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Exquisite Corpse - A Journal of Letters and Life

Broken News
by Diana Povis ||
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October 5, 2001

With thoughts of all that is going on in the world today--fueled by NPR's news segments telling me that Tony Blair is going to Pakistan for 4 hours, that the United States is air-dropping food supplies into Afghanistan, and giving the odds of another terrorist attack on American property here or abroad--whirling through my head as I mechanically drove the 21 interstate miles to work, I must say that I found it reassuring, I guess that is the word, to hear the local news portion telling me that Pennsylvania has a fall foliage hot line.

October 6, 2001

If I am ever in a face-to-face confrontation with a terrorist, and need to kick him in the balls, I hope that I am brave enough--and that he is short enough.

October 8, 2001

I have a question for those who are looking for Bubba: have you checked the Ritz-Carlton in Laguna Niguel? Think about it: a 300-million-dollar man, living in a cave, and not having access to half-and-half for morning coffee? No way. Cave backdrops are a dime a dozen in Hollywood.

October 9, 2001

I am getting the feeling that the next "hit" we will endure will not come from terrorists; will not be chemical or biological in nature. It will be media generated. Radio and television anchors and reporters dredging up has-been and wanna-be specialists on everything from bullets to germs, will use the minutia to slowly and painfully torture us to death.

October 10, 2001

If we stop bombing Afghanistan, will we also stop dropping food? Maybe that's THE reason the Taliban won't hand over Bubba? They've discovered that there is such a thing as a free lunch!

October 11, 2001

Let me get this straight: "Bubba" bin Laden encourages young men to dedicate themselves to his Jihad...dedication to the point of suicide? So, if these young men rally, and if they are successful--at least to the point of their own deaths, won't this somehow create a severe shortage of virile males able to continue the lineage of the Al Qaeda? Hmmm, so many masked women, and so little spermatozoa.

October 12, 2001

So the terrorists are going after the media with anthrax? Then NBC wants to keep the name of the "victim" in their office confidential? Run that by me again: the news media wants to keep news from the news media?

Later that same day:

Incapacitate? Incapacitate? Did he say that we are going to incapacitate would-be terrorists to the fullest extent of the law? The law? Can't we just clip their legs off at the knees, give them a government-issued "creeper" and turn them loose? That fulfills the image that I have of an incapacitated terrorist.

Even later that same day:

Following the President's press conference, an NPR anchor said that she was surprised at the number of times the President used the word "evil," "evil doers," "evil ones," etc. The Dallas Morning News' bureau chief told her that he heard and counted its use 14 times. I, on the other hand, heard and counted 14 times that the President didn't use Kneival.

October 14, 2001

Oh, I am sick of it. The experts telling me that this Bubba thing is political; no, it's economic; no, it's religious; no, it's jealousy. Ask any woman who has ever had to wear a hat and a long dress with a jacket to an outdoor wedding, in 100-degree heat and sun, and she will tell you: it's a case of cranky pants.

October 15, 2001

Re: Anthrax mail. OK, so what if we drop paper sacks filled with Gold Bond powder on the target sites in Afghanistan? It's humane--which the media thinks is important, but perverse, which I think is important.

Later that same day:

Microsoft Word's spell check tool can't find the word Taliban. The offering is tailbone. Hmmm, Bubba and the Tailbones. I like it.

October 16, 2001

In my pod at work, I am listening to the radio and knitting through all that I am learning from the media about anthrax, and how to handle incoming mail. Meanwhile, I am staring at the computer and reading through the instructions from our IT Director regarding how to handle incoming emails--full of worms, and carrying some contagious virus.
     The government of South Africa says that they are warning those who are planning to leave for Afghanistan to fight with "Bubba and the Tailbones"--warning that they will face punishment to the full extent that the law allows--upon their return to South Africa? Ayyy-yi-yi-yi! What about that old adage regarding the ounce of prevention being worth a pound of cure?
     And why, when the network reporter heard the man he was interviewing say that he is closing his shop in Johannesburg, South Africa, and taking his two sons to Afghanistan to fight in the Jihad for Allah--to stop America and Bush--why couldn't the reporter have helped that man to Allah--right then and there? Again, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. . .
     Erie, Pennsylvania, late Saturday night: a drunk threw exploding powder on the floor of the bar and almost scared the life outta 120 other drunks. What was going on there? A drunk terrorized fellow drunks? Is terror contagious?
     On the way to work this morning, I noticed that the Sheriff had 6 guys in orange vests walking along the interstate and picking up trash. If we institute the no legs below the knee/creeper plan (as presented for consideration on October 12th) for terrorists and would-be terrorists, could work the interstates and pick-up the trash. (There used to be a man, here, who worked Route 61, in the winter. He would scoot along the snow and ice-packed road, and pick up the bits of coal that fell from the trucks as they rushed their cargo to the coal bins of our homes.) By the way, any further discipline required--should these guys take it upon themselves to get into roadside scuffles, would result in the removal, one at a time, of the wheels on their creepers. For them, strike three wouldn't be applicable, but ball four would definitely be a walk.
     Does every interstate have one? You know, that mile and half stretch where--in addition to heavy morning, bumper to bumper traffic traveling 17 miles an hour over the speed limit--at least two major roads with exits and merge ramps? Ours does. Right between exits 57 and 59. That's where all of the Dale Earnhart fans bone up on their driving skills.

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