Death and Rush Limbaugh

Rush Limbaugh died of lung cancer yesterday. My Twitter and Facebook feeds were full of people who were giddy about his death. They didn’t like him. They thought he was a terrible person. They were glad he was dead. They made jokes. It was a great day. This is not a defense of Rush Limbaugh. I didn’t like him. I will admit that back in the early 90;s when I spent all day in my car delivering papers in downtown Cincinnati I would sometimes listen to his show. I found that music all day didn’t work for me so I rotated through various talk radio shows until the comedy radio show I liked started. Sometimes I would land on Rush. I didn’t agree with him and spent time yelling at the radio. I stopped listening the day he called homeless people human debris. I know he promoted a lot of terrible views and there is a good reason for people not to like him. My question is – Is it really ever OK to celebrate someone’s death?

I have mixed feelings on this. I think it was generally considered acceptable to celebrate the death of Bin Laden. I think celebrating the death of Hitler was OK. They were terrible people who were behind atrocities and the deaths of a lot of people. Charles Manson? Jeffrey Dahmer? Ted Bundy? I think most people would be OK with celebrating the death of a serial killer. What about other members of the Manson family? People who did bad things but seemed to change once they were no longer under Manson’s influence? Still a celebration? Do we celebrate the death of people who committed other terrible crimes short of murder? Does it depend on the circumstance or how close the crime was to you? Is it really a good thing to celebrate the death of someone because they promoted hateful ideas on the radio? And celebrate publicly? In some cases, seemingly stalk pages online so you can comment on other people’s comments to make sure they know you hated him and are glad he is dead?

I’m not claiming any high ground here. I’m just saying that I am not a fan of seeing post after post of people giddy about the death of anyone. In this case, I also think about the fact that I have family members who post hate filled posts on Facebook. Terrible, racist stuff. I have unfollowed them so I don’t see it and I am embarrassed that they are part of my family. I would hate to see people celebrating if they died because of this. I’m sure there are people in Limbaugh’s family in the same boat. They hated what he said and promoted on air, but he was family and people are saying we should all be glad he is dead. It just doesn’t seem right.

Do you think it is OK to celebrate the death of Rush?

Is it ever OK to celebrate anyone’s death?

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Do You Have an Online Plan?

A second person I knew online only from FriendFeed died recently. It made me think of this and the fact that I still haven’t told anyone my passwords in case anything happened to me.

I recently found out that someone I only knew online passed away.  We followed each other on Twitter, but did not communicate much there. We had both been active users of Friendfeed before Facebook bought and killed it. I didn’t really know him, but we he was one of the people on Friendfeed I could count on interacting with my posts. If not for a post on yet another social media site, I might have never known about his death. It’s possible that others I have known online have passed and I missed the news for various reasons.

This made me think – how would people know if something happened to me(I’m pretending here that random people online would care). Facebook friends would be easy. That is a more personal place for me and the majority of the people there are real life friends and family. I’m sure someone in my family would post something and tag me and then people who didn’t already know would know. I’m not really active anywhere else online except for posting here. I do wonder, though, if I should have something in place for the blog. Maybe I should give someone my password so they could post any news that I would be unable to post myself. I would hate to think that my blog would go quiet and no one would ever know why. Hopefully, this will not be something I need to worry about for years, but the death of my online connection put it in my mind.

So, my question for you – do you have someone who is tasked to post on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram etc if something were to happen to you? If you blog, do you have a plan in place for someone to post if something were to happen to you? Do you prefer not to think about such things?

Live Like You Were Dying

Last week started with a text from my brother asking me if I had heard about the death of someone from our high school. She was from his class. Two years older than me. She was married to a friend of mine from my class. She died suddenly during the night. I can’t imagine what her family is going through right now,  I had lost touch with them over the years. I had not seen them since I graduated from high school. We were friends on Facebook so I saw periodic updates on their lives. I didn’t really know them anymore, but it was still a sad way to start the week.

That week also was the week I was listening to the top 1000 country songs on a station on Sirius. I had been trying to time it to finally hear the top songs. I finally got there on my Friday hermit day. The top song, in case you were wondering, was Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks. During my week of listening, I also heard songs like If Tomorrow Never Comes and Live Like You Were Dying. Those songs coupled with the news from above made me think about how I live my life. Here are some things to think about:

Have you told the people in your life that you love them? I’m bad at this one. I always feel weird about it. I guess I’m too macho or something(ha). I need to work on that. Now, I’m still not going to say the words I love you to my friends. That seems way awkward, but I do feel like I need to tell some of them how important they are and have been in my life. Some of them have been the only light in some of my dark days, They should know that. So, I need to work on making sure people know they are loved.

If how you spend your days steals your joy why are you still there? I’m working on this one. I plan to get out of my situation soon, but I also need to make sure I’m not just jumping into another bad situation. That’s what got me where I am today. No one should spend their life doing something or spending time with people who make them miserable.

Are you stealing other people’s joy? I need to make sure that the fact that I’m struggling is not affecting other people. I don’t want to be the reason other people are unhappy. Spread joy if you can.

Are your priorities in order? Are you going to think “I wish I had made a little more money or worked a little more.” when you are dying? Most likely not. Work. Make money. But don’t put it ahead of everything else. I’m doing pretty good with this one. I would quit working today and spend my time volunteering and doing mission work if  I could.  I don’t define myself by my job or my bank account.

Are you having fun? Another failure for me. I spend my days miserable. The toxic environment exhausts me and all I want to do is go home and veg out in front of the TV. I need to get out more and have more fun. Take some day trips on my days off. Go to the movies. Have some fun.

So, that’s where my mind had been lately. Trying to start living like I’m dying.



My Bucket List

I don’t really have a bucket list, but I was looking for blog ideas and this was one so I thought I would think about it and see what I come up with. I will be as surprised as everyone else at what ends up on the list. I will first list two things I have done that would have been on the list otherwise:

  1. Go to the Super Bowl – I did this 6 years ago when the Ravens played the 49ers in New Orleans,
  2. Go to the Final Four – I did this 4 years ago and unfortunately, Kentucky lost on Saturday so we left early.

Now the list of things left on the bucket list:

  1. Get a bucket.
  2. Make a list.
  3. Once we have a decent president, attend an inaugural ball.
  4. Go to Hollywood.
  5. Go to Australia.
  6. Go to a World Series game.
  7. See LeBron James play in person.
  8. Finally pass the test and compete on Jeopardy.
  9. Attend a baseball fantasy camp for old guys.
  10. Go on an Alaskan cruise.
  11. Go to Cooperstown.
  12. Gamble in Vegas.
  13. Have a blog post go viral and get hundreds of views.
  14. Write something that is published somewhere besides my blog.
  15. Retire and move out of the boring suburbs.

And now it is dinner time so I will leave it at that. What’s on your bucket list?

A Sad Start to the Week

A little over 10 years ago my wife and kids were in Kentucky visiting her parents. She called and told me that our son really wanted a pet rabbit. I was not a fan of the idea, but they came home with a pet rabbit anyway. This was the first of several pets that arrived at the house without my input. The kids and my wife spent a lot of time with her, letting her out to get exercise hopping around in my son’s room, feeding, her, petting her, etc. I took care of her only when I was the only person at home.We were reluctant housemates, but she was part of everyone else’s family.

One of the funniest memories with Zoey – the kids were home alone after school one day. I called to check on them. I heard my daughter trying to say it where I wouldn’t hear it “Should I tell him?” It turns out what she wasn’t sure about telling me is that Zoey had escaped from her room and was hopping around the house(we had a dog by this point and worried about them interacting). They were desperately trying to catch her, but she was too fast for them. They did eventually capture her and get her back to where she was supposed to be.

Lately, Zoey has not been well. She was old for a rabbit and it was obvious she was nearing the end of her life. The kids and my wife have spent a lot of time recently holding her, petting her and comforting her. This morning, my wife called me upstairs and said Zoey had not eaten last night, wouldn’t take water and wasn’t moving at all. She died a few minutes later as my wife held her. On a normal Monday we both would have been at work when it happened, but it worked out that I am working the evening shift today and my wife has a thing at a local college and was still at home. My son was home for dinner last night and was able to see her for a while. Our daughter spent a lot of time with her over Labor Day weekend.

I won’t claim to be as sad as the rest of the family, but I am sad nonetheless. Very sad for them and knowing how they feel about it. Not a great way to start the week.

Planning My Funeral

I went to a memorial service yesterday. At the beginning of the service, they invited family and friends to come forward to speak. I love this. It is so much more personal than a random pastor who may or may not know the person giving a standard, generic funeral service. I was telling my friend who was there that I liked services like that and that I need to plan my own funeral so it isn’t boring. I’ve already told some friends that they have to have a wake for me when I die. I want people to get together and drink and laugh and remember the good times. I think maybe I should also plan my own funeral.

I would want friends and family to be invited to speak. I would hope that they would know that I would want them to balance the sad with some funny stories about me. I would need someone to be in charge of the “Oscar music” to play people off stage if they got too boring, or perhaps a gong to tell them they are done. There are plenty of pastors out there who actually know me, so finding one who could personalize that portion of the service would not be hard. Also, someone needs to tell Chris Moore that he has set a precedent after yesterday and is now required to write a letter to be read at my funeral.

Music – no piped in music, no slow, sad hymns. I want something like in this clip from the show The Wedding Band where the band sings Don’t You Forget About Me at a friend’s funeral. Maybe someone can round up some of the HCLS Teen Idol kids to sing some interesting songs like that.

After the service, instead of a meal at church, everyone would be invited somewhere for the aforementioned wake.

Hopefully, the event of my death will be so far in the future that no one will remember this post(who am I  kidding, no one will remember this post tomorrow), but I really am serious that I really don’t want my funeral to be boring. Everyone reading this is now in charge of making sure that doesn’t happen.

You know what I hate?

Well, a lot of stuff, but today I will focus on euphemisms for death. Passed on, passed away, passed, went home and any form of lost. I’ve felt this way since listening to a family friend call people from our house to tell them my dad had died and noticing her use every expression she could think of to replace the word death. I’m not sure why we feel this is necessary. Avoiding the d word did not make me feel any better about the situation and it doesn’t make the person any less dead.

Some of them annoy me more than others. When the news tells me Hollywood lost another actor I want to ask Hollywood if they checked under the couch or if they have retraced their steps. That’s how I usually find things I lost. If you just use the word passed it makes me think they did well on a test.

I guess it makes other people feel better to not say the word. I prefer to just be direct and use the big bad d word.