Earlier this evening, I had a brief conversation with a blogging buddy whose son is considering a career in funeral service.  I have always been happy to help young people discern the career that I worked in for 36 years.

After the call, I went back and found ten articles I had written over the years that I thought might be helpful.

Nine were very serious.

This is not the meme. Click on the link.

This one was not.

Planning Ahead

It describes my outlook on life with a very simple meme.

Thanks, Ally.

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100 Years Ago . . .

. . . Bernard S. Kaliss was born.

I know that because I have visited his grave often over the years and have memorized the dates. One day, my earthly remains will be laid to rest just a few hundred feet away from his on Mary’s Mountain.

Why is this important, you may ask?  

Just because it is.

I first met Bernie at Mt. St. Mary’s during the Spring Semester of 1979 when as a freshman, I had him for a writing course on Tuesday and Thursday morning at 0730!  Because I was working evenings (3-11) at the hospital, I had to get my classes in early.

And early it was.

The picture I still have in my mind is him, sitting at his desk, reading the Wall Street Journal as we gathered for class each morning.

Already on my way to being the “Arch Duke of Death”, I once wrote a paper in his class which described why autopsies are sometimes required  and why sometimes they are not. After getting the paper back, he asked me to see him after class and there he thanked me for the explanation as his son had been killed in a car accident and no one ever explained why they needed to perform an autopsy on him. We hit it off after that and I think I did pretty good in his class.

We went home for Christmas break that December, only to return to hear the news that Bernie had suffered a stroke and had died a few days after Christmas.

Although he was in my life for a very short time and I knew little about his life,  I think of him often and never fail to visit his grave when I pass through Emmitsburg. As long as I am breathing, he will be remembered. My guess is though, that I am not alone and he made an impact on others also.

As I get older, I often wonder how I will be remembered once I’m gone and I am told that the jury is still out on that one.

I simply hope, however, that I may have unknowingly touched someone’s life in a way that they will always remember me as I remember Bernie Kaliss.

May his memory be eternal and Happy 100th Birthday, Sir.


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Jumped The Gun, As Usual

. . . but not the “Love Gun”

One day last week, I was reading an article about the 16th, final  KISS tour.  (OK, 16th is a slight exaggeration, but not by much).

They had a good run, but all the lawsuits, drama, books and merchandise were just a bit much. They could have stopped with Destroyer and Alive and called it a good day. They’ve been saying “This will be our final tour” since the mid-1990’s.

Twenty studio albums, eight live albums, thirteen compilations and eight boxed sets later, they are lip-syncing most of their final concerts and have squeezed as much cash as they could out of their fans.

Anyone still have a KISS lunchbox or KISS condoms?

All this to admit an error in judgment.  

Shortly after reading that article I read a blog post by Kurt Harden, over at CulturalOffering that invited readers to share what they thought were perfect albums.

Being in a KISS state of mind, I added the original KISS record, which is a damn good album, which BTW was released 45 years ago today/tomorrow, February 18, 1974. This is also a good reason why they should stop.  45 years is long enough.

After seeing some of the other submissions, I realized that I clicked before I thought, which is an entire chapter of “Welcome to My Life”

There are so many better albums on the list started by Kurt and added to by his readers.

I also recall creating a post on the old blog back in 2014 that listed my “My Top Twenty” Some of those wouldn’t be on the list if I created it today, but that was then and this is now.

I’m sure that Kurt wouldn’t mind if you added your favorite to his list, here:  Perfect.




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How It Came To Be

Doctors – Build the Wall or Not? 

Physicians were unable to reach a consensus: should the U.S. build Trump’s Mexican Wall?

The Allergists were in favor of scratching it, but the Dermatologists advised not to make any rash moves.

The Gastroenterologists had sort of a gut feeling about it, but the Neurologists thought Trump had a lot of nerve.

Meanwhile, Obstetricians felt certain everyone was laboring under a misconception, while the Ophthalmologists considered the idea shortsighted.

Pathologists yelled, “Over my dead body!” while the Pediatricians said, “Oh, grow up!”

The Psychiatrists thought the whole idea was madness, while the Radiologists could see right through it.

Surgeons decided to wash their hands of the whole thing and the Internists claimed it would indeed be a bitter pill to swallow.

The Plastic Surgeons opined that this proposal would “put a whole new face on the matter”.

The Podiatrists thought it was a step forward, but the Urologists were pissed off at the whole idea.

Anesthesiologists thought the whole idea was a gas, but those lofty Cardiologists didn’t have the heart to say no. 

In the end, the Proctologists won out, leaving the entire decision up to the a**holes in Washington!


Thanks to Carla. . . 

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Rain, And Lots Of It.

Lot’s of Rain. . .Left coast floods are changing some landscapes and some forecasts have it raining in the Southeast for almost the next two weeks. It is predicted to start with a half inch overnight.

I do suppose, however, that it is better than two weeks of snow.

So, on this cloudy, Friday evening,  I’m going to start “Audience Participation Night”

When you think of rain, what’s the first song that comes to mind?

I have a few, but since I can only pick one, it’ll be this one we covered in the early days of a band I played with.  During our tenure, we went through several cheesy names related to chocolate desserts/mammals and lobster characters.

Good times and I sure do miss them.

From 1994. . .  Rain King (wiki)

What is your favorite rain song?

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Valentine’s Day, a Handy Gift Guide for Married People

Happy “Hallmark Cards & Rose Growers Day”.

Dina explains the relationship progression pretty well. This is a very diverse holiday.

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

Dating: Reservations at the super-fancy/can’t really afford/won’t like the food/you’ll figure out how to pay the credit card bill later/restaurant; roses; fancy chocolates dusted with things that shouldn’t be on chocolate

Engaged: Jewelry, (bonus points if it’s heart-shaped); Elizabeth Barrett Browning or Khalil Gibran poetry books; flowers, but not roses; thoughtful cards with sappy messages and long, handwritten notes

The Marriage Years…

Year One : Hitting refresh a thousand times to get tickets to a sold-out show, that band that whose song was playing the first time you kissed, or that restaurant written up in the Times; dressy dinner out at an expensive but slightly more affordable restaurant; store-bought cards with short, handwritten notes

Year Two: Reservations at that Thai place that’s kind of pricey but not too bad, you’re saving money for a down-payment so that’s fine right?; flowers; store-bought card with “I love you” and single…

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From My Former Life

It’s been a few years since I retired after 3+ decades in funeral service, but I still miss it.

This post found on Fueled By Chocolate blog made me smile. One example, which I know to be true, is:

No matter how rich you become, how famous or powerful, when you die the size of your funeral will still pretty much depend on the weather.
– Michael Pritchard –

Death And Cemetery Quotations

I have one I’d like to add:

“Life is short.  Dead is for a very long time.  Enjoy your life”





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5 Years Ago

This was one of my favorite trees in our yard. It became firewood.

Winter Storm Pax had a huge impact on the Southeast five years ago and few counties suffered as much damage as Aiken County, SC did.

We lost several beautiful trees on our property including a beechnut tree with a 60′ canopy.

It was like a bomb hit the county and it took months and months to clean it up, but the landscape was changed forever. We were fortunate that our power was out for only about 36 hours.  Luckily, we had three fireplaces in our house to stay warm.

Below is a video that was taken as someone drove around our neighborhood.

The storm came to an end on Valentines Day, but mother nature wasn’t done with us and an earthquake hit the area around 10:30 that evening,  giving more reasons to ask the question, “Did you feel the earth move?”  on that romantic evening.

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What Else Don’t We Know?

I am not prone to “fact-checking” statements.  Life is too short to need to be right about everything.

Earlier today, however, I came across a statement that caused me to pause and poke around a little bit.  The statement was found in my e-mail and came from GoldenFact and it stated:

In the U.S., the apples sold at stores can be up to a year old.

Can’t be, can it?

Well, apparently it is a true statement and here is the link to one of several articles that back the statement up.

That apple you just bought might be a year old – but does it matter?

And a quote from that article: “To slow the proverbial sands of time, some fruit distributors treat their apple bins with a gaseous compound, 1-methylcyclopropene,” the USDA states. “It extends the fruits’ post-storage quality by blocking ethylene, a colorless gas that naturally regulates ripening and aging. The same chemical is used to lessen the “de-greening of broccoli, browning of lettuce, and bitterness in carrots,” according to the USDA.

So much for the “An apple a day. . .” theory.

This saddens me.


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Finding Peace

…one must first strive to calm the thoughts. The constant movement of the mind prevents it from entering into the heart, which is the only place where it may find true peace and solace.

Bishop Irenei Steenberg
The Beginnings of a Life of Prayer p.95
Thank you,  Fr. Thomas Moore
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