Today is the anniversary of the death of John Wilkes Booth, the man who murdered President Abraham Lincoln. And it is also the anniversary of the surrender of the last large Confederate army in the field at Bennett Place, North Carolina. I assume that for the latter reason (although I have known at least a few people who argued it was for the former), today is also Confederate Memorial Day in Alabama, the state where I was born.
This past week, my Aunt Donna, who had been suffering from vascular dementia for the last couple of years, passed away. She was 72 years old.
Aunt Donna was one of those relatives of mine who helped shape me into the person I am today, in many ways. I loved her very very much. I wish I had been able to be there for her more often, especially in the last few months. They were particularly difficult for her, as her ability to have a conversation and organize her thoughts was eroded away by the ravaging disease acting in conjunction with her other health issues. Before I met Kelly, she was one of the biggest reasons I wanted to move back to Massachusetts, so I could be there for her when she needed me. And in some ways I was, and I am all too glad to have done those things like help her get her house ready for the big hurricanes a few years ago. It was the least I could do. I wish I had done more.
She went with me to my first live Red Sox game, which was such a treat as I had been a fan most of my life but, living far away, was unable to attend any games, even in childhood. Kelly (who was also there) snapped this picture of us, which is my favorite pictures of her and I. It reminds me of how she was always so full of fun, so full of life. She was a truly good person, with an endless supply of empathy and compassion for other people. She donated to all sorts of liberal causes. She befriended so many people from different walks of life. Although she did not have any pets of her own as an adult (at least, of which I am aware), she loved animals, and loved to have our dogs sit with her or on her lap.
Even as a kid, she indulged me with things like books and models and taking me places. She was the one who introduced me to the science fiction of Isaac Asimov. She also got me interested in political writers like Molly Ivins and Robert Reich. She was a huge supporter of President Obama, and we had many great conversations about politics. She always encouraged my intellectual curiosity. And as a lifelong music teacher, she always encouraged passion for music.
I will miss her greatly, possibly more than I am capable of uttering or showing, at least in public. I think the world is lesser without her.
Well, one of the things that happens when you don’t do a lot of blog posting is that you fall WAY behind on your GoT/ASOIAF commentaries. My bad. Our friend and fellow GRRM fan Patrick is way ahead of me on all things Season Six, and frankly he has helped motivate me a bit (thanks man!).
So, now that life seems to be getting a bit more under control, it’s time for me to start catching up on all that. After all, Season Six starts six weeks from this Sunday. And there is all sorts of stuff to talk about.
Anyone who knows me well knows that when it comes to football, I am decidedly… meh. I just never got into the sport the way that so many other people (like Kelly) have. Baseball is another story. I love it. Even hockey and soccer are sports I care WAY more about than football. But still, I look forward to whenever the Pats go the Superbowl, because that inevitably means people I know will be throwing great parties with lots of beer, wings, and general awesomeness.
So this year the upcoming
wingstravaganza Superbowl party seems to be dominated by talk about this mess regarding the slight under-inflation of footballs. And frankly, I am a bit puzzled by the whole thing.
Kelly and I were dumbstruck when we heard that Robin Williams died.
And we are not alone. Our fellow Bostonians have spontaneously created a memorial to him in the Public Garden, on and around the bench where he sat during one of the most pivotal scenes in the movie Good Will Hunting.
If you live in the Boston area, odds are at some point you have seen Keytar Bear performing in or near an MBTA station. He’s one of those quirky things about Boston that I love so much.
But he will not be performing for a while, to the loss of all commuters.
Before I begin, I just want to say that if anyone reads the title of this post, and thinks that I am NOT going to talk about things that may be spoilers for those who have not read the books, you are just… dumb. It is not my intent to be a big meanie who spoils everything for all those people who have not read the books but are devoted fans of the HBO series. But come on, these books have been out for years, and the TV show is now in its fourth year. You should probably just go read the books, or else stay off the internet. Otherwise, perhaps you should consider staying in a monastery or becoming Amish or doing something to keep away from the internet and popular culture. ASOIAF/GoT are so hugely popular and widespread at this point, it’s everywhere. It’s in magazines at my doctor’s office and on t-shirts of people walking down the street. It’s almost like saying you didn’t watch the 2007 World Series and you don’t want to know how it ends before you can watch it, even though you live in Boston. Or not knowing the ship sinks in Titanic but getting mad at someone who mentions it. We are rapidly reaching a level of patent absurdity when it comes to these spoiler issues. I just refuse to say “spoiler alert” everything time I talk about ASOIAF or GoT. So this is the last time.
So if you want to have a freakout about that sort of thing, GO READ SOMETHING ELSE. If you can’t think of anything, I can probably offer some suggestions. But ultimately, those who wish to avoid spoilers should assume some responsibility for themselves and stop insisting the whole world police itself for their benefit.
Anyway, on with the discussion.