What a weird week of deaths. It almost sounds like a grim joke. “OK. So, James Brown, Gerry Ford and Saddam Hussein die and meet on the banks of the River Styx…”

James Brown lived so hard, he was almost a cliché. I enjoyed his music, but I’m amazed the man didn’t kill himself with his lifestyle earlier.
At first, the bruhaha surrounding the lock-out of his last wife from their home surprised me and then I thought: that’s totally rock and roll to the end.

Gerry Ford lived longer then I would have expected. I have only vague memories of the ‘76 election in which he was defeated. The country was pretty down on Ford, I think, but I don’t believe he was particularly stupid or unusually corrupt. Watergate and Vietnam made a lot of folks depressed and paranoid. Sadly, we could have used a lot more of that old thyme-y cynicism in 2003 before invading Iraq. I wish Ford had spoken more publicly about current politics during the last thirty years, but that’s not what old soliders seem to do. Colin Powell appears to be similarly afflicted.

Of course, had we not invaded Iraq, we couldn’t have hung a 69 year old man. Hussein was a giant prick, to be sure. From the biographies I’ve seen of him, it appears that Hussein’s early life was that of a street thug who happen to bully his way into politics. However, I’m deeply ambivalent about the death penalty. When the state kills one of its citizens, it loses the moral high ground against murderers. On the other hand, sometimes a body just needs a-killin’. Execution is an undeniably effective way to prevent recidivism.

Let’s hope the new year dials down the “suck knob.” Perhaps this mashup of Benny Hinn will help.