years..."

There are greater monsters to face. There is still a bear in the forest. And I'd almost prefer a leader who rattles sabres to one who might one day hand them over in surrender.

So there you go. Issues spiritual and social. Personal confession and political opinion.

Happy friggin Thursday.

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Crime and Punishment

He was a dumb kid, all the time I knew him. Not to be mean about it, but it's true--there are just some people who are not the brightest crayons in the box. Not to say he was stupid or unintelligent, because that's not necessarily true. But certain folks tend to rely on grins rather than guile to make their way through life, and he was one of these folks.

He was an athlete. Talented. Pitched baseball. Quarterbacked football. He was popular and well-liked. His parents were wealthy, so his choice of colleges was unlimited.

But he was a dumb kid, the type of person to make foolish decisions, say foolish things. And in high school, these decisions were small. The consequences never more than an afternoon or two of detention.

I went to school with this kid. I liked him well enough. He was a decent guy. He never treated people badly, never picked on anyone. I spent my four years on good terms with him. Had to. I was the center on the football team, so we had to get to know each other pretty well, because he rarely used the "shotgun" formation. If you know enough about football, you'll gather my meaning.

He was a good kid. Dumb sometimes, but good. I did like him. The few times I've seen his parents since graduation, I've said hello, asked about him. Nice folks. Very friendly.

But since high school, life has gotten more complicated. Decisions still seem small and unimportant, but they have consequences. Deep and lasting ones.

And sadly, he had to find this out the worst possible way, this past spring. He was drinking. He was driving. And he killed someone. An off-duty constable.

This boy, this kid, was sentenced to four years in prison yesterday. Involuntary vehicular manslaughter, or some such charge. If he had plead not-guilty and lost at trial, he would have been given twenty years.

The boy's life is now drastically altered. Careening off-course as his truck had. And the victim beneath its crushing impact is himself.

I knew this boy, this kid with the blond hair and the ladykiller smile. He's less than a year younger than me.

When I read about drunk drivers who kill others, I often spit my contempt at them. "Lock the monster away," I snarl.

But today I know the "monster." And he's not a monster at all. He's a dumb kid whose bad choices have ended one life and ruined many others. And none of it can ever be undone, or completed and ended like an afternoon of detention.

It's a tragedy, and though I'm not as deeply affected as the family and close friends of those involved, I'm still affected. As much by the fact that, but for the grace of Father God, it could have been me making those choices.

Pray for the two families torn apart, if you could. There are no monsters here. Just broken people reaping what was sown, by themselves, their children, and others.

Mixed-bag Muh-- Um, Tuesday...

Four trivial items, and one serious one.

Point One: The final installment of the Dark Tower Series came out today. Long live the King. I'll be headed to Walmart after work to pick up my copy. (And yes, Kelly, I'll explain it all to you eventually.)

Point Two: I'm having taco salad for lunch, which always makes my day better.

Point Three: The Song of Solomon conference is coming to OBU. Readers in the Shawnee/OKC area, you really ought to go to this. I went last March and it was fantastic. Wonderful. Lots of fun. So really, go. Especially if you're in a serious/engaged relationship (I'm looking at you, Ledesma.) I can't emphasize this enough. So helpful, so interesting. Good stuff. And you can't beat twenty bucks (that's half of what I paid). And the speaker is really cool.

Point Four: Actually, this may not be trivial to those of you involved. It seems that the alma mater is facing a financial shortfall. A hefty one. While I could make some sort of snarky comment about cushioned chapel seats and other needless renovations, and the fact that the administration doesn't realize that constant tuition hikes tend not to bring more students in, I won't. I'll only fisk two statements in the article.

First, the reporter states that the financial restructuring "entails the elimination of some faculty and staff positions and discontinuing some academic services for students." So make sure to say goodbye to your favorite profs and staff, kiddies, because by next fall, they might not be there. And all you crazy Theatre kids had better enjoy your funding while ye may, because you can guarantee that your budget will be one of the first ones on the chopping block, as Madame DeBrister knits away.

Second, a few sentences later, the report assures us that none of the 16 sports programs are in jeopardy. Whew! That's a relief. Because if funding is getting cut, academic services are being taken away, and faculty and staff are being let go, the LAST thing I'd want is to lose the sports. One word, kids: perspective.

So, sorry, fellow Bison: brace yourbadselves for yet another tuition increase. And probably a big one.

Point Five: Actually, this will get a post of its own. Serious matters require their own posts.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Munday Funday Quiz

A reader poll inspired by the plight of the Jerry-lovin' Ali.

QUESTION: Somehow you have an injured paw, that is clearly bandaged and perhaps in a sling. What's the best sarcastic answer you can come up with for the idiotic question:

"Geez, what did you do to your hand?"

A few of mine, for inspiration:

"Leprosy." (Depending on how big the bandage is)

"I'm an amateur knife-thrower."

"I'm an amateur bullet-catcher."

"I was re-enacting the Luca Brazzi scene from The Godfather."


Breaking New Ground

Leaving familiar territory and stepping cautiously into the unknown. The Tower looms ever larger on the horizon.

The Dark Tower, Volume One: The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower, Volume Two: The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower, Volume Three: The Wastelands
The Dark Tower, Volume Four: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower, Volume Five: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower, Volume Six: Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower, Volume Seven: The Dark Tower

Friday, September 17, 2004

Important Notice...Arrrr...

Remember to mark your calendars for this Sunday, September 19.

"Why?" you may ask.

And I give you a mighty slap for being impertinent.

"Why?" you may ask again (while taking a step back and ducking a bit).

Because Sunday is National "Talk Like a Pirate" Day!

What's that? You've never heard of NTLAP Day?

I give you another mighty slap for being ignorant.

Then go here, by all means, and educate yourself. I expect all comments on Sunday to be made in this fashion.

Until next time... avast, ye scurvy bilge-rats!!!

Decision Reached

Not on anything meaningful, don't get too excited.

I decided on a subtitle. I took a wise reader's advice and found a quote that "screams" Dave.

If it's not up already, it will be up soon.

Note to the rest of you: This quote will change from time to time, depending on my mood or circumstances, so your ideas are not in vain.

Have a good weekend, all.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Theme Put on Hold

I wanted to put a really great quote from High Fidelity up here, but I can't find it online and (being at work) can't copy it down from my copy.

So imagine a really great quote right here.

Or do better than that, and go read the book.

Meaningless Shout-out

I would also like to give a shout-out to all my Dog-food Gangstas.
"Canned or dry,
We neva die!"
Here goes the Teeeeeeacher Daaaaaaave.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

"Here's the new site, same as the old site..."

"I tip my hat to the new bloggolution..."

Here you go; new colors, new columns. A little narrower than I'd like, but I've always said I need to trim down a bit. Might as well begin virtually.

I was going to wait until tomorrow to make these changes, but I just couldn't. Why tomorrow, you ask? Because tomorrow is my bloggiversary. Happy 2nd bloggiversary to me.

If you're feeling nostalgic, click here and see how it all began.

But today is also another fun day. My workiversary. Happy first year to me.

What a festive week. In honor of all this, I'm going home, eating dinner, and watching Smallville. Of course, I had planned on doing that anyway, but it's more fun to do so in celebration of something.

NOTE: I'm still taking suggestions for my subtitle (to replace the lyrics). I have one in mind, but I'm open to ideas.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

"When it's time to change, it's time to rearrange..."

(Bonus points to the first person who can correctly identify the vocal group who first sang the subject line.)

I thought I'd change the tone for this post, to something less personal and more public (can't slip back into any more Adam Sandler characters, can we? no, precious...).

So I figured it was time for a site redesign. I've had more-or-less the same design for the entirety of the blog's almost-two year history. It's time to spruce things up. Plus, I'd like to have some of the keen features some of you kids have on yours, with your booklists and chatter boxes and pictures and whatnot.

And since I'm a) too underfunded to afford a separate domain/service; b) too inept to excel beyond basic site code; and c) too lazy, I'm sticking with Blogger.

Any ideas or themes I should try? Any suggestions for a new subtitle (I'll be keeping "Perfect Blue Buildings", since we already have an established level of "brand recognition")?

Let's hear it. I mean, I'll probably make up my own mind anyway, but feel free to comment.

Monday, September 13, 2004


Opening Music: Here Comes Your Man, Pixies

For some reason, this song makes me really happy. Just the rhythm of it, the tune.

Three posts in one day? Aren't I an over-achiever!

I don't know why I'm still here. I feel like I'm waiting for something. It doesn't make any sense. I've done all I need to do, and it's time to go home. I'm getting hungry, and dinner isn't going to make itself.

But something's holding me back. Like I'm expecting something to happen.

And then it hits me--this is the story of my life, isn't it? My whole life spent watching the doorway, waiting for something or someone to come in and change the dynamics. Waiting for a sign, a symbol, a scarlet sigul to serve notice that it is time to begin, or to end, or to change.

But to borrow a line from Sondheim--there won't be trumpets. And it's best that I start learning that now.

(Now playing: One, U2)

I had a conversation with God yesterday. It feels strange to type that, but it's true. And the Almighty communicated to me that He was tired of me dragging my feet, when it comes to my life. And if it came down to the Almighty Foot kicking me in the butt to get me motivated, that's what would happen. So that's fun. I got the message.

In other news...

Here's some fun--a little "compare and contrast." Two snapshots. Ready? And--GO:

1. A group of people sit around a few round tables, eating lunch as a collective group. However, there are separate conversations going on in each sub-group. Subject 1 (male) makes some sort of exclamation, be it a funny voice, or laughter, or something similar, involving arm-waving or something equally amusing, causing his group to laugh. Subject 2 (female) sits at the next table, and when Subject 1 looks up at her, he finds Subject 2 smiling/laughing. "What is it?" Subject 1 asks. "Nothing. You. You make me laugh," Subject 2 responds. Subject 1 returns the smile.

2. The group is leaving. Subject 1, after talking to a few others, turns to see Subject 2 and Subject 3 (also male) walk out of the building together, having a private conversation. Subject 1, observing this, is struck with a pang of jealousy, however unfounded and unentitled. Subject 1 waits, then follows out the door. Subject 1 sees Subjects 2 and 3 walking and still talking. Subject 1, who has dabbled in psychology and the field of interpersonal communication, does not fail to notice that Subjects 2 and 3 are well-within the 3-foot perimeter of personal space, usually only reserved for intimate discussion between parties that are quite comfortable with each other. Subject 1 weakly tries to reassert his presence with a throwaway salutation: "Well, guess that's that. See ya later, kids." (Perhaps, subconsciously, Subject 1 wants to emphasize that he noticed their tete-a-tete by calling them the collective "kids.") He then walks to his vehicle, gets in, almost drives away, then decides to pause momentarily for a last look. His vivid imagination fears spying a stolen kiss, but at the same time, he has to know. Sadly, by the time he looks back, Subjects 2 and 3 have parted. Subject 1 is irritated with himself as he drives home. What business of his is it, after all?

(These are hypothetical scenarios, of course. Really.)

Here's your quiz: Is Subject 1...

A) Hopelessly trapped in "The Friend Zone", so that he unavoidably falls into a cycle of attention-derived euphoria and jealousy-fueled depression;

B) Being stupid, as he has no right to be jealous of a relationship that may or may not even exist, because he still hasn't done anything to make his own case;

C) Too insecure to consider getting into any relationship, if someone else getting attention drives him to distraction and riddles him with self-doubt;

D) Over-analyzing the situation and allowing his neuroses to get the better of him;

E) Bound-and-determined to psych himself out so that he'll be too frustrated and timid to pursue a healthy relationship with anyone ever again;

F) None of the above

G) All of the above

H) Some combination of the above (PLEASE ELABORATE IN THE SPACE PROVIDED.)

You have 50 minutes. No talking. Good luck.

(Closing Music: So Damn Lucky, Dave Matthews)

Taking Back Her Songs

I found an old CD I had burned in college. It contains mp3's that I included in the first mix tape I ever made for her. The CD is labeled in faint letters written directly onto the disc's surface: "These are her songs."

I haven't listened to the CD since. Until now.

I'm playing it at work, and though no one else realizes it, I'm reclaiming each tune as my own. Peeling away the old memories like band stickers on my windshield. Starting over. She'd understand. She probably has had to do the same thing.

Here's the tracklist. Be kind.

1) "About My Love", Shaded Red
2) "Buddy Holly" (acoustic), Weezer
3) "Scarborough Fair", Simon and Garfunkel
4) "Love Song", The Cure
5) "Mysterious Ways", U2
6) "Southside", Moby/Gwen
7) "As I Lay Me Down", Sophie B. Hawkins
8) "Beloved One", Ben Harper
9) "Top of the World", The Juliana Theory
10) "Punchdrunk Lovesick Singalong", Radiohead
11) "Not Fire, Not Ice", Ben Harper
12) "How Deep is the Ocean", Diana Krall
13) "At My Most Beautiful", REM
14) "Head over Feet", Alanis Morrissette
15) "Shaping Space", Kevin Max
16) "This is Your Song", Elton John

The crass pop-ness of some of the tracks is a bit embarrassing. So is the uber-cheesiness of songs like "Southside" or the Alanis track. And yes, the Elton John. We were big into "Moulin Rouge," and the soundtrack version of the song wasn't satisfactory (Ewan McGregor notwithstanding).

There is a song missing from this list that I know I included on the mix tape. The last song on the tape, to be exact. Just as well. As much as I can "reclaim" these songs, I won't take back that one.

Because it was our song. And so it shall remain.

One Step Closer to the Tower

The Dark Tower, Volume One: The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower, Volume Two: The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower, Volume Three: The Wastelands
The Dark Tower, Volume Four: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower, Volume Five: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower, Volume Six: Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower, Volume Seven: The Dark Tower

Saturday, September 11, 2004

That Morning

It was fall, and school was just getting into full swing. My senior year of college, full of 400-level classes and theatre and a girl who I loved dearly.

We, she and I, were getting lunch. Walking from the ARA food lines to the beverage island in the cafeteria. Two small cups of Dr. Pepper, one of chocolate milk. Trying not to spill.

We were talking about the death of Aaliyah, the R&B star, who died in a plane crash just a few days before. We commented on the tributes and the memorial services on the music networks.

She mentioned that she heard one announcer say that Aaliyah's death would be our generation's "where were you when" moment. How our parents would have the Kennedy assasination, and our grandparents would have Pearl Harbor. I mentioned that, no offense to the dead, I thought that was a bit of an overstatement, and that it would be pretty pathetic if the death of a mildly popular vocalist would be the landmark moment of our lives.

She agreed. "I was more impacted when Kurt Cobain died. There were girls at school who cried all day, when they found out."

I didn't share that memory; my upbringing was devoid of pop music. But I understood and agreed, "Yeah, clearly Cobain had more of an impact."

We sat at the table, watching the large-screen TV in the caff, and the topic shifted to homework and other things.

That was Monday.


The next morning, my roommate Josh and I were getting ready for the 9:30 class we both had in the Theatre Building. I was sitting in my desk chair, getting ready to put my socks and shoes on, when Josh uncharacteristically turned on the TV (something we never did in the morning). And I saw it. I saw the world change in an instant.

I saw a mighty city in flames. I saw the great towers shudder. I saw the smoke and debris.

Then the image of the second plane vanishing into the side of the second tower. I sat, jaw open, one sock in my hand and the other on my foot. My roommate sat on the bed, stunned. I heard him gasp. We sat silent, in our dorm room, in a small private college in Oklahoma, and we watched in horror.

After about ten minutes, I awoke from my shocked state. "I...guess...we need to get to class." Josh nodded. I finished getting dressed, and we walked together from the dorm to Sarkey's. On our way, we met Dr. A coming toward us, walking past. She said only, "Meeting in the black box."

We walked into the small theater, and saw the other students huddled in the seats, in twos and threes, some crying, some consoling, all speaking in hushed tones. We sat. I could think of nothing to say. I was numb. Hollow. As if my spirit had been pulled from me. Mrs. B, the other theatre prof, stood and said a few words. She said that now was a time to pray for our country, and for the families of the victims. We didn't know how many, but we knew that countless were affected. We didn't know what would happen next. We were afraid. Dr. A said that class was cancelled, and that we should spend the day praying. We prayed together as a group, and then dispersed. Some were wondering aloud if this was the beginning of a war. How many more cities would be attacked? Would there be a retaliation? Would there be a draft?

Most of us ended up in the G.C., the "student union"-type building. There were a few hundred, all huddled around a large-screen TV, watching in silence. Many faces were tear-stained and puffy, drawn with horror.

I stayed there for most of the day, watching the same images over and over. Then the first tower fell. Later, its sister followed.

We could forget about Aaliyah and Kurt Cobain. We have our "moment." Every one of us has our story.

So many things we felt. So many things we wanted to say.

Now, three years after, we're still trying to find the words.

I was in a small town in Oklahoma when the planes crashed and the towers fell. But the attack wasn't just on New York or D.C. or Pennsylvania. It was on Shawnee. It was on Houston. It was on Jackson. It was on Phoenix, and Atlanta, and San Diego, and Chicago, and Nashville.

It was on you. It was on me. The American family was attacked.

And I will never forget.

Friday, September 10, 2004

Bring on the Avalanche

More fallout from the CBS memo hoax, or as some have started calling it, "Forgery-gate":

Powerline Blog and Little Green Footballs are the ones who broke this story open (as far as I can tell). They're still keeping current updates on related events. Go there, and show your respect.

Instapundit has been hitting this hard over the past evening.

Command Post has been keeping on top of this. So has Ken Summers at Second Breakfast.

For those who don't trust the blogging world, here's the AP story on the controversy.

CNN is running the AP version; here's the FNC story.

CBS is purportedly sticking to its guns. Rather is defending the story. But there are rumors that an internal investigation is already underway.

ABC News ran the story on Nightline last night. Here's the ABC News version.

Here's the Washington Post account. The WP is reportedly going to run a story on this on the front page tomorrow. So is the New York Post.

And the hits just keep on coming.

...Is it wrong that I'm enjoying this so immensely? Because I'm positively giddy.

All I can say is, hoo-ah for the freakin Blogosphere. We (okay, okay--they) kick so much ass.

UPDATE: CBS is launching no investigation. Also, with apologies to Malkin, I like "Rathergate" better. If only I could make the "th" superscript. (Hat tip--Greg Ransom.)

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Political Intrigue at its Finest

The question has arisen: Were the new documents presented in the Boston Globe and CBS's "60 Minutes" forgeries?

Before you scoff at this as the latest attempt of the "Right-Wing Attack Machine" to misdirect the American public, take a look at some of the arguments. Particularly the typesetting argument, the super-script argument, and the curious issue with the signatures.

If this were being argued in court, these documents would be thrown out. There's more than enough reasonable doubt...if you're willing to be reasonable, that is. Too bad most folks aren't.

Write this off as more Republican tomfoolery if you will (and some of you lovely folks will!), but all I'm saying is, if the party shoe were on the other foot--the left one--Al Franken would have positively popped with rage by now, and Michael Moore would already be starting work on his next agit-prop piece, this time about Karl Rove's villainous band of forgers.

UPDATE: Say Anything does a neat trick with superimposing the documents. Fun things to try at home.

Wednesday, September 08, 2004


Would someone PLEASE hog-tie and gag Alan Keyes for the rest of the campaign? Any more crap like this, and I'm gonna have to break out the tranquilizer gun.

I understand his passion, and I agree with the belief that Jesus would not be okay with abortion, but saying "Jesus wouldn't vote for you" is the stupidest statement I've heard this campaign season.

Here's an interesting question: What makes you think Jesus would vote at all?

"Oh, no, I've said too much..."

"I haven't said enough."

It's always fun to be a post inspiration. Makes me smile.

Jen writes about the sometimes shocking amount of self-disclosure bloggers engage in, myself included, in a post entitled "T.M.I." She has some really interesting things to say. You should check it out.

Even if she thought I was from the Carolinas. I wonder if that's because I cheered for the Panthers in the Supa Dupa Bowl. (No, I just don't like the Pats. It's pretty much that simple.)

But she has a point. You learn a lot more than you expect to, if you read someone's blog with any regularity. And if you're a blogger, you find yourself wanting to share a lot more than you would in a conversation over coffee. Especially if you don't know the person very well.

Like yesterday's abrupt profession of affection for someone none of you have met, which was borne really out of the intense need to tell someone. At least, without immediately being lectured about "being sensible."

That's why I sometimes call this page my virtual confessional. Because here, behind the screen, I can say what I'm thinking.

But then again, I can't. I censor myself sometimes. I've deleted entire posts because I knew that it would offend or upset certain segments of my readership (and sometimes, a single person).

Which is why I commented to Jen that the little room I let you all peer into is not reality. It's the room I've prepared for you to see. And if there's anything less than pretty in the room, it's not because it's "reality". Not completely, anyway. I show what I want to show. I'm not dishonest with you, but I'm not completely forthright either. Because if I were, that would be too much information to share with anyone.

Just now, I deleted a sentence. I pulled it back. I decided not to take this idea thread down a particular path. You can't do that in real life. You can't delete a spoken word.

I experience the same phenomenon Jen does. I sometimes feel like I know some of you pretty well. But the fact of it is, I barely know you at all. And I have to remind myself that I don't really know you, but that I am priveleged to share with you, and have you share with me, little bits of ourselves.

But what I think motivates us to pursue these shop-window friendships is that, like so many writers and readers of literature, we are fascinated by the stories of others. I ride the train, and when I do, I sometimes sit back and think, every person here has a story all their own. A story of tragedy, triumph, betrayal, love, mystery, madness. And when I bloghop (bounding from link to link like so many stepping stones across a brook), I'm in search of that story. More than that, I'm in search of commonality with other stories. Reassurance that I'm not as, well, alone, as I feel sometimes.

I've said it before, and I'll keep saying it. Thank you, one and all, for taking this journey with me. I'm glad to have met all of you, no matter how superficially we know each other. Because if we ever crossed paths out there in that wide, wild world, I would offer you my hand. And probably some coffee or something.

By the way, it makes me very happy that my humble little page is an entertaining time-waster during class. That could be my new tagline:

Perfect Blue Buildings: Entertaining Slacker Lit-Geeks and Bored Architecture Students Since 2002!

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

"I read bad poetry into your machine..."

File Under: "Dave Should Know Better Than to Get So Attached."

I'm not in love, but I'm pretty close. I can't help it. I mean, really, I wish I could make it stop. But every time I see her, I'm just...whew. It makes the world that much sweeter. I spend a few hours, not even talking to her, just being around her, and I can think of nothing but her for the rest of the day. Such was the case Sunday.

To see her smile sends shockwaves. She simply smiled at me, and I got that all-too-familiar "punched-in-the-gut" feeling. We (the group) were eating lunch, and I was watching her son eat with the measured determination that all two-year-olds possess. I smiled as I watched him, then looked up to see her smiling at me. Not saying anything, just smiling at my smiling at her son, and then she turned her head to watch her son.

It's a good thing I was sitting, because her smile would have knocked me over. It was so clear, so kind. A pure sunbeam of a smile. And it made my stomach hurt, but in a good way.

There was another time, later, when I was making a point about something or telling a story, and as I reached the end, I looked over to her. She was listening, smiling (that smile!)--and I completely lost my train of thought. Completely gone. My last words were "so, yeah..." After a second, she teased, "So yeah?" I was at a loss. I just half-shrugged, shaking my head as if to say, I don't know.

My whole train of thought derailed by a single smile. Scary.

I don't know too much about her, really. Vagueries at best. But I desperately want to get to know her better, to learn everything there is to know about her. Every time there's a group event, I wonder if (hope that) she'll be there. I look forward to every opportunity to see her, even just to say hi.

You know what? Strike that opening sentence. I'm there, baby. Too late to turn back now.

Friday, September 03, 2004

I will not.

I will not discuss politics.

I will not talk about the RNC, recently finished.

I will not interpret poll results.

I will not talk about the protesters, the arrests, the violence.

I will not cast aspersions.

I will not analyze the President's speech, and lament how everyone hears what they want to hear.

I will not read any more blog posts about last night. Those I have read have made me angry, on the whole. Bitter. Frustrated. Tired.

I will not name names or drop hints. I will not call out the people with whome I disagree so greatly.

I will not punch my cubicle wall, because people I hold to be intelligent and insightful descend into vitriol, and it frustrates the hell out of me.

I will try not to antagonize.

I will not let my frustration, my feelings of being caged and surrounded, overwhelm me.

I will not go quietly into that dark blue night.

I will not let my guard down.

I will not apologize for believing what I do.

I will not shy away from a fight, when one is called for.

I will not look for fights, either.

I will not discuss politics today.

I will not discuss politics for the next several days.

I will go outside, look at clouds, sit on the bench, and breathe.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

"The man in black fled across the desert..."

"...and the gunslinger followed."

Thus begins the epic quest for the Dark Tower, that reaches its final stage on September 21.

I've been a fan of Stephen King's Dark Tower epic for a few years. I was first introduced to the story in college (thank you Trevor!), and quickly devoured the first four books. But there was a gap. He had stopped at four, but the story wasn't finished.

Then came King's now famous car accident. According to the foreword of the Revised and Expanded Edition of The Gunslinger, he realized that he couldn't let the tale of Roland's quest for the Tower go unfinished. Last November, he released Book Five. This past June, he released Book Six. And on the 21st of this month, the final volume will hit the shelves.

In anticipation of this event, I began rereading the books. And since I can't figure out how to put something relevant on the sidebar, I'll keep a running tally up in the posts, to let you know how my own quest for the Tower is proceeding.

So, here it is.

The Dark Tower, Volume One: The Gunslinger
The Dark Tower, Volume Two: The Drawing of the Three
The Dark Tower, Volume Three: The Wastelands
The Dark Tower, Volume Four: Wizard and Glass
The Dark Tower, Volume Five: Wolves of the Calla
The Dark Tower, Volume Six: Song of Susannah
The Dark Tower, Volume Seven: The Dark Tower