In Which We Say Goodbye To An Old Chum*

Scissorhead Zombie Rotten McDonald sketch of B4 with one of his many feral coworkers, a major theme of his blog

If there’s anything I ever learned from Scissorhead Big Bad Bald Bastard is that there is a duality in everything; there are tears of joy as well as pain. In case you have not heard, B4 is no longer with us; he will always be with us.

His brother John posted this in the comments on B4’s last post:

Hello fellow fans of the great B4,

It’s with a heavy heart that I inform this wonderful bloggerhood of the passing of my brother Mike, AKA the Big Bad Bald Bastard, at the all-too-young age of 53. He was my best friend in this world, and I will feel this tragic loss every day, until the time comes for me to join him.

Peace to all of you, and thank you for all you did to enrich this forum, which my brother so cherished.

John G.

July 1, 2022 at 12:01 PM

This is a huge loss. His friends and family and his feral cats who made frequent appearances on his blog no doubt feel a void.

It was an honor of a lifetime to have been part of B4’s blog and for his frequent appearances here, and I will sincerely miss his unique voice, his deep love of rational thought, science, music, and his humanity.

Mike, AKA Big Bad Bald Bastard

Mike will be missed.

[We’re keeping this on top for the long weekend out of respect for our friend. Fresher posts below.]

UPDATE 1: UncleMilburn has posted B4’s obituary in the comments. Thanks Uncle!

* Context in the comments.

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58 Responses to In Which We Say Goodbye To An Old Chum*

  1. osirisopto says:

    Tragic. He will be remembered.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. moeman says:

    Rest In Peace B4.

    Going to miss his biting sarcasm.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Jimmy T says:

    He was such a young guy too (53), but one can never know what the universe has in store for us. I miss him already…

    Liked by 3 people

  4. *FelineMama* says:

    FUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Liked by 6 people

  5. beckymaenot says:

    I will miss his commentary and the particular way he saw the world and expressed himself. Too soon- damn.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. chrisanthemama says:

    Fly high, B4.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. stringonastick says:

    Oh, such a sad thing to learn! He was such a good guy in all respects. I am in shock.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. Heartbreaking. An intelligent, insightful voice.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. fuck. that’s not right.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Tengrain says:

    Some context:

    I don’t like interjecting myself into other people’s story, but I’ll make an exception. B4 has been a friend since at least 2011 (and probably earlier); I originally found his blog when I first started substituting for Mike Finnegan at Crooks and Liars and was looking for new blogs. I found B4 on the blogroll at Zaius Nation, which was like having an approved source: you had to be witty and smart to make it to his blogroll. A seal of approval is what I’m saying.

    B4 wrote me to say thank you and dubbed me The Godfather of small blogs which charmed me. From that time forward, anytime I linked to his blog, he would say something like, “Thanks old chum.” He would periodically tweet to me, often using old chum and at times I would return the sobriquet to him. Hence the title of this post. It’s been an honor being his chum and the blogs feel a little smaller today.

    We’ve lost some grand Scissorheads over the years, and each time it feels like a sucker-punch.

    I put B4 in the Pantheon of snarky bloggers. And I hope some day to be welcomed there, perhaps with my old chum handing me a single-malt scotch.

    Sincerely,

    Tengrain

    Liked by 10 people

    • ali redford says:

      This is perfect, IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

    • gmccammon5 says:

      I was an associate, well, friend, I guess, of B4 over on Alicublog since ‘way back in Dubya Time. He helped me out financially at one point, even offered me a place to stay, and I can’t thank Goddess enough I knew him. I hope his cats are doing well; I know they miss him as much as we all do.

      Liked by 2 people

      • unclemilburn says:

        We’re having a zoom call with a lot of his friends. wonkzoom.com or Zoom # 3604747474

        Like

      • tengrain says:

        That’s a wonderful story, and thank you for sharing that, gmccammon5. I’m sort of dumbfounded learning about all the places B4 was beloved. The stories are very consistent everywhere.

        Rgds,

        TG

        Like

    • Redhand says:

      I echo Feline Mama – FUCK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      We’ve lost some grand Scissorheads over the years, and each time it feels like a sucker-punch.

      This is the second “old hand” who has passed since I started hanging out here. (I remember Dennis Cole.) Yes, it feels like a sucker punch — or a blackjack to the lower rear of one’s head.

      I turn 73 in September, and I cannot imagine cashing in my chips at 53. It’s not like I expect to live forever, and there were a couple of times when I thought “it’s all over for me.” But “I been lucky.”

      What I’m really trying to say is that I am angry at the unfairness of B4’s passing at 53 and that I only knew him through his comments here. So if you’re like me, click the link Tengrain gave to his B4’s last post. It’s all the proof you’ll need that his voice will be missed, just as a radical, unmoored SC[R]OTUS tries to take us back to the Puritan era.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Buttermilk Sky says:

    I hate this year.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Another Kiwi says:

    He was the best of us. He enriched all of our lives. When he joined twitter It improved the place immediately. I shall miss him every day.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Another Kiwi says:

    He said that he started his blog because he saw how much fun we had at Riddled and that was the best compliment we could have asked for..

    Liked by 2 people

  14. MDavis says:

    What B4 once had to say about Tengrain

    Trust Tengrain, he’s the best, an unfailingly kind gentleman. A good bit of those followers actually came from him. The other ones I’m accumulating as I interact with other people and we enjoy each other’s comments. The core group is from the old Bloggerhood, and several meatspace friends.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. purplehead says:

    Well, shit. And the fuck. I’m so sorry to hear this, losing such a good person who lives in the universe.

    Liked by 4 people

  16. Granny Sprinkles says:

    I’m stopping by from the commentariatte at Wonkette, where B4 was a beloved fixture. His wit, intelligence, and kindness will be sorely missed. We mourn with you.

    The last time I spoke to him, we hijacked a Zoom call to discuss foraging, a hobby we shared.

    Liked by 2 people

  17. Oneofthebobs says:

    Words fail me.

    Liked by 2 people

  18. This sucks so much.

    Liked by 2 people

  19. yastreblyansky says:

    One of the few of the brethren I’ve met in person (at the March for Science in 2017, an inspiring day), kind and indefatigable. What a really superb writer too, especially on things nobody else writes about around here, plants and animals and going to work, reality described with clarity and love.

    Liked by 2 people

    • tengrain says:

      Yes, B4 was an original thinker, and his curiosity was part of his personae. My family of teachers would say that he was a life-long learner, and I’m sure that they would then glare at me with the ol’ stink eye set to stun.

      Not many out there like him. We need to treasure them all the more.

      Rgds,

      TG

      Liked by 2 people

  20. This makes me so sad. I really liked his blog & his bald good looks.

    Liked by 3 people

  21. Steve-O says:

    Fuck this. Having a dram for your memory B4.
    May it burn a hole in the fascists.

    Liked by 2 people

  22. unclemilburn says:

    There is a Zoom to remember BBBB happening now. Visit WonkZoom.com or meeting number 360 474 7474

    Like

  23. Richard Portman says:

    Oh no. No.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Richard Portman says:

      I can not rest with this. I thought of him as a friend. What happened to my friend?
      Maybe it will be easier to understand if i know what happened. This hurts very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. unclemilburn says:

    Mike has been showing up on the twice weekly WonkZoom.com virtual dive bar since we started over two years ago. I’ve spent many a late night shooting the bull with him and have been lucky enough to meet him in NYC and give him a few big hugs. He was a true mensch and such an open heart. I am devastated today. There is now such a hole in my life with the loss of him.

    Liked by 3 people

  25. I really feel at a loss for more than words. He came across as genuinely decent and thoughtful person in the peculiar anonymous/biographical way bloggers have, and I will miss him just as if I had known in him 3D space.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Redhand says:

      in the peculiar anonymous/biographical way bloggers have

      This, indeed. It is a truly strange aspect of life “in cyberspace.” We share a close community with people we have never met, or spoken with.

      Liked by 2 people

  26. he mentions the Bloggerhood; I frequented. I referred to the friends I made there as My Imaginary Digital Friends, to my wife’s constant bemusement and cancer, and B4 was one. Which made it ever more amusing when we would travel and meet these people in meatspace; it was a curious experience to meet someone for the first time, and after a short time of awkwardness, we would start talking like we’d known each other for years. which we did, when you think about it.

    It is a great regret, now, that I won’t have that experience with Mike. As a fellow martial artist, I think we would have delighted in spending a little time practicing and sparring together.

    That sketch I did, I sent to him, and he framed it and put it on the wall at his workplace and I hope it remains there. Damn, I am going to miss that man.

    Liked by 2 people

    • tengrain says:

      ZRM –

      Your story reminded me: Some time ago I was on the Adirondak Amtrak route from NYC to Montreal, and it has a stop in Yonkers. We were going to meet briefly at the station, but I think the train was late (shocking, I know) or something happened at his work and we missed each other; I don’t remember the details. I was touched that he would even make the effort for what could have been no more than a 10-minute meet-and-greet.

      I regret that we missed each other to this day.

      Rgds,

      TG

      Liked by 1 person

  27. gruaud says:

    My eyes always lit up when I saw one of his posts, knowing it would be gold.

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Weird Dave says:

    Another one better than me.

    Fair thee well old chum.

    Like

  29. ming says:

    Well damn.

    Like

  30. quakerenelbasement says:

    Aw, heck! Naw!
    BBBB was a major influence here. Won’t ever be the same without him. Godspeed, Mr. B.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. weejee says:

    BBBB will be missed here and at the Wonkette.

    Liked by 1 person

    • tengrain says:

      Weejee –

      Please send our condolences to the Wonketeers. We’re all as one across the many places that B4 called home.

      Best regards,

      Tengrain

      Like

  32. cthulhu818 says:

    Well, dammit. RIP, B4
    I can’t even.

    Like

  33. unclemilburn says:

    Mike’s obit is up: https://www.legacy.com/us/obituaries/name/michael-garbarino-obituary?id=35582527

    Michael Damon Garbarino passed away on June 28, 2022 at his home in Yonkers, NY. He was 53. Michael – “Mike” to family and his many friends – died unexpectedly, leaving his family shocked and deeply saddened. He will be sorely missed.
    Mike was born on June 17, 1969 to John and Victoria Garbarino in Bronxville, NY. He attended Iona Preparatory School and continued his education at Yale University, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology in 1991. He had an unbounded love of learning, a facility for explaining complex concepts, and a unique ability to connect with people of all stripes. He was an avid participant and promoter of the Secret Science Club, a Brooklyn-based non-profit dedicated to the appreciation and understanding of contemporary scientific discoveries.
    Mike returned to his roots in Yonkers, NY after college and remained in the city and community he loved. He worked at the Historic Hudson Valley/Sleepy Hollow Experience in Pocantico Hills and greatly enjoyed his nightly vigils there. For many years, he volunteered his Saturdays as a Judo instructor at the NY Athletic Club in midtown, teaching children the fundamentals of martial arts. He was active in his local Mensa group and enjoyed spending time on the town with his friends and relations. Mike regularly penned articles on every topic imaginable in his irreverent and witty blog, https://bigbadbaldbastard.blogspot.com/.
    Mike is survived by his mother Victoria, his four siblings John, Victoria, Robert, and Christopher, and his many beloved nieces and nephews. His father, John, passed away in 2009.
    Visitation will be held on Thursday, July 7, 2022 from 4-8 pm at Westchester Funeral Home in Eastchester, NY. In lieu of flowers, the family requests a donation be made to Historic Hudson Valley in Mike’s memory (Give a Gift – Historic Hudson Valley). https://hudsonvalley.org/give-a-gift/

    Liked by 2 people

    • tengrain says:

      UncleMilburn –

      Thank you for the obituary. There’s so much there we didn’t know (but many of us suspected), and while I feel profound loss, I also feel so honored and grateful that B4/Mike found his way to our many haunts.

      I’m fond of saying: all of us internet habitués are bits and bytes and flicker of lights, but our Mike shone brighter than most. B4 continues to shine in our memories.

      Much respect,

      Tengrain

      Liked by 2 people

      • unclemilburn says:

        I was lucky to have him attend our twice weekly WonkZooms for the last two years and got to know him well. I was able to meet and hug him last year at a Manhattan WonkMeet. I can still hear his voice. Thanks for letting us wonkers invade your space here and mourn with you.

        Like

      • tengrain says:

        Feel free to drop by whenevs, UncleMilburn. The Wonketeers are always welcome here.

        Rgds,

        TG

        Like

    • Richard Portman says:

      Thank you for posting the obituary.

      Like

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