I come and stand at every door…

No unique occasion. On my sunset walk, this afternoon, I was remembering times past, those who are gone. I remembered opening for Dr. King some time back in the 1960’s when I was singing a lot, everywhere. It was a street corner rally in New Haven, Connecticut. We had a wooden platform up on a corner so folks could see and hear. And, as well as I recall, this was one of the last songs I sang before introducing MLK.

Learned it from Pete’s recording.

2002 Bali Bombings – experience and memories

Today I’m recalling the memories and experiences from ten years ago. This post is by no means a complete recollection…the things that come to mind as I write.

Sunday 13 October 2002

That morning the news services reported on the bombings…A young man who was slightly injured managed to catch a flight from Bali to Darwin and he presented to the Emergency Department at Royal Darwin Hospital. He provided the first insight for us on what happened. Later in the morning I was receiving telephone calls that we needed to meet at the hospital because Darwin may be used as an entry point for the survivors who needed acute critical care…

At Richmond, RAAF flight crew were departing in a C-130 to pick up some of our doctors and assess the situation in Bali. The initial thinking was there would be a scoop and run operation of walking wounded. The early information was vague and inaccurate. We had a general surgeon (Dr David Read) and an anæsthetist (Dr Sue Winter) take satellite telephones with them from the RDH. These two doctors were reservists and full time staff specialists at RDH. With our RDH telecommunications we were able to collect raw information from the field…

We got all the patients in the hospital in the know and many agreed to go home or somewhere else…Some patients we had to force to stay, they wanted to leave to allow their place to be taken by a bombing victim. By the end we had discharged 100 patients to make room and to free up staff…

It was spooky walking through the empty surgical wards of a silent hospital…

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Ray Bradbury…dies at 91

Ray Bradbury, recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91 after a long illness. He lived in Los Angeles.

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury has inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston’s classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television’s The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. In 2005, Bradbury published a book of essays titled Bradbury Speaks, in which he wrote: In my later years I have looked in the mirror each day and found a happy person staring back. Occasionally I wonder why I can be so happy. The answer is that every day of my life I’ve worked only for myself and for the joy that comes from writing and creating. The image in my mirror is not optimistic, but the result of optimal behavior…

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, Live forever! Bradbury later said, I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped.

Sitting next to me at my desk is a penny postcard – with a 1¢ stamp added to account for a rise in postage – I received from Ray Bradbury in 1952.

It contains a favorite quote: “an author’s face shouldn’t be displayed too publicly, too often…” He would rather have been read than to have folks listen to him talking about his writing.

He will be missed.

Get a head start on 2009 – Sydney, Australia


I admit it. I love fireworks.

The very first fireworks display I went to was during the very first Barnum Festival in Bridgeport, Connecticut. WW2 was 3 years over. There had been no such displays in town during the war.

And no one was around who had put on large-scale fireworks displays from before the war. So, when everything went off – especially the mass display at the very end – the thousands of watchers who had gathered at Seaside Park to watch the fireworks launched from the beach became the targets of the falling embers and hot debris blown inland by the onshore breezes.

Pretty scary.

Later, many decades later, I learned how much Boston loves their fireworks – during many First Night celebrations in Beantown. I’d stash my car on the top of a parking garage near the harbor. The midnight display celebrating the New Year always was fabulous – and the traffic horrendous. Boston’s street system is nothing more than 17th-Century cowpaths paved over.

After wandering through First Night displays, exhibits and events, my friends and I would rendezvous at my car. Revel in the fireworks display. Then, tuck into an enormous potluck picnic – outside if it was a temperate evening – inside a couple of cars parked side-by-side if it was freezing. We wouldn’t try to drive home till the streets had mostly emptied out.

I love fireworks.