Friday, October 23, 2015
Friday, December 28, 2012
Wednesday, October 10, 2012
I don't intend to come across as demeaning. I'm a fan of both DangeRuss and A-Rod. I'm glad these guys are able to communicate in a more-refined manner than the bulk of the population.
I think, though, that part of RW's disconnect with many of the Seattle fans might be some sort of subconscious reaction to the similarities. A-Rod, after leaving the Mariners, was fairly reviled (in a friendly way) by Seattle fans. Could it be that people, upon hearing the rookie QB speak, are unknowingly reacting (instinctively?) because on their distaste for Rodriguez and RW's similarity?
Seattle fans, for as long as observed them, have preferred those who rose to prominence through ingenuity or, alternatively, against the odds. RW's story line looks to be a perfect match in a lot of ways. Conversely, however, Seattle fans have frequently railed against those they perceive as something less than "genuine." A-Rod's quasi-scripted interactions with the media and public were the prime example of the art of faked interest in the things beyond one's personal bubble. Does Russell Wilson come across the same way? How long will Seattle sports fans tolerate "I think the main thing is just to play great football?"
Matt Flynn, not so much. The Humble Lumberjack.
Sunday, May 6, 2012
I loved the show--though that was pretty much a given.
This was my second T-Dome show. The other was "Barney's Big Surprise." The sound 30 rows back on Ed's side, at least, was pretty horrible. The bass was reverberating loudly and any sound in the mid-to-upper registers was lost in the mix. This was most notable, to me, during Cathedral when the lower-notes made the higher notes impossible to hear. On the bright side, I got a new version out of the deal. Barney had much better sound (which is good because Baby-Bop totally OWNS the "Clean-up" song).
Seats were uncomfortable, but seldom occupied, thankfully. Me and the rest of the middle-aged set clogged up the concession and restroom lines nicely--to the point that a beer purchase prior to the show meant a 30-minute wait in line.
I was hoping that, since we're at a mid-point of the tour, that Dave and the band would be relaxed, but not yet showing the negative effects of so many shows prior. To the first point, the band was clearly looser, it seemed to me, than they were earlier in the year. The rigors of the tour, though, seem to be wearing on Dave, for sure.
I thought his vocal work was pretty inconsistent. Having watched his other 2012 perfomances, I was expecting that. But the degree to which he struggled, at times, surprised me a bit. It often seemed that he couldn't choose how to sing a song and would alternate between high, mid, and low tones--like he'd try one, decide it wasn't working, and then switch to another, which often wasn't working either. I get the impression that it's easier for him to hit the higher notes, now, than the lower, as he often defaulted to singing about an octave higher than he did on the original recordings. I found his struggles most notable on Chinatown. At other times, however, he was spot on, though those times were more rare, for sure. When he got it "right," it was awesome--1981 tour all over again.
I'll be the first to say that I don't enjoy DLR-flavored-VH because of the amazing lead vocals. I enjoy DLR-flavored-VH because DLR infuses every performance, live and recorded, with a soul the band's seldom been able to replicate without him. That spirit was present in the arena before the show started and continued until the last bits of confetti fell on the stage.
The band plays better, now, than they ever have, as far as I'm concerned. "Hot For Teacher," and "Everybody Wants Some," especially, were performed beautifully.
I can't really comment much on Alex or Wolf because of the sound issues, except to say that Al was as brilliant as ever. I learned long ago to play every VH song, note for note, on the drums (yeah, Al was my hero, for sure) and as far as I can tell, he didn't miss a beat. I really appreciated how he controlled the tempo, too. Songs performed during earlier tours were frequently played at a quicker tempo than the recorded versions. Not last night. Al was a hyper-accurate metronome, throughout.
I must admit that I didn't care for the drum solo this time, as it really wasn't a solo anymore. All I heard was salsa music with lots of added percussion. I thought the pre-recorded video that accompanied the solo was kind of cheesy. I would've MUCH preferred a live video-feed instead of random video of Al's sticks flying all over the place.
As he has been for the entirety of this tour, Edward was perfect. His solo was considerably shortened and I was okay with that. I've always preferred his playing within the context of his songs, so if cutting the 15-minute solo in half meant a couple of extra songs, I'm all the happier.
Overall, the band seems to have achieved some odd sort of peace with their music and the massive impact it's had on those fortunate enough to appreciate it. It's hard to explain what I'm thinking as I type that, but it's almost like they play the songs, now, as if they were proud parents. They own the songs now instead of simply performing them. It seems to me that sense of ownership pervaded the entire show, last night, and, perhaps, contributed to the very positive and friendly vibe that was the hallmark. To be sure, I missed the band's early 80's swagger, but they've filled that hole with a quiet and mature confidence that more than made up for the less aggressive nature of the performance. It was a wonderful night in Tacoma.
Oh--Tacoma: After being on your feet for the duration, you chose to finally sit during my favorite VH song, "Women in Love." I will always resent you for the implication. :)
Also--Be sure to view the rest of the m5150's fabulous photostream from the show.
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Song by song first impressions, just so I can go back and read 'em later to see how wrong I was:
A greatly underrated song, I think. Though I think a faster tempo (say 10bps or so) would take this song to the next level. Not much to say about this one. I love Al's playing on this song. The guitar solo is exceptional and I like the "You're No Good" ending.
She's the Woman Listen
As others have said, this is very reminiscent of Fair Warning's "Mean Street," although I do not believe that this song is nearly as strong. The chorus, in particular, suffers in comparison, although this is an excellent example of the band returning to their historic form. The highlight of the song is the breakdown immediately prior to the guitar solo--where the new rhythm section is featured for the first time. The song's right in DLR's wheelhouse, for the most part and he's in fine form throughout.
You and Your Blues Listen
As this is one of the more "poppy" songs of the bunch, I'm particularly fond of it. Background harmonies are featured prominently throughout and the song is exceptionally well-constructed out of a handful of disparate "parts." I liked that on the first listen it wasn't obvious where the song was going. Roth is forced to stretch on this one and he pulls it off better than I would have ever expected.
China Town Listen
The tempo gets turned up here in a song that is just like "the fast ones" that appear on most of VH's earlier albums. The song is particularly reminiscent of "Hang 'em High." The vocal on this one is particularly strong and is engineered differently (to these ears) than the other songs on the album. This song has a few five-second moments that are just awesome and, as a whole, China Town is interesting and stands up well to repeated listens.
Blood and Fire Listen
I don't think any song on this album better recaptures the Van Halen vibe than "Blood and Fire." This song has just about every trademark VH element that I've missed over the last 30 years. It starts with the melodic, undistorted guitar opening ("Woman In Love," "Hear About It Later," et al), continues with Alex washing out the music with his ride-cymbal (the way he used to play on EVERYTHING), the soaring harmonies ("Highhhhhhhhh...") and concludes the first verse with a vintage "ooooh yeah" from Dave before launching into a transition straight out of "In A Simple Rhyme." Again, the chorus is something of a weak spot, but only relatively so, and then Dave sings "Look at all the people here tonight," and it's right back to 1982 all over again.
The bridge takes me back to "Jamie's Cryin'" before the wink-and-nod "say you missed me" interlude, follows it up with a "Dreams"-like guitar solo that resolves beautifully into a crush of power like little else in the VH catalog.
This song remains the highlight of the album for me, one of Van Halen's great summer songs (and there have been many, to be sure). It's an amazing hybrid of so many of my favorites, but reminds me most of "In a Simple Rhyme."
"Light Up The Sky" but not quite as good. Still, it's like "Light Up The Sky," so how bad can it be? I'm not skipping it, that's for sure. There's even an element of mid-70's Todd Rundgren art-rock buried in here that is probably apparent to me, only. :)
As Is Listen
At first listen, I chuckled at how much they were aping "Everybody Wants Some" at the beginning. Upon further listens, the similarities to "AFU (Naturally Wired)" were what grabbed my attention. The guitar solo got my daughter's attention. In the end, though, this song is like a VH version of a Brian Wilson Teenage Symphony to God, a Frankenstein of bits and pieces jumbled into one big noisy cake. The "la la la la" final minute is the highlight of the song for me and is as good as anything the band has ever produced."
SO MANY COOL SOUNDS. The heaviest track on the album, just like "Tora, Tora, Tora" was on Women and Children First." The riff is a variation of "Outta Love Again," but HUGER.
I don't dance. The "Girl Gone Bad" rhythm of this song, crazy as it sounds, makes me want to gyrate in the stupidest way possible.
The Trouble With Never Listen
This song's just kinda "meh," to me. It's got a few moments that make me take particular notice, but I'm more interested in hearing one of the other songs again.
I have a big problem with this song that will persist, I think, for a long time. Specifically, Dave's "Yeah!" at the intro to the breakdown reminds me, WAY TOO MUCH, of Kristen Wiig's "Target" lady from SNL. The fact that the breakdown is so similar to the one in "She's The Woman" and 10 other Van Halen songs doesn't help to distract me from the mental image.
The guitar playing in this song is stellar and the heavy wah-wah will immediately put some in the mind of Jimi Hendrix. I didn't really get into Hendrix that much, so, again, "meh," except during the whole spoken word, "selective amnesia" bit.
Outta Space Listen
Yeah, I like "On Fire," so it's to be expected that I'd dig this song, aka "Son of On Fire." Okay, maybe "Bastard Love Child of On Fire and Atomic Punk." What could possible be wrong with the mating of those two classics???
Stay Frosty Listen
Okay, an acoustic ditty about something cold that resolves into a crunching shuffle-rock tune with a slide guitar'ish solo? Yeah, Ice Cream Man is a great song that's certainly stood the test of time. You'd expect that "Stay Frosty," built out of precisely the same elements (plus a bit of "The Full Bug") would too, as it matches and, in some bits exceeds the 1977 original. But come on--their not even trying, at this point, to come up with something new. It's the same song (albeit with a lot more words) and I have no complaints.
Big River Listen
Yeah, "Runnin' With The Devil" lite. Except it has A SHAKER! That's something new. :)
Honestly, I think this song needed a bit more effort. They have the guts of a great song but missed some opportunities to take it to the next level. Even still, it's nice to listen to, but I fear it won't age well. I can see myself getting tired of it quickly. The highlight, for me is the riff immediately prior to the final chorus and the sustained notes soaring over the outtro.
Beats Workin' Listen
This is another of my favorites and Van Halen finally have their PERFECT show-opener, though I'd be shocked if they ever opened with a song like this. So everything on this CD is reminiscent of something else, right? This time, it's "Feel Your Love Tonight," and "Day Tripper" (to the point of a lawsuit, perhaps? I mean the "Day Tripper" bit, not the "Feel Your Love Tonight" bit).
I like the lyrical acknowledgement of why the band's finally reunited ("beats workin'") to close the album.
The most Sammy'ish vocal on the album.
Monday, January 23, 2012
Thank you for contacting me about the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA). I wanted to update you on my views on this important issue.
I am opposed to SOPA and PIPA in their current forms. I believe that these bills create unacceptable threats to free speech and free access to the internet. I have heard from many of you in Northwest Washington who are deeply concerned about the potential impacts of SOPA and PIPA.
Online piracy is a serious problem that costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars. Government agencies must be empowered to stop and prosecute intellectual property thieves. But in doing so we cannot undermine freedom of speech or jeopardize the free flow of information on the internet. I will work with my colleagues to see that any final anti-online piracy legislation protects the internet and does not encroach on free speech rights.
Please be assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind should I have the opportunity to vote on any legislation that would impact online piracy and internet freedom on the House floor.
Again, thank you for contacting me. I encourage you to contact me in the future about this or any other issue of importance to you.
United States Representative
Washington State, 2nd District
General-purpose networked computers, free and anonymous speech, and sustained civil liberties make it impossible to maintain this distribution monopoly of digitizable information. As technical progress can't be legislated against, basic civil liberties would have to go to maintain the crumbling monopoly. And these are the laws we're seeing on the table.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Jayme Biendl was a friend of mine. Not the go-out-and-have-fun-with kind of friend. Not even the tell-all-about-your-day sort of friend. She and I passed each other three or four times each week at work in the Reformatory and exchanged pleasantries (frequently about Granite Falls--our mutual home). Professionally, I was an annoyance to her, I think. I was involved with various events at the Reformatory Chapel and always felt like I was imposing on her, arranging to have big groups of inmates intrude on her territory. She was always kind, though, and worked through the stress of it all with her customary precision and thoroughness.
We did our little dance last week during the MLK-day event in the Chapel. The event planners were more prepared than usual, this time, and all seemed to go well. Jayme even cracked a smile a couple of times. I missed the part where she checked-in all of the inmates (as far as I can tell, the worst part for her, as there are always a few who want in but are not on the list), but judging from her attitude, it must've been okay.
And then she was killed.
In a horrible instant on Sunday morning right after I learned of her death via Facebook, Jayme Biendl went from being the officer that I stressed out and would be seeing again on Tuesday to the officer that was murdered and would no longer be holding the list of inmates and unlocking the bathroom door.
And then the reporting and opining came and I paid attention. I read. A LOT. Hundreds of comments from anonymous posters, most expressing their grief and many offering up their version of the root problems that led to Jayme's murder. It was budget cuts. It was a poor staffing model. It was inattentive management. It was the lack of security cameras. It was callousness from Olympia. It was liberal "hug-a-thugs" and their misguided notions of reform. It was conservatives and their inability to tax themselves for the services they demand. It was Jayme's diminutive physique. It was the other CO's who didn't find Jayme until after 10pm.
But every once in awhile, someone got it right: It was Byron Scherf. Jayme was murdered by Byron Scherf. Jayme was not murdered by Eldon Vail or Christine Gregoire or Scott Frakes or Bryan Hardina or the liberals or the taxpayers of Washington state. It was Byron Scherf.
Byron Scherf is a really bad guy. That's why he's in prison and will never leave. He, alone, made the decision to take another human life. His decision wasn't influenced by DOC policy, but, instead, by opportunity. He found the opportunity to satisfy some base and unfathomable need and took advantage of it. The presence of cameras or a 6'4" guard in the chapel may not have curbed that need--we won't ever know. Guys like Scherf either believe they're going to get away with it or they don't really care about the consequences. That's why they're different from the rest of us and why every person living and working in a prison filled with this type of man is in a place of danger.
It was Byron Scherf.
The Department of Corrections is never going to be able to prevent its inmates from acting out violently. Even in maximum security facilities, inmates lash out at their custodians and, I suspect, even kill them sometimes. Much as we might like to, we can't store criminals in an underground cement box or execute all of them. The US Constitution and the laws of the land mandate a minimum level of humane treatment for all prisoners--and thank heavens for that, by the way.
There will always be vulnerabilities. Good prison management, then, does what it can to limit those vulnerabilities as much as possible, using the tools available. No amount of management, though, will ever eliminate the risk, especially when the toolbox is being so rapidly downsized. The DOC tries to plan for every circumstance--there are checklists for nearly everything--and trains its employees to respond accordingly. There was a plan for the Saturday service in the Chapel. There was a plan for the safe exit of all Watch 3 officers. There was even a plan for a surprise attack on an officer. The plans didn't work. Failure does not, though, equal incompetence.
On Saturday night Jayme Biendl was murdered by Byron Scherf. We did what we thought was best to prevent it, but we failed. I believe my coworkers at MCC and those in Tumwater have acted in good faith and in our common best interest. But, in this case, the good work of 8,000 of us wasn't good enough to save our friend and peer. I think that most of us will regret that for as long as we live.
We're going to spend a good amount of time in the next few months, I think, trying to figure out where we went wrong. I suspect we'll find a few examples, at least. But I believe that when the immediate horror has faded a little, we'll finally come back to the real answer in our search for the reason why:
It was Byron Scherf.
(Edit - After this post was linked by The Herald, someone much smarter than me pointed out that Mr. Scherf is only a suspect, at this point. In my rush to find someone/something to blame, I carelessly abandoned my belief that the accused are innocent until proven guilty. As far as I know, Mr. Scherf hasn't been formally charged with Jayme's murder. I must rely on the reader of this post to imagine the words "allegedly," "suspect," and "possibly" wherever they are appropriate. --joel)
Saturday, January 29, 2011
I was pleased to learn this morning, that my current home city is nicely represented in the new game. This description of Granite Falls is from the Trion website:
Sunday, January 16, 2011
- · The US government, China-like, shutting down and censoring websites and news outlets at the behest of media conglomerates, in service of “national security.”
- · A troubling decrease in ownership rights.
- · A despicable suite of copyright laws, including the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, that is being used to prosecute and bankrupt American families.
- · The legal threat of permanent suspension of Internet access without due process.
- · Sacrifice of privacy in exchange for access to necessary information
- · Patent laws that are responsible for countless deaths and suffering
- · An utter lack of institutional transparency, both in government and the corporate world
Tuesday, December 7, 2010
During our recent snow, my boss asked me to submit an essay in lieu of my attendance at school. For those who don’t recall, I’ve been teaching basic computer stuff to a bunch of prison malcontents (the incarcerated type) for the last few months and I was asked to “define correctional education.” Unable to follow even the most basic instructions, I soon drifted onto a long-winded tangent about the public perception of correctional education. I was happy to work the word “kneecapped” into the text.
Not wanting all of that writing to go to waste, I’m reposting the essay here:
I am afraid that I do not have any particularly insightful thoughts to lend toward a definition or description of correctional education. Sadly for me (but thankfully for the rest of society), the reasons for undertaking the task of correctional education have been clearly described and defended, at length, by those with much more insight than me. I do, however, have a few thoughts about the subject.
When I have discussions about prison education with friends and family, the conversation almost always turns to politics. I think that it is pretty much a given (among the informed) that there is a significant benefit to educating our inmate population, although we haggle over the reasons for attempting it. Some suggest we do it to make up for the societal failure to educate prior to incarceration. Others cite the lower risk of recidivism and still others claim that the primary benefit of education is to prepare an inmate for a more productive life upon release. Of course, all of these factors (and others) contribute to the overall justification for pursuit of an educated populace of convicted felons.
Despite this, though, the notion of educating prisoners is distasteful to many. In the US, higher education, like health care, is more frequently seen as a privilege and not a right (or expectation). The prevailing attitude is that prisoners do not deserve the educational opportunities that we endeavor to provide—despite the benefits, long established by research and experience. The cries of unfairness (“Why should a murderer get to go to college when my daughter can’t afford it?”) grow louder, especially in an economy that forces more prioritization on individuals and the governments that act on their behalf. Oddly, perhaps, we are not hesitant to lament the availability of educational opportunities for offenders but we seem unable to, instead, demand greater access for the public at large.
Consequently, the current public education model dictates that offender education is acceptable and worthy of public support only as long as it is been sufficiently kneecapped, providing a level of service sufficiently short of what’s available for the unincarcerated—even if the societal effect of this model is a net negative.
Words color perceptions and perceptions, today, are given far too much weight. Those advocating for access to correctional education are arguing the issue academically; accurately, objectively, and rationally describing the need and our ability to meet it. Unfortunately, however, accuracy, objectivity, and rationale do not secure funding in today’s political climate. Legislation, these days, is funded by emotion, fear, and, too frequently, ignorance. Prison-related legislation is especially popular if it features some ill-defined revenge/repayment element. The words used to describe the need for correctional education are only effective, now, if they prompt and then tap into those lesser responses. To put it bluntly, educators will be most able to secure public support and funding when they are finally able to untether themselves from the research and successfully argue that “education is a great way to screw offenders.”
The disconnect between what is effective and what gains public support is hardly a new phenomenon. Since the early 1980’s, at least, the attitudes described above have prevailed and objective debate about the subject (among non-experts) has been largely silenced. Certainly, there are some who are willing to stand up and proclaim the benefits of offender education, but they are usually shouted down by their noisier opponents. It might be time to acknowledge that the debate, as currently framed, has been lost.
That acknowledgment, however, does not mean that apologists must retreat from their principles, nor does it mean that they must ignore all of the good associated with an educated offender population. What it does mean, though, is that supporters of correctional education should consider holding their noses and reframing the descriptions of their goals to pass the sniff tests of the opposed populace.
Monday, December 6, 2010
Saturday, September 25, 2010
So today I ventured out on the town to run a few errands and managed to find the lone Carl's Jr. in Snohomish County. Positive California culinary experience fresh in my mind, I thought I owed it to the reader of this blog (me) to verify the authenticity of the local version of the Carl's cuisine.
I'm very pleased to report that my Famous Star was easily the equal of its SoCal brothers. The Diet Coke was pretty horrible, but really, I didn't go there for the drink, so who cares. Burger King owns the Diet Coke game in these parts.
Carl's Jr. is worth the thirty minute drive every once in a while, I think. Next time? Chili-cheese fries.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Monday, September 13, 2010
In & Out
In & Out was one of the to-do's on the trip. I've never been there and I've read quite a lot about the place. I prepared by locating the "secret" menu and read some tips on what to try. I was a little confused, though, as Sandi told me that, according to the menu, I/O served their burgers with "hand leaf" lettuce. Through five years in the produce business I never encountered hand leaf lettuce. "Ohhhhh--hand leafED lettuce." I think we were just outside Sacramento when we stopped.
The first cool thing was the nice girl near the order intercom in the drive-thru. She took our order. There was no yelling involved. +1 for I/O. We ordered a few cheeseburgers; two regular, one Animal Style. The picture windows into the kitchen were a nice touch, also. Clean, busy, and well-staffed it was. I love it when restaurant management understands that having a lot of available labor almost ALWAYS means better service, a better environment, better food, and a better bottom line. Boston Market got that. Staffing your Burger King with one sweaty guy in the kitchen, one harried girl in the drive-thru window, and one disinterested teen in the lobby makes dining hit-and-miss at best. I/O gets it, too, +1.
Our wait was longer than I'd have expected at a fast food restaurant, but was totally understandable considering the queue of cars. Peeps were served as quickly as possible. +1 for I/O.
"Are you going to be dining in the car?" I was a little taken aback by that question. But a positive answer got me some placemats and a tray containing our food instead of the paper bag I've come to expect. The burgers weren't completely wrapped, either, half-exposed. This place was totally upsetting the fast-food paradigm and I kind of liked it. +1 for I/O.
The fries were horrible. We've been spoiled by Dick's Drive-In and these, despite their similar fresh-cut origin, were not in the same league. Milkshakes reminded me of McDonald's old shakes. You ever have a shake that's so smooth and airy that it tastes "warm?" That's what came to mind at I/O.
The burgers were good. Not great, but good. The mustard-fried patty was an interesting touch that I'll be trying at home one of these days, but the combination of that with the other added stuff didn't make the burger that much better than the regular. It was better, though.
I think I wanted more goo. I'm not exactly sure what kind of goo; maybe cheese goo or mayo goo, or even bun goo. The burger needed more goo, though, to counter the vegetables. The caramelized onions and sauce just weren't cutting it. Still, it was better than most fast food restaurants' burgers.
Overall, I was a bit disappointed. I'd half expected to lift the bun and stare into the eyes of god. Okay, maybe my expectations were a touch on the high side. I made a second stop at the I/O in Redding on the way back. Give 'em points for consistency between locations. Nothing was different at the second location. I'm glad I visited.
I've also never been to Carl's Jr. I'm not going to ramble on about my experience there, as it was pretty much identical to my experience at every other fast food restaurant. I will say, however, that my bacon cheeseburger there was much better than what I had at I/O. Crazy, I know. So was the second one I had on the way back home.
Their cheese was a bit "off," though. It was a very rich American that I don't think I've had in a very long time. It reminded me of what American Cheese tasted like when I was a kid. Still, given a choice to visit I/O or Carl's Jr. in the future, I'll be driving my car up to Carl's window.
Sandi wanted to stop at Wendy's in Eugene, Oregon, on the way home. We don't go there very often. I think I can recall one prior trip to Wendy's in the last seven years. I tried one of their new "Baconators."
Yuck. Good bacon, awesome bun, horrible meat, lukewarm, the same odd cheese as Carl's Jr., and no veggies to speak of. I'm not anxious to return.
Anyway, after it all, I'm more impressed with Dick's Drive-In.
I can't say, anymore, that I don't know how they do it (because I DO know how they do it), but I do know that, while I will drive 40 miles just for a Dick's Deluxe, I wouldn't do the same for a Cheeseburger Animal Style. It just wasn't compelling enough. Judging from the number of Carl's Jr. restaurants in CA, I don't think I'd ever have to drive that far to get one of their more superior burgers.
It sort of reminded me of our instructions shortly after the attacks nine years ago to go shopping. That was how we were to protect our republic and the ideals it was based upon. Because nothing pisses off Osama more than a trip to Best Buy.
Aren't we setting the bar a little low, here? Shouldn't we spend more time learning, preparing, and fixing? I know that's harder, but isn't that a course of action that better honors those who were murdered? I know we Americans like it to be real easy. I also know that we prefer the obvious to the correct. But, even taking the more selfish route, isn't 9/11 (and the threat of future 9/11's) important enough to our own personal well-being to actually burden ourselves with proper reflection?
I spent September 11th traveling through California on the most lengthy vacation I've had in many years, so there were enough distractions to keep me away from the business of memorializing the relevant events. However, it's impossible, for me at least, to let the anniversary of the attacks pass without considering how and why they've changed my world. I'm certain that those that hate us will visit our shores again and, eventually, hurt us worse than they did in September 2001. I'm also pretty certain that attack will come from within--perpetrated by angry Americans. Regardless, I think we are very poorly served by the mandate to "never forget." We'd be much better off we spent a little more time considering all of the signs we ignored on the way to 9/11 instead of the grotesque that was 9/11. At least then we'd be better armed to spot the same signs, many of which are currently on display, again, right in front of our eyes.