Mike Celizic: A Happy Birthday

Mike Celizic, a reporter for the TODAYshow.com and a writer for MSNBC, has died of fast-moving lymphoma. He wrote a note to PZ Myers, author of Pharyngula:

I want to tell you how much I’ve learned reading your blog and how much enjoyment it has brought me. I’m a writer for the MSM [mainstream media], and it’s been a delicate balancing act for years to not be blatantly the atheist I am, lest I upset the readers, or, more important, the bosses, who quail at the mention of the topic.

I’ve written an entry on deciding not to undergo more treatment. With my last post, I’ll expose my beliefs and let the cranks and fundies weep and wail and gnash their teeth and rend their garments. I’ll be rejoining the ecosystem – anyway, my ashes will – and won’t care.

This is how Mike Celizic reacted to the news that his cancer has returned. It’s one of the last things he ever wrote. Wow. Just wow:
Cancer Journal: A Happy Birthday

Poem: The Passing Strange

“The Passing Strange” by John Masefield. Verses from Sanjeev.

Out of the earth to rest or range
Perpetual in perpetual change,
The unknown passing through the strange.

Water and saltness held together
To tread the dust and stand the weather,
And plough the field and stretch the tether,

To pass the wine-cup and be witty,
Water the sands and build the city,
Slaughter like devils and have pity,

Be red with rage and pale with lust,
Make beauty come, make peace, make trust,
Water and saltness mixed with dust;

Drive over earth, swim under sea,
Fly in the eagles secrecy,
Guess where the hidden comets be;

Know all the deathy seeds that still
Queen Helens beauty, Caesars will,
And slay them even as they kill;

Fashion an altar for a rood,
Defile a continent with blood,
And watch a brother starve for food:

Love like a madman, shaking, blind,
Till self is burnt into a kind
Possession of another mind;

Brood upon beauty, till the grace
Of beauty with the holy face
Brings peace into the bitter place;

Prove in the lifeless granites, scan
The stars for hope, for guide, for plan;
Live as a woman or a man;

Fasten to lover or to friend,
Until the heart break at the end:
The break of death that cannot mend;

Then to lie useless, helpless, still,
Down in the earth, in dark, to fill
The roots of grass or daffodil.

Down in the earth, in dark, alone,
A mockery of the ghost in bone,
The strangeness, passing the unknown.

Time will go by, that outlasts clocks,
Dawn in the thorps will rouse the cocks,
Sunset be glory on the rocks:

But it, the thing, will never heed
Even the rootling from the seed
Thrusting to suck it for its need.

Since moons decay and suns decline,
How else should end this life of mine?
Water and saltness are not wine.

But in the darkest hour of night,
When even the foxes peer for sight,
The byre-cock crows; he feels the light.

So, in this water mixed with dust,
The byre-cock spirit crows from trust
That death will change because it must;

For all things change, the darkness changes,
The wandering spirits change their ranges,
The corn is gathered to the granges.

The corn is sown again, it grows;
The stars burn out, the darkness goes;
The rhythms change, they do not close.

They change, and we, who pass like foam,
Like dust blown through the streets of Rome,
Change ever, too; we have no home,

Only a beauty, only a power,
Sad in the fruit, bright in the flower,
Endlessly erring for its hour,

But gathering, as we stray, a sense
Of Life, so lovely and intense,
It lingers when we wander hence,

That those who follow feel behind
Their backs, when all before is blind,
Our joy, a rampart to the mind.

In memoriam: Shlomo Arouch

Salamo Arouch, death camp survivor

Salamo Arouch, death camp survivor

Shlomo or Salamo Arouch (1923-2009) was an amateur boxer in the Balkans when the Nazis invaded. He and his family, along with thousands of other Greek Jews, were taken to Auschwitz-Birkenau. On the first day, his mother, sisters, and all the younger children were killed, leaving himself, his father, and his younger brother.

When the Nazis found out that he was a boxer, he was forced to fight for their entertainment while they bet on the outcome. The loser was executed and cremated. At some point he was transferred off the slave labour detail to office work. In two years, he won more than 100 fights, some of them with men who outweighed him by a hundred pounds.

By the time the camp was liberated, his father had died and his brother had been shot on the spot for refusing to pull gold teeth from the mouths of the dead. He was the only survivor from his family.

While searching for members of his family at Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in April 1945, Arouch met 17-year-old Marta Yechiel, from his own home town. After their marriage later that year, in 1948 he emigrated to the fledgling state of Israel and served in the Israeli Army, where he continued to box. In civilian life he ran a successful shipping and moving business in Tel Aviv.

Salamo Arouch’s wife [, Marta,] and four children survive him.

You can read more about Salamo Arouch here.

Paul Newman dies

Paul Newman

Gonna miss you, Paul.

(Paul Newman’s obituary.)

Respected triathlete dies


Last weekend, Barbara Warren, one of the best triathletes in her age group, was in a bike crash at the Santa Barbara, California, triathlon around mile 34. As a result, she was paralyzed from the neck down and breathing with a ventilator. She communicated to her family that she wanted the ventilator turned off. After questioning her many times, her family complied. She died Tuesday night.

Barbara Warren raced at the Ford Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Hawaii 13 times. She won her age group in 2003 and finished in the top five eight times.

Her athletic realm stretched far beyond the Big Island and triathlon’s most famous race. In 2001, Warren and Drake set a two-person age-group record in the Race Across America. Alternating riding bikes, the twins covered 2,983 miles in nine days, 13 hours.

Warren competed in the Marathon des Sables, a seven-day race across the Sahara Desert, and raced a triple Ironman in France, requiring 50 hours to finish a 7.2-mile swim, 336-mile bike and 78.6-mile run.

You can read about her here:

Doris Anderson memorial service

Doris Anderson was a writer and feminist who was not satisfied with the role that women were allotted. As editor of Chatelaine magazine, she turned it from homemaker’s hints to a conduit for feminist sensibility and information–with household hints–for twenty years.

I didn’t attend her public memorial service, but I’m linking to its description and more about Doris Anderson: Rebel Daughter, Feminist Revolutionary: Doris Anderson, 1921-2007.

June Callwood, social activist & author, dies at 82

June Callwood, who has been fighting cancer for four years, has died. She will long be remembered for her sense of justice. Callwood was the author of thirty books and started fifty social organizations. Callwood once said,

“If you see an injustice being committed, you aren’t an observer, you are a participant.”