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Buchwald on Standby

When you are in a hospice, you get a chance to sleep a lot.
I have this recurring dream. I am at Dulles Airport and I have a reservation to go to heaven. I go into the terminal and look at the list of flights. Heaven is at the last gate.

So begins Art Buchwald's column today, and it's a little treasure, a gift from a dying man. Check out the great headline, too. I have a feeling the guy's suddenly making legions of new fans.

[I'm on the road, typing from a coffee shop in Boulder. Here's my two cents, or maybe it's just one cent, posted in the previous Boodle, regarding the great news that Jill Carroll was free this morning:

The Jill Carroll news is so exciting, though I couldn't help but notice that, right away, there are people squabbling (see the Rajiv chat on our site) about whether she was too deferential to her captors in her opening interview. Isn't there a kind of grace period in which people just CELEBRATE the freeing of a hostage before arguing about whether she has made the kind of statements that some folks think she should make? It's the 24-7 culture: Everyone's on a hair trigger.]

[Oh, and WaPo radio: Any reviews?]

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 30, 2006; 3:11 PM ET
 
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Comments

I read Buchwald's column this AM, Joel, and was going to post a link to it.

Thanks for sharing it.

I was wondering if Buchwald's plane had a restroom.

Which should not be interpreted as to where I may have been reading that column, even if it were true.

I don't think Mr. B would mind.

bc

Posted by: bc | March 30, 2006 3:30 PM | Report abuse

If I am crying at work, I hope everyone understands. If not, too bad. Would that we all get to face our ends with such grace.

Posted by: dr | March 30, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

I have to be honest and say I quit reading Buchwald somewhere in the Carter Administration. I found him formulaic and repetitive. It just quit being funny to me. His column the only part of the Style section I religiously skip now that they have moved John Kelly to the Metro section.

That being said, the times I have read it in the last month, I have been touched and saddened. I cannot believe what a trooper he is and how he is maintaining a playful sense of humor and wonder all the way to the end.

Good for him. I am sure that, despite his acerbic column today, his seat will be in First Class.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 30, 2006 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Brief post on last boodle about WTWP, but it can be easily skipped without affecting civilization.
I can't imagine anybody not being touched by Buchwald's recent columns. I am sure that he would agree that if he knew dying would make him so popular, he would have started years ago. Death is such a huge taboo in our society. I am glad to see that Buchwald may be helping us deal with it. And I hope his flight is delayed just a little bit longer.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 30, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

There was an interview with Buchwald from his room in the hospice the other night at the end of the Leher News Hour. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry, so did both. The man is a force of nature, and -- not at all surprisingly -- is "writing the book" on how to die. The man was a hero of mine 40 years ago, and every day since.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 30, 2006 3:42 PM | Report abuse

What an elegant way to admit all you ever really want is one more sunrise.

And I only wish Dulles was as nice as in his dream...

Hope Mr. B has a charter flight.

As far in the future as possible.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 30, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Damn... there seems to be water droplets accumulating on my keyboard.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 30, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

have any of y'all read/seen/heard about the play "Wit?" the movie version stars Emma Thompson. plot in a nutshell: a hard-nosed professor who is an expert on metaphysical poetry, esp. John Donne, is diagnosed with ovarian cancer. the play deals with her final couple of months, reflecting about her own life and impending death, viewed in the light of Donne's sonnet "Death, be not Proud." it even has a semi-colon the title: "W;t", not "Wit". really interesting, thought-provoking, and extremely sad. i would highly recommend it.
not exactly on topic, but hey, i gotta live up to my handle.

Posted by: tangent | March 30, 2006 3:58 PM | Report abuse

I saw the NewsHour interview and was struck, again, by the thought that medical science cannot ever be 100% sure when someone is going to take that last flight. They could be wrong this time. It's my understanding that he's exceeded the estimates they gave him.

I'm most grateful to Art for all these years of journalism and humor. Now I'm also grateful to him for taking on the controversial issue of quality of life.

In the wake of the Terry Schiavo political circus, it's important to remember that 'life-at-all-costs-no-matter-the -patient's-wishes' is not the only option.

DV

Posted by: DoubleVision | March 30, 2006 4:02 PM | Report abuse

I wonder if Heaven allows smoking. If Buchwald won't be allowed his cigars, he ain't goin'.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 30, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

No intermediate stop at Charles de Gaulle?

When I was a kid, Art Buchwald (followed by Russell Baker, John Pennekamp of the Miami Herald, and to some extent Vermont Royster) was a prime reason for reading the newspaper. Sometimes the only reason.

Posted by: Dave | March 30, 2006 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Joel, I think I know where you must be going in Boulder. If so, say Hi to Leslie Y. for me.

Posted by: ScienceTim | March 30, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

JA's in Boulder?

Don't spill the Bose-Einstein condensate, please.

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 30, 2006 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Heaven allows smoking, but not in restaurants and bars starting in May 2008. Cigar-bars may a apply for a special Joan of Arc Smoking Exemption waiver which will be reviewed by The Man himself for appropriateness.

Posted by: edward | March 30, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Art Buchwald was on my parent's bookshelf, among others ranging from Joan Didion to Carl Hiaasen..Although I didn't always agree with him, his approach to humor and satire always got me thinking in one way or another and for that I'm thankful.

From this article:

http://www.editorandpublisher.com/eandp/news/article_display.jsp?vnu_content_id=1002115616

"I spent two days by his side to find Buchwald doesn't see himself as courageous, nor does he feel shored up by supernatural spiritual strength. To fade away naturally is the decision he made when faced with the alternative of being hooked up to a dialysis machine three times a week, for five hours at a stretch for the rest of his life.

He said, "I had two decisions. Continue dialysis, and that's boring to do three times a week, and I don't know where that's going, or I can just enjoy life and see where it takes me."'

http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/story?id=1715721

" It was a tough decision, because you're affecting other people — you know, yourself, you're affecting your family. But when I made it, I was relieved. It was over. The decision was made. The only part of it that I don't understand and nobody else understands is why I'm still here. Now you know, it's a no-no. You're not supposed to talk about death. You're not to talk about where you're going. Yet everybody that's listening to this show knows they've got to go. And so it shouldn't be a secret, it shouldn't be banned. It should be a good thing. At least, you know, the way you go, I can't predict that, but you don't have to make it a terrible thing."

Posted by: amo | March 30, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Given the way that Buchwald has handled this very openly, and joked about his unexpected staying power, I wonder if he has leaned upon some friend to headline the inevitable story as "Art Buchwald finally dies."

Posted by: StorytellerTim | March 30, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Bucky & I have one thing in common. Hollywood stole scripts from both of us. However he had more powerful power players on his side. If you want to see the movie from which my original script was stolen, somewhat modified and made, go find "Dave."

Posted by: Boston Blackie | March 30, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I first became aware of Mr. Buchwald during the tv quiz show investigations years ago and have appreciated his work ever since. How kind of him to make it easier for us to deal with the loss we'll suffer when he's gone. And to set an example we can follow when it's our time to take that trip.

Posted by: Nani | March 30, 2006 4:27 PM | Report abuse

This is completely, utterly, and totally off-topic, but I like the article.

For any of the guitar pickers out there, this is an article you should like about a guitar shop in DC. It's a nice place:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/29/AR2006032900885.html


Posted by: pj | March 30, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

I'm of the opinion that if you boodle about the kit you are off topic...everything else is fair game.

Posted by: omni | March 30, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Reposting from the prior Kit, because I think it's funny and will embarrass Joel...

"No one's ever actually suggested that I plagiarized anyone in all my years of pounding the keyboard, but I do repeat my own jokes and themes all the time, so I guess I plagiarize myself, promiscuously. And in a more general way I steal constantly from Dave Barry -- in the pacing of a column, in trying to sustain a stretch of highbrow diction before suddenly switching (in what linguists call a register change) to something low-rent, and more generally in trying to mine humor from the stupid ordinary stuff of daily life, like yards, cars, kids, jobs, and whatnot. Obviously Dave didn't invent all these moves, but he perfected them. If I had a shred of decency I'd send the guy a royalty check every friggin' day."

And, to prove a point, Joel is blatently plagerizing everything he says in this interview:
http://www.learner.org/catalog/extras/interviews/jachen/jachen.html

Check out that awesome screen shot! Haha!

Blatent plagerism!!!

"One of the big dangers of course, if you're not careful working with Dave Barry all those years, is you end up telling jokes that sound like Dave Barry jokes. And you end up being like the poor man's Dave Barry. 'Cause there are certain patterns that he uses that are just so, Dave Barryish. And more than once I've had editors delete jokes, just because they sounded too much like something Dave would say. Not even if they were, weren't funny. So they thought a little too much like his style. So I try to, I don't know if I have a style, I think that probably, um, that, someone once told me that I changed registers. Now I have no idea, it's like some linguist's term that I guess I go from saying something very high falutin', you know, a science type thing, to then like, some little vulgar aside. And that comes very naturally out of what I do, because I'll be sitting there, talking to a professor of psychology, like I was when you came in, about baby talk. And about you know, the various terms that they use for what baby talk is, and how they study it, and so I'll be writing something in my column, you know in a very scientific way about baby talk, and then suddenly, there's clearly a demand for a parenthetical remark about spitting up, or something. You know, something gross. You know what I mean, you have to, you can't maintain the seriousness too long. At least I can't, because I can't put on a straight face for that long. I have to have some comic relief. So, I guess that's what I do in terms of trying to be funny is I often throw in these little asides, but it comes very naturally out of, I think, of what I do.

Someone once said to me, they talk about your style. I don't know that I have a style, I try to write, it all pretty much just comes out the way it comes out.

Really. I'm trying to be Erma Bombeck, actually. It's not working. I was hoping you would have made that comparison already."

For shame!!!

Posted by: jw | March 30, 2006 5:11 PM | Report abuse

PJ!!!! THANK YOU! (for posting that article) - i've been looking for a place to take guitar lessons! you musta been reading my mind!

sonofcarl - please refer to the achendictionary at http://www.mortiifera.com/?p=67 for all achenspeak questions... (see joel - i TOLD you it was a great boodle post!)... i've got umbrage all over the place! (sorry, i'll clean it up)

Posted by: mo | March 30, 2006 5:21 PM | Report abuse

Dave: My recollection is the same as yours. Art Buchwald is simply the best.

Posted by: CowTown | March 30, 2006 5:22 PM | Report abuse

blatent plagerism ??

come on jw. I don't like to be accusitory, but with a wierd speling style like that, you're not going to much use in his difence...

Posted by: John | March 30, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

You are welcome, mo.

Now I can post this on-topic. Or, if omni's right, oft-topic, or maybe off-off-topic. In any case, it's an article about Buchwald:

http://www.usatoday.com/life/people/2006-03-29-buchwald_x.htm

Posted by: pj | March 30, 2006 5:32 PM | Report abuse

mo, that should be required reading. The Achenprimer.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 30, 2006 5:40 PM | Report abuse

Thanks for the links, pj.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 30, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

pj - i just booked my first lesson at the guitar shop! tanx again!

sheesh sonofcarl - now i hafta add achenprimer to the dictionary - i hope you found it helpful!

Posted by: mo | March 30, 2006 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Hospice is a wonderful thing. It's not just a place, it's a way of dying. And living while you're dying. Hospice is nurses coming to see you, doctors making house calls, people sitting with your mom in her own room when you have to go home to your own family at night.

Hospice as a place is also wonderful. There's something about the community of dying (the workers and the families) that makes it easier for those of us left here.

When my mom died in Capital Hospice in Arlington, she was wearing a beautiful nightgown, in a bed with flowered sheets. Even thought the doctor determined that she would leave us that day, she still got a gentle, caring and dignified bath from the hospice volunteers that afternoon. She had been under Hospice care for a while, but only in their facility for a week.

During the Terry Schiavo fiasco I felt the most sorry for the other families at that hospice who just wanted some quiet time with their loved ones while they died with dignity.

Dignity. That's another word I associate with Hospice.

Posted by: TBG | March 30, 2006 6:29 PM | Report abuse

John, no making fun of spelling, because we all know what Sam Clemons and Will Shakespeare had to say about that.

Posted by: jw | March 30, 2006 6:38 PM | Report abuse

Jeepers TBG - what an elegant statement. Nobody in my family has ever needed hospice care, and I am hopeful that nobody decides to break the tradition. If the day comes for any one I love, though, I am relieved to know that such places exist.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 30, 2006 6:41 PM | Report abuse

The marriage seemed all right at the beginning. My mother was quite religious and observed all the [Jewish] holidays. Alice claims that every time she accepted a piece of bread, she had to say a prayer.

But there was mystery and darkness in the air. The girls and Pop found out that about five years before the marriage my mother had a breakdown and had been sent back to Hungary for a cure. No one in mother's family had told him about it. One of hr brothers also had had a mental illness, and that had been a family secret as well. Would Pop have married her if he had known? No one in the family has ever had the answer to that question. ...

Seven years after Pop married Mother, the family moved to Mt. Vernon, New York. "I was six years old," said Alice, "Edith was five, and Doris was two years younger." And then I came along.

My arrival on October 25, 1925, was an auspicious occasion--at least for Alice and Edith. I was born at home, which was not unusual in those days. What did make it different was that no one was with my mother except my sisters. ...

After much prodding, my sister Alice said that my mother had not been very well before I was born--and she was no better after my birth.

"You mut have been two or three weeks old. Mother took off one day and left me in harge, and she didn't come back. There was nobody there but Edith and me. So I went out on the street and met Charlie Buchwald, our cousin, who was then in high school. I told him that Mother hadn't come home and that you wouldn't stop crying because you were hungry. I asked him what I was supposed to do. He came into the houe and fixed some food. I remember that."

"Do you remember if Mother acted strange often?"

"I couldn't say that, but I was six, so I really didn't know what acting strange was."

Apparently my mother had been disappearing almost every day while my father was at work, and no one knew where she went. The girls maintain that she was lucid at home, but she left them all day by themselves. So not long after my birth, the girls said, an ambulance arrived at the house. My father and Aunt Molly were there.

Alice said, "I'll never forget how they took her away. Aunt Molly kept yelling at us to stop crying. When I grew up, I realized that she had to yell to keep from breaking down herself."

At some point in the turmoil of those weeks, I was taken to the Heckscher Foundling Home because of my continuing problem with rickets. (I am still slightly bowlegged.)

Art Buchwald in his own words...the story just gets sadder.

"Who Art in Heaven" is how Buchwald's piece is titled. If Buchwald really believes in heaven, perhaps he'll be able to "see" his mother.

Posted by: Loomis | March 30, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

After taking care of my mom as she slowly died over five months, my three sisters and I spent that last week with her in the Hospice. We actually enjoyed being able to spend so much time together again (it had been since childhood that we'd all been together every day) and our days were spent laughing, telling stories, cuddling in bed with mom, or with our feet propped up on the bed--you can picture us, I guess.

One of the nurses said, "I hope I'm surrounded by my family like this when it's my turn to go."

I replied, "Me, too. That is, if they're all in the bus that hits me and kills me instantly!"

[Reminds me of that joke: "When I die, I want to go peacefully like my grandpa, not screaming like the passengers in his car."]

Posted by: TBG | March 30, 2006 6:53 PM | Report abuse

I figure that I'll die as an old bag lady--dirty, penniless, out on the streets alone.

Posted by: Loomis | March 30, 2006 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Whenever I write an email to my family on the West coast I steal several tricks from Joel, Dave Barry and others. I try not to steal any techniques from Gene Weingarten because my mother is easily offended. My favorite trick is to mention something, let the readers forget about it, then remind them of it at the end. It's the equivalent of peekaboo, and we all love peekaboo. I believe these techniques work because humor derives from a common human psychology. My dog very seldom laughs at my jokes. My son's lizard is immune to all but the most elementary witticisms. And the rabbits simply wait patiently for me to finish. Which, come to think of it, is what my mother does too.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 30, 2006 6:58 PM | Report abuse

I used to work at a downtown hotel in the early morning breakfast rush. We got a wide variety of clientele, some of whom were street people or bag ladies and gents. They always marched to their own drummer, not the regular world's, but generally they were as meek as kittens, and just wanted coffee, and to be listened to without judgement. It seems little enough to want, and if I found you on the street Linda, you'd get a better listening than most. I always figure I will die a walmart greeter.

Posted by: dr | March 30, 2006 7:18 PM | Report abuse

I am always amazed at the link between death and humor. Maybe it's because grief and joy are filed close to each other in our brains. (Much like love and hate, as well as passion and anger.) I don't think it is a coincidence that one of the funniests television episodes in history is the "Chuckles the Clown" episode from the old Mary Tyler Moore show. (A little song, A little dance, A little seltzer in the pants.)
My favorite death joke is this:

St.Peter comes to earth and says "The good news is when you die you are going to heaven. The bad news is you leave tonight.

This is closely followed with:

I'll always remember what my Dad said before he died. He said "I wonder if this cave is empty..."

As for me, I want to die laughing.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 30, 2006 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Some more thoughts on WaPo Radio (after the excruciating drive home):

As far as the content goes, I enjoyed it, and I thought it was interesting to hear the actual reporters and columnists talking and elaborating on stories that were in the paper this morning. I think that's going to really catch on, and I like how the station's slogan ties into that: "Washington Post Radio, because there's always _more_ to the story."

On the technical side, things were a little shaky, but that's pretty understandable, and except for one instance when Bob Kur lost someone on the board and they had to cut to elevator music for about 30 seconds, the gliches were minor and didn't detract from the experience. These are things that probably shouldn't be happening on a professional radio station, even on the first day, but I think it's a very temporary thing--I'd expect tomorrow to be much better.

So, in all, it gets the thumbs-up from me. Interesting topics, interesting formats, and some minor technical issues that should be gone soon.

Posted by: jw | March 30, 2006 7:32 PM | Report abuse

jw, sometimes those glitches make the experience a little more endearing.

I enjoyed what I heard. I've always like Sam Litzinger on WAMU so I was pleased to hear him today on WTWP.

Posted by: TBG | March 30, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

In the summer of 1993, myself and a Sergeant from my battalion teamed up with two combat engineers, the senior of which was Master Corporal Mark Isfeld to train local police tac teams on the threat of IEDs. They had a house that we rigged up with various things that went pop and bang, and it was all good fun and good training.

Mark Isfeld and I would occasionally cross paths over the next few months, as his engineer unit was training with my battalion and joining us on our tour enforcing a UN ceasefire in Croatia in 1994.

This was around the highwater mark of UN intervention, and the UN was signing on to missions far more dangerous than its traditional (until that time) missions. In Croatia, our mission was to aggresively patrol a ceasefire zone between Croatians and Serbs in the area known as the Krajina. The area was littered with landmines and IEDs (one of our APCs struck an antitank mine before the last group even arrived) and both sides would shoot at UN forces and try to blame the other faction.

The last time I saw him before he died was about June, 1994. As an aside, the only people that stayed in the area were seniors with nowhere to go. They were generally either completely petrified, or had given up on life. Mark related that about a week before, an older lady came up, hobbling along, to Mark, tears streaming down her face. She said that the Serb paramilitary forces were stockpiling weapons and mines in one of the houses down the road. The Serbs in that area were very short in supplies. The implications were obvious; they were planning on raiding the few remaining Croatian villagers; and they would not give up a major supply point without a fight.

Mark explained that from hearing all the circumstances, he felt there was no time to lose. He and his section would have to raid the house right then and there. You could see and feel the nervous tension just in his recollection of the circumstances, He looked me in the eye, relating this story. He said, "I knew it was going to be hairy, but that it had to be done. So I said F it. It is a good day to die."

As it turned out, there was only one armed Serbs at the house, and he didn't resist when they came tearing up to the house and dismounted ready to shoot.

Mark Isfeld died in August 1994 when his APC dozer struck a tripwire when he was dismounted when they were restoring water to one of the villages in the ceasefire zone.

Mark Isfeld is the person I always think about when the topic of bravery in the face of death comes up, and I just thought I would share this true story. Maybe you can raise a glass on Nov. 11 for Mark and the endless list of others like him.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 30, 2006 8:01 PM | Report abuse

My mother died at home after many years of illness, but hospice was there. My father limited their visits because he was trying to be "macho". Hospice provides a valuable service. So many times there's a strain in the family or stress, and these folks just come in and help, and that's good.


Loomis, I hope you're not a bag lady living on the street alone. We don't know how we're going to leave this world, but I hope the best for you, with family and friends. My father wouldn't allow me in the house when my mother died because I suggested he ask hospice to come and stay with him that night so he wouldn't be alone. He thought I was trying to take over his house so he threw me out and told me not to come back. I was home when my mother died (I lived next door) and my sister came and got me, but my mother was already dead. I tried real hard to give my mother her flowers while she lived. I hope she knew that. My son died at home also, and his wife said he was trying to comfort her while he was dying. Sometimes life can be real hard. All the more reason to treasure those moments when you're with your family and love ones, because they can be brief. And Loomis, I don't want you to be a bag lady. I want good things for you in this life, and the life to come. Try Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 30, 2006 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Wow Cassandra, some may question your solution, but few would question your understanding of life's problems. Or your good heart.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 30, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

>the person I think about

The person I think about was a member of our small unit at Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio in the late 1960s. We were pretty well marginalized on the academic side of things, and it would have been easy for him to serve in a productive, but at the same time relatively safe medical position. But he volunteered to become a med evac helicopter pilot, and he was killed on his second mission in Viet Nam.

When it comes to quiet, self-confident, and rock-solid personal courage, our US military is just amazing.

Posted by: kp | March 30, 2006 8:47 PM | Report abuse

Your comments about Cassandra are very nicely said, RD. I second that.

Posted by: pj | March 30, 2006 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Back to the other topic, from the first time I heard the call letters WTWP I thought they sounded familiar. It turns out that they are - there's a P.D.Q. Bach record about a radio station called WTWP. It stands for Wall-to-Wall-Pachelbel. A real nightmare.

Posted by: pj | March 30, 2006 9:18 PM | Report abuse

This reminds me I need to get the bathroom floor tiled.

I figure the odds favor me dying there, my last sight a hazy view of the bathroom floor, so I might as well make it nice.

As a race fan, I'm thinking alternate black/white diamonds, for the checkered flag at the Finish Line.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 30, 2006 9:21 PM | Report abuse

Wow... has anyone wandered over to the Washington Post Forums? It's so confusing...

http://forums.washingtonpost.com/wpforums/messages

And they can't possibly be as friendly, or as interesting, or as erudite as the neighborhood we have here. I guess it's just for folks who don't have Achenbuddies to gab with.

Posted by: TBG | March 30, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse

And those forums expect you to keep to a topic. Definitely not the style of anyone over here.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 30, 2006 10:21 PM | Report abuse

Tomorrow I will blog about the bro's rockin' guitar-god bachelor pad. Hideously, he lacks any Internet access or even a PHONE LINE and so I'm borrowing the computer of his neighbor Jim, a professional mountain guide -- whatever the heck that is.

"Twenty-five square miles, surrounded by reality" -- the Boulder motto.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 30, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

Glad you're having such a great time in the People's Republic of Boulder. Just remember to leave all joints, kegs, and coeds behind when you go. And don't even THINK about burning any couches!

Posted by: CU Alumnus | March 30, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Interesting Q&A from today's Baigent chat:

Southern Maryland: After reading "Da Vinci Code," I tracked down and read the works cited in the novel, including yours. I felt like a Rolling Stones fan who was curious about Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. If your new book is as good as "Holy Blood, Holy Grail," it should be a great read.

Beyond the question of a Jesus bloodline, I think the larger issue is about Western religions devaluing the feminine. That seemed to be the result, if not the objective, of the campaign by early church leaders to downgrade Mary Magdalene's status. In my view, Western culture and religion is the poorer for not having a sense of the sacred feminine. Margaret Starbird's "The Woman in the Alabaster Jar" addresses this issue, as does "The Difference" by the late feminist writer Judy Mann. Comments?

Michael Baigent: What you say is absolutely correct and all of us are much the poorer for the exlusion of the feminine from the church. What happenend in the late 2nd Century A.D. is that the idea of a male dominated spirituality began to be formulated, particularly by theologians such as Tertullian who seems to have thoroughy disliked women for one reason or another. Yet what is clear is that Jesus had a very close and easy relationship with not only his woman friends but other women that he would meet during the course of his wanderings.

Sometimes to the consternation of his male deciples such an easy relationship was unusual at the time and when we look at the range of written Jesus memories available, especially in the 2nd Century, we find that he had a particularly close relationship with Mary Magdalen. And I long ago accepted as completely plausible the idea that Mary Magdalen and Jesus were married and I've not seen any reason to change my mind on that.

The implications, of course, are that for Jesus gender did not affect spirituality which, of course, it shouldn't. There's no theological reason why a woman should not be a priest, a bishop or even a pope. I think the exclusion of women from power in the church structure as it developed has to do with a very material desire for control and has nothing whatever to do with spirituality which means that all the arguments today over the role of women in the church are based on a total fallacy.

Posted by: Loomis | March 30, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse

I read enough of the boodle this a.m. to discover that kurasawaguy's friend was battling cancer. I posted from my roonm at school, against my better judgement. My Dad had lung cancer and had half of his lung excised in one operation and a rather large, benign tumor removed in a subsequent operation. He didn't seem afraid of the first operation but was frightened at the possible outcomes of the second. He regained his strength and resumed a fairly normal life over the next couple of years, excepting a pain in his shoulder that was diagnosed (unexplainedly, in hindsight) as bursitis. His checkups were, according to Dad, good and his prognosis was good. He called in late May to announce that his latest scan was clean and green, and that he was off to Elmira for a couple of months. He missed calling me on my birthday in late June, only to call on the 30th to say he was riddled with cancer. He came home on July 2, checked into the hospital on the 7th and lost the battle at around 1 a.m. the 10th. I remember this huge clap of thunder that shook the house right before I got the call...drove the hour or so to Clt. in the ensuing storm. I wonder if he knew how sick he was, and can't eliminate the possibility that he did know, but wouldn't let on to it as it would upset the apple cart. Similar in a way to yuor colleague, Carl. One of my students is looking at the same scenario, even going to the effort of bringing his scans from the NIH in Bethesda. He has recieved some experimental treatments to no avail and he is just eighteen...we should all glean something from the presence of these folks that we have to find comforting words for. Dad still retained his sense of humor, though...his last words to me were to "be sure and take care of those d**n Great Danes of yours...they're money, you know..."

Posted by: jack | March 30, 2006 11:27 PM | Report abuse

Loomis: even if you die a bag lady, you will probably still have your computer and you can blog us here. :) kp: whoops! You mentioned BAMC, San Antonio in the 1960s. I was drafted in 1961, and my chance, no choice, was to be assigned to the medics in at Brooke. They took me out of basic medics -- I got a far as bed-making -- and was reassigned to 917 Dental Tech. What a class. Then I wound up at Fort Jay, New York, Governors Island, for the remainder of my active duty draftee years.

Posted by: Boston Blackie | March 31, 2006 12:34 AM | Report abuse

Just creeping in here in the middle of the night to comment on the third topic in Joel's kit---not death, not WTWP, but Jill Carroll.

Joel was shocked to see that people in Rajiv Chandresekaran's chat felt Jill had been too deferential to her captors. Wait until he gets back and finds out what the inhabitants of right wing of what Gene Robinson once called "the oxygen-poor, fact-free Internet blogosphere" are saying about Jill.

The idea, generally, is that, because she had expressed sympathy for the Iraqi people and wanted to write about what is happening to them, she is a terrorist-enabling moonbat, who carelessly caused the death of her translator in pursuit of stories that would embarrass the U.S. government and the U.S. military, staged her kidnapping so that her jihadi friends could collect a large ransom, wasted the resources that were spent in seeking her release, and demonstrated complete cravenness in her statements upon release.

I would point you to these statements, but reading them would cause you to question your commitment to the First Amendment and create an intense need for a hot shower, which might be difficult to satisfy at this moment.

Posted by: J.Rae | March 31, 2006 3:50 AM | Report abuse

Simply put with Jill: Stockholm Syndrome.

It's no secret she was sympathetic to the Iranian people, it's no great leap to believe that she's suffering from that disorder now (because no sane person would like to be withheld against their will, and proclaim others were treating her kindly to be seperated from everyone, while her interperter was shot dead trying to nab her). If they were so kind and loving, why on Earth did she make such a pitiful video crying and all? Did they just pinch her, and on cue, she cried for "the cause" -- or did they have a loaded gun aimed at her threatening to blow her brains out?

But I won't hold my breath that the MSM will delve into it that much, as they want more sympathy than facts. Even 10 years from now after she gathers herself together.

Remember it took many years for Patty Hearst to come around as well.

SandyK

Posted by: SandyK | March 31, 2006 4:35 AM | Report abuse

Women priests in the Catholic Church? The Church is more into preying on the innocents than praying. Unless an entire behind the scenes mindset changes, there will be no women priests. These good old boys like boys.

Posted by: jhs | March 31, 2006 6:27 AM | Report abuse

"Most of the problems that religion and various philosophical movements down through the centuries have produced have been errors because that's where they're started -- that God is a distinct separate being from us, to whom I must offer worship, whom I must cultivate, humor, please, and hope to attain a reward from at the very end of my life. That is *not* what God is. That is a blasphemy."

-- Miceal Ledwith, Ph.D.


"Now, we have great technology, from antigravity magnets and magnetic fields, zero-point energy--we have all that, and we still have this ugly, superstitious, backwater concept of God."

-- Ramtha


"People fall into line very readily when they're threatened by these cosmic sentences of everlasting punishment. But this is not how God is. And once you start to question the traditional images, caricatures of God, people feel you are an agnostic or an atheist, or a subverter of the social order."

-- Miceal Ledwith, Ph.D.

From the film "What the Bleep Do We Know!?"

Posted by: Dreamer | March 31, 2006 6:47 AM | Report abuse

It is necessary that I speak to you this morning, my dear Brothers and Sisters, on a matter of great urgency. My predecessor Pius IX has laid it down as a matter of inviolable faith that "faith in the Blog cannot long survive pure and unalloyed without faith in the Washington Post Co, pillar and ground of the Truth" (1 Tim. iii. 15) Beneath her dome, as beneath the dome of heaven, there is but one country for all nations and tongues. The Washington Post's maternal heart is great enough to see in the Blog-appointed development of individual characteristics and gifts, more than a mere danger of divergency. But know that to this freedom limits have been set by the majesty of that divine command which has founded the Washington Post Co one and indivisible. In recent days one "Badger", in sacriligious disregard of Our corporate structure, has attempted to undermine the authority of our Angelic Doctor Krauthammer, one of Our Washington Post Group Syndicated Writers, suggesting that he cannot both be and not be a colleague of ours. O wretched ignorance ! Moreover, the emissaries of Satan, under the cloak of modernism, put no limits to their unholy arrogance. Only yesterday one "John" suggested shamelessly that the inspired writings of Our Blogster Achenbach could be subject to the merely human principles of textual criticism, ignorant of the Holy Spirit, which alone animates those writings. It could get worse. Perhaps in coming days the Powers of Darkness will begin attacking Our radio station as well.

Now therefore know that We will no longer permit the licentions disregard of our internal market-segmentation rules. When ye discuss grief, let there be a discussion of grief and only grief. And when ye discuss joy, let there be joy only. Yesterday a Christian reporter was released by the Sarracens, and yet the joy was immediately adulterated through impious discussions of matters unrelated to joy. This is not Pleasing to Us. The mixture of holy joy, or holy grief, with the wretchedness of political speech is another manifestation of Satan at work through modernism. Where there is grief, let there be 9/11 grief, and let there be portraits in grief and grief only. And where there is holy joy, let there wall-to-wall joy. It is true that Our Blogster Achenbach occasionally writes in a pleasant "mixture of the styles", but this is an innovation and a Privilege which We have specifically authorized. Know that We have deputized a dozen or so of our Trusted Blogsters to see to the enforcement of these wholesome Rules.

Posted by: Pius XI | March 31, 2006 7:28 AM | Report abuse

From Weingarten's update today:

>>Take Us Out to the Ball Game: The Weingartenchatters are planning to attend the Nationals-Phillies game on June 11, and would like to extend the invitation to the chat participants (lurkers and posters). The group is trying to get 25 people to get a group rate. If people are interested they should go to the weingartenchatters yahoo group and post a message expressing interest.<<

Aren't you glad we're not that organized?

OK. Then I'll see all you local Boodlers at McCormick & Schmick's at 1652 K St at 5:00 on Wed, April 5.

Posted by: TBG | March 31, 2006 7:34 AM | Report abuse

Personally I don't know Jill Carroll, yet she seems like a nice person. She also seems to be happy that she has been set free. Good for her. She also seems like a humble and loving person. If she is in fact that way, good for her. Yet I know, and I'm sure most of you know, that if she is fact of the character I just described, the world will chew her up and spit her out. This woman in my opinion needs a break.


Thanks Padouck, and all those that commented about my post. Life is hard, and sometimes the tears just flow, but my faith give me great comfort and joy. I wish the same for all. May your day be blessed, and God gives you more of his blessings and goodness, more than you can imagine, through His Son, Jesus.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 31, 2006 7:52 AM | Report abuse

TBG, maybe if we could get a group rate at M&S, we might see a little more organization...

Nah.

:-)

Posted by: Scottynuke | March 31, 2006 8:03 AM | Report abuse

Pius XI, color me puzzled. Can somebody help me out here?

Posted by: J.Rae | March 31, 2006 8:09 AM | Report abuse

I already have a ticket for the June 10 game. Just as well, all those Weingarten deciples might have enough focused energy to topple my mojo.

Posted by: jw | March 31, 2006 8:11 AM | Report abuse

We were 15 and 18 when Mother left without a word to anyone and took her own life in one of those $3 per night motels.

Posted by: Nani | March 31, 2006 8:21 AM | Report abuse

Nani - that's so sad. You must be a very strong person to have endured that. I like to think tragedy helps us enjoy the good things in life all the more. Something to think about when you hug those grandchildren of yours.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 31, 2006 8:29 AM | Report abuse

TBG - Maybe if a quorum is reached McCormick & Schmick's might offer discount drinks.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 31, 2006 8:35 AM | Report abuse

As a backsliding Catholic, I know nothing about Pius XI except that there are a lot of high schools named after him and he has a web page on the Vatican homesite:

http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/pius_xi/index.htm

You are welcome to explore. I am not that curious about him. I will state that it is my analysis of the trend, and not my personal opinion about what they should do, that the Catholic Church will allow priests to marry before they will allow women to be ordained. I use as evidence, the great number of Anglican and Episcopalian (instant SCC on the spelling) parishes that have married priests that are allowed to join the Catholic Church becasue they disagree with female ordination.

Heck, Virgina just started allowing female altar servers (nee altar boys aka young fresh meat).

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/21/AR2006032100948.html

I was an altar server for many years nearly three decades ago and had girl serve right along with me even back then. In all that time I don't think I ever had a priest give me the time of day let alone an improper advance. Of course this was with the military chaplain service and the military has its own rules of discipline.

Nothing saddens me more as a Catholic than to see a grand tradition of faith be destroyed by the actions of sad sick men and the even more despicable attempts to hide and ignore the spiritual and emotional damage these people do.

Celibacy is not a gift as the church portrays. It should be just one of many ways a pious person has of showing his devotion to his or her God. The Church needs to ordain both men and women and allow each to marry. I also think allowing openly (key word: openly, there are plenty of closeted ones) gay clergy. But that goal would be for another century.

One hidden virtues of the Catholic Church is that is doesn't huff and puff trying to keep up with every fad, but it does need to work harder to stay relevent to the lives of its flock without diluting its spiritual beliefs.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 8:40 AM | Report abuse

Nani,

That is truly awful. Kurt Vonnegut frequently mentions that his mother was a suicide and that has colored his work as much as the bombing of Dresden, even though poeple don't notice that as much.

I hope you have overcome that tragedy and have embraced life. You are joy to read.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 8:43 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, yellojkt, but I was asking something more mundane. There's a long post just a few noteches above my question signed by Pius XI that reads as if it might be . . . well, a lot of things.

A rebuke about bringing up politics?

An indication that somebody in the Boodle ran afloul of Krauthammer?

Any ideas?

Posted by: J. Rae | March 31, 2006 8:54 AM | Report abuse

Really, really excellent Eugene Robinson column this morning, at http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/03/30/AR2006033001334.html

Everyone needs to go read it. I'll sip my coffee and wait until you come back.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 31, 2006 8:55 AM | Report abuse

My condolances, Nani...my Mom took her own life too when I was eighteen.

Posted by: jack | March 31, 2006 8:59 AM | Report abuse

While we're waitng, perhaps you could tell me what you think is going on in the post by Pius XI at 7:39 AM.

Posted by: J.Rae | March 31, 2006 9:00 AM | Report abuse

I think the Pious XI post is tongue-in-cheek satire that can't be taken seriously. Joel knows Chuckie K is a neo-con windbag and would never require belief in his infallibility to be an article of faith among boodlers.

Like the Mother Church, the WaPo is a big tent. Krauthammer is the Opus Dei wing and EJ Dionne is on of the liberation theologists.

Someone is just telling us not to take the boodle too seriously. Reread it picturing George Carlin from "Dogma" saying the same stuff. If it's still not funny go have some hash brownies. If that doesn't work, continue scratching your head muttering "WTF?"

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 9:13 AM | Report abuse

mudge,

Ther is not a false note in that column. My favorite sentence is "For this group, having to point to Bill Clinton as a model of fiscal probity redefines the word 'galling.'"

If I worked in a less conservative office, this is pin on the bulletin board right-on.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 9:16 AM | Report abuse

Missing last line for the Pious XI post:

Because nobody *expects* the Spanish Achenquisition.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

>While we're waitng, perhaps you could tell me what you think is going on in the post by Pius XI at 7:39 AM.

No worries J.McRae, that was just a snarly old badger feeling sorry for himself because he couldn't post anything that made sense or was grounded in reality. Something about Joel protecting Charles Krauthammer, which is fairly ludicrous in the surface.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 31, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

And Death Shall Have No Dominion

And death shall have no dominion.
Dead mean naked they shall be one
With the man in the wind and the west moon;
When their bones are picked clean and the clean bones gone,
They shall have stars at elbow and foot;
Though they go mad they shall be sane,
Though they sink through the sea they shall rise again;
Though lovers be lost love shall not;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
Under the windings of the sea
They lying long shall not die windily;
Twisting on racks when sinews give way,
Strapped to a wheel, yet they shall not break;
Faith in their hands shall snap in two,
And the unicorn evils run them through;
Split all ends up they shan't crack;
And death shall have no dominion.

And death shall have no dominion.
No more may gulls cry at their ears
Or waves break loud on the seashores;
Where blew a flower may a flower no more
Lift its head to the blows of the rain;
Through they be mad and dead as nails,
Heads of the characters hammer through daisies;
Break in the sun till the sun breaks down,
And death shall have no dominion.

Dylan Thomas

Posted by: omni | March 31, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, yellojkt. I had the sense that . . . well, I had several senses. I think that whatever it is doesn't quite work. It's not funny enough to be clearly funny, which raises the possibility that it might be serious and I shouldn't be writing political notes about Jill Carroll in the middle of the night. Of course, I shouldn't, but for an entirely different set of reasons.

Posted by: J. Rae | March 31, 2006 9:24 AM | Report abuse

I thought Robinson's piece was terrific too. He is a really compelling personality, and a very clear graceful writer.

In his web chat this week, he was spinning conceptions of America that made me think about immigration issues in an entirely different way.

Posted by: J. Rae | March 31, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

Death Be Not Proud

DEATH be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not so,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better then thy stroake; why swell'st thou then;
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.

John Donne

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Well now you've made me feel welcome, and I'm going to have to leave. But I'll come back. Y'all have fun now.

Posted by: J. Rae | March 31, 2006 9:30 AM | Report abuse

yellojkt: my favorite sonnet. thank you.

Posted by: tangent | March 31, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse

Multi-SCC:

Rereading my rather promiscuous posts this morning I have found several letters that fell out. Since I found them stuck in my keyboard, I can't really blame MovableType™; I take full responsibility.

Please just insert them back where they belong:

i, o, a, and let's throw in a fews semicolons for good measure: ;, ;.

Thank you for your assistance.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 9:43 AM | Report abuse


It was many and many a year ago,
In a kingdom by the sea,
That a maiden there lived whom you may know
By the name of ANNABEL LEE;--
And this maiden she lived with no other thought
Than to love and be loved by me.
She was a child and I was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea,
But we loved with a love that was more than love--
I and my Annabel Lee--
With a love that the winged seraphs of heaven
Coveted her and me.

And this was the reason that, long ago,
In this kingdom by the sea,
A wind blew out of a cloud by night
Chilling my Annabel Lee;
So that her high-born kinsman came
And bore her away from me,
To shut her up in a sepulchre
In this kingdom by the sea.

The angels, not half so happy in Heaven,
Went envying her and me:--
Yes! that was the reason (as all men know,
In this kingdom by the sea)
That the wind came out of a cloud, chilling
And killing my Annabel Lee.

But our love it was stronger by far than the love
Of those who were older than we--
Of many far wiser than we-
And neither the angels in Heaven above,
Nor the demons down under the sea,
Can ever dissever my soul from the soul
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee:--

For the moon never beams without bringing me dreams
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And the stars never rise but I see the bright eyes
Of the beautiful Annabel Lee;
And so, all the night-tide, I lie down by the side
Of my darling, my darling, my life and my bride,
In her sepulchre there by the sea--
In her tomb by the side of the sea.


by Edgar Allan Poe
(1849)

Posted by: Anonymous | March 31, 2006 9:46 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for the poetry, jkt. Robinson's opinion piece generally hits the mark. The dems propensity to splutter of late reminds me of my '70 F100...if all eight cylinders hit at the same time its a joy; if not its a utilitarian vehicle that's aggravating to drive. I'm waiting, perhaps in vain, for a unifying force that will swing the political pendulum toward some modicum of common sense. In the mean time, our son has just lost his first tooth and will turn 6 on the morrow, and my eldest, 13, is off to her first formal affair sponsored by the school JROTC. And I'm growing old...

Posted by: jack | March 31, 2006 9:53 AM | Report abuse

Because I could not stop for Death,
He kindly stopped for me;
The carriage held but just ourselves
And Immortality.
We slowly drove, he knew no haste,
And I had put away
My labor, and my leisure too,
For his civility.

We passed the school, where children strove
At recess, in the ring;
We passed the fields of gazing grain,
We passed the setting sun.

Or rather, be passed us;
The dews grew quivering and chill,
For only gossamer my gown,
My tippet only tulle.

We paused before house that seemed
A swelling of the ground;
The roof was scarcely visible,
The cornice but a mound.

Since then 'tis centuries, and yet each
Feels shorter than the day
I first surmised the horses' heads
Were toward eternity.

Emily Dickinson

Posted by: omni | March 31, 2006 9:58 AM | Report abuse

that was a copy/paste, but still I should have ppaid more attention: third stanza: "Or rather, He passed Us;"

Posted by: omni | March 31, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

doubling letters, doubling words. sheesh

Posted by: omni | March 31, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

omni, I bow before your mastery.

Psst, new Kit.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 31, 2006 10:02 AM | Report abuse

Buchwald's dream is obviously animated by true insight. We must all spend some time in purgatory to attone for our less-than-mortal sins, and obviously spending that time in the Dulles Starbucks qualifies.

Posted by: ebtnut | March 31, 2006 10:11 AM | Report abuse

There’s been quite a bit of discussion about death in the blog over the last day or two, but one of the really interesting things is that none of it (IMHO) has been morbid, but all rather uplifting (even for this unbeliever).

Stranger still, I got a phone call last night from a guy I used to work with 25 years ago. It seems the boss/company owner we both worked for (as boatbuilders; I was hullbuilding foreman and then staff naval architect) died two days ago. He had been living in an assisted care center, but had been pretty much destitute for the last three or four years, and considerably messed up (mentally) for a lot longer than that, separated from his family and friends, borderline homeless, etc. He’d sponged off everyone he could and alienated everyone whom he knew and who used to be his friends.

I had no contact with him in 25 years, and knew none of this. I have very mixed feelings about all this, as you might imagine. On the one hand, I feel guilty that I feel glad he didn’t seem to be able to track me down to add me to the list of people he victimized and sponged off of. So in part I feel like I “dodged a bullet.” But on the other hand, I also feel guilty, just on general principles. I wouldn’t have been able to do anything else for him than anyone else seems to have been able to do.

In discussing this with the coworker who called me last night, it turns out this dead fellow’s business partner, with whom I was fairly friendly way back when, died a year ago of prostate cancer, which I also didn’t know. I don’t know this for a fact, but I’m guessing the business partner (who had family money) also shunned my old boss in recent years.

Apparently there will be some kind of memorial service next week, and it will be very strange. Part of me doesn’t want to go, but part of me says I can’t NOT go, since I was a key player in the company way back when. I assume the widows/ex-wives of both men will be there, which will be uncomfortable, as well as children of both, whom I never met (they weren’t even born yet when I worked there). But I imagine there will be half a dozen old coworkers from that company, too. Unfortunately there won’t be much “happy reunion/joyful wake” about any of it, since most of us left the company under unpleasant conditions as my old boss and his partner basically drove the company into the ground due to greed and mismanagement.

I was impressed by SonofCarl’s tribute to Mark Isfeld. I wish I felt about my old boss the way SofC felt about Mark, but I don’t. So I’ll probably hoist a drink next week in memory of my old boss, but SonofCarl, I’ll be drinking to the memory of your friend instead.

When I was a senior in high school, or senior class president, Jack Cody, drowned in a boating accident a few weeks before graduation. I had a column in the school newspaper, and in the final issue included in my column the following poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay, called “Dirge Without Music.” So this is for Mark, and Jack, and (somewhat prematurely, Art Buchwald), and Nani’s mother and Jack’s (poster at 8:59 a.m.) mother and father, and Cassandra’s father and her son:

I am not resigned to the shutting away of loving hearts in the hard ground.
So it is, and so it will be, for so it has been, time out of mind:
Into the darkness they go, the wise and the lovely. Crowned
With lilies and with laurel they go; but I am not resigned.
Lovers and thinkers, into the earth with you.
Be one with the dull, the indiscriminate dust.
A fragment of what you felt, of what you knew,
A formula, a phrase remains, --- but the best is lost.
The answers quick & keen, the honest look, the laughter, the love,
They are gone. They have gone to feed the roses. Elegant and curled
Is the blossom. Fragrant is the blossom. I know. But I do not approve.
More precious was the light in your eyes than all the roses in the world.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave.
I know. But I do not approve. And I am not resigned.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 31, 2006 10:20 AM | Report abuse

Hey, y'all! I'm fairly new to this blog, but love everything I've read. IMHO, I loved the piece by Pius XI. I thought it was great satire. A couple of my friends (a genius professor in Wales and a retired civil engineer in Virginia) and I enjoy taking on personas like Pius XI, and lampooning all sorts of situations. Of course, we're not as pious as Pius, and sometimes the double entendre's (punctuation??) spill over into the ridiculously prurient, but what the hey? It's a way to let off steam by laughing, instead of frothing at the mouth at life's absurdities and terrors.

Nani and 'Mudge, and all the rest of you regulars, you make me wish I still lived in DC (or San Antonio). You all sound like the kind of people I'd like to know. I've really appreciated the sheer greatness of heart in all of y'all's postings, whether on death and dying, or covert squirrels, or politics.

All the best to all of you. I look forward to more lurking.

Posted by: lexlurk | March 31, 2006 10:57 AM | Report abuse

Thanks Curmudgeon. That's a fine end to a sombre boodle.

Posted by: SonofCarl | March 31, 2006 11:08 AM | Report abuse

Thanks, 'Mudge. If you happen into this part of SC, feel free to institute a spontaneous BPH on our porch. Everyone that can make it is invited. Spring has sprung the grass is riz. I wonder where the flowers is?????

Posted by: jack | March 31, 2006 11:10 AM | Report abuse

Mudge, what a lovely piece, thanks so much.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 31, 2006 3:10 PM | Report abuse

Art Buchwald has always been unique. Many years ago, I had an opportunity to hear him speak at a graduation at William & Mary. Can still remember it...I hope I can face the end of my life with the courage and humor that he is showing. Hospice is a great thing, and I applaud those who make it work, It does so much for both the person and the family and friends.

You can certainly do worse than spending time in the Dulles Starbucks. Haven't been there, actually, but I do love sitting in an airport where I can watch the planes and people as they come and go. Great life-watching spot. I gusee the other side of this is being forced to spend unknown amounts of time in an airport while you wait for your delayed plane, all the while being charged un-heard of amounts of money for a cup of coffee...

Anyway, kudos to you, Art. and Thanks.

Posted by: Midnight Mike | April 7, 2006 9:14 AM | Report abuse

Reference the post
Posted by: SonofCarl | March 30, 2006 08:01 PM
About Mark Isfeld,(My son.)
Just want to clarify a Date - Mark was killed near kakma, Croatia june 21 1994, not in August 1994.

I have had a memorial website at www.isfeldbc.com for the last 12 years.

Would be interested in hearing from SonofCar1 sometimes!

Posted by: Brian Isfeld | June 28, 2006 3:36 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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