Friday, August 27, 2004


Is it really news that Al-Qaida might have a plan to attack VA hospitals, or did the Department of Homeland Security just need a new terror alert to distract from yesterday's bad economic data?
(0) comments

Friday, August 13, 2004

The Approaching Storm 

Hurricane Charley has just hit Florida, and the latest word from the National Hurricane Center is that they're not completely sure what track it's going to follow over the next 24 hours, though there's a consensus that it will continue to move generally NNE. Here in South Carolina, we're just sitting tight and hoping for the best.

If you want to see the effects of a category 4 hurricane firsthand, WeatherBug is blogging Charley and the Tampa Tribune is also posting live updates.
(0) comments

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Expect the Unexpected 

The Department of Homeland Security has declared that September is National Preparedness Month. Wouldn't it be ironic if we put all our effort into foiling and surviving terrorist attacks only to be hit by a killer tsunami?
(0) comments

Monday, August 09, 2004

World Peace 

The news of Prozac contaminating the UK's drinking water reminds me eerily of an old science fiction short story. I can't tell you which story exactly because my addiction to old science fiction anthologies coupled with a terrible memory for names and dates means that I've narrowed it down to a story that's probably from an anthology in the library at Sewanee. If you recognize it, please leave a note in the comments.

Anyway, the story goes like this:
A scientist goes to a small Texas town to figure out why their crime rate is the lowest in the country. He determines that the townsfolk's peaceful dispositions are caused by something in the water. He isolates the compound, tests it on monkeys, and determines that the miracle substance does indeed inhibit bellicose behavior.

Excited by the prospect of actually creating world peace, the scientist comes up with a plan to dump a large amount of the substance into a volcano which will soon erupt, spewing ash over most of the planet. He lets his brother in on the plan as an accomplice but tells no one else. The brother thinks the plan is a bad idea and refuses to help.

The scientist dumps the stuff into the volcano anyway and it erupts. For the next year or so, the world is calmer. Wars end, peace breaks out. However, during this time the scientist determines that the substance has a serious side effect, causing something like Alzheimer's.

Since the eruption, the scientist's brother has been drinking only bottled water and staying inside when it rains. But eventually, everyone else in the world succumbs to the side effects, even the scientist, so he is alone. He writes this story as his memoir and proceeds to drink the water.
(0) comments

Saturday, August 07, 2004


When it comes to paper, I am a pack rat. I saved every note my friends passed me in junior high, every photocopied flyer I made for my college radio show. My shelves and attic are full of boxes of old papers that have some small historical significance to me, from my 1995 calendar to the notes from my choreography class.

I began keeping a diary when I was in seventh grade, and kept up the habit until I graduated from college. These diaries have been carefully preserved, given a place of honor on my bookshelves. The oldest diaries, written on tiny spiral-bound notepads, have been typed into computer files so as not to be lost. In all this time, I have only stricken two sentences from my personal historical record, and those only because they were monumentally embarrassing.

I am loathe to rewrite my own history. I know that I was silly and naive at times in the past, but so was everybody. I think it's important to see who I was so I can see how much I've changed now, and realize that ten years from now I'll probably have changed some more.

But today, I have decided to destroy a poem that I wrote when I was sixteen or so. I wrote many songs and poems in the back of my high school diary. Some are good, some are awful enough to make me cringe ("Scared and shaken eyes of brown/Don't know where truth's to be found"), but this one makes me sad when I read it. It makes me sad because I know I once believed that this far-fetched scenario could be true, even commonplace. I believed it because it was easier than confronting a reality which challenged my worldview at the time.

The poem was catchy and had a repeating line that sometimes sticks in my head: "Nothing's ever going to be the same." When it starts rattling around my brain these days, I start wondering how many people think as I did back then. I wonder how much those beliefs are hurting those around them, and how soon science will prove them wrong. I think about how, after I die, I don't want anyone going through my diaries and finding this poem. Not because I don't want to admit that I once believed these things but because, unlike a diary entry, a poem can easily be stripped of its historical context. It can stand on its own and speak independently of its author.

I don't want anyone using this poem to justify prejudice. Into the shredder it goes.
(0) comments