Earth below us, drifting, falling,
Floating, weightless, coming, coming home...
It's been over 36 hours now since the Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated over the western US. I feel badly for the families and friends of the astronauts, and for NASA. I hope this tragedy doesn't cause the United States to reverse its slow forward motion into space exploration, however. Certainly we need to find out why this happened, and we can't risk losing another shuttle and another crew, but once the problem is discovered, we need to prevent it from happening again, and move forward again. As for the bastards who posted shuttle debris for sale on eBay, whether or not they were serious, it was a despicable thing to do.
I'm really tired of the war talk. If Dubya does start a war in Iraq, then I hope the United Nations at least has people on the ground there to determine whether or not there really is something there that contravenes UN resolutions. If he commits this nation to a war based on the notion that Hussein has weapons of mass destruction, and it is discovered once we're there that there are no such weapons in Iraq, then Bush and his cronies will have to answer to the American people and to the world. It may well be that Saddam does have WMD, but as of this writing that has not been conclusively proven. The UN, for better or worse, is the only body able to speak for the world on this issue. No single nation, not the United States of America, not Russia, not China, not Saudi Arabia, not even Madagascar, has the right to inflict its view and its will on the rest of the world. If the United Nations has lacked teeth for most of its existence, that is in large part due to foot-dragging and stubborn refusal to get involved on the parts of certain member states. Adequately funded and supported, the UN could be a powerful voice for reason and sanity and objectivity in this mad world of ours.
There is an anti-war sentiment growing in this country, as in the rest of the world. Father John Dear, a Jesuit priest and a chaplain in the horrible aftermath of September 11, 2001, has written an excellent piece quietly reaffirming "...that war is never justified, and that war is never blessed by God." Frightening how few allegedly God-fearing souls, including George Walker Bush, share this noble sentiment. But I guess the Old Testament God of wrath and destruction has always been more popular than the New Testament God of love and redemption. Anyway, while it might be too late to be included in the National Day of Poetry Against the War on February 12 (actually, I think I'll make it after all), I have written my own contribution, which you can read here.
Speaking of gods, I'm reading "The Salmon of Doubt," the posthumous last book (I'm assuming) by Douglas Adams, and while I'd gotten the impression from the "Hitchhiker's" books that he hadn't exactly been a religious man, I was surprised to learn that he was rather a hard-line atheist. He understood the distinction between not believing that there is a deity, and believing that there definitely isn't one; while I now belong to the first camp ('soft' atheism), Mr. Adams was quite comfortable in the second. I've said in the past that atheism is not a belief system, and therefore I don't need to present any evidence in defense of my view, but I suppose things are a bit different for the 'hard' atheist. I simply refuse to believe in any god, the same way I don't believe in the tooth fairy, the bogeyman, or a free lunch, because no one's shown me any proof of the existence of any of these. If presented with compelling evidence, I am capable of changing my opinion, but I'm not about to pay lip service to a god I'm not convinced actually exists just to cover all the bases, and just because it's popular. The theist, because he actively believes in the existence of a god, must concede that, without proof of such existence, his position is at best difficult to defend logically. The 'hard' atheist too has backed himself into a corner, in my view; he has no more evidence of his stubbornly held belief in the non-existence of a god than the theist has of the existence of such. If someone could prove it either way... well, there'd probably be even more violent bloodshed than before. Heh-heh... In any case, if Adams and I are wrong, we'll hopefully get a chance to ruefully discuss the matter for a few eons. As Mark Twain so perfectly put it, "When I think of the number of disagreeable people that I know who have gone to a better world, I am sure hell won't be so bad at all."
I hope the Israeli people don't get what they deserve for voting to let Sharon continue to erode their world. Really.
Let's see how the United States responds (or doesn't) to the International Court of Justice's order to stay the execution of three Mexicans. I'm not going to go on again about the barbaric and archaic concept of a death penalty; I'm just interested to hear how the United States differentiates itself from the other countries that still murder their own citizens (and others!), such as China, the Congo, Cuba, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, and Vietnam. Even the United Kingdom, often America's lapdog, has abolished the death penalty and tried in vain to have Texas commute a Briton's execution yesterday by the evil Texans.
I don't believe that Pete Townshend is a fan of child pornography. The organization in the U.K. that closely monitors this stuff initially denied that it had ever been contacted by Townshend, but a few days ago admitted that it had, and produced several E-mails from the rocker from last year. My gut instinct is that that's just not part of his character, and Roger Daltrey, Elton John, and Brian May, among others, feel the same. We could of course all turn out to be wrong, but... Wow, has Phil Spector actually murdered a B-movie actress? Does anyone have any footage? Where's Roger Corman when you need him...?
Sorry for the lengthy ranting, but it is less than two weeks 'til St. Valentine's Day, which has never been one of my favorite holidays. Damn Hallmark anyway for reminding us lonely people that we're lonely... Well, on the 10th I'm going to see Aimee Mann (performing, that is; I'm not seeing Aimee, she's got a husband and probably wouldn't be interested in me anyway), and on the 15th I'll be checking out Sleater-Kinney (most likely not interested in me, either, but wow, the three S-K chicks could make for a fun fantasy sequence...!). At least I can show myself a good time around Valentine's Day. Heh...
"Merchandising, merchandising!" So spake Yogurt
the Wise, and I have heeded his words. There is now an
Gift Shop. Not too many products from which to choose yet, but I'll be
adding more stuff over the next few weeks. It's all pretty much at rock-bottom
prices; I'm not doing it to make money, but to get my name out there. I'd be
much obliged if you were to buy something... And for those who are disturbed
by the sight of Ozzy the Cat's face staring back at them from a pair of
panties, well, just think how much more disturbing it'd be if it were my