The man who saved the world and other matters

Stanislav Petrov was minding his own business in a missile silo in Russia in 1983. The radar screen popped up five incoming missiles from the US, and the protocol was that he now had to hit the button sending some back.

A lot went through his mind, but, like Dietrich von Choltitz, the German army general who assumed personal responsibility for defying Hitler’s direct order when he refused to level Paris, he thought that he didn’t particularly want to be the guy who went down in history (such as it would be in the smoking rubble) as the man who escalated world war III. He figured it was a mistake; also, he’d been to a damned good military school, and it just didn’t make sense from a military perspective. The five missiles, displayed so convincingly on his screens, didn’t exist.

The next time somebody asks you to do something that’s just plain wrong, strap on your balls and think about Stanislav.

2005-04-01— Posted by: allegra

sorrowing stepmom of tongues
bastard of a dying despot
black hole of linguistics
mount of a chipped jewel
leper of lepers
bardic twang of fools
belchèd wretchedness of drivel;
that is my living English
my home, my clod of dirt
my web & tendril, thing most dear

Yeah, well, anyway, I get home and call Peggy to see if she wants to go swimmin’ and she sounds like she’s expiring from a cold, except that her usual good humour hasn’t leaked away, so it was a brief but cheery conversation and I’m still sitting here instead of exercising. Then called my mother but kinda had to get off the phone in a hurry because pOp was working. So I kicked around the kitchen and ate a sandwich, and then thought I’ll look around my computer desk for that poem I was going to post, and there it is.

Keith is off to karate and Katie I think has found something to watch. I’ve got a hankering to watch one of the Mind’s Eye tapes. But I probably won’t. I’m still in mourning because the TV went downstairs. I didn’t mind having it upstairs, but Paul is really really adamant about it going downstairs. I miss us all being gathered to watch something. It reminded me of when I was growing up, and we’d all collapse around the phosphor dot shrine and gawk for a spell. The package arrived, mom.

Anyway, some of you may be irritated by all the poetry, but I do a lot of different stuff with words, and if you prefer the prose, I won’t kvetch.

Last night I was having palpitations again, in bed (and not in a nice way I hasten to add), and Paul and were facing each other, which is unusual because we’re normally in spoon configuration or back to back. The palpitations slowed and then stopped and I asked Paul very quietly if he’d been throwing healing energy at me and he said yes and I told him it was working. I could feel what I visualize as a column of golden warmth and light between his heart and mine. A very nice feeling – and I promptly fell asleep. I’m telling you, I’ll never be bored as long as I’m living with Paul, he never ceases to challenge and startle and delight and annoy me.

I light a candle to the memory of Terry Schiavo, may her life be a beacon in the darkness. Paul and I are off to the lawyers next week for living wills, which are actually called something else in BC. I think Paul will breathe a big sigh of relief once we do that, and after all this hoo ha it is a good and proper thing to grow something beautiful from soil richly fertilized by the bs that’s been spread so generously by the media. The lunch bunch and I had quite the discussion about it today at work. To cling to life when you have a fighting chance is an amazing thing. To be forced to cling to life against your will is a horror none of us wished to face. I have a simple dividing line. If I can still be of some use in raising my kids, keep me alive. Otherwise, kweccch (finger across the throat gesture).

I’ve been really down on the universe lately, so some good news for a change.

I just love the notion of a purple carrot. I’ve had purple potatoes, and they were yummy.

Katie’s wall
2005-04-01— Posted by: allegra

This is something Katie has hanging on her wall. The wings and dress are adult size, so it’s quite the installation.