Taking a look now at the track of the tornado… As bad as things are, it could have been far worse. The tornado, as far as I can tell, bore several degrees to the east as it approached the Alabama campus. If it had been even a couple of degrees less, it might have gone up Paul Bryant Drive rather than 15th Street. The latter is, or was, a main road but mostly businesses. Bryant Drive goes through the eastern part of the Alabama campus. Although the center of gravity of the campus has shifted somewhat since my day, more toward the river on the west, there are two major dorms (Tutwiler Hall and Burke Hall) and the athletic dorm (Bryant Hall, naturally) that would have been in its path.
Moreover, if it had gone just a little bit to the west, it very well could have hit Druid City Hospital, which is located where Bryant Drive merges into University Boulevard; as it was, the tornado must have almost clipped the hospital, as many of the destroyed homes and apartment complexes are all but in the hospital’s shadow. DCH is the major hospital in the area, and the only real trauma center in the county. If it had been knocked out, in addition to whatever loss of life there was in the hospital itself the city’s rescue efforts would have been crippled, with only the smaller satellite hospital in Northport available this side of Birmingham.
It doesn’t really help, I guess, but it really could have been much worse.
The city right now is kind of odd. Most of the power is back on, and most of the city is now relatively normal. But there’s a big hole in the middle of town right now. You can circle around it… but the main shopping district for the city is closed, and much of it is gone. City workers are doing a great job at something that’s really not what they were trained for. It’s going to be a while before we find a new normal.
I stepped into a well-known fast food restaurant this morning for a quick breakfast. Little did I know that this fiend has apparently been going around distributing fake $5 bills. Or, apparently, that’s what the cashier thought was going on, as she summoned two managers to tell them that my bill was fake. One of the managers quickly assured her that this was not so. But as everyone knows, counterfeiters love to fake small currency, because they make their money on volume.
Earlier this week I was in Indianapolis. This had nothing to do with basketball — actually, the basketball caused some problems getting a hotel room — but was about my health. Basically, I was there to see the guy who’s the top expert in the type of cancer I had.
I went up there thinking I was going to get some pretty drastic medical treatment — the sort of thing that will probably cure you but make you wish you were dead. As it turned out, the doctor had other ideas. He took a look at my tests and decided that I didn’t have any active cancer, basically that I was giving false positives. (There’s no doubt that I had cancer last year — only that what looked like remnant cancer was just scar tissue and some unusual readings in the blood work.)
We don’t know that’s it’s gone. It’s just the doctor’s opinion, but he is the top man in the field. And it fits with the way my treatments were going, which had baffled my doctors here in Alabama. (Who are very good themselves.) We’re going to keep an eye on it and if there are changes it likely means that the cancer is back. But right now, everything looks good.
I just want to briefly condemn the description of Sarah Palin as a “sexy librarian” type. I am not disparaging Governor Palin’s attractiveness, nor am I defending the honor of my profession. I am mostly just concerned about the English language, as “sexy librarian” is an obvious redundancy. All librarians are sexy. I, myself, am an almost unspeakable fount of sexual charisma.
I live in Northport but have no intention of voting. I don’t know what the issues are and frankly all I know is that my water rates will go up, because they always go up. You would think we had Evian on tap. Anyway, this race was mildly interesting because every day, including the last several of rain, I got to drive past the actual mayor of Northport standing around and waving to passing cars. That’s just the kind of thing you don’t get in a big city.