Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Sunday, June 10, 2018

celebrity suicide

I remember hearing somewhere in the dark, distant past that if one committed suicide, one would not get to heaven. Since I have grown up since then, I no longer believe in such rubbish. There is no heaven or hell, and people choose suicide to end their suffering. If not for modern medicines, specifically pain-killers, the suicide rate would probably be twice as high as it already is.

The tragedy is compounded when local governments punish assisted suicide. It's illegal to commit suicide in many states, but tell me, who would pay the penalty if successful? Every state, and the federal government, should make it easier to take your own life if you so choose. Life is precious, but if life has become mostly pain, life doesn't seem that precious, only precarious.

Yes, Wikipedia keeps track of celebrity suicides. Here is a link to those that have committed suicide in the 21st Century, if you are interested. I'm sure you will discover some people who committed suicide that you were rather surprised by. I know I was.

A short list, and this list only includes confirmed suicides, not accidental deaths:

  • Stephanie Adams (2018), American former glamour model, known as the November 1992 Playboy Playmate, jumped from a 25th floor window after her 7-year-old son, Vincent.[1][2]
  • Chester Bennington (2017), American singer and songwriter (Linkin Park), hanging, had struggled with drug abuse and depression[31]
  • Herman Brood (2001), Dutch musician, artist, composer, jumping from the roof of the Hilton Hotel Amsterdam, he was depressed by the failure of his drug rehabilitation program and facing serious medical problems because of his prolonged drug use[42][43]
  • Don Cornelius (2012), American television show host and producer, best known as the creator and host of the nationally syndicated dance/music franchise Soul Train, gunshot. He had been suffering from seizures.[62]
  • Brad Delp (2007), American rock musician (Boston), carbon monoxide poisoning in his bathroom using two charcoal grills, suffering from depression.[67]
  • Keith Emerson (2016), English keyboardist, committed suicide by gunshot on 10 March 2016 at his home in Santa MonicaCalifornia[77][78][79]
  • Richard Jeni (2007), American standup comedian and actor, gunshot,[100][101][102] he had a history of schizophrenia and had been taking antidepressants and a sleeping aid, a week earlier, he was overheard saying "just squeeze the trigger."
  • Dan Johnson (2017), American pastor and Republican member of the Kentucky House of Representatives, he claimed to be suffering from PTSD from the September 11 attacks, though he also faced sexual harassment allegations, gunshot.[105]
  • Alexander McQueen (2010), British fashion designer and couturier, hanged himself in his wardrobe,[138] he had been diagnosed with mixed anxiety and depressive disorder, and took an overdose prior to hanging himself[139]
  • Hunter S. Thompson (2005), gonzo journalist, author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, gunshot,[184] he had many painful and chronic medical conditions, which included a hip replacement.
  • Robin Williams (2014), American comedian and actor, hanging,[194] he was suffering from severe depression prior to his death and was diagnosed with early stage Lewy Body Dementia

Saturday, June 9, 2018

Anthony Bourdain

I was deeply saddened to learn of the suicide of Anthony Bourdain on June 8. I loved the show he was doing on CNN, Parts Unknown. I knew he suffered from depression but didn't know it was that bad. He killed himself in France while we were in Eindhoven, Netherlands, not that far away.

A good friend of his, Rose McGowen, penned a letter about Anthony.


Dear Fellow Humans,

Sitting across from me is the remarkable human and brave survivor, Asia Argento, who has been through more than most could stand, and yet stand she does. She stood up to her monster rapist and now she has to stand up to yet another monster, suicide. The suicide of her beloved lover and ally, Anthony Bourdain. I write these truths because I have been asked to. I know so many around the world thought of Anthony Bourdain as a friend and when a friend dies, it hurts. Many of these people who lost their ‘friend' are wanting to lash out and blame. You must not sink to that level. Suicide is a horrible choice, but it is that person's choice. 

When Anthony met Asia, it was instant chemistry. They laughed, they loved and he was her rock during the hardships of this last year. Anthony was open with his demons, he even wrote a book about them. In the beginning of their relationship, Anthony told a mutual friend, “He's never met anyone who wanted to die more than him.” And through a lot of this last year, Asia did want the pain to stop. But here's the thing, over their time together, thankfully, she did the work to get help, so she could stay alive and live another day for her and her children. Anthony's depression didn't let him, he put down his armor, and that was very much his choice. His decision, not hers. His depression won. Anthony and Asia had a free relationship, they loved without borders of traditional relationships, and they established the parameters of their relationship early on. Asia is a free bird, and so was Anthony. Was. Such a terrible word to write. I've heard from many that the past two years they were together were some of his happiest and that should give us all solace.

Anthony was 61, the same age my father was when he died. My father also suffered from intermittent deep depression, and like Anthony, was part of a “pull up your bootstraps and march on” generation. The a “strong man doesn't ask for help” generation. I know before Anthony died he reached out for help, and yet he did not take the doctor's advice. And that has led us here, to this tragedy, to this loss, to this world of hurt. Do NOT do the sexist thing and burn a woman on the pyre of misplaced blame. Anthony's internal war was his war, but now she's been left on the battlefield to take the bullets. It is in no way fair or acceptable to blame her or anyone else, not even Anthony. We are asking you to be better, to look deeper, to read and learn about mental illness, suicide and depression before you make it worse for survivors by judging that which we do not understand, that which can never fully be understood. Sometimes we are stuck in the unknowable, and that is where we are now, a massive wave of darkness that threatens to swallow everyone in its wake.

As I watch Asia do her job on set today, I see a pillar of strength who continues to work to put food on her children's table. I see Elizabeth Taylor carrying on filming Cat on a Hot Tin Roof despite her love, her husband, dying in a plane crash. I see all of us who have carried on. Please join me in sending healing energy to Anthony on his journey, and to all who've been left behind to journey on without him. There is no one to blame but the stigma of loneliness, the stigma of asking for help, the stigma of mental illness, the stigma of being famous and hurting.

We must do more and be better. Anthony, our friend, would want it that way.

To the media and to the random commenter, Anthony would never have wanted Asia to be hurt, I'd like to think he would want us to have the collective conversation that needs to be had about depression. Blame is NOT a conversation, it is the shutting down of our collective growth. Which is where we are now. We have a choice as humans, shrink to our smaller, uglier selves, or be better and grow as only true Phoenixes can. I urge you to be that Phoenix.


With great sadness and even greater hope, I remain,

Rose McGowan

cc: Asia Argento

If you are considering suicide, reach out. We need you here. You matter. You exist. You count. There is help a phone call away, reach out.


Here's a link to the column that seemed to start launch Anthony into the stratosphere, "Don't Eat Before Reading This."


Thursday, June 7, 2018

Amsterdam Day 1

We touched down in Amsterdam the morning of June 6 after an overnight flight from Houston. It is almost impossible to sleep on a plane in coach, but actually it's not much easier in  Business Class, as we were. You can more or less "lie down" in Business Class, kinda like if you were in a coffin, but unless you are used to sleeping on your back, it's not very comfortable. I have a hard time sleeping on my back. The wife barely slept either, as the planes pressurized air made her recently-broken foot throb in pain. So we were in a bit of a daze for the first day there, which is why we didn't schedule any activities for the first day.

It's Amsterdam alright.

Hey, here's a travel tip I finally learned. If you are flying into Schiphol Airport, consider taking a taxi to your hotel, instead of waiting for a hotel shuttle bus. In this case, and in some others at other airports, the shuttle goes not only to your hotel, but to others along the way, and odds are that your hotel will NOT be first.

the inaptly-named American Hotel

Turns out a 20-minute trip by taxi took over 90 minutes via hotel shuttle, including waiting for the damn shuttle to arrive. And if you have two or three co-travelers, you might just save money by taking a taxi. I should have learned this lesson earlier, but it finally sunk in this time. D'oh! 


what?


Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Thug Notes

You remember Cliff Notes? Well, let's update that with Thug Notes. Classic literature. Original gangster.

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Camel-Ice

OK, in prep for the upcoming Camel show in Eindhoven, Netherlands, here is the entire "Ice" tune from "I Can See Your House From Here."