Sunday, September 2, 2018

Doctor Zero's "A prayer from the living world"



I first read this on Hot Air's "Green Room" shortly after Doctor Zero first posted it. Since then, it remains one of the best arguments against suicide that I've ever read.

Doctor Zero's own blog doesn't exist any more, and the domain has been usurped by some commercial spammer.  The post in the Green Room doesn't exist any more and the link goes to something different. Finally, the archived Hot Air URL itself ends with the word "Trashed", which concerns me that the full text will someday disappear: https://hotair.com/archives/2010/02/26/a-prayer-from-the-living-world__trashed/

So I am pasting the whole text here, to archive it as permanently as I can on a freebie blog.  God bless Doctor Zero for writing it, and God bless and protect everyone whom it has helped over the past 8 years, and who it will help in the future.

HOT AIR:

A prayer from the living world

 "The body of actor Andrew Koenig was found in Vancouver’s Stanley Park yesterday. His father, Walter Koenig, said that his son “took his own life, and was in a lot of pain.” Like most of my generation, I grew up with Walter Koenig as Chekhov on Star Trek, and he played a superb villain much later, on Babylon 5. Until his press conference yesterday, I didn’t realize he was a man of such incredible strength and dignity. He asked for his family to be left in peace to mourn their loss. I hope he won’t mind if I take this sad occasion to address others who might be following the road that ended in Stanley Park for Andrew. No matter how far you have gone down that road, there is always a path that leads away. I could offer no greater tribute to Andrew and his family than trying to help you take it, or at least see it.

"You won’t find the beginning of that path in your house, or your room, or any other private place where you torment yourself, and wonder why a world you’re hiding from can no longer see you. You’ll have to step outside, and take a walk through your town. You’ll pass hospitals where the gift of life is unwrapped and presented to the universe. In another wing, life is held as precious treasure by families gathered around quiet beds, surrounded by tireless machines and their tired, but determined, keepers. Perhaps you’ll find a hospice, where the dying embrace their last opportunity to share their lives with all who receive the blessing of a seat beside them. You’ll pass churches and temples, filled with the sworn enemies of despair.

"You may find yourself wishing you could give the unwanted years of your future to the clients of those hospitals and hospices. I did, years ago, when I stood where you are standing now. I was on my knees at the time, offering that trade with all my heart. It doesn’t work that way. Those who tend the hospices can tell you why, and the people in the churches and temples can explain why it shouldn’t.

"Stroll past your local police station, where the noble calling to risk your life in the service of others is answered… and the worship of death as a solution to problems meets its humiliating end. Maybe you’ll spot a recruiting station, where men and women who love their friends and families accept a duty that could take them away forever… because they know others love their families too, and there is no safe way to build and protect the future for them.

"If your walk takes you past sunset, watch the cars rolling into the driveways of apartments and houses. If you walk from night into morning, watch the people reluctantly leaving their homes, to provide for their families. Those people are not wasting their lives, but fulfilling them. They return home to enjoy their reward, and renew their inspiration. Every day, they write new pages in the human story. None of us will see the end of that tale… but I know you share my appetite to read another chapter, and then one more after that. You may have convinced yourself to ignore it, but it’s still there.

"Step into a convenience store for a cup of coffee or chocolate, and take a look at the newspapers. They are filled with pleas for help that you could answer. From the inner cities of America, to the broken streets of Haiti, and around the world, there are places where the clocks are filled with nothing but desperate hours. Another pair of hands, or another few dollars of support, are always needed. The years ahead, which you regard as a painful burden, can be given to them. It will take effort, and courage… but along the way, I can promise that your life would stop feeling like a burden.

"You may view suicide as your last chance to shake the pillars of a world that has turned its back on you. The world doesn’t need any more shaking. If you’ve been telling yourself that no one will miss you when you’re gone, you are wrong. Your suicide would tear a hole through the future, and nothing could ever fill the space where you used to be. You might think you’re alone, but you don’t have to walk more than a couple of miles from your house to see a building full of people who would be delighted to meet you. There are places like Suicide Hotlines, staffed by men and women who have spent their entire lives preparing to hear the sound of your voice, and greet every day hoping to learn your name.

"You may be afraid to face the years ahead. You’re not the only one, and if you extinguish the light of your faith and wisdom, you consign others to darkness. You might see death by your own hand as the end of unbearable pain… but I ask you to think about Walter Koenig, facing a wall of cameras with quiet grace in the hours after finding his son’s body, and understand that it’s only the beginning of agony.

"You might have decided your fellow men are rotten to the core, and you’re weary of their company. Listen to the music of Mozart, or look upon the work of Michelangelo, and consider the argument of those who profoundly disagree. Maybe part of your problem is that you’ve been listening to the wrong music, or looking at the wrong pictures. Dark waters are easy to drown in. The judgment of the human race will not lack witnesses for the defense, and they will make their case to you, if you give them a chance.

"Now, take the last few steps back to your home, and set aside one sorrow or terror with every footfall, until your mind is clear. If you’re thinking of incinerating the remaining years of your life, surely you can spare a few minutes for quiet reflection, and hear this prayer from the living world:
Please don’t leave us. We need you.
It is a quiet prayer, spoken in a soft voice, but it’s never too late to listen."

~~~~~~~

Sunday, March 11, 2018

History Repeats

I found this effective meme on Facebook today.

Especially appropriate considering the Left is trying to co-op the "Never Again" slogan to use for a school shooting by a madman who sent scores of threats that the police, sheriff's office, FBI, school, and mental health agencies all ignored.






Meme was created by Wilkowmajority.com.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

In Texas, "every single Taxpayer Champion is returning to the Legislature"

Locally, our Republican primary was the critical one. We had a stealth Democrat, Jim Langford, trying to unseat our new fantastic State Representative Mike Lang. Voters chose wisely and Lang won all eight of the counties in our District. WoooHOOO!  We are very happy. We had a big 3x5 sign in our yard for him. Our candidate for County Judge also won out over a too-long-term incumbent, so we are looking forward to better management at the County level.

Statewide, most candidates we supported won, too.  We voted Patterson over George P Bush for Land Commissioner - mainly because we do not want to "reimagine" the Alamo. It has not been a contentious race, and we are ok with Bush continuing, so long as he doesn't let Phil Collins' collection of artifacts get away from us.

For what it is worth, we are hearing that Trump's endorsement – and Bush's persistent support of Trump – are the two big factors that motivated people to vote for him.  So that bodes VERY WELL for our President's picks to win as this election season moves along.

The group "Empower Texans" has rapidly become an important source of information for "normal" Texans about the state of politics in our "whole other country".  Here is their take on last night's primary elections:

"Looking at last night’s election results: Wins!
Can we be frustrated by the pace of winning? Yes. But let’s be encouraged by the fact that we aren’t tired of winning yet! Any disappointments from last night should spur us all to work harder and smarter in the months and years ahead. ....
Think about this. The top target of the liberal school administrators was Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick. Everyone was quaking in their boots about the perceived power of superintendents to re-write Texas politics the way they re-write textbooks.
Voters – including classroom teachers – had none of it. As a result, Dan Patrick earned 75% of the vote.
Despite unprecedented efforts by the Austin lobby to dislodge them, every single Taxpayer Champion is returning to the Legislature. One even got a promotion to the Senate.
Meanwhile, establishment Republicans were defeated outright in one Senate and two House districts. One do-nothing House member is in a run-off, while five House seats formerly held by Austin cronies are headed for a second round.
And yet again, not a single sycophant of the Austin crony class has escaped the House chamber for the Senate or statewide office. (As my friend Jim Graham of Texas Right to Life likes to say, “The RINOs have been kept in the House pen.”)
Make no mistake: the House and Senate have moved right. "

There's more... head over and read it... and bookmark Empower Texans to keep up as we move forward.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

17th Amendment: Why State-appointed Senators Were Better For America Than Elected Ones


The Seventeenth Amendment to the US Constitution changed the method by which Senators were selected. Bill Quick provides the simplest, best explanation for why the Founders' original method of populating the Senate was the wisest:
"There is no leash on the Senate.  Originally, it was really supposed to represent the interests of the individual states, but the Wilsonian progressives managed to destroy that aspect of the body so, in fact, it doesn’t represent much of anybody.  Senators serve longer terms than members of any other branch.  Originally, this was intended to make the states, which appointed Senators, the most powerful force in the federal governance.  America, after all, started out to be a union of states, not of people.  And the self-interest of individual states worked to assure that the Senate wouldn’t go too far off the rails, because state pols were much less susceptible to political demagoguery than were individual voters.  Piss off your governor and your statehouse, and you weren’t long for your cushy federal senate sinecure.  All that is gone now.  "
                                                  ~ From his post "History Rhymes".









Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Book Review: "Life Unworthy" by Christopher Taylor



In the old days, when authors used agents and got publishing contracts, Christopher Taylor's books would have been published by Ace Books or Ballantine, and would have been in bookshops across the country. Today's publishing climate is both easier and harder for writers who aren't celebrities, and so Taylor is an independent author and "Life Unworthy" is a contract-worthy book available on Amazon for Kindle and in Trade Paperback. I bought the hard copy.

It's a good werewolf tale, keeping us on pins and needles all the way through, true to its genre, and a solid mystery story as well. But for those looking for more depth than monsters, "Life Unworthy" is rich historical fiction, replete with accurate detail that gives us a genuine sense of life-on-the-ground in 1943 Poland, occupied by the Nazis and terrorized by ancient curses.

Meticulous research includes many tiny details true to the era that might not be consciously appreciated by a casual reader. I love the way everyone smokes *everywhere*. Young people won't recognize that bit of "atmosphere" from a time when up to 80% of adults smoked and didn't die from it, but it is just one of the myriad ways Taylor paints us into a realistic picture. The ubiquitous cigarettes, the constant reference to "the Great War", are not essential to the story, but serve to rattle us into thinking a little deeper, immersing us into the time and place.

The psychic hold "the Great War" has on the soldiers in this novel is particularly effective, and has been seldom covered in war writing - whether fiction or fact, most WWII writing is colored by later knowledge that this was indeed "the second world war", whereas in the early years, it was still seen even by those in it as a more hopeful war: the Nazis were buoyed by recovering what they had lost in the catastrophic brutality of the Great War, Poland had not yet been betrayed, and so even the Poles and Gypsies in Life Unworthy desperately clung to belief that it would end with freedom.

Great characters are fleshed out well, and believable. It is crazy to see how almost likable some of the Nazis can be, and it jars when we realize the jobs they are doing, how much "routine" funnels them into the soul-killing deeds they do in response to orderly commands.

Almost an allegory, the werewolf's struggle to control the beast is an opposite, a mirror image of these Nazis' efforts to rationalize within themselves the evil they are promoting. This is a subtle juxtaposition all through the book that slowly dawns on the reader as we go.

Look carefully to catch the clues woven throughout the novel. They are difficult to spot, seamlessly inserted into the prose. And the whispered hints are even more difficult to unravel. I found myself stopping along the way to look up a reference, a location, to uncover more layers of the deep history. It's impossible to anticipate the ending, yet when it comes, the threads trace back to early hints, mentions, shadows, and you think, "Ah! So that is what that meant!"

A satisfying resolution that takes its own sweet time to unfold is one of the best things about Taylor's writing style. I am often annoyed by otherwise good writers who rush their endings - building to the climax then wrapping everything up in a quick couple of paragraphs, as though they suddenly realize they've reached their word limit. Taylor doesn't do that. He never leaves his readers in the lurch. He continues to follow the story for a bit to let us absorb what happened and neatly finish the final seams, so that it is complete and full.

All in all, "Life Unworthy" is a good story, a satisfying read, that doesn't waste our time. It's a book for adults, and will leave you thinking about the characters long after you've shelved the book in your permanent collection, to read again someday.


Sunday, January 7, 2018

Yes, Virginia, Once Upon A Time, Real Men Played Football






Via Traces of Texas, on Facebook:
"Dandy" Don Meredith, quarterback for the Dallas Cowboys, talks to reporters in the locker room following the famous "Ice Bowl" game against the Packers in Green Bay, Wisconsin, back in 1967. The game-time temperature at Lambeau Field was about −15 °F (−26 °C), with an average wind chill around −48 °F (−44 °C). It remains one of the most famous games in NFL history." 

Yes, that is a cigarette he is smoking. And yes, that is real hair on his chest. 

SportsDay writes:

"[Bob] Lilly, A TCU graduate out of West Texas, unfamiliar with such brutal weather, suffered frostbitten fingers on his left hand in that game. His three mates on the defensive line that anchored Tom Landry's effective but quirky "Flex Defense" all suffered frostbite as well.  ...
"They might have worn gloves but Lilly recalled that old-school defensive coordinator Ernie  Stautner admonished that such a luxury was for "sissies" and he couldn't have such coddled players on his squad. ...
"While players cautiously tried to navigate a sheet of ice underfoot, an announced assembly of 50,861 fans exhaled from behind faces covered by woolen masks, emitting enough carbon dioxide to remind of London fog.
"Please, Ryan said under his breath, let those of his cameras that refused to die in the cold, continue to work. The crew's remarkable work in those conditions provides the only known extended video from the game. "
"Once the game began, referee Norm Schachter and his officiating crew abandoned their whistles, which froze to their lips soon after kickoff. Instead, they relied on voices and hand signals to control the game. An elderly fan in the stands suffered hypothermia and died. Alicia Landry, wife of the Cowboys coach, is said to have missed the game's decisive play because her eyelashes were frozen shut. ..."


But Don Meredith had the final insight into why the Dallas Cowboys of Old played the way they played: not for the money, or their coaches, but for their fans:

"Meredith, of course, was on the plane that returned the Cowboys to Love Field in the wake of the Ice Bowl.
"I remember the pilot telling us he got word that there were a lot of people waiting for us," recalled Brandt. "We didn't know what to expect."
News reports estimated about 500 sympathetic fans were there to embrace their heroes in relatively balmly 32-degree weather.
"It was the first time Cowboys fans celebrated a loss," Meredith, who died in 2010, once told Michael. "It changed everything about the way we felt about our fans. It created a bond that would never be broken."

Go read the whole article: "Too Cold to Bleed: Why The Ice Bowl Still Resonates 50 Years Later".    

It's the stuff America ... and real football... is made of. 


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