April 8, 2003 edition

The 2003 War on Iraq poster child;
“Is there a doctor in the house?”; and
the weather outside is frightful

war! huh! good god, ya’ll

“Well the stage was set, the Sun was sinkin’ low down…” These words from the song Doolin’ Daltons on the Eagles’ Desperado album have been ringing in my head for a couple of days now, though I don’t have the album, CD or mp3 file of the song. Such is the demon that’s singing in my head.

That said, I can’t help but piss and moan about the Pfc. Jessica Lynch story. I had an absolutely killer story as much as completed, with it being a mere clean up, spell check and format away from hitting the website and parts unknown. Then it happened.

There was an update. Another update. One of a series. And there has yet to be any indication that the Jessica Lynch story is the real deal, even now at deadline hour for this week’s edition of TRM (now I’m going acronym crazy!). It didn’t just seem like every time I checked the news that the story changed – it did change.

When that initial Pfc. Lynch story hit the Internet and other media and the spin was in. It read like a World War II novel. It did and still does. But follow up stories have “facts” changing as more “intelligence” is gathered. Uh . . . okay.

First she was shot. Then shot and stabbed. Then she wasn’t shot. Then it was shrapnel. Then someone said that she was indeed shot. Then she had been receiving care in an Iraqi hospital. Then the hospital had a makeshift electro-torture area in the morgue. Then it was said she was knocked around by Iraqi soldiers. All this news massaging has me wondering what is truth and what is fiction.

And the war heats up. Three Warhog’s were hit by anti-aircraft fire today: two making it back to coalition airstrips and one being abandoned mid-air, with airmen ejecting and then being rescued in the desert. Two hotels were fired on today by U.S. aircraft, with several reporters killed in the process. And a market place was bombed today with many, many casualties making immediate news fodder for both sides of the war. As time goes on it’s going to get a hell of a lot uglier before it gets any prettier. Trust me on this.

On the lighter side: did you hear that the Iraqi chief of staff called all the Saddam Hussein “look-a-likes” together for a meeting? It went something like this . . . “After last night’s bombing of our leader’s palace by the infidels, I thought I’d bring you up-to-date. It’s a good news – bad news situation. The good news is that our leader was not killed in the attack. The bad news is that he lost an arm.”

And if that wasn’t funny enough for you, consider the fact that the Hunt for Hussein is taking on striking similarity to our Search for Osama. Remember Osama? Sure you do! Well both of these “bad guys” are on the loose now. It will be interesting to see if Saddam Hussein disappears as cleverly as Osama bin Laden apparently has, and if another “new” bad guy surfaces – another diversion. Stay tuned.

And Edwin Starr died this week ...

inhospitable hospital homicide

A quick check for e-mail brought a breaking news story to my in-box from one of Hartford, Connecticut’s top three television stations – a station with a major network affiliation, to boot. It’s sad that this breaking news tickler was so poorly written, but perhaps the station piles such writing duties on the already burdened backs of lackeys or indentured servant-like interns.

The news was of a shooting at a Boston hospital. A man and a woman were were dead. One was a doctor at the facility, the other worked there in some other capacity. Details were slim at best. Black humor surfaced when I mentioned to my wife “at least they had the benefit of getting to the emergency room pretty quickly.”

Later in the day, a news broadcast noted that the shooting was a murder/suicide, which upped the curiosity factor a few steps. For whatever reason, when I first read this story, I secretly hoped it was a love triangle gone bad. There’s something that’s so dramatically powerful and dynamic about them. Now with this edition of TRM hitting the website and Internet, I publicly announce that then-secret desire.

hot dogs – ice cold daffodils

Steel grey is the color of the sky this morning. Its dull, dirty metallic look follows foul weather, and foul weather we’ve had. We’ve just been reminded that being two and a half weeks past the vernal equinox is no guarantee that winter weather has slipped into past tense. Such is life in New England – even in Connecticut. Though not terribly cold by the thermometer indication, the air is thick with moisture making it feel colder than it really is. Brief gusts of wind underscore this humidity affect.

Waiting for the Sun to rise on days like today is both an effort in futility and an act of faithful optimism. The futility is in doing a 360-degree scan of the horizon and knowing full well that the Sun isn’t going to be viewable this morning, and perhaps not all day. The faithful optimism is that miracles do happen, and there might be a break in the cloud cover to show some Sun and blue sky.

As of noon, the center of our universe has yet to show itself directly – its presence is only confirmed by heavy overcast skies backlit and thus providing hushed, diffused light. I fear there will be no vivid rays of sunlight nor blinding light this Spring day.

Rewind. Over this past weekend while running some errands, I passed one of those roadside hot dog carts that was open for business. It was calling my name, though I ignored the call in favor of getting the chore du jour completed. Nitrite-soaked cow lungs or not, I simply love hot dogs. Outside of my own special chili dogs or cheese dogs, steamed franks from those roadside stands are hard to beat. “Just like a ballpark frank”, as my Dad would say.

“Maybe on the way back ...” I mused.

Once the chore was put in the past tense and navigating back to my folks place to drop my Dad off, that dog stand called again, and louder this time. In one of those rare moments when father and son agree, we collectively decided we’d be fools to pass up the first dogs of Spring. We weren’t disappointed, as the cart owner was selling one of the two top brands in these parts. The wind was whipping like mad, so we retreated into the shelter of my Bronco II to “dine.”

After devouring said dogs, I started to pull out of the parking area, but something caught my eye. I backed up a couple of yards and there it was: a cluster of daffodils valiantly standing up to the wind with the help of being encrusted in ice.

When it comes to flowers, daffodils are a hearty lot, much like New England yankees. Daffodils fight and pierce the earth reaching for sunlight on their own schedule, weather be damned. When it’s time, it’s time – dammit! These ice encrusted daffodils spoke volumes, but the major theme being that although we’re technically into Spring, old man Winter isn’t through with us just yet.

In the warmth of my den office, I’m wondering how that cluster of daffodils has fared though yesterday and last night’s storm. And the forecast for tonight and tomorrow is for more mixed precipitation. There’s something about New England ...

Copyright © 2003 by Jeff Bauer
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