Saturday, September 25, 2004

A Meteorological Spanking?

Here we are, awaiting the Hurricane with the light brown hair. There have been so many of them that the forecasters are starting to garble their phrases. One today was muttering about "hurricane symptoms." I kind of like that! It sort of makes it sound like this hurricane season has been like a recurring fever, or perhaps an infection that just won't go away. The symptoms seem to be a lot of aggressive cumulo-nimbus sneezing. One of my friends sent me an email asking what Florida did to have earned all these hurricanes. Was something going on here that had angered The Big Guy? Funny she should ask that. Because in today's paper I read that the Florida Supreme Court had ruled that a husband who had wanted his wife put to death could now legally do so. That's Terry Shiavo, the brain damaged woman who has been the subject of a bitter court battle between her husband and her parents. Ms. Shiavo suffered a health episode a number of years back that left her unable to communicate or feed herself. So she is fed with a feeding tube. Her husband has gone on to a new life with another woman whom he has a child with, and insisted care be withdrawn for his wife. And it was. Just last summer they withdrew food and water and were going to let her die. But Ms. Shiavo's parents fought back, insisting their daughter was not brain dead, and persuaded the governor to sign "Terri's Law," which would allow the legislature to overrule the court and resume feeding. There are a lot of controversial aspects to this case, and I couldn't help but notice reading, in the very same newspaper where this story was on the front page, about a smaller news item from Pennsylvania. That headline read, "Intruder Cuts Feeding Tubes," and describes a story in which six residents of a Philadelpha area nursing home were endangered. Police were looking for suspects and questioning the staff. So is the Florida Supreme Court "playing God" by essentially condemning the brain damaged woman to death by starvation? The phrase Playing God is tossed around a lot these days, but I don't think it does justice to what's going on lately. It is more like we are Impersonating God. Playing implies we are kidding around, and I don't think we are. It is a full-fledged Divine Identity Theft. And we are running around with God's credit card and ruining his credit rating! The Ms. Shiavo case is but one example. She is not being kept alive by extraodinary means. She is not on a ventilator. She is just being given food and water. That is a basic requirement for life. She is not living a life most of us would want to live, but God (the Real One) doesn't seem ready to take her yet, either. Maybe she is saying a lot of prayers for us. Maybe God is testing our humanity with her case. If so, I think we flunked. Florida also had a big announcement last year from a group that had plans to begin human cloning. Gee, we aren't playing God. We ARE God, ain't we? If it's scientifically possible, it must be good. Give me that apple from the Tree of Knowledge. Cloning, stem cell research, partial birth abortion, why, we'll bake you an American Apple Pie with it all! Arguments have been all over the Moral Map on abortion of course, so I'm just mentioning what newspapers so coyly call "a certain type of late term abortion." Hmmm. Is that like a "certain type of heart attack" -- the kind that leaves you dead? What's with the embarrassingly vague euphemism? It's actually an accurate description. Baby is delivered except for the head. Then it is killed while only the head remains in the birth canal. That sounds like a partial birth to me. It's also sort of like inviting someone to your house for dinner and attacking them with the cutlery on their way in the door. Bad Medical Manners, maybe? A "breach" of etiquette? All I know is there is no medical reason involving a woman's health that makes it necessary to kill a baby on its way out of the womb. So this late term abortion thing, whether you call it "a certain type" or not, is just wrong. Yes wrong. I'm willing to pass judgment on it. Have gavel, will travel. The rest of it may be open to public debate. This one shouldn't be. That same baby that's being killed on its way out of the womb could just as easily be delivered. And given to an adoptive family. So a society that is comfortable with partial birth abortions should also resign itself to being comfortable with hurricanes every other week. People in Florida have been interviewed. They they are tired of hurricanes! Well no kidding. And maybe God is tired of partial birth abortions and attempts to establish euthanasia and cloning. No, I don't think God is actually punishing us for trying to impersonate Him. Too many innocent people are in the way of these things. I don't for a moment believe they are trying to clone anything in Haiti, and that poor country bore the brunt of the deaths from Hurricane Jeanne. I DO believe He may be trying to get our attention. That is the question we must ask ourselves in this time of burgeoning natural disasters. Do we want to depend on God? Or do we want to depend on FEMA?

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

"Mistakes Were Made"

Just wanted to point out a large error I made in my blog yesterday. ("Hurricane Tango Continues.") I referred to the Arthur MILLER Dance Studios. Ha. It is Arthur Murray. Miller is the playwright. I have a good reason for Arthur Miller on the brain. I just read an article on him in the New York Times Magazine. At age 88 he is still writing plays, has one in pre-production as we speak. (I left the mistake intact in that post so you can stare at it.) Unlike CBS News we don't dance around our mistakes here. No! We embrace them. Revel in them. Tell you more than you ever wanted to know about them. I found the article interesting so here's the gist: Miller was married to Marilyn Monroe in the early 60s. He wrote a movie screenplay expressly for her, titled, "The Misfits." This turned out to be an okay movie, I guess, but the creation of it was a bit of a trainwreck. Monroe was berating Miller on the set. She was late all the time. I guess her problems were evident. They ended up separating by the time the movie was completed. So in 1964 he puts on a play called, "After the Fall," which is about a saintly playwright and his ultra-demanding and ungrateful wife. Well critics felt it was self-serving and cruel. It was revived on Broadway for the first time this past summer, and the critics had the same reaction this time around. A New Republic reviewer called it "an endless stream of self-justification." Which I guess you can get away with if you're a legendary playwright. So NOW he's come out with a new play called, "Finishing the Picture," which is a thinly disguised re-enactment of the making of "The Misfits" and casts the Monroe character in a harsh light. It's set to debut at the Goodman Theatre in Chicago. Heck, I wasn't even sure he was still alive, much less working up a literary sweat trying to make Marilyn Monroe look bad. Since everyone knows she had a very famous and pathetic life (and I mean that in a sympathetic, not critical way), he is sort of tarnishing himself with some End of Life Pettiness. That's my theory. I haven't seen any of the three productions just mentioned, so I could be totally wrong and these are masterpieces. I wish Arthur Miller, playwright, had the grace to waltz out of this life having left well enough alone. To switch gears to the present, I saw a conglomeration of people on the side of the road on the way to my 5-year-old's school today. It looked like an upscale garage sale, or perhaps an early morning cocktail party. What were all these cars doing pulled over? Well I didn't figure it out until I saw the LAST car in the line. It was half the size of the other cars, due to its unnaturally shortened hood, which was crumpled, jack-knifed toward the sky. Obviously a chain reaction collision. But there were EIGHT cars involved. Which seemed like a lot for a minor road. It was near the yellow blinking school signal that is located in front of a house. There is no school anywhere in sight. If you weren't aware of this oddball thing you might have no idea why people have to slam on the brakes there every morning. I think some dog might be taking obedience lessons at a private home. I'm not sure what's going on with the signal. So by the time I was on my way back from the school dropoff, everyone was still there milling around and exchanging insurance information. We never have enough time to drive carefully and obey the speed limits, but we always have enough time to deal with police reports. Funny how that works.

Tuesday, September 07, 2004

No One Said "Come Again Another Day"

I mean yes, we wanted to the rain to stop. But we did not utter that famous phrase. We knew better. I think I have reason to be crabby about it all. Because now that Hurricane Frances has finally exited the backyard, stage left, I have taken a good look at the weather maps. We will be traveling to Buffalo on Thursday. And if Frances follows current projections, she is due in Buffalo. This weekend. And we are not happy about that. No one should have to endure the same hurricane twice. Although in Buffalo it should be just rain. But still. We have seen more than enough water. And so has Buffalo. And while I'm in a complaining mode, don't think I haven't noticed our next potential guest. The tropics are firing these things at us like rookie baseball pitchers. Just rear back and give us the heat! Hurricane Ivan is already up to Category 4. Egads. Obviously we are hoping to avoid an Ivan the Terrible scenario. If this one comes to Florida, it will be due this weekend. We could have a simultaneous hurricane experience! The Remains of Frances in Western New York, while Ivan attacks the house in Florida. So no matter where we are, we would have to deal with an angry weather system. Hmmm. I am beginning to check the weather sites before I check the email. If you are wondering about the force of hurricane winds, picture this. Frances pushed all the water out of Tampa Bay. It was just mud. The water all went inland. Then of course the water rushed back after the hurricane passed. But still. The thought. Well hidy ho. On to Buffalo!