ElBob, I’ll remember you

August 31, 2014 was the first time LordBeariofBow (Brian Smith) commented on my blog. It didn’t take long for our exchanges to lean toward banter. Some might wonder how it is I remember the date of our initial conversation. It’s easy . . . I saved all of the comments notifications (and, therefore, the comments). All in all, I’ve had 716 interactions with Brian (some of the interaction spanning multiple exchanges) with roughly a tenth of those being direct email communications, and all of them with a good dose of aforementioned banter.

I’m not sure if he ever realized he was outclassed and outmatched . . . but then, I was also oblivious on the matter.

I could easily get a rise out of this otherwise gentle man just by calling a ship a boat, or explaining to him why American English is a much better language (an improvement, to be exact) than the stuffy Brittish version and yes, I could get an additional reaction by misspelling “British” and using the term as if it was interchangeable with “English”.

We also sparred on his love of Socialism, his defense of royalty and The Royals, and a few other things. It wasn’t always fun, of course. We butted heads on a few things and even cooled on each other for a few spells.

But make no mistake; I respected and admired the man even as I tried to educate him on the error of his ways. Brian was sharp, a self-taught erudite, intolerant of trendiness, unashamedly old-fashioned, entertaining, and a person who experienced life more fully than most. His blog is worth reading (if one can get past his tendency to be easily derailed by stray thoughts) because it deals with interesting events and offers the perspective of a person who had much to share by way of life experiences.

Yes . . . was. Brian had battled and overcome a few health issues before we connected in the blogosphere five years ago and recently had more severe health-related events to contend with.

Throughout it all, he maintained a good humor about the absurdity and frustration of life and continued to contribute to my and other people’s blogs until a few months ago when things started to take their toll and doing even routine things like taking his beloved Coco for a walk became too much of a burden.

Yesterday, on my return from the cruise, I read Brian had passed away on the 24th. Frankly, knowing his end-of-life wishes and how difficult things had gotten, it was a relief. He had wished for his body to be donated for medical research but he had become too frail to be accepted. 

I don’t remember when I came up with ElBob. This post briefly mentions the evolution of the moniker as an initial contraction of his blogging name (LBoB) to the eventual morphing of the abbreviation to ElBob. That same post is also when I offered up a logo to go with his name:

I never meant it as derogatory (I shorten many blogger names to make commenting easier) and he seemed to like it.

In the announcement, there’s the following bit:

“… if you fancy taking some time to remember dad I know he would love you to listen to Beethoven’s Missa solemnis. He’d be thrilled to think that was being played around the world for him. He also loved Beethoven s Ninth Symphony or Mozart’s Coronation March. If classical music is not your thing – he loved ol blues eyes – Frank Sinatra!”

I like some classical music but not in that kind of quantity/length. I’ll link them here . . .

. . . and even include (and listen to) one of the more palatable Sinatra songs . . .

When it comes to music in remembrance of someone, I offer the song I always mentally cue up in such circumstances . . . 

Sure, there are religious overtones and neither Brian or I lean that way, but the sentiment is true.

I also offer up this musical piece . . .

. . . to go with the following graphic (with my apologies to ElBob for using a cruise ship as the background) . . .

It’s one of the frustrating things with making friends online . . . the chances of ever meeting are remote. I would have liked to meet Brian in person and experience his smile and good humor first hand . . . along with his obstinacy and obdurateness. Hooroo, Brian (gosh; I hope I used that correctly).

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


Note: if you are not reading this blog post at DisperserTracks.com, know that it has been copied without permission, and likely is being used by someone with nefarious intention, like attracting you to a malware-infested website.  Could be they also torture small mammals.


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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
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29 Responses to ElBob, I’ll remember you

  1. That was a nice tribute to your friend Brian. I listened to Frank. Maybe I’ll come back at a later time for Beethoven and Mozart.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Eddy Winko says:

    Sorry to hear this news, I enjoyed reading his comments, and your replies, even if both of you played off field on occasion.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you, Emilio!
    A beautiful, heart-felt tribute to Brian.
    I will miss him very much.
    He brought me so much joy and encouragement. He really encouraged me when I was dealing with my cancer, as he was a cancer survivor himself. We had had our cancer surgeries in the same year, within a couple months of each other.
    I will miss his blog-posts, his comments, and his e-mails.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. AnnMarie says:

    Lovely post remembering Brian.


  5. oneowner says:

    He had wonderful taste in music, even some of the Sinatra catalog. If he can see from the great beyond (if there is a great beyond), he would appreciate your post.


    • disperser says:

      Neither of us thought there was anything past the here and now . . . and I’m sure if there was, he’d be messing with me right now.

      And thank you; I’m hoping some will check out his blog but even if not, a part of him lives on here.


  6. SueW says:

    Brian would have enjoyed reading your tribute to him. I’m glad he read some of the comments on his last post, most of us get these comments after we’re dead, but he knew the score and it would have pleased him to know we cared.

    What a character, I thoroughly enjoyed his tales of the old days, and I’m reading them all over again.

    Liked by 2 people

    • disperser says:

      Thank you, SueW. He was a character and I’m also re-reading his blog since he blogged for a few years before I knew him and I missed a lot of content . . . plus, I can now comment and he can’t refute my brilliant opinions.

      Just in case it’s not clear, I’m kidding.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Elouise says:

    Thanks, Emilio, for this elegant, enlightening tribute. It helped fill out my vision not just of Brian, but of you! Quite wonderful, in fact. :)


  8. mvschulze says:

    My condolences to you and indirectly to the family of Brian, as it is through this blog I enjoyed and respected the exchanged comments and banter between you and he over the years. Learning of his passing here was sobering and sad. M :-(


    • disperser says:

      Thank you, mvs.

      I always feel uncomfortable receiving condolences even though I know they are sincere. For one thing, my loss and sorrow cannot be compared to that of the family or even that of closer friends. For another, the circumstances themselves make the event a bit strange. Brian was ready to go and even wanted to go. In a way, I was relieved when I got the news because I knew what state he was in and knew that’s not how he wanted to live his last few days. That said, I think the outpouring of support and expressions of friendship he received on his blog helped ease the final weeks of his journey.

      Obviously, I’m not rejoicing about it, but Brian and I exchanged a few e-mail and comments regarding one thing we similarly believe; death really is just a part of life. He’d known for a while that his time was coming to an end. In a way, he was prepared for it and those who wanted to listen would also have known.

      So, yes; I will miss his quirky views and sometimes caustic comments but I’m as accepting of Brian’s dying as I think he was.

      Don’t get me wrong; I’m not rebuking the offered condolences. I appreciate the sentiment and the honesty with which they’re offered . . . but they still make me uncomfortable because I’m at peace and more focused on remembering Brian than feeling sorrow for his passing.


  9. Hey, I heard from LordBeariOfBow’s daughter, Sarah, today and she said, “If you could thank everyone (on WordPress) for me that would be fantastic. Dad would have loved to read the tributes and messages.”

    So I wanted to pass on her thank-you!
    (((HUGS))) :-)
    PS…How are you doing, Emilio? Hope you two have a great whee-kend! :-)

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Yvonne says:

    You and M’Lord were like The Odd Couple, and I never knew when you’d have a spat, and ignore each other for a while.

    It would have been so good to meet him face to face, and tease him a bit about some of the things he took seriously.

    Liked by 1 person

    • disperser says:

      Truthfully, as much as I would have liked to meet him, it would have to be a brief face-to-face . . . too long of an exposure would surely have shattered whatever bond we shared.

      So, yes, I would have loved to shake his hand, but we worked best on the digital realm where time and distance helped shape our exchanges and dynamic. We had more serious conversations by email and those too probably benefitted from the limitation of the medium.

      I think this is, perhaps, a truth seldom spoken . . . we formulate opinions, impressions, and mental images of people we know through blogs or other social media but those are limited. Meeting someone you only knew through digital interaction can either be very good or very bad (one hopes for neutral). The few times it’s happened (for me) it was . . . meh. Meaning, I preferred the digital version over the biological version. Not always, but usually.

      I suspect that’s because the interaction is limited to common points of interests (and limited overall) whereas face-to-face meetings offer up a wide spectrum of information.

      In short, I come across better in the digital realm . . . and that’s not saying much. This way, we at least continued our interaction through multiple years.


      • Yvonne says:

        I think he, like you, had strong opinions and stood up for them.


      • disperser says:

        Of course, only one of us was consistently correct in conjunction with holding said strong opinions.

        . . . and I have a strong opinion as to which one of us that was.

        In all seriousness, we didn’t really butt heads all that much about important stuff (if at all). The serious conversations were about politics and guns and religion, but those were usually more along the lines of an exchange of ideas and viewpoints.

        More interesting (and fun) were exchanges about banal stuff. It usually started with off-the-wall statements that one was never quite sure if they were provocative just for the sake of being provocative or things said in earnest.

        I think one of our longest exchanges had to do with the famous rice bowl ad . . . which I won’t revisit as I’m trying to keep my blood pressure in check.


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