Nothing Here to Fear


GuluFuture, an online cousin to Wired Magazine, has put together a number of articles suggesting that the next major terrorist attack could be aimed at the Internet — and might hit tomorrow, in fact. The SoBig.F virus was shockingly effective in taking advantage of Microsoft’s many security holes, and a bigger and better SoBig virus has typically been unleashed immediately following the expiration of the previous virus (yes, the SoBig virus came with expiration dates).

SoBig.F is set to expire September 10, 2003.

GuluFuture paints a fairly apocalyptic picture of a superworm attack, but Mr. G at Teledyn takes it pretty seriously, so it may be something to watch. And perhaps we should think about taking the day off, turning off our computers, and enjoying the sunshine of late summer…

There has been a very annoying rise in spam, lately, and a huge portion of that has been virus e-mail and misdirects resulting from viruses forging somebody else’s return address. I’ve not been affected, thanks to careful use of e-mail, anti-virus software, spam guards and the presence of MacIntosh computers at work, but it is a shame that something as carefree as the Internet was back in 1995 could descend to this.

I’m still interested in switching over to Macs. If I didn’t have the Trenchcoat Farewell Project on my system in Adobe InDesign, I’d be switching over to Linux for the interim.

According to Back to Iraq, the Kurds have been given permission to fly the Kurdish flag over Kirkuk. At this news, Chris freaks.

Although I still see the possibility of a Turkish invasion of northern Iraq to be remote, I should still point out that Chris Albritton has actually been to Kirkuk, and knows the situation on the ground. Bush’s $87 Billion tab for the reconstruction of Iraq is going to be difficult to spend if the U.S. Army is forced to stand its ground while the forces of Turkey and Iran mix it up…

Whatever you do, don’t take your eye off Kurdistan.

I received my first piece of campaign literature in the mail today, from Elizabeth Witmer, the Tory candidate of Kitchener-Waterloo.

It’s your typical, professionally produced piece of campaign propaganda— I mean, literature. What I find interesting about it is less what it says, as what it doesn’t say.

Judging from this one panphlet, Liz Witmer is running on her accomplishments, of which there are many. Both sides of the single folded sheet of paper lists all of the initiatives she helped spearhead, and all of the things she succeeded in bringing to her riding (including a top-notch cardiac unit; more on that later).

No mention whatsoever of the Tories’ wrong-headed plan to introduce tax deductions for mortgages, no mention of the Tories private school tax credit and, more intriguingly, no mention of the even more wrong-headed plan to remove senior citizens, regardless of income, from the educational tax rolls. Given that she is currently the Minister of Education, you’d think those last two items would be considered her responsibility.

But given how far to the left she is on the party, those last two items run the most counter to her apparent political philosophy.

It’s still early, and it’s likely that more literature will arrive which will plug these destructive vote-buying policies, but right now I’m left with the impression that Liz isn’t too enamoured by the Conservatives’ hard-right election platform. Either that, or she’s positioning herself for a leadership run should the Conservatives be reduced to opposition status.

Witmer got a burst of good publicity on the eve of the election when the local papers wrote glowingly of the new cardiac care unit she helped bring to our region when she was the Minister of Health. The unit itself is in St. Mary’s Hospital, a popular local hospital that was recommended for closure early in Harris’ tenure, but which Witmer helped to save.

An acquaintance of Dan’s suffered a one-in-a-million post-partum heart attack and had to undergo a substantial heart bypass operation immediately after delivering her baby. She was thirty years old. She would have died if she had to be shipped to either Hamilton, London or Toronto, but the newly opened CCU (as in, opened almost that day) saved her life. The newspapers made this story front page news.

So, Witmer will likely win her riding, even as Conservative MPs around her fall. She is simply too personally popular within Waterloo Region to be defeated. She carries a reputation of competence that’s neither shared nor sullied by her cabinet counterparts, having come in to fix messes in Health and the Environment by the incompetence of previous ministers. Finally, her Liberal opponent, Sean Strickland, has been slow out of the gate. As I type this, there are more NDP signs on lawns than Liberal signs in Kitchener-Waterloo, and the NDP has no hope in this riding.

There is no doubt that, should the Eves government fall, Eves would resign. He had been elected a year before with much promise, and has had a year to show his leadership incompetence. Worse still, he’d have lost to Dalton McGuinty. That sort of embarrassment is impossible to recover from.

If Eves loses, look for a Witmer/Flaherty showdown to occupy much of the Conservatives’ time for the better part of next year.

Thus, Ikram Saeed is right in his assessment that I am leaning towards voting for Witmer (I prefer to call myself a centrist); that’s assuming I can possibly stomach Eves’ incompetence and cynical anti-Toronto policies. However, if I can’t stomach the Tories’ election policies, and if Strickland puts in a lackluster performance in this campaign, I may consider registering my protest by voting Green — just to play around with your mind, Ikram. :-)

Also, I know one of the candidates, and such a vote it’s sort of in keeping with my new job

So, you see: lots of time and lots of reasons for my vote to change by October 2nd.

In five minutes of blind, uninterrupted writing, one can come up with the following:

Nothing here to fear. Just a few discarded cans, a broken window and piles of brick. The place echoes emptily. There are no burglars, no tramps, no hobos, only ghosts, and I don’t believe in ghosts.

The factory has lain dormant for the past two decades. Long after the workers have retired or moved on, it sits as a monument to their backbreaking labour, or their folly — the belief that the good times could last forever.

I’m drawn to this place because of the silence. It’s a chance to get away from the hurly burly of computers and boyfriends and hairdriers and lipstick. The only sounds that exist now are the ones that I can make and control, like the popcan I kick beneath the remains of a steam press. Or the crunch of gravel underfoot. Or the snap of my camera.

The air is probably bad for me. This factory grew up in the age of asbestos, fibreglass and PCBs. It hasn’t been burned down, the ground sown with salt. Did I say that I didn’t believe in ghosts? I don’t. The industrial ghosts may seek to hurt me, but I won’t leave. The play of light and shadow invites me. The slant of sunlight on the terrazo, the glint of broken glass. This is gold. And I’ve got a gallery to fill. And I’ve taken my tetanus shots.

I kneel in the broken glass and I click away. Click-snap. Click-snap. Click-snap.

The ghosts breathe their welcome, and come out to play.

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