Archive for the ‘R.I.P.’ Category

Although it was a long time ago, it’s still chilling to read a chronicle of your friend’s suicide written with such matter-of-factness as if it were the minutes to an HOA treasury meeting or something equally banal.  The inclusion of such personal details, such as the chocolate chip cookies, make it even stranger.  And I don’t even know what to make of the fact that they repeatedly call her “Julie” instead of “Julia.”  An exerpt:

Feb. 2001 “Please help me prevent another MIT student suicide,” Dr. Josephson writes to Randolph after Carpenter learned orally that the Random Hall Judicial Committee planned on allowing Karpe to remain in Random and talked with Dr. Josephson. “Throughout Julie’s telling of the tale, it was clear that she felt the committee had spoken, and that she had no other recourse but to move out of Random to escape, or to escape through death.”
April 2001 An MIT administrative review panel is held, overseen by Assistant Dean Carol Orme-Johnson. Karpe does not dispute the allegations against him. The contents of that panel’s decision are a subject of dispute, but several people who have read it said that it indicated that Karpe, who had been provisionally removed from Random Hall, would be allowed to return.
April 20, 2001 The administrative panel releases a decision including a provision for Karpe to move back into Random Hall.
April 25, 2001 Carpenter picks up a copy of the panel’s decision left in an unattended room and signs for it, according to the lawsuit. “No one from MIT spoke with Julie concerning the contents of the decision or monitored her reaction to it,” the lawsuit later says. Carpenter also uses her laptop to purchase sodium cyanide by mail-order over the Internet.
April 27, 2001 By Friday, Carpenter has received the cyanide. That weekend she goes to a barbeque at the Connecticut home of her friend Kristin Josephson and chats about returning to visit the Josephsons in June. Carpenter “seemed happy and did not give us any sign that she had planned on taking her life,” Josephson’s mother, Dr. Lynn Josephson, later told The Chronicle of Higher Education.
April 29, 2001 After returning to MIT, Carpenter goes to a birthday party and eats chocolate-chip cookies on the Random Hall roof deck before returning to her room, where she ingests the cyanide.
April 30, 2001 Carpenter is found dead in her room early in the morning by her roommate. There is no suicide note, though her death is later ruled a suicide by the Office of the Suffolk County Medical Examiner.

It still seems like it didn’t happen some days.  What did Eliot say?  Death or life or life or death / Death is life and life is death / I gotta use words when I talk to you / But if you understand or if you don’t / That’s nothing to me and nothing to you / We all gotta do what we gotta do


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A Sad Day

R.I.P. Lucky Dube

South African reggae star shot dead

The South African reggae musician, Lucky Dube, has been shot dead in front of his children in Johannesburg during an attempted car hijacking.

He had been dropping his teenage son and daughter off in the suburb of Rosettenville on Thursday evening.

Police say they were already out of the car when three shots were fired through a car window killing their father.

Alongside Bob Marley, he was thought of as one of the great reggae artists — singing about social problems.

He was also one of the apartheid regime’s most outspoken critics.

Correspondents say the killing has shocked South Africans who are already accustomed to one of the highest murder rates in the world.

Ironically, Lucky Dube was a victim of the very crimes he spoke out against in his music.  Lucky was a good man who — although he identified with the Rastafarian movement — abstained from drugs and alcohol his entire life and devoted himself to spreading the message of peace and hopefulness through his music.  He was born into and fought bravely against Apartheid and, later, the rising tide of seemingly uncontrollable violence in his country.  He lent his incredible talent and fame to support social and political causes throughout Africa and remained a man of his people until his death.

I think his fan site might say it best, though:

When asked what inspires him (Lucky), he humbly notes – “People! Looking at people, watching people’s movements, the things they do. My songs are based on real life situations and experiences.”

From the release of his first reggae album in 1984, to his present superstar status today, Lucky has maintained the humble nature that brings him closer to the people that so inspire his music. He has toured the world more times over than anyone could dream of and shared stages with names such as Maxi Priest, Sinead O-Connor, Peter Gabriel, Michael Jackson, Seal, Ziggy Marley, Celine Dion, Sting and many, many others. He has raked in over 20 local and international awards for his music and videos, yet as a person he is unaffected by his success. Still living in the country that gave him birth, he records with his original sound engineer and belongs to the same record comany. A true gentleman, Lucky’s down-to-earth nature is one of his finest qualities.

His music is riddled with the desire to make the world a better place.

Go in peace, Lucky.


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Isn’t it funny how the most unexpected things will get to you sometimes?

I haven’t really cried since my grandfather passed away.  I cried a little and then quickly looked away after I saw him in his casket, looking so small and withered by time.  I cried briefly on the drive home, distraught about leaving my poor Meemo behind on her own for the first time in years.  And I cried a little tonight, while watching The War on PBS, thinking about all of the war stories Granddaddy told and which I’d never hear again.  I wouldn’t say that I’m being stoic; I’m just trying to keep myself occupied with other thoughts until I’m able to think about him without the grief overwhelming me, until I’m able to think straight.

So, I was shuffling around YouTube tonight as I’m wont to do when I need to keep myself occupied, and I came across this clip.  I found myself bawling before the timpani even came in. (more…)

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For Now

Until I feel up to writing more, here are a few things I’ll miss about my granddaddy:

  1. Some of his sayings:
    1. “Cowboys are tough!”
    2. “Close the barn door!” when actually referring to the garage door
    3. “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets” when referring to my grandmother
    4. “It’s R-U-N-T, ruint!” instead of ruined
    5. “I tic-a-locked it!” which was his way of saying that a certain food item was off-limits because he had great plans for it later; this usually involved chocolate
  2. His thick Texas accent:
    1. Fire was pronounced “far”
    2. Temperature was pronounced “temp-a-ter”
    3. Get was pronounced “git”
    4. Palo Pinto (where he was born) was pronounced “Pal-a Pin-a”
    5. Help was pronounced “hep”
    6. Can’t was pronounced “cain’t”
  3. The smell of his cigars, even when he wasn’t smoking them but was just chewing on them all day until they were ragged, wet stumps
  4. The sound of the light next to his rocking chair being turned on and off via a little metal chain
  5. How much he loved The Price Is Right, which he called “Come On Down”
    1. One evening a few months ago,  I called him to let him know that the Bob Barker special was on TV so that he wouldn’t miss it.  He answered the phone and quickly hollered, “Can’t talk! ‘Come On Down’ is on!” and hung up on me.
  6. Hearing stories about his aircraft carrier in World War II and his childhood in Mineral Wells.
  7. Getting cards from him with his distinctive penmanship — in all caps — and always signed S.G.D., an abbreviation of my nickname for him: Sweet Grand Daddy.
  8. The way he could not only name any Big Band song, but also the songwriter, the bandleader, the singer and every single one of the band members and their instruments.
  9. His meticulous filing systems, for everything from his painstakingly compiled collection of old 45s to the hundreds of cards he would send out to friends and family members every year.
  10. The way he always answered the phone when he knew it was me calling: “Well, sweet Katie girl!”

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Star Dust

My very beloved Granddaddy passed away this evening.  I am writing his obituary tonight, in between some deeply reflective periods and some drinking.  It is no easy task.

Here’s to Joe, a great man.  I am a good person…but he was a great person.

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In honor of the great maestro:

Nessun Dorma

Il principe ignoto
Nessun dorma! Nessun dorma! Tu pure, o Principessa,
nella tua fredda stanza
guardi le stelle
che tremano d’amore e di speranza…
Ma il mio mistero è chiuso in me,
il nome mio nessun saprà!
No, no, sulla tua bocca lo dirò,
quando la luce splenderà!
Ed il mio bacio scioglierà il silenzio
che ti fa mia.

Voci di donne
Il nome suo nessun saprà…
E noi dovrem, ahimè, morir, morir!

Il principe ignoto
Dilegua, o notte! Tramontate, stelle!
Tramontate, stelle! All’alba vincerò!
Vincerò! Vincerò!

The Prince
Nobody shall sleep!… Nobody shall sleep! Even you, o Princess,
in your cold room,
watch the stars,
that tremble with love and with hope.
But my secret is hidden within me,
my name no one shall know…
No!…No!… On your mouth I will tell it
when the light shines.
And my kiss will dissolve the silence
that makes you mine!…

The Chorus of women
No one will know his name
and we must, alas, die.

The Prince
Vanish, o night! Set, stars!
Set, stars! At dawn, I will win!
I will win! I will win!

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