I wrote this on 9/11

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For some reason this morning we were goofing
around, Hannah said that library was the only class they
hadn’t had yet [in the new school year], so I asked, “Music?” and she said well
they hadn’t had that yet either, and then I asked
“Fire drill?” and she said they had, and then I asked
“Air raid?” and she giggled but didn’t know what it
was, and I told her it was a cold war thing and that
I’d have to explain it later. I’ve tried to explain
the cold war to her a little before. Someone once
suggested to me that it was a little like having someone
hover over your shoulder, just waiting for them to
scream “Boo!!”. And so tonight I was going to try to
explain air raid sirens, filing down to the school
basement and sitting crosslegged with our coats over our
heads, supposedly to protect us from the explosion, the
nuclear attack that could hit Schenectady at any time. I
was going to try to explain Russia, the Union of
Soviet Socialist Republics, allies and enemies and a
world apart. Russkies. Commies. And I was going to be
able to explain it as something from a distant past, a
world she probably couldn’t understand, a world where
we were so uncertain and scared. As we judge the
terrible things that happened then, the witchhunts and the
saber-rattling, it’s so easy to forget that we were all
fundamentally scared.
And now instead I have to explain
that a terrible terrible thing has happened in one of
their favorite cities in the world, a place so close
that we think nothing of going there for a day. That
someone hijacked planes, planes to California like Daddy
flies in all the time, and used them to kill everyone
on the planes and everyone in the buildings, to kill
them because they hate us because we’re not like them,
that sometimes we hate them because they’re not like
us. And then somehow I have to tell them that they’re
safe, that they’re going to be okay, that my beautiful
8-year-old, my beautiful 5-year-old, are going to grow up
safe and healthy and live good lives in a wonderful
place and that everything is going to be all right.

I found an old photograph of my mother

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From the 1960s, leather jacket and skirt, posed fetchingly but conservatively up against some sort of flower cart. Hair poofed out and flipped, very ’60s. Eye liner and, I’m sure, false eyelashes. Her Emma
Peel days. Back when she was doing modelling for some local
department stores. Back when local department stores had
models. Another world, it seems. It was taken by a photographer
she had an affair with. She’s either in denial about the affair or in
denial that I knew about it, but I was 8 and pretty much knew
what was going on, and was angry a lot of the time that I was
being used in the middle of it all, that she was looking for my
approval of this man when I just wanted my father to come back
home. But that’s all years behind, and other than that, I can’t think
of a time when I didn’t fundamentally like my mother. I think she’s
very cool. But I wish we could talk about this, because I want to
ask her: Did you miss him forever?

First The Glimmer Twins (“Bittersweet Symphony”), and now Nokie

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The only thing I learned from “Gun Shy,” which features 75% less Sandra Bullock than a normal Sandra Bullock movie (as measured using the MHSBM —- Mean High Sandra Bullock Mark) is that “Start the Commotion,” a song prominently featured being sung along to by hot chicks in Mitsubishi ads, cops a riff that, while not currently bringing any particular song to mind, is unquestionably sampled from a Mosrite guitar and therefore is credited to the individual members of The Ventures. The number of people who would read the credits at the end of a movie they weren’t that engaged in and recognize the Ventures by name is probably thinner than ever. Except in Japan.
Spider-man? As Lileks said: Best. Superhero. Movie. Ever.

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