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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On the Virtues of Living without Electric Power after Hurricane Irene

Day 4 post-touchdown of Hurricane Irene and my part of town still has no electric power.  I hear a lot of grousing from my neighbors in the 'hood.  "All those workers CL&P [CT Light & Power] brought in and they can't get the power back on?"  "Who do they think they are, putting the power back on in the projects before they give it back in OUR neighborhood?" [Editor's note: Now that Bob has been going to what he calls A Tan Church for the past 5 weeks, Zion First Black Baptist Church of Middletown, that neighbor's comment, somebody who lives on Bretton Road, is offensive to Bob  He told The Editors, in a candid interview this morning, that "the projects" the neighbor was referring to are the low-income, mostly African-American housing projects, across from Snow School on Wadsworth Street in Middletown.]

It dawned on me this morning, walking in total darkness to the bathroom before getting up for the day at 5 a.m., that I was beginning, after only four days living at night in darkness, to appreciate more how it is to be blind in our culture.  There are advantages to being unable to see.  For example, you have to pay more careful attention to where you're walking and how fast.  So my wife has been leaving a chair in front of the basement door, to discourage Russell, the Cool Cat from jumping up with paws outstretched, sharpened claws bared, into the wood molding around three sides of the wooden door to our basement.  She hopes to make the house more saleable by minimizing scratches in the door frame.  I lack the night-time vision of Russell, and his graceful coordination, so this morning I bumped into the chair with my right knee.  I came a within a hair-breadth of tearing the ligament in my right ACL, which would have ended my dancin' career at the Mezzo Grille. Some of you, dear readers, can't wait until my dancin' days are over; for all of you, alas, I tore no ligament and my legs still function.

Last night, after I got home from doing a final check of my email at the McDonalds on Washington Street, I used a tiny Husky brand LED light to negotiate the darkness.  As I walked from Susie's Prius in the darkened driveway to the deck stairs I pulsed the Husky for less than a second to illuminate the stairs, and then the proper orientation of the key to the lock in the outside door into the back hallway, and then to the whereabouts of those candles Susie left out to provide light in the dark house.

Later I used the Husky to pulse on and off when I went upstairs to get a book in my office in Jamie's room. This maneuver gave me the chills because it made the stairway look like a set in a David Lynch psychological horror movie, like "Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me," "The Lost Highway," or, scarier yet, "Blue Velvet." The Husky pulsed on and off, just like the strobe lights in the Flea Circus in the Lower East Side of New York City to which our Uncle Arthur used to take us in the 50's.

When it was still hot and humid on Sunday, the loss of all electric power also forced us to turn off, or have turned off, as if by the Hand of God, our central air-conditioning system.  For the most part, I do not like central air.  Too cold.  Susie, who loves A/C, is in an important sense "addicted" to A/C,  and has no choice in the matter.

The Act of God which created the seed of Irene and girded her awesome loins as she transitioned, androgynous-like, from mere Tropical Storm to fully mature Hurricane, also guided Irene into whatever sub-station was required by God to turn out the lights and A/C in our little slice of Heaven, Chimney Hill.  Those of you, of whom there are some, who think my use of language like "Act of God" to describe these events suggests I have walked off an important ledge of sanity, into a muddled sea of religiosity, might want to consider this fact.  The concept of Act of God is enshrined in the SECULAR legal system as a defense to the non-performance of contractual obligations.  ["But Your Honor, my client could not finish the house for Mr. and Mrs. Dutcher in Bartlett Hollow by August  31, 2011 because an Act of God, Hurricane Irene, intervened and prevented the builder's sub-contractors from completing the landscaping, which the contract required be completed by August 31, 2011, no exceptions, time is of the essence....."]

So, our lives were going along smoothly, with plenty of power, electric power, until God intervened with an Act of God, Hurricane Irene, and took away the power.  Except we still retained the power to re-learn how to enjoy our lives, fully, authentically, even in the darkness, in the dead of night, the hot and humid time of year, the time of late summer when God or Mother Nature or King Neptune stirs the face of the deep so much that perfect 12-12 (12-foot, 12-second-period), perfect right-breaking surf breaks rise from the deep and come alive off Point Judith in Narragansett and Ruggles off the Cliff Walk in Newport.

Hurricanes like Irene may be God's or Mother Nature's way of reminding Americans how privileged we are compared to most of the rest of the world. And the loss of life, the property damage, the inconvenience from this one hurricane are small in comparison with the damage we inflict on societies against whom we launch military attacks, whether justified or not.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

News Flash--Susie Price Dutcher Discharged from ER with No Definitive Diagnosis, BUT, "This Too Shall Pass"

So when I got back to the ER with Mickey D's coffee in hand, Dr. Asia was re-assigned to a patient unburdened with a comedically-challenged spouse hanger-on.  Or had he heard just HOW BAD my free-associative joking riffs can be and requested re-assignment?  Personally, I hadn't actually met Dr. Doyle, the female doctor whom I talked to by cell phone the day Susie got hurt and I was out in Colorado on the train ride in the mountains with Liam, K.C., and Devon, and I was delighted I was now going to see the doctor who, as far as I was concerned at that time, saved my wife's life, and "wheels."

Susie began to get irritated that she was being kept "on ice" for several hours before she finally got a chance to meet the Gurudeva in person, up close and personal.  It finally dawned on me, however, that the longer you wait in the ER, the less in medical danger the ER staff thinks you are.  As hard as it is for us "gotta have it......RIGHT NOW" Americans, if you go to the ER with an ingrown toe nail, you'll probably have to wait longer to see the doctor than if you go in because your face has been bitten off in Stamford, CT by your best friend's Chimpanzee.  Being a very impatient, "inappropriate," person, I frankly can't see why the latter case is more urgent than the former, but that'll have to be addressed in a future blog post.  Hey, you may disagree with my sense of priority, and probably do disagree with my sense of propriety, but that's why we have a First Amendment right to free speech and free association.

Finally, Dr. Doyle strolled in, looking like she'd just gotten out of work at a summer camp.  Her reddish hair, pulled back along the sides of her head and fashioned into a pony tail, green eyes, and thin, healthy physique made her look like the young Irish women Susie and I saw many of on the streets of Cork and Dublin.  "Because she was here yesterday, we know that whatever the problem is, it's not her liver, gall bladder, or pancreas. It's probably either the medication she's been taking to, shall we say, get he intestines moving again, or the one she gets because she may have picked up a virus at Hartford Hospital. I'm going to give you a prescription for a medicine you'll have to take when you give a sample of your [contents of her large bowel.  Editor's note, for propriety sake, the actual mechanism by which this medication gives relief has been removed by the a voluntary act of  self-censorship by the author.]  

Dr. Doyle then requested that Susie call Dr. Reiman to have a consultation with a surgeon about her gall bladder, which needs to be removed soon.  At the urging of Dr. Doyl, Susie also called Dr. Shroth about the general of her abdomen and intestines.  Susie also discovered, yesterday in the ER, that she has a hernia which the ER doctor yesterday actually "pushed back in," after Dr. Shaver, a general surgeon also said the hernia needed to be surgically repaired.  Add that to the growing laundry list of medical challenges Susie has to deal with to "get on over to the the other side," to the land of milk and honey.

In the Jewish bible, Satan inflicts boils all over Job's body.  Susie has no boils, at least not yet, but she has something which may be just as hard to deal with.  A broken neck.  And Job had to wait many chapters, complaining to God about his suffering, before God's voice came forth from the heavens.  As you probably recall, God essentially told Job to cut out the toxic narcissism and stop bugging him with petty demands that God should do a better job of looking after Job's well-being.  "Where were you, Job, when I was laying the foundations of the world, knitting you together in your mother's womb, and steering Hurricane Irene away from a direct bee-line to Ur and towards the coast of Connecticut?"  

When it comes to my wife's plaintive cry, "When will this all end?  When will I get past the hard part?  Have I reached the hard part yet?", or words to that effect, I can't help but interpret this as her Job-like wail to God, asking where He is in all of her suffering. Will goodness, sense, meaning, come from all Susie's suffering?  Without knowing how or when this will become clear, I do have faith Susie's present ordeal is planting seeds which will yield a rich harvest of goodness, sense, and meaning.

I am not sure I would be able to say this if I were in Susie's place. Last fall, I tortured myself, Susie, and my friends with fantasies of violently bringing my life to an end. Finally, I realized that it was my old way of life, not my physical life, which needed to be changed in fundamental ways, which had to die before, its dark residue could be used to nurture then-un-imagined, unseen treasures.  Only now, some twelve months later, am I finally beginning to harvest a richer fruit than I ever imagined was possible to grow on my tiny plot in Middletown.

This too shall pass, sang the Persian Sufi poets.  My dear Susie, as hard as it is for you to live out that truth, you know I lived it out last fall, with your patient, steady, and loving support.  Your friends and I are there for you now.  Lean on us, as we have been supported by you. And this too shall pass.

[Editor's note: On the origin of "this too shall pass," see  ]

Susie spent all-day yesterday in the ER and is back in there now! When will her ordeal end, happily?

So this is the third day without electric power for many hundreds of thousands of us Connecticut-uns. For Susie, along with no electric power, she's also spent the past 24 hours mostly in the Emergency Room suite at Middlesex Hospital, right here in Middletown.  A man behind me at the McDonald's on Washington Street just read out loud that the CT River will crest today at 15.7 feet.  This is the first time, for the past three days, that I've ever set foot in a McDonald's since my kids were young.  It's a great place to Wi-Fi myself onto the World Wide Web, write Bob's blog, test-market comedy routines I'm working up to try out at an amateur night at a comedy club in New Haven, drink Newman's Own McCafe coffee, have an Asian Chicken salad for dinner last night, and have a cheese, bacon, and sausage on a muffin breakfast this morning.

Oh, I almost forgot, in my blogging off about McDonalds, Susie's back in the ER.  I took her there at 3:30 a.m. this morning.  Just minutes before then, she called me on my cell phone on the back porch, where I've been sleeping in my sleeping bag, on a green sleeping mat, for the past two months since I got back from my California and Boulder adventure trip, visiting my kids and grandson, Liam, and began taking care of the beautiful woman who's been taking care of me for the past almost 43 years.

"Bob, please come upstairs right away.  I think I have to go back to the hospital."  Russell, Jamie's cat, was sitting inside the back porch door, waiting patiently for me.  When I went to the porch at 1:30 a.m. to go to sleep, Russell was eating food from his white porcelain bowl in the kitchen, underneath the counter where the phone is located.  I called to him to see if he wanted to join me on the porch, but he was more interested in eating than sleeping next to me on the mat on the porch.  So when I went to get Susie, there was Russell, a loyal, infinitely patient sentry, in the back hall.  Russell followed me up the stairs to the master bedroom, where I found Susie in great abdominal pain.

"Shall I call an ambulance?"  "No, I've been up for an hour and a half and thought about calling an ambulance, and hoped the pain would just go away and let me get back to sleep.  I just want this to end."  I told her it was going to be alright, although secretly I've been worrying at times about how much one of God's creatures, even one as pain-tolerant as Susie, can take without losing it.  "It'll take longer to get me to the hospital if we call and ambulance now than if you just drive me."

After sitting with Susie for 2 hours in one of the smaller examining rooms on the periphery of the large rectangular ER Central Command Center, while the night nurse, Billy, took her history, again, drew another blood sample, and finally found a vein to begin a Sodium Chloride drip so she stops dehydrating, I asked Billy how long it would be before the Asian doctor would get to Susie.  "The blood results have to come back from the lab first, and we're really busy, so it'll be a while.  Yeah, go to McDonalds to get your coffee and check your email and everything.  If you want some coffee here, it's right over there," pointing to the far side of rectangular Central Command.  "Thanks but I actually like the Newman's Own coffee McDonald's sells now, and it's only $1 plus 9 cents tax no matter if you get the small, the medium, or the large.  Dollar nine, no matter which!"  I've also been trying out a comedy thing about the coffee on various marketing groups, like the 6 teenagers (3 boys, 3 girls) last night at midnight when I went back to the McDonald's to check the email one time more before bedtime on the Dutcher Back Porch Campground.  One of the kids actually wondered if I had a camera crew hidden somewhere in the McDonalds and whether we were going to be on TV.  So I'm beginning to think I may be developing a funny routine about how by the way do you decide to get the small, the medium, or the large coffee, if they're all a dollar nine?  You'd think everybody would say go for the large but what if you've got a little shoulder thing going like Susie does and the large might hurt your shoulder when you're lifting and carrying it to the car?

I better get back to the ER to see what's going on.  Billy told me the Asian doctor probably wouldn't go for my comedy schtick so I made a mental note of that important fact for when I get back to the ER.

More later...........

Monday, August 29, 2011

Hurricane Irene--weather hysteria, hurricane obsession, God's judgment, and the moral distractions of hurricanes

[Editor's Note: In contrast to many of Bob's blogs, the following ruminations have a most serious tone, intention, and purpose.]

A news report this morning sums up the damage from Hurricane Irene: 

"As Irene churned over Canada Monday, residents along the battered U.S. East Coast began surveying damage and fretted over the next danger: treacherous flooding.
Downgraded from a hurricane as it lumbered up the coast Sunday, Irene left millions without power across much of the Eastern Seaboard, was blamed for at least 21 deaths and forced airlines to cancel about 12,000 flights. 
It never became the big-city nightmare forecasters and public officials had warned about, but it still had the ability to surprise.
And the danger was far from over for many."

21 deaths; 12,000 cancelled flights; millions without power; treacherous flooding ahead.
Those are impressive numbers.  Twenty-one deaths too many.  Our third son, Jamie, had to cancel his flight from San Francisco and could not visit his mother in her time of misery.  Dis-empowered Americans (how horrible, the thought of "blessed" Americans without the power).  Fears of Flooding of Biblical Proportion.  Will Noah made a Rapturous Second Coming and re-build The Ark to save us over-fed, energy-hogging, privileged Eastern U.S. Seaboarders?  
No question, these are serious inconveniences, difficult problems, tragic situations, most of all, certainly, the 21 devastating losses of beloved family members.  But consider these facts:
Fact One: Drunk driving deaths

According to the Centers for Disease Control: "Every day, almost 30 people in the United States

die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death 

every 48 minutes.  The annual cost of alcohol-related crashes totals more than $51 billion."


More people died yesterday from drunk driving crashes (more than 24, since one dies every 48 minutes) than from Hurricane Irene (21 died).  Yet I did not read or hear one word in the newspaper about the more than 24 people who got killed by drunk drivers throughout the entire U.S.  What am I missing?
True, Hurricane Irene was "bearing down upon us" yesterday, and no drunk drivers were "bearing down upon us."  That's true, of course, except for the 24 people who did die when drunk drivers were "bearing down upon them" and snuffing out their lives.
Fact Two: Tobacco use deaths
"More deaths are caused each year by tobacco use than by all deaths from human 

immunodeficiency virus (HIV), illegal drug use, alcohol use, motor vehicle injuries, suicides, and 

murders combined."

"Cigarette smoking causes about 1 of every 5 deaths in the United States each year.1,6 Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:

  • 443,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 49,400 deaths per year from secondhand smoke exposure
  • 269,655 deaths annually among men
  • 173,940 deaths annually among women"


So 1,213 people died yesterday from cigarette smoking, 135 of them from secondhand smoke exposure.  And this was just in the U.S.  Honest Indian, now: Did ANY of you spend ANY time over the past few days worrying about the these deaths?  Did the media obsessively cover the international problem of deaths from tobacco use?  Did you lose any sleep over it?  Were you more at risk of dying from Hurricane Irene or your neighbor's secondhand smoke?

Fact Three: Unsafe Drinking Water Deaths

"The failure to provide safe drinking water and adequate sanitation services to all people is perhaps the greatest development failure of the 20th century. The most egregious consequence of this failure is the high rate of mortality among young children from preventable water-related diseases. This paper examines different scenarios of activities in the international water arena and provides three estimates of the overall water-related mortality likely to occur over the next two decades. 
 If no action is taken to address unmet basic human needs for water, as many as 135 million people will die from these diseases by 2020.  Even if the explicit Millennium Goals announced by the United Nations in 2000 are achieved– unlikely given current international commitments – between 34 and 76 million people will perish from water-related diseases by 2020.  This problem is one of the most serious public health crisis facing us, and deserves far more attention and resources than it has received so far."

Source:  "Dirty Water:  Estimated Deaths from Water-Related Diseases 2000-2020,"    

Many of you on the East Coast are probably still without electric power because of Hurricane Irene.  But honestly, how many of you lost your clean water, for even one minute?  How about your clean toilet facilties or your clean shower for bathing your privileged, "blessed" American, well-nourished, perhaps even over-nourished, flesh?

How many of you gave any thought, if you were focusing most of your attention on Hurricane Irene the past few days, to the 135 million people around the world who will die by 2,020 of preventable, water-related diseases?  Once you regain your power, will you be focusing with equal attention, even part of the obsession, with which millions of us on the East Coast of the U.S. focused on Hurricane Irene?  Or will we return to our state of "self-satisfied somnolence" with respect to the upcoming slaughter by soiled water of these 135 million souls, these nameless, faceless, fellow human beings who were in no danger of losing the electricity which powers their TVs or their other appliances (well, to be honest, they probably don't have TVs, or toilets, or appliances, and certainly no clean water, and they're probably not well-nourished or over-fed).

So what's this have to do with God's judgment?  In Abraham Lincoln's Second Inaugural Address he said:

"The Almighty has his own purposes. 'Woe unto the world because of offences! for it must needs be that offences come; but woe to that man by whom the offence cometh!' If we shall suppose that American Slavery is one of those offences which, in the providence of God, must needs come, but which, having continued through His appointed time, He now wills to remove, and that He gives to both North and South, this terrible war, as the woe due to those by whom the offence came, shall we discern therein any departure from those divine attributes which the believers in a Living God always ascribe to Him? Fondly do we hope--fervently do we pray--that this mighty scourge of war may speedily pass away. Yet, if God wills that it continue, until all the wealth piled by the bond-man's two hundred and fifty years of unrequited toil shall be sunk, and until every drop of blood drawn with the lash, shall be paid by another drawn with the sword, as was said three thousand years ago, so still it must be said 'the judgments of the Lord, are true and righteous altogether.'"

As I seem to recall from high school history courses, Lincoln knew the bible well, but was not particularly religious.  Still, he viewed the Civil War as God's judgment on the culture of slavery which was tolerated by the North and the South until that war, and enshrined, even, in the original Constitution.  Lincoln may not have been claiming that there is a God who acts in human history, literally.  Or perhaps he was.  But one way of looking at the Civil War, and even, perhaps, Hurricane Irene, is this.  The way the world is, the way life is supposed to be, does not include slavery within the range of moral possibilities.  And when humans enslave other humans, a kind of "punishment" will eventually rain down upon a nation which tolerated such moral abominations.  This is the principle of "what goes around, comes around."  A belief in that principle, a psychological pre-disposition to see the world that way, may be an element of our collective moral unconscious.  

We Americans have a tendency to moral self-righteousness and moral obtuseness.  We sat by, mostly idly, while we went to war against a country which had nothing to do with 9/11, Iraq.  Hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqis died as a result of our "holy" war there, and thousands of American soldiers, very few of them the sons and daughters of our politicians who, in our name, and with authority delegated to them by us, and with our tax money, decided to pursue that war.

Osama Bin Laden killed 3,000 Americans on 9/11.  And he was, appropriately, assassinated by our President's Navy Seal team, last May.

Harry Truman was a good father and husband, as far as I learned in high school history classes.  And Bill Clinton was, and is, I believe, a good father, but not a good husband, as far as anyone can know anything about anyone else's marriage, especially  if you don't know the couple personally and probably even if you do.  And some Americans wanted to run Bill Clinton out of the Oral Office because of what he was doing there with "that woman," with whom he claimed he "did not have sexual relations."

Osama (not to be confused, as some Americans do, with Obama), killed 3,000 innocent human beings.  But how many millions of innocent human beings were killed, or condemned to a lifetime of cancerous carnage, from Harry Truman's decision to order the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki?  And did that action not plant the seed of the future Nuclear Arms Race?  Had the Japanese won the war, would Hannah Arendt have written a book entitled "Truman in Tokyo," to go along with her classic "Eichmann in Jerusalem"?

Why does the U.S. do these kinds of things, starting morally unjustified wars of choice in Iraq and Vietnam, and dropping atomic bombs on innocent civilians?  To answer this moral conundrum, it's necessary to dig deep in my old philosophy books, from my undergraduate passion for the love of wisdom, where I've recently found this wonderful statement of the applicable principle which explains such "blessed" American interventions in the world:

     Why does a dog lick its balls?
                                                              Because it can.

So, to get back to the original idea behind this Bob's blog for today, why do we obsess over relatively minor disruptions to our privileged American lives as was imposed upon us by Hurricane Irene?  Because we can.

Very soon, your power will return.  You'll continue drinking your clean tap water, bathing daily in your clean, hot shower.  You'll forget the morally shocking, preventable human tragedies happening daily outside a bar near you, in the smoky confines of the new Hookah Shop in your community, and in the HIV-infested, clean-water deprived far-away societies outside our conscious awareness because of the distractions of transient weather events like Hurricane Irene and the extreme moral difficulty of actually living the ethical principle embodied in all the world's Great Religions--do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and love your neighbor as yourself.

And remember this interesting factoid.  Every hurricane is seen by non-surfers as a horrible, frightening event, full of petrifying possibility.  But surfers, board surfers, kayak surfers, stand-up board and paddle surfers, see hurricanes in a very different light.  When the hurricanes come up the coast towards Rhode Island, they batten down the hatches of their houses and then, as they take their families to high ground, they make sure they haven't forgotten their short-board wax or their bomb-proof Riot Boogie neoprene spray skirt, as they head for the beach to catch the 12-12 waves like we had in the August 23, 2009 Hurricane Bill.  See Hurricane Bill YouTube video clip in the Video Link of Bob's blog, below.   

Surf's Up.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Update on Susie

There's no substantial change in Susie's condition.  She's still in a lot of pain at the site of the two incisions, in the front and back of her neck, her shoulders, and up and down her back.  I give her massages, very gently, whenever she wants with a special cream she has which doesn't irritate her skin.  A doctor friend we ran into at the Middletown CVS on Washington Street, who is a general surgeon, said that after complex neck surgery, like Susie's, it's advisable to wait at least six to eight weeks from the date of the neck surgery until Susie has her gall bladder out.  He agrees there's a risk that the intubation required for gall bladder surgery could dislodge the fragile fusion performed by Dr. Schwartz, if it's done too soon.

I also need to help Susie take a shower and attend to her personal needs, especially on weekends when her physical and occupational therapists, and home health aide, do not make rounds of their patients.  Last week she went to First Church and received an overwhelming show of support and compassion.  This meant a lot to Susie, and boosted her morale, as do you when you pray for Susie.

Although my fellow brothers and sisters at Fist Zion Black Baptist Church have never met Susie, everyone I greet each Sunday after adult Sunday school and, then, after the regular weekly service, tells me sincerely and insistently that God is with Susie and He will protect us and take care of us, no matter what the outcome of particular medical procedures. I, now, share that faith, which continues to sustain me throughout our difficult ordeal.  Susie, I think, is sustained by the love of her children and gramdson Liam, her strong faith, and her steady nerves and tremendous capacity to endure pain which I believe would overwhelm most other people.

Thanks for continuing to send Susie and me wonderful thoughts, prayerful attitudes, and delicious dinner dishes.  Money cannot buy friends like you.  You are, along with our children, our grandson, and each other, our greatest treasures.

In a yoga class on the mat next to "Broadway Legend" Carolyn Kirsch--a true Star of the Broadway musical theater--right here in "sleepy" Middletown, CT, followed by more Disco Magic, this time with The Dancin' Young Dudes

[Editor's Note: Some of you may be getting the wrong idea, that I go out dancing in disco clubs mostly to get my thrills from young women who summon the courage to be seen by their friends dancing with an Old Grandude like me, if only for a few minutes. Most of them are probably concerned their friends will say, "Eew, you're gonna' go out on the dance floor and dance with that Old Guy with the graying beard and the wild hair.  He's old enough to be your Father, for God's sake."  Yet dance with me they do, since I'm respectful of them and don't touch them like a lot of the young guys seem to think they have a God-given right to do without even asking.  And many times it's their young-studly boyfriends who bring their hot girlfriends over to Grandude so the guys can do forearm-bumps with me, dance arm-in-arm vigorously and forcefully, and then smile broadly and motion their girls to dance with me.  I'll admit, this IS hard work, but somebody's gotta' do it, so why not The Grandude?

Anyway, today's Bob's blog entry is a piece about yesterday's magical encounter in a yoga class with a former Broadway professional dancer, Carolyn Kirsch, whom I suspect is a few years older than me, but still extremely lithe and beautiful.  She still has Star Quality.  And, later, a magical encounter with a group of young men on the disco floor at the Mezzo Grille, where we were all showin' our dancin' moves by taking turns in the center of the circle.  And eventually, when these young men see that I'm out there on the floor, with the best I've still got in this old body of mine, they truly accept me, at least just that one magical night, as one of their own.  Magically, the more than 30 years which separate our respective entries onto this wonderful earth are suddenly erased, as if blown totally away by the approaching Mad Woman of the East Coast, Hurricane Irene.]

For today's Bob's blog entry, I'm repeating verbatim an email I just wrote to my new, dear friends, Jeff Hush and Lucia de Leon, about an extraordinary Broadway musical dancing star, Carolyn Kirsch, who now lives in Middletown.  Although Carolyn is probably a few years older than I, she still retains the underlying radiant beauty of her Broadway performing youth.  Carolyn still has star quality.

Here's the email which talks about Carolyn Kirsch and the "Yoga and Stress Relief" workshop, given by Jeff and Lucia.  I am glad my yoga mat was right next to Carolyn's and that I got to know her a little bit better than I did in years past, when I saw her at theatrical events around the City, but never moved myself to introduce me to her.

Dear Jeff and Lucia,

    Yesterday was another magical day.  In the afternoon, your "Yoga as Stress Management" workshop at Vinnie's Jump and Jive, during which I was on a yoga mat next to Carolyn Kirsch.  You told me after the class about Carolyn, who is probably a few years older than me, but still retains her Star Quality as a Broadway musical dancer, and her incredible beauty.  At the end of this email, I show you the results of my Google search which turned up Carolyn's extensive Broadway biography.  

   Then, in the evening, I again loved your monthly  "Barefoot Boogie," also at Vinnie's J & J.  Then I walked next door to the Titanium Club, where a bunch of "kids" in their 20's, about half men and half women, mostly white but a few black guys, were standing at the bar or sitting over on the little wooden platform, sort of like a very narrow stage, which runs about 20 feet along the south wall of the club.  Across, on the north wall is the bar, which is about 40 feet long.  A DJ was situated in the upper level of the club, where the men's suits department was located when the club was in an earlier instantiaton many years ago, including from when I was a Wesleyan student from 1967 to 1971, and then from when I began practicing law in 1975 until the store closed in the late 1980's, under severe economic pressure from the new mega-malls outside Middletown.  

     To the surprise of the young people in the Titanium Club last night, I simply began dancing, solo, and thereby entertaining a bunch of kids, two of whom, one a girl in a very short, very tight dress, very long legs, very pretty, and her girlfriend, finally got up the courage to dance with me, after about a half-hour of my solo show.  She even initiated a little bit of body contact, my back to her front.  Her boyfriend was obviously okay with this, because he had been watching me dance by myself, saw how much older I am than they, and he obviously could see that his girl wanted to dance, and he didn't.  So he "let" her dance with me.  I got lots of high-fives, raised forearm bumps, and fist bumps, as guys came in and out of the club and saw me dancing.  Several girls and guys took I-phone flash pictures of me, or maybe even tried to film my dancing.  

     The club also had retained a photographer to record the action the management had hoped this Saturday night might bring; which plan, this Asian-American young man told me, Hurricane Irene disrupted.  As it turned out, of course, the high hurricane winds did not hit Middletown until the wee' hours of this morning, so there was no force majeure naturale (major force of nature) which kept the young people from packing the disco clubs but, rather, what I made fun of earlier in the evening to Susie and to some of my Facebook "Friends"--the extreme and overwrought hyping-up of weather events by local "news" TV stations which are looking to pick up audience share.

     So the photographer took some picture of me and I pretended to take some pictures of him, as part of my dance "show" for the dance-inhibited 20-somethings who probably told each other all afternoon they were going out on the town to dance, at the Titanium Club on Main Street.  But by the time they got to the club, all their courageous plans to dance the hurricane away turned, like the prince into the frog, from The Dream to The Inhibition.  Even all that alcohol they were sipping on did not clear away whatever mental chains were holding them back from being the free, unplugged, dancing machines their beating hearts tell them they were born to be.

     Then I walked back to the Mezzo Grille disco, where I spent a good hour and a half mostly dancing in a circle with young guys, black, white, hispanic, one of whom, a mixed guy named Travis, spent a good amount of time getting me to follow, and learn, his dance moves, which were really cool.  The majority of the crowd on this rainy, Irene-soured night were young men in their 20's.  When they saw how uninhibited a dancer I am, they really go going.  A circle was created, totally spontaneously, and a short, dark- and curly-haired Puerto Rican guy, dressed in a bright red English football team's jersey and shorts, went inside and danced his stuff. Next, I took my turn, danced vigorously, and with total abandon, and the guys went wild.  Then everybody else took a turn in the middle.

     In the Mezzo outdoor patio, when I'm "puttin' on a dancin' show," I always pretend at some point to be smoking a marijuana joint, take a long toke on the imaginary joint, and flip it with the outstretched thumb and quickly flexed and extended index finger of my right hand, up in the air and out into the assembled multitude of hundreds of young people and some older folk thrown in for good measure.  Last night, a young man who remembered me from Friday night in the patio, was standing with his male friends next to the pool table, watching me and the other, mostly male, dancers.  He remembered the pot performance piece and flipped me an imaginary joint to share with him.  I took an imainary toke and flipped it or handed it to the non-dancing bystanders.  

     Later in the evening, a well-nourished black woman, probably age 29, deigned to dance with me for a few minutes.  From what I observed of her interactions in the disco, especially her and her girlfriend dancing with the tough-looking, but very friendly to, and protective of, me, bouncer, a black guy who looks about 35 and is average height by extremely strong and well-built.  He's not a man I'd like to surprise in a dark alley, even if all I planned to do was discuss Plato's "Republic" with him.

     Also about 10 minutes before closing time, the very thin, pretty Hispanic/black girl in the very short black hot pants and spike heels danced with me for a few minutes.  She was obviously in the disco with a young (about 26), tall, very well-built white guy with a blue tee shirt, black baseball cap, and dark jeans.  They did quite a bit of serious frontal dirty dancing with each other.  So intimate that it's possible a child will be born to this woman 9 months from now, conceived on that dance floor last night, at the Mezzo disco.

     Then, a white girl who I think is one of the bartenders danced with me by rubbing up against my back with her front.  She was very blonde, with long, curly blonde hair running down her back.  She was about 30 and had several tatoos which could be seen on her upper chest and her arm when she was dancing vigorously and her black cotton jacket opened to show more of her skin.  She was wearing black tights, also, which showed off her thin, muscular legs.  She danced with me, briefly, a few times.  Her boyfriend, a man in his mid-thirties, also danced with her and didn't object to my dancing with her at the same time, but just from a few more feet away.

     After Last Call at 1:30 a.m. tonight, I drove home, where I stayed up eating the rest of a pint of Key Lime Graham Cracker sorbet from 2 to 3 a.m. I must have fallen asleep at 3 a.m.,  woke up at 6 a.m., and now I am a bit tired but have plenty of energy.

     Also, I just did a quick Google search of Carolyn Kirsch.  As you told me, Carolyn was the "older" woman next to me at your yoga class yesterday afternoon.  I had seen Carolyn around Middletown over the years but never seized the moment and introduced myself to her.  Although she's probably a few chronological years older than I, I've always noticed her extraordinary physical beauty.  Now I know why.  While I totally accepted your telling me that Carolyn was a former Broadway dancer who appeared in the original "Chorus Line," working under the legendary Bob Fosse, I didn't quite understand just how talented a dancer she was/is.  Take a look at the results of my Google search: the Broadway biographical summary of Carolyn Kirsch.  I'm now stunned to think back to yesterday afternoon.  Everybody in town was waiting with baited breath, on the lookout for the arrival of the Star of the 2012 East Coast Hurricane Season, namely, Hurricane Irene.  Yet right before our eyes, lying next to me on a yoga mat, just yesterday afternoon, from 2 to 4 p.m. was a true Star from the Past.  "Mesdames et Mesieurs, je vous presenter le un et le seulement........
Carolyn Kirsh.  And here is her extraordinary resume as a professional Broadway dancer:

[Link to information about Carolyn Kirsch]

Carolyn Kirsch



1976 Theatre World Special Award
A Chorus Line [winner]
Performer: Carolyn Kirsch ( for Ensemble Performance )

Productions                                                                                                        Dates of Productions
A Chorus Line [Original, Musical, Drama]                                                    July 25, 1975-April 28, 1980                                              
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch [Lois]                                                             
  • Understudy: Carolyn Kirsch [Cassie, Sheila]
Ulysses in Nighttown [Original, Play]                                                             March 10, 1974-May 11, 1974 
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch [Zoe, Peggy Griffin, Night Hour, Yew]
Coco [Original, Musical]                                                                                    December 18, 1969-October 3, 1970                                                                          
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch [Madelaine]
Dear World [Original, Musical]                                                                         February 6, 1969-May 31, 1969
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch [Person of Paris]
Promises, Promises [Original, Musical, Comedy]                                      December 1, 1968-January 1, 1972
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch
    • Dentist's Nurse - Replacement
Hallelujah, Baby! [Original, Musical]                                                              April 26, 1967-January 13, 1968
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch
    • Ensemble - Replacement
Breakfast at Tiffany's [Original, Musical]                                                       Never officially opened-Dec. 14, 1966
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch [Dancer]
Sweet Charity [Original, Musical, Comedy]                                                 January 29, 1966-July 15, 1967                                                
  • Performer: Carolyn Kirsch
    • Ensemble - Replacement
    • Rosie - Replacement
La Grosse Valise [Original, Musical]                                                            Dec. 14, 1965-Dec. 18, 1965                                                             
         Performer: Carolyn Kirsch [Other]         Performer: Caro   


  • Thanks, Jeff and Lucia, for providing a big part of such
  • a magical day for me yesterday.

  • Best wishes,

  • Bob
Robert P. Dutcher

30 Chimney Hill
Middletown, CT 06457

blog: Bob's blog 
blog link:
cell: 860-759-9860

retired trial lawyer (35 years in court)
a writing-daily writer (see above for link to Bob's blog)


Dear Jeff a