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Thursday, May 19, 2011



No, The World Is Not Going to End on Saturday

Some people believe in the Doomsday proponents.  They have helped in building an industry that thrives by preaching about the end of the world.  The promoters have a cash cow and they are going to keep on milking it.

The current date for the beginning of "the end" is Saturday, May 21st -- that is two days from now!  Harold Camping, an evangelical pastor in California is reported to be responsible for the prophecy about this particular date.  What mumbojumbo he would come up with on the 22nd?  Previously, another group of shysters had declared 12-12-2012 as the day.  They have no problem with changing the date.

May 21st will come and go.  If some of us are not going to be around it will not be because of the end of the world as we know it.  



Keep Them Open

Headlines about budget cuts and their effects have become regular features.  One cannot escape them.  Priorities vary greatly;  spending public money is a highly politicized issue.  

Public libraries in America are among its treasures.  Regrettably, they are not immune during the present crunch.  

Charles Simic's A Country Without Libraries in The NY Review of Books is a must read for all
who care for libraries.  Fight to keep them open.

"How many book lovers among the young has the Internet produced? Far fewer, I suspect, than the millions libraries have turned out over the last hundred years. Their slow disappearance is a tragedy, not just for those impoverished towns and cities, but for everyone everywhere terrified at the thought of a country without libraries."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


Personal History: A Look Back - Death of a Dog


Nick * Man's Best Friend * James Salter

Nick was more than a good friend, faithful companion who, on dark days made things bearable.  Nick died in 1989.  After so many years it is not often that I think of him.  But a few weeks ago he appeared in a dream.

I looked up some old photographs and remembered Nick.  Nick came to be a part of the household because my daughters wanted a dog.  So we went to the local pet shop and brought a pup home. It was love at first sight.  Named him Nicki but, soon, he became Nick. And, as he grew up and lost the cuddlieness, the girls began to spend less time with him.   Nick became my dog and remained my dog until his death 14 years later.  It was while taking Nick out for his walks that I started jogging to keep up with him, and that lead to my interest in distance running.

Nick could sense my mood. Never failed to show his joy when I came home after work.  Watched my movements with his eyes; sat down next to me when I brooded.   As the years went past Nick began to suffer from age-related ailments.  Lost his energy. Arthritis restricted him from following me around.  Then a time came when sitting up from a lying position  became a struggle.  I began to think of the day when I would have to face the inevitable.  It was then that my work required me to make a long trip.  

Talked to my daughters about not letting him suffer, and I took off for Yemen via London; Mumbai for a stay of three weeks; then, Kolkata, Madras, and Singapore before the flight across the Pacific to San Francisco.   It was during my stay in Singapore that I received a call from my younger daughter.  She said that Nick had to be put away.  I knew it was the right thing to do.  I expected the news. Yet the pain was almost physical.  I went out for a run through downtown Singapore and I wept oblivious of the people on the streets.  Usually I kept track of the turns I made on my runs in unfamiliar cities.  Not that morning.  Lost my bearing but kept on running.  I thought of Nick and the good years that we shared; my way of paying tribute.

When I returned from the trip, the house felt different. Nick was not there.   His absence left a void.

Recently, while reading James Salter's "Light Years", I came across this passage. And I thought of Nick.

He became intelligent, strong, he knew their voices.  He was stoic, he was shrewd.  In his dark eye one could see a phylum of creatures--horses, mice, cattle, deer.  Frogboy, they called him.  He lay on the floor with his legs stretched out behind.  He watched them, his face resting on his paws.

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