Watch this space. . .

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Saturday, January 4, 2003
(9:54 am)

I won't say it's by popular demand that this project is back because only a very small percentage of the people who visit these pages wrote and asked for it to be reinstated. I will say that a number of the people whose advice and opinion I have come to value asked that I continue with my journal pages.

To be quite honest, I had grown weary of doing it every day, never hearing from anyone (save for Emily) except to criticize or take issue with something I'd written. You readers might not think about it, but this project takes some time and thought and maybe even a little bit of talent and understanding of English grammar, HTML and javascript (yes, these pages are 100% hand coded. I don't use any of the code generating programs because I can't afford the good ones that create efficient code and I don't like the bloated, quirky pages that Front Page and others generate. I've used HomeSite, but truthfully it's just about as simple to write the code myself using a good text editor and macros. Now THAT was a parenthetical comment!), current events, politics, the arts, and sciences. I don't do this for a living. If I did, the whole thing would have stopped with my death over three years ago, as I would have starved.

I used to operate an online Bulletin Board System (BBS). It was more interactive than this and I met a number of people who are still friends, some who were friends for a while, and others who were friends as long as I had something they needed or wanted. This is like that to an extent. I've met one or two people I consider friends through this endeavor, met some who became friendly for a limited time span for whatever reason then moved on. I never expected this to be a social club or a salve for my ego. I also never expected to get nearly 60,000 hits in six months time with over 5,000 users. It seems to me that I might possibly get a few more comments with that much traffic. But I don't. That's part of the reason for my weariness of the whole thing. Another part is, as stated last month, my hitting the wall. Since my injury, I've worked very little to not at all. Money is very tight, so I have five rolls of film I can't afford to process. I'd love to have a digital camera so I wouldn't have to worry about that, but, as I said, money is tight. Things aren't looking up either.

So, it looks like I'll continue this project for a while longer, at least until I come up with an alternative to it that satisfies whatever need it is that I have that causes me to write page after page of text and HTML to put this out there for the world to criticize and ignore.

There is so much going on the world right now that is wrong. Much of it is being ignored, or worse, abetted by people who should know better. Doctors should not strike, especially over economic issues (see the Charleston Gazette, Daily Mail, or AP stories about the walkout in the Wheeling area). Worse yet, why do people who should know that these doctors, even with the large malpractice premiums, make far more than most others can hope to make cry for "tort reform" and support these miscreant physicians and haters of justice for anyone but the well-to-do? The thing is, the doctors don't make as much as lawyers and they're jealous. The solution is not to limit how much a plaintiff makes in a settlement, but how much a lawyer can take of that settlement. At any rate, the size of settlements isn't the cause of high malpractice premiums. It's mainly bad management at insurance companies. The legislature should not knuckle under to these greedy doctors at the expense of the public. Can you imagine suffering a lifetime of pain and disability because of a doctor's negligence and only being able to collect $250,000 for pain and suffering? That's probably less than the doctor makes in two years of practice. Are we supposed to struggle along, driving a 10 year old Honda while the offending physician continues to drive his Land Rover? Screw that! Just say NO to tort reform as we know it. If we want meaningful tort reform, we need to put a cap, not on awards, but on the dollar amount lawyers can siphon off of each case.

. . . and that's just one issue.

(1:38 pm)

I'm having ideas about how to proceed with this web site. I think I'll move the "23" page under Archives and create a new "23" page as a kind of magazine. I'll be actively soliciting contributions. If you or anyone you know has anything they'd like to share with the world, let me know. It doesn't necessarily have to be previously unpublished or anything, but it would be nice if it was. I'll take whatever you want to submit: art, poetry, fiction, announcements, essays, stream of consciousness, humor, pretty much anything, as long as it's original, attributable, and good. I'll not accept junk. . . unless it's good junk.

I'll also include a wallpaper of the month for 800 X 600, 1024 X 768, and 1152 X 864. If you want smaller or larger, you'll have to ask. I'll put the wallpaper up as JPG files. If you want BMP you'll have to convert them or ask me for them. BMP files take up too much disk space and take too long for the dial-up users to download. The 23 magazine will be archived, much in the same manner as the journal pages. I think I will put the current issue on my space. I only have 12 MB there, but that should be sufficient for a monthly issue. I'll archive it on this space. By doing it that way, I can advertise it as and sort of maintain it as a separate entity. I suspect the structure and content of this will evolve as time goes on.

Again, if you have any ideas or there's anything you'd like to see included in this, please let me know. I'll be happy to consider it. Right now I'm aiming for the 20th of the month as the publication date. January 20, 2003 will be the inaugural issue: February 2003.

Monday, January 6, 2003
(1:03 pm)

I had every intention of making an entry here yesterday, particularly since there were letters to the editor and editorials in the paper dealing with the medical malpractice insurance/tort reform issue, but I never quite got around to it. Life's like that when you don't have strict obligations and deadlines.

There was an opinion piece in the paper this morning coming down on the side of leaving tort legislation alone. I don't think we need to screw with the justice system. It seems to work pretty good. If anything needs adjusting, it's the medical profession and the insurance industry. The greed is getting rampant. Everyone wants to tilt the table so the balls end up in their pocket. Insurance companies sell coverage for less than cost when the market is bringing them good returns and want to overcharge when it isn't. Maybe tight regulation of the insurance industry is part of the solution. Also, maybe bringing doctors back to reality might be a good thing, too. We pay for the best technology for them to use to take care of our health issues. They incur great debt going through their training and therefore expect greater reward than the average Joe with a high school diploma or a Bachelor's degree or even an MBA. That's only fair, but I see nearly every doctor driving a Land Rover or Mercedes and living in the best neighborhoods with all the trappings of privilege. Maybe they should lower their expectations a little. I've already done my part.

Quote of the Day: "Live all you can; it's a mistake not to. It doesn't much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have had your life. If you haven't had that, what have you had?" -- Henry James

Speaking of doctors, I have three appointments in a little over a week. Tomorrow, I go to see my opthalmologist. I haven't been in nearly five years. My glasses have needed changing since the last time I saw him, but I had to choose between new glasses and something else and new glasses lost out. My glasses cost several hundred dollars now. That seems too much to me. Either Wednesday or next Tuesday I have to go to my orthopedic surgeon about my leg again. I've been having trouble with it since Christmas. I go to see my primary doctor next week, too. Lose weight, get more exercise. . . It seems pointless.

Tuesday, January 7, 2003
(12:11 pm)

My car's had it. We were on the way to the grocery store and to pick up my prescriptions, traveling down the boulevard, things running just fine and all at once a single backfire and the engine stopped. It's like killing a big ol' bear and having it fall on you. Trying to push it off is similar to steering and stopping a 3800 pound vehicle with power brakes and steering without power.

Two hours sitting in the cold, snow squalls passing every half hour or so, we finally got a ride home and a tow truck. Half an hour and $50 later we're home with nothing to show for it but a nearly two ton white paperweight in the driveway. . . something about the timing chain. . .

Eye appointment went well. I don't even need to change my glasses from five years ago. At least that's good news.

Wednesday, January 8, 2003
(6:45 pm)

Another day, another disaster. Isn't that the way it goes?

Today unfolded like one of those free Department of Transportation highway maps. When it came time to fold it back up, I couldn't manage to get it right. I didn't know whether to fold horizontally first or vertically, whether the whole was divided into thirds one way and fourths the other, or thirds both ways or fourths or what. It was a confounding thing, something not to be done while trying to drive.

Today was a large waste, followed by frustration. Nice weather though, for January.

Thursday, January 9, 2003
(9:49 pm)


Friday, January 10, 2003
(11:09 am)

Gotama Siddartha was right.

Suffer, baby, suffer!

Saturday, January 11, 2003
(10:53 pm)

Sometimes the consequences of our actions are not immediately apparent. Often the result of what we do does not occur until days, weeks, perhaps years or decades after the fact. The Hindus and Buddhists consider this in their concept of karma. To them, the impact of what we do may not even be evident in this lifetime. The word, "karma," means "work." It is the action that produces this work, whether it manifests itself immediately or at some interminable distance along the time line.

To have this foul illness I currently am suffering from, I must have committed heinous deeds in a previous life, for I can think of nothing in this one that would require such penance.

Tuesday, January 14, 2003
(5:38 pm)

Not having a car in this society is difficult, especially for someone of my age and infirmity. Depending on others to drive me for such things as doctor's appointments and the grocery store is difficult. Taking the bus involves more planning and a lot more time. It's demoralizing.

It would be nice to live in New York or Chicago, cities who value public transportation. It would be nice for the culture, art, and inspiration, too.

Wednesday, January 15, 2003
(2:19 pm)

It looks like my e-zine project might take a little longer than anticipated. I've had to spend more time doing the mundane things of life than I would have had my car not died. Also, I'm kind of bereft of ideas for it. I don't want to do a half-assed job of it, so if it takes longer, it takes longer.

Here's a portion of my latest collàge:

Just a snippet at random, directly scanned
"Collage 2003 (detail)"

Friday, January 17, 2003
(9:42 pm)

Snow. Cold -- single digits tonight.

(11:27 pm)

This is a rough draft, a preliminary sketch (so to speak) of a three dimensional collage I've been thinking about. The foreground and background are both the same, stark white laid paper.

Inside a shadowbox. . .
"Snow Day"

Monday, January 20, 2003
(6:09 pm)

It's all so daunting. Bush wants war, wants to give Bill Gates his dividends of nearly $100 Million with no taxes and allow him to pass all of it on to his heirs. To Gates credit, he thinks this is a bad idea and has or is making provisions to make sure his wealth goes to better society (as he sees it) instead of all landing in the lap of his kids and those other relatives who contest the will. The doctors and lawyers and insurance companies contend with one another and the loser will eventually be the poor sap like me who gets injured by a careless, arrogant doctor and has to forego a lifetime of acheivement and live at a much lower standard of living than the culprit who caused it. Limiting the recourse of the aggrieved party is never the proper way to fix a problem. It's time we revisited regulation of industries that allegedly serve the public good, industries such as insurance, utilities, transportation, and food production.

But no, we can't do that. It smacks of socialism, and socialism is dead. Capitalism beat it fair and square. The Soviet Union is bankrupt and foundering. Yeah, right. Without a sense community and a sharing of common mores and goals, we'll always have a tiered society with abject poverty along side of obscene wealth, and those with the wealth will always be the ones without concern for anyone other than themselves and they will always devise ways to keep it that way. It's disgusting.

Wednesday, January 22, 2003
(11:36 am)

France and most other European countries stood by and allowed Hitler to attack one country after another, his unchecked aggression plunging the whole world into a conflagration of unprecedented proportions. I don't think they'll stand by and allow something like it to happen again. Bush must be stopped. If he attacks Iraq against the wishes of the UN and our NATO allies, what will be the result? Could we end up allied only with Britain and the small Arab countries like Kuwait and Qatar against Iraq, France, Germany, Turkey, perhaps Russia, and China? It's not as far-fetched as it might have sounded a few short years ago. The United States is looking more and more the bad guy in the international arena, and it's all because we have allowed ourselves to succumb to the right wing rhetoric and policies of Bush, Limbaugh, Cheney and their crowd. We have to act, now. Unfortunately, as wishy-washy as the liberal crowd is, I expect very little. The U.S. may become a colony of France when it's all over, or worse, partitioned off like we did Germany after Hitler's dance.

If Bush starts this war against the will of the rest of the world, and ignores the greater threat of North Korea, he must be impeached and convicted. We must not allow this man to destroy our noble experiment in democracy.

Saturday, January 25, 2003
(2:47 pm)

It's hard when dreams die. I remember the day I realized I'd never be Superman. I remember the day I realized there was no Superman. I remember the day I knew I'd not be a rock star. I remember the day I came to the realization that fame and fortune were beyond me save for some stroke of fortune. I think today, I realized that fortune will never strike me. It's a sad day.

The past six months have been some bad ones. There has been much pain and discomfort. It is because of this, mainly, that my efforts at creating a magazine section on this web page has gone undone. Additionally, I've gotten zero feedback about it, no offers of contribution, nothing, nada, zip, zilch. Maybe there are too many E-zines out there already and no one cares if I create one here or not.

Monday, January 27, 2003
(11:37 pm)

I think I have most of it now. I'll be working toward putting up my magazine page over the next few days. I'm still looking for contributions. I have the first few mapped out. They're to be "themed." After those, depending on what kind of submissions I get, the focus may change. Keep those cards and letters comin' in.

You can send e-mail using the Comments buttons. If you want to mail actual submissions, send them to:
J. Michael Mollohan
Submissions -- 23 Magazine
P. O. Box 5534
Charleston, WV 25361-0534

Wednesday, January 29, 2003
(9:09 pm)

Let me clarify this a little. The kinds of submissions I am interested in for my "23 Magazine" section of this web presence are: poetry, short fiction, humor, essays, short non-fiction, drawing, painting, electronic art. In short, any creative endeavor you would like to share with the world. I prefer items that are more on the edge, avant garde, Dada, absurdist, anything new, challenging, provocative. This is not to say that I'll accept anything thrown my way. I will be selective and ask for a certain level of excellence.

The first four issues (I have not decided whether this will be monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly as yet) will be devoted to mail art. The first three will be mail art projects that I initiated a couple of years ago and was never able to mount an exhibition for anywhere else. These will include works from an international pool of artists and forward thinkers. The first issue will be "Cash & Carry." The second issue: "Infinite Regression." The third: "Art is Fraud." These have closed and I will no longer accept submissions for these three. The fourth will be "Postcards from the fringe." This will consist of postcards I've received in my mail art and other odd and interesting postcards that have come into my possession from other sources. I will accept and consider any post card you care to submit to this issue. Since this issue will be published sometime in May at the earliest, there is plenty of time for you to get those cards in the mail. Please use the address above (January 27 entry) to mail your contributions.

The fifth issue of "23 Magazine" will most likely be devoted to a series of 3 X 5 inch cards on which I have created little collages over the past few years. I think I may have displayed a few of these in these journal pages. Currently there are 34 of the cards. I may want to solicit similar cards from you, my faithful readers. Artists trading cards are another possibility for a future issue as well. I also have a considerable stock of mail art and avant garde poetry from various sources to be gone through and culled out. I think I may have enough material to present a year's worth of monthly issues, at least.

Although I have a lot of material on hand and can create more myself, I'd prefer to get new works from those who find this site worth visiting. Additionally, if you have ideas for upcoming issues, I'll be more than willing to take them under advisement. Just drop me a line and let me know what you think would make a nice presentation.

In addition to the themed material for each issue, I will be including "columns" such as "Wallpaper of the Month," "Quotes," and other tidbits for your entertainment, elucidation, and education. Anything you would like to suggest or submit in these areas would also be greatly appreciated.

What I would really love for someone to write and send to be included with the first issues is a nice essay, less than 5000 words, about Mail Art -- what it is, how it works, the philosophy behind it, etc. Pretty Please!!! Don't make me have to write it myself. I'll get cranky.

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