Mail Call

I woke up early Saturday morning at the Cynical Compound to an email that started like this:

Hi there. Something made me do a search of my father’s name this morning and this link came up:

Uh oh. Being somewhat pessimistic, I usually assume the worst and in this scenario it would mean that I said something not very nice about somebody and now will be called out on it by a relative. Bloggers, especially when they first start blogging, can easily make the mistake of thinking that nobody besides a few friends are ever going to read whatever we write. But they don’t call it the World Wide Web for nothing and Google seems to have an excellent memory when it comes to finding posts you have long since forgotten. Luckily, my pessimism in this instance was unfounded.

It was from your site, April 7, 2004. Ted Richings was my Dad. And you were so right, he was a cool guy. I just wanted to tell you that I appreciate you taking the time to post his obit, to solve the cryptogram, and to comment on it. It¹s been almost three years and I still miss him, and his sense of humor, terribly. I am amazed at the places his obit ended up in the last three years. He¹d be embarassed to know how much attention it got, but would have gotten a kick out of it too. He was a gentle, humble man, but obviously had a great sense of humor as well.

Thanks for the posting. It made me smile.

Laurie (Laura) Richings

Laurie was referring to a post I did about her father’s obituary from 2004 in the Oregon Statesman Journal. It’s rare for an announcement about a person’s death to be so full of life and humor and I think that’s what makes this obituary so unique. I’ll repost it in full for those who didn’t see it the first time around. Thank you Laurie for your email.

Theodore Jay Richings

December 12, 1927 – March 25, 2004

SALEM – Ted Richings, 76, finally fulfilled his prophecy of having only three months to live. He died of hepatacellular carcinoma. He was born in Lebanon, Penn. He is survived by his wife, Nancy; daughters, Diane Dargitz of San Diego, Laura of Seattle, and Cynthia of Salem; son-in-law, Bill Dargitz and grandson, Carl Dargitz of San Diego; brothers, James of Central Point and John of Tucson, Ariz.; and sister, Jewel of Savona, N.Y.

His dying words were, “I wish I had spent more time at the office.” He asked everyone to ponder the words of that great philosopher, Woody Allen, who said, “Death is not the worst thing that can happen to you; anyone who has spent an evening with a life insurance salesman knows what I mean.”

He was an environmentalist. He loved fly-fishing and the wilderness. He also enjoyed puzzles and left the following cryptogram for your amusement.

ABCDEBAF GH JIFFGHE

KILGMN, KOGPHTF, KMNKGFBGHE;

I JMIRP – NPMMCQFACHP;

I UPEGHHGHE – IDEDFA, HGHPAPPH KCOAN ABOPP;

I FCHE – “GH LN MGKP”

I UGOT – ABP KGFBBIQV;

I JCPL – “ABC LGEOIAGCH” (I KMGEBA CK EPPFP).

LPH EC IHT RCLP UDA PIOAB IUGTPF. PRRMPFGIFAPF 1:4

At his request, there will be no services. Following cremation, his ashes will be returned to the place he loved.

Donations to the EarthJustice Legal Defense Fund, The Federation of Fly Fishers, or the Greater Yellowstone Coalition would be appropriate. His family will be able to provide the addresses of the organization. Arrangements are by Restlawn Funeral Home.

Bush Cuts Cancer Research Funding

Because most of us were more likely to be killed by a WMD than a tumor….

Funding for the National Cancer Institute had been going up steadily for a decade, but now President Bush wants to cut the funding for the second year in a row — this time by $40 million.

The newest cancer research may be especially threatened by these cuts. Money has always been tight. Even back in 2002, when the budget was growing, the government approved only one in five promising proposals for new research. Now only one in 10 is funded.

It’s not only the research, but the researchers themselves that are affected. Some worry these cuts will have chilling effect on recruiting up-and-coming scientists.

“We’re at jeopardy of losing a whole generation of scientists, of cancer researchers, and that’s undoubtedly going to have an effect 10 years down the line,” adds Dr. Ben Ho Park of Johns Hopkins’ Kimmel Cancer Center.

The $12 Grand Water Clock

Here’s some serious clockatude, reminding us of the Internets because it’s literally a series of tubes, and it’s not a big truck. The Canna Clock by ChronArte consists of a dozen glass tubes with 5.25 gallons of water, filling up as time passes and marked at 10-minute increments. For instance, the clock you see here is telling us it’s 9:39.

At 12 o’clock noon and midnight, all the water drains down to the bottom, starting the process all over again. It’s a river of time. It costs a river of money, too, $12,000 to be exact.

Coffee Pot Mini Meth Lab

How long until the government freaks out and tries to ban all coffee makers. I mean, they’ve already gone after decongestants.

Instead of brewing coffee, coffee pots are sometimes used to brew methamphetamine. And since meth labs in hotels aren’t anything new, Rick Phillips of the Marshall County Drug Enforcement Unit says there’s definitely a risk. “The coffee makers that you find in every motel room is an ideal heat source. They mix it up in the coffee pot, put it on a heat source and let it sit there and cook,” said Phillips. It’s common knowledge to those who fight meth, but a shock to your average citizen. Phillips says it’s pretty easy to tell if a coffee pot has been used to cook meth. It will have a dark reddish-orange stain.

(via Boing Boing)