EppsNet Archive: Death

Connie Hawkins, 1942-2017

8 Oct 2017 /

Connie Hawkins was my basketball role model growing up. I used to stretch my fingers around basketballs religiously so I could try to replicate his moves, most of which required the ability to palm the ball like a grapefruit (see photo).

Also: Foul! The Connie Hawkins Story by David Wolf is one of the best sports books ever written.

RIP Connie Hawkins

Connie Hawkins


See You in Hell: Tom Petty Update

2 Oct 2017 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

He was standing at the gates here but he wouldn’t back down. Go figure.

See you in Hell . . .


Tom Petty, 1950-2017

2 Oct 2017 /

In December 2016, Tom Petty talked with Rolling Stone about his then-upcoming 2017 tour, which just ended last week at the Hollywood Bowl here in Los Angeles:

I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was thinking this might be the last big one. I have a granddaughter now I’d like to see as much as I can. I don’t want to spend my life on the road.

Sad, as President Trump would say. Big life events can kill you . . .

RIP Tom Petty


See You in Hell

2 Oct 2017 /

Satan

[See You in Hell is a feature by our guest blogger, Satan — PE]

I thought what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas?

Hugh Hefner says hi.

See you in Hell . . .


The Perfect Murder?

12 Sep 2017 /

Realtor Who Vanished During Harvey Found Dead, Ex-Husband ArrestedYahoo! News

Bathtub

That probably seemed like a good plan at the time, murdering your former spouse under cover of a natural disaster.

I bet that happens all the time. A woman is discovered drowned . . . who’s to know you actually drowned her in the bathtub ahead of time? I’d like to see ’em prove that in a court of law.

That being said, I still think the best way to kill someone and get away with it is to push them off a cliff.


Making it Through High School Alive

10 Sep 2017 /

Baltimore schools spend a staggering $16,000 per student – the fourth-highest rate in the nation – and still an investigation by Fox45’s Project Baltimore revealed that at six city schools, not one student scored proficient on the statewide tests for English and math.

At West Baltimore’s Frederick Douglass High, one of five high schools and one middle school where not one student scored a four or a five on the state test, only one out of 185 students who took the test last year scored a three, while 165 students scored a one, the lowest possible score.

Frederick Douglass

The schools are:

  • Booker T. Washington Middle School
  • Frederick Douglass High School
  • Achievement Academy at Harbor City
  • New Era Academy
  • Excel Academy at Francis M. Wood High
  • New Hope Academy

It looks like if you live in Baltimore, you want to avoid sending your child to a school whose name includes the word “Academy” or the name of an eminent black American.

The mother of one Frederick Douglass student is quoted as saying, “That’s absurd to me. That’s your teacher’s report card, ultimately.”

In Irvine, CA, where I live, the school district spent $9,488 per student last year, so I think it’s fair to say that Baltimore parents are not getting good value for their education dollar, but I also think that Irvine parents would be much more likely to say that sub-par educational performance indicates a problem in the home rather than with the teachers.

Accentuating the positive: At Excel Academy, 300 seniors started the school year, 104 graduated and 5 were shot to death. In some towns, just making it through high school alive is an accomplishment.


Walter Becker, 1950-2017

3 Sep 2017 /

Walter Becker

It’s hard times befallen the Soul Survivors
She thinks I’m crazy but I’m just growing old

RIP Walter Becker


No Political Violence on the Left?

20 Aug 2017 /

I’m still shaking my head on this one:

https://twitter.com/charlesmurray/status/899240201532448768?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email&iid=77f9160ca4fa4b6aa987bb96570d37b3&uid=15906468&nid=244+285282305

Even left-wing stalwarts like The Atlantic know that the Post’s “no violence on the left” premise is bogus:

https://twitter.com/charlesmurray/status/899240201532448768?t=1&cn=ZmxleGlibGVfcmVjcw%3D%3D&refsrc=email&iid=77f9160ca4fa4b6aa987bb96570d37b3&uid=15906468&nid=244+285282305

Look how peaceful and non-violent everyone is in the Post photo.

Contrast that with, for example, these protesters at Berkeley earlier this year:

Milo 'protesters' at Berkeley

Milo 'protesters' at Berkeley

I’m drawn to Berkeley examples because our son went to Berkeley and still lives in the area, because I know some current Berkeley students, and because Berkeley, ironically, used to be synonymous with the Free Speech Movement.

The photos above show the protesters who showed up to violently shut down a scheduled talk by Milo Yiannopoulos, but the same thing seems to happen whenever any university schedules a conservative speaker.

Here are a couple more left-wing protests, in Chicago and Charlottesville:

More Dead Cops

We could go on and on with this . . . we’ve all seen this before so I don’t know who the target audience is for the Post’s “no violence on the left” argument.

And of course Steve Scalise couldn’t be reached for comment because he’s still in inpatient rehabilitation after being shot by a Bernie Sanders supporter a couple of months ago.

It looks to me like there’s plenty of bigotry, intolerance and hatred at both ends of the political spectrum.

The Post’s argument seems to be that while left-wing violence is the work of outsiders and lone nuts, militia culture and violent resistance on the right exists “on unprecedented scales.” The best examples the Post was able to come up with are Ruby Ridge, the Oklahoma City bombing, and the Dylann Roof murders in Charleston, two of which happened 20+ years ago and all of which involved one guy, or one guy and an accomplice, or one guy and his family.

Ruby Ridge was a “we thought they were up to something so we had to kill them” government siege and Randy Weaver was not convicted of anything except missing his original court date and a bail violation.

Do those examples indicate organized right-wing violence “on unprecedented scales”? I’d say no, but make up your own mind.

The Post concedes that “occasionally violent groups” such as Antifa are “worrisome,” which sounds like a word my grandmother would have used. But these groups are “loosely banded, disorganized and low scale . . . incomparable to the scope and breadth of organized violence demonstrated by the extreme right.”

Such as?

“Organized militias that are well armed, well trained and well networked” and “armed to the teeth.”

I don’t know what sort of data the Post combed through to come up with that rigorous characterization (“armed to the teeth”?), but I’ve never seen an estimate of more than 10,000 active white supremacists in a country of 320 million people. We’re talking about an insignificant number of confused, poorly organized losers.

As an example of what a well-trained, armed to the teeth, organized militia can accomplish, the Post cites last year’s armed standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon.

The result of that was one militant killed, one militant wounded and 27 militants arrested and indicted. I hate to think what a disorganized, poorly trained militia could have done.


Overheard

30 Jul 2017 /
Chicago

Man reading news story from his phone: “‘A 4-year-old boy is among at least 29 people shot in Chicago this weekend as violence across the city left two dead and more than two dozen others wounded.'”

“Twenty-nine people shot and only two dead? Thank god black people can’t shoot straight.”

“How do you know they were black people?”

“Uh . . . ok, you got me there.”


10 Reasons Why Failure is Good, Except When It’s Bad

11 Jul 2017 /
 Sharon Christa McAuliffe,  Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Ronald E. McNair, Mike J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka. Image credit: NASA

Sharon Christa McAuliffe, Gregory Jarvis, Judith A. Resnik, Francis R. (Dick) Scobee, Ronald E. McNair, Mike J. Smith, Ellison S. Onizuka. Image credit: NASA

Once upon a time there was a startup, and the president of this startup, like a lot of people in the early part of the 21st century, celebrated failure — as a learning tool and as a precursor to success.

He encouraged employees to celebrate failures on the company Slack channel, using the hashtag #fail.

Legend has it that the president called one employee on the carpet for suggesting on the Slack channel that it doesn’t make sense to celebrate failure without factoring in the cost of failure.

That is simply a truism, is it not? Obviously the value of failure can be swamped out by the cost, e.g.,

Blew up 7 astronauts but learned that O-rings don’t function in sub-freezing temperatures. #fail

You can think of other examples yourself. You can probably also think of people and/or companies for whom failure was merely a precursor to more failure.

Working for startups is risky, but the president of this startup told all the employees that he would give them a six-month heads-up if the company were ever on track to run out of money.

Then one day, due to the failure to retain a key client, the staff was cut to around 15 people (there were close to 100 at one time) with zero notice and a one week’s severance check.

You could make a case that the “six-month” promise didn’t apply because the company didn’t actually “run out of money,” but most people felt that the spirit of the promise, if not the letter, had been violated.

Was this a failure to be celebrated? It probably depends from which side of the exit door you’re looking at it. Sometimes a pivot looks a lot like an implosion.

Was it celebrated with a #fail hashtag in the company Slack channel? I don’t know.

Lost our key client. Laid off all developers but kept the company chef. #fail

This is a fable and like all fables it has a moral: Failure is good, except when it’s bad.

Resemblance to persons or companies living or dead would be a coincidence.

Thus spoke The Programmer.


Great Moments in Socialized Medicine: Charlie Gard

4 Jul 2017 /

If I’m understanding this correctly, socialized medicine really does mean that the government decides if you will live or die, and if your children will be allowed to live or die.

I’m glad to see that the current president of the United States is not on board with the idea of a government being able to decide on the life or death of a baby, and to deny the parents of the baby the ability to counter that decree.

This is a good reminder — since there are people who think that “single payer,” i.e., socialized medicine, i.e., the government runs the healthcare system, would be a good thing to have in the United States — that the government, if you’re very old and/or very sick, is not going to give you all that technology and all those drugs for the last couple of years or months or days of your life to keep you going.

It’s too expensive, so they are going to let you die.


Signs of Trouble

28 Jun 2017 /

When a headline starts with one of the following, rest assured there’s going to be trouble:

“Bungee jumper . . .”

“Florida woman . . .”

“YouTube gun stunt . . .”

Related link: How Much Paper Does It Take to Stop a .50-Cal Bullet?


Cocaine, Heroin, Ecsatsy

22 Jun 2017 /

In case you hadn’t noticed, being alive is difficult and probably overrated. Why not take all the drugs you can?

Just playing devil’s advocate here . . .


Denis Johnson, 1949-2017

28 May 2017 /

Three rules to write by:

Write naked. That means to write what you would never say.
Write in blood. As if ink is so precious you can’t waste it.
Write in exile, as if you are never going to get home again, and you have to call back every detail.

RIP Denis Johnson


One Last Goodbye

16 Apr 2017 /

We spread Lightning‘s ashes at Huntington Dog Beach this weekend. We didn’t make a big production of it — it’s probably illegal, for one thing — but we hiked out to the end of the rock pier and gave him back to the sea.

The Dog Beach and the Irvine Dog Park were the places he was at his best — off-leash and able to be his dominant alpha pug self.

For example, here’s a (blurry) photo of him assassinating a puggle who carelessly but intentionally blindsided him at the dog park:

Lightning at the dog park

Lightning wrote a poem he wanted us to read when we spread his ashes. I think he plagiarized it, to be honest . . . he wasn’t much of a poet but we loved him . . .

I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning’s hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.


Looking For a Vet in Orange County?

8 Apr 2017 /

We took Lightning to Animal Hospital of Irvine his whole life — 13 years. We boarded him there too when we went out of town. They took excellent care of him.

How do I know that? Because years ago we used to board him at PetSmart and it was always a struggle. He didn’t want us to leave him there.

I thought it was because he didn’t want us to leave him anywhere but when we started boarding him at Animal Hospital, his tail was wagging like crazy when we dropped him off. They gave him lots of attention and took him for lots of walks and even let him out of the kennel and let him walk around the office.

We had to let Lightning go last weekend. Wendy, one of the staff members, came into the procedure room where we were waiting and said how sorry she was. She was crying.

Lightning was her favorite. Wendy is older than the other staff members and what she liked most about him is that the effects of aging never affected his heart or his personality. I hugged her and told her that I know he loved her and was always happy to be there because she took the best care of him.

This week in the mail we got a picture frame and a sympathy card from the staff.

Card and picture frame

Animal Hospital is probably not the least expensive vet in town (is there such a thing as an inexpensive vet?) but they really do care about the animals and their owners . . .


Lightning, 2003-2017

1 Apr 2017 /

Lightning alert

Lightning sleepy

We got Lightning as a Xmas present for our boy in 2003.

Things we learn from dogs:

  • Unconditional love
  • Nothing lasts forever

Later in life, Lightning lost most of the use of his back legs. He had to drag them a little when he tried to walk. He couldn’t jump anymore and couldn’t go up or down the stairs but he never complained about that.

He also lost his eyesight. Never complained about that either. He never got sad or frustrated when he occasionally walked into a wall or a piece of furniture. He had a good mental map of the house and didn’t need or want help to get around.

Last year, the vet thought he might have a leaky heart valve but that turned out not to be the case. His heart was invincible all the way.

The only thing he ever got sad about was toward the end, he didn’t like to be alone. He whimpered if I was in the house and he couldn’t be wherever I was. He couldn’t be fooled on this. He could smell when I was anywhere in the house.

My wife and I were with him all the way to the end. I didn’t cry until afterwards.

Last meal: In-N-Out cheeseburger and a pup cup from Starbucks.

He would probably like to be remembered like this . . . a video of a family trip to the beach when we were all more or less in our prime . . .

RIP Lightning


Goodbye, Everybody

1 Apr 2017 /

Hi everybody! It’s me, Lightning!

This is going to be my last post. I wish you all could have as happy a life as I did. I gave all the love I had and I got all of it back. Thanks for reading my blog.

The first needle made me feel sleepy. All my memories are coming back now. I can see my mom and dad and my brothers and sisters. I can smell them. They’re all here now. Every moment I want I can live again.

The 2nd needle. So sleepy. It’s like falling, but being wrapped and cozy too. I don’t need to breathe anymore.

Goodbye, everybody . . .

— Lightning paw

Lightning

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Defend your right to think. Thinking wrongly is better than not thinking at all. — Hypatia of Alexandria, murdered by a Christian mob in the year 415


The Grim Reaper Trifecta

23 Mar 2017 /

It’s interesting (to me) that Chuck Barris and Chuck Berry had very similar names and died within 3 days of each other.

Who would be a good candidate for the trifecta here? Marion Barry? Dave Barry? Rick Barry? Barry Williams? Chuck Yeager?


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