Chronicling Victor's final days

by Mark Mabry

Editor's Note: In the article below, Mark Mabry describes what it was like to be around Glenn during the final months of Victor's life. Mark is a writer, photographer, filmmaker, and storyteller with The American Dream Labs. He is currently working on The Man in the Moon and a yet-to-be-announced project. Mark and his family are also close with the Beck's, allowing Mark to get a unique perspective on the personal moments in Glenn's life.

“Take a few pictures of Victor, he is starting to get bad... you never know when his time will come,” was Glenn’s main request up at the Ranch last August.

So that week, I looked for my chance. Occasionally Victor would limp to the front law and lay in the sun. But mostly he laid by the door.

Glenn mentioned that he was going to start preparing the family for what was becoming apparent about Victor. He was nearing the end.

Not long after the trip I was perusing Vimeo, when I came across a video called, Last Minutes with ODEN. It was masterful, telling the story of a man and his dog with cancer. The man reminisced as he took ODEN in to be euthanized. The man was obviously not rich and the dog was all he had...

I sent him an email during radio... “Glenn, this might be incredibly insensitive to show you right now, but you may find comfort in it. - Mark”

Typically there is a barrage of people that need Glenn to see things once he gets off the air. Nathan, Director of Creative Services, who sits next to me had just produced a great new show intro that he was anxious to show him. LJ, waited to give him some 1791 proofs as well.

At 11:01, strait from radio, he came up and walked over to my desk.

“What do you want to show me?”

“It’s a dog video. Maybe it’s not the right time...”

Nathan and LJ stood by, projects in arms.

“No, show me now.”

I pulled it up and handed Glenn my headphones. He sat in my chair. Four minutes in, Glenn was a mess. Tears, kleenexes, audible sobs.

I looked at Nathan, “Sorry man. I probably could have timed this a little better.”

“I’ll wait on that promo...” he whispered back.

Glenn finished, laid down the head phones, and walked to his office.

Fast forward a few month. It’s March now. Victor can barely walk at all. He’s gone deaf in one ear and blind in one eye. Victor is in severe pain.

Glenn began to talk about it on the radio more and more. And as the time approached he had more to say about it. Once he had spoken about the sadness and the difficulty of ending someones life, we turned the conversation toward documenting this deeply personal moment... whether it was actually helpful to listeners and viewers, or if it was exploitation of a sacred moment.

Glenn opened up about his history. For the last 35 years, he has had listeners. A one way conversation with the microphone... knowing that today there are millions of them listening. He wept about the comments on his site and the notes he’s received.

“For years, I lied about my life... thinking I was telling the truth. That was a one-way conversation. But for the last decade or so, I really am telling the truth. And talking about this is on air is natural. I guess it’s how I cope,” he told me at the end of a long talk.

So I kept tagging along with camera in hand. There are only a few times that I’ve felt so timid about photographing as when people are grieving, as Glenn and his family were in the middle of.

Something else interesting has happened. For the most part, there was a truce. For a few days, trolls on the site were nicer (on this topic at least). Losing a friend was sacred turf upon which nobody felt like trampling.

I watched Glenn teach his own family about grieving, friendship, and life. About God, too. And about man’s relationship with God’s creations.

He showed them, that when it comes down to it station in life doesn’t matter in moments of grief. It feels the same for everyone. Rich and poor, believer and non, etc...

How we deal with it is up to us.

Watch last minutes with ODEN below:

Last Minutes with ODEN from Eliot Rausch on Vimeo.

Would Glenn make a better bounty hunter or a Jedi? You'll have to find out in a new episode of the Beltway Banthas Podcast, where Glenn goes deep on Star Wars with host Stephen Kent. In this 45 minute discussion, Stephen and Glenn explore the political themes of the Star Wars franchise, Darth Vader's redemption from Return of the Jedi, Glenn's earliest memories of seeing the films and even debate elements of the latest Star Wars films.

If you enjoy the pop culture and nerdy discussions that Glenn, Pat and Stu get into on the radio show, you'll love this! After you're through, you can also check out Stu Burguiere's appearance on Beltway Banthas to talk Star Wars. You can find that here.

It's never too early to start your Christmas, Hanukah, or Kwanzaa shopping. Or even birthday gift shopping. Especially if that special someone in your life is a Democrat. Because at last count, pretty much all the Democrats are now running for president. And that means there has never been a wider selection of official candidate merchandise to choose from. Whether you're into environmentalism, feminism, classism, socialism, or just plain love, there is a smorgasbord of classy items that you and yours will treasure forever... or at least until the next presidential election.

We have browsed each of the candidates' online stores, so you don't have to (it only took us three months). We have curated only the finest items from each of the Democrats running for president of the United States of America. Without further ado, here is your handy progressive gift guide – or maybe your what-not-to-gift guide.

First, the bargain basement options. Hurry! Time is running out to grab your Beto bandana, or your Delaney pack of golf balls, because at this point Stu has as much of a chance as these guys of getting the nomination.

Tom Steyer, for example – is he still in the race?

There's way too much Tom here. That shirt's got more Toms than a Caucasian dentists' convention.

For the slightly more moderate Democrat in your life, perhaps they'd like to join the "Yang Gang"…

Andrew Yang is a lock for Math Club president…

But for actual president? Well, I wouldn't make plans for how you're going to spend your $1,000-per-month Yang allowance just yet.

If you happen to be shopping for your dog, may I suggest this lovely "Dogs for Delaney" dog collar…

John Delaney's definitely going to secure the canine vote with this kind of outreach. As for any human votes, that's another question entirely.

How 'bout this tastefully understated "Natural Canvas" Michael Bennet tote to remind you he's also still here?...

Then again, it's a tote. So, it'll end up on the floor of your closet and you won't have it with you until that one random moment when you're out somewhere and you really need a tote bag. Just like Democrats will really wish they had a moderate when we're in the middle of the socialist nightmare of their creation.

Captain Planet himself, Jay Inslee recently dropped out of the race, but don't let that stop you from picking up what may be the greatest single item sold by anyone in this race…

A children's book called Elvis & the Elves: the Mystery of the Melting Snow. Written and illustrated by Governor Jay Inslee. Talk about a whodunnit – how could that snow possibly be melting? Spoiler alert: it's because of evil, white, patriarchal capitalism. And Donald Trump.

Then there's the candidate who thinks you're a moron that can't pronounce his last name: Steve Bullock...

Get it? Bull. Lock. Oh, so that's how you say the name that sounds exactly how it's spelled.

There's another candidate who also thinks you need help pronouncing his last name…

And he is definitely right about that. So, thank you, Pete "Boot Edge Edge." That helps.

Just outside the bargain bin section, but just barely, are candidates like Julian Castro and his "El Presidente" t-shirt…

When your last name's Castro, do you really want to go with a weird drawing of yourself as if you're a classic Latin American dictator on a postage stamp?

If you prefer a little "dark psychic forces" battling in your candidates, you'll love Marianne Williamson's "Turn Love Into a Political Force" rally sign…

"Turn Love Into a Political Force" would be an even better title for a Marianne Williamson album of 80s cover songs. And if you think I'm joking, then you haven't heard Bernie Sanders' classic 1987 folk album, We Shall Overcome. That's not a joke. Well, it is a joke, but it's also a very real thing.

Now, just a quick pause to consider the peculiar baby-wear that way too many candidates are selling…

…including Elizabeth Warren's trans-pride flag onesie. Let me get this straight – we can't force any gender on a child, because that's just cruel. But we can force a political advertisement on a baby? How do we know that baby is actually a Biden or Warren fan? The child may not even be a Democrat or a Socialist at all. That baby might self-identify as a Libertarian, or Republican, or even worse – a moderate Democrat.

Now to the premium items from the premium candidates. Elizabeth Warren – the candidate with the most honesty in her advertising…


Warren's merchandise reflects the woman herself – cold and humorless (watch her "This isn't funny" clip from the last debate here at the 4:27 mark). I'm sure she's really fun once you get to know her. Then again, maybe not.

Speaking of serious women, Kamala Harris wants to be president very badly for you, the people, as you can tell from her "For the People" poster…

At $29.99 though, she's sure not charging "people's" prices. Of course, she might be having to pay royalties to a certain someone for riffing on their poster. Just saying.

For the race's number one socialist, there's a whole lot of capitalism going on in Bernie Sanders' campaign. He sells so many delightful items that it's hard to choose. But we did anyway. The most random item is this hundred-dollar, black, "Art of a Political Revolution – Artists for Bernie Sanders Coaches Jacket"…

Coaches across the land will be clamoring for this one. You know, since coaches are such a strong Bernie-socialist demographic.

If that's a little over your budget you might consider a "Feel the Bern" fanny pack, to help store all those government freebies you'll get from Bernie…

This is the only context in which you'll ever want to hear "feel the burn" and "fanny" in the same sentence.

And finally, from front-runner Joe Biden, we have this fine "Women's Fitted Biden Polo." Which is just about the best polo description ever…

It promises the kind of snug approach that Biden loves to provide women. Even when they don't ask.

This was one of the first homesteads in the area in the 1880's and was just begging to be brought back to its original glory — with a touch of modern. When we first purchased the property, it was full of old stuff without any running water, central heat or AC, so needless to say, we had a huge project ahead of us. It took some vision and a whole lot of trust, but the mess we started with seven years ago is now a place we hope the original owners would be proud of.

To restore something like this is really does take a village. It doesn't take much money to make it cozy inside, if like me you are willing to take time and gather things here and there from thrift shops and little antique shops in the middle of nowhere.

But finding the right craftsman is a different story.

Matt Jensen and his assistant Rob did this entire job from sketches I made. Because he built this in his off hours it took just over a year, but so worth the wait. It wasn't easy as it was 18"out of square. He had to build around that as the entire thing we felt would collapse. Matt just reinforced the structure and we love its imperfections.

Here are a few pictures of the process and the transformation from where we started to where we are now:

​How it was

It doesn't look like much yet, but just you wait and see!

By request a photo tour of the restored cabin. I start doing the interior design in earnest tomorrow after the show, but all of the construction guys are now done. So I mopped the floors, washed the sheets, some friends helped by washing the windows. And now the unofficial / official tour.

The Property

The views are absolutely stunning and completely peaceful.