Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Earth Endangered by Giant Mister Peanut!

OK, maybe not endangered exactly. (Unless you believe the Internet rumor mill, in which case we can all kiss our collective ass goodbye.) I don't know how I missed this, but I just found out about Toutatis ... the giant peanut-shaped asteroid that is about to pass within about a million miles of the Earth. Check out this video.

And while we're on the subject of fabulous and unlikely stories ...


Sunday, September 26, 2004

September 11, 2004; 9:50 AM

Three years ago I was in Lanesboro, Minnesota, eyes glued to a TV, watching the rude awakening of America, her swaggering arrogance punctured by four missiles of her own pride.

I'm in an airport. People seem chipper, the sun is shining, life goes on. I expect everyone's aware what day it is---you can hardly miss it if you turn on a TV---but most seem unaffected. At least, I've witnessed no open weeping or other obvious signs of remembered grief. But we were all deeply affected by what happened three years ago. Some---most?---of us simply don't recognize what happened to us, are ill-equipped to sense the signs of our own transformation. Grief, anxiety, and fearfulness are perhaps the least of the effects. Something more profound took place within us, some deep shift of our collective unconscious, or of conscience.

Loss of innocence, perhaps? Yes, in part. And America has lost her innocence, by degrees, over many occasions in the brief course of her history. But once you've lost your innocence---and by now, America is a far cry from that blushing virgin that even halfway into the last century she was---then you bear the mantle of adulthood and what was once out of your hands and understanding becomes thereafter your responsibility. Where once she buffed the bright apple of the knowledge of good and evil against her proud, young breast, allowing its seductive red temptation to hypnotize and beguile her, now she has bitten fiercely into its flesh, swallowed the bittersweet juice of desire and ground the pulp of consequence for attainment of that desire between her clean, white, even teeth.

There can be no claims of ignorance now, no wide-eyed apology or denial, nor insouciant swagger of youthful pride. Her eyes are open now. There is no return to Eden.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

where to begin?

I don't know where to begin.

It all seems so convoluted, this life thing, seen from the perspective of one life, one creature, one human bean. My brain is a swarm of worrying bees, keeping me up nights with their incessant, anxious drone: Where am I going? What is my calling? Should I move? Stay? How can I stay sane in an increasingly insane world? What about the energy crisis that no one believes is already upon us? Will overpopulation continue to be swept under the rug as a major world crisis? Will the hallucinogenic fever of greed finally run its course in humanity and allow us to move on to better things? Will a new consciousness finally take root in the human family, allowing us to recognize our interconnection and interdependence with all things? Will we get the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld junta out of office?

Each day feels like a rehash of yesterday's anxieties. I'm weary of despairing that there is no hope. I can only take the calming, godlike perspective so often, because I'm only a man and I'm trapped inside this very frail, very human body. Too often life hurts and it shouldn't. Perhaps I have none to blame but myself, my own apparent lack of boundaries. I feel rather like I carry the world's burdens on my shoulders sometimes--- and I'm failing to merit the responsibility of it. Should I find a way (if indeed it's possible) to slough all that "responsibility" off? just shout "it's my turn!" and shut off my perceptions of the world-in-danger and focus on ME? Seems improbable--- I'm already the most self-involved person I know. I don't see how I can stop awareness of this world in turmoil. And knowing its there, how can I be at peace? Surely it must be possible for me to take it easy, relax a little, stop trying to be Atlas (or Hercules).

But how?