Almost missed Brick’s Longing For A Cuss-Free Zone:
And all that art, if you want to call it that, reflects life, if you want to call it that. In the schoolyards kids bomb the pencils, the books and the teachers’ dirty looks. Outside office buildings smokers bomb their bosses, and nonsmokers bomb the smokers. On the streets T-shirts bomb milk in favor of marijuana, bomb the space between the words New York and City and even bomb you just because “we’re from Texas.”
Even the culture’s hallowed spaces are no longer bomb-free zones. Baseball players can be seen on television mouthing inaudible bombs in the dugout. The vice president of the United States bombed a colleague on the Senate floor.
For cultural Chicken Littles, these are heady days. It is easy to make a case that the particular word-bomb on all these lips – that undefeated heavyweight champ of profanity, that King of the Cuss Words – is so commonly heard now that it’s moving toward ho-hum status. Once the word gets in, the argument goes, there could be no line of defense against all the other words known by their first letters. “You know what I blame this on the breakdown of?” as Moe Syzlak of “The Simpsons” once asked. “Society.”
Don’t miss this strong profile by John Doherty and Oliver Mackson:
JERICA WAS FOUND in the first-floor boy’s room of Sacred Heart of Jesus School in Highland Falls on Jan. 27. She had been stabbed to death there some time after arriving at school with her father. She died while her classmates gathered for morning assembly just down the hall.
Linwood Rhodes had made cleaning up after his troubled sons something of a life’s work. From a distance the play of his life can look simple, tragic: a quiet, squared-away man following his sons from one drama to the next, blind to any pattern.
He readied Jerica for burial and hired Chris a lawyer. As if this, too, might somehow be repaired.
“Who’s Chris to her? Somebody that takes her to school?” Linwood, 55, said months later. “I raised her. She lived with me. I was the one she called her ‘papoo.’”
This night, though, there’s little time for reflection.
Keith Goldberg is reading Bill Plaschke:
Sixteen million dollars.
Jiggle that number around in your deepest pocket, see how it feels.
It’s lottery money, lifetime money, 1,056 games worth of Monopoly money, a stack-of-one-dollar-bills-reaching-more-than-6,000-feet-high money.
Now, carry that thought to the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Covina, to a patch of grass in front of the Mausoleum of Christian Heritage.
The young football player whose death produced $16 million is buried here. But to find him, you need a weed whacker and a magnifying glass.
Amid rows of ornately decorated and elegantly worded bronze plaques, Rashidi Wheeler lies somewhere underneath a tiny cement disk.
Push back the grass that has grown over the disk, there is a faint number carved into the concrete. It’s not his football number. It’s his gravesite number. It’s 625. That’s him.
There is no headstone, no marker, no name, no dates, he’s here, somewhere, you think.