Friday, April 2, 2004  [!]
I guess that Gummint institutions can't show their funny sides to the public, even on April Fools. I have it on good authority that the JPL Intranet home page had fun yesterday.

Elvis was photoshopped into a Martian landscape, and the accompanying text said that Spirit (or Opportunity, can't remember which) was going to investigate a certain Jailhouse Rock.

4/2/04; 8:15:14 PM | Giggles | Discuss | # | |

I thought, maybe I can get by without posting anything about Fallujah. And of course, once I create a new post and begin typing, for some reason, I'll want to write way too much.

Like about a conversation I had the night of the 31st, the day it happened, and the other person said, "Just nuke 'em!" And I said, "No! No! not *that*!"

See, I've been on my atomic reading kick again; have been for about a month, occasioned by a writing/publicist friend loaning me a copy of a new play by Peter Cooke and William Lanouette called Uranium and Peaches (they're looking for a producer to put it on), about a conversation that took place between physicist Leo Szilard and James Byrnes (whose appointment as Truman's new Secretary of State was decided but not yet announced), about the decision whether to drop the bomb or to instead have an international demonstration of its power.

Okay. So that got me re-reading Rhodes' The Making of The Atomic Bomb, and on the day that I heard about the attacks, I had been reading about Hiroshima -- not the leadup, not the Trinity Test at the first Ground Zero, but That Day wherein the bomb was dropped on Hiroshima. Rhodes has pages of quotes from survivors later interviewed by Robert Jay Lifton, telling what they did and what they saw. Ten pages of one-paragraph-long accounts of people with swollen bodies, of people whose skin was dangling off, of a man holding his eyes in the palm of his hands.

A fifth-grade boy: The river became not a stream of flowing water but rather a stream of drifting dead bodies. No matter how much I might exaggerate the stories of the burned people who died shrieking and of how the city of Hiroshima was burned to the ground, the facts would still be clearly more terrible. [p 726]
Um. yeah. That kinda stuff-- ten pages of it--that's what I was reading, because that grisly scene is the sober climax to an absorbing story about all these physicists toiling away on a mesa and in a nearly unpopulated valley in northern and southern portions of New Mexico.

Wake up in the morning, read that, go do other things, and later that day, hear the shocking news of the death and dismemberment of some American men in Fallujah. That night, when the other person says, "just nuke 'em" and I say "no!" my response comes with all the recent urgency of one who'd been reading -- just that morning, mind you-- details of what exactly transpires when a nuclear bomb is detonated in the midst of a large city filled with people going about their day.

(strange side note re: my bomb obsession. Is it twisted? sane? Don't know, but since Weapons of Mass Destruction is A Topic Of Note, and when I hear a radio interview wherein the person is asked how big are those "small" tactical nuclear devices--they're the size of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombs--well, maybe my bomb obsession isn't so off the mark after all.)

So. Anyway. I feel I can't start posting news story links without all that preamble (and no doubt I've lost you with this excessive verbage, so if you've made it thus far, congratulations. And thank you.) I'm obviously going against the saying, "If you can't say anything nice short, don't say anything at all."

And that link that I wanted to post? Esquire has a story of Hired Guns where Tucker Carlson describes going along for a ride with those mercenary guys. Just read it.

4/2/04; 5:36:44 PM | Iraq | Discuss (1 response) | # | |