14 thoughts on “January 17, 2019: 50,000 Watt Intensive Care Unit”

      1. It was on a county road, so it didn't hit me until I got into town and had to stop at a light. I really hope it dissipates by the end of the day.

    1. You know what is a really crappy way to start your day?

      "Getting run over on the way to work," says the skunk.

  1. RIP, Jack Bogle, who brought investment options to the masses. It's rare to be able to say someone in the world of finance really made the world a better place, but he most definitely did. Millions of middle class people were able to benefit efficiently from his low expense ratios and no-load index funds.

  2. Poet Mary Oliver died today. She's a great read in a tent after a day of hiking. I love this poem and hope to have similar thoughts at my end.

    When death comes
    like the hungry bear in autumn;
    when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse

    to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
    when death comes
    like the measle-pox

    when death comes
    like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,

    I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
    what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?

    And therefore I look upon everything
    as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
    and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
    and I consider eternity as another possibility,

    and I think of each life as a flower, as common
    as a field daisy, and as singular,

    and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
    tending, as all music does, toward silence,

    and each body a lion of courage, and something
    precious to the earth.

    When it's over, I want to say all my life
    I was a bride married to amazement.
    I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

    When it's over, I don't want to wonder
    if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

    I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
    or full of argument.

    I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.

      1. Make's me think of Czeslaw Milosz poem of his wife passing:


        Standing on flagstones of the sidewalk at the entrance to Hades
        Orpheus hunched in a gust of wind
        That tore at his coat, rolled past in waves of fog,
        Tossed the leaves of the trees. The headlights of cars
        Flared and dimmed in each succeeding wave.

        He stopped at the glass-paneled door, uncertain
        Whether he was strong enough for that ultimate trial.

        He remembered her words: “You are a good man.”
        He did not quite believe it. Lyric poets
        Usually have – as he knew – cold hearts.
        It is like a medical condition. Perfection in art
        Is given in exchange for such an affliction.

        Only her love warmed him, humanized him.
        When he was with her, he thought differently about himself.
        He could not fail her now, when she was dead.

        He pushed open the door and found himself walking in a labyrinth,
        Corridors, elevators. The livid light was not light but the dark
        of the earth.
        Electronic dogs passed him noiselessly.
        He descended many floors, a hundred, three hundred, down.

        He was cold, aware that he was Nowhere.
        Under thousands of frozen centuries,
        On an ashy trace where generations had moldered,
        In a kingdom that seemed to have no bottom and no end.

        Thronging shadows surrounded him.
        He recognized some of the faces.
        He felt the rhythm of his blood.

        He felt strongly his life with its guilt
        And he was afraid to meet those to whom he had done harm.
        But they had lost the ability to remember
        And gave him only a glance, indifferent to all that.

        For his defense he had a nine-stringed lyre.
        He carried in it the music of the earth, against the abyss
        That buries all of sound in silence.
        He submitted to the music, yielded
        To the dictation of a song, listening with rapt attention,
        Became, like his lyre, its instrument.

        Thus he arrived at the palace of the rulers of that land.
        Persephone, in her garden of withered pear and apple trees,
        Black, with naked branches and verrucose twigs,
        Listened from the funereal amethyst of her throne.

        He sang the brightness of mornings and green rivers,
        He sang of smoking water in the rose-colored daybreaks,
        Of colors: cinnabar, carmine, burnt sienna, blue,
        Of the delight of swimming in the sea under marble cliffs,
        Of feasting on a terrace above the tumult of a fishing port,
        Of tastes of wine, olive oil, almonds, mustard, salt.
        Of the flight of the swallow, the falcon,
        Of a dignified flock of pelicans above the bay,
        Of the scent of an armful of lilacs in summer rain,
        Of his having composed his words always against death
        And of having made no rhyme in praise of nothingness.

        I don’t know – said the goddess – whether you loved her or not.
        Yet you have come here to rescue her.
        She will be returned to you. But there are conditions:
        You are not permitted to speak to her, or on the journey back
        To turn your head, even once, to assure yourself that she is
        behind you.

        And so Hermes brought forth Eurydice.
        Her face no longer hers, utterly gray,
        Her eyelids lowered beneath the shade of her lashes.
        She stepped rigidly, directed by the hand
        Of her guide. Orpheus wanted so much
        To call her name, to wake her from that sleep.
        But he refrained, for he had accepted the conditions.

        And so they set out. He first, and then, not right away,
        The slap of the god’s sandals and the light patter
        Of her feet fettered by her robe, as if by a shroud.
        A steep climbing path phosphorized
        Out of darkness like the walls of a tunnel.
        He would stop and listen. But then
        They stopped, too, and the echo faded.
        And when he began to walk the double tapping commenced again.
        Sometimes it seemed closer, sometimes more distant.
        Under his faith a doubt sprang up
        And entwined him like cold bindweed.
        Unable to weep, he wept at the loss
        Of the human hope for the resurrection of the dead,
        Because he was, now, like every other mortal.
        His lyre was silent, yet he dreamed, defenseless.
        He knew he must have faith and he could not have faith.
        And so he would persist for a very long time,
        Counting his steps in half-wakeful torpor.

        Day was breaking. Shapes of rock loomed up
        Under the luminous eye of the exit from underground.
        It happened as he expected. He turned his head
        And behind him on the path was no one.

        Sun. And sky. And in the sky white clouds.
        Only now everything cried to him: Eurydice!
        How will I live without you, my consoling one!
        But there was a fragrant scent of herbs, the low humming of bees,
        And he fell asleep with his cheek on the sun-warmed earth.

    1. Since I just read this last night and we’re talking about poetry and death ...

      When my mother died I was very young,
      And my father sold me while yet my tongue
      Could scarcely cry " 'weep! 'weep! 'weep! 'weep!"
      So your chimneys I sweep & in soot I sleep.

      There's little Tom Dacre, who cried when his head
      That curled like a lamb's back, was shaved, so I said,
      "Hush, Tom! never mind it, for when your head's bare,
      You know that the soot cannot spoil your white hair."

      And so he was quiet, & that very night,
      As Tom was a-sleeping he had such a sight!
      That thousands of sweepers, Dick, Joe, Ned, & Jack,
      Were all of them locked up in coffins of black;

      And by came an Angel who had a bright key,
      And he opened the coffins & set them all free;
      Then down a green plain, leaping, laughing they run,
      And wash in a river and shine in the Sun.

      Then naked & white, all their bags left behind,
      They rise upon clouds, and sport in the wind.
      And the Angel told Tom, if he'd be a good boy,
      He'd have God for his father & never want joy.

      And so Tom awoke; and we rose in the dark
      And got with our bags & our brushes to work.
      Though the morning was cold, Tom was happy & warm;
      So if all do their duty, they need not fear harm.

      —w. Blake

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