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October 20th, 2004

AN ODD DAY

I'm so excited about my new book manuscript, THE ROOTS OF MAGICK 1700-2000. Other than proofreading and one section that needs retyping, its done, done done. And - against all odds - I got permission to use a most auspicious painting on the cover. It really does pretty well cover the, shall we call it, transmission of the light of the gnosis from the early 1700s to the beginning of the present new century, and, in an appendix, suggests a line of research for the future.

I attended the M. initiations at D&S last weekend, and Brother N., the initiator, did the best rendition of the F.P.of P. that I have ever experienced. I've attended more M.s than I can remember, with some dynamite initiators (and some not so dynamite, to be kind), and even fancy myself really good at this, but what a numinous rendition! Afterwards, I was bitching and moaning to one of the hapless new M.s about the stuff that still needs typing for my new book, and he said he could probably do it, but he's a computer geek and suggested scanning it with that whatever-they-call-it gizmo OSC? OTC? The thing that turns a scan into movable typeface. I grumbled that the last time I'd seen that (years ago) it was so full of machine noise it would be faster to type from scratch, but, God bless the geeks, he told me they are now quite accurate and require only a bit of tidying up. Now, if I could only remember the dude's name....

I come from that generation that lived the ten year Viet Nam experience, and when I wasn't working on nuclear disarmament or civil rights I was out opposing the war. Curiously, my eldest son, before heading off to college, applied to all the military services, probably to rebel (how does the child of the counterculture rebel otherwise?), but was turned down for a serious allergy to a single food. He then went on to get a degree at a prestigious college and headed out to Hollywood where he's been since, doing the story editor/script writer thing. As it happens my middle son, now 14, decided to join High School ROTC. He was in boot camp this past summer and today he got two bronze stars penned on his uniform, one for policing a bunch of football games, the other for service above and beyond. I'm actually quite proud of him. A lot of us in the Viet Nam era antiwar movement used to be fond of the "other" 'acid test'-- if you oppose *this* war, would you have fought in, say WW II. I was in the "yes" column.

I covered the shabby little war in Grenada in the '80s for some radical newspapers, and discovered that the whole history of the island was just one invasion after another, from aboriginal times to the present. I came away not much caring for American, British, Cuban, Soviet or anybody else's "helpful intentions" towards that otherwise charming little place. The First Gulf War was another matter, and I supported it. I wrote a poem, "Iowa Class" that I will at some point post here, though it was obscurely published long ago. But I know a thing or three about how to either fight or defeat a decentralist ideologically-driven underground enemy, and the invasion of Iraq strikes me as totally wrong-headed and questionably motivated. It is Viet Nam again. You can't really win, and the Iraqis aren't really the enemy, and Sadaam is about the same level dictator as, say, our "friends" running Pakistan or Uzbekistan.

So, the same day my kid gets two bronze stars I hear on tv that U.S. military war dead today hit one thousand one hundred. John Pike's Global Security site today lists 1106 U.S. military dead, 7532 maimed. Pike's method of counting runs a bit ahead of official stats, because he includes, without any personal i.d., those who have been reliably reported killed but not yet reported to next of kin. I am proud of my son, but a world war one song my father was fond of singing as the Lincoln hit 100 mph on our way to Miami every July came to mind. (Al Greenfield. mine father, did know a lot of WWI songs, being a child of 1904--its weird to think my dad would have been a hundred this year--and he knew *every* Stephen Foster song, so I dreaded crossing the Sawanee Rivah every year. You haven't really lived till you hear "Old Folks At Home" sung with a pseudo-Yiddish accent. Oy vey.)


Enough. Its 5 AM, time to play Civilization III.

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