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]

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.

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!

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]

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.

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?