Friday, September 11, 2009

He Did Keep Us Safe

Gotta read this nice little tribute to President Bush over at Big Hollywood. It is still early, but I maintain that Bush's basic decency and "grit," as Editor in Chief John Nolte terms it, will be remembered long after the slings and arrows of the self-important pseudo intelligentsia are forgotten.

Literary Interlude: "The Soldier"

Given the nature of today's remembrance, I offer the well-known Rupert Brooke poem. There is something in that notion of a corner that is "forever England" that resonates with the video of the World Trade Center site that the networks are running. Without further ado:

The Soldier    
by Rupert Brooke

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is for ever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's, breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentleness,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

I Remember Keith Roma

(The following is my, hopefully humble, tribute to one of the victims of 9/11, a former student, undertaken as part of Project 2,996. Go to the website and use the links to learn about the real live human beings lost. )

The Keith Roma who called his father from Fire Patrol 2 in Greenwich Village on 9/11 was not the one I once knew. He was not a high school boy with a sheepish grin and an impish glint in his eye, a bright student always up for a bit of fun. The Keith Roma who picked up that phone on the last morning of his life to tell his Dad that the unthinkable had happened was a 27 year old man in the prime of life.

Responding to the World Trade Center after the first plane hit, Keith, who according to coworkers already had a reputation for being there when things got rough, was captured in a photograph as he helped evacuees to safety. According to Sgt. John Sheehan, his superior, Keith undertook another three trips into Tower 1. At one point, he is reported to have carried a woman with no shoes down glass-strewn stairs. The last time he was seen, he was with a group evacuating an overweight woman. Reports indicate that when his remains were found that Christmas, it was with those of another eight or nine people, leading to the supposition that he was assisting in yet another evacuation.

Initially, his name did not appear on the Fire Department tally of those lost because Keith worked for the Fire Patrol, an entity encharged with salvage at commercial fires. But in 2006, the New York Fire Department paid official tribute to his memory in a bronze plaque. Firefighters across the country have honored him as one of their own. Not all tributes have been that formal. His hometown paper reports that the week after the tragedy, his family was approached at the station house by a young woman bearing flowers. She explained that one afternoon, Keith had spotted her crying and learning that she was grieving the loss of her mother had ducked into a store only to reappear with a bouquet. It was a kindness she did not forget and which she sought to return. A former coworker at a second job also attests to his kindness and concern. All remember his ready smile and enthusiasm, particularly for sports.

There is a picture at a memorial website of Keith holding his daughter as an infant. There is the same expression I remember, that trademark grin. There is no indication in the photo that it is the face of a young man who would race into a burning building to rescue others, who would perish in the line of duty. In short, that it is the face of heroism. Vaya con Dios, Keith, you have not been forgotten.

Quip for Today, Or What We Put Up With Daily

As I was going out of my way yesterday to help a member of the public, the gentleman- who is married to a Costa Rican lady- inquired as to my heritage. When I replied that I was Cuban, he remarked that he was desperate to visit Cuba "before it changed."

"Oh," I inquired with as much insouciance as I could muster, "You mean while the people are still impoverished and oppressed?"

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Very Late Rendition

As ImPOTUS keeps running for President on the telly, I'll play some catch-up.

Slicing. While I'm on wordplay, I have to highlight Paco's "Purge" post, notable not only for its point, but also for its incisive diction. I'll leave you to pick your own favorite. I can't decide between the stolen hubcap and the metaphorical pike. But then there's the tin foil hat. Oh, well.

Dicing. An interesting read at the Heritage Foundation as to why unions are backing healthcare reform. I was wondering. But with the recent transmogrification of unions, who knows?

Cutting. I love Big Hollywood. In this, Lou Aguilar makes the leap from cinema to the political arena when he maintains that the magnitude of the error in electing the present administration makes it that much easier to correct. From his keyboard to God's ears.

Chewing. Just as a point of interest, this CNN report about some more holiday visitors to the Cape.... Cape Cod, that is. Nothing special, just brings back memories of the "Summer of the Shark." Ah, remember when.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Read: Between Bestsellers

If like me, you're all read up on your favorite writers, just salivating for the next novel; then, you are also in search of writers yet to be discovered. I stumbled on Les Roberts' Milan Jacovich series during a dry spell. Milan is a Slovenski detective in Cleveland. By the way, great detective fare.

More recent finds include two detective series set in Britain between the wars. Both provide a sense of life in the interval. First is the "Her Royal Spyness" Series by Rhys Bowen which chronicles the adventures of the genteelly impoverished Lady Georgiana, 34Th in line for the throne who finds herself enmeshed in murders while struggling to stay afloat. The latest- Royal Flush- has Wallis Simpson in an unflattering cameo. Enjoyable. Set slightly earlier in the same era, though in more plebeian circles are Jacqueline Winspear's Maisie Dobbs novels. A bit more serious than the Bowen, centered on the the after effects of WWI.

Just waiting for the new Conroy to hit my library shelves.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Literary Interlude: Shakespeare for All Occasions

I had posted the last entry at Babalu yesterday eve when the theme of the week came to me. There was Beck; there was Fontova's reminder of the abomination of the UN's d'Escoto naming the tyrant "a Hero of Solidarity"; and that last petulant comment about a "cosmetic coat of paint." So, here goes:

Lay not that flattering unction to your soul,
That not your trespass but my madness speaks;
It will but skin and film the ulcerous place,
Whiles rank corruption, mining all within,
Infects unseen.
Hamlet, Act III, Scene 4

What an image! Gotta love the Bard.

It's The Embargo, Stupid!

The AFP informs that Thursday's State Department easing of remittance and family travel restrictions didn't go far enough for the Cuban dictatorship. The tone of the denunciation decrying the move as a "cosmetic coat of paint," something they know a thing or two about, would seem to strike a harsh note.

Of course, it is not unusual for an American President to have his outstretched hand slapped away. Still, some clues to the frenetic tone of the response can be found here. It's the embargo they want lifted, d'ya think?

Cross-posted at Babalublog