Category Archives: Reflections

Omen? Chance?

Yesterday as I was walking up our driveway after yet another day of rain, my eye caught several of these leaves lying on the still damp asphalt.

Where did the orange come from? Why had it not faded like the rest of the leaf? It caught my interest.

Such fine structure just below the surface. Delicate leaf veins. What would the newly possible increase in environmental poisons do to that delicate life? .. to the orange?

What else has an unusual orange swath — Donald does. He has turned his negating touch to nature, banished eco-protective regulations. Might he too be blown away by some storm? Omen? Pure coincidence— in a universe in which nothing happens by accident?

Had I been caught yesterday in DTS mania for always being the focus of conversation, I would have missed this reminder that all beauty happens in the present. I am grateful for the orange decorated leaf.

Too good not to share

from: https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2020/4/22/1939530/-Too-Good-Not-to-Share-Ode-to-Sean-Hannity-by-John-Cleese?utm_campaign=trending

Ode to Sean Hannity

by John Cleese

Aping urbanity

Oozing with vanity

Plump as a manatee

Faking humanity

Journalistic calamity

Intellectual inanity

Fox News insanity

You’re a profanity

Hannity
 

Thank you, John Cleese!. But a short historical correction applies here. DT cannot hold the title,the greatest leader in all of history. You see, the Title is already taken. It was first bestowed, with all due insincerity, on …. drum roll…..Adolph H, late of the 13 year long Thousand Year Reich. Adolph, a worthy rival to DT in egotism, ate it right up. Leader Fuehrer FIeld Marshall Stable Genius Feldherr in the Nazi State or the dirty delusion of a Trump State, it all meant #1 guy and respect it or else!

It was originally published by the Nazi Party, but that backfired. Subdued and threatened German soldiers, who wanted to laugh privately but thoroughly at the malignant corporal clown, with tongue in cheek shortened to Gröfaz – German soldiers’ derogatory acronym for Größter Feldherr aller Zeiten.(Grö+F+a+Z) (Thank you, danke schoen Wikipedia)

One history of humor in the 13 years of the Thousand Year Reich indicated that Gröfaz became a popular derogatory term outside the Wehrmacht. It could have been heard by Germans just as an acronym to laugh at, but it also, when spoken fast, and semi-whispered at a distance almost can be heard as the German for “greatest fart” größter Feldherr aller Zeiten ~ Grö-faz/Größ-furz.

What it sounds like in German

At any rate, the full title can belong to only one Deluded Stable Genius, and AH took that accolade. However, the acronym has now become a term unto itself. It is listed on Wikipedia as a German military term. And therefore it may be bestowed with all rights and honors appurtenant thereunto upon the fake sun tanned brow of DT: D Gröfaz T. OR DT, Gröfaz— has a certain ring to it, nicht wahr/ right?

Who are we then?

Living today is often like finding out that I am in a real On The Beach–the last US submarine after the nuclear war has dropped me off on some formerly bustling sunbathing, volleyball playing, eating and drinking and beautiful body showing beach. The hissing of the silence is unnerving — did I hear a voice? was that a person just on the edge of my view? Now there’s just an empty everywhere, with traffic lights silently choreographing yellow-red-green-yellow-red… for traffic that no longer exists.

Where has the US of my father gone? How can something as bad as this be so quiet?

A while back a poem was making the rounds of blogs by the medieval German poet, Walther von der Vogelweide. Someone must have figured out my background and love for German Literature because without warning of any kind, links to it found their way here to Pane in the Tale.

It is a moving poem about losses in old age: Owê war sind verswunden, alliu mîniu jâr… Oh woe where have all my years disappeared to….. And indeed it does very eloquently express the woe and loss that the collapse of contact by outliving friends has caused.

  1. an older cousin, one of crucial importance to me in my youth mostly, and who has always occupied a bright place in my consciousness: gone. How can he be gone? It cannot be but is.
  2. the friend who died and who via a medium, who has no idea who I am, told his wife, tell Greg I miss our morning phone calls! He cannot be gone, he is too important.
  3. add Muffy, JJ, Steve, Butch, my first five German Shepherd companions,
  4. my parents, my uncles:
1944, late spring. That’s me riding on the back of that beloved uncle. Yes, the1st Lt. , who directed his field artillery unit in the Hürtgen Forest and would not talk about it

.

  1. my uncles who fought in World War Two. Wait a minute, didn’t I just the other day see the one who loved to play with me arrive in his summer khakis by train in downtown Detroit amidst a crowd erupting in tumultuous volcanic welcomes?

If it ended there, then OK Walther, you get the ring on the merry go round.

Today, however, it does not end there..

How can Trump stand where FDR stood, yes stood crippled, in the nation which came from far behind in 12/7/1941 to wind up last man standing at the end of WW2? How to adjust to the open and unhealing wound from the cutting bully behavior where civility and diplomacy always came to reside as mission critical competencies for 240 years?

Of our three foundational rights, Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness, life and liberty are cracked and happiness come to mean selfishness, greed. Was Jefferson wrong? Are we finally unworthy of the happiness derived from participation in the governance of ourselves?

Am I deluded in thinking myself a worthy member of a democratic state by expressing my opinions publicly? It would appear that 40% of our population thinks that we really need someone as President who “shakes things up, a disruptor”. How can we believe in that part of us who thought this country to be a unique experiment in equality–who felt that we were part of that?

How can we have the continued sense of safety and stability when the President has failed to catalyze a response of any positive sort to the largest physical threat humanity has experienced ever?

It is not just the failures that reduce us. His attacks which lame and dismanantle our democratic, republican institutions violate our trust in our President, and by easy extension, the political system and public values which put this incompetent world-hater into George Washingtons chair. We relied on those institutions. We invested ourselves, our trust, our expectations, our treasure, our safety in them.

Who are we then that this nation, which we thought was there for us, no longer is? How can we ever again think ourselves proud agents of an admired, successful state? After all, we elected him, not “they”. Who he is was as plain as the nose on your face or his perpetual sneering scowl.

Yet he won the Electoral College nod. Whatever currents of dysfunction and destruction carried him into office, they are ours now to stop in November and then, with the ardor of racing for survival, to correct .

And now the reports about fewer food choices begin to trickle in. It was predictable that food plants might have to close during lockdowns. It was predictable that we would need them open to eat. It was predictable that the one agency which could act across state lines, the Federal Government, would need to and could help keep it going till we could go back to work.

And who should have led that charge to protect food production, which never happened? That’s him, our DT, in the scowl shots above. What was he doing when the food reports came in? Dithering in temper tantrums about whether to hold briefings or not. He decided not to – -and could not keep that resolve for three days.

Who we are is in part a function of what level of needs we are working to satisfy — enter Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. We have just had the rugs of self actualization, esteem, love and belonging as US citizens, and safety as people who need to eat yanked right out from under us.

This is not whining self pity. God does not like that: . It is not the poor-me’s. It is grieving the loss of the props of democracy and safe participation. . I am being pushed into protective thinking, pushed under by the waves of disorder as the river of consciousness is suddenly channeled over very stony rapids.

How then can I say that graphically?

Jump forward in time a few centuries in German-speaking Europe to the the 30 Years War (1618-1648) and Andreas Gryphius. In the horrid meat grinding, pestilent 30 years of war, he has to ask: was sind wir Menschen doch? – – well what are we humans then?

Menschliches Elende

Human Misery

Was sind wir Menschen doch!

What are we humans then!

ein Wohnhaus grimmer Schmerzen

a home for ferocious kicks,

ein Ball des falschen Glücks

a ball of false luck

ein Irrlicht dieser Zeit

a fen-fire of this time

ein Schauplatz herber Angst

a theater of tart worry

besetzt mit scharfem Leid

cast with bitter burnt lime,

ein bald verschmelzter Schnee

a snow soon melted away

und argebrannte Kerzen.

and burnt out candle sticks.

——-

Das Leben fleucht davon

Life is whisked away

wie ein Geschwätz und Scherzen

like idle chatter or some jest.

Die vor uns abgelegt

Who before us have laid down

des schwachen Leibes Kleid

the frail body’s cloak—

und in das Totenbuch

and in the obituary

der großen Sterblichkeit

of the great Croak

längst eingeschrieben sind,

long since had been registered:

sind uns aus Sinn und Herzen.

gone from mind and breast.

——-

Gleich wie ein eitel Traum

Just like a vain-hoped dream

leicht aus der Acht hinfällt

easily fades to black

und wie ein Strom verschleußt

and rushes onward like a stream

den keine Macht aufhält

which no power can hold back,

so muß auch unser Nam, Lob,

thus must our name, praise

Ehr und Ruhm verschwinden.

honor and glory disappear.

——-

Was itzund Athem holt

Whatever now draws breath

muß mit der Luft entfliehn

must expire with the air exhaled.

Was nach uns kommen wird

Whatever will come after us

wird uns ins Grab nachziehn

will pull us back into the grave’s jail.

Was sag’ ich? Wir vergehen

What am I saying? We fade away

wie Rauch vor starkem Wind.

like smoke before strong wind.

Who are we then? We are Americans who need to affirm all that Gryphius says, rid ourselves of the Trump Pestilence, and remember always: AMERICAN ends in I CAN.

___________________________________

NOTES:

Gryphius (born Greif) close witness of 30 Years War (1618-1648 much fought on German soil) plus plague, famine; ca. 67% of German population died during that time

Left strong impressions: Witness to burning and pillaging of town of Freystadt 1August 1632

Many of his images are events he saw and used also metaphorically-and can be read as metaphors for our time as well

Death was personal experience, not abstract: left his mood somewhat melancholic

Driven from hometown by war, made self an orphan but acquired excellent classical education

One of earliest poets to write in German instead of Latin

Must successful dramatist in German from 1616 to 18th century

Well educated man, named poet laureate by his wealthy patron; one of most important poets of German Baroque, improver of German as language of poetry

Time of political, social, economic upheaval & unbridled, seldom neither active nor almost active violence as status quo in certain of German principalities of Central Europe

Famous image of omnipresence of war: das vom Blut fette Schwert–the sword grown fat on blood

Asteroid 496 named Gryphia after him

Amerika/America, du hast/you had….

We are nowhere near the end of the Trump-thumping we are taking.. We are not at the beginnig of the end, nor the end of the beginning.  We may be at the start of the beginning.  And that makes it all even more sad and urgent.  We have already lost so much; it is such a great shame.

Towards the end of his life, the great German poet, scientist, lawyer, statesman etc;, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe (1749-1832) became very enchanted with the energy, robust freedom and lack of a haunting past in the young American Republic.  During those later years he wrote the following poem (here in English translation praising and expressing an important hope about us and  our republic:

(If you want to know more about who Goethe was, read my post “Who is this guy Go-ee’-thee (Goethe)?

Amerika du hast es besser

America, you have it better

Than our old continent.

You have no tumbledown castles

And no basalt deposits.

Your present is not disturbed deep down by

Useless remembrance and vain strife.

Use the present with good fortune!

And if your children write poetry,

May a kindly fate guard them from writing

Stories of knights, rascals, and specters.

http://www.bachlund.org/Amerika.htm

 translation by Marilyn Barnett

One of DT’s first targets for negation remains our fragile, wilting ecosystem.  We must get it back under control —and fast—.  Before DT touched nature with his cold, dead hands, an annual reduction of atmospheric hydrocarbons by 2% would have saved us-but we were barely making that. Now after he has negated our environmental protection, the yearly target for a timespan 4 years shorter than in 2016 is 5%.  And we had been barely eking out a scrawny 2%…. If we fail now, there will not be a second chance, the resulting inhospitable, lethal climate will make this planet uninhabitable.

Let us remember the hopes and faith that so many had for us so many years ago.

But we can only get to the end of the beginning by accepting without filtering where we are today. That’s the first step.

To that end, today Goethe’s hopeful poem could only be written something like this:

Amerika, du hattest es besser…

America, you had it better

Than our old continent.

But you failed to save your forests and oceans, 

You permanently poisoned pristine waters.

Shame! your present is blighted by leaders of

Useless remembrance and vain strife.

You misused the present in bad faith!

And your children will never write verse,

Condemned by drudge lackeys and their bumbling boss, to

end with a whimper: 

as nature winds down in reverse..

Where indeed have all the flowers gone, long time passing? How much pain must good men endure, before they throw off this yoke?

  

Carpe Diem and Memento Mori

I walk with Roxy each day in the local municipal Cemetery.

It started out because anywhere else, our self absorbed fellow citizens walk with their dogs off leash.. And the do it wherever they please. I suspect that many of them really get a kick out of scoffing at the leash laws right in front of all the signs that say, All dogs on leash all the time.

It is tempting to skewer that behavior with the long thorns of acidic sarcasm and wicked wit. Let me just dismiss that path by saying that we are merely seeing another manifestation of the heads in the sand, I’m entitled Unites States of Narcissism. It is our culture now.

i was struck by the quiet in the cemetery. Expecting to be put off by being around dead people, I was surprised. No smell of rot. No hands reaching up out of the grave to grab Roxy and pull her, screaming, back down undergroud. No apparitions being exhaled like thin smoke by the grave. Not a thing from Hollywood at all. Just quiet and grey stones in varying stages of wear stuck at tottering angles, like uneven teeth in an old man’s mouth, On brown grass. Gothic trees reaching with concentration camp limbs silently to something we cannot see, lording their powerful shadowed presences over us lesser mortals.

IMG_3066

Nancy had found this place after having been frightened by dogs off lead while walking Roxy also. She had urged me to go, but I was reluctant. Why?

We had made a memorial to our three beloved German Shepherds Zora, Bruno and Kaiser. All three died in our house on the mountain with us right by their sides. I took to heart what Butch, our deceased Schutzhund trainer had said was his moral commitment to his GSDs: he would make certain that the last thing any one of them saw on this earth was his loving face. Amen. Me too.

We had found a cross shaped piece of wood, the day after Bruno died, on a spot in the woods where he loved to lie. More than coincidence, random chance?  I stained it, found rocks and spray painted them gold, and made a little memorial mound on that spot. I loved to go there, sit on the bench I’d made of cinderblocks and boards, remember them while loving the beauty of the woods and feeling, still achingly sorrowful for their absence, grateful for their lives.

On the last night we were in that house, a really perfect cool clear night on last March 29-30, we took the urns with their ashes, and spread them in our woods memorial chapel.  I read a farewell passage and prayer we had written for the occasion. We did the same at all their favorite outdoor spots.

That was supposed to have tied off the loose ends of grief. It did not. It did not because it was aimed,ever so subtly, at relieving me, at least, of my grieving for them — which I still am doing and most likely will do until the day when I die too. I had not gotten the message.

The cemetery is not colorful, and the plastic flowers or wilted real ones just emphasize by contrast the grey, colorless ness of a whole bunch of old and new graves. It is clear to me that there will always be loose ends, that I could well be one of those headstones one day, and at 76, not too far off.   My memorial spot back up on the mountain– well, it was not an acceptance of life on life’s terms.  And that was a well meant mistake, an act of American pretend.  It was a way to hang on.  You cannot hang onto anything gone from this world, it’s like trying to grab and hold a chunk of The Present.

What’s left? For me what’s left is the realization that this life, which seems so hard and sturdy with its atoms and molecules and thumbs that hurt when hit with my hammer, is just an illusion.  When you cannot stop the show and cannot hold onto the present, how can it be otherwise?  A glorious, beautiful, super ultra high definition movie which we crate as we act out our roles.    A moving feast.  What a theater, what a chance to grow!

So: Memento mori–remember that I too must die.  And I’ve discovered that in doing that, I find much much more of rich joy in that ephemeral elusive thing we call the present.  Heavens, today is a great day to die on!  I now know that native American wisdom to be a statement of gratitude for reality, not a morbid preoccupation with Holllywood’s contorted view of death and dying.

Thank heavens for my cemetery walks.  I have my beloved Roxy with me, sometimes my dear, patient, loving and long suffering Nancy —  and being there above ground provesI’ve got one more day on which to enjoy the abundance of God’s earth. Carpe diem and memento mori.

Can I help you, sweetie?

ghfbeard10-20124

 

I am by most counts 76 years old. Not that it pleases me much. But I’m fed up with ageism.  It’s everywhere, like a fungus among us.
  • The doc says not to worry abut X YZ because, uh, well uh, ahem! – you know, at your age you might ..uh well-uh you know what i mean, right? As we grow older certain things do not work-as well, you know what I mean? Right?
  • The bored and distracted cashier at the grocery store assumes im already-a demented, doddering, simpering, half blind , weak old nincompoop who cannot find or then carry his own  groceries and so says: here let me carry them to your car SWEETIE/HONEY/etc.  I decline as politely as they were when offering.
  • It’s not that I wouldn’t enjoy being waited on.  No.  I decline because of  the packer’s behavior:  either s/he is, my  age or ojder and  looks like s/he is about to topple over just by himself — or because being young and strong, the packer has a look of blind+deaf+dumb indifference that says you cannot breach this wall in a thousand years oh boring old person.
  • There is no winning.  They want us whitecaps to lose their oomph.  Maybe when we are vital and aged ,it upsets some teenage universal order.  Who knows?  It does not matter.  When I declinebecausee of these reasons,  these slobber-mpommies inevitably come back with;     are  you sure DARLINGs
  • I get the same bs from some nurses, waitresses, bank tellers, Wendy’s order takers, secretaries vendors eyc ad nauseam.
They mean well but they dont know!
Sure the body chsnges over the years.  Just ask my pants. But so does the wisdom  of been-there,  done-that. Its simple and I demonstrated it this.   morning with our 1’ foot of snow. You just work fast so that your body is  done before your slow, turtle like brain knows it has hapoened.  Take a peek:
 And the next little floozie who calls me HONEY/SWEETHEART/DARLIN’ etc better watch out.  My slow brain might think she’s asking for a quickie — I might take her up on it, and she won’t ever again think we HONEY+SWEETIE+DARLIN’S  are slow, plodding slug like creatures incapable of our own little interpersonal explosions. She wont know what hit her ( neither will I but it will be fast there isn’t much to be quick about any more..) Or I can just tell her off:  Cut out the talking down to me (can’t say condescending:  it is above the 4th grade reading level — our just peachy national reading level average – -the tweet level of comprehension) HONEYLAMB, its rude, pushy and presumptuous. Need to know how to spell presumptuous?  Finally I could just watch as she laughs herself to death after I take her up on the presumed flirt.
One way or the other, it would be fondly to be hoped that SWEETIE/HONEY/DARLIN’ won’t ever mean the same thing again.
At least thats my own sweetie fantasy.  Going back for my mid morning nap.
 Now what was my name again, sweetie?
)😜😇

Perspective

We live in (yet more) turbulent times.  The expected orders are being upended, the familiar dreams are being destroyed, the economic system on which most of us have relied seems headed for the junk pile, our leaders are people we would earlier not have chosen in a thousand years.  It seems that we are experiencing the re-valuation of all values.

So I was lazily drifting through blogs, books and emails when I stumbled across the following.  I’ve shown it to a few people and all agree: there is here some validation of the woe of our times.  See what you think:

“Oh grim calamity, where have my years all  gone?

Have I dreamed my life or is it real?

Whatever I held to be something, if it were there,

Was it really something?

And so I slept and knew nothing of it.

Now I am awake and now is strange

That which was before as familiar as my own hand.

The folk and the land in which I grew up

Are now foreign to me—as if that all were untrue.

My earlier playmates have grown slow and old.

The fields are abandoned, the forests all cut down.

Were the streams not flowing

Where they formerly flowed,

My pain would be truly great

I must believe.

I’m greeted coolly

By  those who knew me well.

Everywhere the world is bleak

The moment I recall many a magnificent day

Which has now slid away like a splash in the ocean

Then, forever:  oh woe is me.”

Ring any bells with you?  My sense was that, essentially, this sums up a lot of how I have felt recently.  And says it more eloquently than I could,, for sure.

But there is another aspect to this also:  perspective, in the sense that, first, my impressions are not just my own particular insanity, and, second, that we have been here before and are still around to talk about it.  It appears that we are like the timex watches of ads when I was young:  we take a lickin’ but keep on tickin’

And why, you might ask, do I come to that conclusion about this:

Simple.  It was written 800 years ago.

800 years ago by an itinerant German troubadour named Walther von der Vogelweide.  Walther spent a lot of his life walking  —. Yes on foot in all weather, day and night at a time when the world was lit only by fire — from one Prince’s court to another. HJe composed his poems and then sang them to his audiences for food, shelter and any other reward which his benefactor cared to bestow.

440px-Codex_Manesse_Walther_von_der_Vogelweide

He turns out to have been the for many greatest poet of the German Medieval era.  Apparently some people back then thought so too. His works survive in 32 manuscripts and one of them has a record of the melody to one of his Crusade Songs, the Palästinalied.

For me, today, his words go well beyond just having great historical importance.   Historical importance is a value in and of itself for me.  But this occasions both a sad reflection on persistent tragic folly of mankind and in a roundabout way, an encouragement in these turbulent times of ours.   It’s pretty obvious that here is an 800 year old ode to the tensions in the Holy Roman Empire during his time, and that they are to unlike some of mine at least, here 800 years later in another time of tensions and struggles. Our tragic folly is hardly different today:  fractured governance, fractured values consensus, seemingly endless warring, repeating some of the same actions that led in 1932 to The Third Reich, reversal of the reverence for nature implicit in our former embrace of ecology, etc, and so forth.  Different bottle, same sour wine.

The questions then must arise:  have we changed?  Has our notion of progress been an illusion?  If it has not, even in part, then could it be that we are not fundamentally here to make this world a better place?  DO we need some deeper reflection on the persistent tragic folly we create?.

On the other hand, this man lived  in circumstances physically enormously more dangerous and trying than mine.  He lived in  a world lit only by fire.  He walked or, if he was lucky, rode or was pulled by some animal in his travels. In the winter, he did not have to worry about his cars heater and defroster working.  No impermeable snowmobile suits with fitted gloves, boots, headgear and facemasks:  he wore heavier cloaks and possibly leather boots.   There weren’t even buttons to use on clothes.  No radio, no tv, no newspapers, no mail service…  He depended on handouts for his food, drink and shelter.  There was no social safety net of which we know (have to be careful here not go judge then by now’s standards however).  Lifespan was shorter.  Diseases which we have controlled then regularly cut down whole populations like scythes cutting tall grass. He even engaged in some rather pointed and possibly very dangerous political poetry/song writing which could easily have been seen as Walther biting the hand that fed him..   And yet:  he survived and  left this world works of beauty that have endured 800 years.

Therein lies the encouragement.  Do we not have so much for which to be grateful, even if it becomes the stage on which we act or our age’s tragic folly?  Should I then be consumed by concern?  Where are the gifts that are bestowed upon us in our time? If we can be open to it, even the cry of human woe grasping at our hearts across 8 centuries can be beautiful—-to my ears the beautiful music of Walther’s words.   Think of a poem or work of some sort where the words and the rhythm of the writing pleases you very much.  You will then have an idea of what this man’s literary power was 800 years ago..

Walther seems a lot closer to me now than he did 50 years ago and yet his distance has grown by 50 years. Increasingly my reading of history uncovers how we have been similar over the centuries, how our humanity has been the same, regardless of the physical and technological conditions of any particular time.  I have a growing sense that we are all in all ages in this together somehow.  Why not?  Einstein said time is a delusion.  My dear friend Bruce asserts that there is no future and no past, just the same day repeated over and over with different perceptions of the same thing=and all for the purpose of learning.  Walther’s cry of Owê, oh woe, oh alas, ach Weh gives that abstract thought shape and color.  At least for me.

Such mulitleveled beauty in one cry of existential sadness!  If we did not know that Walther said that 800 years ago, we could think someone said it today!  His reality and beauty is then ours too.

If truth is beauty, then our true reality is beauty, not turbulence. Turbulence just causes us to find new ways to create and celebrate beauty–to love. That’s! the reassurance of Walther’s Owê.

With this perspective, do we really have anything to fear but fear itself? O in the end Walther leaves me with this one compelling question:

Owê,what am I leaving behind of beauty?

 

 

 

 

 

1

Beyond the Divide

The announcement by DJT that the US is leaving the Paris Accords takes this repugnant regime and the rest of the US from the frying pan and into the fire.

As usual, his facts are wrong.

As usual his conclusions are wrong.

As usual his party is wrong.

As usual, this is what Scott Peck called evil: being unwilling to exert energy unconditionally on behalf of other people.

He is living proof of the German adage that stupidity will never become extinct.  But what should one expect from a spoiled brat whose parents protected him from the consequences of his boyhood bullying, who evidently was totally immune to learning during his educational years and whose lawyers and aggressive behavior have protected him from knowing what an unmitigated disaster he has been all of his malignant live?

Is this just a political difference of opinion?  Absolutely not.  It represents greed,  ideology and oppositional thinking (being against things to be against things in the erroneous belief that opposition is somehow strong) blinding decision makers to reality.  It is in short, disastrous denial and terminal uniqueness.

Climate change is real and 194 nations on this ailing planet agree.  194.  So that leaves Generalissimo Trump and his Repugnikan cohorts gleefully thinking that they are the only soldiers in step in the army.

This destroys American leadership in the world of democracy.  This destroys American initiative, creativity, determination to dominate the world in the future of energy production.  And it won’t come from oil or coal.  Even some of the oil companies refuse to support DJT in this evil insanity.

This is the macro-economic equivalent of wanting to deprive millions of Americans of health care.  Think through all the twists, turns and jumps and jerks of any part of this bully’s behavior and you must wind up at only one conclusion:  this is just plan evil in power.  Its what in Faust the Devil called himself:  the spirit who constantly negates. This is what M Scott Peck called evil:  the unwillingness, perhaps even inability, to do anything for the benefit of anyone else without condition or thought of reward or recognition.  Perhaps it is so utterly blatant that many cannot see it, but it is there nonetheless.

So this has now finally placed us at that place where the divide, until now still at least theoretically bridgeable by civil dialogue, is too great to bridge.   Civil dialogue with the morally bankrupt, know nothing bullies in the Repugnikan Party and anyone who even remotely supports them, is a waste of our time from now on.  As the kids said in the 1950s, we are cruisin’ for a bruisin’.  Except that there is no mirth in this at all.  This will do for our economy what the Repugnikan version of health management will do for our health:  undermine it.

Time to take off the velvet gloves and hit back as hard as we can —  plus 10% just to be sure.  The line has been drawn.  We are indeed beyond the divide.

Titan-o-man, so grand: farewell our friend

I keep beating myself up with self-recriminations.  Why didn’t I read the signals clearly and get help for Titanoman earlier?

It began after we gave him a bit too little food with his morning Augmentin on Wednesday.  He walking into another space from his bowls and vomited.  He repeated vomiting until it was dry heaves in the vet’s office in the early afternoon. An exam, more blood drawn and a hypothesis:  his stomach was upset by the powerful anti-biotic.

But he needed to calm things down so that he could continue the Augmentin, the supplement which protects the liver, the prednisone and if he had any pain, the combo of Tramadol and Gabapentin.  He needed all that to keep the lymphoma at bay and keep his blood count normal.  He needed all that with this his third chemo protocol, the “rescue” chemotherapy, to give him maybe another two to six months, outside, to live.

And on Wednesday he refused to take any medications or eat any food after the regurgitation spasms.  He had been given a shot of Cerenia and it helped with nausea, but something else was going on: not eating and hobbling on the left rear leg.  The vet said take him home and let’s see if the Augmentin’s absence and the anti nausea med does the trick.

It didn’t.

By mid afternoon he was having troubles getting up and walking.  We were at wits’ end about what to do until we found that our former vet here in our new hometown offered home care!  Unbelievable.  Nobody offers home care any more as a routine part of a medical or vet medical practice.  But she does. And she did.

He verdict was:  probably his spine.  Lets give him Gabapentin by mouth, Prednisocw by mouth, more Cerenia and then morphine just to be sure.  And if he cannot or will not get up after the morphine wears off around 11 PM, then tomorrow we will have to end his agony and life:  euthanasia.

His morphine rest was restless.  He really did not sleep, he just vegetated and began panting in earnest.   OK, that could just be sensitivity to morphine. We will know after 11 PM what the score is.  (Come on buddy, you can do it, God, come on, don’t let this wonderful friend down, don’t make Nancy suffer what I suffered when you couldn’t help us save Kaiser from hermangiosarcoma that windy night out on our deck April 2 last year. Please, please, please…)

He stood by himself twice between 11 PM and 3 am today.  By 3 am he could not stand unless we hoisted him in the Help ‘Em Up Harness which Bruno had and which the vet and vet tech had helped us get onto him. Otherwise he was struggling with episodes of heavy paying and open mouth breathing while on his side in the hall, struggling to try to move himself, failing back into exhaustion and not getting up.


(Come on bud, you can do this!  You just need a little rest and you’ll rebound.  After all your blood tests just 5 days ago were all totally normal and your lymph nodes all right sized.  If you’d only just eat a little, just drink a little more water.  Should we try to get you to an Emergency Vet?  Don’t know if we can lift you into the back of the car.  But I think you want to be in the car, which is your safe haven and favorite place. Right?  How abou some sign of agreement? But if I get you into the car, am I doing this just so that I’ll feel better or is it really going to serve you?  I’m so rightly strung that I think I;ll bust.)

At 3 we realize that we need help, even if it is for a euthanasia. (Large, hard lump in my throat, nerves screaming, mind whirling, fatigue pushing me hard but not overtaking me). The Emergency Vet Hospital 15 minutes away says get him here. We haul and hoist him into the Outback “trunk” area on top of an old, soft deep comforter.  He smiles  the car is one of his homes.  He is safe.  By 4:30 we are there.

This loss is especially hard for Nancy: Titan was one of the greatest loves of her life. She and he were, are and always will be one. that is a once in a lifetime inimitable gift. Precisely that, however, insures that she will feel even more sharply the aching emptiness of the hole beside snd inside herself where he used to be, while the healing process of grief takes its course.

As for me, as I write I am quietly rehearsing my habitual though basec on his being nesrby: “come here bud, lets play tug the ball”. In that very instant Inrealize with a feeling of almost nauseating bottomless falling, that his physical being cannot do that any more.

Then I’m knocked down by the very big disaster for me, on older fellow who found his only effective cure for lifelong very severe ADHD in the companionship not just of dogs, but especially and powerfully with trained GSDs. The big knock down is realization.that for the first time in 17 years there is no GSD awaiting us at home when we return is daunting. It ties up my gut in fear.

Ut at least helping him with his dying we got right in the end. We are so very very glad that he died while in the hospital; we took him there because we could not handle his struggle by ourselves. And we wanted him and his body to be treated with the utmost care and dignity.

Things got so unbearably painful for him and us that night. We filled God’s inbox with prayers, petitions, even outright commands in less than civil language. With just an bour left for him, We achieved that at nearby Western Carolina Regional Animal and Emergency just in time.

We are so utterly grateful for the unconditional love he brought us — just as Bruno,Zora and Kaiser did. We are grateful to German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption of NC for having brought Titan and Kaiser to us. Our GSD companions have lined our lived for 18 years with safety, steadiness, solace and sweetly intelligent companionship.

Titan came to us on the 19th of April, 2013 via Connie from German Shepherd Rescue and Adoption, a group of some of the most loving and tough people I’ve ever known.  It takes a lot to have to face a dog whom some dead-souled human starved, intimidated, kicked in 3 ribs and knocked out a tooth while scarring his muzzle and psyche — all before dumping in the woods to die? Is that love exceeded anywhere?

That’s what happened to Titan and the context in which he had lived when I fist met him at GSRA’s Adoption Event in March, 2013 in Cary.

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We know who did it from what he feared when he came to us:  a slim person, wearing dark shoes or especially boots, jeans or especially cargo pants and a baseball cap,.  We think this person,  if such a lowlife can deserve the appellation of human implied in the word person, must have been a male:  titan was terrified of me, cowering, baring fangs, growling at first.  We think he was protected by a woman–he had no fear of any woman who is comfortable around him.  And in some way the back seat or utility area in the back ofd an SUV type vehicle was his safe haven:  even dying, one hour before his body gave out, you could see the realization and joy at being in the back of our Outback–regardless of going to his final vet visit.

He became noticeably more agitated at the vet hospital.  It was hard to draw blood because it was thickening inside his veins.  He began to breath with his mouth wide open, tongue hanging out, long, loose, pink in color but dry as a bone and oozing a sweet-rotten smelling green nd black gelatinous goo which had to be wiped from his lip:   dehydrated saliva.  He was alternately restless and almost senseless.

The vet was in a hurry to get his blood tested.  Maybe there was something that could still be done.

(My God, is he dying right before our eyes?  He isn’t even whimpering.  Don’t worry bud, we’ve got you covered, we won’t let you suffer :  dammitallanyway, the signs of all this were evident 5 hours ago at home, my God, my God, my God it was my need to keep him around and then to be his savior that made him suffer needlessly.)

I say that to Nancy.  She says remember we did not think we could lift him into the car. (Yeah, I forgot, it took us one hour to move him basically two car lengths with the Help ‘Em Up harness and then every ounce of strength we two oldsters could muster to heft him, feeling like a burlap potato sack filled with lead potatoes, into the rear.  Oh thank you God;, he looks so peaceful here.  He seems to be smiling, and the panting is far less severe.  He’s safe and we did it!)

The vet had sprinted with the blood to the testing area at about 5:15 am.  He’d given T an injection of painkiller to slow the stress on the heart and lungs.  Nancy was talking to him – T – and turned to do something at the counter in the exam room. I was sitting a bit away and behind where Nancy was standing.  The instant she turned away, he raised his head, looking for a split second up towards the corner ceiling in the room to his front and left.  He had not been able to raise his head or even react for hours now.  And now suddenly he sits up?

But that’s not even the  half of what I saw and cannot explain.

Just before Nancy had turned around, I had noticed that, lying there on his side, panting,  those deep, large brown eyes had begun to shine a glazedgolden brown .  Suddenly the great bear head raises up, just as if he were at home and had heard something outside that was not supposed to have been there:  high alert.  It was as if he’d seen something beyond that room.  But his alert was suddenly ecstatic.  We all know what our dog looks like when he is overjoyed to see someone he loves.  Those golden brown eyes the instant he showed his joy glowed molten gold.And then, the golden light just stopped and he slumped slowly, head first and neck curved, as he’d been doing when tired from exertion all night to his right.  My eyes went instantly to his abdomen:  the lifting and falling of life was gone.  He was dead.

I had seen something that we just do not get to see on this earth.  Please don’t ask me to prove it — you were not there, I was.  It overwhelmed me, I knew biblical awe in a flash, but my mind was kicking on my thoughts saying, tell her, tell her.  God I did not want to tell her that but I did.  She screamed for the vet — but more  for her loss, and he came running.  No heartbeat.  Just a very very handsome boy lying there, eyes open but with a gentle far away stare, those large black coal nugget eyes that always had had that polish and questioning look, were dull and blank..

I am editing this on October 23.  My oh my how that hole in my life still aches, how that empty hall still hangs dark with shadows of his suffering and last nights struggle.  I’d do anything to get him — and Kaiser, and bruno and Zora — back.  But I digress.

The blood tests showed that his kidneys had failed.  We were right in deciding not to do resuscitation.

So it would not have made one iota of difference whether we had gone there earlier or not.  He was on his way out all during those two days.  He was trying to tell us that by not eating.  He was trying to get, not to the hospital, but back into the car. At least just about his last experience was a 15  minute car ride.  He wanted to leave from his safe place.

Of course now we are enduing the wrenching and lurching agony of separation, parting with no debrief afterwards.  We are doing all the phases of grief.  But they say that the brain remains active for a period after the heart stops.  I am so utterly grateful that that night shift vet gave us 10 minutes with him and then promised dignified and caring treatment of his body.  Indeed when he came back, he sat down in front of T, told him how handsome he was, and  stroked his head, neck, legs and sides.  But in those 10 minutes, when I now believe his true eternal self had made those eyes glow and was still gently hanging on to this world, he heard, saw, felt and knew a love song enough to break the bonds of death itself.

The miracle was that we wound up doing it all just right.  Or more accurately: we were guided by him to take all the right actions at all the right times.

We are devoted to German Shepherds and after a pause to grieve and reorient ourselves, not only want to bring more into our lives.  We feel strongly that we must do that, that it is our lot in this life to provide a home and a good life for GSDs misunderstood as “aggressive”, rejected,  dumped, abandoned, beaten, starved and worst of all, ignored. We owe it to Bruno, Zora, Kaiser, Titan.  Having our hand out for them is our responsibility.

Thank God he chose Nancy for his earthly commitment.  Thank God that we had the honor and sublime joy of having been his companions for four years.  Thank God that we gave him in return the best life we could.  Thank you Titan for having given me just a quick glimpse of whatever it is that animates all life.  Thank God for Titan and German Shepherds.

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