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Weekend Bloggerback
Best of Blogs: January 21-22, 2006

From the left, the right, the in-between: we include the political,
the social, the cultural and the undefinable, and on the weekend, a few bloggers' fictional fancies, too.

 

Featured Blog I: Mile-High Club
The Swiss Actress & Dr. Teng

[From a physician-writer and natural-history bilogist in Mangalore , India , comes this tale, or memoir, or mile-high joke, about a medical emergency on a Swissair flight from Mumbai to Geneva . Though lightly salted with the unomfortably casual prejudice of certain perspectives, the piece is still wortrh a read to its final punchline.]

Ping pong, this is your flight steward speaking. We need a doctor urgently. Is there on aboard? The announcement had an electric effect on the Swissair passengers, who looked here and around, shuffled their feet and craned their necks. My knees instinctively drew closer. Thank God I was still a final year student. I dreaded emergencies and life saving procedures: they drained me of adrenaline, and honestly, I don’t think I had it in me to become a medical-man. In less than half a year I’d graduate from my medical school, but I had firmly decided that clinical practice and emergencies are best left to those who had the yen for it, I myself would stick to research and teaching the science. Connect professionally from the periphery not in a hospital. Read the full story...

Featured Blogger II: KIA in Alabama
An Iraq War Veteran’s Suicide

“All is not okay or right for those of us who return home alive and supposedly well. What looks like normalcy and readjustment is only an illusion to be revealed by time and torment. Some soldiers come home missing limbs and other parts of their bodies. Still others will live with permanent scars from horrific events that no one other than those who served will ever understand.” - Douglas Barber, 2005

On January 16 th, after having talked quite normally on the phone with at least two other people that same day, Douglas Barber, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) living in Lee County, Alabama, changed the answer-message on his telephone. “If you’re looking for Doug,” it said in his Alabama drawl, “I’m checking out of this world. I’ll see you on the other side.” He then called the police, collected his shotgun, and went out onto his porch to meet them. From the sketchy reports we have now, it seems the police wouldn’t oblige him with a “suicide by cop” and tried to talk him down. When it became apparent he wasn’t able to commit cop-suicide, 37-year-old Douglas Barber did an about face, rotated the shotgun and killed himself. There is a hell of a lot that we just don’t know about how this happened. I talked to Doug on the phone earlier this month, and he described how excited he was to have joined IVAW, how he looked forward to taking up the pen and speaking out. Others had spoken with him only days and hours before he permanently quieted the chaos in his head. None of the “classic” signs of suicidal thinking were manifest. He was gregarious and upbeat, playful. There is a hell of a lot that we just don’t know about how this happened. I talked to Doug on the phone earlier this month, and he described how excited he was to have joined IVAW, how he looked forward to taking up the pen and speaking out. Others had spoken with him only days and hours before he permanently quieted the chaos in his head. None of the “classic” signs of suicidal thinking were manifest. He was gregarious and upbeat, playful. Read Stan Goff's full post...

 

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