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50 years ago, an elderly couple lived next door to my parents. One day my mother told me that the woman had awoken that morning to discover her husband, lying next to her, had died during the night. “He died in his sleep.”
Some 20 years later, mother was in the last stages of Parkinson’s disease. Her breath was labored to the point that early one morning, around 3 a.m., my father was awoken by the silence which filled the room when she had stopped breathing. My father never, to my knowledge, said, “She died in her sleep.”
Interesting concept that, “died in sleep,” isn’t it?
How do we know that either my mother or her neighbor died without awakening? Surely the possibility of a last second awareness of the finality of the process exists? Surely the brain, responding to diminishing stimuli could/does/must trigger an alarm to itself that something major is amiss?
Surely there’s a good chance of a last “Ah,” “Oh,” “Hmm,” “No,” or “Yes, thank you.”
“He died in his sleep” is such a nice euphemism; it’s comforting. It allows an escape from dealing with the problem of final moments and how they should be—must be?—faced.
It would also be more accurate to say, as my father implied, “She died in my sleep,” and more realistic.
Friday, March 22, 2013
Sunday, February 10, 2013
How can we not like euphemisms? Shoot! Fudge! Heck! Oedipus Rex!
A friend of mine came up with a new one recently.
He’s a person who loves to spend money, occasionally to the point of being unwise, occasionally needing a small boost from an acquaintance.
Here’s his latest: “On Friday, could we exchange checks for $200.00? Mine will be good next Wednesday.”
“Exchange checks.” Excellent.Sphere: Related Content
Friday, November 16, 2012
Poor David Brooks. He just can’t seem to let go of the past.
Here’s a link to his latest The New York Times mini-screed. In it, Brooks bemoans the individualistic times in which we live and years for a return, as Republicans these days are wont to do, to the 1950s.
Brooks longs for a return to “…commitments to family, God, craft and country.” Hm. Well, three out of four “ain’t bad.”
Family, craft and country one could understand. God? The anthropomorphic God of the “Book?” Really?
We should commit to the metaphors of people who lived hundreds and thousands of years ago? Who dealt with life-threatening natural conditions the likes of which we have come to understand and deal with them successfully? The metaphors which wouldn’t stand the scrutiny of a skeptical analyst? Ask the families who are survivors of religious sectarian killings; what would they say about commitment to God? (Other people keep getting in the way that commitment, and no one can rationally explain why.)
Change the metaphors; use metaphors which fit the intellectual evolution of the species.
Then talk about commitment.
Otherwise, Mr. B., deal with the status quo, not the status quo ante.Sphere: Related Content
Friday, August 31, 2012
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A very simple indictment of the current Republican Party can be found in two elements, both provided by the Party establishment itself.
1). The “We Built It” logo
2). The absence of reference to Pres. George W. Bush
“We Built It” is in the past tense. So, the question is What is the “it” the Republican Party has built? Whatever it is, it must exist now, because they speak of its completion. They must be speaking of the legacy of past Republican administrations.
There is an odd leap, however, between today’s Republican claims and the previous administration most called-upon today. And that leap is from 1989 to 2010.
Missing from Tampa’s Republican history are the administrations of Bush père et fils, one of which raised taxes in order to have a legitimate, responsible history, the other…well, you know: he vastly enlarged the size of government, government spending, and presided over an illegitimate war which was the offspring of a matrix of lies.
WE BUILT IT Indeed, you did. And you’re ashamed of it.
As well you ought.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Poor David Brooks. He tries so hard, yet so often shoots himself in the foot during the effort.
Take this quote from his column today:
[Obama’s] economic advisers have generally touted the benefits of globalization even as they worked to help those who are hurt by its downsides.
All of Brooks’ argument in this column can be refuted by taking the final two clauses of the quote as a basis for your argument’s construction.
The difference between the visions of capitalism of Mr. Obama and Mr. Romney which we see in today’s political arena is exactly that Mr. Obama is working to help those who are hurt by various policies which might or might not be necessary in a capitalistic system.
As Brooks writes, “[Romney’s] an efficiency expert.” He does best what is best for the business plans under which he works. His vision with Bain had not been broadened to include helping those who might fall to the dictates of a theory.
We live in a society with a social contract which demands we all take responsibility for our actions. Sometimes it means giving a helping hand to a person we knocked down.
Brooks knows that, and, in that quote, he inadvertently gives the strongest possible negative take on Romney he could have given. The question remains, Why didn’t Dave realize that when he published?
Trust, but verify.Sphere: Related Content
Monday, June 04, 2012
Wouldn’t it be nice if P Diddy’s son, Justin Combs, were to be taken aside and given a quiet lesson on class?
Someone in the organization might take the boy aside and tell him that he did, indeed, earn the sport scholarship to UCLA; and that he is justifiably proud of his accomplishment.
To torture the adage, though, the conversation might also remind Combs that much is expected from those to whom much is given. A gesture of humility at the time of his accomplishment is in order, and such a gesture could well consist of the young man donating an equal amount of money to another scholarship fund at UCLA—one which would benefit students of need, perhaps.
The Combs’ family fortune is, after all, derived from the pockets of many needy students and their families.
Such a gesture would go a long way to further enhancing the young man’s aura of success. And be a touch of class.Sphere: Related Content
Sunday, June 03, 2012
A recent reading of The Sins of the Father by Jeffrey Archer indicates that it is time for Mr. Archer to take a break from writing for a while.
The story is not engaging. The plot is a soap opera. The denouement leaves this reader thinking, “Meh.”
Yawn.Sphere: Related Content