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January 21, 2003
You're right, Rich. Eight days,

You're right, Rich. Eight days, or however many it's been (12 now), is too long. Many's the time, oh yes, when I've sat at this keyboard and thought I'd write something for the ole' coredump, but equal is the number of times I've put it off. Not today, though, boy howdy, the scales are tippin'.

martin Luther king

Today's holiday got me to thinking and a-watching some documentaries. I can't say actually that I watched them in a conscious effort to celebrate or remember Dr. Martin Luther King; it would be more accurate to say that they were on TV for that reason, and I watched them because they were on TV.

The first one was Brother Outsider, about the life of Bayard Rustin, a civil rights activist and friend of King's. Rustin was key to the early days of the civil rights movement, and continued to fight for peace and love and all his whole life. He's not much remembered though. He wasn't the martyr, so he faded away.

It's amazing that the crazy people who assassinate men like King or Abraham Lincoln or Gandhi don't realize that by killing these men they've cemented their causes. Who knows how far or how fast the civil rights movement would have gone if King had lived. Maybe he would have done great things, certainly he would have, but it really can be true that his death accomplished more than he ever could have alive.

I then watched a story about the murder of Emmett Till in Mississippi in 1955. This 14 year old boy's brutal murder is considered to be the starting point of the civil rights movement, and it's all due to his mother. A war widow in Chicago, when her son's mutilated body was brought back North, she refused to have it "touched up" and insisted on an open casket funeral. 50,000 people came to see what these insane hillbillies had done to the boy, and then Jet magazine published the photos.

The anger this caused wasn't enough, though, and the two men who killed Till were acquitted by an all white jury in 67 minutes. 4 weeks later the two men's "real story", in which they graphically confessed to pistol whipping and then executing the kid before dumping his body in the river, was published by Look magazine, the two protected from further prosecution by the 5th Amendment.

Emmett's mother Mamie sent a telegram to President Eisenhower asking that there be a federal investigation into the crime and the trial. He never wrote back. But the secret was out about the south by then, and it was too late for them. Nine weeks after the verdict Rosa Parks was arrested.

It's amazing how such a terrible act can resonate with such force. It's also amazing, and sad, that it seems that terrible acts are almost necessary for certain kinds of change to take place. People can be so stuck in their ways, behaviors and attitudes can be so institutionalized that it takes a firestorm to wake people up.

It's also amazing how often and consistently history repeats itself. The more I learn about the past, the more familiar the present seems and the less I'm surprised by the future. It smacks of inevitability sometimes. Hopefully, though, there is some progress. We may have to keep learning the same lessons over and over again, generation after generation, but maybe on the whole, overall, over time, we're learning. Damn, I hope so.

So here's to Mamie Till, and to Emmett's uncle Mose Wright and another local man who risked everything by pointing out the murderers after being threatened with death if they talked, and of course to Martin Luther King. They all have more courage than I can quite imagine.

January 8, 2003
"I suppose I do have

"I suppose I do have one unembarrassed passion. I want to know how it feels to care about something passionately."

I don't know what to say about the movie Adaptation. Is "fucking brilliant" too crass, too cliche, not substantive enough? Well, whatever, it was fucking brilliant. Do you ever see a movie, or hear a song, and feel like you're watching or listening to your own thoughts? That's how I felt. It could have been me who wrote that screenplay, if I was a better writer of course, and if I wasn't so lazy. But if I had those qualities, and a lot of other ones too; if I was a totally different person, it could have been me.

I would even settle for being able to write something as good as this REVIEW of Adaptation. The review is brilliant. A must read review, a must see movie. See? That was stupid.

"We are what we love, not what loves us."

That's not stupid.

January 1, 2003
Happy New Year! 2003 arrived

Happy New Year!

2003 arrived in high style last night with Phish's first show in almost 2 and a half years. My favorite band and most of my favorite people, I couldn't have asked for more. Phish knows how to throw a party, and I think they did it perfectly. No over the top production, just a great show for the fans. They played mostly old, big concert favorites, leaving some newbies (like Liz, sometimes) somewhat in the dark. As midnight approached, they started playing "Seven Below", one of the new songs, and as the title suggests, a very wintery themed song. At about 11:50, snow starting falling from the ceiling as white costumed winter sprites of some kind started dancing around the stage. They made their way into the crowd and some of them sprouted stilts and started dancing around above the crowd. At about 11:59 they produced big searchlights and started shining them around the arena. It was like a dance of lighthouses in a soft snowstorm, indoors. Midnight hit, Auld Lang Syne was played, and the set took off from there. It was truly beautiful, almost elegant. A wonderful way to bring in the new year.

When the show ended we rolled out of the Garden into a limo with the center for the Toronto Raptors and a couple of his hanging on fancy girls. We were chauffered around Manhattan for a while, drinking Red Bulls and vodka, truly a bizarre, surreal experience. Stereotypes come to life, I just stared in wonder.

I hope the new year finds you happy and healthy.