New Year Virus

If mother Earth could scrutinises, what on her sprawling surface lies. Among her geographic features, a billion, billion scuttling creatures. But why do some rejoice this way. Oh wait it is the new years day! “New year, that can be merely chance as round my orbit I advance, what gives this day the noble stature of that what has an endless nature? Ah yes, maybe the inclination, bears upon the situation? Winter solstice, northern light brings forth this ancient druid rite.”
Our Mother Earth cares naught for global warming. El Nino’s summer drought or winter storming. While sailing round the sun she contemplates, the end that will transpire and be her fate. When Nova comes and she is consumed by fire. Her elements drifting, thinning, to come once more together after countless eons, to create a new beginning, a reborn star, a solar system, maybe a mother earth, perhaps to spawn again another race of peons.
What of this germ that’s causing her infection? That thinks it’s reached the peak of its perfection. Who has to leave her soon to reach more earths, more stars. Who must proliferate forever its pollution or experience the ultimate solution. Whether massive comets soar, or huge volcanoes roar, our mother earth can see no real distinction. She does not feel betrayal to the Dodo or the Whale to her it’s just another mass extinction. The Trilobite has gone, the dinosaur moved on, the naked ape I fear is no exception.
Though she be a tiny spec among the universe’s vastness, is her insect something special in this cosmos. It thinks that’s true, it’s self aware, feels self important too. It records it all on cyberspace papyrus. It feels no primal fear on this glorious new year. It knows no other creature that has this vital feature, this intelligence to know, and maybe even show, that after all it’s just a complex virus.
By Jack Harkness 20110101

Pity the withered seed

Pity the withered seed,

That now has lost its fruitfulness

While the fruits of my loins go forth and multiply

Yours doth wither on the barren ground

To die childless is the ultimate betrayal of nature’s bountiful gift

Did thou naught have something to give

Something to bestow upon this earth

To take the robes of mistaken imitations

And call it the name of your forever lost genetic promise

Is sad enough to give reason not to live

To gather round that barren frozen hearth

Four legged imitations

While in one millennium I shall be the hoards of Genghis khan

You shall be but forgotten dust scattered all around

I pity your withered seed

Dying Star

The bright star that was my soul is slowly fading. Not for me the supernova dying in a flash of blinding light. More likely, the red dwarf slowly ebbing away its vital energy down to eternal darkness becoming part of the dark matter of a dying universe.

TGF Alpha link

The following link takes the reader to an article on the experiments done on stroke induced rats at the University of California Irvine using TGF Alpha. Under one of my previous posts I do a complete explanation of this substance and its use but the link to the scientific study does not work anymore.

Cancel that retirement!

I have decided to postpone my retirement from active mushing for at least another year. There are a few reasons for this, the main motivating one being that my enemies have decided to attempt to have me expelled from the organisation I founded nearly 20 years ago, namely SAFSS. The reason for this strange behaviour is given as the fact that I refuse to adhere to their demands to remove certain articles and comments from this page? Last time I looked freedom of speech was still alive and well in South Africa despite the efforts of the ANC! If anything I have written is against the laws of the land then they are welcome to seek remedy in a court of law for libel.

It is possible they sense weakness due to the fact that I am disabled after having had a stroke, but if this is the case, they have made a grave error of judgement. Nothing could be further from the truth and in fact in all aspects of my life I am more determined than ever to prove that I can be as effective as ever I was. It has always been my way to stand up to hypocritical Bullies regardless of consequences and I cannot stop doing this while breath remains in my body. Before this is done there are some running dogs who will wish they had let sleeping humans lie.

Another important reason, which has become obvious to me since my last race, is that mushing greatly enhanced my strength and fitness. Even sitting down on a cart behind a team of 5 Alaskan Huskies is more physically demanding than any other activity including the most arduous physiotherapy I have done since my stroke! Steering requires both arms as does braking and the violent shaking and vibration from rough and corrugated roads tones every muscle in the body. Add to this the fact that once out on the road it is not possible to cut things short and give up when tired. Mushing usually demands that the course is completed before you can stop unlike other forms of exercise, like stationary bike, where you can stop when you’ve had enough.

One problem is that I can’t ride a bike anymore. I used to love bikejorring and with my best two dogs was almost unbeatable before my stroke! My current idea is to build a three wheeled bike light enough for two dogs to pull with me pedalling. It will also help with my stroke recovery and fitness. This article is for my stroke recovery blog:-

but I will also post it on The Alaskan Husky club facebook site where it will no doubt generate more irate calls from idiots for my expulsion from SAFSS.

I have as of last week sent an e-mail to the SAFSS president requesting an SGM to have a vote on the expulsion of Howling huskies and Lindy Bell from SAFSS for breach of section 9 c of the SAFSS constitution. Two can play that game!!!!

Jack Harkness 20101016

Good long walk!

16th Oct. 2010.

Haven’t posted much recently! One reason is not having many new achievements to report on. Progress and improvements are so slow it’s like watching the grass grow! For a while I’ve wanted to take a walk to our local shop. It’s about 2km there and back mostly on dirt road. I didn’t want to go on my own in case I had a problem so I got the kids together with my 16 year old son pushing the two year old in my wheel chair, the seven year old carrying my bag, and me walking with my cane. Apart from some sharp pains in my ankle I made it with no problem. I bought us each an ice cream at the shop and only sat in the wheelchair once to take a stone out of my shoe. Next time I can maybe try it alone and eventually make it a part my daily exercise routine.

Not Coping

5th Oct. 2010.

Two nights in a row my wife and I have gone to bed not speaking. This is not a situation I’m used to! A month ago my business partner tried to steal the business from me. The stress is telling on us and I am not coping well. So far we’re surviving but money is tight and the whole thing took us by surprise and we were not properly prepared for something like this. With the stroke, now this, I don’t know if our relationship can survive it. She is under a lot of strain trying to manage suppliers and customers and I probably just make things worse by constantly worrying and stressing. Whether because of this or just coincidentally I’ve had my worst month physically for 9 or 10 months. I can’t imagine what I’d do if we split up. Who’s going to put up with me in my present condition? My wife, toddler and new baby are what keeps me going. My little boy turns two end of this month and I have such a good bond with him again. He was 8 months when I had the stroke and the bond I had at that time was broken as both of us tried to come to terms with the stranger I became to him. It took many months to re-establish that bond! Too emotional to continue now.

Playing Guitar again

One year ago I was crying tears because I not only couldn’t play guitar anymore but could hardly hold it. Of all the parts of my life that the stroke had changed, not being able to play guitar was the most depressing. My right hand could still finger pick and do all the hard bits but my left hand was virtually paralysed. I didn’t even want to touch any of my guitars and every couple of months I would pick up my lay around cheapy and have a go. I used Gordon Lightfoot’s song “Sundown” as a test. I would play one or two verses, first the way you do as a beginner, taking time to get all the fingers in the right place, then at normal speed trying to keep up and ignoring the muffled and missed chords. I could always see a bit of improvement but so little it was discouraging. It seemed as if this huge part of my pre stroke life was gone forever. I concentrated on singing and produced some nice results with backing done on the computer or professional back tracks.

Then today I got out my original 22 year old Ovation Elite acoustic/electric and put on new strings, (a feat in itself), and played and sang along with some of my pre stroke backing. Again I had tears in my eyes because for the first time since the stroke I could see some rays of hope. My playing is still awful but this time I could imagine getting to a stage where I would not be too embarrassed to play again in front of an audience. No doubt predominantly due the wonders of TGH Alpha, which I get from the Colostrum tablets I’ve been taking religiously for a month now after a two week hiatus because of unavailability.

If anyone out there who has had stroke ever reads this, (and I often have serious doubts if anyone does), then I beseech you to try Colostrum, (or another source of TGF Alpha like Velvet Deer Antler extract), and feed back to me here so I can know that it really works and is not a figment of my imagination.

If only life was a joke

Last weekend I helped my 15 year old son record some songs. He’s into Eminem, not my bag, but we connected for the first time in a long time. Hell my dad didn’t like Bob Dylan when I was 15! Jason surprised me. This is the first verse of a song he wrote himself! It’s all his own words and music! All I did was a bit of vocals and arrangement. We’ll do the whole song next weekend.If only life was a joke MP3

A fate worse than death

These are the words of my old nemesis Marcel Meridith, head of the NSPCA in South Africa. She was referring to her right to end an animals life if in her opinion the continuation of that life constituted a “fate worse than death”.

After a traumatic family argument this morning I find myself alone, in a black mood, contemplating the significance of these words in a more general setting. Does the pathetic circumstances that a person is left with after a stroke, or for that matter any physical or mental trauma suffered by a human being, qualify under this definition. Where is the point if it exists at all where “a fate worse than death” is reached?

Of course Merrydeath is only referring to animals, and does not give the animal a choice in the matter. Would a stray cat who is taken in to “care” and “humanely” murdered have taken its own life given a choice. I think not!

If I had died when I had the stroke many things would have changed for my immediate family. More money would have been available, at least at first, as medical bills, special equipment, etc., would have been unnecessary. Insurance would have paid and the burden of having small kids and a disabled person to look after would have been lightened. My wife would always be happy to have me as I am now than not at all, even if sometimes the burden can become intolerable. I would rather have the life I lead now than none at all and can’t imagine, even in the worst depression, a circumstance where living would be a fate worse than death.

My worldview does not allow me to have cosy fairy tale places where I will exist for eternity with harps or 100 virgins after I die. This one life is all there is and I have to make the best of it regardless of misfortune. My children carry a part of me into the future and that’s as good as it gets. I am just another species of animal on this planet and have no special after life privileges denied to “lesser” creatures.

There you go! This is done. The black cloud has receded for now. I can feel sorry for Meridith  instead of loathing her. My meandering tirade has gone full circle without answering any deep philosophical questions, I can spend today alone being creative instead of destructive and will revisit the question of the meaning of life, (and death), at some future time when I’m in the mood again.