Tuesday, April 15, 2003

Complete victory?
Well, maybe not completely, totally, utterly, incontrovertibly, but pretty darn close. Abbu Abbas has been captured - in Baghdad! And over 100 prisoners have been released from Saddam's Security Police HQ in Baghdad. And I passed the bar exam! Quite efficiently, I might add. So a good day was had by me.

Sunday, April 13, 2003

I get my Florida bar exam results tomorrow. Thumbs up or thumbs down. I am somewhat miffed to think that a few words on a piece of paper will determine how I spend the next three and a half months, either setting up my future or going back over mountains of material to be ready for the July 29 exam. This powerless feeling may be good therapy, though. And in either case I'll have to wait a few more months to be vetted by the background screening, which seems to be on a par with that accorded candidates for CIA cryptology slots. I never want to get myself in this situation again. Now that I no longer own a car, I am a bit freer. I no longer am chained to auto insurance and loan payments. Now if I can divest myself of my debts, my house, my job, perhaps I can taste freedom, more, pace Janis Joplin, than "nothing left to lose" but certainly including that concept.

The big day is here, and of course the web page listing the results of the exam is unreachable. I've been watching with interest my reactions in these last hours. I never realized how profoundly physical nervousness is. I am periodically flooded with adrenalin, producing "butterflies in the stomach" and shaky hands and mental confusion. As Vernon Howard instructs, I do not try to repress these feelings, just observe them with interest. They are much more widespread and intense than I had ever noticed before, once you really look at them. I don't like them. I want to be free of such feelings forever. The fear complex will go away, so VH teaches, just by letting it have free rein and not seeing it as a failing, thereby giving it power. It's making me nearly sick to my stomach. But I know it's false, artificial. So I can do anything I want. I can wait for the letter, which should come tomorrow, or go to the web site any time I want. I don't have to let my fear programming, product of my conditioned self, dictate my actions. Either outcome is equally tolerable. In fact, I have come up with good reasons why failing may even be better. I would be forced to study the law intensively for another three months, therefore becoming more learned and, presumably, competent. The other path of the future, passing and being certified, is less certain, perhaps, therefore, more nerve-wracking. But that could also be interesting, as it's a second chance to do what I didn't do when I passed the New Hampshire bar in 1985, that is, create a satisfying legal career. I'll be back with the full results and my conditioned self's reactions whenever I can get them. Hey, it's different from the war news!
Tehran thinks again
The Iranian regime - why is it whenever I see that word, I subconsciously put "change" after it? - seems to be wasting no time looking at its bread and determining which side has the butter :
"Now that the ruling ayatollahs have realised the danger that looms over their head, that this American Administration is serious in its menaces, they try to get out of the pit in which they had plunged themselves", commented Mr. Ahmad Ahrar, a seasoned political analyst.
You don't think their stance could have been affected by remembering that the most modern tanks they have are Russian T-72s? Yes, those same T-72s that in the "vaunted elite" Iraqi Republican Guards' hands never landed a single shot on any of the US tanks and were wiped out to the number of nearly 800? That consideration could concentrate one's attention. As well as the thought that the new democratic government in Baghdad may eventually acquire some Abrams and Bradleys and some real military training and the esprit de corps that democracy can inspire. You have to admit, however, that the Persians have a talent for realpolitik:
"Our ideology is flexible. We can choose our interests on the basis of Islam. Still, to put the country in jeopardy on the ground that we are acting on an Islamic basis is not at all Islamic", he said, noting that Iran's stance of distancing itself from the US is "political rather than religious".
As Reynolds would say, "heh!". (Has he copyrighted that yet?)

Appointment in Samarrah
The wonderful news of the freeing of most of the prisoners of war who had been captured in the 507th Maintenance Group's contretemps in Iraq was made more interesting by the fact that it occurred near Samarrah, a name that has certain connections:

Appointment in Samarra

A merchant in Baghdad sent his servant to the market.
The servant returned, trembling and frightened. The
servant told the merchant, "I was jostled in the market,
turned around, and saw Death.

"Death made a threatening gesture, and I fled in terror.
May I please borrow your horse? I can leave Baghdad
and ride to Samarra, where Death will not find me."

The master lent his horse to the servant, who rode away,
to Samarra.

Later the merchant went to the market, and saw Death in
the crowd. "Why did you threaten my servant?" He asked.

Death replied,"I did not threaten your servant. It was
merely that I was surprised to see him here in Baghdad,
for I have an appointment with him tonight in Samarra."

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December 2002

And it has been used as an analogy by a famous writer. Perhaps it's another case of an oracle being misinterpreted. It may be the collectivists who came to grief at Samarra.