Archive for September 2001

National day of remembrance

If you're looking to celebrate today's National Day of Remembrance in the Bay Area, please join me and some friends at 5:30 PM at the AIDS Grove in Golden Gate Park (pop-up map). Feel free to invite others. I hope to see you there.

I've been receiving several emails from folks about a candle lighting today at 7 PM. "Friday Night at 7:00 p.m. step out your door, stop your car, or step out of your establishment and light a candle. We will show the world that Americans are strong and united together against terrorism." Update: That's 7PM Pacific time here in the US, so adjust accordingly.

I read someplace last night (I'm just consuming so much news I lose track of the source so quickly, I think this was on MSNBC's site) that the House of Representatives passed a resolution yesterday calling on all Americans to fly the national flag. I'm not sure how I feel about being told to do that.

Amazon/Red Cross donations are up to $4,355,468 and the average donation has risen to over $36!

New York Times Magazine from June 25, 2000: The Education of a Holy Warrior.

In a Pakistani religious school called the Haqqania madrasa, Osama bin Laden is a hero, the Taliban's leaders are famous alums and the next generation of mujahedeen is being militantly groomed.

A 1998 Interview with Osama bin Laden from ABC News touching such points as his fatwah targetting American civilians and his desire to destroy the United States.

I pulled an old college book off my bookshelf last night, The World's Religions by Huston Smith. I climbed into bed, proped up my pillows into reading position, and I opened up to a chapter I'd never read: Islam.

Last night I had a

Last night I had a strange dream. I dreamt that someone had given me two $1000 bills, and $750 in change. The coins were strange, like pieces of gold but from the US government. A $500 gold coin and a $250 gold coin. I put this money in my wallet and then was walking around some place unknown, some generic unknown urban place. And I felt constantly afraid, and threatened. Every where I walked, I was looking out for people trying to get me. People approached me and grabbed at me and I hurried to disappear in the crowd. I wasn't safe. No matter where I went, I wasn't safe; I knew they were after my money. Awake in bed early this morning, the fear remained. Only the money was the stuff of dreams.

From The Economist: The Coming Battle. About halfway down the page this article contains a nice map of the region for those of you who are unfamiliar with the location of some of these places.

What is the Koran?, a fascinating article about ancient fragments of seventh and eight century Korans found in Yemen. "[S]ome of these fragments revealed small but intriguing aberrations from the standard Koranic text."

The Saudi fatwah against suicide terrorism, "On April 21, the grand mufti of Saudi Arabia, Shaykh Abd al-Aziz bin Abdallah Aal al-Shaykh, said that Islam forbids suicide terrorist attacks."

From Salon (and spotted elsewhere), An Afghan-American Speaks.

And one more: Rendezvous With Afghanistan, some tips from the New York Times on the players in the region and the necessary alliances the US must make.

Dinner at Afghan Kebab House II

Leslie had dinner at Afghan Kebab House II. I just really like this story.

A virtual memorial quilt

I've been thinking about a comment that was raised at our vigil in Golden Gate park on Friday night in respect to the number of the victims of Tuesday's tragedy. Someone said that the number was simply so great, there was no way to know the story of each person who'd been killed. And for some reason, that reminded me of the AIDS Quilt, which addressed a similar problem (though the victims' stories were unknown for different reasons). So what if we made an online quilt? Here's what I'm thinking:

A hosted site at some appropriate URL where people can go. Victims' families and friends can create an entry (perhaps it's a page, perhaps it's a square, using the Quilt metaphor). People can enter stories about the victim, upload pictures, people could add comments. In essence, it would be a way for people to created a hosted memorial page. It would also be searchable. And "discussable" in that people could post comments on each page. Has anybody heard any discussions about something like this? It doesn't seem like it would be very hard to build and I'd be happy to do it but I don't have a place to host it. If you've got links to similar sites or ideas about it, or you'd like to help, or if someone's already doing this, please let me know. Thanks.

Goodbye Taliban

I keep thinking that one good thing that could potentially come out of this war on terrorism is the overthrow of the Taliban in Afghanistan and the restoration of basic human rights for Afghani women. The current situation reminds me of something out of The Handmaid's Tale. The sooner the Taliban is overthrown, the better.

A special magazine

The New York Times Magazine ran a special online edition yesterday.

Stepping away from it all

Today is Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year and it seems like a good day to step away from the web and this site for a few days. I've been inside hunched over the computer, most times with the TV in the background, for a week straight. I think I need some air. I think I need to stretch my legs. I think I need to try and replace the images of destruction that are seared on my brain with images of life, if that's possible.

Thanks for all the emails

Thanks to everyone who's written about the WTC Quilt idea. I'm processing my thoughts and will get back to you all soon.

A redesign lie

If I tell you I'm working a new design for this site, will you believe me this time? You should because I don't know how long I can leave it like it is.

Classical music at all occasions

I get a lot of junk mail, but yesterday's was nearly the best ever. Música CLÁSICA para toda ocasión arrived at my door. A free CD of "Classical music for all occassions" and an offer to receive a welcome packet with over a $45.00 value! And in Spanish too! What I want to know is how did they find out I speak Spanish? And who told them I like classical music at all occasions?

Seybold panel on September 11th

Dave Winer has changed his Seybold keynote (taking place tomorrow) into a panel to discuss How Publishers and Their Production Teams Fared in Covering the Tragedies in New York and Washington. You can attend for free by printing out a pass here. Should be some interesting discussion, I'm looking forward to it.

Struggling for a name for it

Unlike some other folks, I've decided I don't like referring to the events of September 11, 2001 as the Current Situation. It sounds too clinical to me. It's as if we're unable to acknowledge the horror of what happened by referring to it in such a detached manner. And situation? I'm not optimistic enough to believe this is only a situation or a temporary state. I've found myself, in both words and thoughts, referring to it as That Day. As in, "it hasn't been sunny since That Day." Or, "We haven't been downtown since That Day." But it would be hypocritical of me to pass off something as vague as That Day after dismissing Current Situation.

When I was younger and I learned about Kristallnacht in school, I had a hard time understanding just how horrible it was. The name sounded so beautiful to me, "Night of Broken Glass." I pictured tiny shards of shimmery glass everywhere, filling the streets like diamonds, piles of glass twinkling in the moonlight. Only later did I fully understand what transpired during that night, only when I was older did I understand there was nothing magical about Kristallnacht.

Like that night in Germany, something terrible has happened and I wish I had the words to refer to it properly. I wish I had a name for this Current Situation, I wish I had some other way to relate to that moment in time when everything flipped upside-down, to That Day when everything changed.

The EFF on freedom

There's some important stuff over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in response the U.S. Department of Justice's proposed "Anti-Terrorism Act" (ATA) which I encourage you to check out.

We fully support legitimate government efforts to bring the perpetrators of these attacks to justice. Yet as a watchdog for civil liberties, we are skeptical of claims that the only way we can increase our security is by giving up our freedoms...none of the legislative changes that have been proposed so far is temporary -- these are broad ranging, permanent reductions in civil liberties and privacy of all Americans. History has shown that such laws, passed in haste during a time of crisis, linger and cause difficulties long after the crisis has passed.

[more here]

Media resources on September 11th

If you want to go one place for nearly everything you need to know about September 11th, check out MediaMap's September 11th Journalists' Resources. Sadly, there are no weblogs on the list. But aside from that, it's excellent. So. Much. Information.

Happy b-day

Happy birthday Mr. Crankypants, you numbers dork you!

The blog twinning project

And for something off-topic for a change, from the "creative juices run dry department": you can "twin" a blog over at the The Blog Twinning Project by matching one weblog with another based on the similarities between them. At least that's how I understand it. But for some reason I'm getting twinned to Jason, and we all know our weblogs aren't very similar in style. I fear that people are twinning us for some other reason. And speaking of silly twinning reasons, earlier today I was second most twinned with Meg of Notsosoft. Huh, is that because her name is Meg too? People people people!

Speaking at Seybold on content management

Tomorrow I'll be at Seybold talking about Managing Your Content from 9:00-10:30 AM. If you're at the conference, please stop by and say hi, even if you already know how to manage your content.

The clarity of the war

An opinion piece from The Independent (UK) This is still a war that has few clear enemies and still fewer clear aims:

But if America's war aims have narrowed, they are not very much clearer than they were when Mr Bush first declared his war on terrorism. This lack of clarity will have to be remedied if Mr Bush does not want to see the tiny fissures that are emerging in his grand coalition widening into more dangerous splits.

On seeing the photos of the September 11th hijackers

My first thought upon seeing the FBI photos of the hijackers was disbelief, these are the people that did this horrible crime? They look so normal. They look like people I've worked with. I can picture myself walking over to Saeed's cube to ask if he's finished up the JavaScript widget. Even now, I don't think I'd look twice if any of these guys got on a plane with me, and that may be the most terrifiying realization I've had: that terrorists look just like you and me. [via Dave]

Thoughts on Perl

sub megnuts_perl_thoughts {
  $megnut = "meg";
  print "$megnut likes perl!";

Chomp() Chomp(). Yummy.

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