Sunday, August 28, 2016

Top 10 Quotes: "Anastasia"

Today would've been my grandma Diane's 79th birthday. She was one of the kindest, most unselfish people I ever knew. I was lucky enough that I grew up 5 minutes from her house; she practically raised me while my parents were working. We loved to watch movies together and even when I got older, Anastasia was still one of our favorites. I suppose it was because we related so well to the bond Anastasia had with her grandmother Marie. It seems only fitting to post this in her honor.

1. Dowager Empress Marie: "You were the boy, weren't you? The servant boy who got us out. You saved her life and mine and you restored her to me. And yet you want no reward."

2. Anastasia: "Do you really think I'm royalty?"
Dmitri: "You know I do."
Anastasia: "Then stop bossing me around!"

3. Bartok: "You should really watch your blood pressure. My nephew Izzy, he just keeled over one day, mid-mango. And he's a fruit bat, sir. No meat, no bloody."

4. Vlad: "It's what I hate about this government. Everything's in red."

5. [Anastasia is looking inside an ugly dress Dmitri bought her]
Dmitri: "What are you looking for?"
Anastasia: "The Russian Circus. I think it's still in here!"

6. Vlad: "I see an engaging and fiery young woman, who on on a number of occasions has show a regal command equal to any royal in the world. And I have known my share of royalty. You see, I was a member of the Imperial Court."

7. Anastasia: "'Go left,' she says. I know what's to the left. I'll be Anya the Orphan forever."

8. Bartok: "Is this the face of a bat who would lie to you?"

9. Anastasia: "It's kind of hard to think of yourself as a duchess when you're sleeping on a damp floor. But, sure, yeah, I guess every lonely girl would hope she's a princess."

10. Dowager Empress Marie: "Knowing that you are alive, seeing the woman you've become brings me joy I never thought I could feel again."

I love you forever, Grandmama.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

"Bringing Out the Dead" by Joe Connelly

(Image credit)
"Saving someone's life is like falling in love: the best drug in the world." Frank Pierce, a paramedic working in New York City's Hell's Kitchen, knows that high also comes with crushing lows. The best he can hope for is his patients surviving the journey to Our Lady of Mercy Hospital, the place he and even its own staff refer to as Misery. He's (literally) haunted by a young girl whose life he couldn't save. Frank, on the verge of losing his job, agrees to work a 72-hour marathon shift.

The shift begins with Frank and his partner Larry responding to a cardiac arrest call. Frank unexpectedly finds himself taken by the victim's ex-junkie daughter Mary. But don't be fooled into thinking this is a love story, at least a traditional one. Larry's primary interests are food and "the true love of his life," which isn't his wife or even his job with the city; it's his membership in the Bayville Volunteer Fire Department.

Next, Frank works with Marcus, an African-American from the city's first paramedic class. Marcus is best known for his so-called "Narcan revivals," a spectacle worthy of Broadway. He's aware that Frank is burnt-out and maybe more than a little crazy, but isn't perturbed by it, at least not to the degree that Larry is.

Frank's third and final partner is Tom, who broke Frank in as a trainee. Tom, like many in the first generation of paramedics, earned his stripes as a medic on the battlefields of Vietnam. He practices a special kind of "psychological first aid" and nobody in their right mind wants to ride with him. Fortunately, Frank's not in his right mind.

A troublesome homeless man named Noel, chronic caller Mr. Oh, ER physician Dr. Hazmat, and less-than-warm-and-fuzzy Triage Nurse Constance round out the cast of characters.

I've read a lot of books in my life and this ranks high on my list of all-time favorites. My familiarity with the world of medicine has a lot to do with it, I'm sure. The details of the calls and patients' conditions are spot-on, which is no surprise when you find out the author himself is a former New York City medic. It's pitch-dark, packed with gallows humor, and yet has a true heart and soul. Ride along on this breakneck, life-and-death journey through the underbelly of the city that never sleeps.