f/k/a archives . . . real opinions & real haiku

April 20, 2005

the new pope’s life expectancy

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 4:00 pm

Benedict16 Because he is 78 years old, a lot of commentators seem to think that the new Pope, Benedict XVI, is likely to have a very short term, in a placeholder or interim papacy.

Norm Pattis at Crime & Federalism even penned a post calling him “Pope Rigor Mortis I,” and offering a long-distance, photographically-based, negative assessment of Benedict’s “intellectual vigor.” [Norm, there are a lot of octagenarians with intellectual vigor and a lot of brash younger folk without it.  I’ve seen no sign that Joseph Ratzinger’s much-praised and prolific brain has been in decline.]
growing old–
by the hearth’s light
ISSA , translated by David G. Lanoue
Although I’m hoping RiskProf Martin Grace will use his expertise and/or contacts to come up with more specific LE numbers for Benedict XVI, I’ve decided to do some quick research.   I discovered:
  • The average life expectancy of a male in the U.S. who lives to be
    78 is 8.7 additional years. (National Vital Statistics Reports,Vol. 53, No.6, Nov. 10,2004, p. 16, Table 5).
  • However, based on nationality, we might expect Benedict XVI to
    have a slightly longer life expectancy, since the mortality tables show that the overall life expectancy in Germany, Joseph Ratzinger’s birthplace, is 77.4 years; and, in his most recent country of residency, Italy, it’s 79.0 years.  The life expectancy in U.S.A. is lower — 77.1 years. [from U.S. Census Bureau’s International Data Base, via About.com geography page].
Of course, there are other factors that might further prolong Benedict’s life expectancy and/or active lifespan:
– education level
– clean living
– access to the very best health care (at no cost)
– prayers of hundreds of millions of the faithful
– divine intervention

So, as he has a job with no mandatory retirement age, those expecting Benedict XVI to be just a shooting star should probably choose a simile featuring a more-permanent heavenly body — and react, plan, celebrate, worry, etc., accordingly.

update (April 22, 2005):  The gracious RiskProf has responded to our request for his expert opinion — giving his own musings on eternal life expectancies and ancient Romans.  Martin also linked to an AP story that discusses the state of Pope Benedict’s health.
the old priest
dressed like a dandy —
spring mountain
nowhere, nowhere
can a young scarecrow
be found
my old age–
even facing a scarecrow
… … ISSA , translated by David G. Lanoue
by dagosan:

my long-lived elders —

a couple extra decades

of dementia

[April 20, 2005]

a scarecrow trio

Filed under: pre-06-2006 — David Giacalone @ 1:24 pm

scare crow cover The book The Scare Crow: A Collection of Haiku & Senryu (Leroy Kanterman, Ed., Hiroake Sato, translator, Red Moon Press, 1999), has dozens of wonderful haiku featuring the scarecrow, along with an essay “The Scarecrow and Our Haiku” by John Stevenson.

Here are three of the poems, written by a trio of f/k/a’s Honored Guests:

a cricket
lending the scarecrow
a voice

John Stevenson

seeding time
the farmer dresses the same
as the scarecrow

Jim Kacian

tthe scarecrow scare crow cover
moving backwards —
autumn rain

Gary Hotham

crow sm For more, see scarecrow: yes, strawman: no (Aug. 26, 2005), and click for over 50 scarecrow haiku by Kobayashi Issa translated by David G. Lanoue


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