Inheritance and Disinheritance Are Not For Us

by Mike Darwin

Michael B. Federowicz and Ella A. Rorhman circa 1954

Yesterday, I learned my parents, both of them, had died a little over 4 months ago. The call came from a staffer at the Alcor Life Extension Foundation. Alcor had been contacted by the attorney handing probate for my parents’ estate. My parents had died within a day of each other. My mother passed on 1 November, my father on 2 November of 2011.

It was not unexpected news. My mother had developed Alzheimer’s disease some years ago and had been frankly demented for the past several years – unable to recognize me or hold meaningful conversations for the past two years. About 8 months ago, my father, 90 years old, informed me, during one of our increasingly infrequent and unpleasant phone calls, that he was not going to call me when my mother died. My response was to inform him that I had no plans for further phone calls to him. It was the end of what had been a sharply deteriorating relationship since my mother’s illness eliminated her role as a buffer between us – a role I had not even understood existed, let alone previously appreciated was necessary.

I had no bad blood with my few other remaining relatives in Indiana, but they apparently chose not to notify me, either. To be fair, I found it difficult to communicate with them  and I’m sure the same was true for them. Neither of our phones or mailboxes were often, dare I say ever, burdened with communications.

Mike Darwin and his parents, April, 1955

My parents lived long, happy and productive lives. They gave me a great childhood, free of cares and worries, and afforded me every opportunity for education, knowledge and personal growth. My youth was a time of warmth and loving security. My parents worked hard, earned and enjoyed financial security, and enjoyed a long and happy retirement; free from worry or want. Their “golden years” were spent in remarkably good health. My father, despite being a 3-pack a day smoker since age 13, was lucky to escape with only an aortic replacement, a carotid endarterectomy and a coronary angioplasty, all of which he made rapid and astonishingly complete recoveries from. Aside from a few months of morbidity associated with these illnesses, his retirement years were active and free from any significant cognitive impairment. My mother also remained active and cognitively functional into her late 80s. Both my parents enjoyed active social lives diminished only by the relentless and ever accelerating loss of dear friends, most of whom they had the good (or mis-) fortune to outlive, depending upon your point of view. By the time they reached their mid-80s, they had outlived almost all of their cohorts. This took an especially heavy toll on my mother, who defined herself to a far greater extent than did my father, through her social relationships and through her shared memories with her girlhood friends.

One of the many backyard social gatherings with friends and neighbors my parents held. My mothers is the lady in the big sunglasses. Photo is circa mid-to early 1970s.

My Mother and my good grade school friend, Hubert Holman, preparing a package containing a red eared slider turtle for launch into the upper atmosphere, circa 1968.

How many parents would let their 13 year old kid freeze a veritable zoo of animals, or send turtles careening off into the stratosphere? And how many loving parents (and they were loving parents) would their 14 year old son go off to spend summers with a mad body freezer on Long Island, and, a scant 3 years later, run off to “freeze dead bodies” in the same place – and take a week of his senior year in high school to do so in the bargain?

Me at the Cryonics Society of New York in the summer of 1972.





Me freezing “dead” people in 1973 at age 17.







My parents gave me a great childhood. They offered me every opportunity for education and personal growth any boy could want and as only child they and I had the economic opportunity for both toys in an abundance that many children in larger families don’t enjoy. I’d like to think that both they and I took full advantage of that opportunity.

Clockwise: Christmas, 1956, Halloweenwith my dad, 1957, a von Braun rocket set with “grandma” looking on circa 1962, playing with rabbit in the early 1960s, summer in New York city in 1962. 

In looking over the hundreds of photos that now constitute almost all that is left of my parents’ past, I am struck by the evidence therein, or rather lack of evidence, of my integration into their lives after the onset of puberty. This reflects the deep sense of alienation that I felt, as well the visible absence reflected in the photographic record. Not only was I was sexually alienated from the lives they were leading by the biological accident of being homosexual – I was morally and intellectually alienated, as well. For it was at this time that I realized that religion was a farce, that death was both a great evil and personally unacceptable, and that the social and moral constructs on which the civilization I was embedded in were based were, at best, a pastiche of make believe and brutal pragmatism held together with spit and sealing wax.

Thus, intellectually, I had very little attachment to my parents. And as time went on, that meant that increasingly I had less and less emotional attachment, as well. Being home with them for visits was awkward under the best of circumstances, and had been for many years. Gratitude isn’t the same thing as genuine intimacy. My mother’s love and longing for me – the me she remembered – was tragic and pitiful – in large measure because it could not be returned – that person had long ago ceased to exist – and there was no possibility of the easy, spontaneous interaction that been there as a child. In its place was a forced simulacrum that had to be called up mechanically.

And then, she ceased to exist – which was both terrible and terrifying.

When I spoke with the probate attorney’s secretary, I was also not surprised to find that my father had replaced me as the executor and the beneficiary of the estate. My parents loathed cryonics. That is why, in no small measure, I have such high praise for them as parents for in allowing me the autonomy they did, and especially at such a young age to pursue it (cryonics). My mother, in particular, was continually nervous that I was going to “freeze her” and in fact, during her last days “semi-compos mente” whist hospitalized and gravely ill, she grasped my hand and earnestly pleaded with me, “not freeze me – or my brain!” What goes around comes around, and I had far too much love and respect for the autonomy they had shown me, so many years before, and at such a high emotional cost to themselves, to betray them in that way. They should have had no worries – and they should have known that that was the case.

My mother clearly loved me very much and she showed that in countless ways, small and large over the years, right up until she became demented. However, from the time I left Indianapolis in 1981, my parents never came to visit me in California, nor did they call me more than once or twice. When the Alcor facility opened in Riverside, I pleaded with them to come to the Grand Opening. They declined. They came to Las Vegas several times to vacation and they visited friends and family elsewhere on the West Coast – but never me. I never asked them to accept or to believe in cryonics, let alone my homosexuality. But I did ask them to accept a moment of what I considered genuine triumph in my life – the building of Alcor into a respectable place and organization that was not a seedy back-room garage operation. All they had to do was to show up – they could even have come afterwards, and just walked through the place. That rejection was incredibly wounding and, unlike my sexuality, it was not necessary and it was not rooted in religion or morality. Later, with the success of 21st Century Medicine I had another triumph, the successful recovery of dogs with no neurological deficit after 15+ minutes of complete cardiac arrest at 37°C. Again, I asked that they come. Again, they refused. That time, cryonics was not at issue. For me, that was, I think (in hindsight) the final divide between me and them, between ‘us’ and ‘them.’ It was then that I realized that symmetry. Just as I had, many years before as a boy becoming man, felt alienated from and unable to participate in their lives and in their world, so too had they been alienated from and unable to participate in mine. At last, the circle was complete. As I remarked to a dear friend later: “I’m not sure about us cryonicists and the rest of the world. Are they ants that gave birth to giants, or are we giants that gave birth to ants?” His, answer was as true as it was wise: “Both.”

Over the subsequent years, and especially after the full maturation of my bipolar disorder and my breakdown in early 2003, my father became increasingly venomous about cryonics and about me, losing no chance to denigrate or deride either of us – pointing out that I was an abject failure, an impoverished “nut case” that his tax dollars were supporting; and that if my mother had anything to say about it, his money would probably keep supporting me after he was dead – and most likely even after I was dead. I suppose there is truth in what he said. But it was very wounding.

However, the ultimate truth, which I remain convinced of, is that he was wrong about cryonics. Certainly, he was wrong about his money supporting me, either after his death, or mine.That was a simple matter his own actions quite simply, and quite righteously saw to.

The day after I got the news about my parents death, Dr. Brian Wowk kindly offered his condolences and in so doing he used the term “disinherited.” That shocked me, because I in no way feel (or felt) disinherited. This so because I never considered my parents’ money mine. I told them this often, and for many, many years when they were alive. Starting from when I was a teenager, actually.  I didn’t earn that money – they did. I told them to spend it on themselves. And as they lived into old age in good health, I cautioned them to save for “spend down” and for the quality nursing home and assisted living care they would very likely need. As it was, they both had and were able to pay for very good nursing home and assisted living care until the day they died. I never wanted nor expected their money. So, I suffered no hurt at all about being “disinherited.” If my father wanted the money to go elsewhere, then I’m happy he was able to see, or at least know, it would do so.

One of the things my parents had no way of knowing I would learn  as a teenager banging around the Cryonics Society of New York (CSNY),was the utter contempt I would learn for inheritance – for the very concept of it – and for its fundamental incompatibility with a cryonicist/immortalist existence. My days as a kid at CSNY made me sick to the core at the avarice of children for the unearned money of their dead parents. Seeing that contemptible greed in action sickened me on inheritances at an early age; and nothing in my subsequent experience – right on through to fantastic grab for the wealth of Dick Jones, did anything to improve my opinion of it. I still wince every time I think of, or look at a picture of Clara Dostal – and that is often, since one of she and I hangs on the wall next to where I am sitting now, as I write this. Inheritance is based on the FACT of and the INEVITABILITY of death. And that fact is anathema to us. It is also based on the concept of the unearned at the expense of the lives of the others. And that concept ought to be anathema to everyone.

No, the only things that distresses me about the way my parents passing was handled were that I wasn’t told about their deaths until four month later, and about the obituary my father prepared for submission to the local paper. I would be dishonest if I said I was not relieved about being freed from the socially expected obligations, (and the attendant  financial and psychological/emotional ones), of attending the funeral/burial. I said my goodbyes to my mom several years ago, when she was still barely oriented enough to understand. Burials and funeral Masses are rituals for them, not us. They are things for us only when we fail. When they are things of conscious choice made by others, they are unnecessary horrors, and we are under no obligation to participate.

As long as I live, I will not forget my parents, nor will I ever cease to be grateful to them. But they chose, quite consciously, to die. I respected their right to that decision and to their autonomy in making it. But it is a terrible and forever isolating thing to do. It is a thing that starts isolating and alienating years before death actually occurs, because once you accept death and decide to die, you must, inevitably, begin surrendering the struggle to stay involved with life and living, and thus to stay current and a part of the world of today.

This was something that both of them did increasingly, quite independent of their involuntary, age-associated deteriorating cognitive reserves. And that is one huge difference I’m increasingly noticing with experience between cryonicists and non-cryonicists. Even those cryonicists who are sorely neurocognitively challenged struggle mightily to stay involved with, and in love with life and the technologies that drive it. Men like Curtis Henderson and Bob Krueger come to mind. I am humbled and in awe of the nobility of their struggles, and of their courage in confronting the debilities of old age.

I would never call my parents cowards, but there is something terrible, small and lacking in their resignation to death and in their lack of vision. They are in a graveyard now, side by side. It is for that, and for their very conscious choice to be there, that I grieve for them.

No doubt much of the pain I am now feeling is socially programmed. Some of it is genuine sorrow at the loss of what was and what can never be again – brought to the forefront of consciousness by the reality of their deaths. Some of it is, no doubt, the realization of the loathing that my father had for me – a loathing so great that he chose not to even acknowledge me as his son in the obituary he prepared for the mortuary to submit to the local paper.

Ella and Michael Federowicz

Ella A. Federowicz

Michael B. Federowicz

Ella A. Federowicz, 90, Indianapolis, passed away Tuesday November 1, 2011 and her husband Michael B. Federowicz, 90, Indianapolis, passed away Wednesday November 2, 2011. Ella was born in Indianapolis on August 6, 1921 to William and Carrie Forway Rohrman. She retired in 1981 as the supervisor of data entry from Dow Chemical after working there for 25 years. Michael was born in Brooklyn, New York on January 1, 1921 to Benjamin and Constance Jakuc Federowicz. He retired from the Indianapolis Police Department with the rank of Sergeant in 1985 after 31 years of service. Michael also served in the U.S. Army for over 10 years during WWII and the Korean War. He was a member of the Knights of Columbus Council 3660, Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 86, IPD Retired Officers and the Ernie Pyle Post VFW. Ella was preceded in death by her brothers, Virgil and Irvin Rohrman and Michael was preceded by his sister, Anna Kraska. They are survived by a sister-in-law, Janis Rohrman and several nieces and nephews.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated for Ella and Michael on Tuesday November 8, 2011 at 11 a.m. at St. Barnabas Catholic Church where they were members. Visitation will be Tuesday from 10 a.m. until 11 a.m. at the church. Burial will be in Calvary Cemetery. Online condolences may be shared at:

Published in the The Indianapolis Star on November 4, 2011

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29 Responses to Inheritance and Disinheritance Are Not For Us

  1. cath says:

    Sorry to hear about your parents, Mike. I remember your mother’s kindness and hospitality to me when I visited you in Indianapolis in 1979. She conversed pleasantly and intelligently, and I remember her as a warm, intelligent person.

    • chronopause says:

      Yup, she was fine lady, and if you didn’t get enough to eat at her table it was definitely all your fault! Thanks, Cath! — MD

      • Carlotta Pengelley says:

        Mike I am just as saddened to hear about your parents as I was pleased to find your name again in circulation. My heartfelt condolences. Please contact me at my email. From one “orphan” to another, I share your sadness. And I miss talking to you about these things.

        • chronopause says:

          It is very, very good to hear from you, my old and dear friend and former colleague. And thank you for your condolences.

          I’ll drop you a line privately to catch up, if you like. I’m way behind on personal correspondence, but it’s coming up to near the top on my ‘to do’ list. Aside from the warm personal relationship we enjoyed, I’m glad to hear from you and to see you post here, because you are one of the people I am really proud of, and who I feel are really important to cryonics, because of what you proved is possible. These days, the clinical aspects of cryonics are largely administered by contract medical personnel – physicians, surgeons and technicians who are not cryonicists and who have more (rather than less) established their own culture and their own “procedures.” When I try to tell people both in and out of cryonics about the phenomenal experiences I had with medical professionals in the context of cryonics service providers, I get the strong impression they think I’m fantasizing, romanticizing the past, our outright lying. They can’t imagine such people taking serious risks, sleeping on the floor, staying on call for days at a time with no breaks, and above, all, treating the patients with the same care, respect and concern AFTER they were pronounced as they would have any conventional medical patient, or for that matter, a member of their own family.

          Carlotta, I’m sad to say I really didn’t appreciate you, and the others like you, whom I worked with at the time. It took seeing hired medical personnel treat cryonics patients like cadavers, or slabs of meat, walk out in the middle of standbys because they needed to get back to their day job, or just generally approach cryonics as if it were, well, that’s the problem: I can’t even say as if it were a job in a veterinary clinic, because I think most people who work those jobs have a great measure of care and concern for the animals they treat and handle.

          I think you’ll find these interesting:

          In particular, I think you’ll find the section of Part 2, starting with slide 147, a real eye opener.

          Writing here has been something of an eerie experience for me. I sometimes sit here expecting that at any minute a voice from nowhere will intone, “You are the last one, please turn the lights off when you leave!” There is virtually no one around, or none who choose to speak up, from the time periods I so often draw on here. Even people who were around when cryonics was very different now talk about what was accomplished then as if it was an impossible fluke that can’t be repeated until, perhaps, decades hence, or as something that has literally passed into legend (see Brian Wowk’s remarks):

          So, again, I’m glad to hear from you and I hope you stick around here. — Mike Darwin

  2. Stephen Bridge says:

    Thank you for this essay, Mike. Your mother, especially, was always very kind to me, treating me like another son. We have spent our entire lives trying to figure out why some miniscule number of people choose cryonics and why others are so frightened of it. In your family’s case, I think they saw cryonics, homosexuality, and atheism as some big package of evil that took over their son, even though they saw that others of us were cryonicists yet very different from you. I don’t know how they reconciled that.

    The saddest part for me is that, in that obituary, your father attempted not only to erase his memories of the unpleasant last years, but to erase any evidence that you had ever existed. Some writers have tried to portray all human life as merely footprints in the sand, to be washed away by the next tide. But anyone who really thinks about life knows that most at least leave legacies; some people make major changes in society or leave large families who, in total, affect society.

    Cryonicists are the first people who may have a change to leave themselves as an ongoing legacy. With all of the influence you have had (not nearly as much as you had hoped, but still a lot), you have been a large part of that. Your father could try to erase you from his narrow life; but that doesn’t erase you from the lives of many others. You have hundreds or thousands of other people (including me) as part of your legacy; and we hope that you will get the benefit of that eventually, too.

    • chronopause says:

      Thank you for writing this, Steve, because, while reading it, it gave me insight/confirmation into something I’d long thought about my father – principally that he thought, much as H. L. Mencken did, that any notions of an afterlife were just so much bunkum. I say this, because if he did believe in such a thing and he anticipated being there with my mother, then I expect that, given that obit, he’d be having a hell of a right about time now – literally. My mom, well, she was just too damn decent to conceive of a universe so malicious as to forever exterminate good people whose only sin was being born. But my father, well, he pretty well knew what the score was, methinks. I guess I’ll never know.

      The real lesson is, of course, don’t make irreversible decisions. My parents gave me a great life, no ifs, ands or buts. I’ve seen bad parents by the bushel load and my parents didn’t even come close. As near as I can tell, there are no perfect parents, just as there are no perfect people. And as far as I can tell I was lucky – plenty lucky – and I truly have no complaints. I also have the strong suspicion that my father would not have altogether ruled out cryonics actually proving workable by the time his time 90th birthday had rolled around. The last time we sat and spoke together, shortly after I finished a Skype chat with Danila Medvedev in Moscow (stop, take a few seconds and think about that) – in fact I introduced him to Danila on the computer- I showed him a picture of the first kidney to survive vitrification… A week before he died he could easily have picked up the phone, called Alcor and written out a check for his cryopreservation. I literally would never have had to have known. (Hell, for all I know, he might have done just that!)

      But he didn’t

      He’s dead and that’s forever. How horrible.

      I’m not dead. And I don’t ever, ever want to be. And I wouldn’t wish that on him, or on anyone else. –Mike Darwin

  3. I’m not the commenting sort, but I wanted to let you know how immensely I enjoy your writing here. Thanks for sharing so much of your life and life’s work.

    • chronopause says:

      Your comment deserves a much longer response, but I’m pressed for time right now. Here’s the deal. I’m really pleased and gratified that you, and others, enjoy what I write. To be honest, it’s part of why why I write. But it’s not primarily why I write. To be even more honest, given that I’m at a a really “fast” period in my preordained physiological decline, and, given who and what I am, I’d much, much rather be having sex. I can do that (and associated activities) more of the time than I can write. It is also a lot more fun, it won’t “last” as long (in years of functioning time remaining), and if I live long enough, I can probably write later – that can’t be said for sex. Sex is also enormously more gratifying and therapeutic – at least for me. And, judging from the objective scientific studies being reported, it is for a lot of other people, too: it improves cognitive functioning, health, well being and longevity – or at very least, it is a marker for th4ese things.

      The point is that I write because I’m trying to motivate people, and to get them to change their behavior, and in so doing to change the world. It’s been turned into a tired old saw, but as Archimedes said, “Give me a place to stand, and a lever long enough, and I can move the world.” He was right too, because it is all about leverage. And timing.

      I am obsessed with insurgencies, asymmetrical warfare, and the wisdom of Sun Tzu. Not the foolish vicious use of Sun Tsu tactics, but of the wisdom of his philosophy of the warfare of survival. The American colonists in 1776 were completely uninterested in secession, let alone war with Great Britain. Any study of that time makes it abundantly clear that that the idea of revolution could not have been more unpopular than, say, the idea of the citizenry plunging their right hands, en masse, into boiling water! And, in fact, every other white British colony, even ones with far more legitimate gripes, like Australia, did not secede. The US did so because of a few ideologues, nucleated by Thomas Paine, and then propagated by Jefferson, Franklin, Adams, and a surprisingly small group of others. The subsequent “revolution” was actually an ideological insurgency – a guerrilla war – that was anything but a popular uprising. And yet, it succeeded – just barely.

      The notion that the triumph of Marxist-Leninist Communism in Russia was a “people’s revolution” is ludicrous. Go there and see for yourself today. LUDICROUS! And Hitler was considered a nut -a nut – pure and simple – by the vast majority of Germans. It would be like a leader of the Sovereign Citizens movement emerging in the next 6 months and winning the Presidency of the US 3 years from now!

      But, the fact is, these things happen all the time on scales large and small. Gandhi happened. Margret Sanger (and thus Planned Parenthood) happened. Madalyn Murray O’Hair happened, Timothy McVeigh happened, Martin Luther King happened, Thomas Henry Huxley happened…

      If you have the leverage, if you have the right timing, if you have the right place to stand and if you have the brains and the requisite assets (be they large or small) you can completely transform the culture, the civilization or the planet – and do so CONSCIOUSLY. All of the people I’ve listed above intended to do exactly what they set out to do and they succeeded. In order for cryonics to make a similarly, no a GREATER transformation, we need, at a minimum, several thousand people. We need a very different and much more focused strategy. We need both a scientific and a cultural insurgency. We need a morality. We need a a strong offensive and defensive posture. We need to be willing to both take risks and inflict great damage. A would be cryonicist in India recently tried to lecture me about Ghandi, informing me that Ghandi was all about “nonviolence” and about “turning the other cheek.” This is, of course, nonsense! Ghandi was, in fact, all about violence! Look to almost all of Ghandi’s actions and you will see, over and over, terrible violence, bloodshed and death. True, neither Ghandi nor (in most cases) his followers, raised a sword, a fist, or discharged a weapon. But Ghand knew, Ghandi knew with complete and total certainty that his opponents would do these things. Murder is murder, and death is death, and there is no honor in pulling the trigger, whether from heaven, or from hell.

      If lunatics who believe the moon is made of ice or that T. D. Lysenko should be charge of the planet’s biologists can get hold of, and run two the world’s greatest nation-states, in the latter case for SEVEN DECADE, then we, as cryonicists, should find implementing our agenda on an even grander scale, a cake walk.

      And if we fail. Then what does that say about us? — Mike Darwin

      • Well, I can say that you (and, in a similar way, Eliezer Yudkowsky) have substantially influenced my plans. I don’t intend to settle on specifics until the completion of Stage 1, “Become quite wealthy”.

      • Taurus Londono says:

        Though it’s undoubtedly a vanishingly small portion of your written output over the course of your life, I’ve soaked in enough to feel confident in my assessment that your overarching vision is fraught with delirium, your opinions forthright enough to be abrasive. Certainly, I don’t think that your perceptions of reality (as it is now or ever will be) are flawless.

        But that doesn’t mean that I think you’re *wrong*.

        I can only speak for myself, of course, and I am extremely limited in my capacity to effect change right now…but that capacity will not be limited indefinitely, and I can promise at least that I can (and will) endeavor to ensure that your words aren’t wasted, that their force won’t dissolve into feckless triviality here on these pages.

        Thanks, Mike.

  4. Mark Plus says:

    Sorry to hear about your parents, Mike. If you don’t mind asking, do you think your father committed suicide?

    Your experience illustrates the flip side of the problem of trying to make a commitment to cryonics generationally transmissible. You had over 40 years to show your parents through precept and example what cryonics could do for them, yet they didn’t buy it. Marce Johnson similarly had over 40 years to show her husband and her children what cryonics meant to her, yet they they didn’t want play along, either, even though I and other cryonicists helped to raise money for her suspension with CI. If anything, I get the impression that whoever had power of attorney for Marce (one of her offspring?) quickly had her remains cremated and then called her cryonicist friends to announce the fact out of spite.

    In other words, if cryonicists show their parents’ failure to transmit traditional, non-cryo beliefs, despite living as their parents’ hostages during childhood, what makes the cryonicists with children think that they can transmit their passion for cryonics forward through their descendants?

    • chronopause says:

      No, I was told by the probate attorney’s secretary that the cause of death was unequivocally natural. As I have not yet received my copies of the death certificates, I do not know what my parents died of. In my father’s case, I would note that many years ago he suffered a near MI and required emergent angioplasty. That really should have been the beginning of the end for him – he was a 3-pack a day smoker from age 13 on, and all of his siblings had predeceased him – most from CVD. At that time, I put him on a regimen of both Rx (Lipitor) drugs and supplements, including high dose CoQ10, DHA/EPA, folate, and a number of other things. I brought his LDL down to under 80 mg/dL. I had him radically modify his diet – basically a “soft” Pritikin with fish several times a week. About a decade ago, when I was home for a visit, he asked me about his feet. I found that he had no popliteal pulses bilaterally and was experiencing intermittent claudication – in other words, he had severe peripheral artery disease (PAD). I told him he would lose both feet unless he started walking at least a mile a day and lost a considerable amount of weight (e.g., calorie restricted). I told him to get an Rx from his doc for Trental (pentoxyfilline) to increase his red blood cell membrane fluidity and decrease his tumor necrosis factor production (inflammation). His doc said “no,” so I arranged for him to get the Trental mail order from a pharmacy in Mexico. He lost the weight and modified his diet further, as did my mother. They both began daily walks at a local shopping mall.

      About 6 years ago he developed an intraabdominal aortic aneurysm (IAAA). This was a direct result of atherosclerosis and long-term smoking. In a man in his 80s it is almost always lethal – even with surgery – if you continue smoking. I told him not to waste the taxpayers’ money by having this costly surgery if he planned to continue to smoke. I also told him to have a carotid ultrasound before having the surgery to rule out carotid disease. As it turned out, he had ~90% occlusion in his right carotid artery. He decided to quit smoking and underwent a right carotid endartererectomy, followed a few months later by replacement of his abdominal aorta all the way down to his popliteal arteries. He had a renal cross-clamp time of almost an hour. Prior to the surgery, I loaded him orally with a cocktail of drugs of my devising (from the 21CM dog lab experience) to provide protection again the ischemia his kidneys would experience whilst his aorta was missing and being replaced with the Dacron graft. He made copious, concentrated urine on the table after his renal arteries were un-clamped. However, he was septic post-op and nearly died in ICU.

      I give this history because his continued survival was likely dependent upon his adherence to a moderately complex and demanding medical and nutritional regimen. Obviously, since we were not communicating, I do not know what his health was like,during the last few months of his life. However, the secretary told me he had not been ill. Last I was in touch with him, he was ambulatory, driving, fully oriented, and going back and forth between the family residence and the assisted living facility where he resided with my mother.

      It has been my experience that abrupt interruption in high dose CoQ10, DHA/EPA, and other “nutraceuticals” that affect platelet adhesion, mitochondrial metabolism, and cognitive function in fragile, elderly people can lead to serious decompensation. Also, people of very advanced age who have suffered a major loss and who are in fragile condition often have extremely limited reserves and cannot respond to major stress with the needed glucocorticoid response.. Really, that’s what aging is – the gradual erosion, or corrosion away of reserve capacity, until finally, even a “trivial” stress is enough to kill you. He may have become non-compliant with all or part of this regimen. I have no way of knowing.

      In all honesty and fairness, my father had very little left to live for. Some will, perhaps with some justice, blame me for that. However, anyone who has children, and especially just one child, in the expectation that they will be the reason for their living – then – or in the future – has almost certainly committed suicide – however long delayed. Whatever the reasons for reproduction, the expectation that your children will be your comfort, your companion, or your solace in old age, is an unrealistic one. Today, this expectation is a major driver of overpopulation in the Third World, where there is a very real and understandable terror of being abandoned and impoverished in old age and the hope is that if you have many children they will collectively care for you – or at least one will. If you want a reliable companion in old – age or at any age – my advice is to get a dog.

      As to transmitting cryonics to your kids. GOOD LUCK! The success rate of transmission of conventional religious and cultural values is actually pretty good, with about 75% of people remaining in the religious faith they were raised in: Of course, that’s just saying “yes” to the question when asked, that’s a lot different that being a devout, practicing member of the flock. However, when you consider that retention rate in the context of the ENORMOUS indoctrination tools and SOCIAL PRESSURE available to religions, then any expectations regarding cryonics – well, they become kind of ludicrous.

      And that’s been my point here on Chronosphere. If we don’t start behaving serious and using the basic, commonsense social tools used by every other viable human institution, then we will FAIL. It is just that simple. — Mike Darwin

      • Eugen Leitl says:

        Mike, I would be very interested in a more detailed breakdown of your

        > At that time, I put him on a regimen of both Rx (Lipitor) drugs and supplements, including high dose CoQ10, DHA/EPA, folate, and a number of other things.

        Both my parents are over 70 now, and my mother runs a HDL of 110 and LDL of 180 — judging from her diet mostly endogenous. Arteries are purportedly clear, but she might have stable agina (she’s physically very active) — we’ll Dx that, of course. Meanwhile, I want to get her on daily fish oil and whetever else you think is useful supplementation.

        • chronopause says:

          Singularity, shmingularity, the people who talk about singularities wouldn’t know one if it bit them in the ass. I’ve been working on a piece, which I keep getting interrupted on, about medical imaging. The thrust of the piece is simple and that is that with respect to medical imaging the singularity is here. It is right now. It has already happened.

          So where’s the foo fah,the horn’s and the trumpets? Well, that’s part of what the piece is about. When Pasteur and Lister figured out asepsis and antisepsis that was one hell of a big singularity in medicine. It was huge, gigantic, and yet the people living through it hardly noticed it. It took about three decades to march through. My point is that a big part of living as long as you can right now is to get the most out of what’s now available from medicine. And, what’s now available from medicine is mostly not to die from vascular disease and cancer. As it turns out, if you could look inside people reasonably well, you could do a great deal to help those people avoid dying of things that are preventable today.

          I bring up imaging in this context because you’ve asked me about people who are already old. That reduces what can be done in terms of prophylaxis. But think about it, Since the dawn of medicine, the holy grail of the physical exam has been the doctors’ desire to see inside the patient. The word “autopsy” comes from the Greek autopsia, which literally means “seeing with one’s own eyes,” and all of the physical exam that does not involve a visual examination of the patient’s skin, is nothing more or less than an attempt to “visualize” the internal organs. All the thumping and palpating and listening are attempts to “see” inside the patient. Well, now we can do that, and we’re getting rapidly better at it. So, for the elderly, my first best advice is to lift the hood and take a look inside – except you don’t have to life the hood.

          Do be wary of VOMIT = victim of medical imaging. If necessary, get your image data set made and then put it aside for a year. Only then have it evaluated. Any mass or anomaly that hasn’t changed in a year almost certainly isn’t a cancer.
          Beyond imaging, people often ask me about what they can “take” to extend their life spans. They are invariably disappointed when I give them my answers. I have just completed my first “experiment” with an n=2 on my own parents.
          I was really fortunate in that they were not only both reasonable people, but that they were both incredibly compliant people, and pretty average people. Yes, my father did not stop smoking until very, very late in life. Truth to tell, he could not. It was fascinating and instructive in a grim sort of way to watch him wrestle with it. And it was absolutely responsible for my steering clear of tobacco. My father was a strong man and cigarettes utterly defeated him. That’s all I needed to know. He also told me, when he was in his late 70s, that he had a serious alcohol problem, which had concealed.

          But, in terms of health advice and medical compliance, my folks were well above average. And they listened to me.

          My first advice was to control blood pressure and to maintain noromotension throughout life at almost cost. We started with the first “dirty” drugs then available, and then used better meds as they evolved. A BP of120/70 was the goal, and we came pretty close to it. Part of being able to maintain normotension was realizing that in the US, magnesium deficiency is rampant, so I put them on 500 mg of elemental Mg++ q.d. When they moved to the suburbs, they had to use softened water – but NOT for drinking – they actually brought chlorinated tap water in from the city to drink.

          Once the data from the statin drugs begin to look solid, I put them on Lipitor. This was around the same time that CoQ10 became available in the US which, as almost no one now knows, was as a result of Dr. Greg Fahy. He pretty much single-handedly, along with LEF, got CoQ10 onto the US market. I don’t think I’ve ever thanked him for that, so, here it is, Greg.

          It took major health scares to get my folks to reduce meat intake and increase cold water fish intake: my mom’s breast cancer and my dad’ angioplasty. Both my parents were very big on green leafy vegetables and lots of colored vegetables and cabbage. My mom was of German heritage and my dad Polish-Russian. Nuff said there.

          It is absolutely incredible that my father survived until age 90. I believe that all but one of his siblings that reached adulthood died of CVD by their early to mid-70′s – with severe morbidity usually long preceding that. I remember his sisters Ann and Helen being cardiac patients in their 50s and 60s – and they were women. My father had an angioplasty 30 years before he died of lung cancer! CoQ10, dietary intervention, statin Tx, lipid Tx, daily walking, I think it likely that these things gave him extra decades of life. I’m pretty confident that there was no magic bullet.

          Remember also that both my parents were, well, both my parents; they did most or all of the demographically correct things you are supposed to do to live a long life. They were married. They lived harmonious lives. They were not sexually promiscuous. They weren’t saints, but I only saw them argue once. They lead very regular lives; regular meals, regular walks, and so on. My mom abhorred exercise and didn’t start walking until she was in her 70s – so there’s hope! She would literally drive around a parking lot for 5 minutes to find a space next to a store entrance when I was kid.

          They made stunningly, consistently good life decisions. They saved, they invested wisely, they were “reasonably” devout, they eschewed extremes and they had remarkably good foresight – they could anticipate risk, prepare for it and avoid it with incredible skill. This meant that their experience of crisis was infrequent and their stress level low. I think my father drank because, as he once told me in a moment of candor, he hated some aspects of job as a police officer (the violence and brutality) and he was frustrated that he couldn’t achieve more in life given his educational limitations.

          My point is that longevity, absent overwhelmingly medical mastery, is a complex brew of factors that must be present over much or all of a person’s lifetime. The closer the person is to the end of life, the more we are reduced to vigilance and to the application of the medical technology we have at hand.

          When I talk to some people about whole body CT imaging (which the cheapest) they go crazy and start chattering on about RADIATION and CANCER! Consider this, a really dirty whole body scan will expose a person to roughly 50 mSv with a delay time from exposure to developing cancer of at least 5 years, and a mean of 15 years. Now, look at this graph

          This shows the risk of developing cancer for a 9Sv exposure. Note that’s not a milliSv that a Sv exposure. In short, if you are 60 or 70 or 80 years old, forget about the radiation risk. FOR YOU, PRAISE KURZWEIL, THE SINHULARITY HAS ARRIVED!

          This is an incredibly important insight for cryonicists because us goofy dudes who are always waiting and hoping and praying for the delivering angels of tomorrow’s medicine to come and save them don’t seem to have the scintilla of good sense required to realize that one such angel, tailor made to meet their needs has just flapped in on (can you believe it, Mark Plus) Atomic Wings!

          Few things could be more important to cryonicists than for them to be able to LOOK A THEIR OWN BRAINS RIGHT HERE AND RIGHT NOW and see if there is anything wrong. And to fix them if they can be fixed, and if they can’t, then to get everything lined up to take a nice, long cold bath.

          Now that’s what I call one hell of big fucking SINGULARITY and it’s here RIGHT NOW. And best of all, it can be yours for less than two hundred bucks! I only wish I could afford it!

    • chronopause says:

      I’ve a more definitive answer to your first question, Mark. It will be quite sometime before UPS delivers a copy of my parents’ death certificates, but I had a few of the particulars read to me on the phone. My father died of “lung cancer,” duration “some months.” So, the cigarettes got him in the end, after all. Considering his otherwise good health at age 90 – an artifact of dietary modification, anti hypertensives, and arguably CoQ10 and other non-traditional interventions, he might have lived even longer. He was surprisingly cognitively intact – still driving, dumpster diving, and very in touch with the current political scene. He altered the will and trust early in July of 2011, which is probably about the time of his cancer Dx, or onset of symptoms, such as SOB. My mother “signed” these documents; a snapshot of her signature shows it to be a parody of her beautifully fluid and highly readable cursive hand. Her cause of death was listed as “adult failure to thrive” as a result of “dementia” with a duration of “years.” In a way, it’s too bad that there isn’t a just afterlife, because if there were, there would be an especially nasty corner of hell reserved for corrupt probate attorneys, of which there are many :-). If psychiatry has historically been the last refuge for the incompetent in medicine (that’s changing), then probate practice still is the first refuge for the cowardly corrupt and immoral in the law. That, by the way, is another valuable lesson cryonics taught me, and at a tender age, at that. — Mike Darwin

  5. unperson says:

    ah, alienation. That is a theme about which I have often written on cryonet. And no one else bothers to respond. You are not alone, mike, when it comes to alienation. I have often written that we cryonicists are alienated from society and even from our families. Your situation is certainly quite common when it comes to cryonicsts. I have said so often before. And no other cryo ever says a word about it. Nobody seems to be curious about why we are alienated.

    In a very special sense, we cryos are not really human.

    • Mark Plus says:

      Yes, once again you characterize the cryonicist as a freakish Other. Our brains have a bias in favor of noticing anomalous people, and I acknowledge that cryonics seems to attract them out of proportion to the general population. Of course, the Occupy movement does that as well, including some bad specimens like sexual predators, opportunistic criminals and anarchists. Would you characterize the Occupiers as “not really human” because the apparently “alienated” ones draw extra attention to themselves?

      Yet the majority of cryonicists who keep in the background and don’t post on the internet probably wouldn’t strike you as remarkable. If you happened to cross paths with, say, Bonnie & Jay out on a date, nothing about them would scream “alienation” to you.

      Perhaps you should focus more on the fact that cryonics has drawn, and continues to draw, regular people. Years ago Mike wrote about the weird feeling he had when he heard about Robert Heinlein’s death while performing a suspension on another guy named Robert, a family man who had run a TV repair shop for a living. How many cryonicists have more in common with Robert the TV repair guy than they do with a geek culture hero like Robert the science fiction writer?

  6. Eugen Leitl says:

    unperson, if people on the new Cryonet are not responding to you it’s reasonably likely that they do so because they’re no longer seeing your posts.

  7. Mark F. says:

    I know you have neither the money nor the desire to challenge the will, but I certainly would. Not because of the money, but because of the fact that your mother’s wishes may have been for you to get some of the money and your dad had no right to take advantage of her poor health to get her phony “consent.”

  8. chronopause says:

    There are some things it is impossible to tell. It’s just impossible to tell them. If you can think back to when you were a little boy, I mean really strip away all that you have become since then, what you must then do is to find some thing that seemed utterly reasonable and desirable to you as that boy. Something that seemed robust and simple and straightforward, but was in fact enormously complicated and utterly impossible. That is what such litigation would involve, even if I wanted it, which I do not. Even if there was an intent or a need to punish, which there is not.

    I’d hazard my parents’ estate is somewhere in the ball park of $125-175K. There are, if I’ve heard correctly, 9 beneficiaries, all maternal & paternal cousins. Most of these people I have not seen since I was ~14 years old. None of them, to my knowledge, are bad people. Those I do know are very nice people. Two are in very, very poor financial and emotional condition – as bad off as me, or worse. One provided great physical and emotional support for both my parents when geographical distance alone prevented me from doing so.

    I have fond memories of all of these people. I have no idea what my father may have told them. I am very sure my mother had nothing bad to say. And yes, my mother would be much more than outraged if she knew what my father had done. But let’s consider the situation carefully. The will and trust were always configured such that if one of them predeceased the other, the other would fully inherit. I cannot imagine it being otherwise. As it turned out, my mother predeceased by father by a day, so he inherited. The estate was thus his to do with as he pleased.

    I cannot tell you how deeply I hold the conviction that their money was NOT my money. It just wasn’t and it isn’t. If my father wanted to go into the back yard and burn it all in a pile, more power to him, as long as he didn’t expect me to support him ;-). That’s really a liberating and a humane attitude to have, not the least of which because it is a just one.

    I’m sure that he drew satisfaction out of the thought that what he was doing would hurt me. And for that, I’m sorry – but much more so for him than for me and on so many levels. First, because it says so much about the kind of torment that must have been going on inside of him. All he had to do was to pick up the phone and call me – I told him that many times. Second, because if it was to cause some terrible torment in me, due to either the financial or emotional “loss,” well it didn’t work. There couldn’t be any financial “loss” because it was never my money. To be honest, I expected it all to be consumed in “spend down” for nursing home care, because I knew I was not going to be moving back to Indiana. You’ve known me for many years, Mark, and I don’t expect you to recollect me talking about me spending my “inheritance.”

    I was never very close to my father, and what he did with the obit was just the icing on the cake of a relationship that was slowly frosting over for decades. I’m sorry he didn’t have more children, because I think had he had a more diverse brood, he could have been a great father to the right son(s) or daughter(s). To be fair, I’d present one hell of a challenge to the Very Best Standard Issue American Dad. It was very unfair to him, and I feel (and I often felt at the time) really, really sorry for him. More than once I told him that I knew that I was a disappointment to him. He would always say “Don’t worry about it,” or “No you’re not.” And he meant it. But the reality is, that’s not enough, and it wasn’t enough on my side, either.

    The second to the last time I was “back home,” my parents and I were sitting around their kitchen table, having a rather strained conversation about matters like this, and I said, “I know this has all been very hard on you. Having me must have been like a rooster and a hen having their egg hatch, and a baby pterodactyl come out.” My mother got a very stern look in her eyes, straightened up in anger and said, “What do you mean by that!” I think that says it all. They were clueless in their sweet and loving way. And I loved them dearly. Now, they are dead and gone; forever gone. And we, we soldier on; forever on. — Mike Darwin

  9. Fundie says:

    My deepest condolences to you, Mike, on the loss of your parents. I look at that bottom picture and I am struck by what a truly handsome man your father was.

    I would like to think that if they could have seen things a little more broadly, your parents would have expressed tremendous pride in your firm and admirable principles and conviction. I can see the roots of those principles in them, and I appreciate seeing how they were transmitted, even though it clearly was not an exact translation.

    • chronopause says:

      Thanks, most sincerely, for your condolences. I was at a considerable disadvantage in illustrating that piece, because I had only “reject” photos to work from. When I left California on Newton Day Eve (24 December, Isaac Newton was born on 25 December) I took only my laptop with me; both hard drives with my photo albums were left behind. So, most of the scanned and restored photos of my parents were not available to me. My father was indeed a handsome man when he was young – more so before his nose was broken 3 times in bar fights and brawls.

      We were, as I suppose is to be expected, alike in many ways. He and I both were and are “sonofabitches,” this trait in me was “filtered” by homosexuality, which damps out the physical violence. But the fundamental intransigence and mean temperament remains the same.

      WWII was a very good time for my father. He did not see combat and was posted throughout much of Europe and in Burma. It was wartime, he was young, single, charming, American and and largely uninhibited. By his own account he enjoyed himself immensely. If you listen to high quality recordings of of Sinatra and Dean Martin, you can hear the musical reminiscences of that era – and I often do. If you listen to the contemporary music of the time, you can hear the pure electric joy of it – and not a week goes by that I don’t do just that; and it often moves me out of my chair and stops my work. What I’m trying to say is that my father did a lot of partying in those years and he had a lot of sex, and what’s more, he had no regrets. Good for him! This too, is a trait we share, albeit in very different forms.

      And there’s the pity, because he could never see that, could never understand it. The divide was impossible to bridge. Gay men and straight men can’t share “war stories.” It just doesn’t work. And I’ll tell you a secret, far removed from the topic here at hand; men and women, straight men and gay men, they are not really all the same under the skin, in fact, that is the place where they differ most fundamentally and the notion that they can go into combat together and fight in trenches side by side, is an illusion. But, that’s another story for another place and another time. — Mike Darwin

  10. Anna Hayman says:

    I was so sorry to hear about the death of your parents, Michael. I have nothing but fond memories of them. As I’ve said, they treated me like a daughter, and that meant a lot to me. Take care, old friend.

    • chronopause says:

      Thank you, Anna. I can’t tell you how glad I am to see “you” appear here. I think of you incredibly often, in no small measure because you played such an important role in the early history of cryonics, and especially of Alcor. I commit part of almost every week to digitizing photos and documents from those days and your image, or your work product, often cross my hands or appear on the screen in front of me. I picked up a book yesterday afternoon and a card fell out of it with a vulture sitting on a tree above a birthday cake. I opened it and these reads, “Go Ahead, it’s your birthday…” That’s company printed part.

      Inscribed in your hand on the inside of the front of the card was the following, dated 04/1980: “Dear Michael, I know you didn’t want any celebration of the big 2-5. Too bad. Now you have one, and you can read it when Greg and Jerry work for you, or when California falls into the sea, or when Soma is a $10 billion multinational corporation, or whatever your criteria for success are. Love, Always, Anna

      Well, none of those things ever happened, or ever will, but then they weren’t my criteria for success. Certainly, staying alive long enough to read these words back to you, and to thank you sincerely for writing them, were. So, I am indeed a very successful man.

      Again, my sincere thanks for your condolences. –Mike

  11. Shannon Vyff says:

    Mike I’m sorry for your loss and all the unresolved conflict. About some of the comment thread-I don’t think cryonicists have different brains-or that any one thing that unites them at least. I have no idea if all the cryonicists raising their kids with cryonics being a normal thing will succeed in passing those values to their children’s future families. I won’t know how successful I have been until a few more decades have passed. Cryonics is still slowly growing though, even if not as quickly as the cryonics community would like. There are always people who “get” cryonics -some of them join in helping continue the companies, some of them just would like it as a back up. It hurts when our family members don’t. Or even worse, when we remember when our loved ones have said they wanted to do it-then they change their minds. I’m thankful Mike’s parents were as supportive as they were. Mike, I hope you have found some way to assuage your sadness with their loss, and the nature of the lack of communication in the end. I’m not sure I could in your shoes though.

    • chronopause says:

      Shannon, thank you sincerely for your condolences. The loss of my mother has been especially hard, but as I’ve said here before, the reality is that that happened several years ago.

      Some of us are lucky enough to have two families; the one we are born with and the one we choose. I guess for the really lucky amongst us, both are a good match. However, I think that’s not as common as popular culture would have us believe. It’s certainly going to be hard in cases where people consciously decide to abandon life; if for no other reason than that it becomes increasing hard to remain engaged with fading memories and dust.

      As to generational transmission of cryonics in cryonicists families? There are two ways to look at it: statistically and individually. Statistically, I can tell you with a pretty high degree of certainty it is likely to be dismal, if for no other reason than that cryonicists don’t tend to reproduce. Individually, a great deal will depend upon the circumstances; no surprise there, huh? But to be serious, the transmission of any belief system, even the transmission of something as basic as good dental and health practices, requires a lot of structured effort – it requires a system of acculturation that is integrated into daily life. Otherwise, it is hit or miss and mostly miss. Even then, it works only about 45-50% of the time.

      Another hard, hard core cryonicist and I share a very similar background as Roman Catholics. We had almost the same home life and religious indoctrination and we have broadly similar intellects (he’s much smarter and more disciplined than I). While both of us are atheist cryonicists, we are still very much Roman Catholics. That may seem oxymoronic, but it is nevertheless, quite true. When the Jesuits said “give us a child until he is seven years of age, and then do with him what you will” they weren’t joking. Beyond saying that this so, I cannot explain it here further. Suffice it to say that whilst the church did not succeed in indoctrinating either of us with Christianity, it did succeed, in significant measure, in indoctrinating us with catholicism (small “c”) in much the same way secular Jews are forever Jewish.

  12. Michelle says:

    Hi Mike,
    I’m so sorry about your Parent’s passing. Hope you are doing ok with everything. My Mom and I think about you everyday and miss you terribly. You are VERY special! Please never forget all the lives you’ve touched. It is very unfortunate that your Dad couldnt see the man you’ve turned out to be. Your caring, courageous, brillant, and completely believe in what you do! No parent could have asked for more in my book.
    Hang in there. We’ll see you soon

    • chronopause says:

      It’s very good to hear from you! And thank you for your condolences. I think we talked a couple times at the dustbin about my parents and about my feelings for them as well as matters such as inheritance. How strange to realize that they were already dead and buried when those conversations likely took place.

      I’ve been a bit under the weather here lately, but have been feeling better the last couple of days – so I might start getting some work done around here soon! I miss you both too! But then, I confess I have a daily reminder to think of you, and to thank you for, in the form of Charlie. She is my constant companion and she loves the Sonoran desert and, when I’m working out of doors, she mischievously and surreptitiously carts off my tools and hides them under one of several trees in order to stop my work and make me pay attention to her.

      Clue arrived here for a few days, day before yesterday, and that means aside from the much needed pleasure of his company, I blessedly have access to a truck for a few days – today was “go to town and get a replacement hot water heater” for the one that died several months ago. It turned out I was able to parlay a portable swamp cooler and some ceiling fans from the dustbin into enough cash for the water heater; which is good, because Clue doesn’t share my relative indifference to the lack of piped hot water!

      I’m reluctant to leave here, even briefly, before I re-skin and repaint the 35 ft. mobile home I salvaged awhile back for use as work shop. And as I’ve been sick as a dog, I expect that work will go slowly. You are, of course, both welcome to come visit any time you like, if you can stand this place or afford the gas to get here and back!

      This will sound horrible, but I miss the dustbin terribly. This is the place where the truckloads of salvaged materiel from there are really put to use, and not a working day goes by that I don’t kick myself for not having removed even more from the waste stream than I normally do. EVERYTHING is useful up here. It’s not like in California, where I can say, “Oh well, I need this or that and in a a few days I’ll just pick it out of one of the dustbins.” The people at the shops are much nicer here and will often help you load things, or even bring separated boxes of items out for you, as opposed to menacing you, or calling the police. But then, Flagstaff is a very different place – much more relaxed and tolerant. Of course, the downsides are they are not as profligately wasteful, I can only go every 3 weeks or so not every day, and I have no truck. I did score a wonderful find in the form of a nearly new (and spotless) “Sleep Number” bed, which is heaven! I was very skeptical of any kind of “air mattress” but it is beautifully engineered, a godsend for my back, and I can’t recommend them highly enough. Of course mine was “free.”

      Take care and know that you are often in my thoughts. I hope the little ones are doing well and that life continues to reward you with unexpected treasures. – Mike

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