Friday, September 23, 2005


What is today?


Friday, September 23rd?

Friday, September 23rd, 2005?

Today is both finite and infinite at the same time, both fleeting and forever. Today is always going on – it is the everlasting present in which you exist. And yet, for all its ubiquity, there can only be one today. Defined, today is the period of time bookended by 12.a.m. last night and 12 a.m. tonight. So today is every day...but it is also a single day. And for all of the many days in our lives, I might submit that there’s really only one. Which one, you ask? Today, of course.

Yes – just one. For most of us, barring an unanticipated apocalypse, there’s probably going to be a tomorrow. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Tomorrow is, as Annie would say, always a day away. Today I’m talking about today – and there’s only one. How else can I put this?

What’s the date today? September 23, 2005? Okay – there will only be one day with that date, and then it’s history. Just one single 24-hour period in the vast, unimaginable history of the universe (for how long, or short, as we have known it) that we have named September 23, 2005. We give it this name so that we can look back and reference it if we want to. Instead of saying the day before the day before the day before the day before yesterday, we simply say September 18th, 2005. Dates make talking about time a little easier.

Anyhow, since there’s only one September, 23, 2005 – which happens to be today – then there’s really only one today. And I think that makes today pretty damn special. Don’t you? Further, there will only be one day with tomorrow’s date, September 24, 2005. One day in all of recorded history. That’s what makes each day so special – while they all run together to form weeks and months in neatly grouped patterns of time, each day is incredibly unique in unfathomable ways.

But there have been many September 23rds, you say. That is true. There have been many September 23rds – dating back to the very first September. That would have been around 753 B.C. when Romulus, the founder of Rome, threw together a 10-month day planner based on a Greek lunar calendar. September was the 7th month on that calendar, which only had 304 days for the entire year, thanks (wishfully, perhaps) to the exclusion of about 61 days of winter. A lot of us wouldn’t mind excluding 61 days of winter if we could, but good luck getting your congressman to give that suggestion more than a courtesy chuckle.

While we’re talking about days, here’s another interesting tidbit. The early Romans originally had 8-day weeks instead of 7. Their days corresponded to the first 8 letters in the alphabet, A-H, and a “market” was always held on the 8th day, so the weeks were called Market Weeks. It is unclear whether the Beatles had the early Romans in mind when they sang “8 days a week.” Just as the Beatles learned that 8 days a week were not enough to show they cared, it was soon discovered that 8 day weeks were not mathematically practical for documenting the earth’s journey around the sun. Some edits had to be made.

A number of tinkering Romans tweaked the calendar to their liking in the years that followed, the most notably being Julius Caesar and Pope Gregory XIII. It was Caesar’s Julian Calendar that gave us the 7-day week as we know it.

Sunday – Dies Solis (day of the sun)
Monday – Dies Lunae (day of the moon)
Tuesday – Dies Martis (day of Mars)
Wednesday – Dies Mercuri (day of Mercury)
Thursday – Dies Iovis (day of Jupiter)
Friday – Dies Veneris (day of Venus)
Saturday – Dies Saturni (day of Saturn)

You’ll note that Friday is named for Venus, the Roman Goddess of Love. And Friday just happens to be today – can you feel the love? Sure you can. Now if everyone will just hug one person tonight, maybe we can put a little love back into Fridays. But I digress…

The Julian calendar adopted in 46 B.C. was actually identical to the Alexandrian Aristarchus' calendar from nearly 200 years earlier. It consisted of 12 months and 365 days, with an extra day every fourth year to round out a solar year. That’s pretty much what you and I are used to today. Pope Gregory XIII later decided to make a few revisions in 1582, primarily to correct for a drift in the dates of significant religious events and observations, like Easter. And there you have it – a brief history of the calendar. But let’s not let today get away from us.

There have been many September 23rds, and with any luck at all there will be plenty more to come. But there will only be one September 23, 2005. Today is its own day – similar to many other days like it, yet very unique. How exactly is it different?

All of the variables in the equation of life are in constant flux. Heavenly bodies are moving all around us. The universe is expanding, or so folks with big telescopes tell us. Perhaps more noticeably, the state of our planet is always changing. Weather is always changing. Wildlife is always changing. We the people are always changing. People die. People are born. Every single day there’s a whole new mix. And things seem to be changing faster today than they ever have. Centuries ago, very little seemed to change in the span of ten years. Some indigenous cultures in the remotest places on earth still notice very little change from day to day, week to week, and year to year. As a result, their concept of “time” is remarkably different from ours. Some of these cultures don’t even have words like “when” in their lexicon! There is no concept of time beyond the present. There’s only right now. Only today.

The civilized world on the other hand is preoccupied with tomorrow. Everything is a forecast. Never mind today, what’s going to happen tomorrow? So much of today is spent planning tomorrow. And then tomorrow comes and what do we do? We spend it planning the next day. Do we ever just stop and live for today? After all, there’s only one.

The other day I started filling in the boxes of my calendar at work – not with the things I planned to do in the weeks ahead, but with the little things I did in the days behind. Every single square tells its own story. The day I watched the first episode of Survivor. The day Geri and I met a bunch of friends at the Guinness Oyster Fest on Division Street. The day we enjoyed sushi on my rooftop as the sun went down. All days gone by – and not a single one subject to change. The days in the boxes ahead, however – those seem pretty much open for whatever. Anything can happen. Perhaps that’s why we spend so much time thinking about them. There’s so much hope in the future. Hope for the best – whatever that might be.

As I write this, life is changing. September 22nd is gone and not subject to change. September 23rd is happening now. Can you feel it? Sure you can. Stop, look, and listen. Smell, taste, and feel. That’s now, baby. Don’t panic – this is how now is supposed to feel. It feels weird to slow down – we’re so used to speeding around from one thing to the next. But of all those squares in the calendar that we fill with little notes, reminders, and stuff to do, only one really matters.

Today is Friday, September 23rd, 2005. There will never be another one. The idea is to see how many of yesterday’s hopes you can fit into today’s box – because tomorrow can’t be enjoyed. Tomorrow is an illusion. It’s a movie in your head. It’s not until tomorrow becomes today that you can appreciate it. Which brings me back to my original question: What is today?

That's easy.

YOU are today. Isn't that what matters?

Thursday, September 22, 2005


If you think the folks LEAVING town in this photo have it bad, take a look at the poor bastards on the other side of the highway headed back INTO town. Don't you hate it when you can't remember if you turned the oven off?

Or perhaps they're just anxious looters hoping to get a jump on the action. Nobody wants to rummage through piles of shit that's already been picked over. The early bird gets the worm.


Tara Reid's reality program "Taradise" on the E! Channel was cancelled this week to no one's surprise or disappointment. Tara, who was last seen investigating the bottom of a bottle, could not be reached for comment.


As you might imagine, I scan the online headlines day after day for interesting news and tidbits to share. One thing I’ve noticed in all my browsing is that clarity is often sacrificed for brevity. In short (so to speak), headlines are often vague – and subject to misinterpretation. Consider some of these ACTUAL headlines - given a little different spin…

Randall and Jane McAdams complained for years that their basement was too small to administer “proper” beatings to their 4 foster children, Haley, Mark, Gretchen, and Fiona. Thanks to a grant from the state, and with the support of the Cornell County Department of Corrections, they’ve been given a little extra elbow room. The McAdams Prison, set for construction in early 2006, will be a freestanding three-room beating facility located in the Foster parents’ backyard. Community supporters say…”

In a pair of dirty overalls and holding a shiny new hammer in his hand, President George W. Bush announced late Thursday night plans to single-handedly put the city of New Orleans back together. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work,” said the President. “But I’m not afraid of hard work. Hard work is what America is all about. I’ll be working out there night and day, because there’s much work to be done. And the hard-working people of the city of New Orleans will work with me to get everything worked out. It’s a work in progress right now, but with the right work ethic, working people can work together and work wonders. Working work work is the work and work of working workers work work hard work.”

Despite countless hours of lectures and intensive coaching, a number of motor vehicles failed yet again to register a score on the college entrance ACT test. For the second time in as many tries, the Chrysler Town & Country, Dodge Grand Caravan, Honda Odyssey, and Pontiac Montana SV6 all failed after taking the standardized exam. “We don’t really understand the results. Something else is going on here that people aren’t talking about. Not a single participant scored even single point. It’s like they weren’t even trying,” said Insurance Industry analyst Beth Jorgenson. “The thought was that “smarter” cars would yield lower insurance premiums for consumers. These results are discouraging.” A make-up exam has not yet been scheduled.

A number of experts are now placing blame for the flooding in New Orleans on faulty levees. Blue Ribbon Chef Charlie Parsons, Gynecologist Bob Havleson, Advertising Creative Director Will Lawton, and Public Policy Specialist Sherry McDonough – all experts in their fields – say they took one look at the footage on their televisions and instinctively knew the levees were to blame. “It was clear to me,” said Bob Havleson, “The levees are there to hold back water. They were holding back water before the storm even. If the levee breaks, water is going to rush in and flood stuff.” Will Lawton echoed this observation, adding “In my expert opinion, there was an issue with the levees. It kind of reminded me of that Led Zeppelin song, actually. You know? When the levee breaks? Kind of eerie – don’t you think? It’s almost as if Robert Plant KNEW the levee would break. Is he still alive? Maybe somebody should talk to him. He may know something about Kashmir, too.”

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


Secretary of Defense Don Rumsfeld estimates the odds of finding Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq at a press conference Tuesday.


Thinking of a new car?

J.D. Powers just released its list of the top vehicles by owner satisfaction. Here are the motor vehicles that topped the list, by category:

Compact car: MINI Cooper
Entry midsize car: Pontiac G6
Premium midsize car: Kia Amanti
Full-size car: Toyota Avalon
Entry Luxury car: Lexus IS300/IS300 SportCross/Mercedes-Benz C-class
Mid luxury car: Lexus GS300/GS430 (2006)
Premium luxury car: Lexus LS430
Sporty car: Ford Mustang
Premium sports car: Chevrolet Corvette
Midsize pick-up: Honda Ridgeline (2006)
Light-duty full-size pick-up: Cadillac Escalade EXT
Heavy-duty full-size pick-up: GMC Sierra HD
Entry SUV: Kia Sportage
Mid-size SUV: Nissan Murano
Full-size SUV: Nissan Armada
Entry luxury SUV: Lexus RX400h (2006)
Premium luxury SUV: Land Rover Range Rover
Midsize van: Honda Odyssey
Full-size van: Chevrolet Express


Better fill up on gas now. Rita is a full-fledged Category 5 hurricane with sustained winds of 165MPH. It's expected to plow into the coast of Texas this weekend. When Katrina hit, gas prices soared above $3/gallon on news oil production in the gulf had to be suspended. Energy experts are saying Rita could have a far worse impact as it poses much greater risk to oil-refinery capacity in places like Houston and Galveston. Many are predicting hikes in prices as high as $5 a gallon!

I repeat - fill up your cars now.


Here's a cool word game I've been addicted to lately. It's called Babble and you basically just make words out of letters to score points.

Mindless fun for the bored at work crowd - or for killing ten minutes in the morning while you wait for your coffee to do its job. There's a new puzzle every day and as you get better your rank improves. Enjoy!

P.S. - Check out who's hanging out in the 'Friends of Babble' section.


Here's a picture I thought would be perfect for a jigsaw puzzle called "Katrina."

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Monday, September 19, 2005


Here's an animated hurricane tracker for your viewing pleasure. Watch the Atlantic Ocean hurl fastball after fastball at North America. Where's Rita headed?