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I climbed on the back of a giant albatross... and ended up somewhere in Scotland

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September 2001

Excerpts from my journal:

Sunday, Sept 9, 2001: ..."Jenny and others from her school went up to Glasgow the other day to attend a screening of Moulin Rouge... Afterwards, Ewan MacGregor was there to take questions, so that was pretty nice or her as she likes Ewan MacGregor."

Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001:  "Pearl Harbor II happened today.  It's really hard to believe this actually happened.  The World Trade Center has collapsed after two airliners slammed into each of the two towers.  Another airliner hit the Pentagon.  It's totally unbelievable that this could happen.... a terrorist attack this organised."

Friday, Sept. 14, 2001:  "Today was a Day of Mourning in Britain (and elsewhere) for the victims of the World Trade Center terrorist attack.  There was a break across the nation for three minutes of silence at 1:00 am...  The Queen and other royals attended a remembrance service at St. Paul's Cathedral.  Britain has really shown solidarity with Americans by flying U.S. flags, etc...."

Friday, Sept. 28, 2001:  "About two weeks after the terrorist attack and there still hasn't been any retaliation.  The Taliban in Afghanistan has refused to hand over Osama Bin Laden...  U.S. and British troops have been mobilized and are poised to attack but nothing much has happened yet.  They've tried diplomacy, Pakistan acting as representative from the civilized world, but it hasn't worked...  The SAS and U.S. special forces have been doing stuff in Afghanistan, tho, the news has just reported.  Most of the U.S. is really hungry for some sort of show of force...  Frankly, I'm a bit surprised there hasn't been any bombing in Afghanistan yet..."

Saturday, Sept. 29, 2001:  "Last weekend we went to Workington to see a really good tribute band to T. Rex called T. Rextasy..."

October 2005

Still catching up on this.... Here are some things going on in my journal about 5 years ago...

October 2005

- Irene is in the hospital still (since early July) and has taken a turn for the worse, despite an operation. She dies in late October.

- I go on a course in Manchester for work

- aftermath of Hurricane Katrina

- Earthquake in Pakistan

End of an Error

A timeline of the W years:

December 13: The U.S. Supreme Court stops the Florida recount, handing the presidency to George W. Bush.
The Dow closes at 10,794.

January 15: Wikipedia is founded.
June 7: The Bush tax cuts become law.
September 9: Ahmed Shah Massoud, commander of the anti-Taliban forces in Afghanistan, is assassinated.
September 11: Nearly 3,000 die in the 9/11 attacks.
September 18: The first anthrax letters are mailed.
September 20: The Office of Homeland Security is announced.
October 7: The United States invades Afghanistan.
October 26: The PATRIOT Act is signed into law.
November 25: CIA interrogator Johnny Michael Spann is killed in Afghanistan; he is the first U.S. casualty in the war on terror.
December 2: Enron files for bankruptcy.

January 1: The Euro enters circulation.
January 23: Daniel Pearl is kidnapped in Pakistan.
May 30: Clean-up operations at Ground Zero are completed.
October 2: Congress passes a joint resolution authorizing the use of force in Iraq at the president's discretion.
The Beltway sniper attacks begin.
October 4: The Dow closes at 7,528.40, in what will be its lowest ebb in the post-Internet-boom recession.
December 9: United Airlines files for bankruptcy.

March 20: Coalition troops enter Iraq.
April 9: U.S. forces seize Baghdad.
April 14: The Human Genome Project is completed.
May 1: President Bush delivers his "Mission Accomplished" speech.
June 3: The Dow closes above 9,000.
August 14: A major blackout leaves 40 million Americans in eight states without power.
December 11: The Dow closes above 10,000.
December 13: Saddam Hussein is captured.

March 11: 190 die in the Madrid train bombings.
April 28: The Abu Ghraib scandal is revealed.
July 27: Barack Obama delivers his "Audacity of Hope" speech at the Democratic convention.
August 19: Google goes public.
September 8: The U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 1,000.
November 14: Colin Powell resigns as Secretary of State.

February 15: YouTube goes online.
May 31: Mark Felt is revealed to be "Deep Throat."
July 7: 56 die in the London subway and bus bombings.
September 28: Tom DeLay is indicted on conspiracy charges.
October 19: Saddam Hussein goes on trial.
October 2: The U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 2,000.

February 14: The Dow closes above 11,000.
February 22: The al-Askari Mosque in Samarra, Iraq, is bombed, triggering Sunni-Shia ethnic cleansing across the country.
June 7: A U.S. airstrike kills Al Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
October 17: The U.S. population reaches 300 million.
October 19: The Dow closes above 12,000 for the first time in history.
November 5: Saddam Hussein is sentenced to death.
November 8: Donald Rumsfeld resigns as Secretary of Defense.
December 30: Saddam Hussein is executed by hanging in Baghdad.
December 31: The U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 3,000.

January 9: The iPhone is introduced.
April 25: The Dow closes above 13,000 for the first time in history.
July 19: The Dow closes above 14,000 for the first time in history.
July 21: The final book in the Harry Potter series is released.
October 9: The Dow reaches what will be its all-time high unto date, closing at 14,164.53.
October 18: Benazir Bhutto returns to Pakistan.
November 3: Pakistan president Pervez Musharraf declares a nationwide state of emergency.
November 23: The Dow closes below 13,000.
December 27: Bhutto is assassinated.

January 2: Oil hits $100 per barrel for the first time.
February 19: Fidel Castro announces his resignation.
March 7: The Dow closes below 12,000.
March 23: The U.S. death toll in Iraq reaches 4,000.
July 15: The Dow closes below 11,000.
September 15: Lehman Brothers files for Chapter 11 - the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.
September 16: The Federal Reserve lends $85 billion dollars to AIG - the largest such intervention in U.S. history.
September 25: Washington Mutual collapses - the largest bank failure in U.S. history.
October 6: The Dow closes below 10,000.
October 9: The Dow closes below 9,000.
November 4: Barack Obama is elected president.
November 19: The Dow closes below 8,000.
November 20: The Dow closes at 7,552.29, its lowest point to date in the global financial crisis.
December 4: In Iraq, parliament passes a law forcing all U.S. troops to leave the country by January 1, 2012.


Know your diasporas !     Here are just a few of my favorites (from Wikipedia):

  • The Acadian diaspora - the Great Expulsion (Grand Dérangement) occurred when the British expelled about 10,000 Acadians (over three-fourths of the Acadian population of Nova Scotia) between 1755 and 1764. The British split the Acadians between different colonies to impose assimilation.

Modern Slavery

These are excerpts from an article in the Christian Science Monitor a few years ago:

Slavery is not dead, just less recognizable.

Today, 27 million people are enslaved, more than at the height of the transatlantic slave trade.

By Susan Llewelyn Leach | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor

Slaves are cheap these days. Their price is the lowest it's been in about 4,000 years. And right now the world has a glut of human slaves - 27 million by conservative estimates and more than at any time in human history.


Of those 27 million, the majority are bonded laborers in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Nepal - workers who have given their bodies as collateral for debts that never diminish no matter how many years, or sometimes generations, the enslaved labor on.


... between 14,000 and 17,500 people are trafficked into the United States annually, according to the US government, most forced into the sex trade, domestic servitude, or agricultural labor. At any one time, between 52,000 and 87,000 are in bondage. And much of that is in plain view, in towns and cities across the country, experts say. People simply don't recognize it.

In June, an Indian domestic in Brookline, Mass., won a court case against an Omani couple who had barred her from leaving their apartment unescorted for more than a year, forcing her to look after their four children, cook, and clean without proper pay or meals. An alert neighbor who caught wind of her plight helped her escape.

Talmud of Jmmanuel

NEWSFLASH !   Don't believe everything Google News tells you...
excerpts from this press release
Los Angeles, CA (PRWEB) April 10, 2006 -- Recent interest in the newly discovered gnostic writing "Gospel of Judas" is now drawing attention to a much more controversial, 1,900 year-old, document that was discovered in Jerusalem in 1963, translated into German by 1970, and first published in Switzerland in 1978, with English versions appearing since 1992.

Known as the Talmud of Jmmanuel (the “J” symbol is pronounced with the short "i" sound as in Immanuel), the TJ, as it is called, shares one feature with the Gospel of Judas – Judas Iscariot was no betrayer. Instead, he was the trusted writer of the TJ. The TJ is much more comprehensive than the Gospel of Judas, while indicating that the man we know as Jesus was originally named Jmmanuel, that he survived the crucifixion and then traveled through several countries with his mother Mary, his brother Judas-Thomas and Judas Iscariot, that Mary died while on their trek to northern India and was buried in Pakistan, that Jmmanuel married and had numerous descendants, and that he died at over 100 years of age and was buried near Srinagar, Kashmir.
Adding to the desire of many scholars to shun the TJ is the fact it was co-discovered and edited by Billy Meier, the Swiss man who's also at the center of the only scientifically proven, UFO contactee case, still ongoing (for more than 64 years) in Switzerland. A further deterrence to Western scholars is the fact that the TJ includes reincarnation in its teachings, which would challenge the very core of Christian beliefs and threaten the power of the Church itself. It is Meier's direct connection to the potentially revolutionary TJ that may be one of the main reasons why he has been the target of 21 documented assassination attempts. 

(snip the rest and file under UFO Lunatics)
I laugh at myself because it was only after looking at the cited website that I figured out this stuff is tin-foil hat material....

Cartoon Carry On Up the Khyber

Here's my readers' digest version of the latest cartoon protest violence in Pakistan:

Excerpted from,,-5618374,00.html

Protesters Ravage Two Pakistani Cities

Tuesday February 14, 2006 5:01 PM

LAHORE, Pakistan (AP) - Thousands rampaged Tuesday through two Pakistani cities to protest cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, burning buildings and breaking windows at western businesses such as KFC, McDonald's, Holiday Inn and Pizza Hut.

In southern Iraq, Basra's provincial council demanded the withdrawal of Denmark's 530-member military contingent from the region unless the Danish government apologizes for the cartoons - which it refuses to do, saying it has no influence over the media.

Demonstrations around Asia and the Middle East have subsided in recent days, including in Afghanistan where 11 people died in riots last week. But the protests have gathered momentum in Pakistan this week and taken a violent turn.

Television footage showed at least one rioter firing a hand gun. Security forces fired live rounds into the air, but failed to stop protesters from setting fire to the Punjab provincial assembly and burning down four buildings housing a hotel, two banks, a KFC restaurant and the office of Norwegian cell phone company, Telenor. Two cinemas in the city - the center of Pakistan's ailing movie industry - were also torched.

Witnesses said rioters also damaged over 200 cars, dozens of shops - many locally owned - and a large portrait of President Gen. Pervez Musharraf. Windows were broken at a Holiday Inn hotel, and Pizza Hut and McDonald's restaurants.

A security guard shot and killed two protesters trying to force their way into a bank, said Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao. At least 11 other people were injured in the riots.

In Islamabad, which lies about 180 miles northwest of Lahore, police appeared lax in trying to control protesters.

A dozen policemen just looked on as between 1,000 and 1,500 people, mostly students, rushed through the main entrance of the diplomatic enclave, smashing street signs and the window of a bank.

U.S. and British embassy staffers were confined to their compounds until police reinforcements with batons and shields used tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, who shouted ``Death to America'' and other slogans. About 50 protesters were detained.

More protests are planned in Pakistan this week.

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