Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 25th, 2017

At His Own Wake, Celebrating Life and the Gift of Death

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John Shields planned the death he wanted. Catherine Porter reports in the NY Times:

VICTORIA, British Columbia — Two days before he was scheduled to die, John Shields roused in his hospice bed with an unusual idea. He wanted to organize an Irish wake for himself. It would be old-fashioned with music and booze, except for one notable detail — he would be present.

The party should take up a big section of Swiss Chalet, a family-style chain restaurant on the road out of town. Mr. Shields wanted his last supper to be one he so often enjoyed on Friday nights when he was a young Catholic priest — rotisserie chicken legs with gravy.

Then, his family would take him home and he would die there in the morning, preferably in the garden. It was his favorite spot, rocky and wild. Flowering native shrubs pressed in from all sides and a stone Buddha and birdbath peeked out from among the ferns and boulders. Before he got sick, Mr. Shields liked to sit in his old Adirondack chair and watch the bald eagles train their juveniles to soar overhead. He meditated there twice a day, among the towering Douglas firs.

“Someone once asked me how did I get to become unique,” he said that afternoon in his hospice bed. “I recommend meditation as a starting place — bringing your consciousness to bear.”

Mr. Shields intended to die swiftly and peacefully by lethal injection, administered by his doctor. Last June, the Canadian government legalized what it termed “medical assistance in dying” for competent adult patients who are near death and suffering intolerably from irremediable illnesses. When his doctor, Stefanie Green, informed him that he qualified, Mr. Shields felt the first hope since a doctor told him more than a year before that he had a rare and incurable disease called amyloidosis, which caused proteins to build up in his heart and painfully damage the nerves in his arms and legs.

Having control over the terms of his death made him feel empowered over the disease rather than crippled by it, a common response among Dr. Green’s patients. Mr. Shields believed that dying openly and without fear could be his most meaningful legacy — which was saying something. The man had packed five lifetimes of service into one: He had been a civil rights activist, a social worker for children, the head of British Columbia’s biggest union and, most recently, the savior of a floundering land trust that included 7,191 acres of protected wilderness and historic properties.

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His newly developed plan for how he would spend his last moments, though, worried his wife, Robin June Hood. Her husband had not left his bed once since he arrived at the hospice on a stretcher, 17 days earlier. His 78-year-old body had thinned; his voice dimmed. He lasted only 15 minutes in conversation before his eyes fluttered closed. Just leaving the room would exhaust him. She knew he could not make it to the restaurant, and there was no way she could tend to his needs at home, even for one night — especially his last.

Happily, Dr. Green had become adept at brokering delicate family discussions over the past year. She had presided over 35 deaths since the law passed, each intimately different from the next. One man got dressed in his amateur clown costume, complete with wig and red nose, and died telling her jokes. He had insisted on being alone in the room with her, but most of her patients died surrounded by loved ones. Many were too sick to devise elaborate rituals, but others had chosen the location, attendees, readings and music as if planning a wedding. Dr. Green called them something she picked up at a conference on euthanasia in the Netherlands: “choreographed deaths.”

She arrived at Mr. Shields’s hospice room that day to finalize the plans. The couple held hands as she helped them stitch a compromise. . .

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Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2017 at 3:56 pm

Posted in Daily life

How dead is the Great Barrier Reef?

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Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2017 at 12:58 pm

CBO Agrees: Trumpcare Wipes Out Protections for Pre-Existing Conditions

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Kevin Drum explains: the GOP’s healthcare plan ACHA eliminates protections for pre-existing conditions if you don’t have a policy through some organization (a group policy). Individual policy holders will be screwed just as they were before Obamacare.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2017 at 12:34 pm

Helping children learn critical thinking skills from a young age

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You might assume that critical thinking skills would be a standard part of the educational curriculum throughout elementary and secondary school, but you would be wrong to think that, and a little reflection shows why. If young children are taught critical thinking skills, then they will apply those skills in their daily life. However, their teachers, school administrators, and parents may have beliefs, values, and ideas that don’t withstand much in the way of critical thinking, so the program of teaching such skills would, in many cases, prove very unpopular and be shut down.

However, if you want such a program, let me recommend the CoRT program. It’s been used in multiple countries and it does work. From the link:

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2017 at 12:07 pm

Posted in Education

Trump does his impression of The Ugly American

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Trump pushes aside Prime Minister Dusko Markovic Of Montenegro in order to get to the head of the line. I have run into guys like Trump, and an extremely high percentage are jerks.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2017 at 12:00 pm

Mühle synthetic brush, QED Special 218, and the Maggard V2 open-comb

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QED no longer has soaps from their previous soapmaker, who made this wonderful glycerin soap with a pine-tar fragrance. Although some sneer at glycerin soaps, they can be quite good, and the lather produced this morning with the Mühle synthetic shown was quite good in terms of consistency and glide, with perhaps a little less cushion that tallow soaps.

The Maggard V2OC head is really excellent—so far as I can tell it is a clone of the Parker 24C/26C head—and the Maggard MR7 handle shown here suits it to a T. The price of the Maggard V2OC on the MR7 handle is around $30, the same as the price of the Parker 24C or 26C, but the Maggard handle (stainless steel) is clearly superior in terms of feel and threading and—at least to my eye—appearance, though aesthetics are notoriously subjective.

Three passes with no problem and then a little bit of the pine-fragranced colone as an aftershave. (I no longer recall the cologne’s name… wait! we have search engines nowadays. It’s Pino Sylvester. From the link I learn it dates back to 1955, and the fragrance has:

Top notes: bergamot, basil, and lemon.
Middle notes: juniper, cedar, and tree moss.
Base notes: pine, musk, and amber.

They add, “Pino Silvester is recommended for casual daytime use,” which describes my use to a T.

Written by Leisureguy

25 May 2017 at 9:21 am

Posted in Shaving

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