Usagi Tsukino, the crybaby, poor study, bad girl of movement in the clunker.
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Posts tagged "Requiescat in Pace"

Lauren Bacall is one of our cultural icons. She defined, visually, a kind of ineffable grace and sophistication. In one sense, she was the natural counterpart to Katherine Hepburn.

I could write a lot about Mme Bacall, but I think there’s something we can take from her tragic passing. Something that’s easy to miss right now, especially with the shocking death of Robin Williams. Williams’s death — and the form that passing took — was so unexpected, and so horrifying, that it has eclipsed Bacall’s death entirely.

And that’s unfortunate, because there’s a lesson as important to be taken away from the tragic passing of Mme Bacall.

Lauren Bacall died of a stroke, at the age of 89.

And… when you read that, it’s easy — sadly — to dismiss it. She was 89. Naturally, she was at the end of a long and fulfilling life, and it’s as natural that she passed from a stroke. That happens later in life.

Except it doesn’t. Anyone can have a stroke.


A stroke may be caused by genetic factors. It may be caused by a hard hit on a football field. Take the case of 17 year old High School Senior Andre Maloney, a standout football star in Kansas City, who had already been recruited by the University of Kansas. A star athlete moving into his prime.

Until he collapsed on the sidelines during a football game.

Over the course of the next few days, Maloney was treated, but tragically he couldn’t be saved. A blood clot had entered his brain through a Patent Foramen Ovale, or PFO — a literal hole in his heart.

A hole, I would add, that one in five Americans have. Because we’re all born with a PFO. It’s how we can survive in the womb without, you know, being able to breathe. But 20% of all Americans (I don’t have statistics for the rest of the planet) don’t have these PFOs close.

And, should blood clots form in your body, they can reach the lungs — causing what’s called a pulmonary embolism. Which itself is no picnic, mind. But if you have a PFO, it can also pass through and hit your brain.

That happened to Andre Maloney. Did he get a clot from a hit on the field? Who knows. But he got one. And he died. 17 years old, in excellent health, and a stroke victim.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Because strokes can be treated incredibly effectively, if they are treated quickly.

That picture above is the FAST protocol. It’s a fast way to check if a friend or loved one might be suffering a stroke. It’s simple, and it’s fast. And if you get them to a hospital quickly, there are incredibly effective treatments. There is a medication emergency rooms have — a clotbuster — that can massively improve a stroke victim’s recovery and survival rate. But with a stroke every second counts. Every second is brain cells.

It goes beyond even that, by the way. In a lot of cases, a stroke that happens due to PFO will have precursors — sharp leg pains where clotting may be happening. Shortness of breath from a pulmonary embolism. If things seem odd, get them checked out.

Please. For your loved ones. For yourself. For Lauren Bacall, who was class and grace and sophistication personified… and for Andre Maloney… learn the warning signs for Stroke, and if you see them — or have them — call 911. Immediately. Don’t stop to pass Go. Be aware.

And be safe.

I haven’t actually gotten close to the point where my various online lives are revivable (as it turns out, regenerating your entire online life is hard), but I couldn’t let this pass by today without comment.

Danielle Corsetto’s work today does a stunning, beautiful thing. The art is gorgeous, of course, but also evocative. Note how the face of the child — implied to be Corsetto herself, of course — is facing forward. We see her, clearly. The grandfather, though… his face is looking down. We don’t get a clear sight, because of course this is coming from Corsetto’s memory — if she’s remembering his face, it’s because he’s looking down, not forward. Looking with love.

The writing alongside this evokes so much as well — both in tone and content, of course, but also in appearance. Corsetto manually centered the poem. Do you have any idea how hard that is?

And all of that comes together to give us this glimpse, this snapshot of a life. I called out the poem, but “Quaker Meeting” isn’t the only poetic element here. Not by a long shot. Every line evokes imagery. Every word is perfectly placed.

Grief is hard, because so much of what you grieve is presence — not just immediate presence, but a lifetime of presence.

This piece is presence, bound up in a tiny glimpse and given to us. And for that I can only thank Corsetto, and offer my deepest condolences to her and her family.

One of the things I remember most clearly about the ‘webcomics community’ in the mid-2000s was how passionate everyone was, about… well, everything. Drama was a constant. There was no detail so small that it wasn’t worth an argument. There was no achievement so petty that it didn’t deserve celebration. The most precious coin of the realm was sincerity — you could be an jerk. People were fine with that. Just don’t be a milquetoast or hypocrite.

Well, Joey Manley was no hypocrite. And Joey Manley was no milquetoast. He went toe to toe on the subject of comics with anyone. And sometimes, people called him a jerk. Sometimes loudly. And generally they used language that was less ‘PG’ than ‘jerk.’

But that was okay with Joey, because comics mattered to Joey. Art mattered to Joey. And if that meant he was going to be the one man standing up in the middle of remarkable peer pressure and move in a different direction, well, that’s what it would mean.

Which is where we got Modern Tales from. And Girlamatic, Serializer, Graphic Smash and all the rest of the ‘Manley’ sites (which he always referred to as the ‘Modern Tales family.’) 

But I’m getting ahead of my tale. More after the break.

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Upon hearing of the death of Gore Vidal, I had an immediate, almost visceral reaction, which I immortalized in Twitter form. That is the rhetoric of the age — immediate thoughts, put out in a form that was immediately visible for all to see. It was, in its way, the anthesis of Gore Vidal’s writing.

Still, I stand by it the next day, and will cheerfully reproduce it here:

@Demiurgent: Is it wrong I hope the inappropriate cartoons of Gore Vidal entering Heaven show him knife fighting William F. Buckley for all eternity?

I called the (inevitable) political cartoons of Vidal at the Pearly Gates inappropriate for two reasons: one, because Gore Vidal didn’t believe in Heaven. As with Christopher Reeve (an Atheist) and George Harrison (a Buddhist), there is something vaguely offensive of depicting Gore Vidal’s undergoing Heavenly judgment in an affectionate style. And two, because Vidal claimed Buckley was in Hell, and I have to believe if given the choice, he’d pursue him down there.

But, if there’s a Buckley knife fight. I’ll forgive them. More after the break.

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