Best Friend

Via Brits at Their Best:

Near this spot
are deposited the Remains of one
who possessed Beauty without Vanity,
Strength without Insolence,
Courage without Ferosity,
And all the virtues of Man without his Vices.
This praise, which would be unmeaning Flattery
if inscribed over human Ashes,
is but a just tribute to the Memory of
who was born in Newfoundland May 1803
and died at Newstead Nov 18th 1808.
When some proud Son of Man returns to Earth,
Unknown to Glory, but upheld by Birth,
The sculptor’s art exhausts the pomp of woe,
And storied urns record who rests below:
When all is done, upon the Tomb is seen,
Not what he was, but what he should have been.
But the poor Dog, in life the firmest friend,
The first to welcome, foremost to defend,
Whose honest heart is still his Masters own,
Who labours, fights, lives, breathes for him alone,
Unhonour’d falls, unnotic’d all his worth,
Deny’d in heaven the Soul he held on earth:
While man, vain insect! hopes to be forgiven,
And claims himself a sole exclusive heaven.
Oh man! thou feeble tenant of an hour,
Debas’d by slavery, or corrupt by power,
Who knows thee well, must quit thee with disgust,
Degraded mass of animated dust!
Thy love is lust, thy friendship all a cheat,
Thy tongue hypocrisy, thy heart deceit.
By nature vile, ennobled but by name,
Each kindred brute might bid thee blush for shame.
Ye! who behold perchance this simple urn,
Pass on, it honours none you wish to mourn.
To mark a friend’s remains these stones arise;
I never knew but one – and here he lies.

Together, Alone

The Agricoli are, we suspect, like many other family groups living on the fruited plain. With parents in different time zones, and siblings scattered even wider, hewing to the Christmas tradition of a ‘shared Christmas’ is increasingly difficult. It seems to be an experience that increases exponentially in importance the further apart are parent and child.

Agreements to share the experience amongst various departments are sacrosanct.

un.jpgWith negotiations more delicate and difficult than those between, say, Sunni and Shi’ite, any understanding that accords with most participants is treated as something like the Declaration of Independence, or the Magna Carta; that is, an immutable agreement that transcends time, distance, and change.

So, for the past 10 years, we have known where and with whom we will share the Christmas experience. Whether in the frozen Midwest, or in the temperate clime of the Southeast, it has been a predictable experience.

Like the European Powers of the late 19th century, our family had grown comfortable with the complicated web of understandings that seemed to keep peace between the parties. We had achieved our own balance of power.

This year, we had our Balkan moment when various family members chose to violate the agreement. Instead of a local event, some were implored to void the agreement and travel this year…..a gross violation of the agreement. Not only were they willing to throw out 10 years of peace, they recruited other family members to travel with them. Such a thing has never before occurred in our family….leaving the Agricoli home alone.

Because of the complicated weave of other agreements, which are unknown to the violators, we cannot travel to the other side of the family. They are committed to other people. It is too complicated, and would cause too much confusion and disagreement. It would cause further disagreement among groups that have coexisted peacefully for many years.

We will not be the agent of war in our family. To prevent the destruction of our greater whole, we will suffer this wound silently.

In the words of Agricolae, we will be together, alone.

The Joy of Being (Over 50)

Through the nimble minuet of avoidance, your scribe has managed to delay the inevitable for nearly 10 years. Despite pleas from spouse, family friends, and, yes, the doctor, the monster known as the colonoscopy has remained far from our being. Now, at age 54, I yield to the process, and have begun, today, the preparations for tomorrow’s examination.

I am not particularly worried about the result. Genetics are on my side, and there have not been any signs that indicate the possibility of a problem. No, the sad truth is that I realized that my health plan has a deductible, said deductible has been reached in this calendar year, and, in a few days, will reset to $0.00. Why not save myself $500 and put this behind me (pun intended)?

The hardest part is the preparation:

 For one to three days, the patient is required to follow a low fibre or clear-fluid only diet. Examples of clear fluids are apple juice, bouillon, artificially flavored lemon-lime soda or sports drink, and of course water. As orange juice, prune juice, and milk contain fibre, they are banned from the list, as are liquids dyed red, orange, purple, or brown, such as cola or coffee. On the day before the colonoscopy, the patient is either given a laxative preparation (such as Bisacodyl, phospho soda, sodium picosulfate, or sodium phosphate and/or magnesium citrate) and large quantities of fluid or whole bowel irrigation is performed using a solution of polyethylene glycol and electrolytes.

I’m starving and it’s only been since last night!

My Good Fortune

Found today, in the Agricoli mailbox, the way into Economic Nirvana. All we have to do is put our trust, and ATM card, in the hands of the Chief of some Nigerian tribe (along with some important personal finanacial details). We have long been on the receiving end of such windfall e-mails, and have snorted with righteous glee at the news reports of yet more Americans being swindled by this kind of stuff. And really, how gullible are people. And yet the stories of the flim-flam man continue, removed from the small towns and two-lane highways of our great country and past times, and interjected into the great miasma of the Blogosphere.

Read and enjoy, and wonder at the boldness of the swindle and the stupidity found in the quest for easy money (Spelling and grammar as received):

Attention: (Beneficiary)

RE: Notification of Your Inheritance Fund

This is to officially inform you that we have verified your inheritance file presently on my desk, and I found out that you have not received your payment till date, due to some stringent bureaucracies.

Secondly, you are hereby adviced to stop dealing with some non-officials in the bank as this is an illegal act and will have to stoop if you so wish to receive your payment immediately.

After the board meeting held at our headquarters, we have resolved in finding a solution to your problem. As you may know, that the presidency has implemented a new policy with regards to payments to be made through an ATM Swift Card Centre in Europe, America, and Asia Pacific, which is the instruction given by our president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) Federal Republic of Nigeria. This mode of payment has been ongoing for over a period of time which will soon come to an end, as his tenure expires at the end of May, 2007.

This ATM Swift Card Centre will send you an ATM card which you will use to withdraw your money in an ATM machine in any part of the world, but the maximum is ($10,000.00) Ten Thousand Dollars per day. So, if you would like to receive your fund this way, please do let us know by forwarding the below details to the Swift Card Payment Centre on this eamil: – swiftcard

(1) Your full name

(2) Address where you want the payment centre to send your ATM card via DHL or Fedex.

(3) Phone and Fax number

(4) Your total fund to be received.

Instead of loosing your fund, please indicate to the Card Centre the total sum you are expecting and for your information you have to stop any further communication with anybody or office. In this regards, do not hesitate to contact me for more details and direction, and also please do update me with any new development.

Thanks for your co-operation.

Yours Faithfully,

Chief Uffort Akaette

Secretary to the Federal Government of Nigeria.

Can this really work?

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