Friday, December 21, 2007

And Then There Were Two

One of those things you know is going to happen, but you just wish it wouldn't.

J. Russell Coffey just passed away at the age of 109. Mr. Coffey was one of the last surviving veterans of the First World War. Mr. Coffey never "saw the elephant", but he stepped forward and joined the army and served his country during time of war, so he gets just as much credit as anyone else.

I don't know the tally for the entire world--whether any veterans survive in France, Belgium, Germany, etc. but I do know that there are now exactly two WWI veterans left in the US: Frank Buckles, who is 106, and Harry Richard Landis, who is 108. There is one veteran still living in the UK, Robert Taggert and he is 107.

These guys saw a conflict that rewrote the world map and now they are all but gone.

I wish Godspeed to Mr. Coffey and hope that the others continue to grace us with their presence for some time to come.
Can You Say "Jackass"?

I've been skiing for over 30 years. For all that time I'm not all that great, but I hit the slopes and have a good time. I've eaten several cubic meters of snow along the way, wrecked a knee (surgery--three weeks in the hospital) and once took a glove off to find it filled with blood. I once saw a guy fall and leave a red streak on the snow. I stood on Killington Peak stupidly wearing jeans when the wind chill was so far below zero that I lost count (not that it takes much to make me lose count, but anyway).

And I still use old style two-meter skis. None of that parabolic stuff.

None of the above has stopped me. It's a lot of fun. Things can happen, but I take my life in my hands every time I go down to the main road and cross it to get the mail.

Events occur. You just deal with it. And if you hit the slopes and are a grownup, you know that things can happen.

But check out this complete jackass. I already wrote Reader's Digest (the plaintiff works for the magazine) and told them to stuff my subscription up their collective posterior.