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Sad news

by liverpole (Monsignor)
on Jan 11, 2009 at 02:34 UTC ( #735465=perlnews: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

It saddens me greatly to have to report that our dear friend blazar passed away, apparently on December 28, 2008.

After just receiving an email (I think from his parents) with news about the funeral, I found the following at

Blazar RIP Oggi Pollicinor è silenzioso e listato a lutto: è morto Michele Dondi, per gli amici Blazar. Michele era uno dei primi autori di tumblelog in Italia, in termini temporali e di impegno: lo abbiamo conosciuto mentre manifestava genialità e irriverenza, curiosità e riconoscenza. Ora mi manca, ci manca. Qualcuno dice che è “strano” quando un blogger, specie così giovane, viene a mancare. Oggi non è “strano”. Oggi è semplicemente orribile.

If anyone can translate this to English (my Italian is not so good), please add the translation as a comment here.

(Update:  I was hoping for the more precise wording of a human translation, rather than a web translation.)

He and I had corresponded for some time, and I very much enjoyed his intelligence and his humor, as I'm sure many other monks did.  He was always optimistic and cheerful, and provided me with invaluable insights, both about Perl and life.

I will miss him a lot.


Replies are listed 'Best First'.
Re: Sad news
by xdg (Monsignor) on Jan 11, 2009 at 12:41 UTC

    For some context, here is his first post about his cancer. Many of the other entries are sad and poetic and give some insight into his state of mind over the last couple years.

    In honor of his passing, recalling this post of his seems appropriate: Perl Programmers Don't Die...


    Code written by xdg and posted on PerlMonks is public domain. It is provided as is with no warranties, express or implied, of any kind. Posted code may not have been tested. Use of posted code is at your own risk.

Re: Sad news
by planetscape (Chancellor) on Jan 11, 2009 at 09:42 UTC
Re: Sad news
by BrowserUk (Patriarch) on Jan 12, 2009 at 13:38 UTC

    To mourn the passing of a man you didn't know is the very essence of the human condition.

    • Whether he made you laugh--and he did on occasion.
    • Or educated you--which he did on occasion also.
    • Or even if he annoyed you occasionally--which he also did.

    He stimulated you; caused you to think; emote; react; what more can you ask of stranger.

    There is a poem that I first became aware of through a movie that I --possibly controversially--rate as one of the best ever made:

    I never knew a wild thing
    That felt sorry for itself.
    A small bird will fall frozen dead from a bough
    Without ever having felt sorry for itself.
    - D. H. Lawrence

    To feel sorry for oneself is arguably a characteristic unique to the human species.

    As is, feeling sorry for another(*).

    Could you have one without the other?

    Is not sympathy the very essence of humanity?

    Farewell Blazar. The world is a poorer place for your passing.

    (*)There is some evidence to support the supposition that elephants are capable of feeling sorrow for the loss of another of their aquaintance.

      Hear hear, BrowserUk

      IMO, the worlds' a far better better place for his having, all too fleetingly, passed thro' it.

      A user level that continues to overstate my experience :-))

      Talk to any dog lover and he/she will assure you dogs can feel sorrow too. There are so many stories of dogs displaying or even dieing of sorrow after the loss of the beloved owner or a friend dog they lived with for years that they can't all be made up. I believe we should be very cautious when talking about things unique to humans. There are some, but I don't think it's any of these "basic" "simple" things.

        My grandmother's dog died about 5 days after she did. He'd stopped eating when she died.

        If anyone who knew Blazar ends up reading this page you should know that even those with whom he was trivially involved here, like me, could tell he was a genuinely nice person, will miss him, and are deeply saddened that his time toward the end was so difficult. His attitude was amazingly good and he showed great strength and character.

Re: Sad news
by zentara (Archbishop) on Jan 11, 2009 at 12:13 UTC
Re: Sad news
by Limbic~Region (Chancellor) on Jan 11, 2009 at 21:27 UTC
    I knew from the headline what opening the thread would mean.

    I prayed for him. If you have any more correspondence with his family, please let them know the many people from around the world whose lives he touched and let them know, while they don't know me, I will pray for them as well.

    Cheers - L~R

      Thanks, L~R,

      He was in my prayers as well.

      I did mention to his parents that he was a member of this site.  If I hear back from them, I'll pass on your kind words.


        Please add my condolences as well.

        --MidLifeXis (guessing I will not be the last "me too")

Re: Sad news
by derby (Abbot) on Jan 11, 2009 at 12:51 UTC

    From google translate:

    Today Pollicinor is silent mourning and a listing is dead
    Michele Dondi, for friends Blazar. Michele was one of
    first authors of tumblelog Italy, in time
    and commitment: we have known and expressed
    brilliance and irreverence, curiosity and gratitude. Now
    I do not, we lack. Someone says that it is "strange" when
    a blogger, especially so young, is missing. Today
    is not "strange." Today is just horrible.
    I'd have to agree with the last line.

      This translation is much better than that provided by Yahoo's babelfish.
      Today Pollicinor silent and is listato to mourning: Michele Dondi is died, for the Blazar friends. Michele was one of the first authors of tumblelog in Italy, temporal terms and of engagement: we have known while it manifested genius and irriverenza, curiosity and riconoscenza. Now it lacks to me, lacks to us. Someone says that it is “strange” when a blogger, thus young species, comes to lack. Today it is not “strange”. Today he is simply orribile.
      I will have to remember that in the future.

      Hoping to clarify it a little:

      Today Pollicinor is silent and mourning: Michele Dondi, Blazar for his friends, is dead. Michele was one of the first authors of tumblelog in Italy, in terms of time and commitment: we knew him while he manifested brilliance and irreverence, curiosity and gratitude. Now I miss him, we miss him. Some can say that it is "strange" when a blogger, specially one so young, is missing. Today is not "strange." Today is just horrible.

      I feel sorry, and also want to express my condolences to his family and close friends.

      []s, HTH, Massa (κς,πμ,πλ)
Re: Sad news
by holli (Abbot) on Jan 13, 2009 at 01:59 UTC
    At first I wasn't sure if I should reply to this thread or not. I'm normally not a shy guy, but I have severe problems dealing with death (who hasn't) and trouble finding accurate words. As one of my best friends commited suicide I made a fool of myself trying to express my condolences to his sis' and mother, who both followed him just weeks later because of the very same reason. So ... farewell blazar and have fun at the meetings. And if you happen to meet Knappi or Andrea, greet them from me.

    That said, I hereby propose the invention of Perlmonks level 29: "Angel".

    I have just checked Best Nodes, just to find out the OP of this thread, is listed there. Impious :(

    holli, /regexed monk/

      ++ holli but perhaps rather than level, I suggest "Angels in our Book" in much the same was as the Saints are listed.

Re: Sad news
by bart (Canon) on Jan 11, 2009 at 18:16 UTC
    Oh, dear.

    I knew he was ill, he had some form of cancer, and he was in a lot of pain, the last few months.

    But I never expected him to die so soon.

    Yes, he was a nice guy... a typical PerlMonk, if I may say so.

    and I will miss him, now I know why he'll never return...

Re: Sad news
by hangon (Deacon) on Jan 11, 2009 at 19:25 UTC

    Though I only knew him through his posts, blazar was one of those personalities that makes Perlmonks an interesting place. As a tribute, maybe those of us so inclined could pick one of his nodes and give him a final ++

      You can upvote the nodes he wrote, but you can't raise the esteem for blazar doing so; you can do so only within your heart. Giving his writings more reputation after his departure than they had whilst he was among us strikes me as a particular bad idea, but I can see your good intention in that.

      I have always been on good terms with him, and liked him, although we never met in real life. Sadly, I have put off work on a piece of software which helped him browsing PerlMonks. I had in mind to make it into a Firefox plugin, which would allow for browsing any site, not just PerlMonks, by a customizable set of keys.

      Discussing the issues, blazar told me

      Just answer if and when you'll like. Be it that it taks months or years!
      and alas, it took me too much time. So, the lession is: if you want to do good, do it now. Tomorrow might be too late.

Re: Sad news
by Zen (Deacon) on Jan 12, 2009 at 16:44 UTC
    I personally believe he will be missed. RIP blazar.

    Can we get his home node to be some sort of peaceful remembrance or notation? Or link this thread.
      See discussion: Obituary section. I personally believe the concensus was negative.

        I personally believe that there was no such consensus. The consensus I read from that thread was that creating a separate section was not desired. I don't think there was really any discussion on this idea (posited in the earlier thread by you, and ONLY you), and, given the complaints everyone had for the original thread's suggestion, I don't think there would be much complaint if someone updated his homenode to say something like "RIP, December, 2008 -- gods" at the top (with a link to this thread?), and perhaps responded to any of his inbox with a link to this thread (but made it from themselves rather than seeming like blazar was responding) so that they would know not to expect a response. (Ideally, to me anyway, we'd close his inbox as if he was ignoring everyone, but that's probably a bit much.)

        I should have responded to your original note in support, but I didn't. Instead, I'll respond here: I would entirely support anything that allows users who see his old nodes to be aware that responses to him will go unanswered, and for entirely good reason. Details aren't needed past that - those of us who weren't personally close to blazar in life do not need to be closer to him in death. And a link to this thread is more than needed for that purpose. That seems like the least we can do in positive memorial of a four-year monk who strengthened the community in a measurable way (measured to the tune of nearly 25,000 XP, or over 16XP per day when averaged out).

        Update: Anyone know if blazar had any CPAN modules that others may want to take over? I don't know if he has a CPAN ID (at least, not one I could find). And did anyone else get confused by the obituary showing Dec 28, while his tumblelog shows entries ending on Dec 29?

Re: Sad news
by Gavin (Archbishop) on Jan 12, 2009 at 12:04 UTC

    I like others who have already commented was saddened to hear the sad news of his death.

    Although I never met blazar I considered him a friend and will miss his wit and sincerity.


Re: Sad news
by hominid (Priest) on Jan 12, 2009 at 13:20 UTC
    I didn't know blazar personally, but I always considered him to be one of the most interesting posters. I shall miss him.
Re: Sad news
by pmonk4ever (Friar) on Jan 15, 2009 at 01:23 UTC
    blazar was the first Monk to offer me advice in the CB, his notes never betrayed his personal suffering. I too shall miss him.

    I support making a link to this thread from blazar's inbox, so that those who seek his advice are not ignored, as well as honoring his contributions.


    "No trees were harmed in the creation of this node. However, a rather large number of electrons were somewhat inconvenienced."

Re: Sad news
by sgt (Deacon) on Jan 12, 2009 at 20:27 UTC

    So sorry to hear that. I will miss him greatly.

Re: Sad news
by ELISHEVA (Prior) on Jan 28, 2009 at 21:34 UTC

    Update: Deleted as redundant. Someone above had already provided a good translation and I missed it. But I am grateful for the opportunity that translating it gave me to know of Blazer a little bit.

Re: Sad news
by dHarry (Abbot) on Feb 11, 2009 at 15:24 UTC

    Today, accidentally read the post. Brings back bad memories. I guess most of us know somebody that passed away to soon. Consulted a few of my Italian/English colleagues for a good translation:

    Today Pollicinor is silent and dressed for mourning : Michele Dondi, familiar to his friends as Blazar, had passed away. Michele was one of the most important authors of tumblelog in italy, in terms of time and effort he spent. We knew him as a person with genius, irreverence, curiosity, and gratitude. Now I miss him, we miss him. One would say that it's strange when a blogger especially this young passes away. Today it doesn't seems so strange. Today it's just horrible.

Re: Sad news
by why_bird (Pilgrim) on Mar 27, 2009 at 10:11 UTC

    I apologise for the rather back-dated post but this is the first I heard of blazar's death. I just want to add my condolences and general sadness to the long list. Whilst I didn't have much personal interaction with blazar, for some reason he was one of those monks who stood out in my mind, perhaps for his IPB campaign, or just because of his personality.

    I felt I still wanted to add this comment although some might find it out of time and place to add to the general feeling that blazar was a vibrant and upbeat member of the community. It is to his credit that despite evidently being in a lot of pain, I for one did not even realise he was ill, and indeed always thought of him as cheerful and fun.

    So RIP blazar and wherever you are, know that even indirectly (you probably barely even know my nickname!) you touched a lot of people.

    Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others.
    -- Groucho Marx
Re: Sad news
by Argel (Prior) on Aug 04, 2009 at 07:52 UTC
    Also coming in late. It's hard to imagine no more "I personally believe" posts! (>_<) This was truly a great loss for the Perl community!! I wish someone would update his home node to at least link to this thread! I agree with others that it would be nice to have a way to memorialize our brethren who have passed on. (T_T) Maybe on December 28th the XP quip could be something like "You gained $x XP. I personally believe you earned it!" or something like that?

    Elda Taluta; Sarks Sark; Ark Arks

      Or perhaps we could have honorary Monk levels, e.g., when one has the same XP as blazar (currently 24834), we could call that "Level Blazar".

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