A Eulogy for my Father.

This is the eulogy I delivered at my late father’s memorial service on October 5, 2021.

I have to be clear up front, writing this eulogy is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. How do I condense 79 years of a well-lived life down to a mere 5 minute speech? I could very well go on for hours and not even finish until early tomorrow morning, which would be quite a feat, even for me, and one that would break the rules at funeral homes all over the world.

My father was more than just a father, he was my coach, my mentor, my guiding light and the occasional source of pain on my rear end. It is difficult to narrow down who he was down to a single role, but I think his defining role in my life was that of a teacher. There were lessons in everything he did, so many lessons in fact that to this day I’m still absorbing what he taught me.

Thanks to my father, I have been to places I never thought I’d see and have done things I thought I’d never do. We went on vacations to Canada, the Bahamas and to some of the most scenic spots in the United States. He gave me my first dose of scuba diving and snorkeling, leaving me craving for more and carrying out that passion to this very day. He gave me a love of boating and the thrill of taking part in the beer can race aboard his M20 scow with the spinnaker sending us flying across the water if we didn’t tip over first. I didn’t know it then but I think my father was trying to show me small ways to live life to the fullest and to make the most of our time on this earth. There’s a big world out there with places to see and plenty to do, and my father did his best to show me these better parts of the world and get me excited about discovering more of it on my own.

One year when we went to SeaWorld, we were at the dolphin show when my father said to me, “I’m trying to light the fire under your ass.” That was a true motivational speech if there ever was one. I’m still grateful he didn’t mean it literally. But I’ve since learned the art of setting goals and getting myself motivated towards achieving them, no matter how big or small they were. And it was sure nice to have my father there encouraging me every step of the way.

There are so many other lessons my father taught me. Try to be better today than you were yesterday. Always be optimistic even when there’s nothing to be optimistic about. Having a sense of humor is a must. Become present with the moment during times of stress. But the most valuable lesson my father taught me was during some of the darkest hours of my life. I was out of work and feeling very discouraged. That’s when he introduced me to the Latin phrase, and pardon my Latin, “Forsan et haec olim meminisse iuvabit”, meaning “Perhaps someday we will look back upon these things with joy”. He was right. As bad as things seemed at the time, they certainly don’t seem so bad now. Now I even see those dark days as time well spent.

Perhaps we can apply that same phrase to his life. Yes, we’re all sad of his passing, but at the same time, he leaves us to admire a legacy of an amazing life truly lived to the fullest, a life of the usual ups and downs, but with the downs replaced with joy and optimism along with humor to lighten things up. That was the approach my father took when he faced some of the more serious challenges later in life and while he may not have overcome them completely, he at least put up one hell of a fight that teaches yet another lesson in courage and persistence.

So during this time of our grief, let’s take the time to remember the joyful life my father shared and the lessons he taught to make better people of those who knew and loved him. May we forever recall his essence with smiles on our faces long after our tears have dried. Thank you.

Remembering my father.

On Sunday, September 26, my father passed away after years of declining health. Since then I have been numb with sorrow, my appetite gone and my anxiety and stress at unbearable levels. This week is going to be the hardest one of my life as I prepare to move on without my father beside me and cheering me on, whatever my ambition may be.

Tomorrow I will be delivering a eulogy at his funeral service so what better way to collect my thoughts than doing a blog post from the heart as I dig through years of memories of my father. Writing the eulogy was very difficult for me. Delivering it will be even harder.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of my father is his quirky sense of humor. He loved to make people laugh, friends and strangers alike. He had a real talent for walking up to total strangers at the store and chatting with them as if they were lifelong friends. I swear, if he hadn’t worked as an engineer, he would have made one heck of a comedian. I remember one year we were in Chicago at my grandmother’s wake service when my father leaned over to me and said, “You know what I’d like people to hear people say at a funeral? ‘Look, he’s moving!'” He admitted then it was a bad joke but it did much to lighten the mood. That’s what kind of person he was.

And how could I forget his love of boats. I think his tenure with the Merchant Marines ignited that passion. After my father got married and moved to Connecticut to start a new life with his new family, he took up sailing on his trusty Hobie Cat sailboat. After we moved to Florida he bought a power boat he named Second Wind. On Sundays he would take the family out on the boat where we would have a picnic on one of the nearby islands and put in plenty of swimming. One year we went on vacation in the Florida Keys and took the boat from Juno Beach all the way to Key Largo. What a memorable trip that was.

Not long before he retired he bought himself an M-20 Scow, a very fine racing sailboat. We would spend our Saturdays racing other sailboats in Stuart during the weekly beer can race. When the wind caught our sails just right, no one could catch us. I learned so much about sailing from my father and always looked forward to going sailing with him.

Thanks to my father, I got to see some of the most scenic places in the United States and Canada. He would plan family vacations that would later fill pages of photo albums and dominate conversations at the dinner table for years to come. Even towards the end my father was talking about making a return trip to Montreal, one of our favorite places to visit. He really had a desire to see as much of the world as possible, and I hope to continue that desire myself.

I could go on and on about how my father enriched my life with his wisdom and humor. He could be difficult at times, but lessons aplenty were learned albeit the hard way. Towards the end my relationship with him improved to the point where I consider ourselves parted on good terms.

And now here I sit, one week after his passing and the reality still sinking in. It’s never easy losing someone so close to you but I know that someone, somehow my father continues to watch over me and cheer me on. After all, his work shall never be done.

In loving memory of my father Withold John Brazinskas (June 7, 1942 – September 26, 2021)

Bob Schott’s final column.

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following is the final column submitted by controversial author and radio host Bob Schott. He requested that we use no disclaimer about his views but we decided otherwise.

None of the events described in this column have ever taken place. They are the results of Schott’s hallucinations that he claims are prophecies of the future. We reprint the unedited column here, with some very mixed feelings about it.

RIP Tequesta

This past week I have witnessed the death of my beautiful hometown of Tequesta. It didn’t have to end this way of course, but the apathy of the people indicated they all wanted this to happen. I can only wish they’re happy with the way things are now.

Laugh at me if you want, but I actually had visions of Tequesta’s demise over 25 years ago. That’s when I started my mission to warn everyone about what was to happen. I used my radio show, my books and my lectures to spread awareness about the approaching doom but everyone just laughed it off.

Well, guess what. The chain of events fully consistent with my visions were set into motion. First, a lone criminal known only as Mike arrived in town intent on causing as much damage as possible. Windows were shattered, car tires were popped and our beloved Tequesta Park became lined with underground landmines. But the worst was just beginning.

Next, gangs, prostitutes, drug dealers and weapons manufacturers arrived in town and slowly transformed Tequesta into a crime haven. Thanks to the crooked vision of Terrence Dougart, one of the most corrupt mayors to ever walk the earth, Tequesta became a favorite destination for criminals, murderers and fugitives, who enjoyed a preferred status and immunity from arrest and prosecution.

Then things went from bad to worse when all the street gangs merged into one powerful and deadly supergang known as Los Boletos, who unleashed a campaign of violence and terror that single handedly crippled Tequesta. Entire streets were blown up, railroad tracks were decimated, and even the stretch of U.S. Highway 1 that ran through Tequesta was vanquished. Worse, bridges leading to Tequesta were demolished, including nearby drawbridges and most tragically of all, the famed Jupiter Lighthouse. And of course, a bomb was dropped on Tequesta Park, blowing up hundreds of land mines simultaneously and leaving behind a huge crater that is beyond terrifying just to see. Tequesta was reduced to a shambles in a matter of days, leaving behind a town forever in ruins.

Now Los Boletos are in the process of establishing a new town called Maleta where Tequesta once stood. They are forming a new government with Mike as the new mayor. Yes, all the roads and bridges will be rebuilt but a regime of terror promises to follow suit. Prepare yourself for sky high taxes and strict regulations to restrict your rights and freedoms. Crime will be the norm, politics will be as crooked as ever and you will be powerless to stop it. You had 25 years to prevent all this from happening but apparently you thought it was all a joke. Well guess what. Los Boletos now has the last laugh.

I am under orders to surrender to the government of Maleta, who now see me as a traitor. I don’t know what will happen to me once I am in their custody but apparently it’s of no concern to you. I’d like to be remembered as a martyr who tried to take a stand for liberty, justice and freedom in the face of evil, but given your apathy over the years, you were set to forget me years ago.

Have a nice life in Maleta.

EDITOR’S NOTE: After submitting this column, Bob Schott reportedly walked out of his house and has not been seen again. A search for him is ongoing.

Riding your breath.

I recently had an interesting dream in which I sat on a bench-like seat that rose to take me to an overhead video screen where I watched a short movie. I don’t remember too much about this part of the dream but I do remember what happened next.

At the end of the movie, I heard a voice say, “Here’s how you’re breathing right now.” All of a sudden the seats were either going up or down, depending on our breathing. My seat would ascend when I inhaled and descend when I exhaled. I remember exaggerating my breathing to give myself a little bit of a bumpy thrill ride.

Since having that dream I’ve been paying more attention to my breathing as far as bringing myself into the moment of mindfulness. Often I think of how that ride feels with respect to my breathing. Am I going up and down smoothly or is it a bumpy ride? I imagine my ride is mostly bumpy with my shallow, panicked breathing during my anxious moments.

How interesting that our dreams can sometimes teach us such valuable lessons to use during our conscious hours.

A sip of Transgender Tonic.

Down the hatch.

I took my sip of my first dose of Transgender Tonic to begin what I hoped would be a gradual transition to becoming a woman. I had gone over my options and decided that trying this mysterious tonic would be a better option than having the more expensive surgery. I felt like a fool for having chosen such an unproven method for my transgender journey.

I occasionally glanced at myself in the mirror to see if anything changed. Nothing. Maybe this stuff takes a while. Yet I got only one bottle of the stuff. Would this be a one-dose wonder or did I fall for a snake oil scheme? I silently took this as a lesson to do a little more research next time.

Then I glanced at the mirror again and gasped in horror. My nose appeared all distorted and out of shape, as if sculpted by someone new to sculpting. The nose began to sag downwards and suddenly dropped to the floor. In its place was a delicate, feminine nose.

It’s happening.

And right before lunch with my parents.

I glanced at the mirror again and noticed that my formerly blue eyes were now amber. The rest of my face was momentarily distorted before shifting into a more feminine form. I was now beginning to look like a woman.

Knock, knock.

The clock on the wall indicated that it was now time for lunch with my parents and they were now at the door to pick me up. At once I felt myself descending into panic. Sure, I wanted to become woman but what would my parents think? But then I remembered what they told me. I’m the one who knows myself the best and what makes me happy. Well, this was it. Freeing myself and my true identity was what I needed the most to be happy.

Knock, knock.

The knocking was a little louder this time. The worst thing one can do is leave their parents waiting outside when it’s time for lunch. I was nervous about showing my face to my parents but sometimes there’s no choice but to take the plunge. I opened the door and saw my mother.

“Hi, mom,” I greeted, noticing I still had my deep voice.

My mother stood there speechless and with a face of shock. “M-Mike? Is that you?”

“Yeah, it’s me,” I sighed.

“What happened to your face?”

“Mom, I’ve decided to transition into a woman. I know it’s not what you want but…”

“But are you happy?” My mother interrupted.

My face broke into a smile. Apparently that lesson of happiness survived the test of time.

“Yes,” I replied in my new female voice.

“Then that’s all that matters,” my mother said as we embraced. “Come on, let’s go eat. Your father’s starving.”

As I approached the car and noticing my unsuspecting father, I once again became nervous about his reaction, but then again, having won over my mother, I was halfway there to true happiness.

Notes from the road, part 35.

This evening I pulled into the town of Bajo Roca after a very rough day of driving brought on by my worsening crises back at home. Oh yeah, my boss, oops, I meant former boss called me and told me not to come back to work. No shit, I wasn’t planning on coming back anyway.

I pulled into the gas station to fill up and grab some munchies but when I walked into the convenience store there was quite a scene going on. Some lady was arguing with the clerk and hostilities had escalated to the point where she was screaming obscenities and insults. When the clerk told her to leave, she screamed, “KISS MY BLACK ASS!” before storming out of the store. That did nothing to soothe my badly rattled nerves.

When it was my turn to pay for the items, it seemed it would become my turn to become hostile. The clerk picked up the carton of chocolate milk for scanning when he paused before telling me, “This is out of date.”

“Excuse me?” I asked.

“This chocolate milk, out of date.”

“THEN WHY THE FUCK ARE YOU SELLING IT THEN!” I screamed at the clerk before I too stormed out of the store. This was not me at all. I’m usually calm, assertive, restrained. This was not me at all. I was just stressed from losing my job and my wife filing for divorce. Why did I let a pint of expired chocolate milk push me over the edge? But I did.

I got in my car and drove past the wretched convenience store while sounding my horn with my middle finger raised outside the window and aimed at the clerk. Fuck him for ruining my day by stocking a pint of spoiled chocolate milk. I felt absolutely horrible from the way I acted in there.

I felt exhausted from my long, stressful day and started looking for a cheap motel. I found a rather run-down looking place I won’t name here, but my deciding to spend the night at this place proved to be a mistake.

The room looked terrible with garbage still on the floor and the bed filthy and unmade. The air conditioner was broken, the toilet kept overflowing and the water from the sink was disgusting. How this motel was allowed to stay in business despite all the health hazards was beyond me.

I took the sheets off the bed and tried to sleep but the mattress was very uncomfortable with its rusty springs offering no support. Just as I was about to drift off to sleep I heard gunfire outside along with screeching tires. That was all I could take.

I attempted to check out of the motel but was told I would still be charged for the night. My complaints went unheard and I ended up yelling “Fuck you!” to the desk attendant. How nice of him to return the compliment with the word “Asshole”. I angrily left and returned to the road, swearing never again to return to Bajo Roca. I later found a roadside park and stopped there for the rest of the night, angry with myself for not choosing this option in the first place. I slept better in my car, way better than that shitty motel.

Moe Howard, self-help author.

One day I was walking around the bookstore looking for a good read when a book suddenly caught my eye. It was entitled Be The Best You Can Be, by Moe Howard.

Wait a minute. Moe Howard of the Three Stooges an actual self-help author? I picked up the book to examine its back cover and sure enough there was a photo of Moe himself, well-dressed in business attire, his hair brushed back and looking every bit the gentleman he was in real life. But this man an actual self-help author? When did he have time for writing while he was busy slapping his fellow Stooges around? No matter. This was definitely the book I wanted.

I wanted to read a few paragraphs from the book but it was wrapped in plastic along with a sticker reading “To be removed after purchase”. Fine. So I went to the cash register, paid for the book and drove home, eager to start reading Moe’s advice for reaching my full potential.

Once I got home, I went to the living room, sat down in my comfy chair and unwrapped the book before starting the first chapter. As soon as I opened the book, a hand suddenly flew out and poked my eyes.

In search of the Mamtaput.

My phone was ringing and I knew who it was before I picked it up.

“Hey Ralph,” I answered.

“Hey Sam,” Ralph greeted. “How are things going down there? Find the, er, what’s that thing called again?”

“Mamptaput,” I replied, “and no, I haven’t found it yet.”

“How much more time do you need? Either document it or come home. I didn’t send you to Jamaica for a free vacation, you know.”

“I am fully aware of that,” I replied. “I think I’ll be headed home soon anyway. From what I’ve gathered so far, the Mamtaput may just be a part of Jamaican legend and may not exist at all.”

“Fine. As soon as you’re packed, see if you can catch the next flight to Fort Myers in Florida. There’s a nearby town called Palmetto Bay that’s got something promising. Have you heard about the legend of the Palm Tree Ape?”

“That’s just another folk tale,” I countered.

“Think so? Some residents there cleared some ground near the woods where they think it lives. The next day they found some size 13 footprints. I think you’ve got a better chance with this one.”

After a moment of pondering I made my decision. “Okay, I’ll go ahead and close the Mamtaput case and start heading to Florida.”

“Good,” Ralph agreed, “Give me a call when you get to Palmetto Bay and we’ll touch base then. I have a list of people who’ll work with you to get the Palm Tree Ape documented.”

“Sounds good,” I smiled. “I’ll talk to you later.”

After I hung up I turned around to see Henry, my host and my sole contact to confirm the existence of the Mamtaput. He had on a face of great concern.

“Are you leaving already?” he gasped.

“I’m afraid so,” I replied. “As far as my research goes, I believe the Mamtaput is only a Jamaican folk legend and does not exist.”

“I’m afraid you’re wrong. The Mamtaput is not an actual creature per se but a mischievous spirit that roams the island at night in search of nonbelievers like you. It will cast you under its spell and take control of your body without it ever being seen.”

“That’s what I read,” I confirmed, “but unfortunately there isn’t any evidence to prove that this is true.”

“Then why are you touching the ceiling?”

After a confused pause, I then realized that I was in fact touching the ceiling without my knowing it. Something, some unseen force, was controlling my arm.

“The Mamtaput,” I whispered.

Henry smiled and pointed at the window where a glowing mist illuminated the dark patio outside. Right away I knew that my trip to Florida would have to wait.

In defence of Space Chase.

I am appalled and disappointed by the response to my web cartoon series Space Chase. I have been accused of plagiarism and attempting to cash in on a certain well-known science fiction franchise on which Space Chase is based.

Yes, the hero is Duke Starswimmer, a young man similar to Luke Skywalker. Yes, his mentor is Elder Wan, inspired by Obi-Wan Kenobi. Yes, the wise teacher is Soga, which bears great resemblance to Yoda. Like Star Wars, Space Chase is an epic story of a battle between rebels and the empire, but under no circumstances am I even trying to rip off the entire Star Wars franchise here.

There are differences in the Space Chase story that sets it far apart from Star Wars. Instead of the Force, the characters practice the Strength that not only moves heavy objects with ease, but it also boosts one’s extrasensory abilities to make them keenly aware of any hidden dangers not normally perceived by normal senses alone.

Also different from Star Wars are the characters. Duke’s parents are both alive throughout the story as is Elder Wan. The sole fatality is Soga, who is apparently killed by an Empirical officer, although he may have executed a last-second maneuver to transport himself to safety. I left that up to the Internet community to decide what really happened to Soga. Instead I get accused of ripping off the Star Wars storyline and its characters.

Never mind that as the story progresses, Duke and his rebels destroy not one but two more battle stations before proceeding to the final battle at Triangle City, the very heart of the Empire. I think it is here that Space Chase truly takes on a life of its own, yet the hate mail I have received seems to indicate otherwise. Yes, Star Wars was an inspiration for Space Chase, but under no circumstances am I even trying to rewrite it. Why go after me as if I’m trying to deface the face of Star Wars?

Why not go after Mel Brooks for daring to make “Spaceballs”? While you’re at it, how about Clint Eastwood for making “Space Bullets”? Or Rob Zombie’s “Space Bowels”? The list goes on and on, yet I’m the worst of them all. Shame on me for cashing in on the Star Wars phenomenon when others can do the same thing and get away with it.

In any case, I have voluntarily removed all 136 episodes of Space Chase from this site and am closing my online store, but not without putting everything on clearance, so if you want a Space Chase T-shirt or some action figures, now’s your chance to get them at insane prices. They’ll be collector’s items some day and maybe then I’ll have the last laugh.