I Hate Death But Love The Memories

This is Oscar. I took the photo when I was dog sitting. As you can see, Oscar was enjoying the warm Colorado sun.

Oscar lived across the street. Until last Thursday. His body couldn’t go on. Age and disease had taken their toll.

I liked Oscar and his brother Milo a lot. Milo is still across the street, living with our dear friends. I wonder about Milo. Every day of his life had been spent with his brother. Until now.

The thing about pets I dislike is their lifespans. They’re significantly shorter than humans’, which means, if you have pets, you’ll end up burying quite a few.

I hate death. Continue reading

It’s Hard To Stop Laughing On Days Like This

There will be bad days. But this is one of the good ones.

When President Obama was in office, the Congressional Republicans voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) so may times I lost track. Of course, it was all for show. They knew the president would never sign their act into law. It was a political gimmick. That’s all.

And then came along the big wind bag. He promised a simple, affordable replacement to the ACA. I knew it was a lot of hot air. I also believed he really didn’t care about the ACA or any replacement for the act. In fact, the evidence is pretty compelling that the only thing he cares about is himself. And perhaps his family.

In any case, all that hot air ran smack into arctic air today. The blowhard failed. Miserably. As did the Republican majority in the House of Representatives. They were unable to agree on a replacement to the ACA. They were unable to pass any bill. And they most certainly failed to fulfill their campaign promise — to repeal the ACA.

That could change in time of course. But for now, we (well, some of us) get to laugh at the circus, headed by the chief clown himself.

So, Vera, here is the larger point: it’s much easier to criticize than it is to actually accomplish anything.

In fact, it’s really easy to snipe. And poke holes. And ridicule. And demonize. And take hollow actions that entail no actual consequences. Or risks. And to huff and puff. And to make empty promises. But to actually do something productive, that’s a much harder lift.

What we’ve witnessed isn’t restricted to the world of politics. You’ll encounter it in the nonpolitical world too. People with loud voices but no skin in the game. And no ability to solve problems and make the world — or their company, other organization, or town — a better place.

Republicans are the teachers today. But it could just as easily have been Democrats. Or anyone else for that matter. No matter who the teacher, there is a lesson to be learned in all of this.

Try to be someone who gets things done and contributes, not merely someone who spouts off. If you do, you may not be able to get elected to the presidency or Congress, but I think you’ll be happier with yourself.

Wouldn’t It Be Great To Live in a World of Intellectual Fallibility?

I was reading a Wall Street Journal article recently about Robert George, a conservative legal scholar at Princeton. It was the last line of the article that spoke volumes. Here’s the concluding paragraph:

Off campus, he values spending time with friends of various political stripes. He says that Prof. [Cornel] West once said to him, “Brother Robby, you and I have got to be the two most misunderstood brothers in the country.” What he has in common with these colleagues, whatever their political disagreements, is “the idea of intellectual fallibility,” he says. “It’s the idea that I have something to learn from people who disagree with me.”

A world of intellectual fallibility. Wouldn’t that be a nice place to live?

Killing Animals For Fun

I don’t know when humans started killing animals for fun. Perhaps I could find the answer, but I don’t care enough about the question to take the time to look.

I hunted some when I was a teenager (actually, before I was a teenager, too). It’s not that it was something I wanted to do; rather, it was expected. At the time, boys growing up in rural south-central Pennsylvania were expected to hunt. I suppose it was a way of proving one’s manhood. So I did as expected. I suppose I didn’t want to look weak. Conformity was always the safer route (or so it seemed).

I was lucky though: I never shot a deer. In fact, I don’t think I ever took a shot at one. I did, however, shoot some squirrels and rabbits. And kill some snakes.

I can’t say it was fun. It wasn’t. But I did it. Fortunately, my kill tally was quite low. I never hunted much. And I wasn’t that good a shot.

Some people enjoy hunting. I’m not about to judge them. I have no objective evidence to prove the killing of animals for fun is morally wrong (or if it even presents a moral issue). All I know is, killing animals for fun isn’t for me.

There have always been exceptions of course. I grew up thinking snakes are bad and are deserving of execution. The same goes for spiders. The reason should be obvious: they can injure people. Consequently, all of us were 007s: we had a license to kill. Snakes and spiders. And kill we did.

Vera, it was your grandmother who revoked my license to kill. Continue reading

One Step Closer

We took another step in your direction this week, Vera: we signed a contract to buy a new house in Carmel, not far from your home. If things go as planned, we’ll be living there by June.

When we moved into our house in Colorado, we thought we’d be there until we died. We thought it was time to settle down. It turns out we were wrong. Continue reading

Don’t Waste Your Time Taking History Courses

Don’t waste your time taking history courses, Vera.

That’s not to suggest you should remain ignorant of history. You shouldn’t. As George Santayana wrote, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” It’s just that there are a lot of better ways of learning the lessons of history than sitting in most high school or college lectures. Continue reading