Mornings: I’m finishing my six-months-after

: I’m finishing my six-months-after sermon for tomorrow; again, I extend an invitation to anyone in the neighborhood; it’s a harmless Congregational church. And I”m working on a lot of posts for the Monday anniversary.

: A passenger taking his first flight after 9.11: “It’s far too early to be walking next to camouflaged men wielding M-16s.” [via Kottke]

Defcon 5
: It’s about time: Tom Ridge has finally formulated a more specific alert system so that, rather than issuing the vague watch-your-ass alerts (something’s going to happen and we think we know what but we’re not going to tell you what or where or when and we’re just going to make you nervous; your tax dollars at work) they will now have more specific advisories to local authorities and a grading system just like the Defcon of Cold-War-movie fame. The first rank is business-as-usual; watch out for common criminals. The highest of three to five levels means an attack is imminent.

A town of pain
: Six months after, the NY Times returns to Middletown, NJ, the town that suffered more death in the World Trade Center attack than any other:

A middle-aged widow rarely gets out of bed when the sun is up. Another staves off the pain with mounds of paperwork and nonstop errands. One young mother, inconsolable and financially overwhelmed, has scared friends with dark suggestions that she and her children might join her husband in heaven. For a mother coping with a lost son, spirituality has become a comfort and a crusade.

Weather-beaten American flags still fly from every other minivan antenna, and the signs along Route 35 still proclaim “God Bless Middletown,” but for most residents of this comfortable, self-concerned suburb, life has regained its former hectic rhythms, marked by early morning commutes, early evening intramural sports and monthly mortgage payments.

A great post by Charles Johnson puts this story in just the right perspective, suggesting that Ted Rall — he of the cartoon mocking terror widows — read the story, rub his nose in it, see the pain even if he can’t feel it.