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No time for love

Sometimes it's the notes you don't play
Dear Dr. Jones
by GZO Jones

Each month GZO Jones adds to his own pungent aura by answering as many questions from our readers as he sees fit. He swears he lives in Brazil, was part of the Beat movement of the 1950s and ’60s and recently recovered from a lengthy coma. Want more? Check out the GZO Jones Town Web site – we’ve been there and all we have to say is ... he hits his deadline, so who are we to argue?

Dear Dr. Jones,

Are the terrorists going to strike again? What are they waiting for?

Shaking in my boots

Dear Boots,

You can bet your 401-K they'll be back.

I don't want to pull a Cheney and get everyone panicked, but hear me out: You snag cookies from the jar, what does mom do? She puts the jar up and out of reach. So what do you do next? Stack chairs precariously to the ceiling such that you can reach the jar, even if it means you fall down and go boom.

More to the point: If I were a terrorist on a somewhat limited budget, would I strike every month? Certainly not. I'd let many months pass so my eventual victims could worry themselves into a dither. Seems to me that that's a far more devastating – and cost-efficient – method than high frequency.

If I were a terrorist (I'm not) I'd hold out for a few things that haven't happened yet:

  • Cher farewell concert
  • Oregon Country Fair (pick a year)
  • Democratic National Convention
  • Woodstock 2004 (or '05)
  • unveiling of the new White House Jai'alai court
  • wedding of Prince William and Britney Spears
  • opening of next crappy Stephen King movie

Now, I'm not saying these silly events should be blown up, just that they would knock a significant section of the populace for a loop. I think that will be the terrorists' intent now that national paranoia is in place.

It's not unlike the Miles Davis method of making music: Sometimes the notes you don't play are the ones that resonate.

Just something to think about.

– Jones

Dear Dr. Jones,

Philip Whalen and Dear Abby both died last month. Whalen was a former "Reedie" schoolmate of yours and Abby was columnist to the desperately disenfranchised. Is there a cosmic connection? Or will I be receiving a posthumously written response?

Perplexed in Portland

Dear PiP,

I think we have a few misapprehensions here that need clearing up.

While I may write for a Portland-based e-zine, I don't really have much of a Beaver State connection down through the years. And I most certainly didn't go to Reed (I'm a Vatican seminary dropout, as long-time readers may recall).

Much like Kerouac, Phil Whalen took Buddhism very seriously. If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Whalen was ordained a Zen monk in the 1970s. He wasn't a half-bad poet, either. But since I didn't know ol' P.W. was still alive, his death is a sad surprise.

Now that Ginsberg, Burroughs and Kesey are gone as well, there isn't much left of the Beats – just Lucy Carr's boy (who does his best to write as far from his pop as possible) and me. And little Caleb has been mad at me ever since I crashed a book-signing and started autographing copies of “The Alienist” in my name. And I can't really blame him for that.

As for Dear Abby? Actually it was her twin, Ann Landers, who died.

What can be said about Ann ... in a rare moment of seriousness, I'll simply say that she'll be missed. Any advice columnist worth a lick ought to realize that without those crazy Lederer girls, this particular calling would yet to be invented.

Just for kicks, let me paraphrase a favorite Ann quote that runs through my addled brain every time I sit down to open my mail: I can't salvage lives that have been rotten for 20 years in a little bit of cyber space.

I can merely shed a little light. But is there a cosmic connection? I think not.

– Jones

Examine more advice from Dr. Jones, visit his Web site and e-mail your problems, large or small, to gzojones@hotmail.com.

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