Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

Christ Died For…?

March 3, 2018 2 comments

The name “Christian” is obviously derived from the name “Christ”. Perhaps this means that so-called God’s so-called Son died to absorb the sins of Christians only, rather than all human society. Perhaps this is another of so-called God’s mysteries in which we are to have “faith”, whatever that is.

If one were to hang on a rope from a high cliff, they would need faith that the rope will not fray and separate. If the faith was misplaced, the faithful would plunge into the valley below, bouncing and smashing into boulders and outcroppings all the way down. The faithful would be dead and gone “to a better place” before they hit bottom.

Perhaps the mountaineer’s faith should have been put into God and Christ instead of a mere, earthly rope. Not bloody likely. Faith in God and Christ would be misplaced because there is no God, and Christ was just a guy with a good idea to pitch to the ignorant. Before he knew it, he had a gang that called themselves Christians, even though Christ was Jewish.

What about Jews, by the way? Were Jews “saved” because of Christ’s sacrifice on the cross? What about Hindus and Muslims and all the other denominations, each with their own God. How many Gods are there? As many as religion hustlers can dream up. The entire God myth is ridiculous, that’s why it can’t be properly described. Why do many otherwise intelligent, logical people believe in God? It’s beyond reason.

There is no “better place” called Heaven to which a believer goes. There is no Hell and damnation to which non-believers go, because there is no demon Devil or flaming fury just as there is no God and Heaven. When it is said that God is within each of us, does that mean Jews, Muslims, Hindus and what have you as well?

In the unique case of “God is within each of us”, it might be said that it’s true in a way. Within each of us there is morality, judgement, joy, anger, and feelings. This is God in the way that God is nature and nature is God. Some people are kind and generous; some people are greedy and jealous. Some hate animals and forests, some love them. Some love cities and crowding, others abhor it all.

This is human nature, mistakenly called God by some people. We should all be kind and generous not because of fearing God, but just because it’s obviously right. We should not be violent and selfish because it’s obviously wrong. If you want to believe in a non-existent God, believe as your God would want you to believe. If your God wants you to strap a bunch of explosives to your body and blow yourself up among innocent people, and you do it, you’re just f*cking crazy.


To Avoid Survivors’ Agony

February 28, 2018 Leave a comment

Here in Canada, we look down over the border to the United States and ask ourselves, “What do they need with all those guns?” It’s a terrible misuse of their second amendment. It doesn’t say everybody has a gun. Even though it was written at a time when there was danger from warring tribes and wild animals, the founders did not say, “The more guns the better.” They said a specified number of people, in an organized group to protect the citizens, should be armed.

Too many ladies, shopping for groceries like the hundreds around her, have loaded handguns in their purses. Too many cars have handguns in their glove boxes. We see nice people casually taking their firearms before leaving their homes, and they treat it as casually as Kleenex or lipstick.

A gun is neither a tissue nor a cosmetic. It is a precision piece of equipment that has a sole purpose; to fire a hot projectile with a degree of accuracy. It might be aimed at a target by a qualified gun owner, or it might be aimed at an irritating spouse, or a threatening thief, or a young couple out for a walk beneath the moon. The more guns in an area, the more likely it is that potential for tragedy is in that area.

In Canada, it’s almost heartbreaking to attempt to acquire a gun. I once did it to see how it goes. I had to present myself to a sheriff’s office, and to a police station to be interviewed each time. Two plain clothes police officials paid a surprise visit to my home at a random time of their choosing. We didn’t know they were coming. They were there to see if the normal family household was a safe, sane environment, and evaluate the quality of our relationship. That was just for a long gun like a .22 or something like that. A similar rigmarole is required to purchase ammunition. I eventually acquired a lovely Winchester 30-30 lever action, but have never fired it. It’s just a lovely object.

Do the numbers. The population in Canada is roughly 10% of the population in the USA. We might logically expect shootings to be roughly 10% of those in the USA. Not so. Canada’s shootings are approximately 1% of those in the USA. That means that the USA suffers 10 times more shootings than it should tolerate.

We hope the USA teenagers band together, diminish the NRA, and get sensible laws passed. Kids can do more than you might think. It was the teens in Hungary that finally drove the occupying forces of Russia out of their country in 1956. The kids are stronger than the idiotic so called president and his wimp-suck band of bandits.

The Last Brother

January 19, 2018 Leave a comment

I was the first born. When I was about five years old, my first brother was born. When I was about ten years old, my second brother was born. We grew up in an upper-middle class family. Our father was ambitious and capable. Both parents had cars; our city home and country home were both first class. Mom was a devoted mother, wife, and homemaker. The waterfront cottage included motorboats for each member of the family, the size according to the maturity of the boy. There was nothing about which we could complain.

As the oldest brother, it fell to me to teach them things like riding a bicycle, starting an outboard motor, water skiing and many other things. Eventually, the inevitable separations came about. We married; we moved away, we had children and mortgages. We were living varied lives in different parts of the country.

Our middle brother was living in a central city in our country. After many years, his marriage ended and he moved back east. Some years later, he contracted leukemia and it took his life. Then there were two of us; the youngest and the oldest, ten years apart.

We love each other, my youngest brother and I. We live in the same country, but several thousand miles apart. He has his doting family around him. His original wife, his son and daughter and grandson and granddaughter see him almost daily. His retirement is satisfying and fulfilled.

I am more separate from my family, and connected with different family. I’m sure my brother wonders, as I do, which of us will be the last brother. We recently agreed that when one of us passes on, the other will not cross the country to witness the burial. We are both old enough to pass at any time, but our strong gene pool has us continuing to live full lives in our seventies and eighties.

I don’t think I’d like to be the last brother. I’m older and not in the midst of my children. My brother has his caring family around him all the time, so his support system would be large if I passed first. If he passed first, I’d pretty much have to handle it myself. I can do that, but I’d rather it not be required.

In The Dark When It’s Quiet

November 1, 2017 Leave a comment

If not for the pieces of moonlight that filtered through the overhead foliage, Percy would not be able to see the walking path through the suburban forest. He had just hopped off a train a few hours ago and set about finding a place to sleep. He saw the forested park when he emerged from an older residential neighbourhood.

Percy turned off the path and pushed through some foliage until he came to a smooth place among the tree roots. The ground was covered with leaves from previous seasons and made a soft, dry mattress. He shrugged off his backpack and laid out his sleeping bag. The night was warm and clear, so he didn’t need any more shelter.

He lay back on his sleeping bag and just looked at the sky. Most stars were obliterated by the glow of the moon, but many were visible close to the horizon.  Percy reached into his backpack and fished out a sandwich and a bottle of water. While he sat on the ground snacking, he heard footfalls coming on the path. He saw to people jogging by. He knew from their voices as they chatted that one was a man and the other a woman.

A short time later, another jogger passed. Percy assumed it was a man because of his size. Every minute or so, a jogger passed. He lay down in his sleeping bag and set himself to sleep. Sleep eluded him as he found himself lying awake listening for joggers. He wondered how much time had passed. It seemed to him that it must be past midnight. He heard another jogger approaching and he climbed out of the sleeping bag and stood up to see over the bush behind which he’d been lying.

The jogger was a slender young woman. As Percy stepped over the bush he startled the woman. She reacted instantly, jumped back and pulled out a nine millimeter Remington automatic and shot him in the face. He just wanted to ask the time.

The Dealer’s Place

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

The only interesting thing about the dealer’s place was the people who gathered there most evenings. The time I saw them, they had gathered to enjoy “Star Trek” together. I am uninterested in Star Trek, but I lingered to observe the group. I admit that in my case, I was there to buy some grass from the dealer. The dealer was a very nice, shy guy, about 6 feet tall, 30ish, and considerably overweight. His name was Gregory.

Greg also had a small travel agency, where he struggled to make a living. He didn’t like dealing grass, but the travel agency was barely getting by. I later learned that he’d been orphaned while in his teens, and had been making his way in life as well as he could. His disadvantage was that he was not cool… not smooth. Greg was awkward, and that was probably why his apartment was ground zero for a group of socially awkward people.

The most visible person was David. He was noticeable because he talked a lot, always  with unnecessary urgency. One could almost see him vibrating, so tense was he. I later learned that his mother was severely depressed, and drove him crazy. I’m thinking, he’s about 30, why is he with Mom? He expressed shame that he worked at selling ‘diamond futures’, knowing full well that it’s a worthless product and he’s bilking people. His weirdness kept him from getting a regular job, so telephone hustling is the best he could do.

There were two females, as different from each other as possible. They were not together in any way. Sitting on a black bean-bag chair was a very pretty girl in her 20s. She was dressed in Goth style, all black, some veils, thigh-high boots of black leather and a black shawl. She smoked a joint, did not pass it around, and shrunk back into an obscure corner at the back of the room.

Every person in the room was facing the television set. I sat on a straight chair to the side. On the sofa, Greg joined the two that were already there. Next to Greg was a young woman midget. She appeared to be tiny, seated by large Greg. On her other side was Nick, a rather good looking man in his twenties. He planned to be a rock star singer with a band. He was in the process of auditioning bands. Good luck with that.

Awkward people gathered together, perhaps for safety in numbers. The midget asked me to fetch her a coke. Why me, I thought? I rose and stepped toward the kitchen and turned at the apartment entrance hall and left the apartment.

Requiem For A Friend With Benefits

October 31, 2017 Leave a comment

I really didn’t expect anything special to happen; I just wanted to see Julia again. I had a delightful affair with her several years before, and we were always as much friends as lovers. She had a beautiful face. I find that faces almost always fit into a ‘type’. Not that they might look almost exactly like the celebrity, but would be that type. Julia was, believe it or not, an Elisabeth Taylor type, and really remarkably similar in nose, mouth, face shape and dark hair.

Whenever a single mom is saddled with a special needs child my heart breaks for that mom. They are trapped in a way of life that is irrevocable. Julia’s story is one that is, unfortunately, too often repeated. She grew up in a small city where social contacts are limited by fewer opportunities because of fewer people. Often, the prettiest girl in town is from a working class family. Julia’s father worked at the Ford plant and Julia was the prettiest girl in town.

Almost as if it was decreed by an irresistible force, the boy from the richest family in town wanted the prettiest girl in town all to himself. He married Julia, to the great disappointment and disapproval of his parents. Some said he did it just to irritate his parents, but I don’t believe that. Julia was not only pretty; she was an intelligent, educated professional woman with a responsible position in a law enforcement department. That rich boy might not have been able to feel a deep love for anyone but himself because of his background, but he certainly could lust after Julia.

Julia became pregnant and the marriage was all it was ever going to be: a standoff between two people, too young and not really compatible. They were together when the baby was born. The infant should have aborted naturally because she was riddled with defects. The child very soon had to be raised in a special hospital that was capable of the trying task. Her mind was not very capable. She was blind as well and generally capable of very little. In short order, the rich boy husband and father was out of there like a shot.

About a year after that, I met her and we had a wonderful affair. I was married and had two children so many people would consider me a louse. I loved my wife and desired her every day… and every day she rejected me, saying “That’s all you ever think about.”

Well yes, I was a turned on kind of guy. And I was really in love with my wife and found her very desirable. She was slender and pretty and typical of her type. Just for the record, I was not a dog myself as I learned from several women other than my wife. For no apparent reason, she decided making love was not for her.

I knew people who were friendly with Julia, and from time to time I’d hear about how she was doing. I’d learned that she’d married again, to a younger man and again became pregnant. The child was happy and healthy this time. However, it seems the pregnancy triggered dormant Multiple Sclerosis within her. The young husband took off.

I got her phone number from one of her friends and called her for a lunch date. The next day I picked her up at her small flat in an old house and took her to a sidewalk café on a small street of high fashion shops and restaurants. I knew she needed canes to walk, so I chose a place where she could get out of the car and go straight into the restaurant terrace and sit at an umbrella table. We ordered lunch and chatted.

“Why did you always welcome me into your apartment whenever I showed up at your door?” I said. “I was a married man, yet I could show up at your place at eight in the morning or three in the morning and you welcomed me with a pretty smile.” She showed that pretty smile again, across the small table at me. It was a hot July day with just enough breeze to make it comfortable in the shade of the umbrella.

“You were safe,” she said. “You were married, so there wouldn’t be any commitment problems for me. I was out of a really painful marriage and I had no desire to get into another one at that time. And you were very good looking.”

Our meals were brought to the table and we continued to chat over lunch.

“You still do it,” she said with a broad smile on her lovely face.

“I still do what?”

“You still look directly into my eyes while we talk,” said Julia. “I loved that about you.”

“Don’t all men do that?” I said.

“You’d be surprised how unique it is,” she said. “You’re a special man.”

I drove her home. The Georgian style red brick house was three storeys high on a beautiful old street of fine old homes and shady maple trees. She invited me in for coffee and I accepted.

In her flat the air was cool after the blazing hot summer sun. The heavy curtains on her first floor windows were drawn. The rooms were in dim light that spilled through the edges of the curtains. Julia put her canes aside and made her way toward her kitchen with careful steps while she used the wall for stability.

I went to her and put my arms around her and held her close. She clung to me with desperation that told me how lonely she’d been. Her mother had sold a property she’d inherited and moved to Jamaica.

I found fasteners for each of her garments and made her naked while we held each other. I lay her back on her bed.

“You have to move my legs,” she said. I lifted her legs onto the bed.

“Does it hurt?” I said.

“It doesn’t hurt,” she said. “There’s no pain.” I heard in her voice a fear that I might not continue, afraid of doing harm.

I made love with her. It was good to be with her again. She was a very good person. Pretty, light hearted and witty. I often wondered how she could be so positive after all she’d been through. She had a disabled first child and abandonment by her husband. Then she had a healthy child that launched her MS followed by abandonment of her second husband. She had a good, close relationship with her mother. She was to join her mother in Jamaica until the illness struck her and changed her life again.

“You’re even better now than you were in the old times,” she said.

“We live and learn,” I said.

We had our coffee after we’d bathed together. At last I had to leave, and we both knew that we’d not see each other again.

“Thanks for lunch,” she said, “and especially the take-home dessert.”

We laughed together and wished each other good luck. We kissed and I departed. That was many years ago and I’ve since learned Julia passed away and her child is being raised by Julia’s mother in Jamaica.

2 Books, 2 Authors, 2 Plum Trees

October 26, 2017 Leave a comment

Two books that I consider to be among the best are: A Confederacy of Dunces and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Two more books that follow the life of Lisbeth Salander followed the latter. A Confederacy of Dunces stands alone. There will be no more books by Stieg Larsson, who wrote the Salander books, nor from John Kennedy Toole, who wrote the Dunces book.

Both books met with immediate acclaim when they were published posthumously. They are, in fact, fabulous stories brilliantly told. Anyone who enjoys reading strong, earthy, beautifully written books must read these four – the three by Larsson and one by Toole.

Films were made of the Larsson trilogy, I’ve not heard of a worthy one for Toole’s book. The American versions of the Salander story, to me, are not worth the time of day. The Swedish versions, with subtitles, are brilliant. The casting, the acting, the script, every scrap of them is great.

Ignatius Jacques Reilly is the morbidly obese and endlessly pompous star of A Confederacy of Dunces. He is unique in literature, and is purely wonderful. The lead character in the Larsson books and films is Lisbeth Slander, the most fascinating and exciting hero you’ll ever read.

You might well wonder where the plum trees come into this story. I used to own a hobby farm in the mountains where I kept horses and sometimes pigs and cows. There’s an ancient apple orchard behind the house. It’s very picturesque, with the old, gnarled trunks and untrimmed limbs.

At far corners of the orchard, diagonal from each other were two, old, sterile plum trees. For years, while the apple trees were bursting with huge, antique apples, the plum trees appeared to be little more than four inch wide sticks in the ground.

Suddenly, one spring, the plum trees came to life. To super life, I want to say. Both trees burst forth with volumes of perfect, beautiful, Damson plums. Bushels of them. Sweet, firm Damson plums from trees that we thought were long dead. They produced a vast amount of wonderful nourishment, and then they died dead. Forever.

Similarly, both Stieg Larsson and John Kennedy Toole burst forth with brilliant books. They created stories and characters unparalleled in modern literature. They nourished readers’ minds with intrigue and excitement. Then they died.

Stieg Larsson died suddenly, of a heart attack at fifty. John Kennedy Toole took his own life at forty-four. I like to think that, like the plum trees, the effort to produce such a fine result was more than life could sustain. They gave their all, the plum trees and the authors. We have their books, and they are as much a blessing as were the plums.

John Kennedy Toole

Stieg Larsson

Toole (top) – Larsson (bottom)