…some right-wing, right-to-life, so-called Christians can be?

Third Minnesota sextuplet dies;
others in critical condition

Have I mentioned that I have been a nurse for nearly 23 years? And that I worked 14 of those in a high-risk perinatal setting. In a hospital with a Level 3 designation, providing high-tech, high-quality obstetric care.

Here is the entire text of the brief piece, which CNN got from the AP. And I’m sure they paid the royalties to them, too.

MINNEAPOLIS, Minnesota (AP) — Half of the sextuplets born prematurely to a Minnesota couple have now died, while the others remained in critical condition, hospital officials said Saturday.

A third boy, Lincoln Sean Morrison, died Friday. Two of his brothers, Tryg and Bennet, died earlier in the week.

The four boys and two girls were born last Sunday about 4½ months early at a Minneapolis hospital. Doctors had advised the couple to selectively reduce the number of viable fetuses to two, but they declined.

Parents Ryan and Brianna Morrison released a statement saying it has been “a difficult week” for them, and they thanked everyone for their prayers and support.

“We continue to trust in the Lord and are hopeful for a good outcome for Cadence, Lucia and Sylas,” the statement said.

Hospital officials said no further information would be released.

Can I tell you how frustrating this is for an OB nurse?

When I worked in my last life, I worked with two women with fertility problems. Actually, I worked with quite a few with fertility problems but these two stand out in my mind particularly at the moment.

Linda was in her thirties, happily married and Christian. I can’t remember all the specifics but Linda underwent fertility treatments including drugs like Pergonal and Clomid, the use of which frequently gives rise to conception of serious multiples (quads or greater). Mary was in her twenties, married, Catholic and Italian. I have no idea of her fertility treatment but she conceived quads.

Linda was initially pregnant with four babies, selectively aborted one and carried three babies to over 35 weeks gestation before delivering them, all in the vicinity of five pounds. None of them needed assistance with breathing. They all fed. They may have had a few bumps but, pretty much, were as near a term pregnancy as any triplets are likely to get.

Mary, being from a staunch Catholic upbringing, opted not to selectively terminate and tried to bring her quads to term. I believe they delivered in the vicinity of 33 to 34 weeks, considerably earlier and lighter than Linda’s triplets. Mary required much intervention during her pregnancy, developing preterm labor necessitating medications. Some of those PTL meds are not the kindest or best things for even a relatively healthy, childbearing age woman.

I don’t think any of Mary’s babies was able to leave the hospital with her. If I remember correctly, they all required feeding tubes. Some of them may have had assisted ventilation (probably with nasal C-pap.) I think at least two of Linda’s three went home with Mom…it might have been all three.

I had the pleasure of taking care of Linda in the last few weeks of her pregnancy, when she was confined to the hospital. I also took care of her afterward and helped her to learn to breastfeed. Those are some of the fondest memories I have of my years as an OB nurse.

I never had to deal with Mary when she was hospitalized, thankfully. She was one of those nurses who claimed a moral and religious objection to caring for women during elective terminations. Frankly, I always thought she was just lazy and not really so morally offended, more of a selective Catholic, but that’s an even snarkier post for a really snarky day.

If the Minnesota couple had chosen to reduce the number of fetuses in the pregnancy to three, they might all have left with Mom. Had they reduced the number of babies to four, they would all probably still be alive.

As it stands, they delivered six babies at roughly 22 weeks. A 22-week singleton stands, at best, a 50-50 shot, in my estimation. And that’s a 22-weeker that didn’t have to spend those weeks sharing his environment with five siblings.

As it is, the six babies have required a tremendous amount of health care resources. I’m sure not one was able to breathe on his or her own at birth meaning 6 full teams of neonatal nurses, doctors and respiratory therapists needed to be present. Every effort is made to save any neonate, regardless of gestational age, after the point of potential viability (around 22 weeks when I left OB in 2001).

The three boys who’ve died were each treated by a team of those professionals along with all the ancillary departments necessary for a very sick infant. The three surviving babies, I’m sure, remain in a neonatal intensive care unit, fully ventilated, unable to eat, unable to see yet. Totally unprepared for survival in the environment into which they’ve been thrust.

I don’t begrudge them the medical care, which will run into millions of dollars if many more survive. God bless them that they were able to provide care for their children. I begrudge their parents’ complete lack of foresight via blind devotion to a religious ideology. It is my opinion their ideology is flawed, is too literal and basic and lacks any sense of nuance. I’m of the opinion that four of those babies might be alive today had two of them been selectively terminated early in the pregnancy.

Imagine that…abortion might have saved the life of a child that is now dead.

Theirs is a black and white world. Too bad most of the world comes at us in lovely and varied shades of grey.

What a waste.

Oh, I’ll link it up later…I’ve got a bath waiting…

Jeffrey Marsalis, sexual assaulterI was sitting in my local diner this afternoon, eating breakfast and reading my paper. The first story to draw my attention was that about the verdict in a Philadelphia rape case involving one Jeffrey Marsalis. I’ll post the whole article here, since it will disappear into archives in a week or so. If Philly Inq lawyers read this, I’m doing this for the purposes of education and elucidation.

No rape on dates, hoaxer’s jury says

It convicted Jeffrey Marsalis, 34, of two counts of sexual assault. Seven women had accused him.

By Robert Moran

Inquirer Staff Writer

A Philadelphia jury yesterday found Jeffrey Marsalis – accused of drugging and raping seven women, six of whom he met on Match.com – guilty of two counts of sexual assault but acquitted him of a slew of rape charges involving all the accusers. The jurors failed to reach a verdict on one rape count against Marsalis, who pretended to be a doctor, a CIA agent and an astronaut to persuade women to date him.

Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.

Marsalis will remain held without bail until sentencing Sept. 18. He also faces a drugging and rape case in Idaho.

Prosecutor Joseph Khan said a federal investigation of Marsalis continued, and urged anyone with information about other possible crimes to contact the FBI at 215-418-4000.

One of the accusers threw up after learning about the verdict and “felt like someone kicked me in the gut,” the woman said in an interview.

“I feel like the Goldmans,” she said, referring to the family of Ron Goldman, whom O.J. Simpson was found not guilty of murdering.

The jury informed the court that it had reached a verdict after 11/2 hours of deliberation yesterday. It was the fifth day of deliberations, which on Monday had erupted into angry shouting.

Shortly after 1 p.m., the jury foreman was read a list of 35 counts, including 25 rape counts, such as forcible rape, rape of an unconscious person, and rape by substantial impairment.

When the foreman announced the first “not guilty,” Marsalis, dressed in an olive-green suit, looked up. After the third “not guilty,” he began to blink rapidly. But when the foreman announced the first “guilty” for sexual assault, Marsalis gulped.

One of the accusers gazed down with a sad expression when Marsalis was found not guilty of everything involving her. The woman, a lawyer, later sobbed quietly as the jury’s decision was repeated.

One juror, a young man, repeatedly looked at the woman and seemed distressed. The jury was composed of eight women and four men.

Afterward, jurors declined to comment as they rushed from the Criminal Justice Center near City Hall.

The sexual-assault counts involved a New Jersey woman and a woman who lived in Marsalis’ Center City apartment building. It wasn’t clear why the jurors had determined that those women were sexually assaulted rather than raped, or why they believed those two but not the other women.

In those cases, the circumstances differed wildly. One woman had only one contact – a phone call – with Marsalis after the alleged rape. The second woman befriended Marsalis after an alleged rape, and said he had raped her again several months later – the basis for the sexual-assault conviction.

“This is a 100 percent victory,” defense attorney Kathleen Martin said outside the courthouse, answering questions with cocounsel Kevin Hexstall before a media throng.

Martin said the jury had rejected the prosecution’s theory that Marsalis was a sexual predator who sought vulnerable woman and then drugged and raped them.

Hexstall said the convictions involved lesser charges that the District Attorney’s Office almost always threw into a case if rape charges didn’t hold up. “I think he was wrongly convicted, but I respect the jury’s decision,” Hexstall said.

Martin said Marsalis “was pleased with the jury’s hard work.”

Khan said the prosecution was “pleased that the jury recognized that Mr. Marsalis is a criminal, a sexual offender.”

He praised the seven accusers for “courageously” coming forward to testify.

Each count of sexual assault carries a maximum of 10 years in state prison, Khan said. Marsalis will be assessed to determine whether he is a sexually violent predator and will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

The jury began deliberating Thursday after 21/2 weeks of testimony highlighted by the appearances of the seven women, who accused Marsalis of drugging and raping them between 2003 and 2005.

At that time, the women were young professionals or obtaining advanced degrees or certifications.

One was a resident in the Metropolitan apartments near Hahnemann University Hospital, where Marsalis frequently roamed the halls in scrubs and a white lab coat with a phony ID.

Hexstall said the prosecution had employed “character assassination” by dwelling on the phony claims, the fake badges and manipulated photos, including one of Marsalis in an astronaut suit, “in order to get the jury to hate him.”

The women did not immediately report the alleged rapes or go to a hospital to be examined, but all did confide to someone later that they had been raped.

Those corroborating witnesses and the similar accounts provided by the women, who did not know one another, were the key elements of the prosecution.

But the women’s continued contacts with Marsalis – one befriended him, another had dinner with him, one called to recommend he go to a self-improvement seminar she was attending – had some trial followers believing the defense’s contention that the women had consensual sex with him and regretted it after authorities told them that he was a fraud.

An official of Women Organized Against Rape, which monitored the trial, said she was pleased that the jury had held Marsalis “accountable for his actions,” but was disappointed it had acquitted him of the most serious charges.

“We had hoped that he would be found guilty of all the charges,” said Kathryn Fidler, the group’s legal services director, who was in court each day of the trial.

“But our primary focus was, first and foremost, on the well-being of the victims in the case,” she said. “It is very difficult to come into an open courtroom and have to talk about the worst experiences of your life. We really respect the women for doing that.”

Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.

Okay.

So this man meets accomplished professional women over Match.com and gets together with them. He lies about everything in his life, claiming to be a doctor, a CIA agent, a Secret Service agent with direct access to the current president of the United States (as if that’s impressive!), a flight surgeon, an astronaut.

Here is a list of what he was then accused of doing to the women:

A summary of the charges against Jeffrey Marsalis

Prosecutors had contended that Jeffrey Marsalis drugged and raped the seven plaintiffs after they had drinks with him or shared food with him. In most cases, the women had left their drinks with Marsalis when they went to the restroom. The defense argued that the women consented to sex after drinking heavily and there was no evidence of drugging.

Jurors considered three definitions of rape in most cases: rape by forcible compulsion, rape of an unconscious victim and rape by causing substantial impairment.

*** Woman No. 1: Nov 30, of New Jersey. Drank a few beer samplers, then one or two beers at the Independence Brew Pub in January 2003.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Guilty on sexual assault.

***No. 2: Now 26, met Marsalis in the Metropolitan Apartments, where both lived.

1) October 2003: She went out with him to Fado pub. Had about two gin and tonics.

– Not guilty on the three counts of rape.

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

2) January 2004: Marsalis came to her apartment after she got out of the hospital. No drinks. The woman testified that he forced himself on her. In this case, prosecutors did not contend she was first drugged.

– Jury hung on a charge of rape by forcible compulsion

– Guilty on sexual assault.

*** No. 3: Lived in Bethlehem, Pa. Was 26 when Marsalis allegedly got her pregnant. Testified she had about half a glass of red wine at a restaurant. At her condo, Marsalis later poured her another glass of red wine, of which she drank some.

After she told him she was pregnant and wanted him to pay to end the pregnancy, she said he threatened her with his “CIA connections” if she were to report anything to police.

– Not guilty on the three counts rape

– Not guilty sexual assault

– Not guilty of impersonating a public servant

*** No. 4: Single mother and nurse from New Jersey, now 36. Testified that she had three glasses of merlot and a kamikaze shot with Marsalis at Tir Na Nog on Nov. 12, 2004.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 5: Now 32, was a law-school student when she met Marsalis on Dec. 30, 2004. She had three beers at Fado. After, at Tir Na Nog, she had ordered a white wine, but didn’t remember drinking it. She recalled parts of her night with Marsalis.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 6: now 36, of Exeter, Pa., spent a weekend in Marsalis’ apartment, in June 2004. On the first night, they went to Tir Na Nog, where she had two beers and a mixed-drink shot. She said she blacked out. The next day, she said she drank iced tea in Marsalis’ apartment, and sometime after having lunch with him, blacked out again.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

*** No. 7: Now 30, public accountant, lived in Downingtown, had medical problems that affected her memory, concentration and word fluency.

1) Feb. 26, 2005: She had one draft beer each at World Cafe Live and later at Continental Midtown. Afterward, they went to Striped Bass, where Marsalis ordered them each a glass of white wine. She said she had a few sips. The only time she testified going to the restroom was at Striped Bass. Shortly after, she said she blacked out.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault

2) March 1, 2005: She said she agreed to meet Marsalis again. She wanted to confront him with having raped her on their first date, she testified. They went to a Chinatown restaurant, where Marsalis served them food from platters and she had a Coke. She did not go to the restroom.

– Not guilty on three counts of rape

– Not guilty on sexual assault.

Is it possible, I suppose, that these women had consensual sex with Marsalis and later pressed their claims due to embarrassment at having been duped by this asshole. That was the contention of his defense team, though, perhaps, not in those exact words.

I suppose it’s possible that these women, who did not know each other, came up, independently, with scenarios that are remarkably similar in modus operandi.

I imagine it’s possible that other women…

(“Marsalis was found not guilty in January 2006 of drugging and raping three other women.”)

in Philadelphia, or even in another state,…

(“If he is found not guilty, he faces another drugging and rape case in Sun Valley, Idaho. He is alleged to have assaulted a woman in October 2005 while he was awaiting trial here in a similar drugging and rape case. He was later found not guilty in the previous Philadelphia case.

While in the ski-resort town of Sun Valley, he joined the local fire department as a probationary firefighter in the summer of 2005, said Fire Chief Jeffrey Carnes. Marsalis’ mother, Darlene Jevne, owns several condominiums in Sun Valley and a nearby 400-acre ranch.

“He said he was going to be living here,” Carnes recalled.

At that time, he was out on bail in Philadelphia.

“He disappeared shortly after August,” said Carnes.

Marsalis remained in Sun Valley until he was arrested in the alleged rape there and then returned to Philadelphia to face rape charges here.”)

have had the same unfortunate type of encounter with this man. I guess there is some possibility that the Idaho woman could have had the same regrets about having fallen for his bullshit and chosen to falsely accuse him in that case, as well.

I suppose it’s also possible that it may snow overnight here in suburban Philly on June 14th or that Bill Clinton will really be able to keep it zipped for 4-8 years if Hillary manages to get into the White House. Feel free to insert whatever definition of “it” you like.

I am sitting here in my 62-degree F apartment in ski socks, fuzzy slippers, Polartec sweats and a velour sweater on June 14th, after all.

Possible.

Not likely.

But here’s what I really don’t get.

“Marsalis, 34, faces up to 20 years in prison for the two counts of sexual assault, defined as intercourse without consent. Rape includes aggravating factors such as force.”

According to this passage, the law in Pennsylvania defines “rape” as involving some sort of aggravating factor, such as force. Since when is drugging someone to the point of rendering them incapable of giving consent not “force?” I know that the verdict was more about believing the defense attorneys’ contention that there was no drugging and that the women merely later regretted an incredible lapse of judgment in having consented to fuck the loser. I simply don’t understand how a reporter could not come to the conclusion that doping does not constitute the use of “force.”

In my browsing this afternoon, I happened upon the definition of “rape” at the website of a district justice in Chester County. (Another thing I don’t get is the whole “District Justice” thing in PA, or judges running for the office at all, but that’s a whole ‘nother post.) That website was the closest I could come to finding the criminal code of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania online, despite the name of this site. What’s up with that? Do I not, as a resident of PA, have the right to ready access to the laws governing the commonwealth in which I live? Where’s that ACLU phone number again?…

I don’t understand the tendency of our species to perpetually denigrate the female. Women in some Muslim countries are not allowed to attend school, read books, drive cars or leave the house without head-to-toe coverage or male escort. Women here in America may be lied to and deceived, drugged and sexually penetrated without significant penalty, without calling it what it is, without defining it as “rape?” Somebody please remind me how these things benefit the species from an evolutionary standpoint? How, again, does this make sense?

I suppose a world of mutual love and respect is possible.

But not likely.

(Another tidbit I offer for your perusal is a stunning letter from the Women’s Law Project to then-FBI director Robert Mueller about the definition of “rape” in the Uniform Crime Report.)

Oh, one more thing I can’t understand is how any woman could represent this man but; as a woman, a feminist, a Christian, a mother and grandmother, a liberal/progressive/libertarian/borderline socialist; I respect and defend Kathleen Martin’s right to make her own mistakes.

Moses, Jesus and a little, old man are playing golf.

Moses tees off and his ball heads straight into a water hazard.  No problem.  Moses simply parts the water, walks onto the pond basin and taps onto the green.

Jesus is up next.  He gives His ball a whack and sends it careening into the same pond.  Jesus saunters out onto the water and, with a mighty swoosh, sends His ball onto the green a little ahead of Moses’.

The little, old man toddles up to the tee and drives his ball completely off the course.  It bounces onto the windshield of a passing truck and caroms to the water hazard where it bounces off a lily pad.  The ball is then flicked into the mouth of a bullfrog.  Just when all seems lost, an eagle swoops down from above, clutches the frog in his talons and flies away over the course.  As they pass over the green, the frog spits out the ball which promptly drops right into the hole.

Moses turns to Jesus and says, “I hate playing with your Father.”

Ba-dum-bump.

What if you were told you had to give up three of your five senses? Which could you stand to do without. Which two would you rather die than never experience again?

I’ve given this a lot of thought this evening, for lack of anything better to do while I do laundry and listen to The World on NPR. I know I could easily do without vision and taste. I’ve come to the conclusion that both are highly overrated, overstimulated and derive far more emphasis than they deserve. Besides, I’ve had my fill of both of them. I don’t mean I’d prefer never to see a beautiful vista or piece of art again but I’ve seen enough sculpture and valleys to have memories aplenty.

And taste? Hasn’t our American gluttony gotten us into enough trouble? Greed for oil. Hunger for more, more and ever more food and the obesity that results from it. I’ve eaten enough succulent strawberries and pumpkin pie with whipped cream to last a lifetime. I sure would miss ice cream but it’s a sacrifice I could make.

So I’m left with three sense and have to unload one more. Which one?

Music. Voices. Babbling creeks. Crickets and katydids. My son. My grandboy. Hmmm.

The silkiness of a bubble bath. The sting of salt water on my calves. The feel of my skin after I’ve had an Indulgence Day.” Clean, crisp, line-dried cotton sheets on a well-made bed. I don’t know.

The scent of a bakery or pizzeria. The aroma of my lover as we simmer against each other. An old-fashioned rose. A summer rain after a dry spell. Lily of the valley. An infant. What to do?

I just got back from putting my next load of laundry. The rain has come to the Delaware Valley. Thank God, because it put out the fire in the New Jersey Pinelands! It rained hard last evening and a cool front moved in. Today was about perfect, in my opinion…high about 69 F, mostly sunny, clouded over a bit and cooled off nicely as the sun set. I have new hostas and ferns freshly planted and getting a nice, easy drink.

I walked back up from the basement laundry room. The rain was steady but quite light. The ground smelled of gratitude. The rain wasn’t yet heavy enough to penetrate the canopy of the maple tree that shades the walkway to my home. I stood and felt the rain on my face, listened to it gently splatter on the jewel green leaves and breathed deep the scent of the earth as she accepted the first of the offering from the sky.

I would give up sounds, I think. I couldn’t conceive of walking in the world and not feeling that on my skin or to never smell freshly-baked bread. To never feel the sensation of butter melting on my tongue, smell a deep, old forest or feel my grandson kiss my cheek? That would be more than I could bear.

Hell, I’m going to spellcheck and link this post up later. Right now I need to go eat something!

So, what would you choose?

Cheers!

So, I’m doing this quiz on LiveScience. I know it’s lightweight but I just worked the last two days and lightweight is all I can deal with right now, what with a glass o’ wine in me and all. (Yes. I am a cheap date.)

Anyway, I’m taking the sex quiz…myths, taboos and such (Science Lite and sex…such a lovely combination) …and the question is:

Proportionally and compared to other primates, human males have…

And the choices are:

  • Tiny genitalia
  • Massive genitalia
  • About average

Being the kind soul I am and the mother and grandmother of males, I don’t want to suggest the males of my species are deficient in that manner. However, the feminist in me simply cannot grant my male genetic counterparts the superiority of “massive,” now can I? So I naturally click on “about average.”

Guess what? The male of this species has, compared to other primate males, “massive genitalia.”

Whodathunkit?

Maybe there is something to that “superiority of the male of the species” and “Power of the Penis” stuff after all?

So, who’s conducting the research into the relative size of the female genitalia?

This is the DSM-IV diagnosis my therapist assigned to me a few years ago:

Dysthymia.

(I found that information on Internet Mental Health, which I haven’t explored enough yet to endorse, though methinks it has potential.)

And this is the most amazing description of my condition I could have ever imagined:

Mental Water Torture.

“If we think of major depression as a spectacular brain crash, milder depression can be compared to a form of mind-wearing water torture. Day in and day out it grinds us down, robbing us of our will to succeed in life, to interact with others, and to enjoy the things that others take for granted. The gloom that is generated in our tortured brains spills outward into the space that surrounds us and warns away all those who might otherwise be our friends and associates and loved ones. All too frequently we find ourselves alone, shunned by the world around us and lacking the strength to make our presence felt.

The symptoms are similar to major depression, with feelings of despair and hopelessness, and low self-esteem, often accompanied by chronic fatigue. This can go on for years, day in, day out.

Still, we are able to function, a sort of death-in-life existence that gets us out into the world and to work and the duties of staying alive then back to our homes and the blessed relief of flopping into our unmade beds.”

(from Suite 101…anybody ever heard of it before?)

Is it any wonder we turn to drugs?

Good thing I have an appointment on Thursday. After reading that, I am so much more depressed! ; )

I listened to NPR‘s Weekend Edition on Saturday morning as part of my usual wake-up routine before work. It was then I learned about the devastating tornado that struck the town of Greensburg, Kansas, sweeping overhead as the 1800-plus residents (according to the town’s website/1,500 according to the AP) sat huddled in small spaces in their basements Friday night.

The town was flattened. Nearly every building in town. Gone.

I traveled through Kansas a couple of years ago on a 7,000 mile road trip. I drove west along Route 400, across the bottom of the state, a little north of the Oklahoma state line. Kansas still stands out in my mind as one the most inhospitable climates I’ve ever visited. Everywhere I looked was a vast expanse of hot, dry, brown earth. Little broke up the horizon. It was July when I visited and the nation’s mid-section was in the middle of a serious heat wave (over 100 degrees F for that part of my trip). I couldn’t get out of Kansas too soon.

I had planned my trip, in part, based on attractions I’d discovered on Roadside America. It’s amazing, some of the things you can see in America. The world’s largest ball of twine. Trees with thousands of cast-off shoes hanging from their branches. Stone monoliths created by hermits or monks. Fields of 6-foot tall cement ears of corn. Buildings shaped like baskets, hot dogs, donuts.

There wasn’t a whole lot to be seen in Kansas and I really hadn’t planned on stopping anywhere once I decided the ball of twine was too far off my route. But I had printed out a couple of items from Roadside America’s website in case I decided to stop and gape. As it turned out, I had time enough to stop by the world’s largest hand-dug well. It happened to have been dug in Greensburg, Kansas. (The fate of the Big Well is as yet unknown as it is completely covered in debris from the storm.)

A small town in the middle of America. A quiet, tree-lined main street with a gas station, school, restaurants and shops. The silos of a giant grain elevator one short block off the main street. Children. Families. Churches. Friendly people.

I didn’t stop to eat in Greensburg. Now I wish I had but it was mid-afternoon and I meant to make Colorado that evening. I stopped and gawked down into the hand-dug well, though. I admired the 1,000 pound pallasite meteorite in the Big Well gift shop, the largest of its kind ever unearthed. I chatted with the girl at the counter in the shop and with a mother/daughter who stopped in. I bought a bottle of Big Well water and a Big Well toothpick holder (which I still keep in my car). I filled up at the gas station and headed out.

Greensburg struck me, though. I’ve always remembered it vividly. I was struck by the friendliness of the people, the flatness of the land, the importance of the basics in daily life. I remember the feel of old-town middle America in the town; small town life, the heartland.

I listened to an interview with a survivor of the tornado on Day to Day on NPR this afternoon. He talked about huddling in his basement with his family, riding out the F-5 tornado. He talked about staying and rebuilding. He said the entire town was flattened except for a small area on the east edge of town near the golf course. You can see from news photos that the grain elevator survived.

Greensburg, KS

07tornado-600.jpg

Later in the day, before I headed out to the garden and creek bank preservation / stabilization work, I listened to All Things Considered as Michelle Norris interviewed Dennis McKinney, who road out the tornado in a bathtub in his basement with his 14 year-old daughter. Mr. McKinney happens to be a representative in the Kansas state legislature. I strongly encourage you to take a listen to that one. It’s heart-rending.

I don’t know what the point of this post is, really. The devastation of nature, the resilience of humans, the vagaries of fate. I suppose it’s mostly about memories and small-town life and community and my longing for that.

I am sorry that the Greensburg I visited two years ago is no more and thankful that only nine of the 1,800 (1,500) residents succumbed to the storm (so far). I am grateful that they found a survivor last night. I wish them luck, love and all the good wishes, positive vibes and prayers I can spare for them.

This is the America I admire. God bless Sweetwater, OK, Greensburg, KS and all the other small towns affected by this terrible storm system. God bless the people of Greensburg and Mullinville, Kansas, both of which I visited in July of 2005.

God bless America!

Related links:

AOL news (AP)

Photo and radar images from Google Earth

AP story from my Philadelphia Inquirer

NYT article from today (5-7-2007) (source of the fabulously painful photo above)

Kind of creepy storm chasers web site

Photos and videos page of the kinda creepy storm chasers site

AP story on CBS News

McClatchy News Services story on the NY Daily News

NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center report for May 4, 2007

Enhanced Fujita scale for tornado damage

All Things Considered story (NPR / audio)

Day to Day story (NPR / audio)

Greensburg tornado radar loop on You Tube

You Tube video of a group of young men (storm chasers, fools or both?) following in the tornado’s path.

The AP and NYT articles will, of course, be moved to their pay archives after this week. The NPR stuff should be there for decades, especially if you contribute during their spring fund drive!

Remember when I said I would be glad to fuck this man? At the time I said that, I even said I’d go so far as to marry him. Well, that was before I found out that Bill just quit drinking. Sorry, but given my family history, the last thing I need is a drunk man for a husband (or a drunk woman for a wife, for that matter, though the “Dad connection” is much greater with a man).

If you’ve just now shown up for the first time, welcome and a little backstory: my dad died a year ago and he was an alcoholic all my life, though a dry drunk for the last dozen years of his. I imbibe a bit but am very conscious not to overdo. I’ve always lived with the fear of developing a dependency (other than the nicotine addiction). I lived with the fear of becoming mentally ill, too, but that’s another post…

So, Bill, I’m in for a weekend (even a long one) but not a lifetime, Hon. Too risky.

Below is one of the reasons I’d fuck the man.

Here is where you can listen to and buy it.

These Cold Fingers

Gina left town with the first snow of the year
He drove her to the airport in his Ford
And he tried to propose as he ordered one more beer
but the PA drowned out his words and it was time for her to board.

So he walked her to the gate
He took his hat off as he kissed her
He needed one more drink to take the chill out of his soul
He said a quick goodbye then spent two hours in the bar
Finally paid his tab and kept a dollar for the toll

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

It’s four o’clock and the sun’s gone down the drain
It’s still late winter but they say it’s early spring
Louis reads the gas pumps, Rossi counts the oils
But me I’m done so punch the clock and see you in the morning

There’s nothing back at home that ain’t gone greasy from the stove
I never laughed so hard as when that typewriter broke
Think I’ll stop along the river road for a half pint and some beer
Well everything would be ok if those old dreams would disappear

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

The dog can’t move no more, surprised he made it till the spring
His pain won’t go away and the pills don’t do a thing
You’ve known that old hound longer than you’ve known any of your friends
And no matter how you let him down he’d always take you back again

So it’s one tall glass of whiskey, one last drink for old times’ sake
The dog just lays in bed and watches every move you make
Wrap him up in his blanket, hold him once more close to you
Lead him out behind the barn with a borrowed .22

Everything slips through these cold fingers
Like trying to hold water, trying to hold sand
Close your eyes and make a wish a listen to the
singer
One more round, bartender, pour a double if you
can

Bill Morrissey‘s These Cold Fingers, released on Standing Eight in 1989 on Philo Records. Available now on Rounder Records.

The raw emotion in that song, the heart-rending sorrow. Anyone with the ability to tap into that much pain in the world and keep on moving is a person of interest. Mind you, I had no idea he was speaking from personal experience about the booze. I assumed it was metaphor. Though from the raspy voice, I probably should have suspected…

Congrats on the sobriety, Bill! May it stay with you always!

 

Do you think it will feel like the killer orgasm of all time?

I sure hope so!

If so, I’m wearing these.

Here’s where you can meet the woman who designed them.

Finally, here is where you can click up a pair for yourself.

Cheers!

For those of us who are fortunate enough to be unionized and those who wish they could organize and those who should be unionized and all those who labor the world over.

For those who are socialist and/or liberal and/or democratic and/or egalitarian and/or Democrat and even conservative and/or Republican and/or an asshole…

Happy May Day!

Before that she bitched about: