December 2006 Archives
Today is Christmas
Last night, I stayed out very late. Although exhausted when I returned home, I perked up as I saw the gigantic box from barnesandnoble.com on my doorstep. Two days ago, I happily spent my AuthorStore's 2006 Best Little Christmas Story Contest prize and the shipment took only 24 hours to arrive.
It being 3 a.m. when I hauled in the box and I being one who enjoys lasting suspense, I didn't immediately rip through the carton. It sat on the dining table until this morning when I could devote myself entirely to unveiling each book, contemplating covers, and thumbing through pages.
Although $50 doesn't go very far in a bookstore these days, I managed to acquire 17 titles due to my rabid love of bargain hunting. The order, including shipping and tax, totaled $54.47. Here's what I got along with a random sentence from the back cover blurb:
- Boy Still Missing by John Searles. "Instantly in lust, he begins a forbidden relationship with this beautiful, mysterious woman." [Note: This book is the only one not included in the box. It will be shipped later from another warehouse.]
- The Man in My Basement by Walter Mosley. "But Charles's fortunes take an odd turn when a stranger offers nearly $50,000 to rent out Charles's basement—and soon, as the boarder transforms the basement into a prison cell, Charles finds himself drawn into circumstances almost unimaginably bizarre and profoundly unsettling."
- Sideways by Rex Pickett. "Sideways is the story of two friends at a crossroads in their lives, going off for the last time to steep themselves in everything that makes it good to be young, male, and single: Pinot, putting, and prowling bars."
- Rosemary's Baby by Ira Levin. "It startled critics, stunned readers with its unique and deceptively calm voice, and caused a worldwide sensation."
- Everyday People by Stewart O'Nan. "Centering around Chris "Crest" Tolbert—an eighteen-year-old left paralyzed and haunted by the loss of his best friend after a recent accident—the novel weaves together the lives of friends and family, lovers and strangers, into a rich tapestry of emotions, memories, and dreams."
- The Book Against God by James Wood. "In despair over his failed academic career and failing marriage, Bunting is also enraged to the point of near lunacy by his parents' religiousness."
- The Time of Our Singing by Richard Powers. "'Maybe the only writer working...who can render the intricate dazzle of it all.'" —Sven Birkerts, Esquire.
- Little Children by Tom Perrotta. "And there's Sarah, a lapsed feminist surprised to find she's become a typical wife in a traditional marriage, and her husband, Richard, who is becoming more and more involved with an Internet fantasy life than with his own wife and child."
- The Little Friend by Donna Tartt. "Acclaim for The Secret History." [Note: Hmm. I loved Tartt's debut, but it makes me nervous that there's nothing on this book's back cover about itself.]
- Garden State by Rick Moody. "They are out of school, trying to start a band, trying to find work—looking for something to do in the degraded terrain of their suburban hometown."
- My Little Blue Dress by Bruno Maddox. "And it unravels into a multitude of extremely amusing, searingly beautiful strands that eventually lead her, and a troubled young man who befriends her, through the well-upholstered hellholes of modern Manhattan toward a heartrending and hugely satisfying climax that will almost literally blow your socks off." [Note: Who wrote this sentence and why did the publisher allow it to get printed on the book? I have a feeling my socks are not going to be blown off. Literally.]
- Breaking Her Fall by Stephen Goodwin. "But his interrogation of the teenage boys still present doesn't end until one of them crashes into a glass tabletop."
- The Spinning Man by George Harrar. "Then, one afternoon, he's pulled over by police, handcuffed, and questioned about the disappearance of a local high school cheerleader."
- Mystic River by Dennis Lehane. "His investigation brings him into conflict with Jimmy, who finds his old criminal impulses tempt him to solve the crime with brutal justice." [Note: I saw and didn't like the movie. However, I'm hoping it was due to over-acting by Sean Penn, which has ruined many films for me, rather than bad writing from the book.]
- More Than You Know by Beth Gutcheon. "Hannah has decided, finally, to leave a record of the passionate and anguished long-ago summer in Dundee when she met Conary Crocker, the town's bad boy and love of her life."
- Evidence of Things Unseen by Marianne Wiggins. "When Flash's appetite for pleasure implicates the couple in his lawlessness, Fos and Opal seek refuge on Opal's inherited farm on the Clinch River."
- Seven Types of Ambiguity by Elliot Perlman. "Perlman has divided his kaleidoscopic opus into seven sections, each with a new narrator who simultaneously moves the juicy story forward and radically alters everything we've understood so far...a shifting body of rich, ambiguous evidence that forces us to continually assess and reassess, much as we do in life."
I realize that the links all point to Amazon rather than B&N, but I'm not a B&N affiliate and Amazon has better product information and more reviews.
Time to figure out what to read next. Many thanks to Jamie of AuthorStore for hours and hours of entertainment!
Home of the Gender Genie
Hello and welcome to all the visitors from Digg, Gizmodo, Del.icio.us, Dilbert.Blog, and sundry places on the Internet. If you're wondering what's the deal with that Gender Genie thing, here's a link to everything we've written about it:
BookBlog's entries and comments about The Gender Genie
Feel free to leave comments of your own. We love lively discussion.
Happy Day After
Merry belated Christmas, everyone!
Yesterday's gathering went off without a hitch and so far no one has called to complain that my cooking resulted in food poisoning. Yay! After cleaning like mad since last night's guests departed, I'm now awaiting the arrival of more relatives. I will probably spend most of the day tomorrow recovering from holiday—that is, food and family—overload.
Very quickly, I wanted to pop in to mention that I won second place in AuthorStore's 2006 Best Little Christmas Story Contest. Yippee!
Click here to read my entry, "A Sudden Hope." It's fairly tragic, but there's no need to be concerned. Right after e-mailing the link to my sister, she phoned to make sure I wasn't depressed. I'm not. Rather, I'm tickled pink.
Congratulations to all the winners, and thank you to Jamie of AuthorStore for running the contest.
When Bud Parr announced the MetaxuCafé Holiday Gathering, I thought, "I'm in the area and I'm a bookblogger; I should go and meet some of the faces behind the blogs." Both Eddie and my sister agreed to accompany me, since there's safety in familiar numbers, and travel routes and meeting times were arranged. By Tuesday afternoon, my sister was forced to drop out due to an oncoming cold. Eddie was still game, so I met him at his apartment and a new route was mapped.
Neither of us is prompt, but it was Eddie who took the initiative and got us out the door. During the walk to the bus stop, I complained of being cold, missed the relative comfort of my car, and said I didn't want to go. He bears my eccentricities with unrivaled tolerance and kindly mentioned several times that it wasn't too late to turn around. Although I persisted in complaining, I didn't accept the out.
Despite initial enthusiasm, why did I suddenly not want to go? To be honest, I am a coward and suffer from a critical personality flaw that causes me to second guess myself into cringing inaction.
If Eddie was okay with returning home, why did we plod grudgingly on? I had already left a comment on Chekhov's Mistress saying I was going, in the mistaken belief that I am not a coward.
I've been to two blogmeets before. I went to both with Kate of KateSpot, who helped organize them and held my hand through the initial meeting of each attendee. If it wasn't for her, I would never have gotten to know two bloggers who are also fine people: Jim of Parkway Rest Stop (Congrats on your 2006 Weblog Award!) and Zonker of Thunder and Roses. So, as you can see, I am not a stranger to meeting strangers.
Yet, something happened upon stepping across the threshold of Verlaine. Panic, in the form of questions swirling through my head like sand in a windstorm, pushed all other thoughts aside. Do I know what anyone looks like? Where in this bar are they? The front or the back? Do I just walk up to someone and say I'm here for the MetaxuCafé thing and what do I do if that someone isn't? How is "MetaxuCafé" pronounced anyway? Does anyone even know what BookBlog is? What do I say if I meet someone and have no idea what their blog is? Where's the bathroom?
Not knowing what else to do, Eddie and I sidled up to the bar and ordered drinks. As we sat there, we overheard a conversation taking place behind us. A small group talked about authors, but not authors they had read, authors they actually knew. We realized we were sitting at the edge of the MetaxuCafé group, and I realized I was under-equipped for conversation regarding authors and books and literariness.
I used to work for a publisher. I've been to BEA, BEC, LBF, FBF, and dozens of other book fairs multiple times each. I've seen The Rock Bottom Remainders perform at ABA—before it became BEA—and have shaken hands with many authors. Once, I even almost managed to get myself thrown out of a BBC launch party when I dissed the Teletubbies within earshot of the man responsible for the companion publishing program. I run a web log that is the number one Google result for "book blog" and seems to post decent traffic numbers. I love to read and talk about books.
Somehow, though, I still can't shake the feeling of being a literary poseur. It's the personality flaw mentioned above. Eddie offered to make the first move and introduce us around. But I suggested that we leave, and we did, with him being ever tolerant and not holding me against myself.
We ended up at Katz's Delicatessen (of fake orgasmic When Harry Met Sally fame) eating knishes and sharing a pastrami sandwich. During the bus ride home, which happened after much walking back and forth inside the Port Authority Bus Terminal searching for the correct gate, it was decided that the outing was an adventure rather than a total loss due to my paralyzing cowardice.
And we got to eat one hell of a tasty pastrami sandwich.
welcome to our discussion on dr. zhivago.
despite winning the nobel prize in literature, the book was not published in russia until 1988. in addition, boris pasternak feared reprisals from the russian government (who had incarcerated his mistress and threatened to forbid his return if he ever collected his nobel prize). was it banned just because of a perhaps unflattering picture of the russian revolution?
aside from the collection of poetry at the end of the book, the prose itself is rife with poetic language.
p. 137 zhivago's visit to the commissar is described as occurring on a "stage" with "stars." this reflects a metaphorical system (life is a stage) that is also found in shakespeare: "all the world's a stage." here, however, there is a sense of absurdity since the stage does not reflect real life at all. what is to be concluded about the setting from the author's use of this metaphor?
pasternak also has a propensity to impregnate sentences with added dimensions of meaning by using similes as well as "as if" and "seems" comparisons.
"...their resinous needles were as waterproof as oilcloth" (p. 360)
the "houses flash by like the pages of a book, not as when you turn them over one by one with your forefinger but as when you hold your thumb on the edge of the book and let them all swish past at once." (p. 304)
"...the gusts of wind seemed to carry on their singing" (p. 3)
"she carries water...as lightly and effortlessly as if she were reading." (p. 295)
i find this to be rather delightful as a reader, with each comparison giving me a better understanding of the depth and complexity of characters and events. this, in turn, makes the story more believable. others, however, may point out that flowery language can actually serve as an obstacle to clarity of meaning. did anyone else notice or react to this? i also wonder if this is just a function of russian pragmatics...
on p. 359, the narrator celebrates women for chopping trees and building roads and "achieving prodigies of resourcefulness." yet as an individual, lara points out to zhivago, "you were given wings to fly above the clouds, but i'm a woman, mine are given me to...shelter the young" (p. 435). what can be inferred about the individual and communal roles of women in the novel... is mary right that russian literature tends to have female characters that swoon and die young? at least in this case, she outlives zhivago...
on p. 280 zhivago specifically recounts readings of tolstoy's _war and peace_, pushkin's _evengii onegin_, and russian translations of stendahl, dickens, and kleist. a few pages later, he relates to the creative exploits of faust. how have these authors influenced the life of zhivago, and assumedly, the author?
i have read tolstoy, and while i am not an expert on russian history, i noticed that both books portray a rather bleak picture of day-to-day wartime affairs. this makes me wonder how they relate to current conflicts that are ongoing in the world. i also noticed in both a sense that characters and their actions were in some way causally connected to things beyond their control. so lastly, is dr. zhivago a product of circumstance?
An Introduction to Boris Pasternak
Eddie will be here this evening to start December's discussion of Doctor Zhivago. In the meantime, I've gathered some background information on Boris Pasternak as an introduction.
Wikipedia: "Doctor Zhivago (novel)"
Although Wikipedia is notoriously bad at qualitative content, it's generally the first place you're led when doing an Internet search for information. The article contains very little regarding Pasternak and the novel itself, but it makes up for it in coverage of film, television, and theatrical adaptations.
Regarding article info about the novel, I zeroed in on the following sentence: "Yuri must witness cannibalism, dismemberment, and other horrors suffered by the innocent civilian population during the turmoil." There were horrors, yes, but I'm pretty sure cannibalism was mentioned in only one sentence and the dismemberment took place in one scene of one chapter. And Dr. Z didn't actually witness either; he saw the aftermath.
Coincidentally, Doctor Zhivago was Wikipedia's novel project for November-December 2006. It received only five edits, mainly improving punctuation and sentence construction. If you're a Wikipedia contributor and have read this book, you might want to help the article out.
TIME magazine: "Blood Relatives"
From 1982, this is a review of The Correspondence of Boris Pasternak and Olga Freidenberg 1910-1954. Although not wholly about Doctor Zhivago, the review mentions some revealing quotes from Pasternak about the novel. "It is my first real work. In it I want to convey the historical image of Russia over the past 45 years, and at the same time I want to express in every aspect of the story—a sad, dismal story, worked out in fine detail, ideally, as in a Dickens or Dostoyevsky novel—my own views on art, the Gospels, the life of man in history, and much more."
NPR: "Pasternak's Funeral: A Poetic Protest"
Weekend Edition aired this story about Pasternak on November 5, 2006. Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral in 1960 despite objections of the Soviet government. The broadcast includes reactions from Russians to Pasternak's work and a recording of his voice from a poetry reading. "He became a symbol of one man's defense of freedom of expression."
Academy of American Poets: "Boris Pasternak"
Although the Academy's mission is to support American poets, their web presence, poets.org, contains excellent biographical information on poets from everywhere. This concise but comprehensive retelling of Pasternak's life story reveals many of the autobiographical events that inspired Doctor Zhivago. If you're interested in reading some of Pasternak's poems, a bilingual collection can be found at Friends & Partners.
Reading By Example
Although I've had a lot of jobs, the three I've held the longest sort of define a career path within education. I spent eight years at an educational publisher attempting to hawk English-learning books in foreign countries. Within the same corporation, I transferred to a dotcom targeted at college students. Of course, that bomb no longer exists, but I am sure that if it did I'd still be sitting in my Aeron chair looking at the Chicago River through floor-to-ceiling windows. (By the way, I'm in that Aeron chair right now since I negotiated for it as part of the severance package. The current view is of my neighbor's yard in a decrepit New Jersey town.) Most recently, I spent four years teaching third and fourth grade in way, way upper Manhattan.
Teaching is hard. It's a lot of work for little immediate gratification from a mostly disinterested audience. Luckily, I had two things on my side. The kids thought I was funny when I was in a good mood and scarier than their scariest nightmares when something interfered with that good mood. I could turn it on and off like a light switch, and the kids would scramble—to get their work done or to peer pressure the naughty into good behavior—whenever they found themselves in the dark. As a result, I didn't have too many distractions from my teaching.
There were a lot of things I could have done better, but the one subject I knew I taught well was reading. I am, after all, a reader and I think I'm pretty good at it. Obviously, I also love to talk about books. As a result, my approach to teaching it was practice and discussion. During each lesson, I'd read a short passage with a focus on a particular item (like character or metaphor), they'd talk about it briefly with a partner, and then we'd discuss it as a group. Reading time was spent practicing what they just learned. Each student had a reading partner, and they were encouraged to talk quietly as long as the object was better understanding of the lesson. Homework was more of the same, but practiced individually.
This teaching model was standard for the entire school, but worked better in classrooms with the best discipline. It worked particularly well for me because I only needed a glance to send a kid, quivering, from Daydreamland to Superstudentistan. Yet, discipline was only a small part of the equation.
I think I was a successful reading teacher because I led by example. The kids were required to keep reading logs to track their progress, so I kept one as well. Parents and teachers signed off on theirs, and I let them sign off on mine. They would freak out seeing how many books and pages I read each day, not realizing that my six-hour train commute allowed for lots of reading time. I also read nearly every book in my classroom, which is why you won't get a Best of 2006 list from me. My reading log is obnoxiously heavy with Lemony Snicket, Artemis Fowl, and Judy Blume.
Even the worst-behaved students want to please the teacher. They wanted their reading logs to look like mine, but volume wasn't the only goal. Reading the same books gave us common ground. We were able to laugh about why ASOUE: The Vile Village was funny or explore feelings and motivation in Blubber. Being an infamous international criminal mastermind should not be a career goal, but we freely spoke about the irony in admiring a bad but charismatic character like Artemis Fowl. Roald Dahl taught us how to mourn without wallowing in self-pity and Morning Girl gave us some understanding of the Taíno on the eve of Columbus's arrival.
Trust me, this was all heavy stuff for fourth graders. Especially fourth graders who were, on the whole, below reading level and living in an inner city environment that competed for their attention. On the surface, it seemed like the books we read weren't relevant to their world, but the things we discussed, like feelings or mourning, most definitely were. Their progress was amazing and firmly solidified my disgust at people who say city kids can't learn or malign teachers at public schools. They don't know what they're talking about.
Interesting Things on Other Blogs
The 2006 Best Little Christmas Story Contest
AuthorStore is hosting this event and will award $250 in prizes to the winners. I've been meaning to mention it sooner since entries are due by midnight EST on December 15th, but, well, you know. The story needs to only be 250 words, so there's still time for you to write an entry.
Although I'm not much of a writer, I have composed a Christmas tragedy which needs to be edited—a lot—in order to make it a super short story. I never made it beyond seven words for a 50,000-word NaNoWriMo novel. However, I had no problem going far, far beyond 250ish words for this contest. Mary, Mary, quite contrary, indeed.
Elizabeth Baines on Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Maxine of Petrona linked to this article from Norman Geras's site. Says Maxine, "Not only is it insightful about Wuthering Heights as a novel, but it contrasts the experience of reading it when young with reading it when older." She also makes a connection to our recent discussion of the novel and my blathering, at length, on how my perceptions of its characters have changed through the years. An interesting find.
Failed Intellectuals Society
Founding members Bryan Appleyard (a.k.a. Supreme Failure) and Frank Wilson (a.k.a. Vice Failure) make me chuckle. Alas, I am sure I wouldn't qualify. You probably have to have been considered an intellectual at some point before being able to fail at it. And we all know my intelligence has been under some scrutiny of late.
Posting has been light since the holidays have been keeping me busy. The family is coming to my house for Christmas Day, so I've been decorating and trying to figure out how to rearrange the living room for arrival of the tree. I hope your holiday plans are also progressing.
Doctor Zhivago continues and I'm starting to get into it. I finally have a grip on all the characters and am having some "aha" moments as I get drawn into the events of the October Revolution. It took a while before I figured out that Bolsheviks are communists and that Cossacks are fighting on both sides. Now that I know where the lines are drawn, it's much easier to understand some of the action. I still need to do some searching for more background on the Russian Revolution and Civil War, and maybe I'll post some links for everyone when I've done it.
I think it's hilarious how my list of preconceptions about Russian lit has been expanded, especially since everyone has been so dead on. The list now includes:
- The aristocracy speaks French.
- Male characters are stubborn and ruin the lives of everyone around them.
- Female characters swoon and die young.
- No one ever speaks their true feelings aloud, so misunderstandings and missed opportunities abound.
- First and second names are usually the same.
- Many streets, cities, or precincts are often mentioned using only a first letter; "He was from X_." [from Cynthia]
- There is always something swirling: snow, dust, radiation, or blood (atomized by cannon fire). [from Jamie]
- Vodka. [from Isabella]
- Parties go on all night and are rich with music, drink, and drunks. [from Isabella and me]
I haven't encountered any evidence of #6 in Doctor Zhivago, but I totally buy it as a feature of older Russian novels. I've seen it from many classic British authors and have always assumed it was either incredible laziness or a kind way to not name real places. In any case, I'm having some fun searching for stereotypes.
Me and Russian Lit
This month's discussion of Boris Pasternak's Doctor Zhivago begins on December 18th. I finally started it yesterday and am already confused because I'm only on page 20 and more than 15 characters have had some part in the beginning of the story. Thankfully, the front of my edition has a helpful list of principal characters, so I have some idea of who to forget and who to follow. I also haven't yet looked up "anathematize" (p.9) in the dictionary and am having some concerns about the size of my vocabulary. In any case, this all can probably wait until the discussion.
Two posts ago, I mentioned not being a fan of Russian literature and speculating that Eddie's choice was made to exploit this. He assures me I am wrong. Russian lit and I have an adversarial history going back to high school, which ruined Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground, further exacerbated with The Brothers Karamazov in college. Sad, really, since I love the French existentialists. However, I'm willing to give it a fair chance. A main reason for creating BookBlog was to force myself out of my reading comfort zone.
Before starting to read, I made a list of everything I know about Russian lit:
- The aristocracy speaks French.
- Male characters are stubborn and ruin the lives of everyone around them.
- Female characters swoon and die young.
- No one ever speaks their true feelings aloud, so misunderstandings and missed opportunities abound.
- First and last names are usually the same.
I'm curious to find out if Doctor Zhivago will confirm or disprove my preconceptions. I've already seen evidence of #5, having met Nikolai Nikolaievich and Ivan Ivanovich in the first few pages.
Did the World Really Change?
Upon opening my e-mail yesterday morning, I found the following message:
I am an editor at Vanity Fair. And my new book from FSG, Watching the World Change: The Stories Behind the Images of 9/11, has received a good deal of critical acclaim. But right now it is the book's blog
that has become something of a full-fledged community bulletin-board for people dealing with issues concerning September 11 and its aftermath, as readers continually send in their unsolicited memories and images. I would be grateful if you'd take a look and, if intrigued, let your Bookblog audience know about it.
Thanks for your consideration,
Everyone has a September 11th story. I was fast asleep in my bed in Chicago when the first plane hit, and was soon awakened by a frantic call from my mother in New Jersey telling me to turn on the television. A thousand miles apart, we watched the second plane. My mother, who left Vietnam, pregnant with me, in 1969 with an American sailor, sobbed, "Now you know what it's like to be at war." Later, her television showed snow when the antennas went down with the buildings.
What we didn't know was that my sister was shopping on the World Trade Center concourse. On her way to work in Brooklyn, she took the escalators from the PATH station to buy a new shirt because she was unhappy with how she looked that morning. She went to Express, bought two sweaters, and received a receipt stamped at 8:48 a.m. She was going to duck into a bathroom to change her top but realized she was late and got on a subway train. She saw a lot of police activity upon disembarking but didn't learn about her close call until arriving at work. Although stuck in Brooklyn for the night, she was able to get into Manhattan and onto a New Jersey-bound PATH train the very next morning.
But like I said, everyone has a September 11th story.
Did our lives change? Not really. I spent the days after September 11th preparing for my move back to New Jersey on the 28th. My sister's route to work changed because of the closing of the WTC PATH station, but she still went to Brooklyn every day. She even flew to Chicago on the 26th to help me finish packing and share the driving back to New Jersey.
Have our lives changed? Of course, but none of it has anything to do with September 11th. I went back to school and taught 3rd and 4th grade in Manhattan. Now I own a house and am on an extended vacation while I figure out what I want to do next. My sister got engaged and has a new job that she loves. My mother retired and is anxiously awaiting the wedding and the grandchildren that will hopefully soon follow.
To be perfectly frank, I haven't noticed much of a change in the lives of anyone I know. It was a tragic event for the victims and their families, but, at the risk of sounding cold, good people die every day. I watched a cable reality show about homicide detectives the other night that profiled two murders. In the first, a nine-year-old girl died while playing on her front porch after being hit by a stray bullet from a gang-related shootout. In the other, a young father was shot trying to stop a robbery at the gas station where he worked one of his two jobs. He left behind a toddler and a four-months pregnant wife. These deaths were also tragic, and, like on September 11th, I watched the aftermath on television.
My sister and I spoke briefly about the post-9/11 world. She said, "People's anxiety levels are higher. Like when you see extra police in train stations." Her comment is certainly true, but the logic, to me personally, seems backwards. When you see more police, shouldn't you feel safer because they are there to protect you? Why fear being killed by a terrorist when you're more likely to die by your own hand behind the wheel of your car? Right now, I could probably die in a hundred different ways while sitting here in my office chair. Life and death can intersect anytime and anywhere. I don't see the point in constantly feeling anxious about it.
So I probably won't be reading David Friend's Watching the World Change. I have my own story and look back on that day through the lens of a personal camera. I did look at his web site and took some interest in a post about a woman who is haunted by a New York Times photograph of a businessman falling from the Twin Towers. I couldn't help comparing her words to the flip book at the end of Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, and I much prefer the idea of the falling man flying upward into the heavens. It's naively innocent, but hopeful.
Did the world change? Although we were told the terrorists wouldn't win, many still grapple with terror and anxiety. We've been looking but haven't found Osama bin Laden. A group of mourning families has become a powerful political lobbying group. In Manhattan, a major tourist attraction is a gigantic hole in the ground. Fear and unsubstantiated intelligence were used to put us into an unwinnable situation in Iraq. The media is filled with frightening images. And good people still die in tragic events every day. The world has changed since September 11th, but, to be perfectly honest, it needs to change again.