Joseph O’Connor: Readings “From an Irish Male”

Captivating and inspiring; those are just a couple of the words that can be used to describe the atmosphere at the book reading by Joseph O’Connor. At the beginning of the readings he discussed his love of going to the library and poets that inspired him, such as John Dunn. He then went about reading pieces of his own work. He began by reading a piece where he describes the first time he became aware of singer Patti Smith. In his eyes the word pretty could not describe Patti Smith “she was something much more troubling… [she was] androgynous, sullen, unconventionally gorgeous…” He then went on to read selected passages from his novels which included Redemption Falls, The Secret World of An Irish Male and his latest, which he finished here at Baruch College, called Ghosts. Although all great, an  excellent an argument can be made that one of the most poignant times at the reading was Reading Tennyson with Sean where he speaks about the connection between his father and himself. A moment made all the more special because,  as he was reading ,his parents were seated in the audience. One of the other very memorable moments at the reading happened as the event was coming to a close. His final reading of the night was called “Tower” a poem about Baruch, its culture and its surroundings. In the poem which was dedicated to all the students at Baruch he speaks about all the different people he sees and all the hustle and bustle of Manhattan. The poem was comical and yet at the same time gripping as he describes how he witnessed the tragedy of September 11th 2001 from his room at the north corner in the Journalism department. As he closes the poem, which was musical at many points, it sounds like a hip-hop record. At the end of the poem he repeats the word “tower” approximately eight times. He said that when it is published he wants the words to create a tower, As the reading came to a close the room gave him great applause.

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Does Anyone Need a Free Clinic?… I Know I Do

In 2007 a survey released by the Census Bureau stated that approximately 45.7 million people in the United States did not have health insurance. It does not make me happy to say that I am one of those 45.7 million, but I am.  On October 7th, 2009 anchor Keith Olbermann, host of Countdown on MSNBC, gave a special comment about the health care debate. Listening as he spoke I heard some grim statistics. In his special comment he stated that at least 122 people die every night because they do not have health insurance. He also stated that a study conducted by Harvard University and the Cambridge Health Alliance indicated that 45,000 people die each year because they do not have health insurance.

On the October 7th, 2009 episode of The Colbert Report hosted by comedian Stephen Colbert one of his opening jokes was “Time heals all wounds, so if your uninsured get a watch”. At first when I heard this joke I laughed because I thought it was funny. However, figuratively speaking I do that almost every time I get sick. I just wait it out and hope that I get better. The sad truth is many people who are not insured do the same thing and hope for the best.

The scary part is that some of these common colds and headaches turn out to be much worse. What is going to happen if someone finds out that the headache they thought they had turns out to be a brain tumor?, but because they are uninsured they cannot affored the operation that can save their lives. This will leave them with two choices: either to sell thier house or something else considered valuable and try to pay for the operation or do not have the operation and wait to die. Which one would you choose? None of them seem like really good choices.

While thinking about this a short report came on my television about this organization called The National Association of Free Clinics. On their web page they have a link that will show you the clinics that offer free services in your state. The organization also hosts free health clinic fairs where all a person has to do is show up. They also have updates on legislation about the issue of health care. The NAFC is a nonprofit organization which relies on donations and the volunteering doctors.  I believe that this is a great idea and more organizations like this should be available. I think it is sad that more people do not know about the NAFC.