Third Alien Shore

In a struggle to be happy and free

Drystone Wall

Author: Rick Page 320 of 321


The Canadian memorial service was held at noon today on Parliament Hill. It’s estimated that a hundred-thousand carpeted the lawn of the hill to see Prime Minister Chretien, U.S. Ambassador Paul Celucci, and Governor General Adrienne Clarkson speak about the tragedy, the terrible loss, and how despite the terrorist’s best efforts, we’re far from broken. Quite the contrary. I especially appreciated Ambassador Celucci’s heartfelt words describing the closeness he feels the U.S. and Canada share.

When the Governor General called for everyone to stand and observe three minutes of silence, I stood without thinking and joined the thousands downtown in spirit despite being alone in my apartment. After watching the Canadian memorial and then some of the American memorial ceremony, I switched to Space and took in the afternoon Trek line-up. I feel like I’m somehow betraying the dead and the rescuers, if I turn away. Still though, I have to do it. The continual barrage of news about this disaster pounds down my psyche and too much could lead to a really depressed mood.

Interestingly enough, I read a blurb in today’s IMDb Movie/TV News that discusses something very similar to this:

In Thailand, a psychiatrist working for the country’s Department of Mental Health, urged TV stations to stop repeating the footage of the attack on the World Trade Center, saying that it was causing stress and shock to many local people. “The stress and shock may make them forget that the incident took place far away from Thailand and that we would not be directly affected, psychiatrist Thanu Chathananon told the Bangkok Post.

I don’t think that watching makes me forget where it took place, but at the same time I’m a lot closer to it than Thailand. I mean closer in both a physical sense, and a cultural sense. Since the U.S. and Canada have cultural similarities, it would follow I’m more at risk because the attacks were based on the supposed depraved capitalist culture.

As much as it still bothers me to watch fluff on television now, I have to do it if I’m to continue functioning normally.


Still, I haven’t been able to completely accept that the Manhattan Island skyline changed tragically on Tuesday. I was there with a high school field trip in the mid-80s and we paid special attention to all the buildings and the way the island was laid out because it was urban geography that we went to study, and what better place than New York City?

Manhattan Island, from the south. Taken by your friendly author in 1985 or thereabouts.

We went up the Empire State Building our first night there and I took long exposures of the city lights, and the twin towers off to the south. Later in the trip we went inside the south tower and up onto the observation deck on the roof. I was speechless in complete wonder at both the view and that the view was from the top of a solid structure. As one of the newscasters on location reporting Tuesday’s disaster said, the WTC towers were such an icon, he expected to turn and see them standing where they have been for thirty-odd years. While I’m not there, and only visited the city twice, it’s not going to be the same without them.

That’s not to say that the city is less for their loss though. The only irreplaceable loss are the precious lives taken in the aircraft, and in and around the towers. Certainly no sane person would wish this, but the selflessness, generosity, and togetherness that has erupted since Tuesday is inspiring.

The morning the towers fell

Many older people have commented that they can remember clearly what they were doing the instant they heard that John F. Kennedy was shot. Even my mother can describe the exact moment despite being a Canadian. I always thought this was an exaggeration because of the many years that have passed. Today I can understand, from my own experience, how a single event can cause that kind of impact.

I’d slept in and just got out of bed when Marylou called. Still groggy, I picked up the phone.

Are you watching TV?

No, I just got up.

Turn the TV on.

What channel?

Any channel.

That woke me up. It’s not hard to figure out that something serious is up when someone says such a thing. The screen came to life and the first thing I saw were the blackened smoking tops of the World Trade Centre twin towers. “Holy fuck,” I said, “The World Trade Centre’s on fire?” There was a pause and she replied, “You’re seeing old footage. They’ve collapsed.” At that point it was just too much. I was barely awake and my mind was assaulted with events that I couldn’t even imagine. I’ve been in one of the World Trade Centre towers … I’ve been on the roof … it can’t be gone. But as I was about to see, of course I was wrong.

I’m stunned. I can’t stop watching CNN even though it’s making me feel ill.

Later that afternoon, our Prime Minister issued a statement expressing the sorrow of all Canadians over the tragedy. He also offered any assistance that we could provide, and I hope we’re taken up on it. We might disagree with the US, and even squabble at times, but when it comes right down to it, we’re friends and neighbours. We share your pain and outrage, and stand with you against the animals responsible for this.

Photo ©2001 The Associated Press

Choice of ten

I was goofing around on the web last night while chatting with Amanda and stumbled across a site called Actress Fever, which seemed an ideal place to search for the photos I’d planned to post with my ‘list.’ I hadn’t narrowed it down to just ten women at that point, but browsing the Actress Fever gallery helped me do this. When I started collecting names for consideration, there were a few that I knew would make it to the final ten. Once I seriously started reviewing the names, I quickly realised that the women I selected were there for one or two reasons. There were some that were simply attractive, and there others that were very talented. In most cases there was a mixture of both. There are women that I’d just like to sit and talk to, and I don’t need special dispensation for that. Therefore, this list is strictly for those I’d like permission to sleep with.

Gillian Anderson, Jenna Elfman, Lauren Graham, Carla Gugino, Ashley Judd.

Don’t think for a second that I don’t realise how ridiculous this all sounds! Perhaps I’m over-analysing this all, but I wanted to try to explain some of the reasoning behind my choices. Cathy Rogers, Janeane Garofalo, and Jodie Foster were three that didn’t make this list because they’re all very successful in more than one field and I’d love the opportunity to talk to them. Am I saying that they’re too talented? No, not at all, but there’s more in life than just sex! Heck, their multifaceted talents only add to their appeal in my eyes. I know that strong and successful women intimidate some men, but I don’t think that I’m one of those men.

Carrie-Anne Moss, Molly Shannon, Mira Sorvino, Maura Tierney, Christy Burlington.

None of that is to take away from the women pictured here, of course. They’re all more than just pretty faces too! But I had to limit my choices to only ten, and I know I’m doing a poor job of explaining some of my thinking. Sometimes my brain works in ways which words cannot describe.

Marylou commented positively on seeing Molly Shannon in my preliminary list because she’s in her mid-thirties. The idea of large age differences in a partner has never really appealed to me when that difference spans maturity levels. As much as I might think Anna Paquin is seriously attractive, that she’s nineteen makes any thought of an encounter almost comedic in its ridiculousness. At the same time, some older women underwent serious consideration. Ally Sheedy, Katie Couric, Isabella Rossellini, and Linda Blair all were semi-finalists. I want more than ten spots, dammit!

While we’re talking about ages, the average age of the ten women is 33, with the oldest 36 and the youngest 29. The images are in alphabetical order by last name.

Okay, let me make something clear here. Regarding the list I made above, I’m not a psycho-stalker or other deviant. What I’ve done is just a neat thought exercise. Also don’t think I’m some creepy guy because Marylou is in the process of making her list as well, which has been interesting for me. Interesting both in the choices she’s made so far and that she’s having trouble thinking of ten men while I had trouble narrowing it down to just ten women. Hehehe.

Photos of my top ten from Actress Fever.

An ideal

I hadn’t planned on writing today, but I was sorting through some of the miscellaneous papers on my desk and came across a magazine ad that has a photo I completely love (below). Not only is it a really terrific photograph on its own, but there’s more to it. In a way, it represents something I’m looking for. Certainly you’ve heard me bitch, whine, and complain in these pages about not being in a relationship, and that’s certainly part of it.

What it’s not about is an attractive woman naked in a bathtub so I can run in there and have sex with her. It’s far more domestic…more like what I might see if I were to go into the bathroom for Tylenol or something. Without a word, I’d get my medicine and stray over there to plant a kiss on her cheek before leaving again. It’s just such a beautifully homey and comfortable scene, especially with my own embellishment added.

Someday, my friends. Someday. She’s out there.

Image ©2000 SC Johnson

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