The debate over assisted suicide is a complicated one.
But in general I believe if life becomes no longer bearable without any hope of ever getting better, than a person should be able to have control over his own life and decide to end it. I understand that there’s slippery slopes.
But we all got to push off this mortal coil some time.
So I generally support physician assisted suicide.
Unfortunately the man who is best associated with being pro “right to die” has a face like this:
Wookit the adorable face of Death.
The late Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
Did he have to look like the embodiment of Death?!
Even when he’s trying to smile, he looks like Death.
It was the LAST face seen by the 130 people who were assisted into the Great Beyond by Dr. Jackie K. himself.
If I’m pushing off this mortal coil, I would want someone to have a friendly face to escort me to whatever (if anything) comes after.
Not a jaundice, wrinkled man with bulging eyeballs looking like the personification of the Angel of Death.
I understand that its wrong to judge the man by his looks. I’m sure he was a fine gentleman, a humanist who enjoyed painting and composing music.
But doing what he did and looking how he looked… it’s just unfortunate.
My ideal escort would be someone with a sense of humor. Cuddly and gentle without any potential to arouse any fear.
I want Death to be the most huggable black man in America.
Just look at that face!
Now look at that face about to eat a hot dog.
Just look at it! LOOK!
Yessir, if I’m pushing off this mortal coil, let it be Al to escort me and I will die that death like a death ought to die.
I was listening to the love story between Carl Sagan and his third and final wife Anne Druyan from an episode in Radiolab.
I kept playing it again and again because there this gigantic gap in the story that seems to require a giant cognitive leap that I just couldn’t make.
Carl was on his second marriage with his wife Linda Salzman with which he had a child with. Anne Druyan was in a serious relationship with a man and the two couples were friends.
But 1 phone call changed everything.
I guess its supposed to be reckless and romantic but I just don’t see it.
Here is the story as written by Anne Druyan in the Epilogue of Billions & Billions: Thoughts on Life and Death at the Brink of the Millennium with a few minor edits by me. [Note that I did NOT cut any part of the crucial telephone call of her story. It was just written that way.] :
In the early spring of 1977, Carl was invited by NASA to assemble a committee to select the contents of a phonograph record that would be affixed to each of the Voyager 1 and 2 spacecraft… Here was an opportunity to send a message to possible beings of other worlds and times. It could be far more complex than the plaque that Carl and Carl’s wife, Linda Salzman, and astronomer Frank Drake had attached to Pioneer 10. That was a breakthrough, but it was essentially a license plate. The Voyager record would include greetings in sixty human languages and one whale language, an evolutionary audio essay, 116 pictures of life on Earth and ninety minutes of music from a glorious diversity of the worlds cultures. The engineers projected a one-billion-year shelf life for the golden phonograph records.
How long is a billion years? In a billion years the continents of Earth would be so altered that we would not recognize the surface of our own planet. … It was conceivable that, Noah-like, we were assembling the ark of human culture, the only artifact that would survive into the unimaginably far distant future.
In the course of my daunting search for the single most worthy piece of Chinese music, I phoned Carl and left a message at his hotel in Tucson where he was giving a talk. An hour later the phone rang in my apartment in Manhattan. I picked it up and heard a voice say: I got back to my room and found a message that said Annie called. And I asked myself, why didn’t you leave me that message ten years ago?
Bluffing, joking, I responded lightheartedly. Well, I’ve been meaning to talk to you about that, Carl. And then, more soberly, Do you mean for keeps?
Yes, for keeps, he said tenderly. Let’s get married.
Yes, I said and that moment we felt we knew what it must be like to discover a new law of nature. It was a eureka, a moment in which a great truth was revealed, one that would be reaffirmed through countless independent lines of evidence over the next twenty years…
What message did she leave him? Wasn’t it just a message about finding the right piece of Chinese music? So why would Carl say she should’ve left that message 10 years ago?!
I can understand the usage of narrative ellipses and very subtle exposition to make a love story mysterious, alluring and still remain a little private. But I still think there’s something severely wrong here.
How does she go from talking about this neat little project to make a Noah’s Ark record to send out into space, billions and billions and billions of years, and then to making a call to Carl and suddenly they’re talking about “for keeps” and suddenly “let’s get married”?
Carl and Anne
I don’t believe I am missing any context from the story that would make it easier to understand since the Radiolab interview is pretty much presented as a self contained story about the moment Anne fell in love with Carl Sagan.
She basically “yada yada yadaed” her way out of the best part of the story without any attempt to actually say “yada yada yada.” She just presented it as so, and expects the reader to accept this giant gap!
Not only that but there seems to be almost no sympathy at all to the victims of this reckless love affair in particular Carl Sagan’s wife at the time, Linda Salzman. In fact, Anne even sounds catty and competitive when she disses the very similar project Carl & Linda worked on:
“It could be far more complex than the plaque that Carl and Carl’s wife, Linda Salzman, and astronomer Frank Drake had attached to Pioneer 10. That was a breakthrough, but it was essentially a license plate. The Voyager record would include greetings in sixty human languages and one whale language…”
Oh Snap! She just called that project “A LICENSE PLATE!” and then goes on to say how great HER project with Carl was in comparison.
I would totally love to see the cat-fight that should ensue had these ladies been from the ghetto.
It also makes me wonder about Carl and the way he gets chicks. It seems like he goes around asking ladies if they want to work on some “ark of human culture” to send into space and then uses his famous “billions and billions” line to make them starry eyed romantic about the project and its context as a cosmic human endeavor.
Understandably, Linda Salzman was pretty upset with Carl and did not understand why Carl did this. Neither would I if he used this same story to explain his love for Anne.
The heart does want what the heart wants. But damn! You ice cold, Sagan.. you ice cold!
Human biological aberrations like conjoined twins (commonly known as Siamese twins) make me feel uncomfortable.
The idea of your jerkass sibling growing on you…. always borrowing your organs and getting all the girls.
I understand that they are people two… I mean too.
But they make me …. it’s just … uhgghg *shudder* uggggh
But I’m sitting in front of the tube and popping cherries in my mouth when I notice that the cherry between my fingers has a conjoined twin. I pause for a second, expecting to be disturbed.
Photo by HarlanH
Photo by hfabulous
Instead, I eat it and find it to be delicious and convenient. Two cherries for the price of one, only makes it all the more delicious.
Some of them even look like cute little butts.
I want to eat an entire bag comprised only of mutant cherries.
But I can do without bagfuls of human conjoined twins.
I just know that I’d end up only liking one of the twins.
“Yeah… I like him alright… it’s just his brother is such a dick. I wish he wouldn’t hang around him so much.”
The two for one deal just doesn’t apply.
Maybe I would feel differently, if I got into cannibalism.
Today in a bookstore I saw a man looking a little too comfortable carrying his wife’s purse.
He was trying to get at a book in a high shelf. I think I saw him lift up one leg bending at the knee in a 90 degree angle while he reached up top for the book.
Then he sauntered over to his wife who had just left the bathroom, carrying the book in 1 hand and had the purse over his shoulder.
I think he was even looking a bit… sassy as he approached his wife.
The goalie is the most embarrassing, demeaning position in the sport.
He’s covered from head to toe in thick padding like a tick about to pop. He can barely move about or see the puck on the ground in front of his gigantic thick legs.
photo by ekilby
While all the other players are gracefully skating across the ice in quick fluid movements to move the puck forward performing a triple deke or even forming the most beautiful formation in hockey… The Flying “V”…
…the goalie stands around in the crease only to constantly fall on all fours… like a baby giraffe learning to walk.
He’s also always doing comical moves like the splits or the “don’t kick me in the balls” move of closing your legs together.
Is that his head or is that an arm.. a leg...? It looks like a pile of hockey equipment.
The goalie forms his body in ugly contortions, making all this effort to to get into this weird position only to look behind him and see the damn thing sitting there behind the line spinning and mocking you. That time delay of this awful realization is comical, like a Wile E. Coyote falling off a cliff delayed response.
The slow terrible realization of Wile E. Coyote
It seems like a position that can be played by a guy who’s first learning to ice skate… limbs arbitrarily flying about hoping that something might block a rubber puck going 100 miles an hour.
and I think the biggest insult is that they say to the goalie… “here.. have this stick.”
What the hell does he need the stick for?! He can’t leave the crease.
It might be occasionally used to desperately grab at a puck from a distance while the goalie is down on the floor.
But we all know that it really is only used to pick up the puck during an icing call.
I’m sure the reason Jason of Friday the 13th wears a Detroit Red Wings goalie hockey mask is that he got sick of this demeaning position and is out for revenge.*
*yeah yeah yeah… Jason never played goalie. He just picked up the mask from one of his victims. Shut up.
Much of my knowledge of hockey comes from Disney’s Mighty Ducks trilogy. No, I’m not going to watch Slap Shot… an actual good movie about hockey. I prefer my skewed Emilio Estevez vision of hockey, thank you very much. Now if you want to talk about whether or not D3 was better or worse than D2.. then that’s a conversation I want to partake in.
Even with my Disneyfied version of hockey, I got some things to complain about the game.
"Oh, those kids!" Who needs Paul Newman when you have Emilio? I totally believe Charlie would be OK with his hockey coach having sex with his mom.
It seems to me that many penalties in hockey are just natural parts of actually playing hockey. When you’ve got sticks and legs everywhere and all of them are moving about whacking each other at fast speed on slippery ice… how do you even avoid hitting someone with a stick, elbowing the guy behind you or accidentally hooking someone?
But hooking, tripping, elbowing, high sticking are all penalties in hockey.
While I can understand that intentionally doing these things deserve to be considered a penalty but doing it unintentionally shouldn’t.
It’s similar to my soccer experience in which the “no hands” rule applies. I get it. It’s soccer. You use your feet so you don’t use your hands to pick up the ball and toss it around. BUT if the ball bounces off someone’s knee and it just so happens to hit the outside of your hand… why is that considered a foul? I didn’t want to touch the ball with my hand.. it was the ball that hit my hand. It’s the bully who says “stop hitting yourself” when he’s forcing your hand to hit yourself.
The same rules go for hockey and I think it’s wrong.
Speaking of soccer… why can’t you kick in hockey? You can angle your foot.. but you can’t kick the puck in the goal? It’s already hard enough as it is to even get the damn puck in the goal. You’re lucky if you see a game where a team has scored 5 times within an hour and 15 minutes.
Maybe the sport would even be better without sticks. It could be Ice Soccer.
So there are all these minor penalties that seem to occur just by the nature of the game itself….BUT if you want to start to punch a guy straight in the face that’s OK in hockey. You can start whaling on a guy until he’s bleeding on the ice but accidentally kick a puck in the goal and everyone gets pissed.
But what is interesting about fights in hockey is that you can actually beat each other up… but my God.. you don’t want to be rude about it. There’s an etiquette to fighting in hockey.
Some toofless Molson-Drinking bearded Canadian skates on over to his fellow enforcer and they set a time to have a fight together (5 minutes into the third period good for you?… I’m gonna be busy triple deking, could we try to make it earlier?). Once the schedule is all figured out you can have at it.
The loser is expected to accept his loss graciously… God forbid you start screaming when you’ve lost teeth and your bloody nose is staining the ice upsetting the Zamboni man who’s watching in the corner and is the only guy who really “gets” you.
Look over there...you're upsetting the Zamboni man! You know how sensitive Carl is!
What’s bizarre when two guys on slippery ice are fighting is that they have to hold each other up because otherwise they’d fall on top of each other. So they’re purple nurpling each other through their jerseys and punching each other in the face in this kinda beautiful ice dance of, “I want to kill you so bad… but at the same time I hope you don’t fall down on the ice cause then I’d fall down too…so be careful.. don’t fall down.. cause if you do I am so going to kill you on this cold slippery ice.”
What I do like about Hockey penalties though is how they punish you for them.
How different sports treat penalties is as diverse as the way different parents treat their fighting kids.
Say, an older brother fouls his little sister when they fight over some ice cream.
In basketball they reward the person who was fouled by letting him take a free throw shot. So it’s like the parents giving the little sister even more ice cream because the older brother fouled her.
In soccer, there a lot of the “I’m warning you mister!” with their cute little cards..
“Don’t make me do it… don’t make me do it.. If you don’t listen to me.. I’m going to show you a red card… OHP! That’s it.. RED CARD buddy.. RED CARD.”
But in Hockey, if you commit a foul you have to sit in the penalty box.
It’s the equivalent of the parents saying, “Sit in this box and think about what you did,” while all the rest of the kids are out there tongues waggling madly over the ice cream. It is essentially a “timeout.”
This seems like the best way to penalize someone and is generally considered good parenting. Empty warnings or rewarding the offended individual does not help them to learn their lesson.
You sit there and think long and hard about the terrible things you said to make that toothless Canadian man cry.. Missy! photo by minter
Breast-feeding in public is like a solar eclipse—it’s natural, it’s beautiful, but you’re not allowed to look at it.
I think it’s pretty cool to be able to breast feed.
I’d like to be able to high-five a woman for breast feeding to show her how totally awesome I think breast feeding is.
But I guess I’m not supposed to look at it and she probably has a baby in her arms so she couldn’t really high five me.
But the idea of being able to produce food out of my body…
If I could deep fry potato chips in my stomach or produce m&m’s out of my ears…It’s like a being a human vending machine.
Is she even aware what an awesome superpower this is?!
If I somehow ended up with the powers of breast feeding in some freak radiation accident (or a visit to a sex change doctor in Thailand)…
I would first think… what a privilege it is that I get to do this.
Occasionally I might choose to abuse this power.
If I’m feeling lazy in bed but I needed to get a nice warm glass of milk…
Ploop… squirt squirt and Yummy yum!
If I’m at a delightful dinner party I could finally be the hero who saves the evening when something dreadful happens.
The lovely hostess wishes to serve a charming dessert plate of Oreo cookies. The guests, rapt with anticipation of wrapping their mouths around a chocolaty bit of heaven and cream dipped in milk, are all startled when the hostess reappears out of the kitchen screaming,”Oh dear! We haven’t any milk!”
Everyone would then turn to me and my giant milkers and I would rise up to the challenge by nonchalantly flipping my breasts out and assuredly declare, “not a problem. I’ve got the white stuff you need.”
Ploop..Ploop… squirt squirt and Yummy yum!
This would be a far cry from my normal dinner party experiences in which I’m the only Asian who did not seem to eat much of the food at the party. Then the hostess’ daughter declares,”Oh my God! The dog is gone!” and all the guests turns their heads towards me.
Stupid people. Do they even know how long it takes to cook a dog?!
At some point I would realize that I could use my breast feeding superpowers for the good of all mankind and not just myself and friends.
I would start to be totally generous with it.
You looking hungry over there..
Ploop..Ploop… squirt squirt and Yummy yum!
My milk can nourish the entire world…
I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere.
Wherever there’s a little starving African child without the energy to fight the flies… I’ll be there.
Wherever there’s a pothead who’s got the munchies, Cap’N Crunch but no milk…I’ll be there.
Wherever there’s a poor hobo screaming about the cobras into the darkness … I’ll be there.
Wherever Sean Penn is receiving an Oscar… I’ll be there.
Ploop..Ploop… squirt squirt and Yummy yum!
I may eventually feel that this power is too much work (and it makes my nipples hurt like hell).
The throngs of desperate tit-clutching milk sucklers would surround me and I would have doubts about being a superhero.
But I would come around and realize that with this great power comes great responsibility.
Your allotted time has been used up and no matter how much we all miss you, you are gone.
Let’s not get dig up your corpse, prance it around to do whatever we want with you.
I would think that the people among the living would give at least that much respect to the deceased.
But apparently not:
Hey John Lennon !
YOU ARE DEAD. You shouldn’t even know what the hell a laptop is!
Who the hell decided it was OK to reanimate a corpse to have him shill laptops?!
Yoko Ono.. the corpse ventriloquist.
I tried with music but I guess I failed so let's do it with laptops! ... and don't forget to buy my hit album Give Peace A Chance: International Mixes on iTunes NOW!
They asked Yoko for permission to do this.
Why does Yoko get to decide what’s done to her dead husband?
There’s nothing said in marriage vows to suggest you can control the desecration of your spouse’s image after death.
It’s ’til Death do us part.
John’s dead. That’s it.
Any promises made during the marriage are null and void now.
He’s in the afterlife having the time of his afterlife, unencumbered by the marriage vows he took in this life.
While here amongst the living we’re taking his image and using it for whatever we want.
YOKO! STOP messing with John’s legacy and take the advice of the McCartney/Lennon song: LET IT BE.
Until…. maybe after 100 years.
At some point historical icons become so removed from the modern world that it becomes kinda hilarious to desecrate historical figures.
A couple of good examples:
The Conan O’Brien: Lincoln Money Shot
Abraham Lincoln is probably one of the world’s greatest leaders of all time… but it’s been 200 years and the world needed to see this:
Mary Todd is damn lucky.
Galileo Galilei, William Shakespeare and Ben Franklin:
I feel powerless when bereft of the exact set of words that strikes right at the heart of what I want to express.
I eat every day and can adeptly describe my food order. I know how to describe my sandwich or burrito.
But there are many other common everyday things where I feel the powerless to describe in a direct way in which anyone could easily understand what I’m talking about.
Instead I must jump through hoops, do a little song an dance of similes hoping that one will strike the right set of chords to make you understand exactly what I’m saying. These descriptions often rely on bizarre mixtures of celebrities, metaphors and made up words.
Adjectives just aren’t doing their job efficiently enough.
Here are some examples:
Describing a Haircut
At least every month I get asked this.
When you’re a kid, no one tries to ask you to describe specifically what you want in a haircut. They just go ahead and cut your hair. At some point they start asking you what you want and then suddenly you’re ushered into this world of specialized words to describe hair style.
Most people know the words for the hair styles they DON’T want. Most people don’t want an afro, comb-over, mullet, mohawk, or dreadlocks but don’t know the words to describe what they do want. I’m sure most men get frustrated and probably end up saying, “Just do whatever you think looks good.”
Celebrity haircuts seem to ease the pain of describing a haircut. Women of the early 90s could saunter in to a shop and order a “Rachel” (from the show Friends). Just be careful your haircutress knows who you’re talking about. You might be requesting a haircut like that of the lovely Andie MacDowell but end up leaving with a Ronald McDonald crimson jewfro.
So easily confused those two! “You know.. that actor/spokesperson in those movies.. like that one movie with that funny angry jerk guy (Bill Murray/The Hamburglar) who drives around with a strange furry creature (Groundhog/Grimace).”
Describing A Face
“I met someone who is perfect for you.”
“Well.. what does she look like?”
I have yet to be victimized by some thug but I still feel pangs of anxiety over how I would ever describe that face to the police sketch artist. “Ugly” or “Pretty” is not enough to create a sketch and metaphors don’t seem to work too well.
But racial stereotypes work really well to describe a face. “The face that launched a 1000 ships” does nothing to help you figure out what Helen of Troy looked like but if you were to say she’s got a real Mexicany face, I instantly got some picture.
Most people end up doing a receipe face of Frankenstein Celebrity to describe a face– he’s got Angelina Jolie’s lips, Steve Guttenberg’s nostrils, Julia Robert’s throbbing brain vein mixed with a hint of Andie MacDonald’s jewfro haircut.
..and of course, you can also use a Conan O’Brien style “If They Mated” way to describe a person’s face.
If these two mated.. could possibly used to describe this guy (‘s nipples).
Describing A Sound
Sounds like a moose trying to mate with an ostrich getting his nipples pierced.
Sounds coming from a human are fairly easy to recreate with your own voice but sounds generated from anything else are almost impossible to get exactly right.
and again… Celebrity musicians seem to ease the pain of describing a sound. Just be careful your vocal coach knows who you’re talking about. You might be requesting to sound like that of the lovely Michael McDonald but end up leaving sounding like an insane Ronald McDonald.
Everyone knows exactly what boogers, earwax, & bellybutton lint are. There’s no song and dance required to describe them exactly. But what about all the other stuff that happens to our bodies? Don’t these deserve their own words as well?
The Jigglies: Pee Shivers
Only happens among men… It’s a shivering.. shuddering.. jiggle..feeling that you get when you’re about finished with your peeing. It seems to happen more often if you held your pee for awhile.
While shivering is just what happens to your body while it happens, it doesn’t capture the other feeling you get. It’s somewhere between a post sneeze or post yawn kind of brief euphoria. I think they should be called the “jigglies.”
Yoaning : That Stretching Tired Moan Groan Thing
Around 3:30 in the afternoon in any work place, you’re going to hear these sounds.
When you yawn, you are also compelled for some reason to also make a moaning sound at the same time. The yawn is usually combined with a body stretch. Some people are really obnoxious with it, creating this baboon call you can hear throughout the house and across the jungle. This would be yoaning.
Eye Boogers: The stuff in your eyes in the morning
Eye boogers is that gunk in your eyes after waking up. A friend told me his parents said that elves crawled on to his eyeballs at night and would chew on crackers. They’d leave the crumbs in your eyes the next morning.
It’s extremely hard to describe what you see in your eyes especially if you think other people don’t see them. Eye floaters are the weird stringy shapes that float around in your eyes. You try to look at them but they float away. I’m not sure if “floater” is the official term, but it looks like its worthy enough for a wikipedia page.
A lot of time is wasted trying to describe things. It can be interesting trying to mix and match the right set of adjectives and metaphors but I often wish there was just one word to cut right into it because often the mish mash song and dance of celebrity frankesteins and jigglies just doesn’t capture something easily.
I have great appreciation for those who find the exact set of words that really describes it.
“Kathy,I’m lost,I said, though I knew she was sleeping.
I’m empty and aching and I don’t know why..”
The definition of the word is unclear.
Someone has to actively decide if this is just a normal murder or if this crosses some magical line and becomes an assassination.
The original meaning probably had something to do with a murder for political or ideological reasons… but its meaning has seemed to change.
Reagan had an “assassination” attempt but his attempted killer had no political or ideological reason. He just wanted to impress Jodie Foster. Someone must’ve felt that Reagan is worth a damn and someone tried to kill him so that’s an assassination attempt. The same could be said of Martin Luther King Jr. whose killer’s motivations do not seem to be for ideological or political reasons either. But if you lead a civil rights movement and someone kills you dead.. you’ve been assassinated son! The book & film, The Assassination of Jesse James are calling his death an “assassination” when the Ford brothers seemed to want to kill him just for the money and fame. Again, someone felt Jesse James was important enough and just got upgraded to assassination!
But if you are a C-list celebrity.. say Carson Daly… and someone kills Carson because his ideological beliefs that talk show hosts with no personality are destroying this nation…. no one would call that an assassination. So someone who is NOT worth a damn but is killed for ideological reasons do not count as assassinations.
So to qualify for “assassination” it seems you must be someone of importance who gets killed but not necessarily for ideological or political reasons.
This means that if you are a nameless hobo for suburban housewives to practice murder on…. you’re always just going to be “murdered.”
I hope that if I was to be murdered, that someone would bump it up to the first class of murders and call it an assassination.
It instantly dignifies my untimely death …even if I was killed for stupid reasons like not providing Trix to silly rabbits.
It’s important to die dignified. Everyone knows dying with dignity is the only way to die.
I know that blogs continue to exist after their owners are dead.
If you are reading this posthumously because I was murdered, please refer to my death as an “assassination.”
It would help my ego.
Alright..Fine. I might return the favor and call your murder an “assassination” too.
Who’s to say your death is not as important as mine or Abraham Lincoln’s or that nameless hobo housewives use to practice murder on.
We all deserve to be assassinated.
And now somerthing fun for the kids!:
Fun way to memorize how to spell “assassination” :
It couldn’t have been a lone gunman.
It had to at least taken two “ass”es to assassinate Kennedy.