Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Obituary Writer- The Sunday Collage

Perhaps we should call them "life summaries'' or some other cutesy name.

I don't know why our culture has a morbid fascination with discovering who among us has recently died. The most simplistic answer, I suppose, is that death is news.

When I speak of our society's morbid curiosity about death, I must include myself. In the past year, I've stood witness to a number of deaths. Often, I find myself looking online at various newspapers trying to locate additional information about the dearly departed. This then brings me to the topic du jour.

Modern day obituaries. Some of the worst, most gawd awful writing that I have ever read. Obituary writers try to condense an entire lifetime into a few hundred words and a couple column inches. And so it is that most obituaries are written as though a life is nothing more than a list of earthly achievements. One last resume' for St. Peter to peruse when deciding who makes it to the promised land.

Modern day obituaries are nothing more than boilerplate ________(insert name here) writing. Obituaries generally omit the cause of death, they chronologically give us a timeline and a list of accomplishments. Maybe they list all those accomplishments, I think, to make the rest of us feel guilty about how little we have done. And then I think, no of course not, obituaries like funerals- are for the living. They never, ever, say anything derogatory about the deceased. It is a feat of disingenuous civility that we extend to nearly everyone it seems. I hesitate to include this here but I think it illustrates the point I am making. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knut_Hamsun's_obituary_of_Adolf_Hitler

I dislike obituaries because they don't tell the real story. We don't read about the great dreams and disappointments, the ah- ha moments and emotional turning points, the tragedies, the struggle, the successes and failures. The standard obituary reads like a Who's Who entry, shallow and superficial, with all of the real stuff edited out. What kind of man or woman was this person? That question rarely gets answered.

My friend Al died in August of this year. Al struggled with several medical problems, perhaps a little depression and a whole lot of alcoholism. He was a lot of fun to be around in the old days and he was smart. But the only coping mechanism Al could ever find was the one he bought at the liquor store. What a fantastic story that might have been had he managed to overcome his alcoholism- yet it is still a fantastic story because it tells us about the stranglehold that booze has on some of us. It gives us a level of understanding and it educates us. It allows us to make informed decisions about our own lives and understand that some people choose death by drinking. For those who might have missed that post. http://thecivillibertarian.blogspot.com/2014/08/the-liquor-store-loses-one-more.html

On Friday, my Aunt Audrey died. She had a fantastic story as well. I can't tell her story without telling the story of her husband Alan, who is also deceased. My aunt and uncle were truly joined at the hip and devoted to each other- one of the very few great and genuine love stories that I have ever seen.

Audrey was the oldest of my mother's siblings. Audrey, my mother, and the rest of the kids were raised on a farm near Fairview, Montana. Fairview has a population of 800 people or so. Audrey met the love of her life in Fairview, a former valedictorian and college bound man by the name of Alan N. Alan by most accounts, was a genius. Together Audrey and Alan got the hell out of Fairview just as soon as they could because Fairview has never been known as the land of genius or opportunity- unless of course- you wanted to farm sugar beets for the rest of your days.

In the 60's, Alan met and worked as sort of an apprentice for a man named Edward Towe. Towe was a millionaire legend in Montana when I was a kid. Towe was a self styled business entrepreneur- owning and operating a huge number of Montana banks. Towe also owned a giant antique Ford collection. Uncle Alan became a business partner of Ed Towe's. http://www.oldcarsweekly.com/news/hobby-news/famous-ford-collector-edward-towe-97-dies Alan began buying banks on his own and soon enough- my Aunt Audrey and Alan were living the American dream. They went from farm kids to millionaires back when a million was just a ton of money.

Those were some of the best years of my life. We all lived in Butte at the time. We were also well acquainted with Evel Knievel and his sons- kids we went to school with. When my cousins showed up with brand new motorcycles, I was green with envy. Butte was a motorcycle town.

When the Anaconda company announced that they were closing the mine around 1975, Butte's economy went to hell and all of our lives were about to change just as dramatically as the fortunes of Butte. As it turns out, I would not see my cousins, or Audrey or Alan, for the next 30 years.

I can't tell you with any level of precision- how many millions Alan and Audrey accumulated or what they were worth at their zenith. They owned all sorts of things- more banks and businesses, a mansion here or there, artwork, the finest cars, European real estate, and they traveled the world. They were an American rags to riches story. In the fairy tale world- their story might have ended right there. But their story was hardly a fairy tale.

When you have a lot of money it is often very difficult to hang onto it. Everyone is after it. Relatives, friends, business partners and competitors, unscrupulous people, lawyers, the IRS.

All those things came calling for Audrey and Alan. By the late 80's and 90's, a couple of bad business decisions, fate and the economy, unscrupulous and greedy "business partners" did what they do- and it left my aunt and uncle broke. Sometimes people can bounce back but that would not be possible this time. My Uncle Alan, the genius, had a bonafide schizophrenic break and never recovered. My Aunt Audrey became his caretaker.

I visited Audrey and Alan near Kansas City in 2005. They were living in a 700 sqf house with one bathroom on Alan's social security. Audrey, always gracious and nice, looked after us. I tried to talk to Alan that day. He stared straight ahead as I spoke- and I found myself repeating what I said to him because I couldn't tell if he had heard me. I left that little house in a state of shock.

Gone were the young, wealthy, and beautiful couple of my childhood. They had been replaced by two worn down bodies living on a subsistence level. I cannot tell you the range of emotions I felt. Shock at seeing them like this- guilt for having waited so long. I can honestly say, it took me a few days to emotionally reconcile all of this. I'm not sure that I ever really have.

Alan died on Oct. 9, 2007. Audrey, an intensely private person, was devoted to Alan to the very end. In sickness or in health. They really were that devoted couple that we all hear about and one day, hope to become. As coincidence would have it- Oct 9, 2007 also happens to be the day that I drank my last drink.

My Aunt Audrey never really recovered after Alan's death. She had a series of falls and mishaps over the past 7 years- shuttled between hospitals and various living situations by my cousin Scott who did his best to take care of her. Audrey was present at my brothers wedding in Colorado this summer. She was in a wheelchair, still drinking, still full of piss and vinegar and teasing me about a range of subjects- knowing precisely what was going on in my life courtesy of all the hours she spent on the phone talking with my mother.

Audrey passed away sometime during the night of Oct 9- a few days ago. The coincidence of that date did not go unnoticed by any of us. Sometime during this week, someone will write an obituary.

My Aunt Audrey was the most polite and gracious person I've ever known. Her class far exceeded her beet farm beginnings. She lived an outrageous life of extremes. Extreme success and everything that goes with that and extreme disappointment- and everything that goes with that. Is it better to have made millions and lost them or never made millions at all? How many times if any- did Audrey just want to throw in the towel after Alan's losses and schizophrenic break? Maybe and most likely, the thought never crossed her mind. I'll never know- I never had the opportunity to ask her.

Sometime this week, I'll go looking for Audrey's obituary in the Sidney Herald. I won't expect any miracles or enlightening moments. Somebody will write a couple of column inches that will never, ever capture the essence of who Audrey really was and the extraordinary life that she led. Her son will blend her ashes with Alan's. That's the way it should be.

You were a class act Audrey. Rest in peace.


























Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Obama On Tragedy (Safe to Post Anywhere Except a Huffpo Comment Thread)

 The teacher asked the president if he would like to lead the discussion
 on the word 'tragedy.' So our illustrious president asked the class for
 an example of a 'tragedy.'

 One little boy stood up and offered: "If my best friend, who lives on a
 farm, is playing in the field and a tractor runs him over and kills him,
 that would be a tragedy."

 "No," said Obama, "that would be an accident."
 
 A little girl raised her hand: "If a school bus carrying 50 children
 drove off a cliff, killing everyone, that would be a tragedy."

"I'm afraid not," explained Obama. "That's what we would call great loss."
 The room went silent. No other child volunteered. Obama searched the room.
"Isn't there someone here who can give me an example of a tragedy?"
 Finally at the back of the room, Little Johnny raised his hand. The
 teacher held her breath. In a quiet voice he said: "If the plane
 carrying you and Mrs. Obama was
 struck by a 'friendly fire' missile and blown to smithereens that would
 be a tragedy."
 
 "Fantastic!" exclaimed Obama. "That's right. And can you tell me why
 that would be a tragedy?"
 
 "Well," says Johnny, "It has to be a tragedy, because it sure as hell
 wouldn't be a great loss... and you can bet your sweet ass it wouldn't
 be an accident either!"

Legalized Thievery (Asset Forfeiture) Very Funny Video Follows

In Idaho, we have a very strong state constitution which does not allow Idaho cops to operate DUI roadblocks/checkpoints. The same holds true for asset forfeitures. In Idaho, you still have some civil rights. Apparently that is not true in other states. This is a very funny video about asset forfeiture.
The Coyote blog is where I found it.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Being Stupid Is Only Hard On the Others- The Sunday Collage

I'm here, still whacking away. My detractors, those flaming liberals from Moonbat Valley, have followed me in here. I don't write for them, I write in spite of them.

Maybe, they think, he will get tired and quit writing. We can always look at Kim Kardashian's cleavage instead. In 20 years, when nobody wants to look at Kim Kardashian's cleavage- maybe I'll still be here. That's what I think.

Six years ago next month- I started the world famous blog, "Frankenstein Government." In the next week or two, I am going to reach a million page views. Although 800,000 of those views are my own, I want to say thank you to the three loyal readers which I have lured in here and who account for the majority of the remaining 200,000 page views.

My friend, the Feral Irishman, had a million hits during his second week of blogging.

I have never won any blog awards. I don't advertise because I don't give a shit about making money and I've only received two advertising offers for 50 bucks a month. I don't put a tip jar or similar device in the margin because I know you bastards are too cheap to donate anything anyway. If the only thing standing between death and I depended on one of you buying me a ham sandwich- I'd busy myself by getting my affairs in order, divvying up the silver, and selecting a nice copper urn to park my ashes in.

Today, I scrolled through the FG archives. I've written some really awful stuff over the years and I apologize for that. (this may account for my lack of blog awards) I've also received a few nasty comments along the way- many of which I have deleted. Actually, nasty comments have been rare. Despite my complete lack of imagination and writing skills, my affinity for pronouns and dangling participles, and my completely inept editing skills- most people simply leave this blog and never come back. They don't waste their energy writing hateful comments. When those types of hateful comments do show up- I generally think they have arrived from my anti-fan club in Moonbat Valley. This happened once after I had posted a link to my blog from my Facebook page.

Mostly, I think, I am just like my readers. I think we share a lot of similarities.

I paid my dues. I went to college until my money ran out. Back in those days, we didn't have student loans which covered everything and I didn't arrive on the planet with any sort of silver spoon in my mouth. I worked full time jobs in college which started to negatively effect my grades. It all came to a head when optical mineralogy, organic chemistry, and a couple of other nasty classes and labs came calling one semester. I switched gears, went into a year long law enforcement program, and spent the next 24 years as a cop. In 2007, I got divorced. I also "retired" that year. I was still technically on the payroll when I loaded up my Jeep and drove 1700 miles to New Orleans. That's where I repaired my life.

I began writing here one year later in the fall of 2008 after Bush II, Congress, and Hank Paulson stole nearly a trillion dollars from us and gave it to their crony, banker buddies. I was in a state of disbelief. That event spawned this blog. But what it really spawned in me was a non stop thirst for knowledge. I began to read everything I could get my hands on- about the unbelievable and crooked origins of the Federal Reserve, false bank "panics", illegal gold seizures by Roosevelt via executive order, and any of a 100 or so additional topics from the fraud that was the Gulf of Tonkin and the Vietnam War, to the French redeeming unbacked US fiat for gold to the manipulation of markets by the President's Working Group on Financial Markets- an executive order issued by Godlike figure Ronald Reagan which has essentially destroyed free markets forever or at least until that executive order is rescinded or repealed.

The more you read- the worse it gets. You begin to actually understand how incredibly crooked and corrupt our entire economic system is, how the banks control virtually everything, and you wonder how they are able to conceal all of those manipulations from most of the general population. That's where my 6 year investigation has taken me. The worst part is that you begin to realize just how little you really know and how stupid you've been your entire life. You wonder how it's possible. It's a problem most will never face. Being stupid they say, is only hard on the others.

That all happened to me- right here.

The weirdest part is that I feel incredibly grateful to have taken this blogging journey. Blogging caused me to read and verify sources or find collateral references for all sorts of topics. I've been able to comprehend, condense, and convey all of that information right here. I am not worse because of it. I've interacted with a lot of solid people, people like me, within the blogging community.

This blog and everything I've written here- will outlive me. It will either be proven essentially correct or it will be dismissed as the ramblings of some neanderthal writer. It doesn't matter to me how that turns out. I am prepared for either eventuality. In the meantime, I'm ok with my efforts here. I got lucky. I found out how stupid I've been on... oh so many levels. The humbling and leveling of one's false, inflated sense of self is never a bad thing. But it is exceedingly rare.

When people are honest with each other, there is a sense of authenticity. Honest writing is authentic writing. People sense that. Authentic communication always wins. It says, "I am real and I don't need anything in exchange for what I write or say." I'm not here selling silver bars in the margins. I've tried to write something here that is valuable and useful. Something that will allow you to emotionally challenge old beliefs and re think them. Perhaps you will grasp an opportunity and prepare a little bit for the shit storm that is most assuredly headed our way. Maybe you will spend hours everyday- researching various topics. Or maybe you will start your own blog at some point in your life when you can write freely and honestly. Maybe something you write- will change a life or cause a spark. And God knows, in a blind drunk, you can do a better job than this. Maybe I will find your blog and leave shitty comments on it.

In the meantime,  I believe that one day, they will try to regulate and take away this ability we have to freely communicate. Honest communications have always threatened dishonest people. Free speech bothers and threatens those who lie and obstruct the truth. They don't want you to exchange information. What you don't know- really does hurt you. They know that. Knowledge is power. Find knowledge, find honesty, and communicate those findings as effectively as you can. There is a lot of power within authentic communication.

Don't worry about your your bad writing, your shitty grammar, or your poor choices when it comes to selecting topics to write about. Authentic writing will trump all of that and people will forgive you for being stupid. My stupidity has only been hard on the others. It hasn't bothered me one iota. That's been my recipe for the past 6 years and I'm still here. A million hits in 300 weeks. And they said it wouldn't last...asshats.