They say death always comes in threes. Don Knotts passed away over the weekend. Darren McGavin also passed away. He, of course, is best know for the quintissential father role of all time - The Old Man from A Christmas Story. Of genre note, he starred in the cult television show, Night Stalker, I've never seen an episode. Lastly, science fiction writer Octavia Butler passed away over the weekend, too. I haven't read all of her books and stories, but those I have read were thought-proviking and moving. I first read Dawn in my Science Fiction Literature class at Rutgers many years ago. The book really opened my eyes, made me think, terrified me, and made me want to read more of her work. I eventually picked up an omnibus of the Xenogenesis saga and really enjoyed it. I've read a few of her short stories and liked them, too. Her most recent book I read was Parable of the Sower for the SFFW SF Book Club a couple of years ago, and I've heard great things about Fledgling, her take on the Vampire myth.
On a happier note, I took Mrs. Blog o' Stuff to see Shinedown at the Starland Ballroom last night. I gave her the tickets as a Christmas gift, since Shinedown is a newer band we both enjoy quite a bit - they are a mix of southern rock and hard rock and lead singer Brent Smith has a deep, powerful voice. Shinedown was great, even if Smith's voice wasn't holding up the whole time, it sounded as if he had a cold. They dedicated their cover of Skynyrd's Simple Man to the late, great Dimebag Darrell and my only criticism of their performance was that it wasn't long enough.
Of the two opening bands, Flyleaf and local Philly hard rock band Halestorm, I enjoyed Halestorm much more. Flyleaf reminded me too much of the Cranberries, and I would never consider myself a fan of the Cranberries. Anyway, both bands were fronted by women and Lzzy Hale of Halestorm has an incredible, powerful voice. We liked Halestorm so much, we picked up their CD at the show.