Saturday, December 31, 2016

2016: In Memoriam

2016 was a terrible year on many, many fronts. Compounding those tragedies in which human beings played major contributing roles was the one over which we have no influence: death. It may be my imagination, but it seems to me that this was a year in which we said goodbye to an unusual number of giants who walked among us in fields as disparate as politics, sports and entertainment.

If I had to pick two that saddened me the most it would probably be the departure of Mohammad Ali and David Bowie. If you know anything about him beyond his public persona, you will know that Ali was a man of deep conviction, principle and integrity, qualities for which he paid a very heavy price. Bowie, of course, was a remarkably versatile artist whose career spanned several decades, and who seemed to have been taken from us far too soon, with work still undone.

As you will see in the following tributes, each of the many who died in 2016 lived fully during their time, exploiting their talents to the maximum, using their gifts to uplift all of us. Not a bad legacy, and one we would all do well to emulate in the time remaining to each of us.


  1. Hey, fella. Happy New Years to you and yours. It'll be good to see the last of 2016. I only wish it didn't have to be followed by 2017.

    I've been looking at my 2016 posts to find something good and heartwarming and inspiring to revisit in a year-ender. Pretty slim pickings. Summing up what is there would be what Ernie Pyle might refer to as "promiscuous monotony."

    As I glanced over some of those posts I was struck at how episodic most were. Sort of like watching a house fire sweep across your living room as it makes its way toward the kitchen sort of thing. It's a mug's game to speculate on where those fires will travel in 2017 especially since we're not quite ready yet to place that call to the fire hall for help.

    That photograph immediately above is pretty jarring. The Guardian did a piece on celebrity deaths in 2016. It confirmed that, yes, it was a far above average year. Perhaps our grief at our loss obscures the joy we should have for what they did with their lives and all they gave us. Aren't they really all just strangers to whom we've bonded?

    As for me, the highlight of 2016 may be that I "cut the cable." There didn't seem to be anything worth continuing any longer, nothing certainly that offset the frustration and anger that welled up from the facile, often manipulative programming for which any price might be too much.

    What to say of 2017? To me, the fight to build support for a change of course will continue, perhaps with a greater urgency. Perhaps the arrival of a Trump presidency will be that long overdue catalyst that creates the momentum we need. Something has to.

    1. Happy New Year to you, Mound. I have purposely avoided thinking too much about 2017 for obvious reasons, but like you, I hope to continue my efforts (however modest they may be) to work toward a better world. I have been doing some deep reading of late, some of which I hope to incorporate into the blog soon. As well, I have another project in mind for the blog, but since I don't know whether I will achieve it, I won't talk about it at this point. I have found over the years that if I talk about something I am thinking about putting on paper or computer screen, I seem to lose the psychic impetus that decent writing requires.

      No doubt there will be no dearth of subjects to address in the new year, not at all a comforting thought, eh?

  2. Happy New Year, guys. We cannot let events be the only things which determine our future.

    1. Wise words indeed, Owen. Happy New Year!