The Four Horsemen and The United States

I’m not sure what to say about this article, other than it’s immediately relevant for everyone. I know the author personally, though will respect the authors anonymity.

I believe this will end up being a seminal reading for me as it so expertly addresses and focuses the political feelings and worries I’ve had towards all sorts of things over the years.

If I had to give a teaser, here’s the pull quote I would offer:


“The history of man can be written as an effort by one group of men after another trying to gain power over the life and death of his fellow man, to gain control over the actions and thoughts of his peers, to claim ownership over the fruits of the labors, wealth, and property of his neighbor. And it has worked… for a time… for so many of history’s tyrants… benevolent or otherwise.

Conquest, however, is destined to fail each and every time… because conquest never comes alone.”

And it gets better, or worse.

Lost, Angry, Confused, Helpless, Hopeless


Thursday, October 30

Scans yesterday revealed that the cancer in Ben has aggressively progressed since the end of July. There are four new tumors – three on his brain and one on his liver.

We will be starting full brain radiation tomorrow at UW Hospital. They will do this for two weeks – in the hopes of reducing the swelling in Ben’s brain and slowing the cancer from metastasizing to his other organs. In two weeks they will scan him again and from there we will make some very difficult decisions.

We are lost and in complete despair. At this time we ask that you please respect our privacy. We will not be taking visitors. Thank you.

Jeff and Carin

Lost, angry, confused, helpless, hopeless. Just some of what I’m feeling. I really don’t know where to begin.

1 My God, my God, why have You forsaken me?
Far from my deliverance are the words of my groaning.
2O my God, I cry by day, but You do not answer;
And by night, but I have no rest.

-Psalm 22:1-2

For a long time, I’ve dreaded the though of seeing a post:

“Ben passed away last night…”

This isn’t that post. In some ways, though, I think it’s worse. I don’t think people are afraid of death, people are afraid of dying…the process of death. The process is what haunts us. If we just went to bed one night and the next morning we woke up in heaven, I think everyone would be pretty happy with that. So to see a post like this, that is what makes me sad. Ben is dying.

How can I keep putting off the what is surely the inevitable? I’m having to reject every ounce of logic in my being just to hold out hope for Ben.

What do I pray for now? A miraculous healing? A merciful and peaceful passing?

What do I do?

Post script: The world seems very small now. Politics. War. Homework. School. Halloween. They don’t seem relevant now. For God’s sake, a child is dying! How can anything else matter?

Sarah Plants

Ben recently told me that a casual acquaintance of ours, Sarah Plants, had recently passed away due to cancer. I didn’t know her very well, but saw her quite a bit since she played Ultimate Frisbee on the UW team. Doug, her husband, also lived at Your Mom’s House last year with Ben and Quinn, so she was over quite a bit. I last saw her at Thanksgiving and she seemed very happy.


Plants, 22, died Feb. 7 of a brain tumor linked to Li-Fraumeni Syndrome, the same rare hereditary disorder that claimed the lives of her father and brother. She was diagnosed with the disorder in October.

Plants had survived cancer as a toddler. She suffered from adrenal cortical carcinoma, or cancer of the adrenal gland above the kidney, and went through chemotherapy at 16 months old.

Plants was 29 credits short of earning a degree in Public Health. When she died, the University gave her an honorary degree. She had planned to go to graduate school to study nursing.

She was captain of the UW Element women’s Ultimate Frisbee team and the coach of an Ultimate team at Whitman Middle School.

Death is a bitch, cancer even more so.

Last in the Cat Pack

Back during sophomore year, I was living with Ben, Chris, Mike and Jens. We also picked up three cats: Dunstan, Kitty and Quantum…the Cat Pack. Dunstan is my cat and Quantum and Kitty were Ben’s. Last year, Kitty was hit by a car and Ben had to put him down.

Ben is Chicago looking at graduate schools, but Chris came over today (we’re flatmates now) and wanted to know what I was doing. He hadn’t seen Quantum in a few days, which was unusual, so he went out looking for him.

The news wasn’t good.

And now there is one. I’ll be keeping Dunstan in now for sure (at least while I’m living at this location) since I used to let him roam outside on the warm days.

If I had known that on that day our time was near the end
I would have done things differently, my forever friend.
I would have stayed right next to you deep into the night
but I thought I’d see you in the early morning light.

And so I said “Good night” to you as I walked in through the door
never thinking of the time when I’d see you no more.
But if I had known that on that day our time was at the end
I would have done things so differently, my forever friend.

Written by Sally Evans for Shoo-Fly

Sad Times

I’ve been pretty busy this past week, mentally, physically, and emotionally. When I get this busy, my regular habits (for better or for worse) start to drop off. I hold off on checking/responding to email, I let me feeds go unread for days at a time and I pretty much just generally unplug from the world while I deal with what’s at hand (in this case: finals). To give you an idea of how far behind I am, I have 250 emails in my inbox and 828 unread feeds I currently have.

Unfortunately, life goes on; and with life’s continuance, death also continues.

That’s what this post is about. Two great people passed away this week: Marc Orchant and Anita Rowland.

While I had never met Marc in person, I have read his posts online and I know people who have meet him. All indications I have say that he was a kind and caring gentleman who really knew what was going on. Marc suffered massive heart attack about a week and a half ago. While he never regained consciousness, he was reportedly getting better. Around 3pm on Sunday, Marc suddenly passed away.

In contrast, Anita had been battling cancer since 2003. However, her death was also as unexpected as Marc’s. I’m glad I am able to say that I did have the pleasure of meeting Anita several times over the years at the few Blogger Meetups I was able to attend. I remember that Anita was always very kind to me and created a very welcoming environment.

While I will miss them both, I think I find it hardest to watch the people still alive who had a greater connection to Marc and Anita then I did. To see the depth of their sorrow and know that there is nothing I can do to ease it.

TDavid has a nice recounting of his interaction with Marc and Anita.

Chris Pirillo also has a very touching video on YouTube.

However, I think Warner Crocker summed it up best:


“Now cracks a noble heart. Good night, sweet prince,
And flights of angels sing thee to thy rest!” (Hamlet Act V, scene ii)

Death is a bitch.