hurricane sandy

Fresh Air book critic Maureen Corrigan reviews 10:04 by Ben Lerner:

“Lerner obviously loves playing with language, stretching sentences out, folding them in on themselves, and making readers laugh out loud with the unexpected turns his paragraphs take. This is a more ambitious novel than Leaving the Atocha Station in that Lerner (as his narrator tells his literary agent in that opening scene) works his "way from irony to sincerity in the sinking city.” The final scene of this novel, where our narrator and his pregnant close friend walk through a blacked-out Lower Manhattan as Hurricane Sandy bears down is as beautiful and moving as any of the tributes to New York written by other famous literary “walkers in the city,” like Walt Whitman and Alfred Kazin, who are presiding presences here. 10:04 is a strange and spectacular novel. Don’t even worry about classifying it; just let Lerner’s language sweep you off your feet.“

As the rain and wind swirled outside the window during Superstorm Sandy more than two years ago, Liz Treston’s family helped her into bed.

Treston, 54, was disabled in a diving accident when she was in her twenties. She uses a wheelchair to get around her Long Island, N.Y., home and an electronic lift machine to get into her bed. The night the storm hit, she wanted to be ready for sleep in case the power went out.

Her basement was ruined. There was the fridge, a washer and dryer, five bikes, her family’s winter clothes, a bedroom set and other kitchen appliances.

She received a $7,000 dollar grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to pay for the hotel she and her family stayed in while the house was repaired. She got another $4,500 grant to help cover things in the basement that were destroyed.

She says she spent the money soon after and that she was grateful for all the help. So this past October, when she received an envelope with FEMA letterhead in the mail, Treston wasn’t sure what to think.

For Some Superstorm Sandy Victims, The Government Wants Its Money Back

Photo credit: Alex Welsh for NPR

A Marathon Happens in the Middle

On my 30th birthday I decided to run the New York marathon because I was leaving a decade in which I planned to accomplish more than I had.

The unwritten novel and exes I didn’t marry felt cliché but still like failures. The big 3-0 sounded like the microphone dying mid-note: a thud, followed by a disappointingly human sound that can’t fill the space. Here I was, still in the middle, somewhere between the person I knew I didn’t want to be and the person I did want to be but was still defining, and all I saw ahead was more middle. There was one item on my 23-year-old self’s whimsical list of “Goals By 30” that I could still squeeze in, though. Never mind that my runs had only ever exceeded two miles a handful of times, and that I’d had knee problems on occasion over the years.

I was going to run the damn thing.

Brooklyn’s Prospect Park was my training ground. As the miles added up to hours, I abandoned music for podcasts, and my running days began to take shape around the stories of others’ lives. When David Rakoff read, weeks before his death at 43, an excerpt from his final, unpublished manuscript, I retreated under the shade of an elm to cry quietly. When a black home health aide described noticing a white hooded gown hanging on the door of her dying client, I realized I’ve slowed down to gasp. (She stayed by his side until the end.) When a reporter, interviewing an evangelist politician, asked the state legislator if Jesus would have voted for the bill the legislator had introduced and he answered, after a long pause, “Probably not,” I yelled “Holy shit!” at a kid on a bike.

I logged nearly 600 miles running through the park’s many trees and teenagers skipping school, sullen nannies and summer camps full of kids, the lanky, grey-haired man with thick bottlecap glasses who floated around the perimeter of the park every day in a trance. At 14 miles, my old sports bra rubbed blisters in a semicircle around my neck. I dotted it with Neosporin and felt proud. At 16 miles my knees buckled. I hobbled home, learned about ice baths from Google, and took my first one. After my 21-miler, the longest run I tackled before the race, I took another. Ice baths are boring. Once the sharp chill and shivers pass, the bulk is just a numb quietness. I sat in the silence, studied my pink, goose-pimpled thighs beneath the water, and thought about the things we’re capable of.

Then Hurricane Sandy hit the East Coast and the marathon was canceled.

Read more. [Image: Julio Cortez/AP]

Dear U.S Eastern Sea Board
  • Imagine the Philippines Typhoon that recently happened. I was sitting here thinking, what if heavy snow, ice and freezing rain came along this winter. We all know we're overdue for not only snow but a non-mild winter. If something like that typhoon comes in the form of snow and ice, even when the storm ends, the snow, ice and low temperatures would extend a disaster like that. Rooftops would cave-in and traveling would be almost impossible. Emergency personnel would not be able to properly respond to the needs of the injured and stranded. Water and gas pipes could be fractured, sinkholes and fires could occur and many folks may end up without shelter. People will be stuck where ever they are with no electric, heat, and in danger of hypothermia.
  • *Awareness Equals Preparedness*