Tuesday, November 04, 2003

I've made an appointment for Ebe, my "kitten," to be spayed on Friday. Her kitty hormones kicked in the other night and now she spends most of her time yowling and screeching and driving me absolutely insane. Evidently cats are amazingly horny; I don't think they have any sexual "down-time." I'm not sure why I'm surprised, given the thousands of strays that are "put to sleep" every year.

I was pleased to see R.E.M. on the cover of a music magazine, accompanied by a CD of music selected by band members. I'm exasperated with critics who downplay R.E.M.'s last few records because of (relatively) low sales in the U.S. As if songs about the mass media and mortality are supposed to compete with the likes of Britney Spears. (Even so, "Imitation of Life" was a chart-topper in Japan.)

It was bitingly cold today. I almost didn't leave my apartment. But Ebe's theatrics forced me out into the night and for that I'm grateful to her. I picked up a $4.95 hardback of "Dracula," which I've never read, and began Jacques Vallee's "Anatomy of a Phenomenon."

There's a new homeless guy in town. At least I think he's new. He stands right in front of Barnes & Noble like some sort of installation piece, which means I have to circumvent him at least once a day. For some reason, panhandlers flock to Barnes & Noble like moths to candlelight.

The Plaza has begun the sad process of shutting off its fountains for the winter. I'm bracing myself for another impossibly annoying Christmas shopping season.

I've been marveling at newspaper headlines recently. Can the Iraq situation possibly be any worse, short of all-out thermonuclear conflagration? How the hell with this end (if at all)? Will someone, in some future administration, get it through his head that we're not wanted?

China shoots for the Moon.

Meanwhile, there's a very real possibility that the Bush administration is going to announce a human return to the Moon. The Chinese military is quite serious about setting up a lunar base by 2008. As I write, you can be damned sure the Chinese government is cheering the U.S.'s predicament in Iraq and toasting to the demise of Columbia. So if we go -- and at this point I think we should -- it will be the result of yet another "Space Race," to keep the Chinese from undermining our own military presence in space. I can only hope that while we're there we'll begin to appreciate the vast potential economic benefit. With any luck, a militarized U.S. Moon mission might seed a legitimate off-planet migration. Because if we go, we'll go to stay. Or until we nuke it out in the Sea of Tranquility in an attempt to "liberate" Chinese astronauts.

Breaking news: The Sun just experienced the largest solar flare on record. A real whopper.

"And the senses being dulled are mine."

--The Smiths

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