A Die-Hard Reader

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I don’t know about you, but I love to read. I must confess, though, that I still prefer to read a paper and ink book over digital ones. How about you? I suspect that it depends on your age. Those of us who grew up holding a book in our hands probably prefer that to the electronic versions, while younger folk prefer electronic. I can see advantages of both.

I like to highlight passages as I read through a book, making notes, etc. That’s a bit more difficult to do when reading electronic versions…and it’s harder to find notes when you do. But, that’s all really beside the point.

Oakland Cemetery in Atlanta has some really interesting mausolea. (I just learned that is a word – plural for mausoleum, but apparently the spell checker here in WordPress has never heard of it.)  Just inside the gate to the right is this one. And it was the first picture I took within the cemetery itself. It was almost unnerving to look up and see a man sitting on top of the entryway, apparently holding a book in his hand. I didn’t bother to get the name on the tomb, just this photo. I suppose, maybe, one could say he is a die-hard fan of reading and of books!

ON THIS DAY IN HISTORY: in 1992, Mafia boss John Gotti, who was nicknamed the “Teflon Don” after escaping unscathed from several trials during the 1980s, was sentenced to life in prison after being found guilty on 14 accounts of conspiracy to commit murder and racketeering. Moments after his sentence was read in a federal courthouse in Brooklyn, hundreds of Gotti’s supporters stormed the building and overturned and smashed cars before being forced back by police reinforcements.

Gotti, born and educated on the mean streets of New York City, became head of the powerful Gambino family after boss Paul Castellano was murdered outside a steakhouse in Manhattan in December 1985. The gang assassination, the first in three decades in New York, was organized by Gotti and his colleague Sammy “the Bull” Gravano. The Gambino family was known for its illegal narcotics operations, gambling activities, and car theft. During the next five years, Gotti rapidly expanded his criminal empire, and his family grew into the nation’s most powerful Mafia family. Despite wide publicity of his criminal activities, Gotti managed to avoid conviction several times, usually through witness intimidation. In 1990, however, he was indicted for conspiracy to commit murder in the death of Paul Castellano, and Gravano agreed to testify against him in a federal district court in exchange for a reduced prison sentence.

On April 2, 1992, John Gotti was found guilty on all counts and on June 23 was sentenced to multiple life terms without the possibility of parole. While in prison, Gotti was severely beaten up by Walter Johnson, a fellow inmate. Afterwards, Gotti offered at least $40,000 to the Aryan Brotherhood to kill Johnson. The Aryan Brotherhood accepted Gotti’s offer. The prison guards surmised that Johnson was in danger and transferred him to another prison.

In 1998, Gotti was diagnosed with throat cancer and underwent surgery to remove it. It came back in 2000 and he died in 2002 at age 61.  His son, John  Gotti, Jr., said after his father’s death: “If you look on his death certificate he choked on his own vomit and blood. He paid for his sins”

TRIVIA FOR TODAY: Memories that are triggered by scent have some of the strongest emotional connections and appear more intense than other memory triggers.


2 thoughts on “A Die-Hard Reader

  1. Funny because I was just having this same discussion with myself the other day. I own a kindle which is great for travel, but not as easy for referencing notes. It allows one to “highlight” passages, but it’s not an easy task to just flip to those highlighted passages and navigate in your mind where they were in the book.

    Nothing will beat the tactile feel of a book, but I don’t mind not having a thousand books on the shelf. That part is kind of nice, actually. But the price gouging with digital versions of books… Oof!

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