September 19, 2012
My wife’s aunt Angela committed suicide a few days ago. She had long threatened to do so and had several unsuccessful attempts.
This is not the story of others missing the signs, however. It is the story of a troubled woman who never joined the fight to improve her situation. Angela was the youngest of nine children and lived a chaotic existence. Her troubles were many, and not to be listed here.
Her death has given me reason to reflect on my own life and my own struggles. For so long, I was lost in a world of my own, unwilling to reach out for help for a drinking problem or for my own depression. While I never contemplated suicide, I imagine there would not have been widespread shock if I had.
For Angela, sadly, this is a story of inevitability. She was unable to cope with her world and unwilling to ask for help from those who loved her. Her death was inevitable.
My story became one of inevitability when I met my wife Emilia. With a strong, happy and loyal woman at my side, it was inevitable my life would improve. And it did.
I suppose what I’ve really learned is how alike we all are. We all have our moments when we are terrible people to be around. When we feel life is more of a chore than we care to undertake. When self-pity makes us unbearable to ourselves and to those around us. We all have times when the person we dislike the most is us.
Suicide isn’t an inevitability. It is a one-time action with the ultimate of results. It takes away every good and bad moment you will ever have. I have felt lows I thought I could never climb out of, but with help, I did. And every smile or laugh or good feeling I now have is my reward. The love I have for my wife is the best of those rewards. I couldn’t imagine my life without her. She is why my lows are not at all what they used to be.
I refuse to judge Angela for what she did, though. It was as much the wiring in her brain as the sadness in her heart that led to her final act. All I can hope is that those with problems they cannot handle find a loved one to speak to about it. There is no weakness in asking for help. And every day, the words “mental problems” gain a more honest and less mockable definition.
If you feel you have hit the wall, talk to someone about it. The embarrassment of speaking of your own weaknesses is nothing compared to the devastation brought upon by keeping it to yourself or by suicide.
Angela, however, made her decision. Her final decision. May she now have the peace she could never find in life. Rest in peace, Angela.
June 12, 2012
I’m guessing that even Bill Buckner himself would give these Kenyan kids a thumbs up for this recreation of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Maybe not Red Sox fans, tho.
March 1, 2012
I feel absolutely no sense of schadenfreude or any type of hate when I say I’m sorry to hear about Breitbart. Young men dying is a tragedy.
My deepest condolences to his family and friends.
February 15, 2012
For the second consecutive year – making it a tradition – my birthday on Twitter has included a plethora of images of me being photo-shopped into interesting positions. Enjoy:
February 6, 2012
Our beloved Boston Terrier Max died of complications on Jan. 24, following a strong battle against congestive heart failure, liver disease and a host of other problems. While his final day was a bad one, Max did not suffer in the days, weeks or months prior to his death.
Max came into my wife’s life when she was just 22. She had left Brazil to get her masters degree at Southern Indiana University. A dog lover from her earliest days, Emilia chose Max to be her first dog. It was a brilliant choice.
When Emilia met Max, he was known as “Alpha.” He would dominate all the other puppies to get food and comfort. This would become a central part of Max’s personality. He spent his life learning new tricks on how to get whatever it was he wanted, which was mostly food. Being an extremely intelligent dog, he always seemed to get whatever he wanted.
And while he tended to try to dominate puppies, the fact was that Max was not a fighter, whatsoever. If his initial tough-guy act didn’t work, he’d back off or find myself or Emilia to handle his problems.
Max had a hobby. He’d literally spend hours sucking on stuffed animals. My belief was that it took him back to the days when his mother – Pink Lady- nursed him. For Max, however, it was a sign that he was utterly content when he’d sit next to you somewhere and suck on his toy.
Max was misunderstood genius. Being a Boston Terrier, his facial expressions were somewhat nil as compared to other dogs who get that “happy face” that draws people in. But while he showed little emotion, Max was a loving dog.
Max fit into being an older dog perfectly. He had a minor bit of grumpiness about him, which was irresistible. Making Max angry was one of our favorite games. That was how he played – by growling viciously and snapping at you. It was glorious.
My wife and I laughed recently when we read the opening words of Lord Byron’s wonderful “Epitaph to a Dog.”
Near this Spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
and all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
Max was the son of Bo-Bo Jangles. He was beautiful and vain. He was insolent without strength and ferocious without courage. He had all the virtues of man, with a few vices.
Max helped my wife through some of her toughest times and was always there for her. Max helped her define herself and become the person she is today. I knew him for 10 years and my heart is broken that he’s no longer with us. But he will always be a part of this family. He will always be missed.
#OurXmas: The Greatest Twitter Extravaganza in The History of This or Any Other Planet (With updates)
December 23, 2011
I should be in San Francisco right now. The plans had been made, tickets bought, room and board at the ready. A family Christmas vacation awaited. But then, life got in the way.
It got in the way in the form of a tiny, old Boston Terrier named Max. My wife got Max before we were together and at the tender age of 22. He’s been with her through the ups and downs of life. While we have other dogs and always will, Max is the dog of her life. And now, at the age of 14, Max is winding down. He has congestive heart failure, and has been battling a sinus infection that won’t go away. He still has a lot of life in him, enjoys his normal routine and attacks food. But the fact is, he could leave us at any time and needs care.
So, my Christmas present for my wife this year was to stay in Brazil with Max and take care of him. My wife could never have enjoyed the trip with her family without me here, as she’d have been worried the entire time about how he was and how the caregivers we’d have to pay for were treating him. I’m happy to do it because I love my wife, understand her deep connection wit Max, and I love the little man myself. It has not been a sacrifice. It has been life.
What this means, however, is that I’ll be spending Christmas alone this year. This is not such a tragedy, mind you. My wife will be home in a week and we’ll have our own festivities. But it made me think of all the people who will be alone this Christmas, or are left out of it because they don’t celebrate that holiday for whatever reason.
Which why I – with the help of Barracks O’Bama (@P0tUS on Twitter) – have come up with a plan – tentatively and humbly titled:
#OurXmas: The Greatest Twitter Extravaganza in The History of This or Any Other Planet
Here is the plan: Using the hashtag #OurXmas on Twitter, we invite everyone to come and enjoy a day of fun, laughs and love on Twitter or on participating blogs. It will be a chance to connect with others, enjoy some humor and just have some fun. To sum up simply, it will be about inclusion, humor and holiday cheer.
Here are the basic ground rules:
1) While this has been started for those who will be alone on Christmas or don’t celebrate it, all are invited to be a part of it.
2) Keep religion and politics out of it. You have 364 days a year to make your political and philosophical leanings heard. Let’s make an effort to make everyone, regardless of ideology or belief system, feel included.
3) I will not be policing anyone. That’s just not my thing. Enjoy the spirit of the day and the concept.
4) Have fun.
As for the tweeting aspect:
1) Use the main hashtag of #OurXmas on applicable tweets. (Note: Using “Xmas” in this hashtag is not a statement of any type. It is being used to save characters.)
2) Use “Sub-Hashtags” such as #memories for Tweets reflecting on Holidays past, or #Stories for favorite Twitter stories, or #jokes for Christmas humor. This – like most of the event itself, will be open to creative license.
3) Be as silly or serious as you want to be. As I see it, the main focus should be – as the kids say – Lulz. Have some fun, make some people laugh, and maybe connect with followers you wouldn’t have otherwise.
4) I will post other blogs to collect people’s stories and memories if they want to share them in more than 140 characters. Also, if you have a blog and want to be involved, please feel free and ask me any questions you have. We’re getting the ball rolling, but this will be a team effort.
That’s about it. I have some ideas on humorous and fun topics and memes and would love to hear other people’s ideas. Think outside the box. But mainly, just know you have people to be with this Christmas.
I will be adding updates to this post to help clarify things and add ideas as we get closer to the event. The festivities officially begin at the stroke of Midnight (EST) on Sunday, Christmas Day (but hey, if you want to start now, get to it.) If you have any questions, please feel free to ask in comments, or write to me at @Wolfrum on Twitter.
We hope to see you there.
(Update 1: Out of the blue, The Washington Post decided to join in our extravaganza.)
July 22, 2011
May 6, 2011
One reason why I struggle to take Matt Taibbi seriously as a “journalist”? Aside from how easily he was duped into believing how Naked Short Sellers destroyed the U.S. economy? This post: “A Guide to Sports Wives.”
“Your average millionaire jock meets, on a regular basis, the kind of females most of us see only once or twice in our entire lives, including the Woman Who Deems Life with Less Than 600 Pairs of Shoes a Cruel Impossibility, the Woman Who Sits Languidly on the Edge of a Bar Stool Carrying Eight Different Strains of Chlamydia, and Tara Reid. If he’s lucky enough to get past these gorgons unscathed, he typically just moves on to the usual variety of superficially acceptable marriage choices. “
The column was originally published at Men’s Journal, which pulled the sexist drivel from its Web site. While Taibbi is a colorful writer, his reporting and out-of-control sexism makes him a must non-read for me.
GOP Birch Society
Seems the first GOP debate featured pre-debate sponsorship from both Oathkeepers and the John Birch Society, two incredibly nasty, racist groups. As Digby said:
“I suppose it’s hard these days to hold any kind of GOP event without crackpots. Crackpots are the GOP. But the John Birch Society and the Oathkeepers as sponsors? Good lord. Why don’t they just invite the Klan and get it over with?”
Mais ou Minas: Alex Jones already working hard to profit from bin Laden’s death the way he made money from the blood spilled on 9/11. … Now that is one big cigar. … While some noise is being made, don’t worry – insanely profitable Oil companies will get billions of your tax dollars. Again. … No surprise here: Dems can’t carry GOP jock when it comes to ideological rigidity.
May 5, 2011
Submitted sans comment:
Here it is. I’m dead, and this is my last post to my blog. In advance, I asked that once my body finally shut down from the punishments of my cancer, then my family and friends publish this prepared message I wrote—the first part of the process of turning this from an active website to an archive.
If you knew me at all in real life, you probably heard the news already from another source, but however you found out, consider this a confirmation: I was born on June 30, 1969 in Vancouver, Canada, and I died in Burnaby on May 3, 2011, age 41, of complications from stage 4 metastatic colorectal cancer. We all knew this was coming.
April 29, 2011
I’m a documentary fan, and even with my other-worldly Internet research skills, I often come up dry when searching for a new documentary. Thus, I am creating this post where you, the reader, can tell me, the documentary watcher, what to watch.
I’ll give a list and some comments of some docs I’ve seen:
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father: I’m still in tears from this one.
Exit Through the Gift Shop: A movie about graffiti artists that turns out much more thought-provoking than you’d imagine.
Hoop Dreams: I’ve seen this epic twice and it still gives me plenty to ponder.
That’s just a start. Mind you, I’ve seen quite a few. But, since i discover a new documentary I’d like to see nearly every day, I figured some guidance would help. Give me some suggestions.
February 10, 2011
It wasn’t pretty. Not at all.
Update: Thus far, Customer Support at Amazon has been extremely helpful. The warranty had expired, but a replacement was offered for $89. Will update once new one is in hand.
Update: The replacement Kindle arrived on Friday, Feb. 18. Total cost to me: $40.
December 30, 2010
The party in Spain continues. We shall return in less than a week, tho, so stay tuned.
December 16, 2010
Because I know you have been thinking of me, here I am …
… hanging out next to the remains of Christopher Columbus …
… shooting the bull …
… and enjoying some local flavor.
That´s all from Spain for the moment. More to come after I overthrow the joint. Or eat a lot of tapas. Whichever comes first.
December 6, 2010
Five years this month, I started this blog with the post “Climbing from the Hedge.” In that post, I wrote this:
A true story: when I was much younger, I used to go across the street from my house, where there were some hedges that I could crawl into. I was a little boy sitting in a bush so no one could see him, playing with my toys and daydreaming. I’d sit in that hedge every day for hours.
And more or less, I’ve stayed there. It’s been a lot easier to stay shielded and aloof of feelings than actually dealing with them in any way. But hiding from the important things in life is no way to live. …
At 38, it’s time for me to crawl out of my hedge.
While it’s been a slow affair to get myself from that hedge, the journey continues. At 43, I’m still trying.
Thanks for a great five years. And there’s a lot more to come.
May 2, 2010
Yeah, but check these posts out …
Osborne Ink: What the heck was going on in Qincy, Il.? Not what right-wingers think. Alternet: Surprising Facts About ‘Our Enemy’ Iran Remind Us That We Don’t Know Squat. Angry Black Bitch: Spill, Baby, Spill. Think Progress: Even Marco Rubio is rethinking off-shore drilling. Focal Point: Study: Canadians Live Longer, Healthier Lives Than Yanks. Crooks & Liars: Tens of thousands march In Major Cities for Immigration Reform. Jesus’ General: Celebrating freedom with drunken gun play.