Steve Pollock

Since 1963.

Category: Loss (Page 2 of 2)

David Cassidy, RIP


Posted by Steve Pollock on Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Killing of Jo Cox

“She would have wanted two things above all else to happen now, one that our precious children are bathed in love and…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Thursday, June 16, 2016

Farewell, Patty Duke

"I've come to believe that whoever I am didn't start on December 14, 1946, and isn't going to end on whatever that…

Posted by Steve Pollock on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The Final Passing of American Journalism

“And that’s the way it is …”

Walter Cronkite

It feels as if the last bit of actual journalism in America is now dead.

In «What We Lose With Cronkite’s Death», Bruce Maiman sums it up pretty well:

“… it’s a reminder, too, that the broadcasting style and journalistic credibility that Cronkite represents also seems to be fading into history. Cronkite’s death was inevitable rather than sad, but what is sad is that no one has picked up his mantle to deliver the news in a fashion that doesn’t glorify something or someone, or trash something or someone. Cronkite set a standard for conveying the news that was at once warm, measured, dignified, good humored and uncompromising.”

He also notes one of my favorite stories about Cronkite:

&#8220In her autobiography, «A Desperate Passion», physician and Nuclear Freeze activist Helen Caldicott tells the story of when she met Cronkite and his wife Betsy at a dinner one night: “Walter amazed me by saying that if he had his way, he would remove all U.S. nuclear weapons from Europe. “What would the Russians do then, roll over people with their tanks?” he asked. I said: “The American people love you, Walter. Why don’t you tell them that?” He laughed and replied, “I’m only loved because they don’t know what I think.””

The ever-excellent Glenn Greenwald, writing in Salon, touches on all of this in «Celebrating Cronkite While Ignoring What He Did»:

“Tellingly, his most celebrated and significant moment — Greg Mitchell says “this broadcast would help save many thousands of lives, U.S. and Vietnamese, perhaps even a million” — was when he stood up and announced that Americans shouldn’t trust the statements being made about the war by the U.S. Government and military, and that the specific claims they were making were almost certainly false. In other words, Cronkite’s best moment was when he did exactly that which the modern journalist today insists they must not ever do — directly contradict claims from government and military officials and suggest that such claims should not be believed. These days, our leading media outlets won’t even use words that are disapproved of by the Government.”

Cronkite, and the pathetic remains of American journalism, will be laid to rest on Thursday.

And THAT, my friends, is the way it is, on this Sunday, 20-Jul-09, the 40th anniversary of the first moon landing.

And Then There Was Maude …

Sad news today: «Bea Arthur passed away at 86 from cancer»:

‘Beatrice Arthur, the tall, deep-voiced actress whose razor-sharp delivery of comedy lines made her a TV star in the hit shows “Maude” and “The Golden Girls” and who won a Tony Award for the musical “Mame,” died Saturday. She was 86. Arthur died peacefully at her Los Angeles home with her family at her side, family spokesman Dan Watt said. She had cancer, Watt said, declining to give details.

‘Maude” scored with television viewers immediately on its CBS debut in September 1972, and Arthur won an Emmy Award for the role in 1977. The comedy flowed from Maude’s efforts to cast off the traditional restraints that women faced, but the series often had a serious base. Her husband Walter (Bill Macy) became an alcoholic, and she underwent an abortion, which drew a torrent of viewer protests. Maude became a standard bearer for the growing feminist movement in America.’

We are diminished by her loss. RIP.

Doggoneit, an Anniversary

I’m reading, and enjoying, a new book:«Dog On It». I usually confine my mystery reading to James Lee Burke’s Dave Robicheaux books, but I made an exception for this one, because the twist is that it’s told from the private eye’s dog’s perspective. Chet is a police dog helping his buddy find a missing girl. It appears to be the start of a series.

I know that bad things happen to the hero in detective stories; he gets mussed up and beaten up and cut up and all, but then he solves the case, gets the girl, and everything’s cool. But when the hero is the dog, it’s a little tough to read about him getting … well, mussed up and beaten up and cut up and all. We’re kinda weird, we humans; we don’t really wince when this stuff happens to other human characters, but if they’re animals and we get all soft and squeamish and junk.

In the first half of this book alone, Chet the hero gets dog-napped, sliced with a knife, attacked by a cougar, caged up by evil Russian mobsters, choke-chained, shot at, lost in a mine and stuck all over with cactus needles. And he comes through all of it just dandy. Sorry if that’s a spoiler for those of you intending to read the book.

But. There’s a part where he escapes the dognappers and ends up in a three-day kill shelter and is strapped onto the gurney to be put down. (Again, sorry if that’s a spoiler, but it should also be obvious that Chet will survive … there wouldn’t be any more story if he was killed off, right?) He’s rescued literally at the last second (okay, I’ll leave that part a surprise).

Woooosh. That’s a relief. But the point I’m getting to, and I do have one, is that I read this part of the book tonight, almost exactly two years to the moment after we lost our beloved Bayley Murphey Beagle, who was put down after being poisoned by tainted Chinese pet food.

Frank and I both had shed some tears this evening over this sad anniversary. So reading the scene in the Chet book was quite jarring. And the most disturbing part is probably that Chet (fictional though he is) gets to get up and walk away and be reunited with his guy. Bayley did not. And that stinks.

Now, Bayley was very, very sick. Suffering a bit and in need of the relief, kidney functions gone. He was 12-and-a-half, getting way up there for a beagle. So, it had to be. But I still beat myself up about it even two years later. What if I hadn’t switched his food to the Petsmart house brand when we moved to California? What if I had recognized he was sick sooner than I did? What if I had given him a few more days to see if things turned around?

All pointless, but these are the thoughts you have.

I realize I’m kind of a silly ol’ fool here. Still whining about a dog who has been dead for two years. But Bayley was special, and a special part of our lives. I really don’t want to be the kind of person who is unaffected and unmoved by anything, even a dog and his impact on your life.

I still miss Bayley. I always will. I love him and am grateful for all the great love and laughter and joy and warmth that he gave us. Everyone should have companions like Bayley, human, dog, or otherwise. We were blessed.

Rest in peace, sweetheart.

P.S. On a happier note, Chet the Dog has his own «blog». Check it out!

Farewell, Pookus.


Bayley Murphey Beagle
20-Aug-1994 — 2-Mar-2007

Dear Bayley Murphey,

Thank you for being such a wonderful and good dog, a loving companion, for keeping us sane, for loving us unconditionally, for being such an incredibly important part of our lives for 12-and-a-half years. Thank you for putting up with all the picture-taking, ear rubbing, nail clipping, bathing, teefs-brushing and hugs and kisses. Thank you for curling up against us on cold, winter nights. Thank you being the touchstone of our lives. Thank you for being you.

We tried hard to give you a good life, full of all the things that good dogs such as you deserve. From the time of your puppyhood until today, you tried so hard to be good and please us, and you always did. We are richer for having had you in our lives, much, much poorer for your passing. Your suffering is over, now it’s time to run baying through the fields, chasing rabbits, rolling in squirrel pee, and lying under a tree gnawing a never-ending supply of beagle bagels.

Rest and sleep well, pookus. You leave a very large hole in our hearts and our lives.

Dad, Unca Frankie, and Unca David.

Farewell, Artemis the Sweet

Picture of Artemis of the Hunt

The rainy weather here in Ann Arbor is appropriately weepy this morning. It is with a very heavy heart that I have to note the passing of Artemis, the sweetest, most wonderful black lab in the world.

Artemis’ dad, Don, called me this morning from Oklahoma City with the news that she left us Friday after an exhausting battle against cancer. She was 14.

Artemis of the Hunt was born in Bristow, OK, on 23-Dec-89. I remember when they brought puppy Artie home to Duncan; she was so sweet, with those big paws and gangly legs. We had so much fun. I always referred to her as my one and only girlfriend. It was extremely sad when they moved away in 1992; but we still got to see each other fairly often even as I moved around the country, and she would sometimes sleep with me on the twin guest bed, which was always a fun experience having a very large and heavy lab jump on your legs in the middle of the night. I miss that feeling.

We saw Artie-moose last August, on our way from San Francisco to Ann Arbor. She was as sweet as ever, just showing the effects of her age. She still was able to jump into the back seat of Don’s car when they got ready to go somewhere, happy and eager to get on the road. It was wonderful to see that again.

She was always wonderful with Bayley, only once putting him in his place (and he certainly needed it on that occasion). He’s not much on other dogs, but with Cousin Artemis, he was pretty content.

She spent quite some time in northern Michigan near Traverse City with her mom, Linda. Galloping through the forests and swimming and canoeing and sailing, she always had a spectacular time up there and loved Michigan.

I’ll never forget the joyful abandon she displayed when jumping into water. My fondest memories of her are when she jumped full-tilt into Clear Creek Lake near Duncan while we were sailing, while fetching sticks. And the shower of water that cascaded off of her as she shook herself after getting out invariably doused everyone and everything within miles. Those were grand days.

But now, after a very full and long life of giving everyone around her such joy and happiness, she’s finally at rest, no longer in pain, having been the bestest black lab ever.

And we send warm hugs and sympathy to her dad, Don, and to Jean and to Linda, who will all miss her terribly.

Thank you, Artemis. We’ll fill the holes in our hearts with the wonderful memories you gave us. Sleep well, my girlfriend.

Some Sad News

Just got an extremely sad e-mail from Donpy … Artie-moose isn’t doing well. Sudden tumor growth, bad cancer. Should know on Wednesday whether she’s going to make it. But since she’s approaching 13, it doesn’t look good.

I just burst out bawling tonight and am still kinda crying. It’s extremely sad. She was the best puppy dog in the whole world and the sweetest. And it’s horrible for Don and Jean … and Linda. But it also reminds me of Bayley and the growths he has and that he’s 9.5 years old.

It had been an extremely good day … scored 720 verbal and 570 math on the GRE this morning. Other nice things had happened too. Birthday cards and $41 from Mom and Dad. David told me of all the nice DVDs and presents he sent us. And so on.

But this is kind of a kick in the gut. Tragic.

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