Barb Caffrey's Blog

Writing the Elfyverse . . . and beyond

Archive for September 2011

Just Reviewed Ryk Spoor’s “Digital Knight” for SBR

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Folks, not only did I get to re-read and review Ryk Spoor’s DIGITAL KNIGHT (a fine urban fantasy that’s been out since 2003), you’ll be able to read it for free through the auspices of the Baen Free Library as the link is provided in my review at Shiny Book Review.

So here we go:

http://shinybookreview.wordpress.com/2011/09/30/ryk-spoors-digital-knight-a-fun-take-on-things-that-go-bump-in-the-night/

Enjoy!

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 30, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Posted in Book reviews

End of the Season Wrap-Up: Vinny Rottino

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As IF/OF/C Vinny Rottino’s season has come to an end, it’s time for an end of the season wrap up.  Rottino batted .167 in his September call-up with the Florida Marlins, getting two hits in twelve plate appearances.  Rottino walked twice (both last Sunday against the Brewers) and struck out four times; he played adequate defense and showed an above-average arm.

But as I’ve said before in all of my blogs about Rottino, this really isn’t the whole story.   And after re-watching last Sunday’s game (as my Mom taped it for me on her DVR), I have some more thoughts regarding Rottino and major league baseball.

First off, Brewers announcers Brian Anderson and Bill Schroeder were quite complimentary to Rottino.  They called him a “very good guy” and mentioned his outstanding AAA season, giving many of the details I’ve related in previous blogs.   (Not that it’s hard to do as stats are printed in many places.)  And when Rottino overran the ball hit by P Chris Narveson in the second inning, while Anderson and Schroeder pointed out it was a misplay, they also pointed out that Rottino had been playing shallow in the outfield because Narveson had shown bunt (meaning Narveson looked like he was about to bunt before pulling the bat back and slapping the ball at the third base bag; the ball actually hit the bag before rolling to Rottino, and as that’s an odd play all the way around, it wasn’t that Rottino was out of position or doing anything wrong — it just was an odd play and Rottino tried too hard as I said in my earlier blog post to pick the ball up).  Throughout the game, Anderson and Schroeder had nothing but good words to say about Rottino and how hard he’s worked in the minor leagues to get another major league opportunity; they also pointed out how classy it was of Marlins manager Jack McKeon to start Rottino in front of his family, friends, and the organization that signed Rottino in the first place, the Milwaukee Brewers.

While looking up stats and trying to compare what Rottino did to other rookies, I found this from Fangraphs, which was written in 2009.  They ranked Rottino 35th on their list of trade deadline prospects, and said this:

  • 35. Vinny Rottino, IF/C
    Milwaukee to Los Angeles NL A 29-year-old rookie, Rottino is your basic triple-A vet and emergency MLB fill-in. The right-handed hitter has some value because he has gap power and can serve as a third-string catcher.

What this says to me is that Rottino does have major league ability to be the 24th or 25th man on a major league roster if he’d only be in the right place at the right time.  For example, in 2010, Jonathan Lucroy started the year in AA at Huntsville, but was the best-available catcher the Brewers had in their minor league system.  Lucroy was brought up (by this time, he’d been in AAA for a while) and mentored by manager Ken Macha and the other catchers on the roster such as George Kottaras (not to mention Brewers bullpen catcher Marcus Hanel).  Lucroy blossomed, and has become a very steady defensive and offensive catcher.

While Lucroy was specifically a catcher and Rottino has always been a utility player, imagine if the Brewers had still had Rottino at that point.  He would’ve been in AAA ball because the Brewers had a crying need for catching as Geoff Zaun had been lost for the season and their best catching prospects (aside from Lucroy) were either injured or unavailable.  It would’ve been Rottino called up at that point, had he still been with the Brewers; Rottino caught every day in 2007 for Nashville and was an All-Star for them.  He also caught every day in 2008 for Nashville, and again was an All-Star.  So it’s likely that had Rottino not been traded in 2009 by the Brewers, he again would’ve been at Nashville and he, not Lucroy, would’ve been brought up as Rottino was by far closer to “major league ready” than Lucroy.

That doesn’t take anything away from Lucroy, mind you; Lucroy is a very good player and his “upside” is probably a great deal more than Rottino’s upside.  But you can see how sometimes it’s just luck — being in the right place at the right time — that gets you a true major league shot, and nothing else.  Rottino has not yet had that luck.  And as he’ll be 32 to start next season, time is running out for him to get that lucky break.

But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t stay prepared.  After all, look what he did this year; he had a fabulous season at AAA in New Orleans, where he led the Zephyrs in RBI, in hits, in stolen bases, in walks . . . Rottino had a great season, and was once again an All-Star at the AAA level.

So Rottino deserved to be called up, and I’m glad he got the call.

As for anything else, since the last time I was able to see Rottino play in the major leagues, it’s obvious that Rottino has gained weight in the upper body, possibly to add to his power potential.  (Rottino isn’t a home run hitter, but he hits quite a few doubles and some triples.)  Rottino looks fit, healthy, in shape, and if I had seen him in a health club somewhere, I’d have expected him to be the “resident pro” or personal trainer as he definitely exudes workmanlike competence.**

All that being said, I think it’s great that Rottino continues to work hard, stay in shape, and do whatever he can to be prepared if the right opportunity finally presents itself.  I think his persistence is his best quality, something many other people in and out of sports could learn from, while his stalwart refusal to give up on himself is his second-best quality and is also something many people in all walks of life could stand to learn as well.

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** — Granted, I don’t know what he’d do with someone like me — someone with physical limitations, who’s out of shape and often in physical pain to the point that it greatly affects any exercising I might be able to do.  But my best guess is that Rottino would be an excellent guide and motivator, considering how he’s been able to motivate himself all these years.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 29, 2011 at 10:43 pm

Baseball Season Ends with Wild Finish

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Last night’s major league season ended with a bang, not a whimper, as four teams still had an opportunity to make the playoffs as a wild card (the fourth and final seed), two in the American League (the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays) and two in the National League (the St. Louis Cardinals and the Atlanta Braves).  Both sets of teams were tied going into the final game of the season, and there was a lot riding on the end of the year.

First, St. Louis played their game, beating the hapless Houston Astros 8-0 behind a 2-hit Chris Carpenter shutout.  Which meant that Atlanta had to win to stay even with them, which would force a one game playoff to determine which of the two teams would continue on in post-season play. 

As for Atlanta, their team was in extra innings; the tenth inning went by, tied 3-3 with the Philadelphia Phillies.  The eleventh inning, still tied.  The twelfth, with no change.  And finally, in the thirteenth inning, the Phillies scored a run off a Hunter Pence RBI single (Pence was a member of the Astros until two and a half months ago, being a late-season acquisition by the Phillies) to go up 4-3, while Atlanta had nothing in the bottom of the 13th.

This meant that the Cardinals won the National League Wild Card; they will now face the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round of the National League Division Series.

As for the American League, there was a great deal of drama there also.  First, Boston was playing Baltimore and they were in a very long rain delay, up 3-2 in the 7th.  When Tampa Bay fell behind 7-0 to the New York Yankees, it looked all but assured that Boston would go to the playoffs.

But there was more baseball to play, as Tampa Bay showed by scoring six unanswered runs in the bottom of the 8th; the Yankees still led, 7-6.  As the Red Sox continued in their rain delay, Tampa Bay was down to their last strike in the bottom of the ninth, when pinch hitter Dan Johnson, who’d hit only 1 HR all year and had a batting average of only .108, hit a game-tying HR to force the game into extra innings.

So the tenth inning goes by, with the Yankees and Rays being tied, 7-7.  The eleventh inning, still tied; by this point the tarp is being taken off the field in Baltimore and the game between the Red Sox and Orioles was about to resume.

As for the Orioles, former Brewers shortstop JJ Hardy shut down two Yankee offensive threats all by himself, as in the top of the eighth Carl Crawford hit a double to the deepest part of left-center; the Red Sox runner on second base was sent home, but Hardy’s strong arm in relaying the pitch from the OF (from five or six steps deep into center) was sure and the Orioles catcher hung on to get the third out called there without a fourth run being scored.  While in the the top of the ninth, JJ Hardy started a nifty double play that took the Red Sox out of a promising situation and they again failed to score; between Hardy’s game-saving defense and the 2-run HR he’d hit earlier in the game, it’s obvious that Hardy was the MVP of that game.

At any rate, Jonathan Papelbon, the Red Sox’s closer, was brought in against the Orioles.  He struck out the first two guys, then gave up back to back doubles and was wild in the strike zone with the fourth and fifth batters.  The Orioles were down to their last strike when Chris Davis hit the first double, Nolan Reimold hit the second, and Robert Andino, who’d been 0-for-the-game before this, hit the game-winning single to end the game and the Red Sox’s post-season hopes. 

Note that Boston OF Carl Crawford attempted a sliding catch in the ninth on Andino’s single which, if successful, would’ve sent the game into extra innings; instead, Crawford trapped the ball and wasn’t able to get up and get his throw in from shallow left field.  Had Crawford, who is a former Tampa Bay Rays standout, played that ball on a bounce instead, the Orioles runner would’ve been held at third and the game may well have ended up in extra innings if Papelbon had somehow mustered up enough energy to get the third out.  Crawford is now being called a “goat” in Boston for what amounted to him trying too hard to send that game into extra innings, when the real “goat” for the Red Sox should be Papelbon — who had the Orioles right where he wanted them until Papelbon ran out of gas.  Papelbon blew the save, lost the game, and ended the Red Sox’s season.

So, we go back to the Rays, who are now batting in the bottom of the twelfth.  Evan Longoria was up; he hit a pitch well, but it looked like a double to me off his bat.  Longoria was fortunate, though; he hit it to the shallowest part of left field by the foul pole, at the 315 foot sign, and just barely got it out of the park.  So within three minutes’ time, the Red Sox had lost to the Orioles, while the Rays had beaten the Yankees in 12 innings to advance to the post-season as the American League wild card seed.  The Rays will play Texas in the first round of the playoffs.

I have never seen a baseball season finish like this before, where teams had to step up and play well at the end with two teams forcing extra-innings games, with one team winning (Tampa Bay) and the other team losing (the Atlanta Braves).  So there are two really good teams — the Red Sox and the Braves — who will be joining me and many other spectators by watching the post-season at home, while two other really good teams who played exceptionally well in September (Tampa Bay and St. Louis, respectively) will continue their excellent seasons.

Compared to that, the Milwaukee Brewers and Texas Rangers needing to win their final game in order to clinch the second-best record in their respective league to get home-field advantage in the first round of the playoffs doesn’t seem as dramatic.  But the Brewers and Rangers, too, showed the value in refusing to concede anything in September, and played well in pressure-filled situations in the final week of the season . . . any other year, these teams would’ve been the stories, not the Rays and Cardinals.

Quick Vinny Rottino Update

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Yesterday, the Florida Marlins started Vinny Rottino in left field in their game against the Milwaukee Brewers.  This was significant because Rottino is from Racine, WI, and had been a Brewers “farmhand,” being signed as a minor league free agent by the Milwaukee Brewers in 2003 (Rottino was the 2005 minor league player of the year for the Brewers if memory serves).  This was the first time Rottino had returned as a major leaguer to Milwaukee, and the first time he’s played in front of his own family and friends as a member of the Marlins.

While Rottino did not get a hit, he did draw two walks and showed an excellent eye at the plate.  (So far, he is one for eleven in his current stint with the Marlins, with a batting average of .091.  But he hasn’t had that many chances to play, either.)  Rottino also was very lucky not to get an error in the outfield as he overran one ball; usually a misplay like that is caused by trying too hard rather than the reverse, and is something that might be attributed to nerves as Rottino had many friends and family in the crowd.

As for me, I watched the game on television and I was hoping that Peter Jackel of the Racine Journal-Times would have something to say about Rottino.  Jackel didn’t, so all I can tell you is what I saw.

But that’s not the whole story, as anyone who’s followed along with my updates about Rottino should realize by now; Rottino’s all about heart, persistence, and a refusal to give up on his very real talents as a baseball player.  This is partly why his story is compelling, because at 31, many baseball players have “packed it in” and Rottino has refused to do so because he knew he had more to give.  And the rest of the reason why I continue to follow along with Rottino is my own belief that people should be judged by who they are and how hard they work, not by their age or by some pre-set list of qualifications.

I believe that if Rottino gets a chance to play a bit more often, he will succeed in the big leagues.   I also believe that if a major league team gives him a chance, they will be pleasantly surprised at all the things Rottino can do that will help their ballclub.

That being said, all I can do is watch Rottino as I’m able and hope for the best.  Because what Rottino’s doing is what I like to call “when perspiration meets inspiration” — he’s living his dreams because he’s worked very hard, he’s prepared himself as best he’s able, and he’s done his level best to get himself to advance to the final level in baseball, the major leagues. 

While I’m very glad the Marlins called Rottino up, he’s still a ballplayer in need of a break.  I really hope that in 2012, he will finally get the break he needs to become a full-time major league player.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 26, 2011 at 10:03 pm

“Drop Dead Diva” Season Three Finale: Fun, but Unbelievable

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I’ve watched Lifetime’s original TV show Drop Dead Diva since its inception; it’s about a shallow blonde model, Deb, who dies and ends up in the body of a plus-sized lawyer, Jane (Brooke Elliot).   This is a fun fantasy premise that has enchanted me for three years now; that Jane works with her former fiancé, Grayson (Jackson Hurst), only adds to the fun.  Because as the beginning of “Drop Dead Diva” states, “The only people who know me are my girlfriend Stacey, and my Guardian Angel, Fred.”   (Stacey is played by April Bowlby, and Fred by Ben Feldman.)

Jane is a great character to watch, partly because she’s had to come to terms with being a larger-sized person, and partly because actress Elliot definitely knows what she’s doing.   Jane is smart, something Deb-turned-Jane appreciates as Deb wasn’t; Jane also is compassionate, something Deb tried to be but didn’t always accomplish in her former life as a bubbly blonde model.

At any rate, trying to summarize three seasons worth of episodes is probably too difficult, so let’s just say that Jane still loves her former fiancé but has an active social and sex life.  She’s now dating a plus-sized man named Owen, a judge (played by Lex Medlin).  Jane is a fashion plate who enjoys life and food and has an unusually good head for the law, so overall, it seems like Deb has come out ahead on the deal.

Note this is a fantasy premise that has often been used in romance novels but only rarely on TV; I point this out because in a fantasy/romance with anything close to a premise like this, the one thing that has to be inviolate is that Grayson (Deb’s fiancé, whom Deb-turned-Jane still loves) can never find out that Jane is really Deb.  This has been pointed out several times in the past; for example, in season two’s cliffhanger, Jane tried to tell Grayson after Grayson had been hit by a car that she was really Deb.

And what happened?  Well, Grayson didn’t remember anything Jane said.  More to the point, he had partial memory loss of anything around the actual incident . . . so it’s been established that Grayson should not know that Jane is Deb, because God (or the Higher Power, or whoever Fred the Guardian Angel answers to) seems to want it that way.

However, Stacey actually tells Grayson after an ill-advised kiss (Grayson starts it and apologizes for it) that while she is not Deb, Jane actually is Deb.  Which prompts Grayson to go to the airport to try to stop Jane from leaving for Italy (Jane saw Grayson and Stacey kiss, but didn’t see Stacey more or less pushing Grayson away, and told Fred that Stacey had cheated on him as Fred and Stacey have a relationship going that’s leading toward marriage; this prompted Jane to take the “vacation of a lifetime” and go to Italy), but of course he can’t manage it.

So who does get on the plane to go with Jane?  Her current judge boyfriend, Owen, who’d been about to go to New Zealand for a year instead, but passed on that opportunity to be with Jane.

Look.  I am very much in favor of love.  I also am very much in favor of marriage, true romance, and all the ins and outs that come along with the deal.   But I’m also a writer and editor.  And because of that, I can tell you right now that Stacey telling Grayson that Jane was Deb shouldn’t have happened.  Because if it did, Grayson shouldn’t have remembered it because up until now, Grayson hasn’t known and Jane hasn’t been able to tell him because every time she tried, something awful happened to Grayson.

For example, Fred said at the end of season 2’s finale that Grayson “needed to fall in love with Jane” as she was now, not merely to see Jane as an extension of Deb, which is what would’ve happened if God (or whatever the Deity/Higher Power is conceived of as being in this show) would’ve allowed Jane to tell Grayson who she was.  When Jane tried anyway, Grayson promptly forgot and lost some other memories along the way.

That’s why Stacey absolutely cannot tell Grayson this and be believed; that Grayson did believe it is obvious because he went to the airport to try to stop Jane from leaving for Italy.

So what happened in last night’s episode turned the actual premise of Jane doing her best to get on with her life with or without Grayson as a romantic partner (as Grayson has been a very solid friend to Jane, and vice versa) into a farce.  I don’t respect that, because the way the narrative has been framed up until this point made far more sense from a fantasy/paranormal perspective than it is making right now with this latest plot-wrinkle.

Further, Fred’s role as guardian angel is now in doubt because Jane admittedly shut him out (she told him to leave Stacey, too, but one would hope that Fred will instead confront Stacey and Grayson and find out quickly that both realized the kiss was a mistake and will never happen again under any circumstances whatsoever).  And Fred’s character is what keeps this show as real as it is; Fred is honest, funny, down-to-Earth, in love with Stacey because he sees her goodness as well as her beauty and wants to have a life with Stacey and has given up a great deal in order to do so.  (You’d have to go back to season one to see why I say this, but it’s the truth.)  He’s a character that you can’t help but root for, because Fred cares about Deb-turned-Jane and wants her to be happy.

Every character on “Drop Dead Diva” has depth and I have really enjoyed watching them, and the show, evolve over time.  But I don’t like it when a show’s premise has been compromised, and that’s exactly what’s happened here.

So the upshot of my critique is that “Drop Dead Diva’s” season three finale was fun, but completely unbelievable.  And while I’ll still watch and enjoy season four, and wonder what Grayson is going to do with his newfound knowledge (if he really does remember it, long-term, as he still may not), I believe “Drop Dead Diva” has blown its original premise to high heaven.  And that’s not good.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 26, 2011 at 9:00 pm

Just reviewed Sophie Littlefield’s “Aftertime” for SBR

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Tonight’s book review is for Sophie Littlefield’s AFTERTIME, which is that extreme rarity: a hopeful dystopia.  I really enjoyed this book because it shows that even after the worst has happened (in this case, a biological and nuclear war that has devastated humanity and destroyed the United States as an entity), there’s still some good things capable of going on.

In other words, people still love one another; people still care about their kids; people still want to live in a world where they are capable of making good, productive choices.

Can’t say enough about AFTERTIME, as Sophie Littlefield definitely got it right; her heroine, Cass Dollar, is smart, tough, resourceful and intelligent and because she has all those good qualities, she just might be able to get her daughter back from religious reactionaries with the help of the enigmatic Smoke, freedom fighter and love interest.

Go read my review, which is here.  Then go grab the book!

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 24, 2011 at 10:12 pm

Posted in Book reviews

Milwaukee Brewers win NL Central Title

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Finally, the Milwaukee Brewers have won the National League Central Division in 2011.

After weeks of uncertainty, the Brewers beat the Florida Marlins, 4-1, while the St. Louis Cardinals lost 4-1 to the Chicago Cubs.  As the Cardinals were the lone remaining obstacle to the Brewers winning their division, I was hoping the Cardinals would lose now rather than wait a few more days for the Brewers to win another game, as starting tonight’s action the Brewers “magic number” was down to only two games — meaning a win by the Brewers and a loss by the Cardinals tonight would win the Brewers the NL Central Division title.

This is the second time in three years that the Brewers have advanced to the playoffs, as they were the Wild Card seed (fourth-best team in the league, roughly) in 2008.  At that time the Brewers did not do very well, being eliminated in four games by the eventual World Series champions, the Philadelphia Phillies.  But this team will probably do a little better as there are many players remaining from the ’08 season, plus there are some crafty veterans like Jerry Hairston, Jr., and Mark Kotsay who weren’t on the ’08 squad, plus the ever-reliable, ageless Craig Counsell, who was.

This is the first time since 1982 that the Brewers have won their division; at that time, the Brewers were in the American League Eastern division (there being no “central” division at that time, the AL East was a seven-team division and a notoriously tough nut to crack).  The Brewers eventually won the AL pennant and advanced to the World Series, where they lost after seven hard-fought games to the St. Louis Cardinals.

This time, the Cardinals were in our own division, so perhaps it was a bit easier to beat them.  (Or not, as the Brewers split the season series with the Cardinals, 9-9.)  And now, unless the Cardinals are able to win the Wild Card (as the Brewers did in ’08), the Brewers will not have any chance of playing the Cardinals again until next year, which I find a particularly inspiring thought.

I am happy they Brewers are the Central Division Champions, but I do not believe they have fulfilled their potential as of yet as there’s still a great deal more work to be done before they get a chance to advance to the World Series. 

I appreciate this team for what it is (a very good hitting team that finally has good pitching to complement that hitting) and appreciate the ’82 team for what it was, too — oddly, both teams featured very good hitting for several years, yet needed a few more good pitchers to advance to postseason play.  In 1981 and 1982, the Brewers had added Pete Vuckovich and relief ace Rollie Fingers before the final piece of the puzzle, Don Sutton, was brought on board via a trade, whereas this year Shaun Marcum and Zack Greinke were brought on board via trades while Randy Wolf was signed to play for the Brewers last year and reliever John Axford learned last year from relief ace Trevor Hoffman before taking over for good this year.

What both teams (the ’82 version and the ’11 version) show is that you need both good hitting (in ’82, the hitters were Hall of Famers Robin Yount and Paul Molitor along with Cecil Cooper, Ben Oglivie, Gorman Thomas, Charlie Moore and Ted Simmons) and good pitching to win a divisional crown.  (If you don’t know who this year’s teams good hitters are, well, here they are: Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Corey Hart, Rickie Weeks and Nyjer Morgan are the most feted.)

There are a number of other parallels from the 1982 season to this one; while none are exact parallels, there are enough of them for me to appreciate the resonance though it’s been twenty-nine years since I last heard this particular harmony.

Way to go, Brewers!  Now, let’s win some more games, kick butt in the postseason, and continue the journey onward.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 23, 2011 at 10:40 pm

Troy Davis, Quite Possibly Innocent of Murder, Executed in GA

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Folks, it being the seventh anniversary of my late husband Michael’s death, I really hadn’t expected to be writing anything tonight.  But something so awful has just happened that I had to express my outrage . . . Troy Davis, 42, was convicted in 1991 of killing a policeman, Mark A. MacPhail.  But Davis maintained his innocence until death; more than that, seven witnesses recanted their testimony and three members of the jury that had convicted Davis said that Davis should not be put to death.

Yet he was, and I find that not only sad, but extremely upsetting, especially as Davis was willing to take a polygraph test to prove his innocence.  (The Georgia Department of Corrections refused his request, without explanation, earlier this morning.)

Here’s a link to tonight’s story:

http://www.ledger-enquirer.com/2011/09/21/1746796/troy-davis-pronouced-dead.html

And it’s not only me who feels justice has been denied here.  Barry Scheck, who runs the Innocence Project, said on MSNBC’s “The Ed Show” this evening that substantial doubt existed as to whether or not Davis was innocent.  William S. Sessions, former director of the FBI, said that he believed there was more than enough evidence for Georgia to stay the order of execution.   Here’s a few of his words, quoted from last week’s editorial in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

“Serious questions about Mr. Davis’ guilt, highlighted by witness recantations, allegations of police coercion, and a lack of relevant physical evidence, continue to plague his conviction,” Sessions wrote. He urged a state pardons board to commute the sentence to life in prison.

Look.  I’m just one woman, but I know when something is morally wrong.  The execution of Troy Davis tonight was a morally unjust and extremely wrong-headed action that everyone in this country should feel terrible about.  This man may well have been innocent, and if so, him being executed tonight was nothing less than cold murder — which begs the question, “When did Georgia forget about the Ten Commandments?”  Because perhaps the foremost commandment is this one: thou shalt not murder (often given in erroneous translations as “thou shalt not kill”).

According to the MSNBC TV reports, Davis’s last words were something along the lines of, “May God have mercy upon your souls” (to the people actually giving him the lethal injection) and he maintained his innocence until the very end.

I don’t know whether or not Davis was innocent.  But I do know Scheck and Sessions are very bright, able men, and both of them said the evidence did not warrant execution.

I really do not understand why the state of Georgia did this tonight, other than to show how barbaric they are.  But I do know this; I will keep my money out of Georgia.  I will keep myself out of Georgia.  And I will not do any business with anyone who lives in Georgia for the time being, either, as my own form of personal protest until the state of Georgia stops executing people who may well be innocent.**

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** Note: this will not bring Davis back.  I know this.  I also know it may hurt me down the line with some friends, who are as innocent as I believe Davis most likely was . . . but the only way to hurt a state that refuses to do the right thing is to hit them in the wallet.  That’s why I am taking this stance.

Not Enough Words, Seven Years Later

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Folks, as of midnight 9/21/11, it has been exactly seven years since I last saw my husband, Michael B. Caffrey, alive.

I keep wondering what, if anything, I could’ve done to save Michael’s life, but none of us knew that his heart was about to give out.  If Michael had known anything of the sort, he would’ve camped himself in the nearest hospital ER even though he hated hospitals; there’s no way he’d have wanted to have his heart completely fail after four heart attacks, the first one having started around 10 a.m. on 9/21/04.   He fell into a coma quickly thereafter and never again regained consciousness.

Michael fought hard; the doctors said they’d never seen anyone fight as hard as Michael did to cling to life.  There was a pattern to the seizures he was having on the right side of his body; he appeared to be trying to communicate with me, even though he was in a coma.  He certainly knew I was there and he was trying very hard to make his body work; he just couldn’t do it, that’s all.

At 8 p.m., about two hours after a fourth heart attack had lowered Michael’s blood pressure to 30/10 with a pulse rate of 4, Michael was pronounced dead.  And I had to say goodbye to the man I’ve loved the most in all the world; I did my best to do this, even though it was and remains difficult for me to believe that my beloved husband Michael, an extremely creative, warm, and witty person, was dead.

I’ve told you in this blog post about how my beloved husband died.  But I cannot tell you how he lived, except with gusto and grace; I cannot tell you how much he loved me, only how much I loved him.

So, even seven years later, I don’t have the words to express the depth of my feelings for my beloved husband.  I wish I did; oh, do I wish I did.

All I can tell you is this: Michael changed my life for the better.  I miss him every single hour of every single day.  I know I always will.   And because of that great love, I will keep trying to help our writing find its audience (his, mine, ours, makes no never-mind now because it all has to go through me); that’s the only way I know to keep even a small part of him alive.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 21, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Odds and Ends: DWTS, baseball, etc.

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Just a quick note here, folks . . . waiting for the Dancing with the Stars show results, as I hope Chaz Bono and his partner, Lacey Schwimmer, have made it through to the next round.

Otherwise, I’m also keeping an eye on the Brewers (they’re winning, so far) and the Cardinals (losing, so far) . . . and congrats to New York Yankees reliever Mariano Rivera, major league baseball’s new saves leader, who passed former Brewers reliever Trevor Hoffman to take the major league lead with 602 saves last evening.

Written by Barb Caffrey

September 20, 2011 at 8:30 pm