I haven’t posted in a while. This is partly because I was in the U.K. for a week. Its amazing, you know: there was all this rigmarole about terrorist plots and security alerts both here and in the U.K., and Tony Blair even called out Her Majesty’s tanks to Heathrow Airport (to paraphrase some English citizens I overheard, just what the hell good would tanks do on the tarmac?). The weather in Scotland and London, for the six days I was in those two areas, was cool and immaculate. There was no detonation of a dirty bomb (which, by the way, seems to be a more effective weapon of terror for the likes of the Bush cabal than for any ‘Middle Eastern’ terror group), no sarin gas release, nothing. I gather no major terrorist catastrophe had occurred in the States during my absence, either, in spite of the ridiculous color-coded Terror Alert Meter remaining at some high level or other. All things considered, I had a wonderful time, and, brief glimpses of the scum that passes for British television notwithstanding, there was no mass media bilge to spoil the elixir.

Upon returning home, though, I faced the real reason for not posting for nearly a month. I’ve gotten pretty sick of feeling like my voice is irrelevant, whether I’m shouting alone into the silence of unsurfed web space, or standing in a massive crowd of corporate-media-ignored public war protesters (the latter I have yet to do– because I hate crowds– but I’m going to get there if my level of disgust rises any higher). One of the problems I have is that I work in a political fishbowl, otherwise known as the Chicago Fire Department. Don’t get me wrong: the job is populated with a great many brave, often selfless individuals who would, all in a day’s work, sacrifice themselves for their fellow human beings. The problem is that there are far too many in the ranks for whom the energy of that Christ-like selflessness can’t seem to reach into the world outside of the job and their own neighborhoods. I can’t tell you how many of my colleagues I saw turning red as they cursed Bill Clinton for doing the same thing many of them often boast of doing. I can’t tell you how many of them voted for George Bush II in the 2000 (s)election. Our union has been working without a labor contract for nearly four years, yet many of my colleagues see fit to be registered with the party that regularly expresses and acts upon its open contempt for organized labor. I guess you don’t have to be clever to be brave. You can even be an ankle-grabbing, flag-kissing nincompoop! This is frustration talking, so maybe I’ll just let this subject be for now. I’ll leave it with a link to a website on which you can find possible evidence of the cryptically self-destructive mentality that I’ve just ranted about in this space.

On a much more peaceful note,

My, the Highlands are breathtakingly beautiful!

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