A Boston marathon of random thoughts

I made the most unfortunate error of listening to the news all afternoon on Friday, April 19.

* I have been to Boston several times in my life, though not in the past five years. I had an ex whose family lived near there. I loved the mass transit in the region.

* My very good friend Karen used to live in Somerville, which is just north of Cambridge, part of the area where a lot of the activity on Friday took place. Her sister, who I have known for decades, still lives in that section, and I was wondering how much she had directly affected by the shutdown.

* I won $17,600 on JEOPARDY! in Boston in 1998, with friends Karen and Judy, and Judy’s son Max in the audience.

* Some talking head wondered if the bombing in Boston would make Americans more sensitive to the ravages of war that take place in Afghanistan, Syria, and elsewhere. My guess is no.

* A lot of bad info from CNN, who had reported a bomber had been captured on April 17, then awkwardly walked back its own story on-air later that afternoon.

* Amy’s poem Boston Meltdown reminded me why I stopped watching ABC News; it was the cult of personality – “Diane Sawyer’s my friend!” – which rankles me.

* Some news analyst referred to the M.I.T. cop who was shot and killed as the Officer Tippit of this case; I remembered who that was, amazingly. He was the police officer shot and killed by Lee Harvey Oswald after the JFK assassination. That’s rather arcane stuff, but when you’re filling the news cycle 24/7, that’s what you’ll get.

* Tried very hard not to listen to all the speculation about the identity and motivation of the bombers before they were identified, and assiduously avoided other people’s blather on the topic.

* Tegan is quite right that crowdsourcing looking for the bombs and bombers can be a dangerous trap.

* As terrifying and awful as the Marathon bombing was on Monday, April 15, the shootout, manhunt, and capture on April 19 was tenser in that one knew what COULD happen with the remaining suspect. My daughter in particular was tense over the fact that the Watertown neighborhood looked like a war setting.

* I made the most unfortunate error of listening to the news all afternoon on Friday, April 19. Tried listening to NBC but it kept reloading on my computer. Listened to four hours of CNN, expecting the door-to-door search would surely glean the suspect. No go. Then CNN timed out on my computer. Paying attention gave me a terrible headache.

* Yet then listened to CBS News when the announcement that the suspect was not captured but that the lockdown was over (wha!), but had gone to dinner when the capture of the alleged second bomber took place.

*Still, there were two interesting threads in the interviews of the suspects’ families. Their uncle in Maryland, who called the young men “punks,” wore the ethnic badge of shame, that their alleged actions brought shame to the Chechen people, that was very much like all of South Korea seemed to feel after it was revealed that the Virginia Tech shooter was from there. I’d forgotten that the VT massacre (32 dead, 17 wounded) was this time of the month (April 16, 2007).

* The mother and father, back in the former USSR, and the aunt in Canada, conversely, seemed to think the younger son was incapable of such heinous actions. The aunt, who is a lawyer, was particularly fond of the theory that her nephews were framed. One CNN reporter suggested the mother was “deluded”; a mother not believing her son was a killer seems understandable. The classmates of the younger suspect, who survived the shootouts, expressed great surprise as well.

* Even before this, I had pretty much decided that I wasn’t a big fan of large crowds such as New Orleans at Mardi Gras and Times Square on New Year’s Eve.

* Must admit this made me laugh.

* Mark Evanier tweeted: “America’s currently debating whether a guy who can’t talk should have been informed that he has the right to remain silent.” Of course, the issue isn’t just about one hated individual, but whether a naturalized US citizen can be considered an enemy combatant, and thus not subject to his Miranda rights. It’s good that he’ll be tried in civilian court.

* The family went to see West Side Story at Albany High School Sunday afternoon. It was quite good, especially the young woman playing Anita. I wonder, though, if the decision to have a sign on the front window, which said they would be taking extra precautions as a “result of Boston and other recent events,” was a function of the violence in the musical. Everyone was wanded.

* The lectionary scripture for this past Sunday included the 23rd Psalm. the choir sang The Lord Is My Shepherd from the Rutter Requiem [LISTEN], which I love.

* In the sermon, the pastor noted she had scrapped what she was thinking about in terms of her sermon after Monday afternoon. She noted that times were also difficult when Psalm 23 was written: “Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me.”

* Cheri collected some sporting events videos from this past week appropriate to the topic.

*I happened to have had the eponymous Boston album in my desk at work, even before the events, reason enough to LISTEN to it.
Allan Arbus, best known for his dozen appearances as the sarcastic psychiatrist Maj. Sidney Freedman on the TV series MASH died at the age of 95. Here are three minutes of Sidney’s best quips. Read what Ken Levine, who wrote for Arbus on MASH, has to say.
Richie Haven was only 72 when he died on Earth Day. He was forced to become the opening act at the Woodstock concert in 1969 because no one else could get there and ended up playing three hours, covering every song he knew. Here’s a story by Albert Brooks about being the opening act for Richie; NSFW.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

2 thoughts on “A Boston marathon of random thoughts”

  1. Before MASH, Allan Arbus was best known as the husband of Diane Arbus, the groundbreaking photographer. They were later divorced, but he was the professional photographer in the family before she broke away from commercial shots to personal, controversial images.

    Thanks for mentioning my ABC News poem. Actually, the biggest media whore of all turned out to be Katie Couric, who interviewed a woman via Skype in the hospital. She was so intent on hearing descriptions of gore that the woman went into a panic attack. Even as the monitors were beeping for nurse attention, Katie pressed on. I used to think she was a twink. Now I think she’s an evil little troll and will never watch her again.

    I remember Richie’s opening solo, and what a performance – and was once again reminded while editing the autobiography of Fred Weintraub, who was personally responsible for sending cameras to catch the Woodstock acts as they appeared. Without his backing and insistence, we would never have seen Janis, Richie, and all the rest, especially Country Joe and the Fish (follow the bouncing ball!)

    I will miss Allan Arbus. His portrayal of Sidney was affable, earnest, and unlike any character I’d ever scene. His role in the final episode (which was too long for my money) was pivotal in so many ways. Amy

  2. The only thing I could think of when hearing about this 19-year-old was how sad it was that, after being given asylum in the US as a child with his family, he’s thrown his life away… a life that was full of potential. I wonder at what point the older brother was radicalized with such hatred.

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