Sunday Solitude

Solitude is on us again, “us” meaning Your Humble Blogger and his faithful Small Dog Mark II, after a few eventful days. With Small Dog, is it “solitude” or is it “dualitude”? Don’t cop an attitude, we just want to know.

Kid visited from Wednesday through today, and while he spent much of the time with his 17-year-old peers, he also spent much with his mom’s grumpy old ex, which made that man less grumpy than he’s been in a while. We’ve already recounted the range visit and Mauser/Luger shoot, but Saturday we hit not one but three gun shops: Kittery Trading Post, the SIG Academy pro shop, and our favorite kitchen table/transfer dealer (we had a rare Czechoslovak firearm to pick up). We have promised Kid a firearm for his 18th Birthday next year.

Everyone has low-cost ARs now (low cost being relative at SIG, though). The el cheapo king was probably the whole rack of DPMS factory demo rifles for sale at Kittery — typical optic-ready carbines for $450. .22 ammo is back on the shelves in quantity and in bulk packaging. And suppressors seem to be really taking off, even without the hearing protection act.

Plaintiff II showed up somewhat unexpectedly Saturday evening. She brought her nephew, a kid who has fallen on hard times. He’s not a bad kid but does not excel at looking out for Number One, consequently he’s in a jam — unemployed, broke, no car, and his mom, Plaintiff’s sister, just passed away after a long illness with many devastating complications. (Which is what brought Plaintiff back to NH).

Supposedly there’s a will, which no one can find. He’s selling off his possessions on LetGo to try to raise enough for his mom’s cremation (we said he was broke, we mean broke). Another relative helped him out with a GoFundMe page.

This kid is 26, he’s a one-tour Iraq vet who isn’t asking for much, but if you would like to help him out, the GoFundMe is here. Even $5 or $10 gets him closer to his goal. As you may see, Your Humble Blogger has made a contribution; we would not ask you guys without our own skin in the game. Nobody, not Darren nor us here at WeaponsMan, expects you to do this, nor will anyone think less of you if you aren’t able to donate, or would prefer not to do so.

With all the family eventfulness going on, we did not review a movie. In fact, we didn’t watch the GD movie we intended to. It’s been that kind of week.

Update at 2200

I did finally watch the movie, so there is that. Kid’s ride to the airport wasn’t as locked it as he thought so I got to spend an extra hour with him. He should be home it St Louis soon. Small Dog Mk II rode all the way to Boston in his lap, and most of the way home in mine.

Darren has raised the minimum amount he needed to get his Mom cremated (not accounting for the 8% GoFundMe gets, but that’s OK), and the lion’s share of it came from you guys. We are humbled by your generosity. Any extra that goes in should improve Carlene’s send-off (and put the cremains in an urn instead of a bento box or whatever the default option is!). And we’ll see if the kindness of strangers is what he needed to get his life going back in a positive direction.

47 thoughts on “Sunday Solitude

  1. DaveP

    Hognose as killick-stone.

    Our needs here are enviably small; donation made.
    Thoughts to your nephew – charlie-mike.


  2. Tom

    Donation made. I hope he’s (Darren) as well as possible, given the difficult circumstances. I lost my mother last year following a serious illness and wish him the best in seeing things through.

  3. Cap'n Mike

    Donation Made
    You give so much and ask so little Hognose, and a fellow Vet who just lost his Mom is a worthy cause.

  4. Keith

    Can’t do anything at this time. Will try to when paid on the 15th but that’s service my credit card pay check.

  5. Nadnerbus

    Lost my dad a year ago. As awful as that is, there were at least resources to take care of final costs. No one should have to deal with that after losing a loved one.

    I was never military, but I enjoy the hell out of your blog, that alone is worth a few bucks. Give him this strangers condolences.

  6. KPKo

    Donated. Respect and condolences. Thank you HN for your work here and willingness to share your knowledge.

  7. Arturo

    Donated, Terrible pity. For all the the interesting things you have done, it was money well spent. Condolences to the Young man. I hope he can find good employment soon.

  8. George

    Donated. I sympathize with any young man trying to find a job these days. The sister of my old high school buddy (he was deceased in 2014) has a son in similar financial straits and is living with his mother. It seems like a common situation for many nowadays.

  9. Chris W.

    Been broke like that before. Sad to hear he lost his mother, my condolences. I’ll head over now and give to the cause. Tears me up to see a fellow vet with his hand out for a situation like this.

  10. FormerUSN

    Small donation made. Hope the young man soldiers on and gets his life back on track. Sorry for his loss.

    Keep up the great work. Your blog is a welcomed part of my daily reading.

    FYI – D-Day Through German Eyes vol 1 and 2 are a great read.

  11. JMcG

    Gave a bit. Terrible thing. What state is the young man living in? What sort of work is he looking for?

    1. Hognose Post author

      He is living in the small (and economically collapsed) town of Franklin, NH, as far as I know. He will be off to the probate court tomorrow to talk to the clerks. (His mom was supposed to have made a will, but no one can find it, and she may have skipped it). His basic problem at this point is that he’s disorganized and is surrounded by some people in the rest of his family who are even more disorganized, and have “issues.” Objective is to get him through this and into employment without giving him “issues,” but apart from an aunt in the Midwest, his family is unable to help or give good advice (I’m not really family).

      Not every vet is an SF guy who lands on his feet like a cat, unfortunately.

      1. JMcG

        Dunno if he has any connections in SE PA, but the electric and gas utilities are in a major infrastructure push. The big contractors are taking any warm bodies, but I think vets are given a preference. My 23 year old nephew just started with Infrasource at 25.00/hour.
        Just FYI.

  12. Nato

    As I understand things,”solitude”, like “chef”, is a direct carry-over from the French, look there for a plural.

    As for your companion, I have a cultural legacy of growing up with working animals and we would never anthropomorphize the livestock. They stay off the furniture and they sleep outside.

    Solitude is right.

    1. "Greg"

      Could there be a plural for solitude? (Even if it follows French conventions? -me thinks that to be akin to other oxymorons such as “lone rangers”)

      Imho, solitude can still be applicable (despite what many would argue is more of a “family” status for small dog mk2) but if you want to create a new word (dualitude) I say “sure, why not?” But perhaps I am a little biased, having created *mediplation” (combination of contemplation & meditation)

      finally – I wonder if something is wrong with me? Financially I am in a similar condition to Keith, bur my mind was wrapped up in the solitude/dualitude question… well I suppose there is no question that something is wrong with me, but perhaps more practical would be figuring out exactly what that would be and whether or not I even want to do something about it (if not consciously exacerbate the matter?)

      1. Hognose Post author

        English is a wonderful language for neologisms, ever willing to expand an already large vocabulary. The Eskimos may have 27 words for snow, but English speakers have 27 words for anything.

        1. Nato

          I think I’ve got it sussed.

          You can space out and find peace in ‘solitude’ sitting at the same table while your blind date is going through why Lady Bics aren’t good enough and she needs the triple-head reminigton 18V electric razor for her legs (I wish I was making that one up).

          You can be ‘in company with’ a companion. Sorry I missed the obvious in my first comment.

          I would suggest you reject ‘dualitude’ in favour of ‘a duality in solitude’ if a bond grows tight enough.

          Keep on writing, please sir. We come for the content, but carry your imagery for the rest of the day.

  13. SemperFido

    Donated. Thank you Hog for the link. To Darren, hang in there little brother. I also have been very down in my life and it does get better.

  14. LCPL Martinez USMC

    $2,000 bucks for a cremation? Is this the standard rate? I never thought of funeral/cremation costs, but I got to wondering what the alternatives are out there, if you simply want to dispose of your body without fuss and for free. I’m familiar with the body farm, and donating your body for hot co-eds in med school to fondle you in death. I know this is a free service, but the skeptic in me, fears that my body may be sent to say China or East Europe where I’ll end up as someone’s necrophiliac fix.

    What’s the legality of building your own funeral pyre, and burning one’s remains in yours or others land? How about a viking funeral? It seems like the funeral industry’s got us all by the balls. $2,000 bucks a lot , if you think about it, they’re just burning flesh.

    I’m sure you’ll need to go thru county paperwork hoops, but cremation shouldn’t cost $2,000 bucks, Hognose.

    Is there a movement or organization somewhere fighting for the freedom to bury or cremate from paying such exorbitant amounts?

      1. Gray


        I have personally dug the holes (with a backhoe) on private land, and helped lower a few neighbors into the ground in home-made wood boxes. It is legal here, sans embalming; the only codicil is that burial must take place within 24 hours.

    1. John Distai

      See “Stiff – The Curious Lives of Cadavers” by Mary Roach. Ms. Roach’s books are always entertaining and enlightening.

      1. John Distai

        …Human Cadavers, that is. I see she has a new one out, “Grunt – The Curious Science of Humans at War”. I haven’t read it yet, but I’m sure it is quite entertaining.

  15. Mike_C

    Small donation sent. Incidentally (as I’m sure you know, Hognose) Darren’s account has passed the MINIMUM for the cremation, but not hit the $2k goal. FWIW.

    @LCPL Martinez: It’s not a crazy price. Quoting from a funeral home with which I am familiar (mother, 2013), “[…] The average cost of an adult funeral in 2012 was $7,755 (NFDA survey 2012) with the average cost of a funeral increasing year-on-year with a rise of over 74% since 1985. This cost does not take into account the additional cemetery costs and many ancillary services […] According to the Cremation Association of North America (CANA), the price tag for a simple cremation costs an average of $1,650, and this includes a simple memorial service. If no memorial service is included and a simple direct cremation is performed, the average price is $725.”

    But you’re not going to get out of there with a simple direct cremation. Too many of those guys happily prey on the bereaved during their shell-shock. So, they generally put the corpse into something prior to cremation. Mom had a “corrugated fiberboard” box (basically a cardboard box) and that was another $400. (The funeral director tried manfully to “upgrade” us to at least a pine box, if not walnut veneer over hardwood, or maybe a nice mahogany. This went on for some time until I looked him in the eye, raised an eyebrow and asked, politely, “How much would it be for Saran Wrap?”) NB while I am indeed cheap, this was in accordance with my mom’s directive to “spend as little as possible”; plus as a Buddhist, she found the idea of ostentatious funerary arrangements just wrong.

    >donating your body for hot co-eds in med school to fondle you in death.
    Heh. I’m gonna hold it in on this one :-). I will however note that, whatever the motivation for donating one’s remains, it’s very much appreciated and the remains are treated with as much dignity as possible, given what is done to them.

    1. LCPL Martinez 29 Palms

      Hognose, Gray, John Distai, Mike_C, Josey Wales, Trone, et al.

      Thanks all for the feed back.

      It would appear there is a business opportunity for someone to start “The Viking Funeral Company LLC”

      I agree, man. If there is an opportunity here, I think maybe do the viking funeral later on, the first step is ensuring clean, no emission issues nor littering (in water/ocean), if we’re to undercut the funeral industry and change the game completely.

      “I am not sure he is college material but he could probably do with a trade.”

      Hognose, see if he’s willing to give this cremation business a go. The opportunity here is in undercutting funeral homes. I’m no business guy or entrepreneur, but maybe get a clean, efficient crematorium going (are you guys familiar with communal ovens for bread, etc.???).

      So like a public laundromat (or communal ovens), where people can do it themselves, or have the house do the washing/drying (baking) for an extra fee. One crematorium to start with, then expand. The trick is coming up with a clean/efficient crematorium design that’ll be different from other crematoriums.

      I called a couple of crematoriums today (just for shits and giggles) and it turns out upon death, county takes 4 to 5 business days to issue a death cert, funeral homes add this to their service, plus cold storage fees while the death bureaucracy is traversed. $1,500 is the cheapest over here.

      I also asked if the actual cremation could be witnessed, and it was a big no. You do get to see the body off, see the door closed, and cremation, then after you ‘re presented with the ashes of the deceased. The skeptic in me, again China and Eastern Europe (I’m sure there’s some sort of underground cadaver int’l trade for necrophiliacs).

      I’m sure it’s not just me,

      but I want someone to witness my cremation. So along with a clean/efficient burn (that’ll be the standard in the industry), a cremation should be viewable. Which brings us to Bali, Indonesia while on port there I witnessed a funeral pyre on the beach, the whole town was there to send the deceased off and there was a celebratory mood.

      So on top of crematorium design, I’d add the business should focus on meaning, ie. for a veteran send off, get the whole town there.

      “this was in accordance with my mom’s directive to “spend as little as possible”; plus as a Buddhist, she found the idea of ostentatious funerary arrangements just wrong.”

      I totally agree with your mom, Mike_C!

      If this whole idea takes off , maybe we start redefining what it means to die these days, and wrest this whole corporate, profit, aspect of dying from the funeral industry. Are you familiar with , the Buddha attempted Jainism but just couldn’t hack it, so he found the Middle Path, but the Jains I think more than any religion ‘s on to something here.

      That Sallekhana ritual , I think there’s a market for it here. If nothing else, it’ll redefine hospice care for sure…

      I also came upon this blog,

      I hope you run this idea by him, Hognose. Have him ask a lot of questions re cremation, especially with the county hoops associated with all this, plus other regulations and I guess the Clean Air Act.

      1. Hognose Post author

        I’m sure there’s some sort of underground cadaver int’l trade for necrophiliacs

        Not a first-class source, but…

        There was an FBI case a few years back against a NYC (Brooklyn?) or Long Island funeral director who would sell the bones out of the cadavers and replace them with PVC pipe. He, and all his associates, happened to have Italian surnames, but I saw no suggestion of mob involvement. Many of the victims were Italian-American too (in the Northeast, funeral homes sort by religious denomination, then the Catholics further sort by ethnicity).

        A lot of the recipients of tissues became infected with the diseases their “donors” had died from. (Of course, the parts brokers lied on the forms about the body parts they stole. Why not?)

        The bone-thief-in-chief died of … bone cancer.

  16. Josey Wales

    It would appear there is a business opportunity for someone to start “The Viking Funeral Company LLC”, maybe after Trump gets the EPA on a short leash/choke chain.

    I’ve never known any poor funeral home owners. They’re usually smart enough not to flaunt it, but financially its a very rewarding business if you can stomach it, not only pawing dead bodies for a living but also taking financial advantage of people in their grief while faking concern. The law should allow people to dispose of their loved ones remains in any fashion they see fit.

    1. Trone Abeetin

      I’ve never known any sober funeral home owners and workers. I’m sure they’re out there, but I’ve never met one.

  17. Trone Abeetin

    Just lost my mom on the seventh, it’s tough even though she was of advanced age and despite the past baggage.
    She looked so young and beautiful in her picture.
    I’m praying for her soul and his success.

    1. Hognose Post author

      My condolence on the passing of your mom. Mine went March 2015, at 79, from multiple things, largely emphysema and kidney failure. She was 66 pounds at the end (30 kilos, for our foreign friends).

      I had not seen my ex’s sister Carlene in many years. Their family had many faultlines and schisms that I steered clear of. She was in her 40s and passed away after long & multiple illnesses, including Hep C, liver failure, and an optic nerve tumor, poor thing. Her father (USMC Vietnam combat-disabled vet) is completely broken down over it. “I was supposed to go first!” he keeps saying. Poor fellow.

      1. Trone Abeetin

        I can’t imagine going before my daughters. There is a special bond most dads and daughters have.
        My mum was 85, she always, when she was younger, said she’d die before she turned 56. Because that’s the age her mum died of ovarian cancer.
        It’s funny the weird stuff we lay on our kids, knowingly and otherwise.
        It’s tough to lose your mum, anyone can be dad, there’s only one mum, and she carried your ass for nine months. In my case she carried my ass for far longer.

  18. Seacoaster

    Happy to help a fellow NH vet. Obvious question, but has Darren used his Post-9/11 GI Bill yet?

        1. Hognose Post author

          His aunt (aka Plaintiff II) called me today to inform me that he has a part-time job as an all-purpose sub at the town middle school. They had to get him fingerprinted, and she drove him to do that. so he’ll be filling in for the custodian on vacations, and for any teachers that are out. He starts training next week.

          He promised to send me his army paperwork. I have to believe he’s good on VA benefits after honorable overseas service, regardless of his Guard unit throwing him out later. He told me he’s never been arrested or fingerprinted before, so he should be good with the print check.

          Thanks for the heads up on the apprenticeship program.

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