I would like to say a few words about my close friend Axel Harvey, who I'm informed died yesterday.
I first became acquainted with Axel when he became a reader of Bonobo Conspiracy, the Web comic I was writing at the time. I think he got most of the jokes in it; not many people did. We had other interests in common, too. He was possibly the only, certainly by far the most prolific, regular user of my astrological chart service when I put that online. We had fun trading points on English usage, recreational mathematics, and a lot of other things.
Axel was a professional astrologer and it doubtlessly suited his sense of humour to wait until the Pisces cusp before kicking it. I don't know what his religious beliefs were, but he made enough offhand references to polytheism and to Hermes for me to get the idea they were in fact very similar to my own - but we never had occasion to talk about that. I guess I'll pour out some wine and water to Hermes later. I didn't even know his first name was "Francis," because that wasn't something important for us to talk about either.
What was important: Axel not only comprehended but actually agreed with my deepest and hardest to explain values. Just a couple weeks ago I posted something cryptic, but that really mattered, on Facebook. Well, most of my friends ignored it (probably unsure what it even meant), and one objected to it; Axel was one of only two of my friends who clicked "Like," and the other guy, although I greatly appreciate him and his support too, wasn't in palliative care nearly dead of ALS at the time with every motion costing more effort than I can imagine. I think that was the last communication I had with Axel. When I came back from Japan in 2011 somewhat the worse for wear, Axel knew why. He didn't need to be told, and the people I did tell, didn't understand. Whenever I've talked about the pain in my own life, sympathy is hard to find, but Axel gave me empathy, and that's rarer still.
It was in large part because of Axel that I've stayed on Facebook at all. Facebook is a horrible place, but during the time that it was his only link to the outside world, I wanted to be there, too.