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Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Because we cannot stop for death...

I had several moments to reflect and attempt to come to grips with the harsh realities of death over the weekend.  The matriarch of my wife's family passed last week after a brief, but courageous battle with cancer.  Her family honored her with a nice Irish Catholic wake and burial.  It was precisely how a farewell should be treated.  She was remembered fondly and with laughs.  There were no over the top moments and feuds were squashed momentarily so we could all do what needed to be done.  Celebrate the life.  Celebrate our own lives.


Should you attempt to make sense of it all and rectify any and/or all of lifes mysteries during a weekend mourning you should stop kidding yourself.  We are on this planet for about 10 seconds.  Make your mark and do your best to leave an impression (a positive one preferably.)


With that in mind, as I took brief glimpses into the media world, I was reminded how much minutiae we place on death and those who passed.


Exhibit A:  The People v Conrad Murray.


You mean to tell me tax dollars are actually going into this case?  Michael Jackson hired this man to put him to sleep with heavy sedatives every night.  He went from a seemingly normal black man to a frail, unstable black woman right before our eyes.  He was a recluse.  He was a showman.  His parents (namely his father) mis-treated and mentally abused.  He was a genius.  He was an innovator.  He was unbelievably damaged.  It would not have surprised me had he killed himself.  It would not have surprised me if he purposely over-medicated.


For us to believe one (clearly overwhelmed and unable to grasp the magnitude of his situation) physician was in any way responsible for MJ's death is naive, mis-guided, and in many ways an enormous waste of time.  Dr. Murray is guilty of bad judgement, bad medicine and bad timing.


He is not a murderer any more than I am for watching what was once the King of Pop disintegrate into a walking punchline for undiagnosed/untreated mental illness.  


Side note:  Kenny Ortega is said to take the stand first.  He should be tried for inlicting High School Musical on us!!  Do you think I am happy that I sometimes hum "What Time is It? Summer Time!!" to myself???


Exhibit B:


Much too was made of Tony Bennett's interview with Howard Stern last week where he spoke of us "being the terrorists and two wrongs not making a right."


Scandalous, huh?  Mr Bennett fought at the Battle of the Bulge for Christ's sake.  If he, at age 85, wants to opine about our government's motives and his pascisfism:  LET HIM DO IT!!!


Funny how we throw bombs on people the moment we are attacked in an attempt to protect our freedoms.  Yet, when someone spouts an opinion about something sensitive we want them to shut the hell up.  Not me.  Mr Bennett is a performer who has as much credibility as many elected officials.   Believe me, I hate when artists spout off during concerts and preach during movies.  You know what, I can NOT see the movie or hear the song.  I can give the benefit of the doubt.  And my wife will not have a burka on next to me.  And she can vote.  And all is well.  It has been 10 years since 9.11 and I wonder if we have learned a damn thing.


I will never forget those who lost their lives and would never try and diminish the awful tragedy of that day and the days since.  But we are becoming so polarized about language and free speech it proves once again those attacks did more than take down buildings and lives.  I liked Seth Meyers joke on SNL the other night.


I am paraphrasing, but you get the picture:  "President Obama said his new tax plan is not an example of class warfare.  It's math.  Too bad, since we are far better at warfare than math."


Much easier to fight fire with fire than take a look at some real solutions through meaningful dialogue.  Me?  I would rather talk it out.  And I can think Mr Bennett is an old man who may have misspoke a bit.  Pretty sure he is on our side though.  If you don't get that then I am afraid all is lost.


Exhibit C:


I don't want to start a debate about capital punishment here.  After all, I probably fall somewhere in the middle.  My biggest problem is the cost and the FACT that it does not deter crime.  Sure it is uncivilized and harsh, but I got a feeling if someone harmed my family with malice I would want the boy dead.


Problem is humans tend to be involved with litigation and criminal justice/police investigation.  And you know what we do real well?  Prosecute and convict folks that have not done anything wrong.  Then, in some cases, we kill them.


Um, that's not good.


I could go into the Troy Davis execution now or the applause Rick Perry received when he bragged of the folks he done killed in Texas, but that can all wait.


My big gripe this weekend came from the scumbag in Perry's state who was executed last week.  I could look up his name but he need not get any more press.  Suffice it to say he was involved in the dragging death of a black man many years ago.


As a final insult he ordered the entire left side of the Texas Jail System's menu.  What does that consist of you ask?  Something like this:  two chicken steaks, a triple bacon cheeseburger, fried okra, three fajitas, a pizza, a pint of ice cream, and a slab of peanut butter fudge with crushed peanuts.  A couple issues here obviously.  And I am going to ignore that he did not eat one thing.  


My biggest issue is why we allow inmates to get whatever the hell they want on their execution day?  Texas has now looked into putting this practice away for good.  But what is the point here?  We are rewarding them for a heinous crime?


Secondly, why publicize any of it anyway?  If you are convicted to die the only other time I want to hear about you is in the obituary section.  Does anyone really want to know the culinary habits of a man who dragged someone behind a car until there was nothing left on the end of his rope?  


Oh, he likes fried okra, maybe I should give it a try.


Up to me (if all DNA and videotaped evidence stands up in trial) this guy should have been tied up to a Buick and given some of the same.  


It is what we do isn't it?





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