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San Francisco 2007 Carnaval Parade

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September 11, 2007

Container Ships
Tuesday. So we remember that other Tuesday six years ago today, a day we now mentally revisit whenever we see or hear the phrase “9/11”. The radio is tuned to the Senate Petraeus hearings this morning after breakfast at the usual place, the sky overcast, the air cool. I remember driving into the office early in the morning listening to the first reports on the car radio six years ago, remember where I sat and with whom I was working, remember going into one of the conference rooms and turning on the television set to see the towers on the New York skyline after the first plane had hit, listening to the news in a state of numb suspended animation. What was happening? What was I seeing on this television set playing to a small empty room on the 5th floor of an office building located in Oakland? A scene that has since played on every television set in the world?

And I'm not sure I'm any closer to a clearer image today as I was then. A small group of people unhappy with the presence of our soldiers and our influence in Saudi Arabia was able to assemble twenty people to commandeer four airplanes on 9/11/2001 and fly two of them into the New York twin towers, a third into the Pentagon and the fourth was thwarted by its passengers (more brave than I can imagine) by flying it into the ground. That's pretty much 9/11. It seems to have resulted in the invasion of Afghanistan, the invasion of Iraq and the current drum beat to prepare us for an invasion of Iran. Is that good? Is that bad? Are there going to be more 9/11's? We assume there will, but it's been six years without a peep, what does that mean? Iran, Iraq: what are they about? Afghanistan and the Taliban, bin Laden and his creepy little video tapes? How do they relate?

If you don't have a clue, why rattle on?

Well, having worked for a container ship company over these many years, we always wondered if one of these wackos would pack a container one day with explosives and would it be one of ours? Yes, I worked in IT, bits and bytes, nothing to do with cargo, but I knew the people who managed port security, others who knew in detail how cargo was handled: who sent it, where it came from, who supervised the packing; what was checked, what was not, how easy it would be to stick something into a twenty foot container of recycled paper shipped from the back woods of, say, India to the port of Los Angeles. Or, a less wonderful thought, destined for Oakland. And it would be easy, my friends, it would be easy. Less easy one hopes as time goes along, but the reason it's never been done is that no one with the price of shipping a container across the Pacific (two or three thousand bucks) and the price of a case or two of dynamite (probably not that much) has made the attempt. I suspect, if you know something about planes, trains or ships, you've had similar thoughts.

But enough. This has dribbled out throughout the day which tells me I should have trashed this and started over with a different subject, something about Ms. Emmy and the exciting life of a house bound kitty cat. Not a lot of controversy there unless you're in the business of sending them about in container ships.

The photograph was taken at the San Francisco 2007 Carnaval Parade with a Nikon D2Xs mounted with a 70 - 200mm f 2.8 Nikkor VR lens at 1/2500th second, f 2.8, ISO 640.