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October 1, 2000     (Sunday)

Slik makes a nice little portable tripod for less than 40 bucks. I want one! I also want a 70-300mm telephoto lens, and a flash unit, etc., etc., etc. ::sigh:: Can you tell I went to the camera shop in the mall today?

I walked along Capitol Street, looking at all the upscale shops, the professional offices, the displays of terrible art, the classes being offered to the future creators of awful art. I don't fit in with all of that. I think I know how Cézanne felt. He was pretty much a curmudgeon and a recluse. I don't want to be that way, but the benefits are appealing. . .


Sunday morning after a stormy Saturday night.
"Sunday Morning Comin' Down"

October 2, 2000     (Monday)

Chasing down the sun, drowning it in the river
"Second Sun"

October 3, 2000     (Tuesday)

Just hangin' in my hidey hole. . .
"Ensconced"

October 4, 2000     (Wednesday)

I think I read somewhere, in some psychology text, that society, when judged by the standard of psychological normalcy for individuals, appears to be psychotic, or at least aberrant. The same can, and probably has been, said about comparing individuals to the sociological norm. After much contemplation, I've come to the conclusion that the natural state for the individual human being is insanity. We pervert our natural state for the sake of harmony and security.

Some people have enough money to allow themselves the "luxury" of being themselves. The rest of us have to suppress the creative side, the craziness that is our birthright or be scorned and ostracized. Some of us, however, go right ahead and indulge our insanity in spite of the need to fit together with the rest of society. Usually, those people end up in jail, or wandering around the Port Authority scavenging for food in the Greentree trash cans.


I've decided to start altering some of the other pages on this web site. I've devoted much of my energies lately toward these diary pages. I started designing new art pages, but I quickly lost interest in working on that. I may go back and see what I can do about that, but for now I think I'm going to start making small changes here and there. So, if you haven't been to the other areas of this web site lately, you might want to have a look.


October 5, 2000     (Thursday)

It's been a long time since I put any computer-created art on these pages. . . Well, not all that long, but long enough.

No, not that kind. . .
"Orb"

October 6, 2000     (Friday)

No Entry Today


October 7, 2000     (Saturday)

It's cold today. Well, not cold cold, but it sure ain't summer no more! The high today is supposed to be only 52 degrees. Good football weather I suppose. Why couldn't WVU have played Miami today instead of when it was warmer (yes, I'm looking for every advantage I can get)? The game with Idaho today won't be televised except on a tape delay at 11:30 tonight. That will put the end of the game well past two o'clock in the morning. I don't think I'm up to that. I tried to stay up and watch the Penguin/Predators hockey game that started at midnight last night, but I didn't make it past the second intermission. I must be getting old.

It doesn't seem to me like it could possibly be October yet. This summer was rained out around here. I think our minor league baseball team had more rain delays and postponements than ever. I wonder what the winter is going to be like.


October 8, 2000     (Sunday)

Cold today. I'm not feeling well. I think it's probably due to suggestability. All the symptoms the doctor asked me about Friday that I didn't have, I have now. Well, except for the chest pain and gasping for air. . .

Charleston High School-Thomas Jefferson Jr. High-Revolving Fund Print Shop
"Thrice Abandoned"

October 9, 2000     (Monday)

Today is the birthday of John Lennon, Jackson Browne, and Trent Lott. So much for astrology. . .

I spent nearly the whole day in a cardiologist's office, having radioactive isotopes injected intravenously, lying on a piece of equipment about as wide as a two by four, walking on a treadmill. Cardiac evaluation, I think they call it. I won't get any information until next Friday, unless, of course I do a Letterman.

I had a two and a half hour break, so I spent most of that having lunch and hanging out with old friends at the local art supply store. After the tests were finished I went by the camera store in the mall to see if my enlargement was back. It wasn't, so I bought a Slik lightweight tripod instead. It only cost me thirty bucks, and it weighs less that 2-1/2 pounds. Not bad.


The fountain/sculpture in front of the Kanawha County Public Library, Main Branch
"Striped Grass"

October 10, 2000     (Tuesday)

I was out at "Strip Mall Land" Monday evening. It looks like the entire city is moving. It's sliding southward toward Lincoln County. The downtown area that used to have sidewalks so crowded that sometimes you had to step off the curb to get by are now nearly deserted. The only people who still live in the downtown/East End area are those who can't afford to live elsewhere.

I've watched this city slowly deteriorate. I've seen it coming for a long time, and I've warned people about it. But no one listened; either that, or they didn't care. The population has dropped by at least 40%. In doing so, the median income has stayed about the same, I'd guess, but the middle income people have moved to the suburbs. The well-to-do still live up on the hills, and us po-folks live in the valley and on the West Side hills.

I blame the so-called "developers" for this blight on the city. They buy up cheap land, develop it and suck business away from the city center. The tax base dwindles, the population segregates, the streets and sewers crumble, and what used to be a bright, vibrant, enjoyable city becomes another urban-rot with chaotic growth on the edges. This city has a planning commission, but the developers, working entirely out of greed, subvert it by relocating the business district to unplanned, ugly scars on the outskirts of town. It makes me want to cry. I used to love this city. Now I find myself looking for somewhere else to live.


Down close to the waterline, an unexpected cracklature and shadow from dead plant weave a pattern pleasing to the eye. . .
"Matrices"

October 11, 2000     (Wednesday)

Lovely dinner this evening with my niece at the Bus Station Grill. More calories, fat grams and cholesterol than I should have had, but one of the best filet mignons I've ever had. It'd been so long since I'd eaten at a nice, upscale restaurant that I'd forgotten how nice it could be. If anyone living in the Charleston, West Virginia vicinity reads this, you owe it to yourself to eat there at least once.

I'm too sated to write any more tonight.


October 12, 2000     (Thursday)

Did you hear about the blonde who. . .
"Fractal Princess"

October 13, 2000     (Friday)

No Entry Today


October 14, 2000     (Saturday)

Just in time for Halloween
"I Come In Peace"

October 15, 2000     (Sunday)

Today, I reprint, complete and unabridged The Red Rock Eater News mailing for today. I think this is important and the message needs to get out there. This piece is rather long, so be prepared. Have a cup of coffee, a donut. Sit back, and get outraged.


This message was forwarded through the Red Rock Eater News Service (RRE). You are welcome to send the message along to others but please do not use the "redirect" option. For information about RRE, including instructions for (un)subscribing, see http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/people/pagre/rre.html


The New Science of Character Assassination

Phil Agre           http://dlis.gseis.ucla.edu/pagre/

15 October 2000

You are welcome to forward this article electronically to anyone for any noncommercial purpose.

The past ten days will go down as a turning point in American history. This is what it's like when the far right is taking over your country: the people support Al Gore's policies, but the polls are shifting toward George W. Bush because the media is filled with false attacks on Al Gore's character. A story in today's (10/15/00) New York Times states openly what has been clear all along, that this campaign of character assassination has been planned and executed over a long period by the Republicans.

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/15/politics/15REPU.html

Character assassination is, of course, nothing new for Republicans, who mastered the art in the days of Richard Nixon. What's new is that the press constantly repeats the lies. Not just once or twice, not just the occasional slip, but over and over and over.

Let us consider the New York Times story in detail. Written by Alison Mitchell, it describes Al Gore's abject apology for two trivial and much-exaggerated errors in the first debate as "the culmination of a skillful and sustained 18-month campaign by Republicans to portray the vice president as flawed and untrustworthy".

The New York Times discerns four landmarks in this campaign, and landmark number one is as follows:

... in December 1997 ... the [Republican National] committee announced it had started a contest to come up with a slogan for Mr. Gore after he told reporters that the hero and heroine in the novel "Love Story" were modeled after him and his wife, Tipper. (Erich Segal, the author, soon said that his protagonist, Oliver Barrett IV, was only partly based on Mr. Gore, while Jenny Cavilleri had nothing to do with Tipper Gore.)

In this case, the RNC's claim was false. Gore had not told anyone that Love Story was based on him and his wife. Rather, he had mentioned a newspaper article that had inaccurately said that, and was carefully to say that he only had the article's word to go on. Observe that Mitchell repeats the RNC's false account, and then (following the longstanding convention) makes it sound as though Segal was contradicting Gore, when in fact he was defending him. The false "Love Story" store continues to be repeated to the present day.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h092800_1.shtml

Landmark number two:

So when Mr. Gore said in an interview with CNN in March 1999 that "during my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the Internet", Senator Trent Lott of Mississippi, the majority leader, issued this mocking statement: "During my service in the United States Congress, I took the initiative in creating the paper clip".

The problem, of course, was that Gore's claim was correct. As the Internet's scientific leaders attest, often heatedly, Gore recognized the significance of the Internet very early, and took the initiative in doing the political work and articulating the public vision that made the Internet possible. His sentence, which is often not quoted in its entirety, makes perfectly clear that he was talking about the work he did in the context of his Congressional service, and that he is not claiming, ridiculously, to have done the technical work as well. Mitchell shades the story by omitting the Republicans' (and media's) most common distortion of the matter, that Gore claimed to have invented the Internet. This falsehood has been repeated on literally hundreds of occasions, and George W. Bush routinely uses it in his speeches.

>http://chicagotribune.com/news/metro/chicago/printedition/article/0,2669,SAV-0008220064,FF.html (link no longer active)

http://commons.somewhere.com/rre/2000/RRE.Al.Gore.and.the.Inte.html

Landmark number three:

On the day Mr. Gore announced his candidacy in Carthage, Tenn., his family's hometown, Jim Nicholson, the chairman of the Republican National Committee, had a more elaborate stunt. He rode in a wagon pulled by mules to the hotel on Embassy Row in Washington where Mr. Gore lived for much of his youth.

"He has tried to pass himself off as this hardscrabble, homespun central Tennessee farm boy and that is not what he is", said Mr. Nicholson, playing off the fact that Mr. Gore had told The Des Moines Register that he had learned to slop hogs and clear land on the family farm. Friends later told reporters that Mr. Gore's father had kept him on a backbreaking work schedule during summers on the family farm.

The problem, again, is that Gore's claim was true. He did work on his family farm as a child. This time, Mitchell admits that the Republicans were making it up. But she still shades the story by making it sound as though the truth hadn't come out until later, and as though the contrary view rests solely on the word of Gore's friends. In fact the childhood farm chores had been extensively reported for a decade. The false claim that Gore had lied about the chores was repeated on many occasions in the press.

http://www.speakout.com/Activism/oped/Howlings/101100/ (link no longer active)

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h052600_1.shtml

Landmark number four:

The Republicans got help as well from an unexpected source. When the Democratic primary fight became bitter, former Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey insisted that Mr. Gore had deliberately distorted his policy positions in what he called a "pattern of misrepresentation". At one point, Mr. Bradley spat out, "Why should we believe that you will tell the truth as president if you don't tell the truth as a candidate?"

The problem is that Bradley is endlessly quoted to this effect without any attempt to determine whether he is right. In fact Bradley often wrongly accused Gore of distorting his positions.

And that's it. That, according to the New York Times, is the story of the Republicans' campaign to paint Al Gore as an embellisher. The New York Times cites four accusations, all of them false, and in every case the New York Times either repeats the false accusations as truth or else provides misleading accounts of them.

The New York Times' article is not an aberration. The list of false attacks on Al Gore's character that have been circulated in the media for the last two years is extraordinary. In some cases, as in the ones (mis)cited by the New York Times, Gore is accused of lying when he was actually telling the truth:

Several publications have called Gore a liar in very harsh terms because he claimed that his father was a pioneer in the civil rights movement. It is true that his father lost his nerve on the Civil Rights Act, but that does not change the overwhelming and (until recently) universally accepted evidence of his leadership on civil rights. Gore's assertion is perfectly accurate.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h072000_1.shtml

In probably the single most vicious attack of the entire campaign, several publications have suggested that Gore lied when claiming to have been present at his sister's death. The only evidence they offer is that he also made a political speech the same day, and Gore's driver has explained his schedule for that day in detail.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h091100_1.shtml

There are many others:

In the closing moments of Gore's second debate with George W. Bush, Jim Lehrer falsely accused Gore of having called Bush a "bumbler" in one of his campaign commercials.

http://www.speakout.com/activism/oped/Howlings/ (link no longer active)

Was this simply a mistake on Lehrer's part? Okay, but Lehrer made his "mistake" in the context of rebuking Gore for his own miniscule mistakes in the first debate.

Gore told a a union audience that his mother had sung the "union label" song to him as a child. Gore's comment was obviously a joke and the audience took it as a joke. Yet, incredibly, numerous supposed journalists have asserted that he meant it seriously, or else tried (on no evidence) to cast doubt on Gore's obviously-true claim that it was a joke.

http://www.speakout.com/Activism/oped/Howlings/100900/ (link no longer active)

When Gore spoke of his proposal to put Social Security and Medicare in a "lockbox", some "journalists" accused him of dissembling on the astonishing grounds that he was not actually proposing to put the money into a physical box.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h091100_1.shtml

When the Washington Post finally gave up on the "Love Story" story, pretending that it had only recently been disproven, they moved to another falsehood. Gore had claimed that his sister was the first volunteer for the Peace Corps. This claim was accurate, inasmuch as his sister had in fact worked for the Corps without pay from its earliest days, only later joining its paid staff. But the Post called Gore's claim a "lie", on the grounds that she had not worked as a volunteer *overseas*, which Gore had never claimed; they did not mention that she worked without pay.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h101000_1.shtml

Gore told some students in New Hampshire the story of a Tennessee community activist who brought his attention to a toxic dump, whereupon he looked for other examples, found Love Canal, and held the first hearings on the issue. "Journalists" first misquoted him as having claimed to to have started the issue, when in fact he was giving credit to the activists. Even when the misquotation was grudgingly corrected, they continued to distort his words, as if he were claiming to have discovered the toxic pollution at Love Canal.

In yet other cases, Gore made a trivial error that has been exaggerated by his critics, and the exaggeration has been falsely attributed to him. Such is the case with the school in Florida that Gore cited in the first of his debates with George W. Bush.

http://www.salon.com/politics/feature/2000/10/11/gore/

These are just a few examples among many. People make mistakes all the time. Al Gore is one of them, and it's surprising that an army of opposition researchers hasn't come up with more substantive errors after fact-checking a whole life of public statements. So is George W. Bush, whose errors during the two debates so far have been dramatically worse than those of Gore. To start with, Bush falsely implied that the Europeans have no troops in Kosovo, when in fact they have tens of thousands, and that the United States has significant numbers of troops in Haiti, when it does not. And he made numerous false statements:

that Gore was outspending him, when the opposite was true;

that the rate of uninsured people was falling in Texas and rising nationally, when the opposite was true;

that the men who killed James Byrd would be put to death, when only two had been sentenced to death and their appeals had not been exhausted;

that middle-income seniors would get drug coverage immediately under his Medicare plan;

that Gore had lied about this;

that the new spending in his budget plan is equal to the tax cuts;

that "most of the tax reductions [in his plan] go to the people at the bottom end of the economic ladder";

that the president is unable to influence the actions of the Food and Drug Administration;

that Hillary Clinton's 1993 national health insurance initiative would have entailed nationalizing health care; and

that Gore had claimed to be the author of the Earned Income Tax Credit law.

That is just a partial list of Bush's "mistakes" in two ninety-minute debates, and it doesn't include the dubious numbers he quoted from Republicans in the Senate or the mess he made of education, taxes, Social Security, and the Middle East. Nor does it include the "mistakes" that littered his acceptance speech at the Republican convention, or the especially egregious "mistakes" of his brutal campaign against John McCain in South Carolina, and so on.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A1112-2000Aug9.html

With only a few exceptions (like the one just cited), the press has gone to great lengths to cover up or minimize Bush's false statements. Press coverage of the first debate focused overwhelmingly on Gore's two comparatively trivial errors and on endless suggestions that Gore was rude for having sighed several times.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A50805-2000Oct11.html

Of course, the sighs were often exaggerated by turning the volume up. (Falsely calling someone a liar, as Bush did several times, is not rude?) Pundits bizarrely praised Bush for his command of the issues after the first debate despite his lengthy catalog of errors:

http://www.speakout.com/Activism/oped/Howlings/101100/ (link no longer active)

And the 10/5/00 Washington Post buried the Democrats' list of Bush errors at the end of a long story about Bush's accusations against Gore.

The problem is systemic. A reporter for a British newspaper, the Observer, was struck at the completely different approaches of the reporters covering Gore and Bush, and reported a disturbing incident in which a Washington Post reporter well-known for her open hostility to Gore held a toy gun to his head.

http://search.ft.com/search/multi/globalarchive.jsp?docId=000817000445

Indeed, press coverage of Gore has been spun in a strongly negative fashion for a long time.

http://www.cjr.org/year/00/3/hall.asp

http://www.people-press.org/july00rpt.htm (link no longer active)

http://www.cmpa.com/pressrel/electpr2.htm

The press, following the lead of Republican "investigators", has repeatedly falsified and spun the famous Buddhist temple event, among others.

http://www.prospect.org/archives/V11-21/wilentz-s.html

They have also falsified and exaggerated Gore's performance in earlier debates, thereby creating a caricuture of him as a vicious attacker.

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h092200_1.shtml

Yes, the press has suggested that Bush is not mentally competent to run the country. But it has not fabricated huge amounts of evidence to support this charge, and it has not routinely used vocabulary that is remotely as harsh as that used against Gore. You have rarely seen the media call Bush a "moron" or "idiot", but Gore has routinely been called much worse. Here is a very partial list:

"evil"

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h092200_1.shtml

"imperious", "repellent"

http://www.nytimes.com/2000/10/11/opinion/11DOWD.html

"lethal", "ruthless", "liar"

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h071100_1.shtml

"ruthless", "relentless", "bully", "maniacal"

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h100300_1.shtml

"manipulative", "dishonest"

http://www.dailyhowler.com/h072100_1.shtml

(I am citing the Daily Howler for most of these examples so that you can read some analysis of them. But the Howler provides precise citations for the originals, which should be easy to look up.)

Indeed, Bush's alleged mental incompetence is often tacitly used to excuse his falsehoods -- he doesn't know what he's talking about, so he can't be lying. Or Gore is accused of a "pattern" of false and exaggerated statements, but then Bush escapes the same accusation for the simple reason that nobody bothers to gather Bush's false and exaggerated statements in one place.

This is just the press. We're not even talking about the conservatives on the Internet that have been circulating long lists of Gore's supposed lies and exaggerations -- most of which are, of course, themselves lies or exaggerations, including garbled and embellished versions of the already false versions in the press. Some of these lists are credited to the RNC, but of course it is hard to know for sure.

The new science of character assassination, then, has several components:

It starts with a strategy: a conscious choice by a political party that it is going to position its opponent in a certain way. The 10/15/00 Washington Post quotes a Republican consultant as saying that "PR 101 is define your opponent before he tries to define himself", and the whole campaign is clearly organized by the principles of PR.

It requires a clearinghouse to distribute "facts" that fit the strategy. In this case the burden has been carried by the Republican National Committee and by the office of House majority leader Dick Armey, which got its start by circulating the original fraudulent charges from Wired News about Gore's Internet statement.

It requires rank-and-file supporters who are willing to pass along any junk that fits the party line.

But above all, it requires a press corps that has decided to go along with it. Part of the problem is that the press operates in packs -- an echo chamber of lazy pundits in which every "fact" that fits a prevailing stereotype gets endlessly repeated.

But it's not just that. It is not surprising that Rupert Murdoch's media properties, such as Fox and the New York Post, publish smears against people who disagree with Murdoch's far-right views. But it can hardly be an accident that the New York Times, the Washington Post, and the Associated Press have all assigned reporters to the Gore campaign who write, day in and day out, the same sorts of exaggerated smears. To be sure, the press is not unanimous in spreading Republican lies as truth; the contrast between the NYT/Post/AP axis and the calm reporting of the Los Angeles Times could hardly be greater. But the Post, Times, and AP, all well-connected and widely syndicated, set the tone for the press as a whole. The fix is clearly in, and these establishment media operations are clearly down with it. They see which way the wind is blowing, and they don't want to get left behind.

A kind of coup is in effect, continuing the pattern of the Whitewater hoax and impeachment. If the far right succeeds in its campaign, then the incoming government will be staffed by people who are trained in the new science of character assassination. It's all they know. And having destroyed Al Gore, they will come after the rest of us.

Copyright © 2000 by Philip E. Agre. All rights reserved.


October 16, 2000     (Monday)

The days roll by, one turning into the next, nearly indistinguishable from one another. This is living? I suppose if I had a serious beer hobby or something else to both occupy my time and eliminate brain cells, I wouldn't think of such things so much.

I've been working on a series of three inch by five inch cards, mostly made from pieces of 140 lb. watercolor paper. They're collages for the most part. I've made 32 of them so far. I've been thinking about putting them up here on my web site, but I'm not sure exactly how I want to do it.


Fall is in the air. The trees are starting to turn to red, yellow, and orange. From talking to people who've been outside the city in the higher elevations, I surmise that a lot of the state is in full blaze, with the mountains in the east turning brown and becoming denuded. Winter will be here soon.


One nail, no cross bar. . . (Originally appeared in 'Transmog' #20, an avant garde, Zaum Dada 'zine.
"Cut Rate Crucifixion"

October 17, 2000     (Tuesday)

I went for a drive in the woods today. It was a rather dreary day. The leaves outside of town are brilliant. I'd love to go out that way again next sunny day.

Doctor's appointment this morning. The news isn't great. I have another cardiologist appointment Friday. I sure hope I don't have to visit the cath lab. Sounds like no fun at all.

I chased this shot for a week.
"Floating Sun"


October 18, 2000     (Wednesday)

I keep going back to certain things in my art. One is the circles I was doing in the 80's. Another is the layering of random lines until I get a texture that I have no real control over. I work other elements into these formats sometimes.

I wonder what this says. . .
"Painting the Wind"

I did the above picture with Photoshop LE. Imagine what I could do with the full version. That'll probably never happen.


October 19, 2000     (Thursday)

Direct scan of both sides of a heavy stainless steel knob or something like a knob.  It's all the same to me. . .
"Steel Breeze Matrix"

October 20, 2000     (Friday)

Whatever happened to Reinhold Weege?


October 21, 2000     (Saturday)

I'm having trouble finding what I want to say lately. I have to go into the hospital Monday for a heart catheterization. I have that weighing heavy on my mind. A good friend is leaving tonight for Israel. I'll worry about her and miss her for the months she's gone. I also feel betrayed to a certain extent by some people I thought were my friends.

It's funny, but when things like this are on my mind, I tend to not write a lot. I have trouble expressing myself. I'm not sure why this is. Situational depression, maybe?

I've converted to a low-fat vegetarian diet. I can't say that I feel any differently yet. Hopefully in a few months when I've lost some weight and my cholesterol is down I'll have a different assessment of it.


A mere pittance. . .
"Holey Communion"

October 22, 2000     (Sunday)

I went driving up into the mountains today. I shot about two rolls of film. I'm almost certain to get a couple good pictures out of that. I'll drop the rolls off to be processed at next opportunity. I took several shots under dubious lighting conditions. Those are my favorites. If they come out, they're usually great. If they don't, I just say, "Figures." and let it go at that.

I saw all kinds of people mistreating wonderful cameras. I'd love to have some of those cameras and lenses I saw today. Like everything else, I'll never be able to afford the best. Just once, just one thing, I'd love to have the best tool to work with. Oh well. . .

I've been feeling sorry for myself today. Don't mind me. I keep reevaluating my life, trying to see where I went wrong. I'm not sure, but it seems to be somewhere around birth. . .


October 23, 2000     (Monday)

No Entry Today


October 24, 2000     (Tuesday)

Well, my heart catheterization is done. There is some blockage, but nothing over 30 percent. My doctor wants to treat it with diet and medication. Since he didn't make any changes in my medications, I assume he means to control it with diet.

The meals they fed me in the hospital had more meat and more fat in them that what I eat on my own, and that was on the low-fat, low-cholesterol, cardiac menu. I suppose my diet ideas should help lower my cholesterol and decrease the plaque even faster.

I spent from yesterday morning at 9:00 until two o'clock this afternoon in the hospital. That's not my idea of a good time. I did get to observe some interesting people, and watch a good football game (Monday Night Football). I did not, however, get much sleep. One fellow in the next bed over had had a heart attack, and was coughing and snoring loudly all night. Some alarm or other of his kept going off periodically, too. The nurse (Rodney) kept coming in and out checking on him and the 76 year old man who shared the room with us. Speaking of which, he kept turning the lights on all night long. He would get out of bed, which he was not supposed to do, and empty his urinal in the sink!!! Every four hours, everyone's vital signs had to be checked, too, and around 3:30 am the nurse came in and ripped several feet of really sticky tape from my abdomen and legs. In the cath lab, they told me I could soak it off in the shower the next day! Ha.! Add to that the light from the hallway and the noise of the staff coming and going, and the fact that the room was way too cold, and you have a recipe for an insominiacal night.

A little after eight this morning, they moved me around the corner to what they call "the quiet part" of the Cardiac Unit. Why couldn't they have done that right after the ball game?


October 25, 2000     (Wednesday)

Another month is quickly coming to a close. Where does the time go? Halloween will be here in less than a week. Next thing you know it will be Thanksgiving, then Christmas, then 2001. Arthur Clarke was a little optimistic about the ability of man to progress to the point where it could make the next evolutionary step, no?

We've probably progressed technologically far enough to accomplish the things Clarke envisioned in the book, but socially we're still living in the past. We've progressed to the point where we have to rely on machines to get things done fast enough (by whose estimation, I'm not sure), and still people eat, talk on the phone, put on make-up, shave, and other activities while driving. We have business lunches. We rely almost entirely on pre-package foods, convenience items, throwaway everything. Somehow, the advancement of society has only benefitted those few people who can afford to pay someone else to take care of a significant amount of the details of their lives. Even these people, driven as they seem to be to acquire ever more, don't have the time to fully live.

We need to slow down. I thought the intent of society was to provide the necessities and amenities that working together can provide to everyone. Far too many people get left out, left behind, and too few actually enjoy life as it should be enjoyed. I suppose that's too much to ask, though, as it would probably require the abolition of greed to accomplish such a goal.


Somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my studio lurks a bunch of cups and glasses and beakers filled with the implements of my trade. . .
"Tools of the Trade"

October 26, 2000     (Thursday)

Al Gore is going to be here for a rally at the State Capitol tomorrow. My son is in the entourage that will meet him and be on the stage with him. Sean seems to get into such things all the time. I hope and pray that Gore gets elected. Bush is the biggest potential disaster this country ever faced. The man is a ditz. He is so vacuous and self-absorbed and comes from such a pampered, privileged background that he has no concept of what life is like for anyone who doesn't have a six or seven figure income. He's been insulated and isolated and hasn't an iota of compassion, not because he has no heart, but because he is oblivious. DO NOT vote for this man. If he gets elected, I'm seriously considering becoming an expatriate.

If Bush gets elected, the presidency will be effectively run by right wing zealots. Civil Liberties will vanish. Financial security for the less well-off will vanish. The Supreme Court will be tainted for years to come with the stink of Reationary Conservatism. Molly Ivins says Bush scares her. Me too. He should scare anyone who isn't a hidebound, mean-spirited, greedy, acquisitive millionaire.


Worn out, old, and in the way. . .
"Retirement"

October 27, 2000     (Friday)

Kanawha Falls, Charleton Heights, WV
"Trace Memories"

October 28, 2000     (Saturday)

The RLC (Republican Leadership Committee) has been buying campaign ads for Ralph Nader. Nader has done a lot of good for this country, but in this election, he is just a spoiler, and he knows it. The cynicism it takes for the Republicans to try to siphon votes away from Gore by such tactics should speak very loudly that these are not the kind of people we want running this country.

The New River Gorge Bridge.  Longest steel arch span in the world.
"Dan"

October 29, 2000     (Sunday)

Drove to theAppalachian Front today. Saw Seneca Rocks and went down into the bowels of the earth (Seneca Caverns). It was nearly 400 miles round trip. It was fun, though. Pictures soon (assuming they come out -- I forgot my cable release when I went down into the cavern and the pictures may not come out). It was really neat.

Here's one from last week's excursion:

Foggy day on the old creek. . . (Babcock State Park)


October 31, 2000     (Tuesday)

Okay, for the last day of October, I present a photograph from last weekend's trip. This is Seneca Rocks, about 80 miles from the Virginia border. I'd love to climb these puppies, but I don't think my knees could handle it.

Seneca Rocks.  Really neat.

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