Archive for the ‘Eulogies’ Category

9/11/01–seven years later

September 11, 2008

I wrote the following for the fifth anniversary of the September 11, and reposted it last year for the sixth anniversary. I figure I’ll run it again, especially since it got a comment from someone who undoubtedly knew Douglas Farnum a hell of a lot better than I ever did. I’m glad I could do something remotely resembling a fitting tribute to the man.

A bunch of words written five years after the fact, one most of the emotions of the moment have cooled, doesn’t feel like much. God knows I wish I could’ve done a hell of a lot more, both then and now, for Doug and all the other innocent people who lost their lives that day. I can only do what I can do; I figure if I brought back good memories for one person, then I did all right by Doug and his family.

Now it’s time for an old-school op-board line break. Nobody who reads this blog will get that reference, but I will. Doug would have. Hopefully he doesn’t mind me remembering the guy I knew from the Internet.


DC Roe undertook the challenge to recruit over 2,996 bloggers to write tributes to every individual casualty from the 9/11 attacks, both at the WTC and on the jets that were turned into bombs by stomach-turning Islamic terrorists. When I heard about the project, I had to join in, because like so many of you I was personally affected by 9/11 in that I had a friend of mine, Douglas Farnum, die at Ground Zero.

Doug, known as “Sick of it All” or “Sick” (after his favorite band) in his various online writing ventures, worked for Marsh & McLennan on the 97nd floor of Tower One. I wrote alongside him at various ventures for two years, at wrestling opinion websites and at Doug’s nascent business BrooklynHookers.com. Yes, it was an adult website, started with the blessing of Doug’s beloved wife Amy, to make the family a little extra scratch and hopefully get Doug out of a job he wasn’t quite crazy about at Marsh. I wrote in the opinions and review section of the website, because as I always said, you can’t jerk off all the time.

Doug was a devoted fan of professional wrestling, particularly the hardcore antics of the Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling, which had a large New York following. He’d meet wrestlers, hang out with them, get them to pose in Brooklyn Hookers teeshirts, and write about how cool it was to meet the guys he’d watched on TV and how they were good eggs. He was always there to talk to, either on AIM or on forums he frequented.

The online wrestling opinions group is a small, insular group of writers who generally cannibalize off one another, but no one ever had a bad thing to say about Doug. He was always there, always friendly, and usually always cool. I’d talked to Doug the weekend before 9/11, as I was expecting a package from him containing my Brooklyn Hookers staff teeshirt.

I got it Monday, the afternoon of September 10th, and I IMed him to tell him how thrilled I was with it, how well it fit, and to thank him for sending it to me. He thanked me for writing for him and said all he wanted in return was a picture of me in the shirt to go up on the site alongside the pictures of other writers who had shirts. I complied and sent him the picture sometime after he’d gone to bed.

He had work in the morning, after all.

That was the last time I’d spoken to Doug Farnum. I’d like to think that before he left for work, or before the planes hit, that he’d opened that email and saw my smiling face in a Brooklyn Hookers tee shirt, proudly rocking a little slice of New York City attitude in the rural South.

I still have the tee shirt. I still have the box it came in, smelling of sandalwood incense. I still have the note he included, green faded marker on a yellow piece of notebook paper, telling me how he’d see me on Stern, where he was hoping to promote the website that he’d started.

The entire community of writers, readers, and wrestlers held its breath, hoping desperately for a miracle that would never come. A month would pass, and life would slowly return to normal, save for the Doug-shaped hole in our lives. It sounds cliché to say he touched everyone he knew, but in Doug’s case the cliché was true. He was a great man, a talented writer, and a loyal friend.

I think about him every day. I miss him every day. I can only imagine how hard things like this are on his family, if they’re this tough on his friends. I hope that wherever he is, he’s enjoying himself with a stack of comic books, NYC hardcore, and a good ol’ barbed wire match on the TV.

Rest in peace, Doug.

Here is the new link to a participant list.

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Feel Good Friday: Wild Irish Rose

September 5, 2008

This is kind of a melancholy FGF, because this is my favorite local band, I’ve seen them like 20 times, and their last show is September 13th. It’s sad when things like this happen, but at least I’ll know to get down to Headliners and catch their last performance, no matter what. (They played on my birthday, but I didn’t go. D’oh!) It’s only $10, so I have no excuses despite my mild distaste for the venue of performance’s lack of parking.

Yes, I am in the video. Repeatedly. Mostly it’s my back, though, because I’m a moron. Still, that’s me in the BrooklynHookers.com teeshirt (black, lettering in a circle, fat guy… you can’t miss me). This video was one drummer and two or three rhythm guitarists in the past, so probably about 2003 or 2004. Just my best guess.

/roll-dice1-sides20; R.i.P. Gary Gygax

March 4, 2008

I wrote up a brief, rushed obituary of Gary Gygax over at Den of Geek, seeing as how he passed away today at age 69. I’m tired, so I don’t think it’s the best work I could’ve done, but it’s one of those situations where a great man and key lynchpin in geek culture must be memorialized. Short notice, but then again when is anyone ever prepared for any death?

I wasn’t a huge, huge D&D player, though I was a D&D player. It doesn’t really matter, though, as without Gary Gygax, the RPG as we know it would not have existed. Basically every commonplace idea in modern RPGs, be they tabletop, miniature, or video game, comes from D&D. The man invented hit points, for Christ’s sake!

Anyway, Godspeed Gary, and thank you for creating the games to which I sacrificed most of my high school and college years to. Without your creation, and those you inspired, I might’ve had to go out on the weekends or at nights in my formative years (yes, I’m only 26, but it’s kind of late to start that shit now). That means I would’ve had to talk to women, that means I would’ve had to learn how to relate to the opposite sex, which means I would’ve somehow gotten laid, and God knows how that would’ve turned out for the world.

So thanks, Gary, for protecting the world from my unborn children. You truly are a paladin of alignment lawful/good.

Tasteless Jokes About Heath Ledger

January 24, 2008

I’ve already made my serious commentary on Heath Ledger, but I just can’t hold back anymore. So for those of you who are as sick as I am, there’s gonna be some funny ahead. If you’re not as sick as I am, or can’t appreciate wholly inappropriate jokes, by all means go here and enjoy some LOLcats.

1. First, Brad Renfro died. Then Heath Ledger. Somewhere, Edward Furlong is hiding under his bed with a shotgun,
waiting for Robert Patrick to come after him to try and finish the job.

t1000

2a. This is why you don’t go bragging about your apartment to Patrick Bateman.

2b. Christian Bale is a method actor, too.

3. Looks like Heath finally found a way to quit Jake Gyllenhaal.

4. Poor Heath Ledger is just another one of pneumonia’s famous victims, alongside folks like Charles Nelson Reilly and the incredibly heterosexual Freddie Mercury. Looks like Ennis should’ve worn his rubbers up there on Brokeback Mountain.

Seriously, a 28-year-old who is otherwise healthy doesn’t die of pnumonia. This isn’t 1919. He fucked up, mixed his drugs, and overdosed. That’s all there is to it. It’s a shame, but like I’ve always said: Doing drugs doesn’t kill you, mixing drugs kills you. Antidepressants and sleeping pills; sleeping pills and cocaine; or maybe just sleeping pills and NyQuil. Either way, that’s why you don’t mix and match your medication, kids.

9/11/01

September 11, 2007

Author’s Note: I wrote this last year for the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and I figured I may as well repost it here on this, the sixth anniversary. Just to show I’m not completely ignorant of the profound nature of what today means for thousands of people throughout the world. Cheers, kids.

DC Roe undertook the challenge to recruit over 2,996 bloggers to write tributes to every individual casualty from the 9/11 attacks, both at the WTC and on the jets that were turned into bombs by stomach-turning Islamic terrorists. When I heard about the project, I had to join in, because like so many of you I was personally affected by 9/11 in that I had a friend of mine, Douglas Farnum, die at Ground Zero.

Doug, known as “Sick of it All” or “Sick” (after his favorite band) in his various online writing ventures, worked for Marsh & McLennan on the 97nd floor of Tower One. I wrote alongside him at various ventures for two years, at wrestling opinion websites and at Doug’s nascent business BrooklynHookers.com. Yes, it was an adult website, started with the blessing of Doug’s beloved wife Amy, to make the family a little extra scratch and hopefully get Doug out of a job he wasn’t quite crazy about at Marsh. I wrote in the opinions and review section of the website, because as I always said, you can’t jerk off all the time.

Doug was a devoted fan of professional wrestling, particularly the hardcore antics of the Philadelphia-based Extreme Championship Wrestling, which had a large New York following. He’d meet wrestlers, hang out with them, get them to pose in Brooklyn Hookers teeshirts, and write about how cool it was to meet the guys he’d watched on TV and how they were good eggs. He was always there to talk to, either on AIM or on forums he frequented.

The online wrestling opinions group is a small, insular group of writers who generally cannibalize off one another, but no one ever had a bad thing to say about Doug. He was always there, always friendly, and usually always cool. I’d talked to Doug the weekend before 9/11, as I was expecting a package from him containing my Brooklyn Hookers staff teeshirt.

I got it Monday, the afternoon of September 10th, and I IMed him to tell him how thrilled I was with it, how well it fit, and to thank him for sending it to me. He thanked me for writing for him and said all he wanted in return was a picture of me in the shirt to go up on the site alongside the pictures of other writers who had shirts. I complied and sent him the picture sometime after he’d gone to bed.

He had work in the morning, after all.

That was the last time I’d spoken to Doug Farnum. I’d like to think that before he left for work, or before the planes hit, that he’d opened that email and saw my smiling face in a Brooklyn Hookers tee shirt, proudly rocking a little slice of New York City attitude in the rural South.

I still have the tee shirt. I still have the box it came in, smelling of sandalwood incense. I still have the note he included, green faded marker on a yellow piece of notebook paper, telling me how he’d see me on Stern, where he was hoping to promote the website that he’d started.

The entire community of writers, readers, and wrestlers held its breath, hoping desperately for a miracle that would never come. A month would pass, and life would slowly return to normal, save for the Doug-shaped hole in our lives. It sounds cliché to say he touched everyone he knew, but in Doug’s case the cliché was true. He was a great man, a talented writer, and a loyal friend.

I think about him every day. I miss him every day. I can only imagine how hard things like this are on his family, if they’re this tough on his friends. I hope that wherever he is, he’s enjoying himself with a stack of comic books, NYC hardcore, and a good ol’ barbed wire match on the TV.

Rest in peace, Doug.

Here is the new link to a participant list.

Eulogy for the Weekly World News

July 23, 2007

It is with great sadness and a heavy heart that I report the demise of the vaunted tabloid publication, The Weekly World News.

When I was a kid, I’d spent a lot of days and nights over at my grandmother’s house. As anyone with a grandparent can tell you, the spoiling of young Ron was constant. My grandmother would pinch her pennies during the week and splurge on me during the weekends. We would walk down to the local gas station together, or take the bus downtown, and I would just get to go hog wild. Ice cream, candy, cookies, comic books, trips to the consignment store, and the key cog of the experience, supermarket tabloids.

I got older, as kids usually do. The ice cream and candy lessened in favor of home-cooked country-style meals full of delicious and fattening fried goods. The money once spent on toys and comic books became beer money. Time is a wheel and everything changes; the one constant was the omnipresent copies, sometimes several months worth, of The Weekly World News.

My grandmother passed away on January 14, 2002. I was attending a winter intercession class at college, so after a week off for Christmas/New Year, I had to hurry back to finish up my Christian Ministries/Psychology course on demons (which is why I took it, obviously). I was hoping to see her again before I had to go back, as usually on my way back to school I’d drive downtown, out of my way, and spend a little time with her. But I was running late that day and had to cancel. She understood, and told me to be careful on my drive back to school. I told her I would and that I loved her.

The next day, she had a brain aneurysm, which triggered a series of heart attacks and drove her into a coma. An otherwise active and healthy woman was felled by what is basically a fluke event that can happen to anyone at any age. I raced home from school and held her hand as she lay in that bed, hooked to machines I could never understand. She managed to say my name once, and squeezed my hand when I sobbed into her ear that I loved her and that I wanted her to be okay.

Around the time I was born, she was diagnosed with cancer. In 1981, cancer was a lot more fatal. At the time, they told her she only had a 25 percent chance of living, but after radical surgeries which took away most of her ability to speak clearly, produce saliva, and ability to eat solid foods, she survived. In spite of all the odds, she survived another 20 years and never complained about the lot life had dealt her. She always said she lived because she had me to live for.

My grandmother was a link to a time when people were a lot tougher than they are now. My grandmother was a survivor. The Great Depression, World War II, cancer, and thousands of near-miss biblical apocalypses predicted by the Weekly World News. She was, and remains, a very important figure in my life. Not just because she spoiled me with junk food and tabloids, but because she spoiled me with oft-told family tales about people long gone.

There aren’t a whole lot of things an angry teenager and an octogenarian can talk about, but the silly pictures and crazy stories in a black and white tabloid helped to close that gap. We’d sit at the kitchen table, passing magazines back and forth, talking about P’lod the space alien who predicted presidential elections, the latest adventure of Bat Boy, what Elvis and other non-dead dead celebrities were up to, and all the other crazy cryptids that inhabited the Weekly World News universe and whether or not things like that could really exist.

There’ll be other tabloids, other crazy stories about mermen from Atlantis and Saddam Hussein’s gay love affair with Osama Bin Laden. But it won’t be the same. I always knew I could stop at any supermarket, plop down a few bucks, and be back in 1992 with a bowl of ice cream, in my grandmother’s living room. The crinkle of pages and the black ink stains on my fingertips were a time machine, connecting me and my grandmother once again. No matter how bad I felt, or how much I missed her, I knew I could just pick up that paper, smell that familiar musty inky text, and find her again.

It’s funny, the things that trigger memories. I teared up a little as I read the news about the paper closing down. I know it’s just a silly paper full of fake news, but I’ll miss it anyway. Not so much because of what it was or what it contained, but what it always meant to me.

(Originally written for Den of Geek, though I couldn’t wait around to post it after they did, for obvious reasons.)