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It don't hurt like it did
It hurts worse
Who do I kid? -- Sheryl Crow
NEW ORLEANS - 10 JULY, 2004: The poet Robert Burns did something touching and profound when he wrote the simple lines:Would some power the Giftee gie usWhenever I attempt that feat, I am made to think of John Boorman's Merlin from the film "Excalibur". He said, "To some I come as a dream -- and to others A NIGHTMARE!"
To see ourselves as others see us
I am learning that that is how I come to people, as well.
I am starting to believe I have the Bill Clinton Problem: either you love me dearly or you hate me passionately. Sadly, I've found that there is nothing I can do to change how you perceive me. I was such a shy child, as you'll read in the Glass House book, that i used to hide in a closet when my parents had guests. Then, as an adolescent, I became a performance artist, in that I tried to be a teenage politician, seeking everyone's love to replace that I had the love of no single person.
Some weird writer emerged during this transition and I know him less than you do, my little loves.
I have been chided, lately, for not being as expressive as this in private e-mails. "You are being distant and political, Rod" I have been accused in private e-mails.
My lovelies, the truth is that I have been trying my darndest to focus on completing The Book.
You may not understand this. The fact is, after I almost bled to death in March, I decided that The Book was imperative and all that mattered to me anymore. This magazine is important, of course, to you and the writers who contribute here, but for me personally, I have to finish The Book before I expire. Period.
That means I have less time for you right now. Okay?
What it also means is that most of this column, at least for the next six months or so, will be the epitome of the "three-dot journalism" that is part of my trademark, rather than either some of the serious essays you might have come to expect or personal revelations. A lot (the majority) of what you get will be items that make it over the transom that I believe it important for you to know.
Don't carp! Six months is no time in the eyes of God or a publisher. I'll be back for you next year and probably happier and more refreshed from getting these damned books out of my system.
Besides, Darling, you'll have my books to keep you warm. As some out there (who have gotten advance looks) can tell you, they are much more satisfying than what I can give you in my limited space here on the World Wide Web (WWW.)
ACTION ITEMS, IF YOU PLEASE
- Item One: This is a snippet from an e-mail being circulated by Tim Bishop of SARS-watch:Dr. Jiang Yanyong, who saved countless lives during the 2003 SARS epidemic by blowing the whistle on the official lies about SARS in China, has been imprisoned for speaking out about Tiananmen Square (see http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A33666-2004Jun11.html). I would ask your readers to join Human Rights Watch in calling for the immediate release of Dr. Jiang http://www.hrw.org/english/docs/2004/06/10/china8794.htm). He saved countless lives, in China and outside, with his selfless actions during the SARS epidemic. Plus, telling your own version of the truth should not be a cause for incarceration.
I wrote about this in more detail at http://www.sarswatch.org, (which I started last year as a result of reading your post from Dr. Tom Buckley of the Prince of Wales Hospital in Hong Kong), and I reproduce what I wrote below in case you want to include it:
During the 2003 SARS epidemic, I did my best to stay out of the politics of SARS at SARS Watch Org, in order to be able to serve more people with helpful information, but there are times when I felt I had to speak up. Today I once again feel compelled to speak out, perhaps emboldened by the fact that the U.S. Supreme Court yesterday finally rejected Bush's tyrannical claim that the US government could indefinitely detain people incommunicado and without recourse to judicial review of their incarceration, so I now I don't feel like such a hypocrite talking about human right violations in other countries.
According to several sources, the Chinese authorities have detained Dr. Jiang Yanyong, the retired surgeon, People's Liberation Army veteran, and long-time Communist Party member who was one of the heros of the SARS epidemic. As you may recall, at a time when the Chinese government was lying and denying that there were more than a handful of SARS cases in China, and was driving SARS patients around Beijing in ambulances to hide them from the World Health Organization, Dr. Jiang Yanyong wrote and signed a letter to the Beijing TV station and Time Magazine telling the truth about the magnitude of the SARS epidemic in Beijing. This simple act of truth telling did as much as any other act to stop the spread of SARS, and to begin the process of containing the epidemic. As I noted earlier, given that the party line became that the officials who concealed the SARS epidemic were the wrong doers, Dr. Jiang Yanyong was not punished for speaking out, and was even faintly praised in a People's Daily article.
Apparently Dr. Jiang Yanyong has been truth-telling again, and the response of the authorities has been considerably harsher. In February he wrote a heart-felt and heart-rending letter to the Chair of the National People's Congress detailing his experiences as a surgeon on duty the night the troops started killing the students in Tiananmen Square, and calling for a reassessment of the June 4th Incident.
Help us with regime change in the United States. Follow this link (or click on the banner) to contribute to the John F. Kerry presidential campaign: https://contribute.johnkerry.com/index.html?source_code=00022310
- Item Two: If we are to believe the editorial in the New York Times of 13 June of this year, (I know, an increasingly dubious proposition in the case of that publicaton -- but nonetheless) there is more regulatory control of the electronic gambling machines -- not to mention serious security and monitoring -- then there is of the electronic voting machines we shall be asked to rely upon in the upcoming election.
I'm not the only person bothered by this situation. You should be, as well, and make your feelings known to your state election officials and the editors of your local newspapers. Believe me, it will help.
- Item Three: Some of you probably noticed the trial balloon being floated this week by members of the Bush Junta's Department of Homeland Security and Justice Department: "Hey, considering what happened in Spain, what would it take for us to postpone the 2004 election in this country." As reported in this space, that idea first came up back in 2002.
After this trial balloon was reported in Newsweek this past Sunday, then picked up by CNN, the Washington Post and even the Canadian Broadcasting Company, the Bush Leaguers trotted out Condoleeza Rice for CNN to say that they wouldn't possibly plan to cancel this year's election. You can beleive, Condi, right?
I wish I had a bridge I could sell you people.
- Our pal Arianna Huffington had this to say, in part, in her column last week. I thought you should see it:Edwards' core theme of the two Americas -- "one for the powerful insiders, and another for everyone else" -- helps sharpen the differences between the two tickets, and underlines that, far from being a uniter, George Bush has been the ultimate divider. As Edwards evocatively paints it, Bush has created two school systems, two health care systems, two economic systems, two tax systems and even two systems of government, all designed to benefit "those who never have to worry about a thing" - and at the expense of ordinary Americans.
This is not a debate Bush and Cheney want to go anywhere near. Because they know what will happen if the truth of Edwards' message is digested by the American public. Edwards has shown a commitment to putting poverty-fighting front and center in his campaign, sending a message that dates back to the beginnings of this country: We are all in the same boat together.
"I want to take a moment to talk about something you're not hearing presidential candidates talk about enough," he said in his signature stump speech. "The tens of millions of Americans who live in poverty. We pass them on the streets in our cities. They are the families that crowd our shelters and turn to our small-town churches for food. In the America you and I build together, they will be forgotten no more."
That's just a small part of the column. I recommend you read the rest. Or, better yet, go over to the John Kerry site and get to know John Edwards. I beleive you'll like what this man stands for: YOU.
A small, independent and outspoken magazine like this one can't reach you every week without the support and patronage of its readership. As our way of thanking those who have committed to keep your World's Magazine here on your desktop through their generous donations, we feature their names and cities here in our Roll of Honor.
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ABOUT THIS EDITIONFirstly, I'm quite proud to offer you, on our cover, a new newsfeed from our newest News Partner The World Press Organization. I hope you'll find this compendium of news from around the planet of great added-value during your visits here. It's my first effort to address one of the issues YOU bring up in our readership poll: filling the gap of bringing you more news from Asia and South America.
I'm also working on recruiting new "on-the-ground" writers in those regions, of course. So you can get the kind of "heart and stone" writing that you expect from Your World's Magazine. Some publications may slow down their efforts in the "dog days," but I know you don't expect that of a driven organization like this one.
IN MY EMAIL BOXESYou already know, unless this is your first visit to this Web site, how destitute I am. We don't need to discuss that anymore. You already know about my looking for love, my thankless jobs, what a hell-hole New Orleans can really be.
So, in conclusion this week, I thou ght I'd share something different. I'll let you see some of the poignant messages racing in and out of e-mail boxes every day. You might find something in them that touches you the way they have touched me. Enjoy!To: Rod AmisI get promises from people, "friends", all the time. "I'll help you get the book printed to send off to your agent, Man. Don't sweat it."
From: Ric Williams
Subject: allow everything
it only seems as if there is no real choice
as if the very miracle of being
has to encompass
he embraced a man today
who despised his politics
because he could not tell
him any other way
that ideas must always
give way to the heart
if the heart says make way
& he watched a program
where white baby birds
forced a younger
brother from the nest
to the waiting jaws
of a crocodile
& he wanted to cry
& he was happy
the shrinking crocodiles
had something to eat
that they had found
a tree of life where
deepened the sea
& these are simple things
as quotidian as bird shit
as breaking waves
on a rocky shore
as loneliness on
this empty beach
he always had his
loneliness for company
his fear & doubt
such sweet companions
the one's who would not come
were always there with his sorrow
a constant joy knowing he came from two
& what would the artist say
the philosopher the hard mad monk
the warrior with his crocodile teeth
his feathers & his statistics in a claw
a cultural indigestion of fits & starts
we will all make way when the door opens
when the light pours in & our lips part as if to say
© 2004 Richard Lance Williams June 12 she said: you are a joyful man. you let everything belong.
To: "Rod Amis"
Subject: She's Back
Remember what I said: everything here is falling apart? Oh, yes. More than you can imagine. I can only laugh when I put together all the crazy things that happened during the last week.
On Thursday last week the main water pipe for our and all the buildings up the hill went kaput (as you like to say). An enormous amount of water gushed from the pipe, ripped off a part of the parking lot behind our building and entered the electrical station, cutting off electricity to the whole neighborhood. Just like in the movies, the whole parking lot became a lake, and the flood ran down the hill ... What to say? To cross the street looked like a rehearsal for a Camel Trophy!
Of course, we had no water and no electricity for 2 days. Then the cops brought a bulldozer (to dig a ditch for the flood) and a spider (to rescue cars trapped at the parking lot). Luckily, our old French lady was in front of the building. (Dragan is always afraid of car thieves, so he likes to keep an eye on the car from the window, although I have no idea who would even think to steal such an old wreck!).
The water level on the street was up to the top of car wheels, and most of the market [next door] was also under water.
It was kind of cute to watch kids playing with paper boats, not too cute when I had to go to the supermarket through the water like a drunken duck, and definitely awful when we realized that they had shut down all the water and electricity in our neighborhood.
Since the bulldozer driver was drunk (first story), incapable (second one) or careless (which sounds more like the truth,) while digging the ditch around the building he cut the underground telephone cable (!) so all the phones in this part of the city died instantly. They were resurrected only 2 days ago.
Since I heard your news, I decided to laugh and be happy! Well, you have to admit that this is rather funny sequence of crazy events!
To: Raoul Tesla
From: Rod Amis
Subject: Et Tu?
I remember walking down an underground tunnel at my university and seeing a graffito on the the wall which read, "Here I sit with my shoes mismatched." I always thought it was odd and humorous.
That is how I feel tonight. I don't know what is going to happen. I asked Matt (Stowell? You might remember him, the guy who convinced me to move to this hellish burgh) to print a copy of The Book at his office to send in to the agent. He hasn't done so, of course. It seems he is angered by the prospect that I'll abandon this city for Phoenix. Well, I would go to Phoenix if I can secure the proffered job there, despite only knowing one person in the whole town -- the dreamer who would be my boss. At least, via the latter, I have gotten a copy to Golden West Publishers, a small press there that seems hot to act as my distributor if I go the print-on-demand route.
My friend Barbara has sent me a prepaid phone card with almost 700 minutes of time on it, so if I get near a cell phone, visit a friend with land line or am near a payphone I can use comfortably for a while I can telephone people again. That's something I suppose.
One of my plans is to get the chance to hear her voice again during first use.
Meanwhile, my friend, I am feeling a bit lonely tonight, so this will be a longer e-mail than I usually compose. Things I'd like to share and say with a lot of people, you included, but others as well.
I met a woman today who I could easily fall in love with -- IF I were younger, more stable and ready to resume being adventurous. Her eyes are amazing! Expressive. And she has been to RIO! "Run, don't walk!" she said of that city. And she envies me the cities I have seen! Mein Gott! I would give my left nut to see Rio just once. She's been there twice.
Like me, she has the travel bug. Says she got it from her great grandfather and her grandfather, who both were merchant seamen. She's not particulary attractive in your usual social sense BUT her soul shines through. She reminds me of younger version of the type of person I surmise I used to be Before the Fall.
"What's the rub?" Well, besides being much younger than I, she is from HERE. She grew up on Marigny Street -- only blocks from where I write to you now. Just came back home from Boston. Until we started sharing things about ourselves, I would never have imagined she was a New Orleanian -- or even from the South. No discernible accent at all (like some people say about me. I guess that happens when you travel a lot. Wait! I take that back. Lynda says some of the South is starting to creep into my speech patterns lately.)
Haven't really talked much about The Fall, have I? Since I fell down and almost bled to death, I've had a new sense of urgency. I guess that's why I'm finally writing The Book. I realized that I *could actually* die here. I realized that I wanted the book done before I died...
So that is kindah The Mission now, Raoul, in all honesty: Getting The Book out no matter what.
What amazes me no end is how my landlord is taking all of this. Even though I could only give him $50 of the hundreds I owe him today, he came over tonight and brought me a hamburger "po' boy" (the Nawlins version of a submarine sandwich) because he figured I was probably hungry. Can you imagine? I have to believe in Providence when something like that happens!
I miss you, little brother. Miss the tales of your travels, the California coast, the sunsets, you and other old friends there. I don't think I'm for Cali, again, frankly, earthly paradise that it is. I still have other cities to see, I feel in my gut. It would be nice to make enough money again to enjoy them. So let's hope I get this newspaper editing job. Once a newshound, it seems, always an ink-stained wretch. Keep fingers and toes crossed for me.
Well, young Braveheart, I guess I've bent you ear enough for one night.
Besides, I'm way behind on the mag', as per usual. I've still got nine columns to edit and 5:30 comes early for Rod the Construction Grunt.
All My Love,
The Old Philosopher
"Rod, I know what you're going through in New Orleans. Add me to your Roll of Honor. You'll have the cash next week."
Some come through.
I fall through the cracks of their commitment. You have probably experienced the same. It seems that only other people who are in the worst straits tend to be more reliable than people who are comfortable in their private universe of consumption. That has not changed since the beginning of the world. Still, I try to hold onto a thread of hope, as I grow thinner and older, and the globe keeps turning on its axis. I still try to believe the best about people ...
Thanks for coming back this week. Keep me in your prayers as I keep you in my own.
THINGS I NEED THIS WEEK1. A new love.
2. Enough to pay my rent, my debts and buy food.
3. To begin the second book of my Glass House trilogy.
WAIT! WAIT! Are we done? Are you telling me we're gonnah launch the magazine, Rod? I had somethin' else I wanted to say,! Hold up.
[Sound of creaking door.]
Voice-over: "Rod moves in mysterious ways."
"Work like you don't need the money,
"Love like you've never been hurt,
"Dance like no one is watching ... "
Rod was a columnist for the Andover News Network, where he wrote over two hundred articles on web design and development issues. He was also principal writer and Editor for IT Manager's Journal, where he reviewed technology issues weekly, producing 383 editorials. He became the Managing Editor for Electronic Mail/Newsletter Publications at Andover.net at the end of February, 2000, and left in September of the same year. He was a contributing writer for ACCESS magazine, which appeared both on- and offline for 10 million readers in 100 newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle, New York Post, Boston Herald, Austin American-Statesman, Denver Post and Orlando Sentinel, among others. Rod was the US reporter for Silicon.com, a division of Network Multimedia Television in London, UK, reaching 3.5 million European readers, until May, 2001.
In 2002, he worked as Assistant to the General Manager of a Big Easy company that does restaurants and nightclubs. (Think: The Boy.) Oh yeah, Rod's had Day Jobs working construction. Mostly renovations of old New Orleans structures, houses and a bar. Sometimes he designs Web sites for other people so that he can get his creative juices flowing the way he can't at a staid publication like this one. And he's been the instructor in Editing for Internet Publications at the Novi Sad School of Journalism in Yugoslavia. Our Resident Philosopher is attempting to secure enough part-time work to perhaps equal the income of a single good full-time position. In his spare time, he chases women in the manner that a fly pursues a spider.
Rod barely survives in New Orleans, Louisiana. This town is eroding his normal sense of driven purpose. He wants to live somewhere civilized when he grows up. Wish him Luck.
Rod is "noodling" away at the Glass House book.
He continues to be committed to integrity,
chastity and a dose of humility.
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