Thursday, March 31, 2005

the cluetrain manifesto

Sr. Rose sent this, it's the 95 theses of The Cluetrain Manifesto. It has complete relevance to the blogosphere, the communicating of information during Terri Schiavo's fight for life, and the reforming of journalism and politics from the ground up.

This is about the market. It applies to journalism and politics as well. Here are theses 94 and 95, adaptations by moi:
  1. To traditional corporations [politics, journalism], networked conversations may appear confused, may sound confusing. But we are organizing faster than they are. We have better tools, more new ideas, no rules to slow us down.
  2. We are waking up and linking to each other. We are watching. But we are not waiting.



Read it here.

Ignatian discernment talk gets scrambled by the UD public relations folks

I sent the UD Public Relations folks a press release about an upcoming lecture on April 11 given by Sister Kathryn James, fsp (Daughters of St. Paul) on the subject of Rules of Discernment as taught by St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Here's how it appeared in our daily events schedule:

April 11
Lecture: "Discerning the Spirits," a lecture on divination and spirituality practices. 104 Gore Hall, 7-9:15 p.m. For information, call 831-8812.


YIKES!

I am flabbergasted. I assume they don't know that divination is not something that Catholics do. And I assume they didn't think anyone would be interested in knowing that this was a lecture on Ignatian spirituality given by a Catholic nun.

Terri Schiavo has died.

Her parents were denied a request to be at her bedside.

Oremus. Eternal rest grant unto her, O Lord, and may perpetual light shine upon her. May Terri's soul and the souls of all the faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace. Amen.

Read it here.

As my friend Deb D. said, "This is not the end. This is just the beginning." Our children's children and their children & grandchildren will be reading about Terri in the history books. God grant that they read that this barbarity woke America up to look at the culture of death and the culture of life. And to choose life.

And may the legislators who made of this an issue to score political points rather than a sincere demonstration of the integrity of their political beliefs be quickly removed from office, whatever "side" they were on.

Rae



Wednesday, March 30, 2005

CodeBlueBlog Issues $100,000 Challenge to Terri Schiavo Neurologist Experts

A startling and credible challenge from CodeBlueBlog, the award-winning medical blog of a radiologist who has extensively critiqued the CT scan evidence for Terri Schiavo's diagnosis of PVS:
I am offering $100,000 on a $25,000 wager for ANY neurologist (and $125,000 for any neurologist/bioethicist) involved in Terri Schiavo's case--including all the neurologists reviewed on television and in the newspapers who can accurately single out PVS patients from functioning patients with better than 60% accuracy on CT scans.

I will provide 100 single cuts from 100 different patient's brain CT's. All the neurologist has to do is say which ones represent patients with PVS and which do not.

If the neurologist can be right 6 out of 10 times he wins the $100,000.
Read the full story of the challenge here.

As for me.
Q: Why do I hope someone will accept this challenge?

A: Because I hope to encourage independent investigation on the part of my interlocutors on the "other side" who believe that this is a political matter more than a matter of justice.

I have started discussing the Terri Schiavo case with John Stapleford, who like Ellen Leibowitz is a person I like and respect who is on the "other side" in this case and others that involve the Blue State/Red State dichotomy. John's an interesting, cool guy I met first because he's a friend of my son David, and then because he & I worked together in the McDowell Computing Labe at UD. Read his blatherings here.

My hands feel most tied with folks like John and Ellen because my political allies are Republicans and conservatives, while I am by tradition and temperament a Democrat and a liberal who finds herself out of sync with what both Democrats and liberals have evolved into. I will be happy when a third party emerges, or one of the two parties decides to integrate liberal social justice principles with conservative protection of human life at all stages.

Meanwhile, trying to get information that is credible to folks on "the other side" like John and Ellen (and my son David) about the Terri Schiavo case remains difficult.

CodeBlueBLog won the 2004 Medical Weblogs award for Best Clinical Sciences Weblog. And no, he didn't win an award handed out by right-wing folks. Echo Journal handed out the 2004 Medical Weblogs awards. They have links to NIH (which the right despises) and seem objective & credible.

John, Ellen, Dave my son -- the Red State/Blue State dichotomy is a red herring. Now is the time for all good men and women to come to the aid of their country. Aren't we all tired of letting the official pundits and the moneyfolks and the manipulators on both sides dictate how we run this democratic republic?

I've said it before and I will say it again. The Terri Schiavo case is one for the history books. For any number of reasons. The genie is out of the bottle -- let's all get committed to truth, make alliances outside the Red and Blue dichotomy, and reform the health care system and policies in our nation from top to bottom.


Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Terri's parents were screwed from the beginning

Karen Hall has a good article about the legal mistakes made by the Schindlers from the beginning. This case only became political when after losing the initial legal battle, Terri's parents found a sympathic hearing from pro-life and conservative groups.


Read it here.

Evangelicals want to fill gaps

Excellent article by my friend Jerry Culley rebutting an earlier claim that evangelical Christians are anti-science & anti-intellectual. Dr. Culley, in his long tenure at University of Delaware, wrote the best computer-based Latin programs & games I have ever seen. He and I also used to write in an electronic computer forum on religion, twenty-five years ago, in the Internet before the Internet, ie the worldwide PLATO system. As if the man had an anti-intellectual bone in his body... not!

Read it here.

Hair stem cells offer source of brain cells

My son Walter sent me this notice of yet another promising area in non-ESC stem cell research. Come on, Mike Castle, get with the program. And thanks, Walter! I have the coolest kids in the world.


Read it here.

Michael Schiavo's lawyer

Interesting article about George Felos' spiritual inclinations, including excerpts from his book "Litigation as a Spiritual Practice". This goes a long way towards explaining why things are playing out as they are. In the world of the Seen, it's a religious conflict, and these can always be intense. In the world of the Unseen, it's principalities and powers doing what they do best.


Read it here.

Monday, March 28, 2005

An excellent summary of the history of Terri's fight

Many good, sincere folks like my friend Ellen Leibowitz seem to think that Terri Schiavo's cause has only to do with politics in this year 2005, not justice. I have been following the case for years, although like many others I did not start to actually investigate the charges on both sides until her death by starvation was imminent.

WorldNetDaily has covered the Schiavo case in detail since it began. On March 24 they published LIFE AND DEATH TUG OF WAR
The whole Terri Schiavo story
, a thorough history of the case, compiled from their own archives. They prefaced this summary of their extensive coverage over the years with this Note from the Editor:
15-year saga of brain-injured woman no clear-cut, right-to-die case
Posted: March 24, 2005
1:00 a.m. Eastern

Editor's Note: The life and death tug-of-war over Terri Schiavo is a 12-year-old court battle that remained under the radar of most major news outlets until recently. WorldNetDaily was among the first national news organizations to cover the story back when it primarily occupied the headlines of the local press in Southwest Florida, in November 2002.

As the rest of the news world works to catch up on this complex, multifaceted, precedent-setting case, readers have asked WND about errors and glaring omissions in the current widespread media coverage. In addition, much of what WND reported in previous years is now topping headlines elsewhere, leaving readers to question why they're not finding the same details in current editions of WND.

In view of this, WorldNetDaily has decided to mine our extensive archives to compile a comprehensive analysis of the Terri Schiavo story.


The whole article is excellent. Read it here.
Another hopeful, joyful hymn on this Easter Monday, posted in
Barb Nicolosi's blog.

Christians, to the Paschal victim
offer your thankful praises!

A lamb the sheep redeemeth:
Christ, who only is sinless,
reconcileth sinners to the Father.

Death and life have contended
in that combat stupendous:
the Prince of life, who died,
reigns immortal.

Speak, Mary, declaring
what thou sawest, wayfaring:

"The tomb of Christ, who is living,
the glory of Jesus' resurrection;

"Bright angels attesting,
the shroud and napkin resting.

"Yea, Christ my hope is arisen;
to Galilee he will go before you."

Christ indeed from death is risen,
our new life obtaining;
have mercy, victor King, ever reigning!
Amen.

Words: ascribed to Wipo, ca. 1030;
trans. The English Hymnal, 1906

Music: Victimae paschali laudes

Deo gratias!


Terri Schiavo Allowed to Receive Communion

Sunday, March 27, 2005

"Doctors say..." ; Ralph Nader & Wesley J. Smith dispute...

Taking up on a theme from my last entry, "doctors say" many things to many people. Wesley J. Smith tells about some of them in the award winning book "Culture of Death: The Assault on Medical Ethics in America". US Newswire reports that Ralph Nader and Smith have called upon "Florida Courts, Gov. Bush and Concerned Citizens to Take any Legal Action Available to let Schiavo Live".

You go, Ralph! Thanks for putting on the white hat again.

hospice begins morphine drip for Terri: but why?


Full story

A Reuters article reports that Terri Schiavo is declining rapidly. Her parents' lawyer believes time is pretty much out:

"Gibbs said Schiavo, 41, was declining rapidly. "They've begun to give her morphine drip for the pain. And at this point, we would say Terri has passed the point of no return," he told CBS' "Face the Nation."


The same article reports the mantra of no pain:

Doctors have said Schiavo, who is being cared for at a Florida hospice, would live for up to two weeks without the feeding tube. They say patients in her condition appear to feel little or no discomfort when deprived of nutrition and water.


Why the morphine, then?

Pick one, guys.

Actually, my heart is eased to know she is on a morphine drip. But really... what is the medical justification for it given what "doctors say".

hilarious ... and heart-breaking

Okay, I found this on Catholic Light (not Catholic Lite!) and have to post it in full. The Catholic Light crew found it on The Curt Jester by blogger Jeff Miller. I know a couple of the Catholic Light boys (hi Richard! hi Pete!) but I don't know Jeff. I like his profile, though, where he describes himself as "A former atheist who after spending forty years in the wilderness finds himself with both astonishment and joy a member of the Catholic Church."

On this Easter morning, God bless you, Jeff, and you folks at Catholic Light who pointed me to it. Humor is good, and heart-breaking humor is even better:

Out-of-towner arrested

Samaritan lead away to await trail at a future date. (AFP/Ben Barabbas)

JERUSALEM (Roto Reuters) On the road between Jerusalem and Jericho a man reportedly from Samaria was arrested and lead away in handcuffs by local police. He was arrested for interfering in the case of a man reported as "half dead" and tried to deliver him oil and wine despite the wishes of the man's spouse. A priest had walked by the scene earlier and left the man alone because of instructions given by the local Bishop to leave "half-dead" people alone and not to interfere in these "difficult cases that are a family matter". The spouse of the half-dead man (name withheld by request) said that in a conversation years ago her husband had said that if he ever was stripped and beaten by robbers that he preferred to be left alone and specifically not to have life support such as oil or wine delivered to him. The Samaritan is also being brought up on charges of fraud for delivering the man to a local hotel to be taken care of and promising to come back later to pay them back. This was despite the hotels posted and clear policy of all payment up front.

The half-dead man was returned to the spot on the road to continue his natural dying process. Judge Sneer, a local judge, has requested that police post guards by the man to prevent others from interfering in this man's rights to die.

Attending to incapacitated loved ones


The Anchoress has a wonderful blog entry titled Jeff Jacoby, Terri, my living will, and a terrible eclipse
. Her experience attending to her brother S. in the ups and downs of his final weeks echoes my own in taking care of my son Eric and also my mother. The giving and receiving of love is never a bad thing.

On this Easter morning, let us rejoice!

Christ has risen!
He has truly risen, alleluia!

Blogs for Terri
is again taking comments. Their server was swamped a few days ago but they have now moved to a larger server, thanks to the donations of many. You may again not only read, but comment on this unfolding injustice.

The latest news of interest to Catholics will be that Terri has been denied the last rites of the Church. I have written this in comment to the posting of the news, to clarify for non-Catholics what this might mean:

I wondered when we would hear information about the Catholic rites for Terri. I assumed she would be allowed to receive Sacrament of Anointing (no hydration or nutrition involved) and hoped she would be allowed to receive Viaticum from the Cup via eyedropper.

Is there a link to confirm that the Schindlers have requested the Catholic last rites and been denied? This news ought to be shouted from the rooftops.

Also does anyone know if this is an old battle or a new one? Has Terri ever had the Sacrament of Anointing? Have the Schindler requested it before and had this denied?

It should be noted, for non-Catholics out there, that there are two sacraments involved here. The first is the Anointing of the Sick, formerly referred to as "Extreme Unction". It is no longer administered only in times of imminent death, but to all who are seriously ill. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches: "The Church believes and confesses that among the seven sacraments there is one especially intended to strengthen those who are being tried by illness, the Anointing of the Sick... By the grace of this sacrament the sick person receives the strength and the gift of uniting himself [or herself] more closely to Christ's Passion: in a certain way he is consecrated to bear fruit by configuration to the Savior's redemptive Passion. Suffering, a consequence of original sin, acquires a new meaning: it becomes a participation in the saving work of Jesus."

The second sacrament at issue here is Viaticum, the Last Sacrament of the Christian:"In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and the blood of Christ, received at this moment of 'passing over' to the Father, has a particular significance... It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: 'He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.' The sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is in this instance the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father."


UPDATE: Terri Schiavo Allowed to Receive Communion

Deo gratias!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Disabled folks protest: our tubes are no big deal! just because you wouldn't want one...

March 26, 2005

People with Disabilities Speak for Terri

Schiavo Case: Disability Rights Issue! Let People With
"WE LOVE OUR TUBES!" Disabled Activists are Demonstrating in Florida.

Disability activists are returning to Florida to tell the simple truths about tubes, feeding tubes, breathing tubes, peeing tubes and other tubes we need and love. Disabled people in wheelchairs will demonstrate and explain the realities of everyday life with tubes, confronting society's obvious horror and revulsion with our dignity and disability pride.

Terri's feeding tube is the central issue. This is the reason she is being killed. Disability activists must express our ridicule for the pathetic response of the nondisabled majority to these simple pieces of latex rubber. This case hinges on the fact that Terri uses a feeding tube, which to disabled people is no big deal - it's just another piece of adaptive equipment.

"Right now the case is settled, people are thrown back on their own beliefs, while "experts" continue to present the story as a misbegotten political intervention in a private matter," said John Kelly of Boston Not Dead Yet, "a tragic medical case in which doctors are united in their certain diagnosis that nothing is going on inside her head , and a tragic family matter in which her "husband" really does want the best for her, which is death. And people agree -- and this is absolutely crucial -- because THEY THEMSELVES would rather be dead than like Terri Schiavo.

"We have been trained, over and over again, that if we only concealed our differences, tucked that legbag tube - for draining urine - under the pants leg, never talked about incontinence, that we could be (at least partially) accepted," Kelly continued. "But the shame that we are meant to bear keeps us down more effectively than anything that anyone could do to us."

"It's time for the press to talk to the real experts on the Schiavo case - the disability rights movement", declared Diane Coleman, president and founder of Not Dead Yet, leading the disability community's opposition to non-voluntary euthanasia for a decade.

"That's why 26 national disability rights organizations, including groups like Not Dead Yet, and CIL's, DQIA, and others have adopted a position in support of Terri Schiavo's right to continue to receive food and water," affirmed Stephen Drake, research analyst for NDY. "People on the right are killing us slowly with cuts to the budget and Medicaid while the people on the left kill us quickly and call it 'compassion' - either way we end up dead - AND WE OBJECT."

Not Dead Yet
is a national disability rights organization that leads the disability community's efforts to oppose legalization of assisted suicide, euthanasia and other forms of medical killing.

Peggy Noonan, I love you.


In Love With Death:
The bizarre passion of the pull-the-tube people.

Thanks to Gordon (who gave thanks to Jeanetta) for the link.

the PVS recovery stories just keeping coming

The News Journal, not known for its sense in these matters, featured a great local case as its front page story today:
In Schiavo, a familiar fight

stupidest news report about Catholicism EVER!

Okay folks, so late afternoon Good Friday (yesterday), I went to church and did the stations of the cross by myself, unable to get to the communal Stations. I used the service composed by Cardinal Ratzinger for the stations of the cross that he lead today in Rome. I was impressed by the relevance of the reflections he made at each station. The whole service was an stellar example of traditional Catholic understanding of Christ's Passion integrated with reflections on our contemporary situation.

Later this evening, I went to Drudge Report (I'm beginning to think I should abstain from it, its reportage seems to be getting stupider). My interest was immediately piqued by an article titled "Church leader rails at 'cloning arrogance'"

Hot scoop! I clicked eager to find out what Church leader was railing at what.

EVERY SINGLE STATEMENT that this stupid news article reported as "a Church leader railing" was taken from the text of Ratzinger's Stations service! You heard that right, gentle reader. Some reporter attended the service and decided that when the Cardinal read out the "reflections" part of each Station, where traditionally the presider relates the particular event in the Passion to sinful behaviors still requiring repentance and conversion of heart, he was "railing" and "lambasting".

The "railing" was Cardinal Ratzinger, in his priestly function taking over for the Pope who is too ill to preside at Triduum services this year, leading his flock in a by-the-book Good Friday religious practice carried out for centuries in thousands of Catholic churches all over the world.

It's called being a priest, Mr. Reporter sir. If you are working the religion beat, shouldn't you have a glancing familiarity with the religion you are covering? 39 lashes with a wet noodle!

Read the whole thing. Talk about disconnect.

-----Church leader rails at cloning "arrogance"

Fri Mar 25, 2:36 PM ET

ROME (AFP) - The Roman Catholic Church's chief doctrinal enforcer, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, hit out at human cloning and the "arrogance" of mankind that thought it could conquer death through its own efforts.

Photo
AFP/File Photo


Ratzinger, thought of as a possible successor to Pope John Paul (news - web sites) II, also lambasted priests who soiled the church's reputation -- a reference to paedophile scandals in Austria and the United States in particular.

The 77-year-old cardinal made the comments during a Good Friday ceremony commemorating the crucifixion of Jesus, in which he stood in for the ailing pope.

"The arrogance that makes us think that we ourselves can create human beings has turned man into a kind of merchandise, to be bought and sold, or stored to provide parts for experimentation," said Ratzinger, head of the Vatican (news - web sites) Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"In doing this, we hope to conquer death by our own efforts, yet in reality we are profoundly debasing human dignity."

The church has firmly opposed human cloning, arguing for a worldwide ban covering "reproductive" cloning, in which embryos are cloned in fertility treatments, as well as theraputic cloning, in which embryos are harvested for their tissues and then destroyed.

It has called on Italians to abstain from voting in a forthcoming referendum on changes to Italy's strict new fertility laws in the hopes that the vote will be voided because of a low turnout.

Ratzinger, in the meditations at the Way of the Cross ceremony at Rome's Colosseum, also turned the spotlight on the church itself.

"Should we not also think of how much Christ suffers in his own church," he asked. "How much filth there is in the church, and even among those who, in the priesthood, ought to belong entirely to him. How much pride, how much self-complacency."

The prelate compared the church to a "boat about to sink".

"The soiled garments and face of your church throw us into confusion. Yet it we ourselves who have soiled them. It is we who betray you time and again!"

The cardinal also scathingly attacked world leaders and politicians for their arrogance.

"How often are the symbols of power, borne by the great ones of this world, an affront to truth, to justice and to the dignity of man! How many times are their pomps and their lofty words nothing but grandiose lies, a parody of their solemn obligation to serve the common good," he said.

"Justice is trampled underfoot by weakness, cowardice and fear of the diktat of the ruling mindset. The quiet voice of conscience is drowned out by the cries of the crowd. Evil draws its power from indecision and concern for what other people think".



no wonder people don't respect the press anymore

affidavit signed by attorney sent to judge greer: Terri tried to speak

Is there a possiblity that Judge Greer will change his mind?

I know that when I heard the audio tape between Terri and her father that afternoon, I was convinced beyond anything else that she knew what was going on and was trying to communicate.

Terri Schiavo Expresses Her Wishes; Sister and Attorney Testified in Court

The short version, posted over at Hennessy's View:

Terri Schiavo Asked to Live
Posted by Bill Hennessy in Terri Schiavo, News (Friday March 25, 2005 at 9:10 pm)

FoxNews just played audio of the David Gibbs’s phone call to Judge Greer in which Gibbs read the affidavit of the woman who soliticited a plea for life from Terri Schiavo on the day her feeding tube was removed.

The affidavit is stunning. There were numerous witnesses who heard Terri say “Aaah” and then yell “Waahn.” Among the witnesses was a female police officer.

Why in the name of God are just hearing about this now?

Judge Greer actually sounded impressed by what he heard. Gibbs asked that Terri be given an IV through the weekend, allowing the family to present the full testimony of the 5 witnesses on Monday. Judge Greer said he would rule as quickly as possible, but it might be Noon tomorrow (Saturday, March 26) before he could issue an order.

If he’s going to approve the IV, he needs to do so now. Noon tomorrow could be too late.

If it be God’s will, let it be so.

Friday, March 25, 2005

Why not allow hydration at least by mouth?

My mother, who declined a feeding tube when offered one after her weight dropped so badly between September and December 2001, died peacefully at home, her children in attendance, in March of 2002. Her lips were not cracked, her eyes were not sunken. Every day, she took nutrition and hydration by mouth as her body's systems shut themselves down.

The day she died, she took ice cream. The night she died, she asked for juice three times, and not in a desperate way. Our basic, loving care of her did not prevent her death but did make it a continued exchange between loved ones, to the end.

Why is it necessary to withhold even hydration from Terri Schiavo? Why can her parents not even give her juice or water by eyedropper? Why are they forced to watch her deteriorate without being able to give her relief in her dying?

If PVS patients "feel nothing" as they undergo starvation and dehydration, why are they sedated? Either they feel nothing or they need sedation because they feel the effects of starvation and dehydration. Pick one.

Will Terri be offered sedation?

Even Christ was offered relief on the cross.

"I thirst."

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

See Kim Hassinger's story tonight on CN8 news

Tonight during the 7-8pm news show and again for the 10-11 night news, CN8 will show a segment about the Hassinger family, whose daughter Kim received intensive therapy after her parents ignored her diagnosis of PVS and her doctors' advice to turn off life support and put her in a nursing home to die. Instead they placed her in a rehabilitative hospital where intensive therapies produced results that showed that their assertion, "My daughter is still in there" was right. Kim learned to swallow, and cooperated in years of physical, neurological, and other therapies.

You will hear Kim this evening if you watch. CN8 is a Comcast channel that serves 6 million people in the Mid-Atlantic area, from Maine to Maryland. It shows on Channel 8 in my comcast area, check your own schedules for where it shows in yours.

If you cannot pick this up in your area, you can get a live feed at http://www.cn8.tv/channel/article.asp?lArticleID=4664&lChannelID=604&subhead=cn8live

There is a chance that CNN will pick this story up - folks at CN8 are trying to make that happen. If you like what you see, express your appreciation to CN8 for producing this segment that is gives dramatic expression to the pro-Terri side of the debate.
Go to http://www.cn8.tv/feedback/contactus.asp?lChannelID=604&subhead=emlcn8 and send them some feedback.

Perhaps this can help save Terri's life. The more people who hear and see stories of PVS, the more chance to change the woefully wrong conception so many people have about Terri's case.

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Pt 2 of "I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schiavo"

A few days ago I reported the story of a woman who said, "I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schivo."

Thanks to Tim at ProLifeBlogs, I tracked this woman down today. I talked with her parents. They are just an hour away from where I live, as it turns out. They want to tell their story. They have told it once to a local news team from a tv station near their home. I've arranged for them to tell it again through a local news team from a tv station in New Castle, Delaware.

You who follow this case know that this story is not unique. But the mainstream news media are not getting stories like this out. Whether because they don't want to, don't believe it, or don't care enough to track people down, they are not doing their job. Folks who hate Bush, folks who think Terri's case is just about politics, folks who are rabidly against anything that Republicans favor, folks (let's face it) who have been seduced by the dark side (ie. the culture of death), these folks are being sold a pack of lies about PVS and about this case. Some are culpable, but some are just ignorant.

We need access to a national news source or a fair documentarian who can, in the next 48 hours, get these people in front of a camera with a solid human interest story that will touch hearts.

The parents are eager. The girl is eager. They have videotapes from
right after the accident, videotapes from during the long recuperation. They
have the living girl now. Her speech is not normal but her brain is. Those
who have eyes to see and ears to hear, ought to be exposed to the truth.

Can you help?

Access to media is access to hearts and minds. Who can help? Email me. stabosz@udel.edu

Husband Recovers After Being Diagnosed with PVS

A blogsforterri.com reader responds to this post about a woman who was PVS but recovered:

My husband was in EXACTLY the same situation after suffering cardiac arrest while in the hospital and suffered anoxic encephalopathy, in fact, 3 separate times. First, they gave him 2 hours to live and told me to call our priest.

He was in a coma and was much worse off than Teri - he had it ALL, ventilator, feeding tube, catheter, then trach. He couldn't breathe off the ventilator for more than 5 minutes at a time. When you would see him sitting up in his chair, he LOOKED so much worse off than her - he drooled, his tongue hung out, his head lolled to the side-he looked totally "not there" - you would never look at him & think there was a chance that he would be okay.

The doctors said if he lived, he would likely be a "vegetable", the social worker called me into a meeting and told me to start looking at nursing homes. His family fought me tooth and nail to pull him off of the ventilator, he was also on a feeding tube- which I refused to do. The neurologists were so convinced & insistent that my husband was severely brain damaged from his anoxic episodes, they insisted on testing him in front of me.

They would keep saying "honey, I know you want to believe he's responding, but he's not, he is in a persistent vegetative state."

They also did EEGs which, at the time, showed only moderate brain waves - that's when they told me that if he survived, he would very likely be a "vegetable". (I hate that description). Once he started to respond, when he showed in front of that neurologist that he knew I was his wife & he knew my name, then they did an MRI - why they waited until then to do it, I don't know - and then they told me "well, it looks likely maybe we overestimated-he is going to have some brain damage, but not quite as severe as we initially thought.

That was 9 years ago & if you didn't know, you would never know anything happened to him. He lost a tiny bit of feeling in his left hand and a slight loss of peripheral vision in his left eye. He is mentally exactly like he was when he was admitted and he has had 9 very happy, very active, fulfilled, loving years. Just imagine if I had pulled him off life support when his family demanded it.

Just from the little I've seen in the videos and things I've heard, just my own opinion, I think that woman is FAR from in PVS. She needs a lot of very, very intensive therapy & I truly believe she could speak and eat & I do believe that right now, she is totally aware of her surroundings and the people around her. I have heard "doctor" Cranford's excuse that her tracking the balloon and opening her eyes is only minutes out of hours upon hours of testing-I don't care if it was 30 seconds out of a month of testing-it proved that she is not PVS and is aware and can be helped.


Source: www.blogsforterri.com

"I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schiavo"

"I have a sister who was in the same situation as Terri Schiavo. 12 years ago my sister had a sudden cardiac arrest episode that caused major damage to her brain. Four days into her coma we were told by doctors that Kim was in a persistent vegetative state and that we should unplug her ventilator. If she made it through the night we were told to make arrangements to put her in a nursing home. My parents decided not to follow the recommendations of the doctors and to instead transfer her to a rehabilitation hospital. Kim was dependent on both a feeding tube and a ventilator. Through intensive occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy which included teaching her to swallow again, she made a wonderful recovery. Though she is still physically challenged and in a wheel chair, she is very much a productive member of society. She is living at home with my parents who are her care givers. She votes in elections and loves to debate the issues. My sister was given a second chance at life, and Terri deserves that same chance!"


Read the rest of the story
here.
Keep your eyes on www.blogsforterri.com as readers continue to relate similar stories.

Copy this and ask Matt Drudge at drudgereport.com to publish. The public needs to know what goes on.

Monday, March 21, 2005

Terri's Law

By now anyone reading this will have heard that in a late-night session Congress agreed to let Terri Schiavo's case be heard in federal court.


See CNN's news story here.


I spent much of the weekend reading opinions on all sides about the issue. The disconnect between those who support the Schindlers and those who support Michael Schiavo is immense. That's probably true on most issues, but I find it fascinating to watch democracy in action on this issue. Amazing. Whichever side you are on, you cannot deny that instant communication via the Internet is playing a role in this as never before. This is one for the history books, folks.

Which is not to say that I am standing by objectively watching a ping pong game. I am so hopeful about Terri's potential for life at this moment. And for people in general to become more enlightened about what it means to be disabled and dependent on others. So far the debate has been dominated by the Art Caplans of the world who cry out that Pope John Paul II wants everybody to die hooked up to machines. Tube feeding is not a machine. It's like feeding a baby before the baby can feed itself.

Rae

Sunday, March 20, 2005

Terri communicates

I have been sending this out to people who are accepting what Michael Schiavo and the mainstream media are saying about Terri Schiavo's condition. The audio tape is witness to a human life being lived although debilitated, for those who have ears to hear.
If you have not been following the Terri Schiavo case closely, you may think that she is brain dead or that she cannot respond or move. She is brain damaged, not brain dead. She has never been on life support. A hospice nurse has told reporters that she can swallow ice chips and jello, although she will not be allowed these things during the time she is being starved to death.

Check out this audio tape made from her hospital room on Friday afternoon after her feeding tube was removed:
http://www.austinsblog.com/terri.mp3

She sounds very much like a brain-damaged boy in a wheelchair of my acquaintance who is at home and being cared for by his parents.

This does NOT sound like a woman who will feel nothing at being starved.


What is the JDRF afraid of?


Here is a piece by Michael Fumento
that the Scripps Howard News Service, for whom Fumento is a regular contributor, has refused to run. Fumento believes this is because the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation contacted Scripps Howard about this column before Scripps had even received it, asking them not to run it.

Remembering Hunter S. Thompson

Lee Bloggins (that can't be his real last name) has put together some personal remembrances of Hunter S. Thompson.

I have to remember to have a novena of Mases said for HST. It's the least I can do after reneging on my commitment to pray for him daily that I made back in 1980-something.

Saturday, March 19, 2005

From A Disability Vendetta Surfaces in Hollywood

Here's a scary excerpt from an article from zenit.org titled "Oscars for the Culture of Death: A 'Disability Vendetta' Surfaces in Hollywood." I can't find a link to the whole article, I received it by email (let me know if you want the whole thing). But this part is eerily relevant in light of what's being done to Terri Schiavo:
From London, Jane Campbell, a commissioner for the Disability Rights Commission, spoke of her experience suffering from spinal muscular atrophy. Writing in the Times on Dec. 2, she explained what happened when in January 2004 she was admitted to hospital with severe pneumonia.

The consultant who was treating her commented that if she were to go into respiratory failure "he assumed that I would not want to be resuscitated on a ventilator." She replied: "Of course I would want to be ventilated." The same scenario was repeated the following day with another consultant, and Campbell feared for her life. Scared that the doctors would let her die, she refused to sleep for the next 48 hours.

"This incident, and similar ones that come to the attention of the Disability Rights Commission, reflect society's view that people such as myself live flawed and unsustainable lives and that death is preferable to living with a severe impairment," she explained in the article.
<

Terri again...

Sometimes it seems all I can do is pass on good links from others. Check out
Torturing Terri Schiavo (She’d be better off if she were a terrorist.)

Thanks, Gordon Zaft, for the link. How comes everybody isn't you? :-)

Rae

life & death among the vegetables...

A hip ex-liberal turned conservative who calls herself Raven writes about her experiences as an LNA (Licensed Nursing Assistant) in places where people live out their lives in "persistent vegetative state."
Side rant: Look that term up some time and see what kind of medical consensus there is about it -- none exists. I've read journal articles on PVS and can tell you that it's a hot potato of a political designation, not an accepted medical condition. The range of behaviors exhibited by patients diagnosed with PVS is so variable that researchers cannot pin down what it is and isn't. Some professionals argue that PVS does not exist at all. It's kind of like Victorian women and their "vapors". Or even Freud and his "penis envy?"
Anyway, back to Raven.

Read this enlightening article about her experiences caring for PVS folks.

She says, among other things:
When people think about COMA’S, they often assume the victim is unconscious and unaware of their surroundings. This is true in many cases, as I have described here before. I work mainly with younger people, but do “float” over to the Adult Brain Injury unit quite a bit. I see lots of Terry’s there. People like her are indeed alive; they are living breathing humans who have survived an often tragic event. Are they who they used to be? No. Will they ever be who they used to be? Probably not. Do they respond to stimuli? Yes. Do they respond to people? Yes. Do they talk? Not usually, but they make eye contact and smile and laugh. And they reach out to you. They are human beings, who tend to like the company of others and…well…like to be alive. Terry smiles a lot, and she seems happy almost all the time. She is not hooked up to any machines.

"But I wouldn't want to live that way!" Why don't we just admit that it's hard to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves? Bottom line, I think that's what's going on.

Kate Adamson had her feeding tube removed... and lived to tell about it

Terri Schiavo's death will be serene, her husband Michael's lawyer told Nightline. Kate Adamson, who had her own feeding tube removed during a coma from which she later emerged, disputes this.

Kate Adamson Speaks from Experience for Terri Schiavo


Salient items:
ADAMSON: When the feeding tube was turned off for eight days, I thought I was going insane. I was screaming out in my mind, "Don't you know I need to eat?" And even up until that point, I had been having a bagful of Ensure as my nourishment that was going through the feeding tube. At that point, it sounded pretty good. I just wanted something. The fact that I had nothing, the hunger pains overrode every thought I had.

Friday, March 18, 2005

"fry those phones" -- Terri Schiavo's brother


Click here for the most up to date news on the attempt to save Terri Schiavo's life.


And a BIG SHOUT-OUT to my sister S. Marie D'Orazio who emailed me from Texas where she and others in the Texas constitutionalist movement are following Terri's case closely and trying to procure her constitutional rights. Hi Marie! I'm not too up on this angle but I assume this blog covers some of the territory Marie is traveling.

I cannot tell you how encouraged I am by Marie's note. It's not just "right to lifers", it's not just Catholics, it's not just the "religious right" (whoever they are!), it's not just hicks and hillbillies and southern Baptist crackers who think the Terri Schiavo situation is critical. It's young, urban Austinites of impeccable "street cred" -- at least one of them. Shout out to you, sister Sue Marie!

Eric, my son... lucky you are not living today

Apparently my son Eric's life would have been in danger of summary execution if he was born today. My husband saw a news story about how a hospital housing a thanatophoric dwarf removed him from life support despite his parents' opposition. The parents fought and lost the battle to keep him on a respirator.

Thanatophoric dwarfism is an always-fatal form of dwarfism that my son Eric was born with. The chest cavity is too narrow to allow normal lung development. I wrote Eric's case up for the Delaware Medical Journal. My paper chronicles our struggle, as parents, to relate to a "child born to die". It also provides the only developmental information on children with TD during their lifetime. When he was born, I asked about his brain and his development while he was alive -- would it be normal, could we relate to him like to any child? Since all of the info about TD children was about pre-natal diagnosis or post-mortem autopsy reports, nobody could tell me. What was I supposed to do, just wait for him to die and not support him, stimulate his development, introduce him to his siblings, in the meantime?

I found an infant developmental specialist to come in and assess Eric weekly. Later she put her findings into a report. I made that report available, through the paper I wrote, so that other TD parents would not have to wonder if their child was a " vegetable" or not.

For the record, Eric developed normally within the parameters of a neonatal intensive care unit.
He responded to touch, to sound, to visual stimuli, could distinguish his parents' voices from that of others. And yes, he lived long enough that I got to see him smile. He had a tough life, but those who knew him thought it a life worth living.

I remember my friend Father Goldstein calling me up after he visited Eric for the first time. His voice was excited. He had been reluctant to go, he said, facing up to an unpleasant duty, ready to see a dying child, an object of pity. Instead, he saw a living baby, going about his life. Eric's nurse turned on his music box and showed Father how he would rock to the music. She showed him how to stroke Eric, how he responded to touch, how his little hand would curl around Father's finger if he placed it in the palm. Fr. Goldstein said he had been surprised that a visit he dreaded turned out to be a meeting with a unique individual, a baby who wasn't sick or dying, just incapacitated.

In 1983, when Eric was born, he was put on a respirator at birth, before the diagnosis of TD had been made. If it had been made, the decision could have been made to either put him on life support or not. Once on the respirator, though, the hospital indicated that turning it off was not an option. If we insisted on it, there would be a whole legal procedure that we might or might not win. We did not want to turn it off, so there was no problem. We wanted to support Eric in whatever life span he could have given a fatal condition.

Now, apparently, a child with Eric's condition can have life support removed against the parents' wishes. How have we gone from the situation where a respirator is considered extraordinary means and therefore not REQUIRED, ethically, to where a respirator is considered extraordinary means and therefore not ALLOWED to a patient?

I shudder.



Thursday, March 17, 2005

Filmchat: Vancouver film critic Peter Chattaway launches a blog

Peter Chattaway has entered the blogosphere with his just-launched
Filmchat.
Peter is on a Christian SF Fandom list I frequent, and I usually disagree with what he writes. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder for people who get too caught up in considering the ramifications of film as a tool for social change instead of just concentrating on the art itself. But he's got a good opening discussion on Million Dollar Baby that relates it to Clint Eastwood's earlier film The Unforgiven. Worth a read.

Monday, March 14, 2005

Million Dollar Baby: stand-alone art or polemic?

Another good article about the film "Million Dollar Baby" from social influence POV. I sympathize with those who try to make lemonade out of lemons by viewing the movie not in the context of a national debate on euthanasia, but as a stand-along work of art. But I sympathize more with those who see the film as having a "message" in the same way that "Uncle Tom's Cabin" had a message. In the case of MDB, the message will not influence the masses for the better on a moral issue of national import. It justifies euthanasia and assisted suicide. We don't need that justification in our society today, obsessed as it already is on physical perfection.


Eastwood's 'Baby' Hits Below the Belt

Thursday, March 10, 2005

mike castle & terri schiavo

I wrote to my Representative, Mike Castle, asking him to support Dave Weldon's bill introduced Tuesday, H.R. 1151, the “Incapacitated Person’s Legal Protection Act.” This bill would explicitly clarify fundamental due process rights for those who are incapacitated, are under court ordered removal of nutrition and hydration and have no written advanced medical directive in effect.

I had not visited Mike Castle's web site since he moderated our debate on embryonic stem cell research. I am sad to discover that he now has a new
Embryonic Stem Cell Research resource page. Sigh. I keep wanting to do something about this, to launch another attack on him in some format. Delaware is such a small state. At least get the Catholics in Delaware on board and ready to fight against this offensive. Offensive in many ways....

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

my blog has togs!

Hi folks,

What do you think of the new look for my blog? Catherine aka "flirt in a skirt" gave my blog a makeover. I like it! If you want to give your blog a facelift, you can go to Blog Togs and let Catherine apply her creativity in your direction.

I thought she captured the essence of me and my faith journey. The wings I am not sure of, because angels are a different category than me. But I like the juxtaposition of the ladder, the halo and the wings -- I am climbing towards heaven, trying to be a saint, still too leaden-shouldered to really take off and fly free. Some day perhaps.

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act (Terri's Law)

I am sick today so all I am going to do as a Terri Schiavo blogger is repeat this blog from
A Mom and Her Blog.


Pertinent info is this shortened explanation of the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act (Terri's Law).

Congress Steps in on Terri Schiavo Case Congressman David Weldon (R-FL), a medical doctor, plans to introduce legislation titled the Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act (Terri's Law), which will hopefully help save Terri Schiavo's life. The legislation would give Terri and others in similar situations the same constitutional protection of due process as death row inmates. Already this week, attorneys for Terri's parents have filed six different motions to help save their daughter, all of which are now on appeal. Dr. Weldon's legislation would allow Terri to have her own counsel who can argue her case, a right given to any criminal in the United States. Terri is, of course, not a criminal but a woman fighting for her life. As Terri's fight intensifies, I cannot be more frank on the fate of this poor woman if her husband has his way. If Terri's feeding tubes are removed, she will face a slow death through starvation, which can take anywhere from 7 to 30 days. Terri's parents, as do Congressman Weldon and I, truly believe Terri is alive and deserves to continue living. Please call, e-mail, AND fax your U.S. representative to support Terri's Law -- truly life-saving legislation. Time is of the essence. Additional Resources Contact Your Elected Officials.


I haven't heard if the amendment was introduced, but apparently it is our Representatives we should contact, cf
"How can you help? Call your representative and tell them to support the
'Incapacitated Person's Legal Protection Act' which will be introduced on
Tuesday by US Congressman Dave Weldon (R-FL)."

Monday, March 07, 2005

terri schiavo's condition


This breaks my heart because I've been there with my son Eric who was born with a condition of dwarfism that is always fatal. He lived for 100 days but when I asked the medical folks about his consciousness, his brain, his development, etc., there was no information. Zilch. All there was on such babies was diagnosis in the womb or at birth and post-mortem autopsy information.

Some people viewed him as a "vegetable" (an actual word one doctor used about an older surviving child with his condition). Others, who hung out with him, discovered responsiveness and receptivity. In Eric's case, I had a developmental specialist assess him once a week. Later, I put that information into an article for Delaware Medical Journal. Mine was the first article on thanatophoric dysplasia that tracked the development of these babies "born to die" while they were still alive.

I trust the folks who perceive responsiveness in Terri Schiavo more than I trust those who do not. My own experience shows me that medical professionals are just as prone to allow their own prejudices about the meaning of life in its extremes to affect their judgment as anyone else.

"PAGLIA WARNS INTERNET: ONLY ART LASTS"

An odd "breaking story" from Drudge Report; I never thought to see poetry as a hot news story.

But Camille Paglia as patron of the greatest of the language arts?
She can sell anything. Let this signal the revival of the poem!

Maybe next, theology?

------------------------------------------------
I never can finish a non-fiction book.
(For Queen Theology)

I don't read good fiction;
Why linger over language
when romance and plot propel me to conclusion?
Quick reads are my forte
in the Novel.

Ah, but the slow, rich colors
of non-fiction!
(and there is only one category
of the form)
Every thread stitched carefully to
blend brocade, linen and trim
to royal glide of cloth.
Theology is the dress of queens
and the empress's new clothes;
I finger each square inch of cloth
but will never close the final hook

I never can finish a non-fiction book.

-Rae

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Falling down with Adolf

I'm curious now to see the movie about the last days of Hitler's regime after reading today's blog entry by
Barbara Nicolosi on the movie "Downfall".

dreaming my life away...

Last night, I finished Week 5 of the Donec Formetur retreat. I emailed Sr. Kathryn to let her know. I went to bed, fell asleep, and dreamed a dream that encapsulated the fruits of Week 5.

The dream was one of those novel-length adventure dreams with multiple characters, plot lines and twists and turns. My husband and family were in it, even my two dead sons. We were on vacation, met up with some shady characters, defeated them, I protected my kids, kept them safe.

It was good, all good. I even looked at the dream world at one point and thought to myself, as its creator, "Rae looked and saw that it was good." Yeah, yeah, I know, a God complex. But to this point, a good one. In His image.

Then it turned bad. As in my own life things turn bad. When I get too cocky. Too independent. The God complex turns rabid on me. Instead of "until He be formed in me" (ie. "donec formetur") I become the Mad Creator. God of my own life.

When the dream turned bad, I wiped it out. I thought of the world of Noah's time, and the wiping out, and the starting over. I made my dream world end. I thought it out of existence. It did not die quickly, but imploded. As the shapes and colors (and people!) became dense and folded into each other I said to them, "I am not destroying you because I don't love you. I love you. I love you, all my family. I love you, my creatures and my creation."

After the dream world imploded, all was perfectly white for an instant. The white winked out and I was in a place of great physical beauty and order. Colors so crisp you could cry. A beautiful home, which I recognized as my own. I became afraid. Would it turn ugly too? Would I make it turn ugly?

A child entered. He had red hair and a beautiful face, but he was retarded. I was attracted to his beauty but repelled by his stupidity. What I had told Sr. Kathryn went through my mind, that a good mind without a good heart was worthless. Obviously the child had a good heart. So who was I to judge him because he did not have a good mind?

I started walking with him, telling myself to stay close to him. If I stayed close to him, the world would not turn ugly on me. We were no longer in the house but in a mall, indoors.

We passed a San Damiano cross hanging on the wall. I said to the child, "Can you tell me about the Christ?"

He looked up and said, in pleased wonder, "You know about the Christ?"

"Yes, but tell me his story."

"I'll tell you the story as I learned it a long time ago," he said, and took my hand.

We passed a Pauline book and media display. On the table was a sign with the names of the people manning the booth. I looked, and there was my name, "Rae", I was listed there with the Paulines!

I was filled with happiness. Then I woke up.

Friday, March 04, 2005

Christine Rosen does it again


Remember Then, Now. What the eugenics movement can teach us about today’s stem-cell debates.


I wish there was a way I could get Mike Castle to read her work. Maybe another Op-ed piece in the News Journal? An "Open Letter to Mike Castle" from one of his constituents.

Wouldn't you prefer a lethal injection to starvation?



"You may not want to live like Terry Schiavo, but I guarantee you won't want to die like her!" — Patricia S. (Oak Harbor, WA)

Not for the squeamish: Terri Schiavo Diet Book Tops NYT Bestseller List

Thursday, March 03, 2005

Thomas Merton in Auschwitz

I was surfing the Net a couple of years ago and came across Charles Cingolani's poems. It was his Butler Pennsylvania poems that first caught my attention, but check out also Diary of a Young Monk, Thomas Merton in Auschwitz, and more.

Here is the first in his Thomas Merton in Auschwitz series:

1. Arrival Platform
Merton watched
what they did
with the child
that fell
from the cattle car
that had brought
the women from
Warszawa.
How the soldier
grabbed him
by the feet
and smashed him
up against
the steel siding.

Someone saw Thomas
rush over
to hold up
a trough of tin
to catch
consecrated chalicesful
of mothers' tears in.


Tired of being called homophobic? Upgrade to being heternormative!

There is hope yet for Catholics who affirm Church teaching on homosexuality. If we are well-regarded in other matters, we may be forgiven our lapses in the area of sexuality. At least the folks at Hahhvard may be ready to cut us some slack... if we are in the entertainment business, people of color, and married to the man who saved the world from aliens (three times!). I'm not sure about the rest of us poor slobs.

Pinkett Smith’s Remarks Debated

Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Recognizing new movements that are more Catholic than the Pope

Another excellent article below by canon lawyer Pete Vere. Catholic Scholars at UD is preparing materials to send to Bishop Saltarelli to obtain approval to use the name "Catholic". Maybe, after our mission statement, we should add a statement that says " and oh yes, we are NOT more Catholic than the Pope. We aim to be as Catholic as the Holy Father, not more...

Sifting the Wheat from the Tares: 20 Signs of Trouble in a New Religious Group

Terri Schiavo's canonical rights

Terri Schiavo's parents, in an attempt to stave off the judge's latest ruling that Terri's death by starvation and dehydration begin on March 18 with the removal of her feeding tube, have petitioned the court on her behalf that she be granted a divorce from Michael Schiavo. Meanwhile, prayers continue throughout the world for Terry's life to be spared and for her to receive the various therapies and tests that Michael has denied her.

For me the two most troubling actions of her husband were a) to refuse to allow the medical folks to administer a swallow test and b) to refuse to allow her to receive the sacraments. Pete Vere wrote a good article about this two years ago. Pete is a canon lawyer and his article touches only on her canonical rights, without addressing the larger issue of the denial of her civil right to practice her religion. It's well worth reading.

Why Was Terri Denied Holy Communion?

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The Passion of the Writer

Today is my day for Deb(o)raS. Here's something my friend & Pious Ladies Bookmobile partner Debora Hosey sent me that I just have to share.

Don't mind the title of this entry -- not a whiff of sacrilege intended, indeed every writer will understand immediately what I mean. Debbie is published mostly in book reviews, a poem or two, but she gives her all to her fiction writing. This cracked me up. Ah, the writing life...

Hi, Raefriend, warning: do not read if you're depressed! lol I want to whine and complain to someone, and I guess you're it!

I have a headache. Haven't been sleeping lately. So instead of giving in to the desire to go back to bed, I decided to work on Fluri's Fancy, my children's fantasy.

I took a hot shower, got dressed, made a big mug of Stash's Christmas Morning tea. Came into the Carotene Retreat and lit jasmine incense and two votive candles. Jasmine is the scent that shouts WRITING to me.

Got out my disk from my carry satchel that I'd left in the living room when I got in last night. Sat at my desk and was reading through the hard copy and felt a tickle on my hands.

I looked down and yelled--a zillion ants on my computer desk. Why, I don't know. Though I bring in tea or coffee, I don't bring in food. I HATE ANTS! It took me a while to zap them all, then I had to spray some bug spray, and I hate the scent of it. I felt creepy and prickly and tickly afterwards.

Then I sat down again and remembered I'd made some notes on a scrap of paper, so I tore through my satchel, not finding the paper. Who knew it would be in my story fold where it was supposed to be? Then my Internal Editor/Critic, she who resembles the Wicked Witch of the West, started up.

"Why bother? You're no good. What you're writing is crap. Go take a nap and rest your head or start one of the review books..." So I had to stop and do her bodily harm--imagining me tossing a bucket of water on her and watching her lovely wickedness melt...so then I get down to business.

I put in the disk into the computer and my mouse acted up. Then, somehow the toolbar disappeared and the computer started making funny noises. Then Xander wanted to go out and he was damned insistent on it and he turned off my computer!

DOWN DOGGIE didn't do it so I had to go let him out. This old Gateway has the power button right on the front center of the CPR on the desk. You don't know how many times I've put down a pile of books or even my heavy brown coffee mug only to get it too close and it hits the power button. So as I'm rebooting, Her Supreme Wickedness has dried out and reformed and she starts her stuff all over again.

Then another ant skitters across my hand. By this time a nap is looking pretty good! But I plunge into working on a paragraph that needs to foreshadow a couple of things while Her Wickedness assures me that I'm no Bruce Coville.

I need a medievally type of food that a villager would eat that might cause indigestion and hence dreams. Can I find one freaking book with one freaking food that I could use? Hell no! And I have zillions of medieval volumes!

So I choose too many green apples... which brings up a whole new set of worries. One, would there be apples in my fantasy world's geographical area? Two, if I use green apples, when would the time frame of the story be? When do apples grow? Sprign? Summer? Fall? By now I'm pulling out my hair...my headache's worse, and Witch-bitch whispers, 'see, I told you!'


Hugs, Debfriend debora@udel.edu I read therefore I am. MV

Wrestling With the Angel of Strangeness

Debra Murphy has written a terrific article on THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST titled Wrestling with the Angel of Strangeness: 'The Passion' One Year Later.
Check it out at Godspy. If the long hyperlink doesn't work, try this and scroll down.

blog influence & Blessed Alberione

I finished up my article on Catholic blogging for the Pauline Cooperator magazine. In it I discussed how blogs can be a powerful tool for what Blessed Alberione calls The Good Press. Today I spent a bunch of time reading up on "how to create an A-list blog". The competitive part of me enjoyed reading up on how to, basically, become an influential independent journalist through creation of an A-list blog. Spiritually, though, I felt a little overwhelmed by the raw ambition underlying this advice. All professionals strive for competence and success in their endeavors. But the blogosphere, like the movie industry, the record industry, the publishing industry, holds out the promise that anybody can catch the golden ring on the media merry-go-round and become FAMOUS. INFLUENTIAL. RICH. For fifteen minutes. Then on to the next 15-minute ride.

I find all the naked ambition depressing. And enticing. All writers crave an audience, and blogging has become a new corner drugstore where aspiring starlets can display their wares and hope to be discovered, like Lana Turner.

Food for thought.