Musings On Death And Life.

We are odd creatures, we humans. We know that our lives, that ALL lives, are finite. We know that everyone we know will die, that everything we love will eventually cease to be. The old saying “No one gets out of this alive” isn’t just a joke, it’s a truism.

And yet, we plunge on with our lives. Too busy to recognise how much we love our families and friends, how much we love our animal companions, how much we need life, love, beauty in our lives. But just like the song says, “Don’t it always seems to go/That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone”.

Watch any of the footage from the recent mass slayings. Every survivor, each and every one, will say something to the effect of “I wish I could have said ‘I love you’ one more time”.

Death, great or small, singular or massed, will touch us all. It’s unavoidable. And simple words won’t stop it happening. People will get shot, cars and planes will crash, disease will cut great swathes though our lives. But take it from me, with what has happened to me recently, you do have a tiny bit of control over death. You can’t stop or slow it, but you can make it less lonely, less cold, less impersonal. And it’s very, very simple.

Just say “I love you” to someone you care for. Not just on birthdays or holidays or anniversaries, but every day. Maybe even several times a day. Or give ’em a kiss or a hug (or both). Whether the object of your affection speaks human, animal, or whatever, make your love known. Don’t wait until it’s too late, then bemoan that you didn’t get the chance to say something. Do it NOW. And keep doing it. To friends, to family, to pets, heck – even to trees and plants. It takes so little time and effort, and can bring such great reward. Here’s how easy it is.

To my followers, thanks – and yes, I love all of you as friends. To a certain “rare bird”, your caring words touched me deeply, and I am grateful I found you among the ethers of the Net. To my recently departed Frosty, I love you, little Momma. And to my wonderful wife, a truly one in a trillion gal, well – hey, that’s kinda personal, do ya mind?!?

Thanks for putting up with me. I hope all your weekends are a LOT better than mine’s gonna be.

 

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And Now I Know Where God Went.

In my previous post this evening, I was mulling if God was still out there. I know now He is, and He’s got one more very special angel. Our little cat Frosty, of the huge eyes and the single daughter Bouncer she gave us, died about 2am, 15-20 minutes ago.

Frosty was always a little spitfire. She managed to intimidate both our former Mastiff, Sam, and our current Bull Terrier/Heinz 57 mix, Shane. She was the smallest of our cats, from the first big group we got when we took in a stray that we thought was our out-of-town neighbor’s cat. She kept the rest of the group in line, easily thrashing her littermate Max, three times her size. The Terror Twins, Deke and Junior, were never terrors once she entered the room. Her piercing yowl and oversize eyes made her the perfect Halloween cat.

And we didn’t think she’d be the first to go, either. We have Stryper, the much-older FIV-infected cat who is still going strong, and we have had Princess, our first cat, for at least four years more than we had Frosty. But she got really sick a few weeks ago, and went downhill fast – we think stomach cancer, from the symptoms. But just as in life, she set the conditions for her passing. She didn’t start seizuring until after Tamy had finished her snack after getting home from work at 11:30pm, and she didn’t let go until I came back upstairs from moving stuff around to keep the house a bit more tolerable. She was a fighter and a scrapper, never much of a lover or a cuddler, but you could sneak her a quick hug and kiss, as long as you didn’t make a big deal out of it.

So now we’re back down to nine. And my heart is absolutely shattered. I always wondered, once we entered catdom, if losing a cat would hurt as much as a dog. I got my answer tonight – an emphatic and heart-breaking “yes”.

If you don’t hear from me for a bit, you now know why. And you’ll understand the rambling, barely coherent nature of this post. Just do me a favour. Look up at the stars, as you read this. If you see a shooting star go by, well, just say “Thank you, Frosty” for me. She was a great cat, a truly unique spirit, and one I’ll never forget.

Now, if you’ll pardon me, I’m gonna go bawl like a 2-year old. Again, like I have while I’ve writing this. Good night, and Godspeed, little FrostyMama.

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Ich Bin Munchen./I Am Munich.

Grosse Gott. (Good God.) Here we go again. I’m trying to wade through the news glut from The Hairy Cheeto being officially nominated, and this pops up. Orlando, Istanbul, Nice, Paris, Brussels – it just goes on and on. Not to mention the horrors in Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, Ukraine, South Sudan….

Set during the tribal warfare in 1990s Africa, a character in “Tears Of The Sun” blesses Bruce Willis’s character, who responds “God has left Africa”. Seeing what’s going on today, and what’s been going on in the last few years, I’m beginning to wonder if God hasn’t left Earth all together.

So I’ll just hope that Munich and her people can carry on through the terror and sadness of today. And I’ll throw a prayer in, too, though I wonder if anyone is listening….

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Je Suis Sans Voix./I Am Speechless.

Je suis Nice. Je suis France. Je suis navré. Je suis sans voix.

I am Nice. I am France. I am heartbroken. I am speechless.

 

Dieu bénisse la France et de veiller sur tous les siens ce soir.

God bless France and watch over all her people tonight.

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A Whiff of Greatness.

As those few of you out there know, one of my great interests is the so-called “what-if” scenario (often referred to as “whiffs”). What if the US had lost the battle at Midway, leaving the West Coast open to Japanese invasion? What if Moscow had fallen in the late fall of 1941, leaving Germany in command of Europe from the Atlantic to the Urals? What if the Soviet Union hadn’t fallen, or fallen earlier or later? So many great moments in time breed so many alternate possibilities.

But I came up with an interesting one, based on a conversation with my wife. What if Muhammad Ali had not been struck with Parkinson’s? As I watch the coverage of the memorial service for The Greatest, I think back to those dark days in September, 2001. What if Ali had been active and mobile on the 12th? What if the speech we all remember isn’t George W. Bush on “The Pile” vowing vengeance, but Ali shaming the extremists and counseling the love of all religions? What impact could he have on the ongoing Israel/Palestinian conflict? Where would Daesh/IS be, if the loudest sound wasn’t the gunshots echoing from Paris, Brussels, and San Bernardino, but Ali’s words of peace and togetherness?

And one side thought. As some wonder how long we will remember Ali’s greatness, I cannot help but remember a line from one of my most favourite movies, “The Wrath of Khan”. Dr. McCoy looks at James Kirk, and says about the recently-departed Mr. Spock, “He’s not really dead. As long as we remember him.” On that basis, Ali will truly remain “The Greatest” for all time.

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A Fitting Farewell to The Greatest.

I have never really been a sports fan as such
Never watched football or baseball, or boxing that much
But like everyone else, I knew of that great from Kentucky
And tonight I’m mourning the loss of Muhammad Ali.

He was known round the world, wherever you’d go
He was as famous in Moscow as in New Mexico
Even if they didn’t speak English, in their faces you’d see
That glimmer and that smile that said “Muhammad Ali”.

Though he refused to enlist in the Vietnam War,
He moved past any hatred to be greater than before.
From the great man Joe Frazier he took two out of three,
And once more became the greatest, that great man Ali.

The rest, they say, is history, going from win onto win.
Then his last and greatest fight with Parkison’s did begin.
It tore his body apart, but in his eyes you could still see,
That impish glimmer and grin of the world’s greatest, Ali.

But he was destined to lose his toughest and longest fight.
He left friends and family when he died late last night.
But his memory lives on – and so I’ll make one last plea.
Go to the link below to hear the tale of the great man – Muhammad Ali.

“Catch Me If You Can – The Muhammad Ali Song” from 1974.

(The copyright of the above song, and all rights, belong to its’ owner. I make no claims to it, and merely selected it from a Bing search page. Hope that’s enough of a CYA statement.)

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This Was SUPPOSED To Be A Good Day.

Today started with such promise. 63 years ago, a young Princess Elizabeth was crowned Queen, leading to the longest reign of any British monarch, a period of (mostly) peace and prosperity following the devastation of two world wars. Also today, 33 Australian solders, killed during the Vietnam War, finally made their way back home to Oz. Maybe not the most giddily joyous of moments, but the relief and closure of years of agony for those family members awaiting the return of their brave sons, fathers, and husbands.

Then the day went south, and fast. A US Air Force Thunderbird F-16 crashed shortly after over-flying a graduating class at the Air Force Academy. The pilot did manage to eject safely, and no one on the ground was hurt. About the same time, a US Navy Blue Angels F/A-18 also crashed – this time, taking the pilot with it. This sad double-whammy has been magnified by the drowning of 3 soldiers at Fort Hood in Texas, with six of their fellow soldiers missing in the flooding down there.

What else can I say? Just hope and pray for the best for those missing soldiers in Texas. Hope and pray for their families, waiting and fearing what news may come. And if your skies are clear, look for 4 more shining stars in the darkness, as our brave souls go to their final reward.

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