Right Thinking From The Left Coast
Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one. - Albert Einstein

Update about Lee, including memorial info
by JimK

I’ve been putting this post off for what i think are obvious reasons, but all that has done is make me feel worse, so...Like Lee always quipped at me, “band-aid, one motion, right off.” Yeah, we spoke to each other in TV and movie quotes half the time, what of it? ;)

This is a long post, with information about a memorial service at the end, so it’s going behind the cut. Hit the “read the rest” link to see it all.

First off, I will fill everyone in on everything I know from Rae and Ryan, Lee’s mom and brother.  Rae approved me posting all of this, so best to just let their words speak for them. These are the emails I received from Rae and Ryan while they were in China, in order:

Ryan and I arrived in Beijing late Thursday afternoon.  We were able to meet with Richard and Joshua who are two of Lee’s close friends here.  They were all together on Monday night (which was a holiday here) and had a barbecue get together.  Lee went home around midnight - he had been drinking but wasn’t “shit-faced” but was in a good frame of mind.  He got in, checked his email, plugged in his cell phone on his nightstand, set his alarm, took off his glasses and got into bed.  The next morning (Tuesday) his maid came to work and saw him sleeping and closed his bedroom while she cleaned the apartment.  She went and did some shopping and came back and checked on him again but he was still sleeping so she tried to wake him and then realized that he wasn’t breathing.  She did have a contact number and name at Technicolor so she called them and from there I’m not sure what happened, but I’m sure that’s when the police and the embassy were called, and at 10 pm Tuesday night Randy from the embassy called Ryan at home which was 9 am Tuesday.  Our thoughts are that he took his pills and then forgot he had taken them and took them again along with the booze he had in him.  I’m hoping that we will find out something when we speak to the police sometime today.

We have been in contact with one of the guys at Technicolor this morning (Saturday) and we are waiting to hear from him about getting into Lee’s apartment.  I don’t know if it has been sealed by the police or not.  Richard and Joshua are coming to his apartment with us to help us.  I am so grateful for that.  This is going to be a really bad day for me.  More later. Rae


Just a quick update.  We went to the apartment yesterday (not a great feeling).  We had a guy from Technicolor, two of Lee’s friends and 5 ‘apartment’people’ to unseal the door and take pictures of the seal being broken.  We gathered all kinds of miscellaneous papers which we brought back to the hotel to sort through and also brought his laptop back here as well.  Thank God I remembered Jay’s old password which Lee used on both of his computers so we were able to get into both of Lee’s computers.  We are going back this morning to meet with the landlord so we can find out what was Lee’s and what came with the apartment.  Also a girl from the moving company is coming by the look at the shipment size and leave us some boxes.  They are coming in to pack on Wednesday.  We have asked all Lee’s friends to come by the apartment today and if they want anything to take it.  Ryan and I are both emotionally and physically exhausted.  We both have jet lag really bad and wake up round 3.00-4.00 am every night and can’t go back to sleep because our minds are racing.  Besides trying to get his apartment ready, tomorrow (Monday) we are going to get with the Embassy guy and then with the police and then start Lee’s process.  Wish us luck.  Luv Rae


Yesterday we were able to get 90% of Lee’s apartment sorted out and packed up. The moving company is scheduled to come in on Wednesday morning to pack and move the big items out ready for shipment. We met with the Landlord, Leng, and Lee’s Aei (maid). Needless to say that was very upsetting. Leng has been very helpfull and extremely forthcomming with issues concerning Lee’s contracts and moneys owed from his work at Technicolour. We will have that meeting with them on Tuesday.

Today (monday) we are sceduled to meet with Randy at the US Embassy to start the process of getting Lee out of China. This will no doubt be the hardest part of the trip for both me and Mom. We just thank God that Lee knew so many people that are willing to help with anything we ask.

Not much news to report for right now. I’m sure that Mom will have a lot more after todays meetings and events unfold.

Ryan and Rae


Well today (Monday) will have to be without a doubt the worst day Ryan and I have ever spent, or will ever spend for the rest of our lives. The American Embassy here has been completely worthless and useless.  We called Randy our contact guy so see where we had to start regarding Lee.  He said that WE had to get in contact with Inspector Wong, and then WE had to go to the morgue and then WE had to contact the funeral home regarding his cremation.  This is great if you can speak Chinese.  We ended up being helped by Lee’s boss Leng who is Singaporean Chinese.  We don’t know what on earth we would have done without him and he stayed all day.  Our first stop was the morgue.  If you can imagine a pre World War I structure, broken windows, holes in walls, no paint etc. that was it, only worse.  We had to go and identify Lee who had been there a week and I will only say not kept like we do in the US.  I was a basket case and told them I wanted Lee out of there today to be taken to the crematorium.  They had done blood work on Lee a week ago but it would be at least 2 more days for the results and then about another 2 days for the death certificate.  This is where Leng came in and did all the negotiations for us.  We told the attending doctor at the morgue we didn’t care about cause of death we just wanted him out of there and cremated TODAY.  We had to hand write all that and sign it and he said he could get the paperwork done in 2 hours.  I was so distressed I had to come back to the hotel and lay down but Ryan and Leng stayed.  They had lunch and 2 hours later were back at morgue.  Of course the morgue wouldn’t start ANYTHING until they had in cash 10,000 rmb which is about US$1600.00 so rather than Ryan and Leng running around in taxis to the bank and back Leng just got one or his employees to get a cash advance through the company and bring it over to them.  Ryan then had to identify that that was Lee getting put in the hearse.  ((Little footnote that Lee would have found hysterical.  Lee is so big he wouldn’t fit in a regular hearse but as luck would have it there was a big black American Cadillac hearse (the only one of it’s kind in Beijing).  This hearse was sent over as a gift from the USA to transport Chairman Mao when he died!!)) He was taken to the funeral home where they waited for him to be cremated which of course was done ONLY after their cash payment of 5,000 rmb which is about US$850.00.  Ryan bought the biggest urn they had (a 9” urn)and he was still too big to fit in. So they had to tamp (beat his ass) into it with a rubber mallet! (Lee would be loving this).  .
Anyway Ryan finally got back to the hotel at 7.30 pm.  Lee is in a lovely urn like a wooden Chinese temple.  It looks like something that he would have bought to decorate his house and it is just perfect.
Tomorrow we are going to Technicolor to sort out contract and payments etc. and also to try to find out what we have to do to close out his bank account.  Ryan took a couple of pics.

As patriotic as we all know Lee was. I’m sure he would appreciate the “FREEDOM EAGLE” being on the side of his hearse.

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Chairman Mao’s hearse. And it was a Caddy with a freedom eagle on it.  How utterly and completely appropriate.  As Rae said to me, “If you’d have asked Lee how he’d like to go out if he died in China, he’d probably have told you ‘in Chairman Mao’s Cadillac hearse.’” I totally agree.

Last email from China below:

Well besides the day we got Lee this has been the day from hell here in glorious Beijing.  The day started off okay.  We went to Lee’s apartment and met the packers and finally got his shipment packed and gone.  The landlord was very nice and took us out to lunch and then Ryan and I went to try and close out Lee’s bank account!!!  We had previously been to the American Embassy and got a letter typed in English and Chinese on the same page on USA letterhead and then both sections stamped with the US Consulate stamp.  We got Maggie from Technicolor to come with us to the bank to interpret.  We had the Consulate letter, Lee’s death certificates both Chinese and American, his birth certificate, his American passport, my American passport and also a power of attorney letter Lee had made out for me before he went to China.  They took one look at all these and told us they couldn’t accept any of this because firstly we had to have a ‘heritage’ (next of kin) letter filled out by the Notary Office of Beijing.  Unfortunately they only do this for Chinese people!  Then they said that to prove my next of kin to Lee we had to take the proof (all the paperwork that I mentioned) and take it back to America and go the the Chinese embassy and have them put their chop (seal) on it and then we could fly back to Beijing and go to the bank and then they would close out the account!!!  (Our temperatures by this time were reaching boiling point).  We told them that all the information they needed was proved to the American embassy and translated into Chinese for them but they would not accept this document at all as they do not consider this a legal document!  Long story short we sat in the bank’s office for over 4 and a half hours while person after person called their superior to find out what to do.  It has ended tonight with them announcing that the head of Beijing bank is calling a meeting with several people in his office first thing in the morning to see what legal documents they will accept to close out Lee’s account.  We are going to get in contact with the American embassy and see if there is anything they can do.  We have now got it down to the thing that they must have is all the same information we have given them but it has to be on the Notary Office in Beijing letterhead and their chop on it.  No problem but they will not accept any of my documents as legal without a chop from the Chinese consulate which is of course in the US!!!  What bullshit.  Unfortunately we didn’t have Lee’s pin number or we would have just pulled the money out through the atm.  We asked them to ‘pretend’ that we had lost Lee’s atm card and to issue a new one where we could get a new pin.  Oh no, ‘we couldn’t do that!’.  Anyway now we have to wait until tomorrow morning (Thursday) to see what transpires.  We were trying to get out of here on Friday morning but that remains to be seen.  I am soooooo ready to get the hell out of here and get away from their red tape and ‘can’t do’ attitudes.  More later.  Rae

Last day here in Beijing.  It took until 5.45 pm before the bank finally made up it’s mind to honor the notorized letter we had from the American Embassy.  We contacted the Embassy this morning and they faxed over a copy of the agreement document (don’t know it’s official title and it’s late) between the United States and China.  Then the bank still wanted a copy of the Power of Attorney I had from Lee when he first went overseas.  At 4.00 pm they still hadn’t made a decision so we decided to go a notary ourselves and have one drawn up from me giving my authorization for Maggie (the HR girl at Technicolor) to act on my behalf in closing Lee’s bank account if this didn’t go through.  While we were at the notary’s office she said that our notarized US Embassy letter was all that was needed, by Chinese law, to close out the account!  Needless to say Ryan and I were rather hot under the collar by now.  By the time we got back to the bank they had decided to let us close the account which we did, and they even changed the money into US dollars.  We had a lovely farewell dinner with all of Lee’s friends - really nice people and I’m just very thankful he had them in his life before he died.  We are leaving at noon on Friday and should be back in Houston around 5.00 pm the same day.  Will talk later.  Rae


After that emails stopped, as Ryan and Rae were trying to get home, and I certainly didn’t want to pry or bother them in any way. But, in what should not be a surprise to anyone, Lee’s mom is a great and tough lady, and she took in upon herself to call me.  We talked for a very long time, and I so very much understand more of who my friend was. I’d always known he was both a momma’s and a daddy’s boy, meaning that he loved his parents immensely and completely, but I never spoke to them.  Hearing Rae talk, I could hear where Lee got his emotional connectons to the world, where he got his plain-speaking, and some of that famous sense of humor as well.

I guess I should fill all of Lee’s friends in on what we know about his last day or so.  Rae covered some of it in the email.  He went to a barbeque with friends where he had some drinks bot according to them was not shitfaced. He came home.  His futon was folded down in his office, so he may have taken a short nap, but then he clearly got on the computer, as his desktop was there with a full ashtray of fresh butts and an empty glass that Rae assumes was Jack & Coke. :)

He took his meds (including Ambien) and went to bed.  His phone was in the charger, his stuff was organized for the next day...he was just going to bed like any other night.  Apparently he slept with his hands folded under the side of his head.  That is how his Ayi (maid) found him.  He simply never woke up.

Rae elaborated a bit to me about the conditions in the morgue, and I won’t get into it too much, but suffice it to say it’s fucking horrible. Let’s just say that the embassy told the family to wait until Monday to claim him, but they never told Ryan and Rae that the Chinese wouldn’t refrigerate Lee.

When Rae saw that she simply could not let them keep Lee any longer.  They wanted an autopsy, but that would take two to four weeks.  Weeks.  She told them at that point she did not care about the specific cause of death, they could write whatever they wanted, she’d sign whatever they wanted but she was not leaving her boy with them for one more minute.  And she didn’t.

Good for her.

So while we will never know for 100% certain what the specific and exact cause of death was, those of us who knew Lee—and who Lee had a phone number for—probably got one of his Ambien phone calls. :) Ambien can fuck you up...in some people it can create these fugue states where you do things as though you were sleepwalking, except to everyone else you are wide awake.  You don’t always make sense, but you seems alert.  Later you have no memory of what you did.  When I first started my weight loss, I was on Ambien.  I rarely ever had any effects except for one time when I intentionally took a second Ambien and mis-timed how long it had been since the first, but once I started dieting I would sleep eat.  I’d wake up to find Pringles all over me and a half-a-can eaten, laying open on the floor.  or I would find that i had assembled a sandwich or something.  I’d find the remnants, wrappers and dishes and have no idea how it happened.  Turns out I was craving salty foods and somehow the Ambien fugue freed me to go get them.  I switched off Ambien and added a little more actual salt into my food and it’s never happened again, but it’s a little scary.  Some people would sleep drive, or sleep work, or whatever.

With Lee it could get a little crazy.  He’d forget he hadn’t taken his pill and take a second one. He would have long, detailed conversations with people, and cook full breakfasts and shit. That can bring on the fugue in someone who doesn’t have that reaction normally. It happened often.  Respiratory depression is a listed side effect of Ambien.  It is also a side effect of alcohol.  Combined with the position he slept in and the fact that he was a big guy, and the end result is likely that he simply exhaled and his body couldn’t draw in another breath.

Jesus CHRIST it feel wrong to be so clinical about that, but I don’t know how else to write it.  I’m not one to wail and beat my breast or anything, but somehow I feel like I should. I know that’s just grief though.

The bottom line I (and I think i speak for Rae and Clayton as well, although i feel a little presumptuous saying that) would like everyone to know is this was a man who was planning not just for his future, but for the next day.  A terrible confluence of events led to his passing by accident, and anyone who says otherwise is not someone worthy of one iota of your time or energy. As both Rae and I said together on the phone, “Fuck those motherfuckers. Pardon our french.” :)

And that brings me to what I thought was the most perfect summary of Lee and his mom: She told me that clearly he got his foul mouth from her. But then she laughed and said “But I also got half of mine from him so who knows where it comes from anymore.” That put a big smile on my face. So perfectly Lee, isn’t it?

MEMORIAL SERVICE

So, going forward, there will be a memorial service for Lee in Houston, TX on Saturday, May 9th. Rae and Ryan would like to start it at 1 PM and go until...well, until everyone is done, really. What she asked of me is that I find out who can actually attend, and that you email me to get directions and phone numbers and so forth.  If you think you would like to go, please email me at stark23x at gmail dot com, and use the subject line “LEE CROFT MEMORIAL.” I will get you all the info you need so that you can go and tip your hat or a glass of Jack & Coke to one of the greatest guys I’ve ever known.

I assume there will be other, smaller memorials around the world, some of which have already happened.  Please feel free to email me if you want me to post about an upcoming service you’d like to have.  Even if it’s just some friends and co-workers getting together for some drinks at a bar or whatever.  That’s probably the best memorial for Lee anyway, so if you do that, let me know and I’ll post it up here.

THIS WEBSITE

Rae gave me access and I figured out how to transfer the domains to me by signing in to Lee’s GoDaddy account, so as long as I have a presence on the interwebs and tubes, this site will stay up.  Lee in China will remain as a testimony to his adventurous nature and his ability to tell great stories...but It will be frozen as is.  Right Thinking will continue to be a community of people hashing out the issues of the day, just as it was when he was alive.  I can think of no better testimony to him than that.

Well, maybe we should all rent everything he worked on from Netflix too. Because he was very proud of what he did for a living.  Rae told me that when he was a child and saw Star Wars for the first time, he told her that it was the coolest thing he ever saw and he wanted to learn how to do that.

He did. He is one of those people that actually achieved a childhood dream. Not only did he learn to do that, but he worked on a Star Wars movie, at ILM. That’s pretty awesome.

So do that as well. Come here and be a part of the great debate, but also watch his work., And The Simpsons.  Dude loved The Simpsons. ;)

Posted by JimK on 04/24/09 at 03:17 PM (Discuss this in the forums)

Comments


Posted by on 04/24/09 at 03:59 PM from United States

Wow! What an ordeal.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/24/09 at 04:05 PM from United States

Thank you jim.

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 04:15 PM from United States

I second that.  You’ve done your friend proud, Jim.  I can only hope that when I kick off that I have left enough of an impression on somebody (anybody) to receive the kind of attention that you have given to Lee since his passing.

Posted by Aaron - Free Will on 04/24/09 at 04:22 PM from United States

Thanks for doing this, Jim. I know it must be terrible to have to think about all this, especially with a friend. It helps to give us all something like closure, though.

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 04:26 PM from United States

Thanks for the information, Jim.

Posted by InsipiD on 04/24/09 at 04:48 PM from United States

Just amazing.  Lee obviously loved and lived in the shiny new side of China.  It’s a shame that the seedy underbelly was what tried to trap him.

I can’t go to Texas, but I’ll drink another for him tonight.

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 04:57 PM from United States

Thanks Jim.

I’m just speechless.

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 05:28 PM from United States

Nice post; the hearse aspect is awesome.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/24/09 at 05:29 PM from United States

Thanks Jim.  With every post, I feel like I know him better than ever.  I wish I could be down in Texas next week…

Posted by West Virginia Rebel on 04/24/09 at 05:50 PM from United States

A barbecue, a Jack and Coke, and riding in Mao’s hearse...I can’t think of any better way Lee would have wanted it.

That stuff about the Chinese bureaucracy is truly scary. And Lee was a visiting foreigner who was wealthy by Chinese standards. One can only imagine what an ordinary person must have to go through.

Lee lived a truly full and amazingly rich life and his Mom sounds awesome. I hope he’s telling his Dad what it was like to ride in Mao’s hearse now.

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 06:08 PM from United States

A barbecue, a Jack and Coke, and riding in Mao’s hearse...I can’t think of any better way Lee would have wanted it.

Being sexed to death by nubile harem girls, carried through the streets with hundreds of large-breasted naked women sobbing and wailing about their loss following behind in procession, and then his body roasted and shoved down the throats of his enemies.

Posted by Thrill on 04/24/09 at 06:14 PM from United States

I remember this post he wrote about Ambien almost two years before he died:

I’ve been taking (Ambien) for so long now that (blackouts don’t) happen any more, but it just shows that you always need to be vigilant when taking these sorts of medications.

What a horrible position he was in: take pills that cause you to lose control or suffer relentless insomnia.  It really helps me understand now why he’d get so pissed off sometimes.

Posted by dakrat on 04/24/09 at 07:19 PM from Germany

Thanks so much for this Jimk.  You’ve done Lee proud.

Posted by JimK on 04/24/09 at 07:38 PM from United States

What a horrible position he was in: take pills that cause you to lose control or suffer relentless insomnia.

nail->head.  If I remember right he tried a few other sleep aids over the years and none of them even touched him, really. Only ambien got him to sleep.

Posted by dakrat on 04/24/09 at 07:52 PM from Germany

Wow! I have a Germany flag.  How did that happen?

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 07:56 PM from United States

Thanks for the update Jimk.

I was always entertained by many of the posts and sometimes, often, forced to think about stuff by the different take on the world Lee put forward. I just did not realise how much Lee had really entertained me through his work.

Thank You Lee

Posted by dakrat on 04/24/09 at 08:10 PM from Germany

What a horrible position he was in: take pills that cause you to lose control or suffer relentless insomnia.  It really helps me understand now why he’d get so pissed off sometimes.

I’m glad I don’t have trouble sleeping.  I’m probably halfway narcoleptic.  I can go to sleep under almost any circumstances.  Waking up is the hard part for me. 

In fact, I sleepwalk when I’m stressed.  Without meds.  From my comment from the thread Thrill posted…

I went back home when Mom was dying.  One night I was suddenly, violently awakened by my sister.  She was screaming obscenities at me.  I was at the front door pouring a can of Coke on the doorknob.

Ever since, when I’m extremely stressed I will sleepwalk.  I’ve awakened in my roommate’s bed twice in the past 4 years.

Posted by josparke on 04/24/09 at 08:20 PM from United States

Bye old buddy :(

I live in Houston, I may be able to attend… though I don’t know… only really knew him through this site… We argued a bit, but he had my respect. Would it be all right if I came?

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 08:54 PM from United States

I’m glad his family got through this safely and are now back home. Take care Lee.

Posted by on 04/24/09 at 08:57 PM from Germany

Chairman Mao’s hearse--yeah, there’s no other way that Lee would have wanted to be transported.  If his spirit is around, I’ll bet he got a good “fuck yeah!” out of seeing that.

With best man duties for a wedding in May coming up, I probably won’t be able to make it, but I’ll see what I can do.  If it’s a go, Jim, I’ll let you know.

Posted by Sean Galbraith on 04/24/09 at 09:18 PM from Germany

Thanks, Jim, for the update. He went out… maybe not when he wanted, but I suspect it would have been close to how he’d want to. (well, minute twin hookers)

Posted by Manwhore on 04/24/09 at 09:20 PM from Germany

You were smart to drop the Ambien, JimK. Lee and I had it out more than once over the pills. I was on Lunesta, and i swear to God I can measure an entire block of my life I can’t remember relative to those pills, and did exactly like Lee. I dropped one, and then dropped another once.

My behavior scared my brother so much (living with me at the time) he told me that he wouldn’t contact me if I continued to take them. We had an entire conversation that I don’t remember.

I’m in NO way eluding to the pills. For fuck sake I am an insomniac of Lee’s caliber if not beyond. I once stayed awake for three days, if not more. It’s a torturous existence, but I had to say no to the pills. It’s really fucking tough to walk into the house and know there isn’t a fucking hope of you falling asleep without something, but you can’t take that shit.

Lee and I shared that torture. Only someone who understands what it is like to have been awake for three days straight for no reason would realize that kind of pain.

Rest in peace, dude. I know EXACTLY the kind of pain that was. you and I both know that.

Posted by NativeSon on 04/24/09 at 10:23 PM from United States

Thank you so much for writing this, Jim. I’m sure it was difficult. I will definitely be sending you an email soon. Houston isn’t too far a drive for me and I’d be more than willing to make the drive.

Posted by Santino on 04/24/09 at 10:34 PM from Canada

Thanks for all the information Jim.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/24/09 at 10:36 PM from United States

Jim you put a lot of heart into this, it show howw good of a friend you were to Lee.......
Thank you again for sharing this with us.

Posted by on 04/25/09 at 06:48 AM from United States

I work in drug development. I’m currently doing a post doc and one of the grad students here is also working for a pharmaceutical company. She told me her boss popped an Ambien (or something similar I don’t recall) just before he got on a flight from the west coast to the east coast. He woke up somewhere in Texas, but his itinerary wasn’t supposed to take him through Texas. Some how in his drug induced state he got on the wrong plane. The irony is that the airlines didn’t even notice. Given the effects of Ambien alone, I’d be very concerned about taking it in combination with other pharmaceuticals (including alcohol).

Posted by on 04/25/09 at 11:10 AM from Germany

Thanks Jim. I appreciate the long and torturous process it must have been to write this. I will miss Lee and his writing immensely. I am not sure where I’ll be when the memorial service will be on - I am in Hong Kong the week after next - but I’ll sure be raising my glass.

Please pass my condolences onto his family.

Thanks again,

Stogy

Posted by on 04/25/09 at 11:14 AM from Germany

Wow! I have a Germany flag.  How did that happen?

We’re all Germans now, Dakrat!

Posted by Starving Writer on 04/25/09 at 05:27 PM from United States

Are you going to fix the Chairman Mao picture now?  Seeing it up there is kinda ... morbid.

Posted by JimK on 04/25/09 at 07:01 PM from United States

Are you going to fix the Chairman Mao picture now?  Seeing it up there is kinda ... morbid.

Oh thank God someone said it. I thought I was just being overly sensitive or something but it’s fucking freaking me out every time.

Would it be wrong of me to take it down?  I’m genuinely torn on what to do about it.

Posted by Manwhore on 04/25/09 at 07:08 PM from Germany

Like it or not, it’s your blog now, and you should do right by yourself. Lee would have asked no different, IMO. I don’t think Lee put that image up in anticipation of his passing, I think it was a joke at the time that has turned itself morbid.

you gotta do right by yourself, big guy and not all the answers are left for us. I say take it down if it’s tearing you apart. It’s not a “free speech” thing, it’s simply the fact that the blog plays by your rules now. You’ve done more than enough to keep it going for all of us, and we’d all respect your decision.

Posted by InsipiD on 04/25/09 at 09:25 PM from United States

If it bothers a lot of people, it should probably come down.  At the same time, I’ve kind of considered it an appropriate reminder of Lee and his sudden glaring absence here just the same.  It’s like his very sickest joke condensed to a wallet size picture-like having to be packed in an urn with a rubber mallet.

I’ve been drinking again (this is really out of character for me, but I’m enjoying it), and I might think different tomorrow.

Posted by on 04/25/09 at 10:52 PM from Germany

Thanks very much for all that Jim.  Talk soon, James.

Posted by Hal_10000 on 04/26/09 at 06:28 AM from United States

Maybe replacing Mao with something a bit more tasteful like “in memoriam” and Lee’s navy pic?

Posted by on 04/26/09 at 08:19 AM from Australia

you gotta do right by yourself, big guy and not all the answers are left for us. I say take it down if it’s tearing you apart. It’s not a “free speech” thing, it’s simply the fact that the blog plays by your rules now. You’ve done more than enough to keep it going for all of us, and we’d all respect your decision.

For sure, Jim is in the best position to know what the best thing to do with the blog and rememberance and so forth. However, I know from (unfortunate) personal experience that it’s not always easy to accept that position. You’re effectively making decisions on behalf of someone who can’t speak for themselves, and the responsibility doesn’t rest easily.

The way I see it, this blog is made up of a) the personality that Lee infused it with, b) the posting group and their approach to stories, and c) the commenters and the atmosphere they create and respond to. Jim’s certainly got every right to make the blog into whatever he feels is best, but nobody could criticise him if he wanted to get some input from b) and c) before doing anything major.

In the case of the picture, how about taking it back to the way it was before Lee left for China? There could be a link in that corner to a little “About the blog founder” page that links to this post, and the one with the photos and whatever else seems appropriate.

Posted by on 04/26/09 at 08:21 AM from Australia

Alternatively, that freedom eagle closeup would make a great direct replacement for the Mao picture.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/26/09 at 10:01 AM from United States

im of the opinion that the Mao should be replaced with a pic of Lee, hitting the hooka, with OUR founder under it.

Posted by on 04/26/09 at 01:30 PM from Australia

I think it’s somewhat ironic that a bunch of libertartians who hate government think a government funded body such as the US embassy in china should have to organise the disposal of the body of a US citizen that has chosen to earn their living outside the US and who therefore has actually not being paying any taxes towards the upkeep of that embassy or it’s staff.

Posted by InsipiD on 04/26/09 at 05:09 PM from United States

Diseased asshole land for mary loo?

Citizens expect that the embassies are there to help them when foreign bureaucracies are taking advantage of them, just like this case.  It’s a big part of what they’re there for.  Idiocy.

Posted by on 04/26/09 at 05:23 PM from United States

Well, it’s not like you could expect much from it after it said the “hate government” bit. Clearly it gets told its opinions straight from CNN.

Posted by HARLEY on 04/26/09 at 06:05 PM from United States

I do not hate government, I simply do not trust it, as for the embassy, their function is to serve and protect our citizens overseas.

Posted by JimK on 04/26/09 at 06:29 PM from United States

What kind of piece of garbage to you have to be to start a fucking argument in a thread like this?

Goodbye mary loo.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 01:15 AM from United States

Hey everybody, here’s my thoughts about Lee, at my own blog. (I never told you guys I had one, did I?)

I hope people consider it decent and respectful, but I imagine some will dislike some of my frank(er) opinions about Lee. Let the flaming begin! :-)

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 06:38 AM from United States

thanks so much for posting this, jim.  parts of rae’s story really had me laughing; i needed that.  between mao’s limo, the freedom eagle & beating his ass into the urn, i’m sure lee is laughing too.

btw, am i the only one that finds the chariman mao at the top of the screen morbidly hysterical?  i know it’s a bit dark, but i kind of like it.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 07:43 AM from United States

Is it just me or does the thought of Lee rotting away for more than a week in an unrefrigerated morgue just go to prove that karma is a bitch. Oh well back to Drumwasters where the living reside.

Posted by Thrill on 04/27/09 at 07:54 AM from United States

Speaking as one of Drumwaster’s authors, that was sick and fucked up, Philip.  Whatever you thought of him, he’s gone and can no longer defend himself. 

Taking a cheap shot like that only guarantees your own bad “karma”, you know.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 08:09 AM from United States

Is it just me or does the thought of Lee rotting away for more than a week in an unrefrigerated morgue just go to prove that karma is a bitch.

So when you croak from the swine flu, there will be no need for surprise.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 08:11 AM from United States

Well, I suppose that actually being a person who has to resort to spitting upon another persons grave isn’t bad enough in and of itself that one must also demonstrate, for othere to see, that misery they face in the mirror each day.

More bad news for all of you self loathers’ out there.

May loo, Phillip & Drumwaster.

Every where you go, you’re still going to be there. There is no escape from your miserable existence.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 09:02 AM from United States

I’ll defend Mary Loo’s comment, insofar as it didn’t appear to be meant as a disrespectful dig at Lee and might have been worthy of debate if she hadn’t placed it in a memorial thread.  I don’t agree with her, but I don’t think she was being malicious towards Lee.

As for the other two—I really wonder what goes on over at DR.  I’ve rarely seen such a collection of hateful douchebags.  It is clearly one thing to attack a mans beliefs, but it’s an entirely different thing to attack the man, himself, post-mortem or his grieving relatives.  I’m amazed that such cold, soul-less people exist and that they’ve, furthermore, all found a common forum in which they can all lay around in the pigs shit together.  I’ve lurked there many times and simply don’t get the appeal.

Big exceptions abound (you know who you are) but, in general, that site is just a bunch of twisted fucks.  Frankie nailed it.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 09:07 AM from United Kingdom

Hang on - Phil is an absolute troll, so do we actually know he’s a drumwaster regular, or is he just trying to stir things up?

Posted by Thrill on 04/27/09 at 09:08 AM from United States

qdpsteve wasn’t being hateful.  He always had a great rapport with Lee, even though they usually disagreed with each other. 

Whether or not it was appropriate to link that post here (personally, I think it should be okay as long as it gets argued at his site, not here) I do hope that Jim doesn’t take any action against Steve.

Posted by Thrill on 04/27/09 at 09:14 AM from United States

I think I’m in a better position to speak for Drumwaster than some guy like “Phillip” who I never heard of.  Drum cut ties with Lee years ago and isn’t going to wage a war with this site.  Don’t react to him because of what some unknown troll does.

If Phil didn’t like Lee in life, that’s up to him.  However, invoking Drumwaster’s name to make a point even more vicious only added to what was already a cowardly act on Phil’s part.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 09:21 AM from United States

qdpsteve wasn’t being hateful.  He always had a great rapport with Lee, even though they usually disagreed with each other.

I read his post.  I think he handled it the right way—he warned people in his RTFLC comment that they may not like everything that he wrote and, furthermore, made his comments and criticisms in an honest manner.  My comment was not directed towards him and I apologize if it was misconstrued as such.
In fact, I think Mary Loo’s criticism was briefly touched upon in his post.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 09:28 AM from United States

I think I’m in a better position to speak for Drumwaster than some guy like “Phillip” who I never heard of.  Drum cut ties with Lee years ago and isn’t going to wage a war with this site.  Don’t react to him because of what some unknown troll does.

I think most people are reacting to Drumwaster because of what Drumwaster said, that has since been scrubbed from the site because it was too offensive to be left.

Posted by Thrill on 04/27/09 at 09:58 AM from United States

What I suppose I’m trying to say is that Phillip’s comment shouldn’t be taken as an invitation to start a Drumwaster insult party.  That would seem to be what he was after with that comment.

Posted by JimK on 04/27/09 at 02:45 PM from United States

For the record, phil.graham10@gmail.com also went after Clayton via email. With the same tone, fervor and intensity that Drumwaster used when attacking CLayton, only with less pretense at faux civility. Phil came after me too, but I’m an adult who did not see Lee as his god-damned father for fuck’s sake.  What kind of piece of shit attacks a grieving kid?

*I* will speak to *my* personal feelings about ANYONE who would do such a thing:

They are subhuman pieces of shit with whom I wouldn’t lower myself to associate with ever again. They are without true compassion. They are without true charity, no matter how much false good works they project to the outside world. They are empty vessels of bile and filth who cannot help but to project their self-loathing and pain onto the rest of the world.

I would ask that we NOT respond to ANYTHING anyone might post in threads like this ever again.  As a community, let us simply ignore them.  I don’t care what people say at other sites.  Let them wallow in misery and a false sense of charity and righteousness if they so choose.  HERE, at right-thinking.com, I don’t want to see scum like Phil here derail a post like this EVER again.

If you see a comment at this site along the lines of Phil or even mary loo’s attempt to pick a fucking fight on THIS kind of thread...please email me and I will ban the commenter and delete the comment.

I hope this can be the end of it. Thank you.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 03:02 PM from United States

Good comment, good ruling, good idea, Jim.

By the way, I know you’re probably snowed under with mail about this subject, but just wanted to make sure you actually got mine and all?

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 03:09 PM from United States

Jim, you rock.

I’m glad this blog is in good hands.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 03:12 PM from United States

And get rid of the Mao picture - something crass, like a Jack and Coke between a pair of huge boobs with the words “In Memory of Lee”, would be more appropriate.

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 03:19 PM from United States

There’s an idea. Jim can provide the jack and coke, Donna can provide the boobs.

Posted by JimK on 04/27/09 at 03:26 PM from United States

You guys gave me an idea. Lee once bought Donna a couple of Chinese silk robes during his first trip over there. I think we can whip something up involving books, jack and a decent pic pointing to a memorial page.

Yeah.  Do-able for sure. :)

Posted by on 04/27/09 at 03:49 PM from United States

don’t forget the boobs....

Posted by thetommonster on 04/27/09 at 09:28 PM from Germany

Jim,

Much thanks for posting this and also to his family for being willing to share it.  My deepest condolences to them and everyone who knew Lee personally.

Tom

PS I’m going to use “Lee in Mao’s hearse” to describe anything that’s absurdly appropriate.

Posted by InsipiD on 04/28/09 at 10:51 AM from United States

PS I’m going to use “Lee in Mao’s hearse” to describe anything that’s absurdly appropriate.

It’s time to set that straight I guess.  I didn’t want to say anything when it was all fresh and might piss people off, but unless they were moving Mao well after he died, that wasn’t his.  The pictured hearse is between 2000 and 2004 model Heritage Cadillac hearse built by Federal Coach of Fort Smith, AR.  Here’s a link to the similar model still sold today.  It can hold a casket up to 126” long.

Posted by InsipiD on 04/28/09 at 12:54 PM from United States

In fact, I could see it possible as being this Mao’s hearse.

Posted by on 04/28/09 at 02:42 PM from United States

The Chairman Mao picture is ironically just as functional now as it was before, but it seems appropriate to change it.

Posted by Ed Kline on 04/29/09 at 01:41 AM from United States

I sincerely hope that the quote

“To what purpose are powers limited, and to what purpose is that limitation committed to writing,
if these limits may, at any time, be passed by those intended to be restrained?”
-- Chief Justice John Marshall, Marbury v. Madison, 1803

under the Right-Ihinking logo at the top of the page is never changed...It seemed to encapsulate a lot of what Lee seemed to be thinking the last few years.

Posted by on 04/29/09 at 07:34 PM from United States

Wow, it has been months since I’ve been here and for some reason I just decided to see what was going on in Lee-World… this is certainly the last thing I expected. This is terrible news. I didn’t always see eye-to-eye with the man, but he seemed to be a good guy. He will certainly be missed.

Rest in peace brother.

Posted by on 04/30/09 at 10:20 PM from United States

I too just haven’t checked out this site for a few months on account of being busy, and I am totally shocked.  Lee’s was one of the first “Blogs” I ever had to read daily (back when “Blog” was in quotes!). 

I also disagreed with him sometimes (he called one of my opinions “mind-numbing” at one point), but mostly we agreed.  I’ll really miss him and his opinions.

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