Thursday, July 10, 2003

I'm almost awake (under protest mind you) and soon I'll have to go take my bath and get ready to go into work for a few hours today. But first I wanted to post a few things that I found interesting in the new edition of "The Daily Dirt". If you can ignore the pornographic advertisements and links on his page (sometimes automated ones!), you will often find some good jokes and occasionally a few good articles.

As far as omens go, it was inauspicious and somewhat cliche, while no doubt spectacular for those who were there to see it. It was on Thursday, the third of July. A hot and muggy Independence Eve. Standing at the pulpit of the First Baptist Church in Forest, Ohio, guest preacher Ronnie Cheney (no relation) was winding up his sermon, calling upon the Lord to give the congregation "a sign," some inkling of his presence. No sooner had he spoken the challenge than a blast of blue lightning plunged through the church's steeple, ripped through the sound system, snaked up the microphone and enveloped Cheney in a cloak of cold fire. Later on, outside the church, as firefighters doused the flames, Cheney described the incident as: "Awesome! Just awesome!"

The traveling preacher, giddy over the implications and heedless of the destruction caused by his answered prayer, had no way of knowing his brush with Jungian synchronicity would be the spark that ignited a short and ongoing season of miracles.

The next dayÂ… July 4, 2003. Independence Day. The nation's two-hundred and twenty-sixth birthday. In Philadelphia, a celebration is taking place as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor is on hand to help inaugurate the National Constitution Center. As she asks the gathered celebrants to pull the ribbons that will reveal the building's facade, a huge chunk of frame is loosened and comes this close to hammering O'Connor's skull down into her ribcage. A not-so-subtle reminder that there is something out there - a spirit, an ideal - that hasn't forgotten the brutal assault she and her four Supreme Court cohorts dealt the Constitution in December of the year 2000? Who can say?

Meanwhile, that same Independence Day morning, at Washington's National Zoo, the mangled, bloody carcass of a formerly majestic, 21-year-old bald eagle was discovered. A shredded lump amid the weeds and dirt of its aviary, the puncture wounds and lacerations indicated some kind of predator had felled the iconic raptor, though no other animal was found in the enclosure. The eagle is only the most recent in a long line of mysterious animal deaths at the zoo, and it's the first to garner national attention. The near-perfect metaphorical aspects are simply too resonant to ignore.

And on it goes. In Africa, as Preznit Dubya touches down for his first state tour of that plague and war-ridden continent, a plane in Sudan ploughs into the ground, killing all on boardÂ… except one. A two-year-old toddler survives what 115 other unfortunates do not. What kind of future awaits this unbreakable wonder-child? And what part - if any - will he play in this future?

Back home, in a cruel twist of fate (?), a Marine who took part in PFC Jessica Lynch's highly suspect "rescue" from an Iraqi hospital dies in car crash on his first weekend home from the burning sands of Iraq. His name is Josh Daniel Speer, and yer old pal Jerky thinks there are some points that we should keep in mind about this incident. First: the rescue debacle - with its contraflicting tales of derring-do and its ever-shifting details - has proven to be highly controversial, and somewhat of an embarrassment to the USG. Second: Jessica Lynch, herself, is still being kept incommunicado, isolated in a military hospital, away from even the most delicate of media (something that should be freaking people out right about now, but isn't, for some reason). And, finally, Speer would have had intimate, first-hand knowledge of what really happened t hat night. The fact that he died within days of returning home is certainly not a smoking gun, but in this age of blighted synchrony, it certainly is fishy, nonetheless.

In Singapore, two Iranian sisters, conjoined at the skull, risked all in an operation that captured the world's imagination. They could no longer stand to live with each other, but they couldn't survive when separated. The supreme irony, they didn't even know they shared too much to live without each other. And yet, their dream of a better life brought the world together, first in hope, and then in sorrow. From billionaire captains of industry to naked tribesmen in the equatorial rainforests of South America, there is a universal respect all humans have for the valiant struggle, and the universal sorrow we all have when the fight ends in defeat.

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