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Monday, September 17, 2001

So you remember that psychology experiment I was doing a week ago? Well, the premise was that they are studying the brains of right handed women and their negative responses to photographed images. I was scheduled to go for the MRI portion of the test on Tuesday, and after checking to make sure we were still on, I went. It was not the right thing to do that night.

So, the night of the single greatest disaster of my lifetime, I spent not with friends or family, but in an MRI tube with a bite bar in my mouth to hold my head still and watching images of dead bodies, broken bones, rotting flesh, and other things which I could only associate with the days events. One of the tasks was to reassign the meaning of an image. They would show a particularly disturbing image, and I was supposed to reassign a meaning to the image so that it would disturb me less. I was less than successful at most of those. The only one I could think of was that that burned body with the skin split open was the body of a hijacker and I was glad he was dead. Of course, that didnt' feel any less negative, but perhaps somewhat more satisfying. By the end of the evening, I just wanted to go home and bury my head under the covers and not come out for at least two days. I still haven't gotten to do that. This weekend was far too hectic. I got to sleep in a bit on Sunday, but it only ended up giving me a headache. I need a three day weekend like nobody's business. And I'm just not going to get it any time soon.

The good news is that Tracey and Camryn made it safely to Seattle on a flight on Saturday evening out of Oakland Airport. I talked to Dirk on Sunday afternoon. He was happily playing with the baby who is just starting to make out her first words.

The bad news is that I again need to reaffirm my utter distate for organized religion. Several friends wrote back to say that religion isn't bad, it's just the fanatics. While this is true on some level, nothing in this world has caused more unnecessary war, death, famine, and greed. The Catholic church has to be the single most successful corporation of all time. They have survived for nineteen hundred years through every type of economy. They sell a product that is total vaporware and get people to pay whatever they can spare and more to gain it. Heck, during one period, the sale of indulgences netted them enough money to build the most spectacular office buildings every created. They hold more land worldwide, and yet are exempt from taxation in the United States and many other countries. You know the oil and tobacco companies would love to have the rules of business that the Catholic Church has. Heck, they even have their own country (technically), and the CEO (sometimes called The Pope) is a world reknowned character who is received by heads of state in almost every nation. Having been to Vatican City, I was amazed at how crass and commercial it was. You could bring anything to have the pope bless it, but anything bought at the Vatican gift shop could be blessed by the pope. How many overpriced rosaries were sold in that gift shop so that they could be blessed? Far too many. Why am I ranting about this again? That's simple. Jerry Falwell went on the 700 Club with Pat Robertson and flatly stated "I really believe that the pagans, and the abortionists, and the feminists, and the gays and lesbians who are actively trying to make that an alternative lifestyle, the ACLU, People for the American Way -- all of them who have tried to secularize America -- I point the finger in their face and say, 'You helped this happen,'" And when Pat Robertson could have taken a stand, he said, "I totally concur." The 700 Club is a nationally broadcast program shown on hundreds of local stations as well as cable across the country. It is fundamentalist, which many would argue reflects the values of "middle America." It includes advertising from many large American and multi-national companies. By all normal definitions in America, these guys are not extremists. They are far far to the religious right, but not far enough that people openly criticize these guys as freaks and deny them access to the airwaves. Like I said before, lots of companies pay for advertising during the show. When a dear friend of mine in Sacramento posted this to the barbarians mailing list, I read it first thinking it was a joke. When it didn't come to the punchline, I checked google to find other sources for the article and found it on ABC News. This is the worst sort of hatred possible in our world today. It is just the sort of thing that creates extremists who murder gay college students and feel no remorse. It is just the sort of thing that gives the Ku Klux Klan a bible to stand on. It is just the sort of thing that makes Islamic terrorists hijack planes and crash them into the World Trade Center. Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, I call you out. You are no better than Osama bin Laden and those that destroyed the World Trade Center. In fact, you may be worse because having seen it done, you should know better. I sincerely hope that our government sees fit to indict Jerry Falwell for all of the hate crimes he has incited over the years. He is America's Osama bin Laden.

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