5 x 8: Swimming with the past

The Tuesday Morning Rouser:

1) DIANA NYAD’S JOURNEY FROM RAPE

If you’re like most people, perhaps you’re spending many minutes gazing at these pictures and thinking, “what dreams am I not pursuing?

AP Photo

This, of course, is Diana Nyad, who swam in 53 hours from Cuba to Key West at the age of 64 because (a) she could and (b) she’s had a long-standing dream to.

There’s a story behind her ocean swimming, which she told Out Magazine last year:

“All that ocean-swimming I did back in the ’70s was just filled with anger,” Nyad says. “And sometimes anger is very powerful. John McEnroe played his tennis with anger. I think it was a little part of my success back then.”

Her anger was no tantrum played out on a tennis court. “I was swimming every stroke with anger at that man and that sexual abuse,” she says. “That man” was her high-school coach back in Florida, an Olympian and Hall of Fame vet, and “that sexual abuse” was the four years of rape she endured under his tutelage. “I was so naïve. I hated him and loved him and felt humiliated and denigrated and so afraid, so terrified to be the last one left or the first one there in case I might be taken or attacked. At the same time, I felt like the chosen one.”

She shared that closely guarded secret with her best friend a few years later, only to discover they had the same story — and so did other girls. When Nyad told her mother, “she said, ‘Oh honey, don’t use words like rape. He’s a man of prominence.’ ” Over the years, as the accusations became public, the coach denied everything. It took decades for Nyad and her mother, who dealt with the onset of Alzheimer’s, to forge a close relationship.

What do you think about when swimming for 53 hours? We can guess:

Most of Nyad’s heroes are near-strangers, survivors whose stories she’s collected throughout the years: an octogenarian Holocaust survivor whose young childhood in Dachau was spent as a concubine to SS guards; a man in his thirties who lives down the street from Nyad and is raising three young kids after cancer killed his wife; a sobbing woman Nyad comforted in a Starbucks whose baby was run over after being left in a bassinet in the driveway. “She asked, ‘How am I supposed to go on now?’ And I said, ‘I’ll tell you the truth: I don’t know.’ How do people journey through and find hope again, find love again?”

Sometimes, but not always, Nyad talks about her own sexual abuse in her speeches. When she does, she knows she will inevitably be taken aside afterward by men and women who share their own shaky stories. Nyad says, “Those are the people I admire. Those are the journeys. We all feel pain. We all have hardship.”

And dreams we’re not pursuing.

2) NO, THANK YOU

I stuck around Friday after The Current’s gig at Carousel Park at the State Fair to watch people who get little credit do a lot of hard work in 97-degree heat.

It’s a shame, really, that all the people who make radio happen don’t get much credit.

And now, NPR is no longer going to allow people behind the scenes to get any on-air credit either. It’s a typical radio decision these days: Research shows that if the audience — that’s you (it is you, right?)– knows a show is over, signalled by the credits, you’ll turn the station off.

So now, you’ll have no such clue and before you know it, you’ll be listening well into the night, possibly for days without sleep because nobody credited some poor writer a few days ago. Don’t say you weren’t warned.

One editor at NPR writes on the blog that he’s OK with the idea:

Thank yous are complicated. I mentioned producers, editors, engineers, and librarians — but what about the rest of NPR’s massive staff? What about my colleagues in human resources? My colleagues in the mail room? How might all these names make it reasonably in to a form of on-air credits? How is it fair for me to receive periodic, on-air credit when they receive no on-air credit at all?

Judging by the comments, the audience is not impressed. Moving the furniture is tough on a public radio audience:

Is the lady that said people don’t want to hear credits the same bozo that decided to change the online format to this mess that we are currently dealing with?

If so, it is time for her to resign, because she is a moron!

Listen NPR, we have tried out this crap of yours for long enough!
We don’t like it!
This is not an improvement over the old set up!
It is far worse, it sucks!
Change it back!
My donations have dried up because of this nonsense!
I hope everyone follows suit!

Well, then.

3) WHY DON’T PEOPLE KNOW WHAT PTSD IS?

A Massachusetts restaurant owner has apologized directly to a veteran who was denied entry because of his service dog.

“I stand before you embarrassed, ashamed,” said Big I’s owner, Russell Ireland, said at a rally protesting the exclusion on Saturday. “I was very uneducated about post-traumatic stress disorder . . . I now realize how important the love of the animals are” to those who suffer from the disorder, Boston.com reported.

The American With Disabilities Act allows service dogs in public places.

4) A HOME FOR A QUILT

More than six years ago, artist Caron Lage of St. Cloud started a quilt to honor Americans and Iraqis killed in the war in Iraq. Each square honored an American and small french knots on a patch represented each Iraqi. But the war kept going and people kept dying and the quilt kept getting bigger and bigger.

People around the country pitched in. She stopped in 2011 at 3,100 American military lives lost and 655,000 dead Iraqi citizens.

Now, she announced over the weekend, the quilt will have a permanent home.

Many Thanks to all who helped me turn my vision into a reality. Back in 2007 when I had the idea to create something to remind us all of the very real costs of war, I knew it would be a lot of work. What I didn’t know was what an emotional piece it would be for me, nor did I anticipate all of the support and help I received. This project amazed in many ways on many occasions.

I am happy to say I have found the project a permanent home! This past Wednesday I delivered it to the Stearns History Museum where it officially became an historical artifact. Much of it will hang on a semi permanent basis in their meeting room. The awards it received, and notes and letters from you, and others will become a part of it’s archive. The intern whose job it will be to number everything was taking deep breaths in anticipation. 3,100 quilts, the notes, awards and press clippings – and still counting…

5) RETURN TO HERMAN

It was a big deal 20 years ago when Herman, Minnesota made an all-out effort to get women to move to its man-heavy town. What ever became of the effort to foster a little love in town?

The Fargo Forum returned to Herman to find out.

The campaign made the town seem like it was full of “horny hicks,” Ellen Wilts, who moved to town from Fargo, says.

“I think it makes a lot of town people mad,” she adds.

Bonus I: At the end of the season yesterday at Midway Stadium, it got all weird with the Saint Paul Saints and Sioux City Explorers.

Bonus II: Hey Gen Y’er, want a promotion? Communicate like an old guy (ITworld)

Bonus III: Use of "N-word" among blacks on trial in N.Y. case (CBS News).

WHAT WE’RE DOING

Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: The latest on Syria. And should President Obama have sought congressional approval for military action?

Second hour: How might Minnesota’s congressional delegation vote on the Syria question?

Third hour: TBA

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): Mayme Hostetter, speaking about effective teaching, at a Minnesota Meeting/RESET Education event.

The Takeaway (1-2 p.m.) – U.S. involvement and Syrian opposition.

All Things Considered (3-6:30 p.m.) - The 35 Minneapolis mayoral candidates must report their spending, cash on hand, and supporters through Aug. 27 in campaign finance reports due today. Curtis Gilbert will report.

  • John O.

    #2 I wish the challenges in my life were such that I could legitimately vent my spleen over credits no longer being read on air by NPR. If these listeners are going to turn it off, where are they going to go to? The heavy metal station? Oy.

    • Starquest

      Because Bob wants someone to feel guilty that those people aren’t being given enough credit. Because apparently they’re volunteers or something.

      • http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/ Bob Collins

        If you’re stating something as a fact you know, you can’t use “apparently” in a subsequent sentence about it. Also: You’re pretty much wrong.

  • MrE85

    Morning Rouser: Excellent pick. He was performing at the Fair on Sunday, at the Heritage Village. We have his latest CD.

    3) Many people have little idea what military service is like, much less PTSD. In defense of the café owner, a long-haired Jack Russell terrier is not the first breed that comes to mind when you say “service dog.” Also, there are a number of people who abuse the system, even getting fake service dog IDs, just so they can game the system. It has the real therapy animal folk very upset, as you can guess. PS: My wife an I are long-time supporters of Dogs For The Deaf.

    • http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/ Bob Collins

      You know, when a guy says “it’s my service dog,” all the “I didn’t know it was a service dog” stuff goes right out the window.

      • MrE85

        I saw nothing in the story of the apology that detailed who said what to whom. But what was an isolated incident has now become a teachable moment, thanks to the media coverage. At least one person has learned and grown from this experience, so there’s that silver lining.
        Those who made death threats to Mr. Ireland? They have some learning and growing to do.

    • John O.

      As an owner of two Jack Russell Terriers, I can attest to their value as “service dogs.” They want service. Early and often.

      • MrE85

        True. I’m the proud owner of a Beagle-Jack. We always know when the Jack side comes out.
        Side note: our little guy had a tough morning. Wouldn’t come down stairs, refused breakfast, didn’t want a walk. Breaks my heart to see him suffer the afflictions of an older dog. Hopefully, my wife was able to get a pill in him before she left for work.

  • boB from WA

    Maybe the reason dreams aren’t being realized like Diana Nyad’s, is that there isn’t enough anger about the situation(s) that have been faced. Or at least a way to channel that anger so that the dream can be realized. Anecdotally, it seems that some anger is unfocused and results in more destructive behavior.

    • Kassie

      Or maybe dreams are being realized, just most people have simpler dreams. My dreams are to be happy and healthy. I’ve got happy down for now and have come a long way on healthy (lost 20 pounds/quit smoking.) Sure there are things I’d like to do, like start a family, but those aren’t things that being angry would help with.

  • cderyk

    Put the credits at the beginning!

  • http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/ Bob Collins

    Re: Credits. Back when I was in the Writers Guild East — and NPR’s writers were represented by WGA — credits were part of the contract, as they are in many of the media unions — AFTRA etc. That’s why on Friday on the TV news shows, you see the credits go whizzing by at a million miles an hour with no chance of being read — it’s part of the contract. The no credits policy makes me wonder what the union situation is at NPR these days.

    • Kassie

      Just speculating, but maybe the unions saw the writing on the wall and chose to give up credits for lower health care costs or better scheduling options or any number of things. Just because a union gives something up, doesn’t mean it is weak. Sometimes the thing they give up is something they just don’t care as much about anymore and it is a good bargaining chip.

      • http://blogs.mprnews.org/newscut/ Bob Collins

        Yeah, and we weren’t much of a break-your-kneecaps kind of union. The AFTRA folks had power because they were stars. Us? Not so much. Any monkey could do it.