I wept for America this morning

twin_towers_gettyI wept for my country this morning.

To say I feel sucker punched by Trump’s win is an understatement. “Sucker punched” falls so far short of how I actually feel today that it’s absurd.

Let me try to describe how I feel.

Remember at around noon on September 11, 2001, after all the planes had crashed, both towers had fallen, and the Pentagon was in flames. Remember how you felt a sense of dread, of horror, of unfathomable grief that seemed like it might never fade. That’s how I feel today.

But worse. Continue reading

Vertiginous Cityscape Panorama 09.11.2001

The thin plastic mattress swirls into existence, pale in the box grated daylight of the window grill. Blue fluorescent laptop whirring, doors slamming, edgy voices in the hall shouting, muttering, I wake. 172 Instant Message windows are flashing on the screen. Bubbles1984: U OK? Irishfan919: Just found out. Are you there? I open the door in time to see a girl running full tilt in the direction of the common room.

“One of the twin towers just fell…” Continue reading

The lesson that bin Laden learned from Reagan

There is a particular narrative about Ronald Reagan and the end of the Cold War that has always struck me as compelling. I bought the argument at the time and I think I still do, to some extent, even though I’m hardly a Reagan fan.

The story goes like this: Reagan was able to finally win the Cold War and drive a stake through the heart of the Evil Empire because he realized that the Soviet economy was already badly overextended trying to prop up the war machine. All he had to do was accelerate the arms race, dramatically increasing military spending (while also amping up the sabre-rattling rhetoric) and that would force the Russkis to bankrupt themselves trying to compete. Continue reading

On September 11

I am compelled to write about 9/11, an event which affected me profoundly in ways I still do not completely understand.

On September 11, 2001, we were on Long Island at a company offsite. During a break, I went back to my room and picked up a message from Jill telling me that an event scheduled for the next day had been cancelled “for obvious reasons.” It was to have been held at the Wall Street Journal, right across the street from the World Trade Center. The meeting was to launch my new book and the cancellation infuriated me. I called her voicemail, left a sharp message and slammed down the phone. On the way back to my meeting, I paused when I saw a group congregated in the bar, and was getting an explanation from the bartender when the first tower fell. I stayed and watched in disbelief as the second collapsed.

Later, not sure what else to do, we tried to continue our meeting. But it was no use. Continue reading

Nota Bene #117: Wake Up!

“Hollywood is so crooked that Mafia gangsters are entirely outclassed and don’t stand a chance. People in Hollywood are smarter. They have more sophisticated knowledge of money and deals and how to steal legally rather than illegally.” Who said it? Continue reading

Nota Bene #98: A More Glorious Dawn Awaits

“The man who never looks into a newspaper is better informed than he who reads them; inasmuch as he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods and errors.” Who said it? Continue reading

9/11’s non-legacy: Americans are as inattentive as ever

empire.gif“A plane just hit the World Trade Center,” announced an alarmed account executive when she arrived at our mutual place of employment. Probably no big deal, I thought. Didn’t a plane once also strike the Empire State Building?

I later learned that when an unarmed B-25 bomber crashed into it in 1945, 14 were killed. (Funny how the Empire State Building, despite how slender it is, only shuddered.) Most likely, I thought, today’s incident involved a Cessna or some other lightweight aircraft.

Nevertheless, I ventured out and walked one block east on 28th Street to 6th Avenue. One of Manhattan’s broadest boulevards, the Avenue of the Americas is a fine vantage point from which to view downtown. Sure enough, one of the twin towers (the North) was engulfed in smoke. Others, as mystified as I, gazed too. What was the point of standing there? I returned to work and soon found out hell was breaking loose. Continue reading

9/11: the end of Postmodernism and the beginning of … what?

My wife and I had recently moved back to Denver from Boston and September 10 had been my first day at my new job with Gronstedt Group. When I got up that morning I flipped on the computer and when my home page loaded the first confused images were waiting for me. I flipped on the TV and called Angela. I guess I could describe for you what I saw and and felt, but you saw and felt exactly what I did, didn’t you?

I got very little done that day at work. Continue reading

“Expert” advice on how to survive multiple-city terror attacks: deploy psychic abilities

Scholars & Rogues presents a post by Guest Scrogue Darryl Mason. The veteran Australian blogger is creator of The Orstrahyun and Your New Reality and author of a Philip K. Dick biography.


The second biggest boom industry in the United States today, after the manufacturing of bombs, guns and bullets, is the “terror” industry – how to fight terrorists, how to catch terrorists, how to prepare for terrorist attacks and how to survive terrorist attacks.

The US spends tens of billions of dollars a year on “anti-terror”-related industries. It’s the new Cold War, and the fear-mongering is just as dire, overblown and hysterical.

“Experts” pumping out warnings, advice and propaganda in the press and on TV haven’t been this busy since the early 1980s. It’s boom time in the US right now, but since 9/11, thankfully, there haven’t been any real booms when it comes to terrorism.

There have, however, been literally hundreds of Continue reading