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Today's Party Column
Today's Featured Article - Death
Death is the process by which live things complete the transition to becoming dead things. Traditionally, this is achieved by ceasing all biological functions and falling to the floor as a lifeless pile of jelly. The generally agreed procedure at this point is to attract hundreds of insects and decompose horribly. There are very few departures from this formula and, given that everybody who goes through it is dead, this is unlikely to change any time soon.
Death has been the subject of extensive debate over the years. There are hundreds of competing theories for what happens afterwards. These range from being reborn to absolutely nothing happening whatsoever and entering a state of eternal nothingness — an eternal oblivion. The state of eternal oblivion is easily experienced by taking a stopping train to Aberystwyth, or by inviting a plumber to explain exactly what he is doing to the ball-cock.
It is common for people to have funerals after they die. These funerals are where friends of the deceased mourn their passing, before descending into petty squabbles and litigation over the deceased person's will. Death is often described as being the ultimate leveller. As Roman Emperor Marcus Aurelius observed in 180 AD: "It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live." Such a quotation is sure to enliven any post-bereavement repast. (more...)
Yesterday's Featured Article - Ernest Hemingway
He lived. Primarily in the first half of the 20th century. Then for a while in the last half. He wrote things (such as books), drank things (such as alcohol), and shot things (such as his face). He had a beard. He married more than his fair share of rich women. He once owned a tiny Jewish slave named Windemere. Let us examine this complex man and his complex works. Without neglecting his complexity.
Ernest Hemingway was born in the United States. His father was an Amish magician. His mother was not. He cried a lot when he was a baby. Babies cry a lot. Sometimes it is because their pants are heavy. Sometimes it is because they cannot have fine French wine. Even as a baby Hemingway could tell a good wine from a bad one.
Hemingway cried. He did not have decent French wine. He would have it later. But right now he did not have it. The house did not have indoor plumbing. It would have it later, when Ernest was ten. When he turned ten he would be fascinated with the hot and cold taps. He would call it a Big Two-Heated River. He would wish the taps would pour out whiskey and absinthe. But they did not. Besides, his house did not have plumbing yet. While he was looking for a restroom, he would often shoot things. (More...)
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