Flavin's Corner
9-24-99

Miscellanea

     Falling into Autumn, not in the best of moods, but a tad cheerier than those
in Taiwan who failed this week to see the manifestation of the Goddess as a
rainbow arcing across the full Harvest Moon.  I forget Her name (Ix Chel to the
Mayans), and can't recommend a website for more info about Her, but there is
this site which matches up "Somewhere over the Rainbow" with Pink Floyd's
Dark Side of the Moon... [Click  here.]

     Caucasian issues are still a major concern, but Russia has said they won't
invade Chechnya anytime soon.  Hey, Art; meet Life...  Wag the Dog may have
inspired comparisons between the fictitious and Clinton's involvement in Kosovo
at the height of his Lewinsky embarrassment, but 1998's The Siege shows much
more pertinent prescience as Moscow has recently suffered a series of cruel
bombings.

     In America we have our Christian "fundamentalists" who are in a virtual war
with evolution, abortion, gay rights, and anything else which appears to resemble
modernity and personal freedoms.  Poor Chechnya, with a Muslim majority of
mixed Sufi and Sunni adherents, has to respond to the colonialist machinations
of Mother Russia on one side, as well as a new, internal revolt and madness by
"fundamentalist" Muslims who seek to unite Chechnya and its neighbor,
Dagestan, into an Islamist state similar to the Taliban in Afghanistan.  And, of
course, ...the abusive restrictions of human rights will follow, as well as murder
and mutilation. [See my column, "The Taliban Tempest,"  here.]

     However, much like the initial plot-line in The Siege, where America kidnaps
a Muslim cleric they believed responsible for a bombing which claimed American
lives, and the attacks on New York City are seen as a direct result, the recent
bombings in Moscow may be seen not as the result of Russia's military in
Chechnya, but rather ...a message sent to the Russian Mob to exert pressure on
the Yeltsin government to allow the continued smuggling of heroin.  Yup, much
like the Irish Republican Army traded in drugs and guns, pretending it was cash
for the cause, the Jordanian born Emir Khattab (rich punk and buddy of Osama
bin Laden), moved to Chechnya, recently took his second wife to establish a
"blood-bond," and smuggles heroin to finance his sick fantasy of a North
Caucasian Islamist state.  Once more, it's not about God, but power...

     Speaking of God, we're all in awe of the recent hurricanes and earthquakes,
as well as the international responce to the violence in East Timor, which may be
termed an "act of God," as the previous decades of bloodshed in East Timor
elicited zip/zero/zilch reactions from the rest of the world.  I think it's a great
thing that various countries, each with their own problems and limitations, can
unite, send troops to East Bum****, all in the name of freedom.  Really, I think
it's great...  Well, sort of...

     All admire the perceived nobility of righteous revolution and a struggle for
truth and justice.  The violence in East Timor (read: genocide) by Indonesian
troops and militias were only recently addressed by the rest of the world (aside
from the Nobel Peace Prize awarded to Bishop Belo and Jose Ramos-Horta in
1996), and much of the delay is now seen as the reluctance of multinational
companies (Nike, Texaco, and the owner of the world's largest goldmine,
Freeport-McMoRan, to name a few), who invested in Washington, DC so their
interests abroad wouldn't be put at risk.  And now, with the elections and some
way awful killings over, the multinationals have given the nod to take the
pressure off of East Timor.  They say "better late than never..." [Click  here  for
more about multinationals and East Timor.]

     So much comes down to money...  Perhaps someday future anthropologists
will regard a three thousand year swatch of human history as the "cash-era," as
opposed to the rather blurry distinctions between the so-called Classical period,
the Dark Ages, Medieval madness, Renaissance fair, Industrial espionage, and
Nuclear winter.  Yeah, yeah; the "root of all evil" and all of that!  Well, money
has certainly inspired and fed corruption since its inception, and will undoubtedly
continue to do so, until there's an equal distribution of basic resources which will
disempower the almighty buck.  You know, basic resources like food and
electricity?

     I just finished reading Neal Stephenson's Cryptonomicon [click  here  for
more], a novel about the establishment of a "data-haven" which would guarantee
the sharing of information (as well as global currency), and couldn't help but
remember the lofty goals of the late R. Buckminster Fuller and his dream to
spread an electrical grid across the planet, share power, give the disadvantaged
the means to see what they're not eating, and somehow usher in a new era of
cooperation and goodwill among the peoples of Spaceship Earth.  Bucky's ideas
will not soon fade, but it remains a fight between those who worship cash and
those who do not.  May the human win... [Click  here  for more on Bucky Fuller.]

     Will Bush beat Gore in the upcoming presidential election?  Can Sosa top
McGwire in the homer-bash?  Do we really need to see Yoda in combat in the
next Star Wars installment?  And what's the real reason behind the threat of
Life-Savers to dump the pineapple flavor?  ...An answer to any of these
questions reveals a level of entirely too much free-time, as well as priorities
which are way out of alignment.

     Personally, extending my Windy City roots, the latest news that Michael
Jordan's restaurant is being moved and the existing building will be dedicated to
a Sosa-theme (swinging a big fork), and a "Spanish and American"
establishment, and all of this without Jordan's approval (it seems some biz
partner has the legal fortitude to challenge His Airness), is just another
embarrassing match tossed on the pyre.  This is worse than beer in plastic
bottles, but not as bad as the problems faced by the rest of the planet.

     So much to worry about...  So little time to have fun...

repeating the new mantra:
"Buffy" is make-believe...
Rick

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