The End of a Story

Detail of illustration by Paul Granger for 'Space and Beyond', a Choose Your Own Adventure book (#4) by R. A. Montgomery.

It is easy enough to draw R. A. Montgomery’s obituary as a cartoon, only slightly harder than Monte Hall’s. Yeah. Somebody should draw that one.

R.A. Montgomery, the author and publisher who founded the Choose Your Own Adventure book series, died Nov. 9 while at his home in Vermont. He was 78.

Montgomery’s popular Choose Your Own Adventure series allowed readers to select different actions at different points in the plot, leading to different outcomes and, ultimately, a variety of conclusions. His passion for the series was rooted in his value for finding innovative ways of reaching young learners, as he believed the role-playing element of the series allowed students to learn to fully engage in a book.


Who, me? Damn it, I’ll have to learn to draw.

Meanwhile, I would note that we have yet to discover Venusian Swamp Fever … but we’ve got ebola. If we traded out, well, that would mean we could at least fly to Venus to catch the “Ebola of Maxwell Montes”.

For some reason, Sif Mons Lys just doesn’t work. And no, a Scwarzeneggar joke doesn’t work here, either; didn’t you know it’s not cool to make fun of the way people talk?

Oh, right: Thank you, Mr. Montgomery. A billion points of light, a billion childhood dreams.


Fallon, Claire. “R.A. Montgomery, Author And Publisher Of Choose Your Own Adventure Books, Dead At 78”. The Huffington Post. 17 November 2014.

A Drop-Dead Cool Endorsement

Because it’s New Hampshire. That’s why.

Or because it’s Scott Brown against Jeanne Shaheen. Oh, wait, that actually explains more than you might think, but only if your sense of humor is picking up a shift for your rational thought.

The op-ed begins on a discordant note. “As is usual with poll-driven politicians,” writes Marshall Cobleigh in New Hampshire’s Foster’s Daily Democrat, “Jeanne Shaheen is running television commercials and writing op-ed pieces addressing the dominant problem facing America — skyrocketing gasoline prices — but providing no real solutions.”

Gas prices? Shaheen, New Hampshire’s Democratic senior senator and still narrowly a favorite for re-election next week, has not been saying much about gas prices. The toll at the pump has not been “skyrocketing” this year — around the country, it’s actually down an average of $0.40 per gallon since the November 2012 election.

The op-ed continues with no more strangeness. Cobleigh cites numbers on congressional votes to expand energy exploration from “Rep. Roy Blunt,” but Blunt has been a senator from Missouri since 2011. There’s a reference to offshore drilling moratoriums, but nothing about the reversals to those policies since 2010.

What’s the matter with the column? Probably that Marshall Cobleigh has been dead for five years. In February 2009, the former speaker of New Hampshire’s often-Republican state House was felled by congestive heart failure. This op-ed is a reprint of a column Cobleigh wrote in July 2008, when Shaheen was running her first successful Senate campaign. Buzz Dietterle, the FDD’s opinion page editor, says that the New Hampshire GOP submitted the column (which originally ran in the conservative Union Leader) ....


You know what? Never mind. It’s not Scott Brown. It’s not the New Hampshire GOP. And it’s not even New Hampshire itself.

It’s America.

Welcome to it.


Weigel, David. “Politician Who Has Been Dead Since 2009 Just Weighed In on New Hampshire Senate Race”. Bloomberg. 27 October 2014.

A Brief Note to Facebook: She’s Dead

“We are born, we die; and the waves roll on. We are born to die, and the waves roll on.”


Ghosts and PostsFile under First World Problems.

In the first place, it is weird enough to learn that a friend you forgot to call back two months ago has since died, but only find out because people are talking about it on Facebook. That is what it is, though; nothin’ to be done, there—we were the “other” social circle that existed outside the family, and would have been the last to know, anyway. Nobody would have called us.

But then there is this idea that I have only heard about before; I guess circumstances preclude one from the experience before a certain point in their digital life. But the Facebook messages from the dead are a little strange.

That is, it might seem cruel to make the point to Eddie, as such, but no, Ali-Cat should not have children … because she’s dead. But news travels oddly in the n’ether; maybe Eddie is one like us, who only finds out too late, through Facebook.

He’s on her Friend list.

But, to the other, I am as certain as I can be that my friend is not pitching my daily pic. (“Today’s photo: Feeling a bit disappointed today?”)

There really isn’t any rant to be had here about automation in the twenty-first century; these things happen. The 21 Questions ad server is probably the absolute last to know who died last week.

But there is also a reminder that our names and faces, our very identities in the hearts and minds of friends, family, and community, are nothing more than commodities. And the beautiful world my friend wished for and believed in will never come about as long as that is true.

Life goes on … for the living.