Wednesday, December 1

News of the Neighborhood

This morning's mini-hurricane flies on by and brings in clear skies and supersonic winds. Now we're sitting here on the 25th floor, sighting off a neighboring midrise International-style office block and trying to decide whether the building is visibly swaying in the wind or not. Yes, things that seem solid and permanent are actually rather fragile.

Speaking of which: Firefighters Lose Another 9/11 Hero ... This Time in Iraq is the Post's take on a story that made the cover of both meathead tabloids today.

A hero firefighter who risked his life rescuing his fellow New Yorkers at the World Trade Center has died fighting his country's enemies in Iraq. Army National Guard Sgt. Chris Engeldrum -- a Gulf War veteran and former city cop -- was killed by terrorists who detonated a car bomb as he rode in a convoy outside Baghdad on Monday. Another FDNY firefighter was injured in the cowardly ambush.

The Post seems to feel that if you don't characterize the ambush as "cowardly" the reader will assume that you thought it was brilliantly sneaky and tactically effective. They don't feel the need to refrain from editorializing in their news stories over there, especially in the cause of God, country, and the Heroes.

As a New Yorker, I would have preferred to see this guy coming home alive with Osama bin Laden's head in a box: We could enshirine it on the tip of the antenna of the new 1,776-foot Freedom Tower going up at Ground Zero, like Cromwell's head on a pike.

There was a similar story in yesterday's Observer about a 29-year-old Wall Street research analyst, an ex-Brown wrestler, who went off to join the Marines and came back in a flag-draped coffin from Fallujah. He joined the Marines after getting downsized in the wake of the research scandals. The ostrich-egg-colored paper ain't running it on their site, though.

(Wrong war. Wrong time. Wrong enemy. The streets today are littered with abandoned umbrellas blown inside out.)

The timing of which items, to coincide with Tom Ridge's resignation--good riddance to bad rubbish--brings up a lot of old feelings of bitter wrath from this summer's alertorama for the critical financial infrastructure.

Someone gave me my own mug today. It's an Accenture mug. I am happy. I feel that I truly belong to the Evil Empire of the Infidel now. I have a permanent cup for drinking poisonous stimulating alkaloids out of. Mmmmm, alkaloids ....


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