Back about the middle of December I began a series of posts entitled “A Puppy’s Tale”. I intended it to be a trilogy, and completed parts I (A Fortunate Encounter) and II (The Winding Road). This post is part III (Epilogue), though it will be a bit of a non-sequitur in that I will depart from the third person storytelling format and move into the first person narrative.
I was motivated to write the story as a method of dealing with the grief I experienced after the death of my 16 year old dog, Desa.
I have lost pets before, but the level of grief I experienced this time was deeper than I had felt before and I thought that perhaps I needed a coping mechanism. I decided to write a story of her life – which coincidentally would be a story of my life during the years we shared. This turned out to be an immensely personal task and after completing the first two parts I did not and still do not believe that my writing skills are up to finishing the trilogy in a way that will do justice to the truth. Suffice it to say that when this dog and I crossed paths, both our worlds became better, though whether hers really did is merely an assumption on my part. I do know that when our paths parted I was left with an emptiness that seemed disproportionately profound. I still feel it today.
The story of how Desa joined our family as told in Part I is unimbellished truth as told to me by my first (late) wife who was not an exagerator or prevaricator. Desa was not the first dog I have owned, but for reasons that are not obvious to me I was closer to her than any other dog I have known or owned. Perhaps it is because I believe that I grew a great deal as a person during the years I owned her. I don’t know – like I said – the reasons are not obvious to me.
A Puppy’s Tale ended the way one might expect – an ageing animal’s health fails to the point that euthanasia is neccessary. A common scenario that is played out most likely thousands of times daily across the country. My active role in her death, while neccessary and humane, weighs on me though I know I had no choice.
So I bid farewell to a canine friend and carry on.
…Big Government, having been kept out of the bedroom (for now), lays siege to our backyards and hotel showers. Of course, it’s For Your Own Good ®.
Remember a few years back when there was a big brouhaha over some states’ antiquated anti-sodomy laws and other laws dealing with inter-racial relationships? There was a movement to identify and repeal these laws on the basis that they represented unwarranted intrusion of the governement into our personal lives – a position I support, BTW. So these laws were wiped off the books, and the public at large now has freedom of sexual*ahem*expression without fear of the sex police breaking the door down to verify the correct techniques are being employed or that the participants’ genders meet statutory requirements. Yay freedom! U-S-A! U-S-A!
So that’s all well and good. We don’t need old outdated laws intruding on our freedom. Nope. What we need are some new laws intruding on our freedom. Why? Because in the Progressive Utopia of the 21st Century and Beyond we either will need to be protected from something or we will need our behavior modified to comply with the modern and correct norms of liberal groupthink.
Examples? OK. Take barbeque grills for example. They are sources of pollution – they must be – look at all that smoke! And the poor grillmaster! Exposed to all those carcinogens! Forced to sacrifice his health just so that others may partake of tasty meats. It’s an injustice, and quite frankly I do not understand how we as a society can tolerate it. Luckily, EPA to the rescue!
Of course, they’re only studying it now, but it will be coming to your backyard soon enough I’m sure. No need to thank the EPA. They’re just doing their job. Someone has to micromanage your life so you don’t hurt yourself.
Now go take a shower and wash off all that soot and grease. Just don’t stay in the shower too long or we’ll have to modify your behavior.
Why hotel guests? They gotta start somewhere, I suppose.
“First, they came for the hotel guests and I said nothing because I was not a hotel guest. Finally when there was a bureaucrat with a clipboard living in my home taking notes while I showered there was no one left to stand up for me.” – me in five years
So, as I said, the siege continues. Certainly the government was pushed back out of the bedroom, but they’ve made it into the backyard and now they’re in the bathroom. You know what’s right next to the bathroom? That’s right! The bedroom! And you don’t want to know what’s going to happen when they get back in there!
Because in the Progressive Utopia of the 21st Century and Beyond, that which is not forbidden will be mandatory!
Regular readers of this blog know that some months ago I undertook a project to determine my “peak music year”. I arbitrarily and capriciously devised a method that I would use to make this determination. I decided to examine the BillBoard Hot 100 chart for the years 1965 through 1975, determine a “winner” for each year and then pick a favorite from the winners and declare the year that my favorite won to be my “Peak Music Year”. Now I have finished that process and it’s time to reveal my conclusion and declare my Peak Music Year.
Here are the “winners” of the BillBoard Hot 100 for the relevant years (you can click on the year to read my post summarizing the chart for that year and how I declared the winner):
So…my favorite among the winners? Duh. The Beatles. That makes my peak music year…what….the 1960’s? Crap. OK, while the Beatles are my favorite group among these “winners”, they are not my favorite group of all time. So there was obviously a flaw in my format. In reviewing my summaries I would have to say that the year I was most enthusiastic about was 1969, even though the two Beatles tunes that earned them their “win” that year are not even my favorite Beatles songs. On the other hand, of the seventeen songs that reached #1 that year, I liked (and still like) fifteen of them. So is 1969 my peak music year? It is true that there was a lot of great music that year, and I liked and still like a lot of it.
But I also listened to a lot of music in 1972, ’73 and ’74, years that I disqualified as my peak music year because the BillBoard Hot 100 chart yielded no winner for me. A lot of the progressive music I listened to during those years was anti commercial and the artists probably would have been insulted if their songs charted on the Hot 100. Groups like Pink Floyd, Emerson, Lake & Palmer, and The Alan Parsons Project. And even though the band that is most likely my favorite of all time, Steely Dan, was (is?) not an alternative group, and they did have significant commercial success, their successes came later than 1975. I can only conclude that the BillBoard Hot 100 was not the appropriate database to use for purposes of determining my peak music year. Also the only conclusion I can draw from my little exercise is that 1969 was my Peak BillBoard Hot 100 music year, and a good music year overall for me.
After having reached this wishy washy conclusion to the project, I present two songs related to the year 1969:
First, The Beatles (featuring honorary 5th Beatle, Billy Preston) with one of their #1’s from that year, Get Back:
Next, Steely Dan with a song that was written in 1969, The Caves Of Altamira:
Thanks for reading and sticking with it. This, however, will not be my final word on my Peak Music Year.
If you are a baby boomer like I am, then you grew up in the era of duck & cover drills and you remember Civil Defense sirens being tested on the first Friday of every month. If you are not a baby boomer let me explain. Duck & Cover drills were performed periodically in school, similar to a fire drill. Except during a duck & cover drill the teacher would exclaim “duck & cover!” and the students immedately jumped under their desks and covered their heads with their hands. This was to practice what we were to do when we saw the flash emitted by a detonating nuclear bomb. Also we were warned not to look directly at the flash lest our eyeballs melt. Good times. Civil Defense sirens were basically air raid sirens to warn everyone to get ready to duck & cover. These were tested at 11:30 AM on the first Friday of every month, which I’m sure the Soviets figured would be the best time for an attack.
Anyhoo, the Civil Defense authorities that thought up duck & cover and installed the sirens also put together a map of targets that the Soviets were likley to nuke when the shit got real:
click to enlarge
They planned for every eventuality. The triangles depict targets is an “500 warhead” scenario. The black spots are “2000 warhead scenario” targets. I happen to live within the intersection of two black spots that are within the intersected area of three triangles. So I doubt the duck & cover would have helped. But I guess it’s better than telling a second grader to “bend over and kiss your ass good-bye”.
I was fortunate to be able to travel to Ireland in 2009 and one of the places I visited was The Rock of Cashel, a historic site in County Tipperary.
The Rock of Cashel
The site was the traditional seat of the Kings of Munster prior to the Norman Invasion and is reputed to be where the (then current) King of Munster was converted to Christianity by Saint Patrick in the 5th Century. The oldest buildings remaining on the site date from ca. 1100, though there is a cross there they call Saint Patrick’s Cross and it is said to date from the King’s conversion in the 5th century.
Saint Patrick’s Cross
I found this to be truly a beautiful place, and it gave me pause to think how many lives have intersected here.
Their Domain as once viewed by Great Kings
All photos are mine. You can click on each image to see a larger version.
And so remember all who came before us and that Saint Patrick’s Day has been a long time in the making.
Each day there are threads of unpredictability woven in and around our daily schedules and routines. While it is true that our days are filled with certain events that we are aware of or have planned and that we accomplish or participate in per our calendars, it is my belief that within these routines are countless unscripted moments where most of life is lived – in the background so to speak. These unscripted seconds, these many spontaneous and often unconscious interactions and decisions are the grains of sand that make up a life of purpose. Living a life of purpose sounds like a monumental undertaking, possibly too large for even a great man, much less a simple man like me. But no large task is accomplished at once, if broken into small enough increments anything can be achieved. And time passes through an hourglass one grain of sand at a time.
A.M.D.G : Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam – “For the greater glory of God”
The origin of the phrase is attributed to the founder of the Jesuits, Saint Ignatius of Loyola, who intended it to serve as a cornerstone sentiment of the society’s religious philosophy. The full phrase attributed to St. Ignatius is Ad maiorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem or “for the greater glory of God and salvation of man.” It is a summary of the idea that any work that is not inherently evil, even one that would normally be considered inconsequential to the spiritual life, can be spiritually meritorious if it is performed in order to give glory to God.
Dedicate one second of your life for the greater glory of God. And then another. And another. This is how I will build my life of purpose – one tiny brick at a time.