Late in the afternoon, I walked for an hour around my neighborhood, and I listened to one of the best episodes (to me) of This American Life that I've heard in a long time—and I've heard a lot of them and I've loved a lot of them. I found these stories just riveting.
Setup: There are umpteen TV shows about solving murders, endless whodunits in bookstores. But what happens to the people left behind after the detectives close the case? Three stories about children trying to figure out how to live normally after their parents have died.
|Episode: How to Rest in Peace|
Host Ira Glass talks to Rachel Howard, whose father, Stan, was murdered when she was 10 years old. His case was never solved. And like a lot of people whose family members have been killed, she tried for a long time to find the killer. But after a while, she gave up. And she's comfortable with that—which sometimes makes fellow survivors decidedly uncomfortable. (7 1/2 minutes)
Rachel wrote a book, The Lost Night, about her father's murder.
|Act One. Dry Eyes and Videotape.|
Jason Minter lived through the worst trauma you could imagine: he was at a friend's house, a gun pressed to his head, while his mother and another woman were raped and shot to death in the next room by robbers. He was six. And even though he saw a series of therapists as he grew up, he's never been able to feel anything about what happened. He's never even cried about it. So almost 30 years after the crime, Jason decides to make a documentary, to revisit every aspect of his mother's murder, in hopes that he'll connect to what happened, and to her, in some way. (30 minutes)
Song: "It's All Right to Cry," Moufette
|Act Two. The Good Son.|
A story about a mother who wants to commit suicide and a son who dutifully helps her do it—even though his mother is a happy, healthy, independent person. How did they manage to pull it off? Practice, practice, practice. (16 minutes)
Song: "Before You Leave," Mary Gauthier
Turn off the TV. Grab a bottle of wine. Turn down the lights. Light a few candles, and immerse yourself in this worldview (click on "Full Episode" under the picture) in a quiet room with a quiet heart.
Area Woman Crowned Miss Thang 2007 (Warning: The F-word is used. Audio. Less than a minute.)
Joe and I had dinner at Rock-Ola at Mission Valley. I had their new Asian Salad, which was pretty damned good, and I ate a little of Joe's Loaded Cheese Fries. He had that, and some chicken strips.
On the way to Flex, we stopped at Helios for a cup of coffee, where we found three-and-a-half doors propped open and it cold in there. I guess the staff was hot.
Once at Flex, we played four games of free pool, and then listened to the train wreck that was the karaoke emcee. Attitude, attitude, attitude.
It's always amusing to see some of these people "performing," totally oblivious to the fact that their "venue" consists of a hole in the ground (literally—the bar is underground), late on a Sunday night in Raleigh, NC.
From the one who insists on singing songs for which he brings his own CDs and sheet music—instead of just singing one of the thousands of songs already in the place—and then as he gets to the end of each sheet, tosses them off to the side onto the floor like he's at some important audition; to the guy who sings "big voice" songs and does all this Fosse Hands (a.k.a. Jazz Hands) shit like he's on stage at Carnegie Hall; to the drag queen karaoke host herself who sings every song at a decibel level that would make earplugs bleed... well, it's all just quite entertaining.
"Bless their hearts."