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Baltimore - 9 January, 2000 - Let's face it, if we look at the evidence of the decade which has just expired, Americans want a President who has the "Dr. Feel Good" routine down. He can sell guns and drugs for hostages, or not-quite shag a girl old enough to be his daughter in the Oval Office. But we'll forgive anything if he's tall and handsome and makes us feel good. That said, you don't need a Gallup Poll or a New Hampshire primary to tell you who'll be our next President.
Those few Americans who still bother to vote will go with George Dubya, President McCain or President Bradley.
YES! I'M BACK.
AND EMINENTLY PREPARED TO CONTINUE ON MY MISSION OF COLLECTING DUES.
Expect to see a renewed spirit for rabble-rousing around here in the new decade. Expect more in-depth coverage of the stories the Mouthpiece Media would prefer to ignore. And expect a little Hell-raising. That's our middle name.
FEED THE HUNGRY. You can help someone else in this world and IT WON'T COST YOU A DIME. If you simply remember to drop by The Hunger Site every day that you surf and click a simple button ONE LESS PERSON WILL GO HUNGRY. The food is distributed by the United Nations World Food Programme and paid for through the sponsorship of companies that care. Do your part.
13 December, 1999 was Red-Letter Day: Republican Presidential candidate Steve Forbes said that the International Monetary Fund's policies in this world were wrong-headed. Who would imagine that STEVE FORBES would promote a position that I have espoused for over a decade?
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Event # 198: THE NEW WORLD
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LAST WEEK's EDITION
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Nobel Peace Prize winners Doctors without Borders came out with a report featuring the ten (10) most neglected news stories of the year. They suggested racism was involved in why the Mouthpiece Media didn't look at problems in these countries. Another "Sounds like a G21 story" moment? Yes! You can get the take they took on it at The Newshour with Jim Lehrer by following this link.
One of my Guilty Pleasures is the new HBO series "The Sopranos." If you have HBO, you know what I mean. This series is just head and shoulders above everything else on television. James Gandolfini has got to be one of television's truest charmers. Michael Imperioli is my most favorite punk since Tim Roth. Edie Falco has the New Jersey housewife schtick down perfectly. You believe these people --- and pulling that off with a mob drama evidences excellent writing talent at work.
The new season premieres on Sunday, 16 January, so you know where I'll be that night. Join me if you can. If you haven't experienced "The Sopranos" yet, prepare to become addicted. Five Stars.
There I am again with The Count. I have named Jacqui this because she only comes out at night. She shows up at my doorstep at midnight. She is telling me that like the Alien, my saliva, my sperm, maybe even my blood are like corrosive elements. My sperm sets her loins on fire. When I kiss her my saliva burns into her brain cavity and she sees visions: horses with wings, griffins, dragons. I look into her eyes and see that she is dead and I am the killer.
I start awake in my hotel room in Cancun. I have had another nightmare about Jacqui. I'm gasping. I stumble over to the sink, turn on the light, the faucet, gulp down water. I'm delirious. The water will help me slow down my heart from the nightmare, I think. The sink is more like a vanity. (Why am I dreaming about Jacqui? Our whole relationship was "I don't want him!" "I don't need her." We constantly pretended that we did not spend all of our time together because we were involved. "Don't tell people I'm your girlfriend, Dick! I'm not your girlfriend." "What is it that a girlfriend does that you don't do? You come over whenever you please. You sleep with me. You spend all my goddamned money. You treat me like shit. Give me a clue." "If I were your girlfriend, asshole, maybe I'd act like I liked you!" "None of my friends do, why should you start?" We were the perfect couple. Great fun to be around.) Before me there is a rectangular mirror, perhaps four feet wide by three feet high. There are also mirrors, in this little area, to my left and right. They have the unusual effect of producing hundreds of Rods. I see hundreds of Rods to my left, also to my right, stretching off into infinity. It is an eerie effect. I see it each and every day I am in Cancun and I can still not get accustomed to it. It allows me to comb the back of my head for the first time in years. That is oddly comforting.
But Cancun is a nightmare for me. It is a cacophony of disco- and trance-dance-like music blaring from too many hotels nearby so that my French doors boom in the morning. If I open them I am in the Land of Dance, the artificial party which is meant to accompany the beach volleyball games and make us think we are on some artificial version of perpetual Spring Break. The strip of hotels --- Fiesta Americanas, Hiltons, Sheratons, Marriotts --- faces the malls separated by Planet Hollywood, Hard Rock Cafe, KFC/Pizza Hut, McDonald's, the Outback Steak House, chain after global chain as far a taxi can take you. Vacation as shopping spree and damned ain't that great! I want to retch. I look for back alleys. I am constantly hiding behind my sunglasses. There is not a bookstore in sight....
I learned this weekend that one of my oldest friends, after thirteen years of working for state government --- and hard on his 48th birthday --- got sacked last week. The injustice of what happened, how it happened, and that it was purely Office Politics is not only maddening but also validates everything said in this magazine over the years about the illusion of "job security."
Exascerbating the entire situation is that this man has a wife and two kids to support. He's one of the old-fashioned kinds, almost extinct, whose wife stays home and raises the children. So he's hit harder than most of us would be. Add to this the mortgage and education of his children... I don't have to go into greater detail; being sacked in your late forties is a devastating blow for any person. I tried to do my best to raise his spirits and rally what resources I could to assist.
I've encouraged my friend to seek redress, but also gotten onto the grapevine of my fellow scribes to see if we can point him to places to pull in some extra largent to tide his family over. Writers do stuff like that for each other. Other people do, too, I'm sure. But I'm proud to be a writer when I see how quickly members of our little community rise to the occassion when one of our number needs it...
If you get a chance, let me know what you think of our new cover design. It's an experiment for now and contingent on your feedback.
Hey, Kids! Check out this page. We want you to join us.
Things That Bother Me This Week
- That I haven't been back to Manhattan in months. I'm overdue.
- That the media hype is now that the Y2K bug was defeated. I've seen a couple of stories which suggest it's just incubating.
- The notion that writers and writing are inconsequential on a medium that is built on Hypertext.
- The increasing cheapening of the value of human dignity by corporate and bureacratic types obsessed with self-agrandizement and profit.
REMEMBER: Tell every single one of your friends about this Web site.
Why do we keep doing this? Because we like you.
Thanks for coming back this week.
"Work like you don't need the money,
"Love like you've never been hurt,
"Dance like no one is watching..."
This is another Web site made on a Macintosh.
EDITORIAL CORRECTIONS: I slid by without many errors in the last edition. Let's hope I was as lucky this time.
ROD AMIS has published this magazine since 1990. It first appeared as a hardcopy 'Zine. In March, 1996, he launched it here on the Web. Rod was a Contributing Editor at Suite101.com, where he wrote the " 'Net Publishing" feature. His work has been featured in the San Francisco Bay Guardian Online, NRV8, and at WebLab's Reality Check site. Rod was also a contributing writer on technology for Faulkner Information Services.
Rod is now a columnist for the Andover News Network, where he writes on web design and development issues every Thursday. He is principal writer and Editor for IT Manager's Journal, where he reviews technology issues five days a week. His opinions on the Info Age began appearing on MethodFive's HYPER technology newsletter in March. 1999.
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