Yesterday was the end of my colleague Matt Nelson's life.
A week earlier was another ending, the death of my father, whose funeral was last Friday. At the funeral, I was reminded of the death of my relative (maternal great-uncle?) Gordon's recent passing at the age of 101. He survived his wife Erma by 20 years. Gordon and Erma had lived across the street from the Lutheran church that my mother attended as a child for many decades and were an extra set of grandparents for my brother and I.
Yesterday was the end of the professional football season culminating in the glorious victory of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl 50 (Super Bowl L for those of you who think they should have stuck to Roman numerals), and likely the end of Denver quarterback Peyton Manning's storied career including the most lifetime wins as a quarter back (200), four tries at the Super Bowl (two wins, two losses), and being the oldest quarterback to lead a Super Bowl team (at 39 years old). It was a remarkable game. The Carolina Panthers who were favored to win after losing just one game all season ran some of the most innovative offensive plays in the NFL, featuring lots of quarterback rushing yards, lateral passing and unusual formations. But, they did themselves no favors with an avalanche of penalties in the second half and were put down soundly by the most effective defense in the NFL (the most valuable player was a Broncos defender and one of the Broncos two touch downs was scored by a member of the defensive team following a turnover) and by the Broncos smart, measured offense. Lady Gaga proved she could deliver a powerful straight line with the national anthem. Coldplay's halftime performance was so poor that it will probably hurt their upcoming tour, but was rescued by outstanding performances by Bruno Mars and Beyonce who quite frankly belted not only their own lyrics but also Coldplay's better than their front man. It is the third Broncos Super Bowl in franchise history and oddly reminiscent of the Super Bowl win by John Elway who was himself the oldest Super Bowl quarterback at the time. Congratulations Broncos! There will be a celebratory parade in downtown Denver from Union Station along 17th Street to Broadway and south to Civic Center tomorrow.
Yesterday was the last day of the East Asian Lunar Year (the lunar calendars used by Jews and Muslims also originate in Asia, even though we more often call it the Near East). Today is the first day of the year of the Monkey, although celebrations in Taiwan have been muted due to an earthquake that flattened a high rise apartment building, killing several dozen. About 170 people had escaped alive and another 110 were trapped there or missing as this new year dawned. The new day will see how many of the rest will live.
Last week was the last pre-primary Republican debate. Tomorrow is the first in the nation New Hampshire primary, in which hometown hero Bernie Sanders is sure to prevail by a large margin among Democrats, and in which Republicans will attempt to cull an overcrowded field. Hope springs eternal that some of the candidates who are far back in the pack in both Iowa and New Hampshire will decide to throw in the towel at that point, allowing support that has been spread among a variety of "establishment" candidates to coalesce among fewer individuals so that they party can decide who to support for the rest of the contests this spring.
Posting frequency will probably be light here and at sister blog Dispatches From Turtle Island, as I assimilate the endings.