Celebrating Hefner Nicastro!

They say a dog is a man’s best friend.

They are wrong.

Our dog, Hefner Nicastro, was our best family.

Hefner Nicastro

December 1, 2004 – November 28, 2018

Last week on the evening of Wednesday, November 28, 2018, Hefner peacefully went to rest with the Universe, just two days shy of his 14th birthday. Hefner was lucky that nature and his body told him it was time to go, free from any of the pain that would be caused by his Addison’s Disease, Heart Disease, Transitional Cell Carcinoma and newly discovered pneumonia.

Hefner battled these ailments and others for fourteen amazing years with nothing but dignity and the unconditional love only a dog can give you. Hefner enjoyed a life full of playing, traveling, dogparks, and of course plenty of treats! When Hef could not travel with us, he loved staying at Puptown Lounge where everyone on staff treated him like family! Hefner was a regular at the Ohio State Veterinary Medical Center, visiting at least once every 5 weeks for help with Addison’s. As a result he was well-known, well-loved and super spoiled by the staff!

Hefner was surrounded with love and tears by Nick, Jamie, Aunt Gina, and his cousins, Frankie and Lola, shortly before his passing. After a hospital stay on Monday, by Wednesday we knew he didn’t have much more time with us in the physical form (he will live on forever in the digital form). We are lucky that nature was kind, sparing Hef from a slow and painful death and instead giving him the peace and comfort of choosing when he’d go.

Hefner with mom and dad on the evening of November 28, 2018, the night he chose to move on

Hefner Nicastro was born December 1, 2004, and came into our lives just a few weeks later. I have yet to receive a better Christmas gift.

Dec 2014, one month old

Dec 2014, one month old

Dec 2014, one month old

Dec 2014, one month old

For the next 14 years, Hefner would be the best dog a man could ask for. Working from home, he was by my side nearly every minute of every day. Typing this now it’s hard for me to believe he’s not here now.

For the past week I have mourned and grieved and smiled and laughed, taking my time to watch videos and look at old pictures of Hefner. These pics and videos helped ease my sadness, showing me that my dog had a long and action packed life.

However Hefner wasn’t the luckiest one in the relationship. We were. Jamie and I and everyone who loved Hef have done nothing to have earned the time we spent with such a smart, loving, creative dog, with a personality that was one of a kind. I look back at these photos and I’m truly thankful for every minute Hef was by my side.

I have had my moments in the past week and aside from the night Hef passed on, this is the toughest of them yet. I am relying on my stoic philosophy to avoid constant breakdowns, reminding myself that I never had a choice in the matter – Hefner would someday pass on – as will I and everyone who ever knew me.

My psychologist reminded me not to overdo it with the stoicism, that grieving is a natural and important process. It’s ok to be sad. It’s ok to cry. It’s ok if I don’t have a huge appetite. These are all normal things a week after the huge loss of such a loved companion. My life story is changing, not necessarily for good or bad, just different. And that’s ok too.

I never liked looking at other people’s posts when their animals have passed away. It always made me go to a sad place where I’d dwell on the inevitable fate that would someday come for us all. However a good friend reminded me through his open letter to his ailing dog that it’s not about us, it’s about them. Since Hefner passed I have realized that he deserves this post and his photo album. Sure they were hard for me to write/compile but it’s not about me, it’s what Hefner earned in his 14 years on planet Earth being man’s best family.

I am forever grateful that we got to tell you how much we love you and how much we will miss you, Hef. There has never been a dog more loving or loved. Thank you for being you.

Your humans, Nick & Jamie

December 2006

Hefner with Frankie, Lola & Spike, winter 2013

12th birthday, December 2016

With Aunt GG, November 28, 2018

Tearing up the car looking for a missing treat!

9th birthday, December 2013

Spring 2017

January 2011

10th birthday, December 2014

Fall 2017

April 2007

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Slow Down. Carefully Consider.

As Dale has taught us, most people love to talk. They usually do so too much and at the wrong time.

Most of the time we should be listening. When it is our time to speak or we have been asked a direct question the common reaction is to race through the green light as fast as possible.

Elon Musk reminds us that when it’s our time to speak, we should slow down and carefully consider what we are going to say. Elon doesn’t talk about this directly, he shows it in his actions. Check out the video – it’s not stalling – Elon really takes 10 seconds plus to start speaking after being a asked a question! My guess is that during that time he’s processing the question, analyzing the data and going over a draft of what he wants to vocalize, simultaneously.

This is inspiring behavior that we can all learn from!

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Gratitude

“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.”

-John F. Kennedy

#BeBetter

 

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The Worst Kinds Of Jokes

Republicans are a joke. Democrats are a joke. Countries are a joke. Nationalism is a joke.

The humans of 100 years in the future are going to look back and wonder how the people of 2018 could be so dumb.

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Spotify + YouTube Playlist For ALL!

No matter who you are or where you are at in life, my WAKE UP! playlist is for you!

Spotify | YouTube

After today’s update WAKE UP! is at 65 carefully selected songs, each with a different and important meaning sure to positively impact you, sometimes when you least expect it (and perhaps need it most!)

I enjoy listening to WAKE UP! in the morning and sometimes at random times of the day, often on shuffle. Be sure to subscribe so you can easily find the playlist and pass along to your friends and family and anyone who enjoys positive vibes! Enjoy!

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The Daily Stoic

Be sure to check out https://dailystoic.com/ and bookmark it for regular visits! From here you can follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as well!

I also recommend their store at https://prints.dailystoic.com/ where you can find awesome coins and prints (Memento Mori, Amor Fati, The Obstacle Is The Way and more!)

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Don’t Have Opinions. Or Feelings.

It is not uncommon to hear people talk about how much they absolutely hate some actor or musician or other celebrity or public figure.

Virtually 100% of the time the person who has such strong feelings of vitriol has never met the person they despise.

That sounds like a lot of wasted energy. I’d suggest a better approach is to stop having negative feelings and opinions about people you do not know intimately.

What about the people you do know on a very personal, intimate level? Chances are you don’t know them quite as well as you think you do.

Why do I say that? Because no one knows anyone better than themselves…and truthfully, none of us know anything. We are all just learning about ourselves and the world around us second by second, minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day. We are all doing our best, some of us better than others.

To quote the late, great, stoic genius Marcus Aurelius: “Waste no more time arguing about what a good man should be. Be one.” 

Who cares if this or that oppressive politician or junkie celebrity is a real life pos?! We are wasting time talking about it. We could instead be using that time to be a good human being and advance virtue across the planet.

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Joe Rogan & Elon Musk

Strap in and enjoy three hours of two deep thinkers discussing some very cool subjects! Joe Rogan and Elon Musk (a fan of my essays!) are very interesting individuals and this discussion brings up many interesting questions.

To me the most interesting question is: why is Elon Musk getting shit for ever so briefly smoking cannabis, a non-toxic plant that can literally never kill him. and not getting any shit for drinking whiskey, a substance distilled from grain into alcohol that can literally kill any human in any given sitting?

Think about it…doesn’t that seem fucked up?! I don’t care if Elon took one small hit, a thousand bong rips or anything in between! Elon is free to do as he pleases with his body as there is no such thing as a crime against one’s self.

But if you’re going to criticize, don’t aim your mistaken critiques at the friendly flower. Cannabis is again the innocent victim, here only to help yet used as a scapegoat punching bag. Instead try to grow as a human being – take a step out of your shoes and let your previous beliefs about cannabis go. Now use your newly opened mind to educate yourself on the truth about the magic plant.

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Socialism: A Flawed Ideology Often Touted By People Who Got Insanely Wealthy Thanks To Capitalism!

I can’t help but appreciate the irony that many of the men & women who advocate for Socialism are among the wealthiest people in society. Jim Carrey recently epitomized this flawed dichotomy when he spouted off about his belief that socialism cures all.

I don’t understand how Jim and others like him think it’s OK to spend my and your money while they sit on fortunes of $150m and more?! Hey Jim, why not give your money away before giving away mine?! I prefer to control how I spend my money including how I give back to society. By the way, Jim, it’s never OK to spend other people’s money. If you disagree, I have plenty of plans for your $150m, give me a call!

The government is only meant to be here to protect individual liberties, not to provide for its citizens. That’s the entire point of freedom: to be free to provide for ourselves free from outside interference as long as we aren’t negatively affecting another.

This doesn’t mean we cannot and will not choose to help those who cannot help themselves. We just should not be forced to do so by the government, Jim Carrey, or anyone else!

Socialism and freedom are mutually exclusive: they cannot both occur. Choose one. I choose freedom.

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Blinkist: A Must Have App For Your #RequiredReading

I am a big fan of the Amazon Kindle app for all of my #requiredreading, which basically turns into required listening as I use the Audible companion to have Kindle read the books for me.

I have recently discovered and added a new weapon to my arsenal: Blinkist!

Blinkist is the Cliff’s Notes of book reading apps, breaking down the world’s best non-fiction books to their most important concepts and reading the entire book to me in under 20 minutes! Here is a link to sign up.

I don’t use Blinkist to replace Kindle, but rather to complement it. My #requiredreading books aren’t going anywhere and I will always enjoy them in their full versions. Blinkist helps me to discover new books and to get through their concepts quickly. Once I begin to take interest in a new concept I can choose to purchase the entire book and add it to my Kindle library, or I can simply keep the book in Blinkist and refer back to the summarized concepts!

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