Skip to main content

The Undiscovered Country

"Those who could tell me what it is to die,
Death, the great arbiter,
Sometime tomorrow midnight,
I may know"

--  Gabriel Dauntsey, via P.D. James & Michael Chaplin

The commonality among all living things is life. This is an obvious, simple thought, an observation so unremarkable that it barely registers. Nevertheless, it fascinates me from time to time. Just as much as we look for things that unite us, we also look for things that differentiate us from one another. Death is one such ultimate divide.

I strive to find common ground with others, even (and sometimes especially) if we don't see eye-to-eye on many things. While serving in elected office a few years ago, there were some colleagues with whom I rarely agreed, politically. With one of them, we ended up forging a bond through our love of film. With another, his history of having worked in construction with my father and uncles was something we could share. These things were necessary for us to relate on a human level.

Sometimes, when contemplating a loved one who has died, the sense of mourning caused by their loss is suddenly replaced by the stark realization that, in one very important regard, we lack something in common. That commonality is death. Granted, I have no wish to join them any time soon, but the contrast is stark.

I think of dad, of my grandmothers, friends, favorite authors and actors. It's an admittedly odd perspective, but I was watching a Murder, She Wrote rerun t'other night, and took note that two of the actors, one of them now 100 years old, the other almost 90, were still alive, while others in the cast were not. "We have that in common," I thought. "All we've ever known is life."

Whether death brings with it the end of our consciousness, or the start of a new journey, we'll never know until that split-second between the time our bodies finally fail and one of the aforementioned events occurs. I suppose, when the time comes, either will be okay. It's not as though we have a choice in the matter and, if death truly is death, then we won't be aware of it. Just like we weren't aware that we didn't exist before we were conceived.


Popular posts from this blog


Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …