Thursday, June 7, 2018

Robert Kennedy, and Juan Romero

After Robert Kennedy was shot, fifty years ago this week, a seventeen-year-old busboy who worked at Los Angeles's Ambassador Hotel, Juan Romero, knelt beside Kennedy, and attended to him, comforted him, briefly. Kennedy and Romero had shaken hands, a moment before the shooting.

"Is everybody OK?" Kennedy, who would die the next day, asked. Romero told him yes.  Kennedy then turned his head toward his right, Romero recalled, in a newspaper interview which appeared earlier this week. "Everything will be OK," Romero heard him say.

Shortly after, Romero placed a rosary, which he had in one of his pockets, around one of Kennedy's hands.

Juan Romero with Robert Kennedy (Photo: Boris Yaro/ Los Angeles Times)

Here is a brief interview with Mr. Romero, now 67, which aired on National Public Radio last week.

Here, too, is a story from June 2nd's Daily News, in New York:

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

John Prine, on CBS's "Late Show"

There was a wonderful segment, recently--April 12th, to be precise--on Stephen Colbert's CBS program.  

The segment featured singer/musician/songwriter John Prine.  He performed "Summer's End," a song from his new album, The Tree of Forgiveness. The performers Sturgill Simpson and Brandi Carlile joined him, on the program.

I have watched the video of the appearance many times, since then. 

The song; Prine's quiet, unadorned, lovely vocal performance of it, on CBS; and the performances of the accompanying singers and musicians:  they were/are deeply moving, and very beautiful.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Writer Lorrie Moore

The terrific novelist and short story writer Lorrie Moore (Self-Help; Birds of America; a number of other works) has brought out a collection of non-fiction.  I was reading about the new book, and then did some browsing online about Ms. Moore.

I came across an enjoyable interview with her from New York magazine, 2005.  Said Ms. Moore (b. 1957):

"I grew up with Life magazine on the coffee table, Life cereal on the breakfast table, and the game of Life on the card table. People were just so happy to be alive, I guess."

I also enjoyed this, in the interview:  

"I do a very reverential Billie Holiday imitation that’s a complete room-emptier."

Here, too, is the amazon link for Ms. Moore's new non-fiction collection, See What Can Be Done: Essays, Criticism, and Commentary (Knopf):

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Five years ago today: terrorism at the Boston Marathon

As The Boston Globe reported, today:

"On the fifth anniversary of the day bombs placed near the Boston Marathon finish line left three dead and more than 260 wounded, Governor Charlie Baker reflected on the resilience of survivors, both those injured in the terror attack and those who lost loved ones on that indelible day."

On Sunday, the Globe's weekly magazine carried an essay by Denise Richard.  Her son Martin died in the bombing; he was eight years old.  Her daughter Jane, at the time six years old, lost a leg.  Her husband Bill was injured; she was blinded in one eye.

In the Globe essay, Mrs. Richard writes  "Five years ago, our own City of Boston was the recipient of the world’s love, compassion, and generosity when two bombs exploded at the Boston Marathon in 2013, killing my son, Martin, along with Lingzi Lu and Krystle Campbell and injuring our family as well as hundreds of others. In turn, we, the families of the deceased and injured, were treated with the utmost care and empathy. Our families were embraced by the spirit of goodness and the determination of a community willing to help."

She writes, in the essay, about the work of the Martin Richard Foundation; she is the Foundation's acting Executive Director. As noted on its website, the Foundation "helps young people to learn, grow and lead through volunteerism and community engagement. We look to advance sportsmanship, inclusion, kindness and peace."

Here, too, is a 2014 story from The Globe about the Richard family; it appeared a year after the Marathon catastrophe:

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Dr. King's last speech

This is a film of the very powerful (and haunting) conclusion of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech, delivered on April 3, 1968.  He was, of course, killed the next day, at age 39.  It is hard to fathom that it has been fifty years since his death.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fred Rogers, and "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood"

Fred Rogers is one of the great figures in television history. His remarkable children's program--a gentle, meaningful and beautiful show--began airing nationally fifty years ago.

On March 23rd, the United States Postal Service will be releasing a "Mister Rogers" stamp.  It is a much-deserved honor.

A ceremony will be held by the Postal Service, on the 23rd, at Pittsburgh public station WQED-TV, the station from which, for decades, the show originated. 

The last first-run episodes of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood
were taped at the end of 2000, and broadcast in 2001. The program continued to air on PBS for several more years. It is still aired by some PBS stations; some of the stations carry the show on weekends.

Fred Rogers died in 2003--fifteen years ago, last month--at age 74.

Here is a New York Times story about the stamp, from February:

Monday, March 12, 2018

"Neuromancer," by William Gibson

For some time I've had a copy of William Gibson's 1984 science fiction work Neuromancer, but haven't read it.  I recently took it off the shelf, and loved its opening sentence:

The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.