Almost seven thousand American soldiers have been killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. More than half of them were under twenty-four years old. Gilbertson’s sample is skewed, because he chose unmarried soldiers who lived with their parents, but it’s shocking to be confronted with the stuffed raccoons and teddy bears, piggy banks and pin-ups, cuddly monkeys and United States flags, folded twelve times with ritual solemnity.
A few days after the execution date was confirmed, I received a message: Swearingen wanted me to watch him die.
Rio is a work in progress. The Maracana is finished and just needs a World Cup win to complete the script. But across town at the Joao Havelange arena, there has been no football for weeks.
Hancock is a musical pioneer of rare courage but to many jazz fans he will always be a sideman in Miles Davis’s second great quintet. He knows it, too. He quotes his mentor six times in an hour.
With hindsight, making a mixtape for Grandmaster Flash was a bad idea. “This is the wack part,” he tells me, a few seconds into Shack Up. “They’d be throwing water at the speakers if we played that part.”
The phone rings. Would I mind if he takes it? His daughter in California is worried about forest fires. “Well how far away is the smoke? I’ll buy you another house if it burns down, honey, OK?”