Vitriol
© 2003 by Andersen Silva (2-5-03)

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 Extreme Close-Up 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 face...  ;)
  - A


April 2004 - The real final Vitriol, Howard Stern, Dubya, etc.
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March 2004 - Dining out with my baby, Virtual PC, and the end of Vitriol... or is it?
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February 2004 - Two weeks between jobs, three new songs, grabbing Panther by the tail
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January 2004 - Ice skating with Gina, sushi at my sister's wedding, war-riding, the pink slip
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December 2003 - Moving pains, goin' places with Gina, Christmas bells
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November 2003 - The looong month of October, finding an apartment, Ozzy's gone
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October 2003 - I'm in love with her and I feel fine, Boston, the Dalai Lama, apartment for rent?
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September 2003 - Andy, happy? it could happen!, taking time off from work, Ringo Starr, "Discworld," the blackout
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August 2003 - (W)here (M)ight (D)ose WMDs be?, gay marriages and the people who fear them, '80s metal bands, Computer Man to the rescue, Philadelphia freedom
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July 2003 - Boondocks.net is back!, rudeness on public transportation and elsewhere, "Hole in the Wall"
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June 2003 - Science fiction movies, where is Boondocks.net?, still no weapons of misconstruction...
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May 2003 - How 'bout them weapons of mass distraction, huh?, Def Leppard, Michael Palin, another Silva, wireless networking, and a damned good raspberry margarita
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April 2003 - They're still French fries, dammit!, a new guitar for Andy, music-music-music
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March 2003 - The buildup for, and the protesting against, war
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February 2003 - The destruction of the Columbia, the National Day of Poetry Against the War, hard and soft atheism, Pete Townshend, and the gift shop
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January 2003 - Christmas loot, "Swingin'," more war talk
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December 2002 - The year in review, moving again?!?, moving world leaders around, too
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November 2002 - "Scarlet's Walk" and Tori's penguin, jackasses, and killing in the name of...
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October 2002 - Boston, Aimee Mann, and Palpatine/Bush
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September 2002 - George Darius Bush and George Xerxes Bush
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August 2002 - Movin' out of Paisan-town, and far away from the Regal Beagle
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July 2002 - Church and state: you gotta keep 'em separated, Dubya still doesn't want to play nice with the rest of the world, John Entwistle's gone
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June 2002 - Movin' on from town to town, Dave Barry and the Rock Bottom Remainders
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May 2002 - Science fiction movies everywhere!, jail time for virus creators, Dubya finally learns to pronounce 'occupation,' Andy gets a promotion?!?
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April 2002 - Terrorism on both sides of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, people who don't interact with me or the Web site, "For Dana" to be released on a compilation CD
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March 2002 - Chip implants, the children of God and the followers of Christ commit murder in His name, ultranationalism American style
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February 2002 - Dubya says, "These pretzels are making me- ack!" Sharon continues playing Napoleon, and... the return of Foogar?
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January 2002 - Rob Zombie, Ozzy Osbourne, and other Christmas-related items, stealin' cars, karaoke!
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December 2001 - George meets his sweet lord, terrorists EVERYwhere!, Tomb Raider II finished finally, and the Segway, finally!
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November 2001 - Anthrax (the band), WSOU rocks - but for how much longer? and a minute of silence?
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October 2001 - Osama bin Laden and anthrax and the women who love them
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September 2001 - Governments and armies and the assholes who love them, more misspellings, and a large lack of feedback
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August 2001 - Dubya's isolationism, the Macedonians and Albanians search for peace the Israeli/Palestinian way, 2004 Olympics in Beijing
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July 2001 - Not the Sexiest Geek Alive, war (what is it good for?), murdering citizens American-style
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June 2001 - A dead hitchhiker, the Taliban, and an independent Senator Jeffords
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May 2001 - Joey Ramone's dead, and "Joey Ramone's Dead"
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April 2001 - Brazil (not the Terry Gilliam film), Dubya and carbon dioxide, Yugoslavia begins coming to its senses, Israel and the Palestinians still haven't come to theirs...
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March 2001 - New look for the Web site, upcoming vacation in Brazil!, the pig-headed Taliban, "Hannibal"
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February 2001 - Tomb Raider II, Dubya plays with his new toys, nature plays with El Salvador and India, and the inevitable Chechnya and Israel/Palestinians references
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January 2001 - Snow, a new year/decade/century/millennium, screen resolutions
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December 2000 - The iBook, "The X-Files," the Grinch, the pathetic turn of events in the U.S. elections...
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November 2000 - Got the iBook! the Village Parade, trouble still brewin' in the Mideast, the upcoming U.S. elections...
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October 2000 - Andy turns 30, the Middle East, the anniversary of the invasion of Chechnya...
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September 2000 - A random act of kindness, Great Adventure, new music, new iBooks?
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August 2000 - Palestine and the Israelis, Milosevic, Speight, and breaking the speed of light!
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July 2000 - Israel & the Palestinians, the missile defense shield, and (who'da thunk it?) Chechnya
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June 2000 - Um, Chechnya again, gun-totin' Charlton Heston, misspellings, and xenophobes
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May 2000 - Communism on the last May Day of the twentieth century, and Andy's life ("Don't talk to me about life...")
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April 2000 - Hold on, it's more Chechnya rantin', and an appeal on behalf of a friend caught behind red tape
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March 2000 - Hey, hey, Pinochet, Russia and China won't go away, "The X-Files," the American presidential race, and a prelude to vacation
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February 2000 - Again with the Chechens, and Elián, Pinochet, mp3.com vs. the recording industry, and snow
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January 2000 - Made it through January 1st, Syria and Israel, public transportation, and, er, Chechnya
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December 1999 - Indonesia comes apart, Chechnya (no shit), Seattle's burning, 'n Happy Xmas
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November 1999 - Halloween, my bad knee, Russians? in Chechnya?!? Buchanan and the Reform Party, NIN
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October 1999 - Hurricane on the East Coast, earthquakes in Taiwan, Turkey, and Greece, and Apple Computers
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September 1999 - I'm not getting you down, am I? I'd hate to think I was getting you down...

- - - the Dark Ages (reprise) - - -

April 1999 - the return of Vitriol, Kosovo, a foreshadowing of the Russian invasion of Chechnya (!), and Libya

- - - the Dark Ages - - -

September-November 1995 - the Underground Press Conference, a co-worker bites the dust, Rabin really bites the dust, Remington Bond, Win95, and the Sex Pistols
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August 1995 - the death penalty, the V-chip and violence in pop culture, and "TV Nation"
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June 1995 - Oklahoma City, 'zines, "The X-Files" and "V.R.5"
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March 1995 - I'm sick!, the space program (ha), alt.zines, "Star Trek" and "Voyager"
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February 1995 - the very first Vitriol! Newt Gingrich, political correctness, media overkill, Howard Stern, the Apple goon squad?
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