Rick's Ramblings

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I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

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Friday, September 14, 2001
Television is overflowing with news about the terrorist attack. It's almost suffocating.

Over the past few days, I have read print and online newspapers, visited chat rooms, read online essays, and listened to talk radio.

Like many, I mourn for the lives lost that Tuesday. Like many, I veer between shock, anger, hatred, and exhaustion. Like many, I have only a few degrees of separation from these terrorist acts.

The overwhelming sentiment for a concerted military retaliation strikes me at once desireable, and at once deplorable. Perhaps there's no room for diplomacy anymore. Maybe the perpetrators of these heinous acts deserve the full might of our sword. I don't know.

I do know this. These terrorists acted this way because of some tremendous hatred towards us. I think one question that needs to be explored is why? Why are they compelled to act this way?

Please don't think for a moment that I'll protest a military strike; I'll probably be among those cheering. But I do believe our leaders should strive to understand their underlying hatred. Is it territory? Is it religious belief? What is their fundamental disagreement with us? What drives their hatred, and can that be assuaged somehow?

Only a small minority feel the need to ask these questions. I believe these are important questions because only a small minority of people are driven to such fanatical acts. If we are truly to prevent such an act from occurring again, the first step is to ask what gives rise to this fanaticism?

I liked Grace Suh's picture essay of the World Trade Center. She has another picture essay of the terrible Tuesday.

Wednesday, September 12, 2001
Correction made to my 9/11/2001 entry: the World Trade Center's Twin Tower's were completed in 1973, when I was five years old.

I found (through Red Rock Eater News) an animated picture that depicts the flight paths of the planes that crashed into the World Trade Center.

Tuesday, September 11, 2001
I can't help but be shocked and saddened by the incredible news in New York City:


In one of the most audacious attacks ever against the United States, terrorists crashed two
airliners into the World Trade Center in a deadly series of blows Tuesday that brought down the
twin 110-story towers.

As a boy growing up across the river in Jersey City, I watched the World Trade Center rise up in the very early 70s (it was completed in 1973, when I was five). As a young man, I visited it numerous times. When I dated my wife, I took her to the observation deck. Now, it is simply not there anymore.

Monday, September 10, 2001
Last Friday, I had somehow misplaced my cell phone. I noticed this around 10AM at work. I quickly went to my car to look for it: not there.

At first, I felt mild frustration. Could I have been so flaky? I carry the thing in my pocket 80% of the time. I felt a little 'unprepared' without it. How would Jenn be able to reach me? On the way home from work that Friday, I called in our usual pizza order at a pay phone.

I harbored a sobering thought: I'm slowly becoming an addled old man.

Jenn snapped me out of it. Take action! Think and traceback your steps! I applied my brain to the missing phone. When and where did I have it last? (Thursday night, I brought it in the house.) Can I 'call the phone'? (No, I remember I turned it off as soon as I got in the house.)

I actually started getting into the frame of mind of purchasing a new phone, and for a moment, this kept me from sinking too deeply into despair. People lose cell phones; I'm not the first one to do so, and I won't be the last one to do so.

My parents were up during this weekend, and my mother said "You can't find it if you're looking too hard for it. You'll find it only when you aren't looking for it." Thanks, Mom.

Despite her wisdom, I kept up my search. How could I have lost it? I don't remember actually loosing it. I simply laid it down somewhere; it must have gotten pushed aside. I upended a bag full of newspapers to be recycled (I recall the phone sitting near my pile of newspapers). I scanned my shelves (I might just put it down somewhere close).

Sunday arrived. Jenn suggested take out. Once again, I stepped outside without a phone. I almost asked for Jenn's cell phone (which she's never lost). This time, I had a fleeting thought: I walked out of the house with my phone Friday morning. It must be in my car! And yes, even though I searched under the seats, this time I got down on my knees, and squinted.

And yes, it was indeed, under the passenger seat, tucked between the rail for adjusting the seat, and some electronics. With a flourish, I showed it to Jenn, who lovingly rolled her eyes.

I put the phone in my pocket.