Notebook entry, October 31, 2001

I had a series of spinal lumbar x-rays taken of my back on 10/02/01  because I was getting stiff too many days of the week to be, what I considered normal, and the diagnosis came back a few days ago: Degenerative Disc Disease at multiple levels.

Comment: There is normal alignment of the posterior margins of the lumbar vertebrae.  There is no loss in the vertebral body height. There is no evidence of subluxation.  There is disc space narrowing at L1-2, L3-4, and to a lesser degree, L4-5 consistent with degenerative disc disease. Anterior lateral hypertrophic spurring is present at all levels. William L. Jobe. 

Just normal, getting old stuff. 

Notebook entry, October 22, 2001

Not only do I rarely mention my day job.  But this is the first time that I have ever placed to similar entries back to back.  I doubt that it will ever happen again.  But, these are strange times that we live in.

Word has just come from the newswires that two postal workers have died after being infected with the Anthrax spores that most emitted from the letter that was sent the Senator Daschle, D-S.D. office in Washington D.C.  

There are many in the postal system who are very anger that the House and Senate were shut down and everyone tested for the disease, but the Post Office from where the letters were processed were kept open. 

Today, White House officials conceded that while the remote facility that receives all the mail addressed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has been on "high alert" for bombs and chemical and biological threats since Sept. 11, no one notified the Postal Service's Brentwood facility where the same mail is first sorted to be on a similar alert. (Added October 28, 01) The New York Times, online edition, October 25, 2001, "Home front is minefield for President." by Elizabeth Bumiller and David E. Sanger . 

Being treated as a second-citizen is another reason that I don't mention my day job.

Notebook entry, October 16, 2001

Today was a most satisfying day.  I normally don't mention my day job because their is very little to mention about it.  I am a letter-carrier with the U.S. Postal Service and I move paper "stuff" from point A to point B.  There is very little intellectual stimulation in that, and as a result, I don't bore you with the details.  But today was one of my proudest moments.  I delivered Denver's first ever vote-by-mail ballots.  It has been a project of mine for some time to increase participation in mail voting as I wrote to the Democratic Hqs several years (I think it was 1996) ago strongly suggesting this method of reducing costs, and rising the percentage of those who vote. In my letter, I stressed that voter participation would rise because of the convenience that it gave people, reduced anxiety about standing in a voting booth and "rushing" through complicated issues and subjects.  I also suggested that the Democrats could easily catch up with the Republicans who understand the power of the ballot and start voting more in "off year elections."  Once they voted in this manner, they will never return to the ballot box and the voting booth. Watch the "revolution" in progress.

Notebook entry, October 12, 2001

Over the past several days I have been quietly studying articles and one book on the Taliban. In particular, I was attempting to understand their refusal to allow music to be played.  Of course they say that it "disrupts" the person from thinking about Allah and the mission at hand, but I have come to the conclusion that it merely makes dominance and control of individuals that much more easier to undertake.  Perhaps also, a Jihad is more stimulating than total silence, or that, in truth, it is perhaps the only "job" in town in which one can feed oneself and one's family.

But, it also raises a deeper question as to what  really is the reason for, not just music, but for art in general. What is the evolutionary explanation and drive behind the artistic expression?  Well, perhaps I found most of the answer in the Denver Post Sunday edition, Oct 7, 2001 when the music director of The Colorado Symphony Orchestra, Ms. Marin Alsop, attempted defend the symphony system and the low attendance that the CSO, in particular, was experiencing.

 "For me, the meaning of art in life is now crystal clear: Art captures life's essence and is itself essential to living.  Why have a symphony if few people attend?  Music is an innate, organic, universal language that we all share simply by being members of the human race.  Each person has the capacity to walk into Boettcher Concert Hall (in Denver) and experience an emotional journey that can enrich his or her soul.  Not having the opportunity for that kind of emotional and spiritual expansion would, I believe, leave our citizens impoverished. 

"Why do we have a symphony orchestra? Around the world, cities are judged first and foremost by the richness of their culture.  Art -- be it music, theater or visual art -- is a microcosmic view of the quality of life in a city and of the values held by the people of that community.  Music, art and theater are the manifestation and embodiment of the human spirit.  They are the living expressions of our shared human essence and connect us to our higher selves and to our shared history." The Sunday Denver Post, October 7th, 2001, p. 1E.

So, one must conclude that if banning music only tends to impoverish people, then the people of Afghanistan must be living a life of total desolation and desperation. The question then looms,  do we have the right to "liberate" these people from this harsh rule?  Would it be the right thing to do? Should we "nation build?"  I say, yes.