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Ernest Hemingway in "A Sun Also Rises" created a character which reminded
me of Philhe calls it an aficionadoa rare person who knew how
to enjoy life, loved the sport of living and did it to its fullest
without alienating or hurting othersa person who had a special
passion and energy level which transcended in his work, play and life.
My big brother was such a person; whether it was basketball when
we were growing up, where in the park at Manhattan Beach Phil, at 5'6,
could dunk and run circles around his peers, or playing and mastering
guitar; or traveling worldwide countless times with barely enough
money to pay his way; or writing, producing and directing numerous
documentaries which touched us all deeply and became award winners.
In all cases his level of enthusiasm, commitment and love for what he was trying
to accomplish were unmatched. He loved the challengehe thrived
on itand he was so good at it.
However, like a true aficionado, when the award and acclaim where announced
and given, he didn't gloat or boast. He just quietly moved on to the next
project. That's what I loved about him.
His honesty and integrity were only equaled by his raw passion for life, and
his desire for and admiration of greatness in the truest sense of the
word. He was a rebel with a causeto rid the world of bullshit,
bureaucracy, mediocrity and laziness. This was a battle that he couldn't
win because AIDSwhich he calls in one of his articles "the epidemic
of unmatched proportion" got the best of him. However, through his work
at the People with AIDS Coalition magazine which he edited, and his constant
verbal and written assault of the reactionaries in government and big businesshe
did make impact. Hopefully one day his actions will help lead us to a
cure of this illness.
He died at age 36or twice chai in hebrewtwo times life. He
knew in his later years that his life was going to be short so he tried
desperately to accomplish as much as he could in the time that he had.
And he didhis 36 action-packed years were like 2 conventional lives.
However, he was not a conventional person, he was an aficionado.
As the Jewish saying goes, too life, too life Lachaim, Lachaim, Lachaim to
life. That's the way Phil would want us to remember him. He loved the
people around him very deeply and we will always love him.