Do you believe it?

September 10, 2006 at 1:14 am (Uncategorized)

Back in primitive times, I wandered around with a pager instead of a cell phone. An irritating little block of plastic and electronics, it would emit three shrill beeps and get increasingly louder the longer it was ignored. I hated that thing. It was like an editor was repeatedly jabbing me in the eardrums with a cold talon. To be frank, the sound of that hideous pocket editor caused delicate parts of my anatomy to shrivel. I’ll allow you a moment to imagine it.

911face.jpgAnyway, the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, it was the screeching jabs of the pager that ultimately woke me up to the horror and outright weirdness of the world. I woke up grumpily, went downstairs and to a corner store to use the pay phone and called to see just what was so friggin’ important. What’s that you say? Both buildings have been hit? Well, yeah. I guess that’s kind of big.

So it’s been five years. We’ll hear a lot of “where were you when you first learned of it” chatter and a lot of opinions on how the world has changed since. Which is all very engrossing. But I’ve been thinking about all the hysteria, false reports and urban legends that followed the attacks. Remember the photos of what looked like a demon face within the smoke rising from the towers? Remember the startling revelation that a quirk in the Microsoft Word program foretold of the horror? There was the story of a man who rode debris all the way down from an upper floor of a tower as it crumbled. There was another about a set of hands found handcuffed together beneath the rubble.

Almost every believed the classic tale about a New York woman who loaned a foreigner a few cents at a corner store, and who was then told in a hushed tone: “Stay away from the city tomorrow.” And a few still insist that Nostradamus accurately predicted the attacks 500 years ago with his talk of the “two brothers” falling in the New City.

Some of those fantastic tales turned out to be true. Others are as bogus as the killer-with-a-hook-for-a-hand legends and there are dozens of other 911 rumors still afloat. Me, the only thing I can confirm is this: a short time after that horrific event, the work-provided pager I had carried on my hip for seven years suffered a life ending tragedy as well. It was never replaced.

More rumor, lore and fact from Sept 11 here.



  1. Linda said,

    I had a friend in New Zealand who hated national election years so much that he always arranged to have a semester out of the country to miss all the furor, introspection and hyperbole.

    Every September, and especially this one, I feel that way. Except — where could you go?

  2. Bobbie said,

    I’ve already turned a deaf ear to most of the hype this year. I can (and do) change the channels or fast forward when an advertisement or something along those lines come on tv. I haven’t seen any of the movies dealing with 9/11 and I doubt that I will. My son put it the best, a week into the coverage: It’s time to get on with our lives and let this go.

  3. Mainetarr said,

    Canada. Bon Soir.

  4. LaFlamme said,

    That face in the smoke is pretty damn creepy. Just a fluke of temperature and normal smoke patterns, but still! It looks like one of my ex-girlfriends.

  5. LaFlamme said,

    Anybody see the B section today? Most of the staff felt they should steer away from heavy 911 coverage, since it will be everywhere else. One person disagreed and so it became a special 9/11 section, just like a bazillion special sections everywhere else. Waddaya think? A misstep?

  6. AO said,

    I scanned it. I think it was overload. Your movie review was good, though.

  7. LaFlamme said,

    Yikes, man. I really bashed that movie. I originally wrote that as a blog so I was more harsh than usual. Or just really honest about my opinion.

  8. AO said,

    That’s why I liked it.

  9. LaFlamme said,

    Well, good, good. I’m bound to get thrashed over it, but that’s okay. I’ve been agitating a lot of people lately. I can’t decide if I’m doing it intentionally or not.

  10. Linda said,

    Yes, I thought the movie review was the most sincere thing in the section. Good for you! Speaking for myself, I’ve had it to here with the endless rehash of 9/11. Not in any way to minimize the importance of the event, or the profound impact, both individually and collectively.

    But all this endless focus on any given thing is what I hate the most about the media — or about all of us, since if we didn’t suck it up, they wouldn’t dish it out. Would it kill anyone to offer something different?

    I didn’t expect 9/11 in the b section, and since you ask, Mark, speaking for myself, I was disappointed. But hey, another week, another Sunday paper, you know?

  11. AO said,

    I did watch a report last night on the air traffic controllers from 9/11. It was very well done. I mostly watched it because Tom Brokaw did the reporting.

  12. Bobbie said,

    Who was the person who disagreed about the coverage? It seems like anymore, it comes down to “1 person” overruling everyone else at the SJ to get what that “1 person”, and no one else, wants. The reporters and other underlings do the best they can with what they have to work with, but when you have “1 person” vetoing things (balls of steel come to mind?), it makes you wonder what’s going on with the paper. I skipped all the coverage. Anymore, I just check the obits and I’m done with it on line.

    And Mark, maybe you know why the eSJ is still making people sign in for the editorials and blogs when they said that they were doing away with all of that? As usual, the questions are going unanswered when asked.

  13. AO said,

    I don’t get the whole new sign in thing. I’ve only had to sign in a few times. After that, I’m always signed in. Strange. And, like you, Bobbie, I just check the local news and obits and…I’m done.

  14. jarheaddoc said,

    This whole deal of what happened on 9/11 has been done to death, even in this blog. The mental images of what happened will always be fresh in the minds of those who were at Ground Zero, those who got phone calls from the people on the planes, those who were anywhere, doing anything. “Where were you when —————- happened?”

    I was driving down the road in a vehicle I wasn’t going to buy and listening to Imus speculate about what was going on. I can’t recall a word of what he said.

    This whole thing happened five years ago and there are still a gazillion survivors, each with his or her own story. And to those gazillion survivors, I say this: fucking get past it and get on with your lives. The world may have changed forever on that day, but that doesn’t mean it stopped turning.

    Jesus, just let it go.

  15. "The Weasel" said,

    The B-Section


  16. AO said,

    Hey, Weasel, how’s the sun setting in your neck of the woods?

  17. Linda said,

    I still have to sign in to the SJ. Which I seldom bother to do any more. They don’t answer you either, Bobbie? It’s hard to know what business they want — clearly not mine. I absolutely do not get the business of not answering emails. If you call them up they’re pleasant enough. What friggin’ century is it, again??

    But — casting about madly for something not crabby — how ’bout them Sox? and Pats too, if you don’t split hairs about how they achieved their win?

  18. "The Weasel" said,

    Very funny 🙂 It looks like Treehugger and his femme fatale…..

  19. Gil said,

    I’m sorry, I respectfully disagree. I know that those who know me will not be surprised at this. I believe that those who say “get past it” are woefully mistaken. Make no doubt about it, we are at war with an enemy who wants us dead. Not subdued, not conqured, DEAD. The attack on us on 9/11 should be replayed at every opportunity to remind people what we are doing. Those were not soldiers who perished in those buildings. They were everyday Americans trying to earn a living and provide a better life for their children. They were not making a political statement, they were only doing their jobs. Administration after administration has failed to make terrorism a priority and on 9/11 we received the bill for that negligence. We are involved in a global war with terrorism and fundamental Islamic facsists whose goal is the annihalation of the US and the free world to return a caliphate to power. Make no mistake, conservative or liberal, Dem or Republican, they do not care and would rather see you dead.

  20. Gil said,

  21. Bobbie said,

    If you clear your cookies, then you have to sign in when you go to view the editorial page and the blogs. If you don’t clear your cookies, then you’re always signed in there and can go wherever you want without a problem.

    Rex passes things on to Eric to deal with since he is the webmaster and never checks on how things are being done. Eric, of course, is just way too busy with things to be bothered with answering an e-mail concerning issues with the web edition of the SJ.

    And that’s the way the ball bounces at the SJ most days.

  22. Linda said,

    What about if you click on a reporter’s url at the end of a SJ on-line article and send a message that way — or click on “contact us” at the bottom of the site and send a message that way? Those methods seem to be a mug’s game too.

    Do I seem bitter about this?? It’s an issue for me, I admit.

  23. Mainetarr said,

    Just wondering, but why are you trying to write to a reporter? I am not being sarcastic, just curious.

  24. Linda said,

    “Got any ideas or suggestions for my column? if so, just send them to me.”

    Sure thing!

    To be fair, there are two writers over there who always answer me, one of them at warp speed. As long as it’s not before noon of course.

  25. jarheaddoc said,

    I did not mean to imply that the United states as a country didn’t suffer, gil: not at all. I am talking about the people who have made themselves professional victims and personalized the losses suffered.

    Now what personal losses have you suffered since 9/11? are your phone records secure? are your internet searches secure? Can you still display a political bumper sticker that opposes the current administration, in certain parts of the country?

    I would like a very good explanation for why an 80 year old WASP grandmother has to take off her shoes when an Arab male passes through airport security without so much as a second look because the powers that be don’t want to be accused of ‘racial profiling?’ How many 80 year old American grandmothers were flying those planes, Gil.

    The after effects of the attacks of 9/11 are far reaching and a lot of good people have lost their lives in the defense of this nation, whether they be civilian or military

    I will end this by stating that the terrorists have gone a long ways towards winning the fight simply because we, as a nation, have suffered the loss of personal liberties that this country was founded on.

  26. Gil said,

    That’s a lot of horse shit JD. Sory to be blunt, but I am sick and tired of mindless drivel like that and it’s time to take a stand against it. What right or liberty have you lost as a result of 9/11? You don’t have a right to convenience, so a longer delay at the airport doesn’t count. As to Blue-haired old ladies being searched and not Muslim males, you can thank the pussification of this country by the liberal left. God forbid that we hurt anyone’s feelings because we profile them. instead these jackasses go out of their way to not profile the exact type of people we should be paying extra attention to in the first place. Do you really believe that the NSA is tapping your phone? Don’t be stupid. Unless you are connected with a known terrorist entity or are receiving calls from them, they could care less about you. 300 million people in this country and you seriously think they are listening to every call? Where exactly has anyone in this country been denied the right to a bumper sticker? Especialy against this administration. Don’t you think that the ACLU and the media would have been all over that one? it’s mindless myrmidons suh as yourself who parrot this inane shit over and over that make me ill. The military who have lost their lives in this war on terror have done so believing in a cause. I believe in it too, and if you don’t then you should be ashamed to post as a veteran, and a marine.

  27. Daughtio said,

    Did you ever see the thing with the $20 bill? If you fold it just right it looks like the twin towers on fire…

  28. Daughtio said,

  29. LaFlamme said,

    That’s friggin bizarre. If I had a twenty, I’d try it out. Anything cool you can do with a quarter? Shit, wait. That’s a nickle.

  30. jarheaddoc said,

    Well, gil, it’s grossly apparent to me that your fingers get going a lot faster than your brain and you press the submit button before you proof your work.

    “I would like a very good explanation for why an 80 year old WASP grandmother has to take off her shoes when an Arab male passes through airport security without so much as a second look because the powers that be don’t want to be accused of ‘racial profiling?’ How many 80 year old American grandmothers were flying those planes, Gil

    “God forbid that we hurt anyone’s feelings because we profile them. instead these jackasses go out of their way to not profile the exact type of people we should be paying extra attention to in the first place.”

    But I’m glad to see that you at least read enough of my post to be able to twist it to your own ultraconservative and myopic needs.

  31. Gil said,

    What part of that explanantion did you not understand JD? I’m typing slow because I know you can’t read/comprehend very fast. The reason that 80 year old grandma’s are being searched and not muslim males is the exact reason I gave you. I’ll try again so you can understand this time. Left-leaning, pacifistic, weak-kneed, Oprah-raised liberals have pushed their PC agenda so far up the asses of our elected representatives that they are afraid of doing the right thing to avoid hurting someone’s feelings. To that end, the TSA have not been able to do their job correctly, and in fact have been hampered in doing their job at all. They are not allowed to single out the one group of people responsible for terrorist acts over the last two decades – Muslim males between the ages of 20 and 45. They have been forced instead to go out of their way to harass those least likely to present a threat just in order not to offend those who fit the profile. El Al airlines is the only airline to never, ever, have a hijacking because they do profile and routinely stop those who fit that profile for intense scrutiny. In other words, they don’t play PC games, they actually look for terrorists. Until this country does the same, we will not be safe. If you need any further clarification, I can’t help you. Perhaps I am being insensitive to the fact that you may have been one of the 4% that the military allows in regardless of entrance test scores.

  32. jarheaddoc said,

    No, Gil, if you would open your eyes to what I wrote, you would know that I asked for an explanation of why those 80 year old grandmothers are being searched and the ones who fit the profile aren’t: it’s the same thing you said, just said differently. Seems to me the problem you’re having is that I didn’t use the words you wanted me to say, I chose to use my own.

    What I really fail to comprehend through all of this exchange is why you feel the need to resort to insulting people when you’re challenged. A little bit of introspection might reveal that the word myrmidon is quite fitting for you, too.

  33. Gil said,

    I understand that we were saying the same thing JD, that’s what I was trying to point out. If you can’t handle an insult or two, stay off an open blog.

  34. jarheaddoc said,

    Oh, I can dish and take, Gil, no two ways about it.

    Sounds to me like I have challenged your paradigmatic views and that is what really makes you mad

  35. Gil said,

    No JD, what makes me mad is the fact that people like you don’t stop to think before they say something as stupid as “get over it” in reference to 9/11. We shouldn’t get over it and the fact that you really think that is a testament to your mentality and your short-sightedness. I asked you to back up your ridiculous statements and you can’t. I don’t believe you can dish it or take it as you don’t appear to have the mental or testicular fortitude it requires. Keep your head in the sand.

  36. brenda said,

    I don’t mind disagreements, but Gil, who are you to tell people to stay off the blogs just because they disagree with you?
    it’s just a blog, people can say what they want, how they want.

  37. jarheaddoc said,

    And I rest my case, gil

  38. Montel said,

    Give Gil a break. He’s just upset that nobody bothers to read and comment on his blog, he has to pollute others.

  39. Linda said,

    So, strategy-wise, you might say “I have different thoughts and opinions about that, and here they are.”

    Or on the other hand you might say “You are a weak-kneed driveller with no brains and no balls, and there’s no room for a different point of view than mine.”

    I guess there’s a place for each of those strategies. Some of the people I love and respect the most play it the second way a lot, or used to, and I never saw a person change their mind because of it. I don’t find it fun or effective. But, that’s just me expressing my opinion, and since it’s a blog, we are all free to do that.

  40. Gil said,

    Sorry for the delay in my response. Had to go out of state for work for a few days.

    Brenda – I would assume that reading comprehension would have to be high on the list for an educator, so I can’t understand why you you can’t comprehend what I wrote in response to JD’s complaint over my insults. I wrote, and I quote, “If you can’t handle an insult or two, stay off an open blog.” I didn’t state that i thought that I was the arbiter of who could or could not write on a blog. What I stated was that if you are going to write in an open forum, you have to be able to handle criticism. I tried to explain to JD twice that we were actually agreeing on the insanity of frisking grandma instead of Mustafa. He didn’t get it and so I opined that perhaps he wasn’t too swift. Yes I am callous, that’s my nature. Next time please read and FULLY comprehend before accusing someone of something they did not say.

    JD – I don’t understand how you can rest a case that you haven’t made. You are using Dan’s tactic of shoot and run. When I asked you to back up with proof any of the allegations you made concerning wiretaps, internet spying, bumper sticker nazi’s or the loss of any specific rights or liberties. I actually agreed with you on the grandma issue and gave my opinion as to why it was happening.

    Linda – I never said “there’s no room for a different point of view than mine.” What I did was state my opinion about the “get over it” comment.

    Dan, oops, I mean “Montel” – my blog is out there for anyone to read and I don’t obsess over whether anyone actually does or not. If anything, it’s my own little soapbox in the park that I can stand on and rant. Now, I showed you mine, show me yours.

    Ok, now I feel better. I actually mean no ill will towards anyone. This is a fun blog, but some things get my blood up. Now excuse me while I meditate in the corner.

  41. jarheaddoc said,

  42. jarheaddoc said,

    Sorry, pressed enter too soon.

    Just check these sites out, gil. I offer them as proof that the liberties of the American people are being trmpled on by the present administration. As for the military corruption web site, do a site search for how the government ‘banned’ it from being viewed by service members.

  43. Gil said,

    Really JD? These are your “references”?
    Blogcritic is obviously slanted but even so, not one of the examples in that article show anything out of the ordinary. You cite a couple who were escorted out of a republican rally for wearing anti–Bush shirts. If I were to wear a t-shirt that was clearly anti-democrat to a democrat rally, do you really think that I would be invited to stay?
    As for the Secret Service investigations, that is their job. They are mandated to keep the President, ANY President, safe. That includes investigating any threat, verbal, written or implied. Especially in an area where the Pres is going to make an appearance. Do you have any idea of what a pre-screen team does before the arrival of the President?
    The military shut down blogs? Gasp, it’s as if they don’t operate under the Constitution!! Oh yeah, that’s right, they don’t. I’m surprised you call yourself a veteran and you don’t rememeber that the military operates under the UCMJ.
    As for your military corruption site, it’s as ludicrous as their claims. They opt for the National Enquirer style headlines and then their stories are so much crap and so badly written that you wonder how anyone can get through them.
    That wasn’t even a nice try JD. Come back when you have something real and can prove that rights have been taken away from us as you claim.

  44. Montel said,

    And you wonder Gil, why people don’t offer “proof” of what they say. Well this is a perfect example of the fact you refuse to accept ANYTHING that disagrees with you. Truth is completly subjective to you. You live in your own fantasy world.

  45. Gil said,

    Bite me Dan, you’ve never provided proof or evidence or even cited a reference for any of the insane allegations you make. Fuck off.

  46. jarheaddoc said,

    Okay, gil, I’ll tell you where I’m coming from in the form of what I believe.

    I believe that this country needs a serious overhauling because personal agendas are getting in the way of national security.

    I believe that the great wealth of this nation needs to be better distributed and that people have to earn what they get.

    I believe that I am going to have a very hard time teaching my kids right from wrong when the goddam state tells me I can’t appropriately discipline a child to correct bad behavior.

    I believe that way too many people claim ‘special interest’ solely for personal gain

    I believe that the Ten Commandments are really a damn good way to lead your life, because I don’t want to be murdered for some stupid reason and I probably don’t want your wife.

    I believe that my military time helped to keep both of us free and able to express our views.

    I also believe that you will discount any proof offered by anyone that supports what that person feels simply because you are not willing to consider the view points of others.

    I also believe that you are a victim of your own beliefs and express it through a messianic message filled with the paradigmatic rhetoric of bellicose zealots masquerading as “The Truth” or “The Way” or what ever you call it. And I also believe that you are a bully who keeps his jack boots ready to commit thuggery in the name of freeing the minds of people when you are disagreed with..

    So stomp away with your words, Gil, and I will leave you with something that is easily Googled for reference, the last words of Ghandi: “I forgive you”

  47. Anonymous said,

    Ghandi was a pussy. Just because I don’t agree with you doesn’t make me a zealot JD. No more than saying something stupid like “I believe that the great wealth of this nation needs to be better distributed” makes you a compleate moron. Close, but not complete. YOU began this by stating as fact that liberties and rights were being lost because of this war and this administration. I simply asked you to prove it. You use vague and slanted instances of loosely related nonsense. When you are called on it, you claim that nothing is good enough. Therefore, If I disagree with you I am a jackbooted thug, if I disavow your preposterous “references” for being a little lacking, then I am a zealot of the right. If you can provide a legal proceeding, or a verified losss of rights such as an amendment being repealed, I will gladly agree with you. Until then, just because you say it doesn’t make it so.

  48. Gil said,

    Sorry, hate to have anyone think I would post that Anonymously, that was mine.

  49. jarheaddoc said,

  50. Gil said,

    And your point is what exactly? What right have you lost JD? The right to privacy? Show me in the Constitution where exactly that is written. You right to free speech? No one is taking that away. The fact that the FBI can use what you say, read, or surf against you in no way takes away your right to do so. What it does do is allow the FBI to use this information against you in the case that you are a threat to this country’s security, and they need to build a case against you. The fact that you are not entitled to know you are being investigated is not a loss of any right, it is sound investigatory procedure. When the Times blew the cover on the fact that we were investigating funding of terrorists to follow them and gain new intel, that ended that route of inquiry for us. The point is that you may not want someone to know that they are being watched as a suspect. The other point, and a big one, is just how much do you think that this effects the average citizen? Do you really believe that Big Brother is watching little old you? Unless they have a reason, or you give them one, I believe the FBI and NSA have better things to do than worry about you JD.

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