October 2nd, 2002

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The rope swing

Everyone has a moment or two of childhood liberation. When I was five, our best friend Barry's dad had put up a rope swing hanging from a tall branch of a tall hardwood tree in their back yard. He then attached a sort of "bag" of "tow sacks" to the bottom of the rope, giving the "swinger" something upon which to wrap arms and legs. I rememember many warm evenings, being tossed SO HIGH on that swing. The swing would seem to go upward into infinity before it began a rapid, intoxicating downward descent. To swing on that swing was to scale the gates of heaven themselves, and then swim through the rivers of golden honey on the other side.

I have another childhood liberation memory. One Christmas, I received as my key gift the Vrrroom bicycle. This bike was an ordinary bike, but it had a faux plastic heavy frame, mimicking a motorcycle. It even came with a battery operated "engine", which only made the "vrrrooommmm" noise, and served no functional purpose.

Somehow I left this bike in the rain, and it rusted mightily. It then became poor "first bike" fodder. It was heavy and unwieldy for a 6 year old. One night, though, we were on our friend Barry's front sidewalk with his parents, my parents, Barry and my siblings. Barry showed us how he could ride his bicycle, which was a simple child's one speed. I was offered the chance to try to ride it. I hopped on, and as if by magic I could ride a bike. I rode it down a sidewalk down a mild incline, as if I were a professional bike rider, albeit a professional with no idea how to brake a bike at the bottom of a hill. From that moment on, I could ride a bike.

I'll bet everyone has those "yes!" moments once or twice in a childhood. What are yours?
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I saw the light, or was it Hello, it's Me?

Today went swimmingly. I got to leave work at a reasonable hour. Now I'm going to watch Enterprise. My ebay auctions are going swimmingly--my bookshelves will clear, and I'll have cash to show for it. A friend got very good news today. A nervousness exchanger contacted me by e mail, so we'll be able to complete our exchange come what may. We did future planning for my company that was sensible and optimistic. I feel as though the gates of Hell opened once again, and let me out, so that I've left Hell and gone back to Texas. I love being one neighborhood over from Hell. I am eager to get some vacations planned, some music making sessions scheduled, some silly mail art postcards mailed, and to pick up all things that are now in medias res interruptus. But pardon me if I don't elaborate further, because my starship awaits.
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Free fall

The financial markets are in tatters, the economy is much softer than I ever thought it would be now, we're on the verge of a war that all of Washington seems to want but which I'm convinced well less than half of Main Street actually wants, we're in a time when radicals of every stripe want to eliminate civil liberties, when apologists condone human rights violations without remorse, particularly if they are violations of the rights of women, when politics has been reduced to a choice between misguided corporateocracy and misguided chic warmed-over radicalism, we're in a time when one camp seems to want to ignore international cooperation on some misguided cowboy mission, and the other side seems to want to ignore international terrorism in pursuit of ostrich-ism, when our food banks and homeless shelters are exploding in short order, when nobody dreams of holding our current government responsible for any of its many economic errors, when a tax cut combined with a war effort has weakened our ability to respond, in a time when as men are led away in handcuffs, people lose their retirement, in a time when people drive the ratings up on programs that focus entirely on crime against children, yet we cannot fund enough domestic abuse programs to protect the children who are routinely abused in less new-worthy ways, when our prison population is at an all time high, yet the streets in the inner cities still don't feel safe,
when we finally see the positive effects of those environmental laws we have, and yet intense lobbying to trim them back is in full session, when everyone in Washington seems hopelessly out of touch, but the only real organized effort to deal with this stops at bashing windows out of Starbucks--it's just much more hip to wear cool outfits and listen to cool music and reject the system and marginalize oneself than it is to change anything. In my life, a lot of sea changes have happened--the shooting of Kennedy, Kennedy and King, the moon walk, the Nixon resignation, the Berlin Wall falling, Tianamen Square, the Gulf War, 9/11...but this moment in history feels very dynamic, very unpredictable. I'm not much of a gloom and doomer, and my life is happy now.
But what an odd time.