Music That Inspires: Temple of the Dog

On May 18th of 2017 singer and songwriter Chris Cornell took his own life. Cornell was the lead singer of Soundgarden, and one of the most influential musicians on modern rock history. Along with Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, Soundgarden led the wave of the 1990s grunge music scene. Without Cornell’s writing and voice, hundreds of bands and thousands of popular songs would not exist.

The first time I remember hearing Cornell was from the Black Hole Sun music video. I had never heard anything like it before, and I was fascinated his voice. Cornell’s vocal abilities are impressive. He was one of few people who can scream sing and still be intelligible. You can feel the power of his voice even with the volume turned down.

Rather than comment on his suicide, I would like to focus on his music. There are so many good songs and albums to pick from. He fronted Soundgarden, Audioslave, Temple of the Dog, and released five solo albums. I think, however, I will go with my favorite, Temple of the Dog by Temple of the Dog.

It is rare to find an album where every song is good. This is one of those albums, and why would it not be? It is Chris Cornell singing with Stone Gossard, Mike McCready, Jeff Ament, and Matt Cameron, i.e. the group that would become Pearl Jam.

The album resulted from Cornell writing two songs in tribute to his roommate Andrew Wood, lead singer of Mother Love Bone. Wood overdosed on heroin. Cornell had no one to talk to following Wood’s death, and wrote the songs Reach Down and Say Hello 2 Heaven to cope with his feelings. He later presented them to Ament and Gossard, who were members of Mother Love Bone. The rest of the album came together after that.

Because there is not a bad song on the album, it makes it difficult to choose what to highlight. However, I think I will go for the songs I like to listen to the most. Continue reading

Bulletin Board v286

Catholic church’s secret archives key to exposing sex abuse scandal — Huddled in a law office on Hamilton Street, the district attorneys of the five counties in the Allentown Catholic Diocese spent days poring over files that detailed nearly two dozen allegations that priests had sexually abused children over several decades. That unprecedented step came in May 2002 after sex-abuse allegations exploded in the Boston Archdiocese, prompting Allentown Bishop Edward P. Cullen to grant the five prosecutors, including Lehigh County District Attorney Jim Martin and Northampton County District Attorney John Morganelli, a rare glimpse into the diocese’s secret archives.

German Man Handed 1-Year Sentence for Sex Abuse of Boys — A German man was convicted yesterday for committing indecent sexual acts against two boys in Phnom Penh’s Chbar Ampov district, but was handed the minimum sentence of one year, meaning he will be free in a matter of months. Udo Sabiniewicz, 56, was arrested in June for allegedly sexually abusing six boys after the mothers of two of the children filed complaints with the police. Keo Thea, chief of the municipal police’s anti-human trafficking bureau, said at the time that the boys had accused Mr. Sabiniewicz of repeatedly molesting them.

Legal action launched by victims of ex Scout leader who indecently abused children in Hinckley — Victims of a former scout leader who sexually abused four boys in the 1980s have instructed lawyers to take legal action against the Scout Association. Michael Medhurst, 61, was jailed for more than five years earlier this week after admitting a string of indecent assaults against four children between 1981 and 1987 in Leicestershire. The charges related to four victims, all from the Birmingham area, who were assaulted by Medhurst between September 1981 and September 1987 in Hinckley and Castle Donington. Continue reading

42% of British men consider suicide

According to a new report, 2 in 5 men British between the ages of 18 to 45 contemplate suicide:

The Campaign Against Living Miserably (Calm) study found 42% of men aged 18-45 have considered killing themselves and revealed “shocking” facts behind male suicide.

The YouGov research also found 41% of those who had contemplated taking their own life had not discussed the feelings with anyone else.

Men said they did not want friends or family to worry about them or were not wanting to cause a fuss, the study found.

In the UK 12 men take their own lives each day – making it the biggest cause of death amongst those aged under 45.

Twelve men kill themselves per day. That is a stunning number, one that speaks volumes about men’s life experiences. Continue reading

The consequences of suicide

Suicide is a terrible act. A person must be a dark place to even consider let alone commit it. It is a hollow act that stretches out to everyone close to its victim. Everyone feels its emptiness.

I have known three people who committed suicide. I do not take the issue lightly.

So when I read about Julie Burchill’s son committing suicide, my response was sympathy. Burchill is a well-known feminist writer in the United Kingdom. She posted about her son Jack’s suicide on Facebook.

Burchill appeared to have a adored her youngest son. According to an article about her:

She once described him as her Achilles’ heel — the one person capable of hurting her because she loved him so much.

That stands in stark contrast to how Burchill viewed her eldest son Robert. Continue reading

#YouAreNotHelpingYourself

Hugo Schwyzer recently quit the internet. According to a statement he released on his blog, he got tired of the “take-down” culture on the internet, tired of the critics, and needed some time off to deal with some personal issues. The latter turned out to be an online affair with a woman who is a sex worker. I am unclear as to how this became public, but that seems to be the actual reason Schwyzer bowed out.

Schwyzer to attempt suicide a few days after leaving the internet. Less that 12 hours after the attempt, Schwyzer gave an interview further explaining his behavior.

As much as I dislike Schwyzer’s positions and believe that he has done great harm to the male students in his classes and the boys he has mentored over the years, I do not want to see anything bad happen to him. He has my sympathy to an extent.

However, I cannot help but think that Schwyzer’s behavior over the last two weeks is a deliberate emotional manipulation. For a man who wanted to take time off from the internet, Schwyzer remains present across the web. He gives an interview every few days. It would appear that he is trying to garner attention rather than deal with his issues in private.

That brings us to his recent Twitter admission. Continue reading

R.I.P. Earl Silverman

Last month, I wrote about Earl Silverman closing down his shelter for abused men. The Men’s Alternative Safe House (MASH) was reportedly the only private men’s shelter in Canada. Earl paid for everything out of his own pocket, but could no longer shoulder the costs. He eventually sold the home. The day after he finished packing everything up, Earl hanged himself in the garage. According to the article, Earl was a victim of abuse at the hands of his ex-wife, and found it difficult to get help:

“When I went into the community looking for some support services, I couldn’t find any. There were a lot for women, and the only programs for men were for anger management,” Mr. Silverman told the Post shortly before his death. “As a victim, I was re-victimized by having these services telling me that I wasn’t a victim, but I was a perpetrator.”

Continue reading

Bulletin Board v165

23 women convicted of child pornography in Sweden — A Swedish court on Tuesday convicted 23 women and one man of child pornography offenses in what investigators called a unique case because of the number of female perpetrators. The Falu District Court gave the women, aged between 38 and 70, conditional sentences and fines ranging from 2,500 to 18,000 Swedish kronor ($380 to $2,700). It also sentenced a 43-year-old man to one year in prison for aggravated child pornography.

7-year-old’s suicide shocks Detroit community — Peering through the keyhole of a locked door in her family’s home near Detroit’s New Center, a 14-year-old girl saw the unthinkable: her 7-year-old brother hanging from a bunk bed with a belt around his neck, a police report says. The girl alerted her mother and called 911. The mother and a neighbor forced their way into the room, took the boy down, and called 911, too. The 7-year-old, whom the Free Press is not naming, had been depressed about being bullied by other kids at school and in his neighborhood, and about his parents’ recent separation, the boy’s mother told police, according to the report.

A Troubled Silence — THE revelation this week of alleged widespread child abuse at the elite Horace Mann School in New York City, most of it occurring during the 1970s and ’80s, is only the most recent instance of men coming forward, many years after the fact, with horrific stories of sexual molesting from their childhood. Most of those accused of the abuse in the Horace Mann case are dead, but under New York State law, if alive they would most likely be safe from justice.

Male Rape in the Military: Michael’s Story — Michael F. Matthews joined the Air Force in 1972 and honorably served 20 years, 12 on active duty. One night in 1974, while stationed at Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri, he was taking a shortcut to his barracks when he was attacked by fellow service members. They knocked him down and sodomized him. Matthews did not report his rape. In his words, “Coming forward with something like this… there’s a risk involved. And there wouldn’t have been any help.”

Micky Ward: I was molested as a child — Boxing great Micky Ward, the inspiration for the Mark Wahlberg movie “The Fighter,” says he was molested by a family friend from age 9 until he was 12. In Ward’s autobiography, “A Warrior’s Heart: The True Story of Life Before and Beyond The Fighter,” the retired boxer wrote of his attacker, who was 10 years older, “He never asked me to do anything to him, but rather I was always on the receiving end of his advances. It wasn’t every month or every week, but it happened and it happened many times.”

‘Sex history’ window to pedophile priest’s mind — The priest always started his favorite “game” by having the young boy remove his underwear and put on loose-fitting shorts so he could fondle him more easily. Then, the Rev. Robert Van Handel would run his hands up and down the child’s body as he stretched across his lap, Walkman headphones on his ears, pretending to be asleep. The recollection appears in a 27-page “sexual history” written by Van Handel, a defrocked Franciscan cleric who is accused of molesting at least 17 boys, including his own 5-year-old nephew, local children in his boys’ choir and students at the seminary boarding school where he taught.

UK children need more volunteer male befrienders — “The shortage means many boys in need of a strong male presence in their lives are missing out on the adult male companionship they would like,” states researcher Dr Sue Milne of the Centre for Research on Families and Relationships (CRFR) at the University of Edinburgh. Many of the children referred to befriending services face difficulties at home or in school. Some have learning or behavioural problems; others have been affected by the death or imprisonment of a parent, or by parental substance/ alcohol abuse.

Woman gets max sentence for abusing child with cold water — While imposing the maximum sentence Tuesday against a woman convicted of child abuse for torturing a 21-month-old girl with cold water, a judge lamented that his options “pale in comparison to any justice that should be doled out.” Mary Horsley, 51, was sentenced to 40 years in prison for her convictions on child abuse resulting in serious bodily injury and attempted child abuse with serious bodily injury.