Thursday, March 29, 2007

Amanda Georgi Bagley

The below hit me harder than I thought it would have. It popped up in my in box. It took a few seconds to recognize the sender and the name in the subject line. I thought it spam for a moment. I didn't know her extraordinarily well. I went to school together since 6th grade, was at her house a few times, I think she showed me her horse once. I didn't keep in touch afterward. Never even thought to.

When I got the e-mail I was consumed with trivial matters in a trivial part of my job. What's wrong with us for not appreciating what's important in life until something tragic happens to someone else?

Amanda Georgi Bagley, 37, died in her sleep Tuesday, March 27th, 2007 at the home of her mother and grandmother in Coldwater, MI. She is survived by her husband, Lafe; daughter, Holly; mother, Ann Georgi; brother, Matt Georgi; and grandmother, Judy Bertram. She was preceded in death by her father, John Georgi. Mandy was an avid gardener, adopter of stray cats, beloved by her friends, and is now at peace.

Mandy was born in Fort Wayne, IN and graduated from Snider High School. She received her bachelor's degree from Columbia College in Chicago, IL. Mandy then lived in Los Angeles for ten years where she worked in the film industry. In 2004 she married Lafe Bagley. In 2006 she was diagnosed with colon cancer while pregnant and gave birth to Holly Amanda Bagley two days later. Mandy fought a valiant struggle for eleven months. She lived with grace and dignity and died with courage. Mandy will be forever missed by those who knew her.

There will be a memorial at Peace Lutheran Church in Fremont, IN on Saturday, April 14th, 2007 at 11 AM. Please do not send flowers. Consider making a donation to the Bagley Family Fund c/o North Shore Community Bank, 4343 W. Peterson Ave., Chicago, IL 60646. The fund will be donated to the Coldwater Cancer Center, Pets Are Worth Saving - Chicago, and for Holly's education.
Stay You.
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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Wine Festival

Alas, I forgot to bring my camera to the wine festival like I usually do. Pics of labels I like is better than taking notes.

It was a port night - I tried them all. and I didn't find much I liked better than my now nighyly Seppelt Tawny Port. Although Chocoloate Amore was interesting. Not an everyday thing but good curiosity.

We stopped off at the Hilton's bar for a drink and quick bit. Click this link for a pic of it and the bar. I know that's suppose to be a landmark in architecture and design...but I don't get it. Not much going on there, so it was...

...dancing at the Havana Martini club. The band sucked. I mean really sucked. It came close to receiving black hole status it sucked so much. But the Divine Mrs. M. got to drink her beloved Elizabeth Taylor Martini's. Nothing makes a girl happy like one of those - or three of those.

About 1:30 hunger struck and we ate at the best restaurant that's open until 3:00 am. Well, it would have been good at any time. We'll be going back. Shanghai Mama's on 6th street is great. We feed you long time.

A couple blocks back to the hotel and then to bed - but that's unprintable.

Woke up. hit the pool, walked around downtown awhile, drove around awhile. Ate lunch at one of our old places Chez Nora...on the terrace...on a perfect day.

Good weekend. well rested. 363 days until next year. Arghh!

Stay You.
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Thursday, March 22, 2007

The Third Death

There's some stupid saying about people always dying in threes. If that's true - if the reaper's reclamation bin has a capacity of trois (yes, in my world the Grim Reaper is French) - then I've just had my fill.

They were all quite different people, but they all had a common theme - they were way to young.

Regular readers remember our church's pastor died about 13 months ago. I did an obit here. He was the political antithesis of myself, but I think we may have been temperamentally the similar. He was helping our church after some tough times. One Sunday, he was eating lunch in front of the tv and died. He was 57.

Then at Thanksgiving, my wife's mother died. While not terribly young. She didn't have to die. to use a term she may have understood, there seemed to be a slow accretion of joy. Of wanting to go on with life. She was 67. Looked older. Could have lived longer. Two weeks before her death, I wrote this column.

Now Cathy Seipp is dead at 49. NRO has a great symposium here. Very cool lady. Someone whose blog I posted to and traded e-mails with once. There was no closeness of course from her end, but I read her blog every day. She wrote about her life and there's a natural tendency to "feel" like you know those people.

For those whose faith is built upon sand, there's little comfort in death. Young death seems an especially tragic waste.

Stay You.
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Wednesday, March 21, 2007

To Kentucky Conservatives

Made you look.

Just kidding...I'm Guiliani all the way. I love his stance on abortion and gun control.


Stay You.
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Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Disturbing Trend?

I've left messages for three people today that each had obscenities on their voicemail. Each of them was a senior citizen.

The obscenities were "hell", "damn" and the third broke the third commandment. As my grandmother use to say "What up wit dat?"

Seniors are now recording their obscenities as greetings. I learned alot of obscenities - but mainly racial epitaphs - from my fraternal grandfather, but I don't think he woudl have recorded them - although he may have thought the FBI was.

Very disturbing.

Stay You.
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Monday, March 19, 2007

Prayers For Cathy

Someone I'd still like to meet is Cathy Seipp. Cool least from her blog. Her daughter reports only a few days left.

On a lighter note, yesterday I did a great story on the Taxation of Gambling. It got the big headline above the fold in the Metro section. I had two other articles printed on the next page. Not a bad days work.

Stay You.
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Thursday, March 15, 2007

Three Projects

I really need to start getting back to blogging but again ever since the new year the motivation just hasn't been there.

I'm writing plenty. A lot for the Enquirer. A bit for a smaller paper. A couple magazines pieces. I did a feature piece for the program for the upcoming Cincinnati Wine Festival which has been a little goal of mine for a while - except it looks like it got spiked. A pdf of the piece is here. Alas, no Howard.

One reason I've been lax is that I've embarked on three great projects.

The first is the continued getting into shape. Depending on what I weigh in at tomorrow - I might have lost 40 lbs. I've been hovering at 38 lbs lost for a week plus now. I've been hitting the new gym in the morning so I can free up time with the kids. But work meetings in the evenings seem to be intruding on those nights.

The second is the re-tackling of a historical novel that I'm writing. I dashed off 2000 words a couple months ago, let it sit to see if I really liked it. I did. alicia gave it a read and a strong thumbs up. So I'm going to try fiction. My goal is to get up at 5 each morning. One day at the gym, the next write 1000 words before work.

The third is a simple one but seeming to have a huge effect. On the way to work I've been turning off the radio. I force myself into a running monologue about how great life is. 20-25 minutes of that each day seems to be paying off in a much lighter attitude and outlook. This is also the primary reason for the light blogging. I use to use this blog to blow off steam, but with my new morning routines, steam is blown by the time I get to the office - and it doesn't seem to be building up.

Stay You.
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Monday, March 05, 2007


I wrote the below - about my lack of faith yesterday in a 5-minute burst while I was on hold. 30 minutes later i took it down because it wasn't really true. I do have faith and am generally a positive person:
My kids? They seem to be so far down a good path that even if they do veer off a little, they'll be alright.
The stock market? I'm always positive there - in the long-term. At least for the U.S.
The GWOT? Yep. There too. Even if Barack or Hillary win. I just wish Bush would let the soldiers and Marines be the cold hearted kill-bots that they were always stereotyped as when I was a kid (or - when they returned home - psychologically irreparably damaged cry babies.)

I do have faith. But just not in the realm of my own personal paychecks. I have three general income sources (none of which is a trust fund) which is 2 more than most and 3 more than many. I do ok. Above average. But there's something not there. Or what is there is a whispering rasping voice telling me "This isn't going to last. You can't keep fooling them. It's all going away." I'm not sure who leased that guy a room in my brain or how to evict him, but he's been there awhile. He's painted the walls, hung up pictures, and made the place his own.

So here's what I wrote. It has the flavor of sophomore year cannabis inspired pop philosophy which I always eat up. Bon Appetite.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my lack of success and my inability to enjoy the success I have had. I've come to the conclusion that it comes from one thing - my lack of faith.

Faith. Me? I've got none of it.

It's a pretty big thing.

This isn't a religious post. I think many nonreligious, irreligious, and outright anti-religious people have faith - a belief that "tomorrow will be better than today". I've met plenty of horrible people with plenty of faith. They cheat, lie, and steal...and tomorrow will be a better day.

Now it might help if you've got yourself a structure in place developed over 5,000, or 2,000, or even a 1,000 years that you can lean on, but even just a lone man in the desert with a simple belief that tomorrow will be easier than today has faith. Now that tomorrow can be a few years off when the back broken sharecropper is welcomed into the arms of a loving Jesus or the day after tomorrow when Tel Aviv is finally flattened. But that's faith.

Faith is powerful allows you to take risks (I've taken few of those in my life). It allows you to go on. To persevere. It's the reason condemned prisoners get up in the morning and death camp detainees pick up the shovel.

Faith isn't something cooked up by pope or preacher man to pilfer flocks. It's not the "opiate of the masses". It's evolutionary. Even biological. It's a defense mechanism developed over millennium. Doubt me? Is depression biological? It think that it's been proven. What is depression but a simple lack of faith? That's the reason that nihilism never really caught on. And where it does catch on you see a depressive society. See those happiness surveys of Europeans v. Americans. I think those reflect a more nihilistic v. a more religious culture.

I think this was further seen when the commies tried to claim that faith is nothing more than an appendix - evolution developed it for something, but in this brave new world - it's no longer needed. Cut it out. Rip it out.

Yes. Faith is a necessary of life. And I've got none of it. Or at least not much. If I was born without a hand or with my brain wired up wrong I could at least get some help. I've gone to churches. I don't sit there and scowl with contempt. I'm open. I want the spirit to seiz me. But this is like a deaf man wanting hearing to descend from heavan and land as a tongue of fire in his ears.

Where do I go for a dose of faith?

Stay You.
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