My 2016 started with my dad dying, and ended with my brother dying. 2017 was basically a mourning year for me, regardless of the political landscape in the US. F*** 2017. Here’s hoping 2018 is a record level awesome year for all of us!
Ursula K. Le Guin, Acclaimed for Her Fantasy Fiction, Is Dead at 88
A portion of the obit:
Ursula K. Le Guin, the immensely popular author who brought literary depth and a tough-minded feminist sensibility to science fiction and fantasy with books like “The Left Hand of Darkness” and the Earthsea series, died on Monday at her home in Portland, Ore. She was 88.
Her son, Theo Downes-Le Guin, confirmed the death. He did not specify a cause but said she had been in poor health for several months.
Ms. Le Guin embraced the standard themes of her chosen genres: sorcery and dragons, spaceships and planetary conflict. But even when her protagonists are male, they avoid the macho posturing of so many science fiction and fantasy heroes. The conflicts they face are typically rooted in a clash of cultures and resolved more by conciliation and self-sacrifice than by swordplay or space battles.
Her books have been translated into more than 40 languages and have sold millions of copies worldwide. Several, including “The Left Hand of Darkness” — set on a planet where the customary gender distinctions do not apply — have been in print for almost 50 years. The critic Harold Bloom lauded Ms. Le Guin as “a superbly imaginative creator and major stylist” who “has raised fantasy into high literature for our time.”
In addition to more than 20 novels, she was the author of a dozen books of poetry, more than 100 short stories (collected in multiple volumes), seven collections of essays, 13 books for children and five volumes of translation, including the Tao Te Ching of Lao Tzu and selected poems by the Chilean Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral. She also wrote a guide for writers.
Ms. Le Guin’s fictions range from young-adult adventures to wry philosophical fables. They combine compelling stories, rigorous narrative logic and a lean but lyrical style to draw readers into what she called the “inner lands” of the imagination. Such writing, she believed, could be a moral force.
“If you cannot or will not imagine the results of your actions, there’s no way you can act morally or responsibly,” she told The Guardian in an interview in 2005. “Little kids can’t do it; babies are morally monsters — completely greedy. Their imagination has to be trained into foresight and empathy.”
I posted this loss just above the Rosie the Riveter obit, plus parts of the NYT obit. Kinda breaks my heart.
I’m terribly sad she’s gone. But she had the sort of life I would be honored and proud to have: if I were up to that standard.
Now I must read more of her.
Funny, I had been thinking it re-listening to The Left Hand Of Darkness as the next after I finish my current pile (some non-fiction, plus Follett’s gigantic tales of a cathedral town in medieval and Renaissance England.)
Now I’m trying to talk @sammydog01’s new Meh Book Club into doing that book.
@Shrdlu@f00l I’m glad you both posted it. I saw news items, and really did not want to address it. She changed my entire life, and soul, with ‘The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas.’ Just the thought of it sears through my mind anew.
@OldCatLady It wasn’t just the writing, with me. I don’t really care much about fantasy, usually (although her writing was always a pleasure to read). The Lathe of Heaven was the one that caught me up.
She was just a stellar human being, and her loss still strikes my heart like a burning brand from the fire. The number of authors that she touched over the years is incredible. The people she touched is beyond counting. How many good people do you know? I’ve known a few, but even in that crowd, she was a standout.
I know she’d been ill, and I wouldn’t ask anyone to stay beyond their time, but dammit, I’d have happily traded a few more hours of all the hacks in DC for a few more years (but good ones, not ill, or suffering).
@f00l@Shrdlu I’m terribly ashamed to admit I was entirely unfamiliar with her until queer Twitter (or at least my corner of queer Twitter) blew up over her death. & that’s still ongoing. Appreciate the recommendations, will have to investigate…
October 15, 1924 - January 24, 2018
Filmmaker and skiing icon
“Warren A. Miller, the pioneering snow-sports filmmaker whose infectious zeal for the “pure freedom” associated with skiing, snowboarding and other pursuits inspired multiple generations of adventure-seekers around the globe, died Wednesday at his longtime home on Orcas Island. He was 93.”
As an avid skier and a longtime fan of Warren’s movies, this one really hits home. Warren was an innovator, creating a whole new genre of film. His movies have always been a kick-off to the ski season for me, with his one liners and amazing cinematography. As news of his passing comes one day before I leave for a ski trip to Austria, I couldn’t be more grateful for his contributions to the sport. I originally dwelled on going on this trip but one of his most famous sayings really stuck with me…
“If you don’t do it this year, you’ll be one year older when you do.”
Live for the moment folks. Thanks for the smiles and the memories Warren. RIP
Mort Walker, whose “Beetle Bailey” comic strip followed the exploits of a lazy G.I. and his inept cohorts at the dysfunctional Camp Swampy, and whose dedication to his art form led him to found the first museum devoted to the history of cartooning, died Jan. 27 at his home in Stamford, Conn. He was 94.
Tom Richmond, a former president of the National Cartoonists Society, confirmed the death. The cause was pneumonia.
Ingvar Kamprad, Founder of Ikea and Creator of a Global Empire, Dies at 91
From the NYT obit
Ingvar Kamprad, a Swedish entrepreneur who hid his fascist past and became one of the world’s richest men by turning simply-designed, low-cost furniture into the global Ikea empire, died on Saturday at his home in Smaland, Sweden. He was 91.
At 17, he registered his mail-order business in household goods, calling it Ikea, formed of his initials and those of his farm, Elmtaryd, and village, Agunnaryd.
Over the next seven decades, Mr. Kamprad built Ikea into the world’s largest furniture retailer — an archipelago of more than 350 stores in 29 countries across Europe, North America, the Caribbean, the Middle East and Asia, with sales of 38.3 billion euros ($47.6 billion), more than 930 million store visits and 210 million recipients of catalogs in 32 languages.
It made him wealthy beyond imagining. Bloomberg Billionaires Index listed him as the world’s eighth-richest person, worth $58.7 billion. But his driving ambition led to alcoholism, years of fascination with fascism and, trying to lead his employees by example, into a life of almost monastic frugalities.
All his life, Mr. Kamprad practiced thrift and diligence, and he portrayed those traits as the basis for Ikea’s success. He lived in Switzerland to avoid Sweden’s high taxes, drove an old Volvo, flew only economy class, stayed in budget hotels, ate cheap meals, shopped for bargains and insisted that his home was modest, that he had no real fortune and that Ikea was held by a charitable trust.
It was not exactly so, as reporters found. His home was a villa overlooking Lake Geneva, and he had an estate in Sweden and vineyards in Provence. He drove a Porsche as well as the Volvo. His cut-rate flights, hotels and meals were taken in part as an exemplar to his executives, who were expected to follow suit, to regard employment by Ikea as a life’s commitment — and to write on both sides of a piece of paper.
Ikea was indeed operated through a charitable trust in the Netherlands, and a complex series of holding companies, all controlled by the Kamprad family to avoid any chance that Ikea might be taken public or broken up. It also provided tax shelters and a structure for preserving the company in tact after Mr. Kamprad’s death.
He sought to control his work force, too. In 1976, he wrote a manifesto, “The Testament of a Furniture Dealer,” with biblical-style commandments listing simplicity as a virtue and waste as a sin. Employees were expected to absorb “the Ikea spirit,” to be humble, clean-cut and courteous, not just knowledgeable about Ikea’s products but enthusiastic about its corporate ideology — principles to work and live by.
Mr. Kamprad was, like his designer wares, a studied Everyman. He cultivated a provincial openness: curious about everything, but a face lost in the crowd. He was thin, bespectacled and baldish, with wisps of graying hair plastered down the sides, jowls and a pointed chin. His blue denim shirts and khaki pants might have been a gardener’s, but there was hard individuality in the dark eyes and compressed lips.
While he lived mostly in seclusion, he traveled to Ikea stores around the world, sometimes strolling in anonymously and questioning employees as if he were a customer, and customers as if he were a solicitous employee. He spoke at Ikea board meetings and occasionally lectured at universities. He rarely gave interviews, but made no secret of his alcoholism, saying he controlled it by drying out three times a year.
To millions of Ikea customers and the general public, he was largely unknown beyond the authorized version of his life and Ikea’s success — his “Leading by Design: The Ikea Story” (1999), written with Bertil Torekull. Its themes had been sounded for decades in Ikea publicity and reiterated in profiles of Mr. Kamprad and the company.
Ikea had been achieved, he said, by frugality: building stores on less costly land outside cities; buying materials at a discount; minimizing sales staff to let customers shop without pressure; putting no finishes on unseen furniture surfaces, and packaging items in flat boxes to be carried away by customers for home assembly (instructions provided).
In 1994, the Stockholm newspaper Expressen uncovered Mr. Kamprad’s name in the archives of Per Engdahl, a Swedish fascist who had recently died. They showed Mr. Kamprad had joined Mr. Engdahl’s fascist movement in 1942, and had attended meetings, raised funds and recruited members. Even after the war’s end in 1945, he remained close to the leader. In a 1950 letter to Mr. Engdahl, Mr. Kamprad said he was proud of his involvement.
Mr. Kamprad responded humbly to the disclosures. In a message to his employees, he said his fascist activities were “a part of my life which I bitterly regret,” and “the most stupid mistake of my life.” He said he had been influenced by his German grandmother, who fled the Sudetenland before World War II, and that he had been drawn to Mr. Engdahl’s vision of “a non-Communist, socialist Europe.”
For Swedes, the revelations reawakened disquieting memories of World War II. While Sweden was officially neutral, German troops had traveled across the country from occupied Norway, and an unknown number of Swedes were Nazi sympathizers. After the disclosures, Jewish groups called for a boycott of Ikea, but its business suffered little, if at all, and Mr. Kamprad soon returned to themes of frugality.
“Well, I’m known as a very thrifty person, and the stores are meant for people like me,” he told The New York Times in 1997 when asked about his contributions to the culture of Ikea. “I don’t fly first class on the airplanes, and the stores’ executives don’t either.”
In 1953, he opened a showroom in Almhult; in 1958, it became the first Ikea store. In the 1960s, Ikeas opened in Stockholm, elsewhere in Sweden, as well as Denmark and Norway. Alarmed by the company’s growing sales, its competitors organized a boycott by Ikea’s suppliers, but it backfired: Mr. Kamprad went to Poland for materials and manufacturing, which cut costs further.
In the 1970s, Ikeas opened in Switzerland and Canada. In 1985, the first Ikea in the United States opened near Philadelphia. In the 1990s, Ikea became popular across Eastern Europe, and by 2000, there were Ikeas in Russia and China. The company owned the vast majority of its stores, though about 10 percent were franchise operations.
In 1976, Mr. Kamprad moved to Switzerland. In 1982, he transferred control to the Dutch foundation, and in 2013 he stepped down from the board of Inter Ikea Group, a key company within the business, and named his youngest son, Mathias, as its chairman. His other two sons also held key positions. Mr. Kamprad announced his retirement in 1986, but continued traveling to his stores and making major decisions.
“I see my task as serving the majority of people,” he told Forbes in 2000. “The question is, how do you find out what they want, how best to serve them? My answer is to stay close to ordinary people, because at heart I am one of them.”
@f00l Hopefully you have a good sense of direction, as you will need that to navigate the store and find your way out again. I also recommend eating in the cafe. The Swedish meatballs are great and so is the chocolate cake. Not together of course. You must try the cinnamon buns as well. Their food prices are quite reasonable. Oh, and the furniture and kitchen gadgets are nice too.
@heartny There’s a book called Horrorstor by Grady Hendrix. It’s a horror story that takes place in an Ikea knockoff. It’s also incredibly funny, at least before the blood starts gushing. They keep getting lost.
Dennis Edwards, one of the lead singers for The Temptaions, died Feb 1.
Dennis Edwards, Former Temptations Lead Singer, Dies at 74
Part of NYT obit:
Dennis Edwards, who became a lead singer of the Motown hitmakers the Temptations in 1968 as they embraced psychedelic funk and won Grammy Awards for the songs “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” and “Cloud Nine,” died on Thursday in Chicago. He was 74.
His death, in a hospital, was confirmed on Friday by Rosiland Triche Roberts, one of his booking agents. She did not specify the cause.
Mr. Edwards’s resonant, powerful voice, burnished from years singing gospel, was perfect for the driving soul music of the 1970s.
“Marvin Gaye was a friend of mine, and he used to say, ‘Man, I wish I could sing like you, if I could have that growl in my voice,’ ” Mr. Edwards told The Tallahassee Democrat in 2013. “And I said, ‘Man, are you kidding me? I want to sing like you. Everybody wants to sing like you.’ ”
A 10 TV performance, starting with Papa Was A Rolling Stone.
(Worth watching for the look, staging, and tone will as the music.
Some of floor dancers have moves.)
John Mahoney, best known for playing Martin Crane on 11 seasons of “Frasier,” died in Chicago on Sunday while in hospice care, his manager, Paul Martino, confirmed. He was 77.
Mahoney played the father of Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce’s characters during the show’s run on NBC from 1993 to 2004. He won a SAG Award and received two Emmy and two Golden Globe nominations for his portrayal.
From 2011 to 2014, he had a recurring role on “Hot in Cleveland” as Roy, the love interest of Betty White’s character, Elka.
Mahoney worked in film for more than 35 years, appearing in classics like “The American President” and “Say Anything,” along with voicing animated characters in the “Antz” and “Atlantis” films. He also had guest spots in a number of popular TV shows including “Cheers” and “3rd Rock from the Sun.”
Born Blackpool, England, the actor started his career in theater and continued to return to the stage, appearing in “Prelude to a Kiss” on Broadway and “The Outgoing Tide” and “The Birthday Party” in Chicago after “Frasier” ended.
He came to the U.S. at age 19 and taught English at Western Illinois University before entering into the entertainment industry in 1977. He never married and lived in Oak Park, Ill. much of his life.
Sir Roger Gilbert Bannister CH CBE (23 March 1929 – 3 March 2018) was a British middle-distance athlete, doctor and academic who ran the first sub-4-minute mile.
In the 1952 Olympics in Helsinki, Bannister set a British record in the 1500 metres and finished fourth. This strengthened his resolve to be the first 4-minute miler. He achieved this feat on 6 May 1954 at Iffley Road track in Oxford, with Chris Chataway and Chris Brasher providing the pacing. When the announcer, Norris McWhirter, declared “The time was three…”, the cheers of the crowd drowned out Bannister’s exact time, which was 3 minutes 59.4 seconds. Bannister’s record lasted just 46 days. He had reached this record with minimal training, while practising as a junior doctor.
Bannister went on to become a distinguished neurologist and Master of Pembroke College, Oxford, before retiring in 1993. When asked whether the 4-minute mile was his proudest achievement, he said he felt prouder of his contribution to academic medicine through research into the responses of the nervous system. Bannister was patron of the MSA Trust. He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2011.
Nobel prize winner & genome sequencing pioneer Sir John Sulston has died at age 75.
As an individual, Prof Sulston was unassuming, often seen wandering the labs in sandals and chatting with young researchers. We are already benefiting from his research - with the emergence of new medicines for many cancers. We also know the genetic basis of more than 6,000 disorders, allowing treatments to be better tailored.
The revolution that John Sulston helped start has only just begun, and will transform medicine and our understanding of the human body.
Stephen Hawking, the brightest star in the firmament of science, whose insights shaped modern cosmology and inspired global audiences in the millions, has died aged 76.
His family released a statement in the early hours of Wednesday morning confirming his death.
Hawking’s children, Lucy, Robert and Tim said in a statement: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.
“His courage and persistence with his brilliance and humour inspired people across the world.
“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him for ever.”
For fellow scientists and loved ones, it was Hawking’s intuition and wicked sense of humour that marked him out as much as the broken body and synthetic voice that came to symbolise the unbounded possibilities of the human mind.
Hawking was driven to Wagner, but not the bottle, when he was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1963 at the age of 21. Doctors expected him to live for only two more years. But Hawking had a form of the disease that progressed more slowly than usual. He survived for more than half a century and long enough for his disability to define him. His popularity would surely have been diminished without it.
Hawking once estimated he worked only 1,000 hours during his three undergraduate years at Oxford. “You were supposed to be either brilliant without effort, or accept your limitations,” he wrote in his 2013 autobiography, My Brief History. In his finals, Hawking came borderline between a first and second class degree. Convinced that he was seen as a difficult student, he told his viva examiners that if they gave him a first he would move to Cambridge to pursue his PhD. Award a second and he threatened to stay at Oxford. They opted for a first.
Those who live in the shadow of death are often those who live most. For Hawking, the early diagnosis of his terminal disease, and his witnessing the death from leukaemia of a boy he knew in hospital, ignited a fresh sense of purpose. “Although there was a cloud hanging over my future, I found, to my surprise, that I was enjoying life in the present more than before. I began to make progress with my research,” he once said. Embarking on his career in earnest, he declared: “My goal is simple. It is a complete understanding of the universe, why it is as it is and why it exists at all.”
He began to use crutches in the 1960s, but long fought the use of a wheelchair. When he finally relented, he became notorious for his wild driving along the streets of Cambridge, not to mention the intentional running over of students’ toes and the occasional spin on the dance floor at college parties.
Hawking’s first major breakthrough came in 1970, when he and Roger Penrose applied the mathematics of black holes to the entire universe and showed that a singularity, a region of infinite curvature in spacetime, lay in our distant past: the point from which came the big bang.
Penrose found he was able to talk with Hawking even as the latter’s speech failed. It seemed that whenever Penrose misunderstood, it was a joke or an invitation to dinner. But the main thing that came across was Hawking’s absolute determination not to let anything get in his way. “He thought he didn’t have long to live, and he really wanted to get as much as he could done at that time,” Penrose said.
In discussions, Hawking could be provocative, even antagonistic. Penrose recalls one conference dinner where Hawking came out with a run of increasingly controversial statements which seemed hand-crafted to wind Penrose up. They were all of a technical nature and culminated with Hawking declaring that white holes were simply black holes reversed in time. “That did it so far as I was concerned,” an exasperated Penrose told the Guardian. “We had a long argument after that.”
Hawking continued to work on black holes and in 1974 drew on quantum theory to declare that black holes should emit heat and eventually pop out of existence. For normal black holes, the process is not a fast one, it taking longer than the age of the universe for a black hole the mass of the sun to evaporate. But near the ends of their lives, mini-black holes release heat at a spectacular rate, eventually exploding with the energy of a million one-megaton hydrogen bombs. Miniature black holes dot the universe, Hawking said, each as heavy as a billion tonnes, but no larger than a proton.
His proposal that black holes radiate heat stirred up one of the most passionate debates in modern cosmology. Hawking argued that if a black hole could evaporate into a bath of radiation, all the information that fell inside over its lifetime would be lost forever. It contradicted one of the most basic laws of quantum mechanics, and plenty of physicists disagreed. Hawking came round to believing the more common, if no less baffling explanation, that information is stored at the black hole’s event horizon, and encoded back into radiation as the black hole radiates.
Marika Taylor, a former student of Hawking’s and now professor of theoretical physics at Southampton University, remembers how Hawking announced his U-turn on the information paradox to his students. He was discussing their work with them in the pub when Taylor noticed he was turning his speech synthesiser up to the max. “I’m coming out!” he bellowed. The whole pub turned around and looked at the group before Hawking turned the volume down and clarified the statement: “I’m coming out and admitting that maybe information loss doesn’t occur.” He had, Taylor said, “a wicked sense of humour.”
Hawking’s run of radical discoveries led to his election in 1974 to the Royal Society at the exceptionally young age of 32. Five years later, he became the Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge, arguably Britain’s most distinguished chair, and one formerly held by Isaac Newton, Charles Babbage and Paul Dirac, the latter one of the founding fathers of quantum mechanics. Hawking held the post for 30 years, then moved to become director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology.
Hawking’s seminal contributions continued through the 1980s. The theory of cosmic inflation holds that the fledgling universe went through a period of terrific expansion. In 1982, Hawking was among the first to show how quantum fluctuations – tiny variations in the distribution of matter – might give rise through inflation to the spread of galaxies in the universe. In these tiny ripples lay the seeds of stars, planets and life as we know it. “It is one of the most beautiful ideas in the history of science” said Max Tegmark, a physics professor at MIT.
But it was A Brief History of Time that rocketed Hawking to stardom. Published for the first time in 1988, the title made the Guinness Book of Records after it stayed on the Sunday Times bestsellers list for an unprecedented 237 weeks. It sold 10m copies and was translated into 40 different languages. Some credit must go to Hawking’s editor at Bantam, Peter Guzzardi, who took the original title: “From the Big Bang to Black Holes: A Short History of Time”, turned it around, and changed the “Short” to “Brief”. Nevertheless, wags called it the greatest unread book in history.
Hawking married his college sweetheart, Jane Wilde, in 1965, two years after his diagnosis. She first set eyes on him in 1962, lolloping down the street in St Albans, his face down, covered by an unruly mass of brown hair. A friend warned her she was marrying into “a mad, mad family”. With all the innocence of her 21 years, she trusted that Stephen would cherish her, she wrote in her 2013 book, Travelling to Infinity: My Life With Stephen.
In 1985, during a trip to Cern, Hawking was taken to hospital with an infection. He was so ill that doctors asked Jane if they should withdraw life support. She refused, and Hawking was flown back to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge for a lifesaving tracheotomy. The operation saved his life but destroyed his voice. The couple had three children, but the marriage broke down in 1991. Hawking’s worsening disability, his demands on Jane, and his refusal to discuss his illness, were destructive forces the relationship could not endure. Jane wrote of him being “a child possessed of a massive and fractious ego,” and how husband and wife became “master” and “slave”.
Four years later, Hawking married Elaine Mason, one of the nurses employed to give him round-the-clock care. Mason was the former wife of David Mason, who designed the first wheelchair-mounted speech synthesiser Hawking used. The marriage lasted 11 years, during which Cambridgeshire police investigated a series of alleged assaults on Hawking. The physicist denied that Elaine was involved, and refused to cooperate with police, who dropped the investigation.
Hawking was not, perhaps, the greatest physicist of his time, but in cosmology he was a towering figure. There is no perfect proxy for scientific worth, but Hawking won the Albert Einstein Award, the Wolf Prize, the Copley Medal, and the Fundamental Physics Prize. The Nobel prize, however, eluded him.
He was fond of scientific wagers, despite a knack for losing them. In 1975, he bet the US physicist Kip Thorne a subscription to Penthouse that the cosmic x-ray source Cygnus X-1 was not a black hole. He lost in 1990. In 1997, Hawking and Thorne bet John Preskill an encyclopaedia that information must be lost in black holes. Hawking conceded in 2004. In 2012, Hawking lost $100 to Gordon Kane for betting that the Higgs boson would not be discovered.
He lectured at the White House during the Clinton administration – his oblique references to the Monica Lewinsky episode evidently lost on those who screened his speech – and returned in 2009 to receive the presidential medal of freedom from Barack Obama. His life was played out in biographies and documentaries, most recently The Theory of Everything, in which Eddie Redmayne played him. “At times I thought he was me,” Hawking said on watching the film. He appeared on The Simpsons and played poker with Einstein and Newton on Star Trek: The Next Generation. He delivered gorgeous put-downs on The Big Bang Theory. “What do Sheldon Cooper and a black hole have in common?” Hawking asked the fictional Caltech physicist whose IQ comfortably outstrips his social skills. After a pause, the answer came: “They both suck.”
In 2012, scientists gathered in Cambridge to celebrate the cosmologist’s 70th birthday. It was one of those milestones in life that few expected Hawking to reach. He spent the event at Addenbrooke’s, too ill to attend, but in a recorded message entitled A Brief History of Mine, he called for the continued exploration of space “for the future of humanity.” Without spreading out into space, humans would not “survive another thousand years,” he said.
He later joined Tesla’s Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak to warn against an artificial intelligence military arms race, and called for a ban on autonomous weapons.
Hawking was happy to court controversy and was accused of being sexist and misogynist. He turned up at Stringfellows lap dancing club in 2003, and years later declared women “a complete mystery”. In 2013, he boycotted a major conference in Israel on the advice of Palestinian academics.
Some of his most outspoken comments offended the religious. In his 2010 book, Grand Design, he declared that God was not needed to set the universe going, and in an interview with the Guardian a year later, dismissed the comforts of religious belief
“I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail. There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark,” he said.
He spoke also of death, an eventuality that sat on a more distant horizon than doctors thought. “I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years. I’m not afraid of death, but I’m in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first,” he said.
What astounded those around him was how much he did achieve. He leaves three children, Robert, Lucy and Timothy, from his first marriage to Jane Wilde, and three grandchildren.
@f00l Popped on to the site to post this. Your post was far more comprehensive than mine would have been. My heart sank when I saw this news. I don’t usually have such an intense, deep reaction to celebrity deaths but… the man was such an icon, such an impressive figure. Don’t want to believe this one.
I know nothing about his personal or inner life except what was in the news; yet despite my terrible sadness, I would guess that he was probably “ready” (in whatever sense one can be), and had come to terms with mortality and its costs long ago.
I hope so.
He seems, as much as anyone, to have come close to the lifelong achieving of quest of such nobility, variety and depth as he would have wished for.
@Ignorant Apparently there were several Bozos over time, including the one who just passed away:
Originally created by Alan W. Livingston and portrayed by Pinto Colvig for a children’s storytelling record album and illustrative read-along book set, the character became popular during the 1940s and was a mascot for the record company Capitol Records.
The character first appeared on television in 1949 starring Pinto Colvig. After the creative rights to Bozo were purchased by Larry Harmon in 1956, the character became a common franchise across the United States, with local television stations producing their own Bozo shows featuring the character. Harmon bought out his business partners in 1965 and produced Bozo’s Big Top for syndication to local television markets not producing their own Bozo shows in 1966, while Chicago’s Bozo’s Circus, which premiered in 1960, went national via cable and satellite in 1978.
Performers to have played Bozo, aside from Colvig and Harmon, include Willard Scott (1959–1962), Frank Avruch (1959–1970), Bob Bell (1960–1984), and Joey D’Auria (1984–2001). Bozo TV shows were also produced in countries including Mexico, Thailand, Australia, Greece, and Brazil.
@heartny I remember watching Bozo Show in the early 50’s. Not a big fan of Clowns, but he had games, music etc to keep my interest.
Plus, we only got 2 or 3 stations to choose from…
Rest in Peace, Bozo…
Linda Brown, whose father objected when she was not allowed to attend an all-white school in her neighborhood and who thus came to symbolize one of the most transformative court proceedings in American history, the school desegregation case Brown v. Board of Education, died on Sunday in Topeka, Kan. She was 75.
Her death was confirmed on Monday by a spokesman for the Peaceful Rest Funeral Chapel in Topeka, which is handling her funeral arrangements. He did not specify the cause.
It is Ms. Brown’s father, Oliver, whose name is attached to the famous case, although the suit that ended up in the United States Supreme Court actually represented a number of families in several states. In 1954, in a unanimous decision, the court ruled that segregated schools were inherently unequal. The decision upended decades’ worth of educational practice, in the South and elsewhere, and its ramifications are still being felt.
Linda Brown was born on Feb. 20, 1943, in Topeka to Leola and Oliver Brown, according to the funeral home. (Some sources say she was born in 1942.)
Cheryl Brown Henderson, Linda’s sister and the founding president of the Brown Foundation, an educational organization devoted to the case, recalled her parents and others being recruited to press a test case.
“They were told, ‘Find the nearest white school to your home and take your child or children and a witness, and attempt to enroll in the fall, and then come back and tell us what happened,’ ” she said in a video interview for History NOW.
The neighborhood the family lived in was integrated.
“I played with children that were Spanish-American,” Linda Brown said in a 1985 interview. “I played with children that were white, children that were Indian, and black children in my neighborhood.”
Nor were her parents dissatisfied with the black school she was attending. What upset Oliver Brown was the distance Linda had to travel to get to school — first a walk through a rail yard and across a busy road, then a bus ride.
“When I first started the walk it was very frightening to me,” she said, “and then when wintertime came, it was a very cold walk. I remember that. I remember walking, tears freezing up on my face, because I began to cry.”
In an interview with The Miami Herald in 1987, she remembered the fateful day in September 1950 when her father took her to the Sumner School.
“It was a bright, sunny day and we walked briskly,” she said, “and I remember getting to these great big steps.”
The school told her father no, she could not be enrolled.
“I could tell something was wrong, and he came out and took me by the hand and we walked back home,” she said. “We walked even more briskly, and I could feel the tension being transferred from his hand to mine.”
In its ruling, the Supreme Court threw out the prevailing “separate but equal” doctrine, which had allowed racial segregation in the schools as long as students of all races were afforded equal facilities.
“To separate them from others of similar age and qualifications solely because of their race,” the court said, “generates a feeling of inferiority as to their status in the community that may affect their hearts and minds in a way unlikely to ever be undone.”
By the time of the ruling, Ms. Brown was in an integrated junior high school. She later became an educational consultant and public speaker.
Her family was among several that reopened the original Brown case in 1979 to argue that the job of integration in Topeka remained incomplete. The case resulted in the opening of several magnet schools.
Ms. Brown was married several times. The funeral home said her survivors include a daughter, Kimberly Smith, although it did not have a complete list of survivors.
As for her role in the landmark case, Ms. Brown came to embrace it, if reluctantly.
“Sometimes it’s a hassle,” she told The Herald, “but it’s still an honor.”
@daveinwarsh I know it’s not recent, but I’m bingewatching 30 Rock with my daughter and we saw the episode in which he appeared. Remember fondly watching Night Court and remembering his appearances on Cheers and SNL. Sad. Wonder what the cause was as he was still relatively young.
I met her and GHWB a few times just to shake hands with, when I was a youngish teenager. Stuff my family took me to.
I think, as far as people in politics go, BPB and GHWB have both been pretty dignifed, decent, and reserved souls. Quiet and dedicated. Not self-indulgent. Less “on the make” and less calculatedly presenting a public personas than some/many.
Overall she seemed to have been a quite decent and quietly competent person within the role she chose. Certain of her (non public figure) relations who strongly disagreed with the R agendas of the two Bush eras seemed to have liked her and respected her.
And a “Hollywood Mystery” I much enjoyed, that includes, as an quickie aside, a brief fictional skewering of the supposed negotiating tactics of a newly-vaulted-to-stardom David Caruso during Caruso’s brief time in the car if NYPD Blue (which is not the focus of the mystery novel.)
@f00l So few got to do it and with the shelving of so much of our space program soon no one will be able to talk about it first hand… and it will be a historical footnote. I remember as a little kid staying up late to watch the first moon landing. To know that and watch that on a tiny TV did a lot to interest me in science, exploration and space. And of course I was not the only one. We lose something important when events like this, that inspire kids to learn more about science, vanish.
@cinoclav Yeah seriously. Sheesh. He ought to watch the DVD “For all Mankind” which is home videos astronauts made on that particular voyage. I bought that to try to convince my kid (who went from the stone age to the space age in 36 hours when I adopted her at nearly 10) that yes, people have been to the moon (she thought that was untrue because there wasn’t a ladder tall enough to get them there. Very practical that child. LOL). When she later dictated a letter to send to her bio brother, bio mother and bio sister (we had found what was left of her bio family), she included information about that in her letter as she was telling them about a world none of them (well except her mom as she would have been a young teen when the Khmer Rouge took over) were familiar with.
"It is my sad duty to note the passing of Gardner Dozois today, Sunday May 27, at 4:00 p.m. The cause was an overwhelming systemic infection. Gardner had been hospitalized for a minor illness and was expected to be released shortly. The decline was swift. He died surrounded by his family.
Gardner Raymond Dozois ( /doʊˈzwɑː/ doh-ZWAH) (July 23, 1947 - May 27, 2018) was an American science fiction author and editor. He is the founding editor of The Year’s Best Science Fiction anthologies (1984–present) and was editor of Asimov’s Science Fiction magazine (1984–2004), garnering multiple Hugo and Locus Awards for those works almost every year. He has also won the Nebula Award for Best Short Story twice. He was inducted by the Science Fiction Hall of Fame on June 25, 2011
Dammit dammit dammit.
Another suicide of a well-known and successful person.
CNN’s Anthony Bourdain dead at 61
New York (CNN) Anthony Bourdain, a gifted storyteller and writer who took CNN viewers around the world, has died. He was 61.
CNN confirmed Bourdain’s death on Friday and said the cause of death was suicide.
“It is with extraordinary sadness we can confirm the death of our friend and colleague, Anthony Bourdain,” the network said in a statement Friday morning. “His love of great adventure, new friends, fine food and drink and the remarkable stories of the world made him a unique storyteller. His talents never ceased to amaze us and we will miss him very much. Our thoughts and prayers are with his daughter and family at this incredibly difficult time.”
Bourdain was in France working on an upcoming episode of his award-winning CNN series “Parts Unknown.” His close friend Eric Ripert, the French chef, found Bourdain unresponsive in his hotel room Friday morning.
Bourdain was a master of his crafts – first in the kitchen and then in the media. Through his TV shows and books, he explored the human condition and helped audiences think differently about food, travel and themselves. He advocated for marginalized populations and campaigned for safer working conditions for restaurant staffs.
Along the way, he received practically every award the industry has to offer.
In 2013, Peabody Award judges honored Bourdain and “Parts Unknown” for “expanding our palates and horizons in equal measure.”
“He’s irreverent, honest, curious, never condescending, never obsequious,” the judges said. “People open up to him and, in doing so, often reveal more about their hometowns or homelands than a traditional reporter could hope to document.”
The Smithsonian once called him “the original rock star” of the culinary world, “the Elvis of bad boy chefs.”
In 1999 he wrote a New Yorker article, “Don’t Eat Before Reading This,” that became a best-selling book in 2000, “Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly.”
The book set him on a path to international stardom.
First he hosted “A Cook’s Tour” on the Food Network, then moved to “Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations” on the Travel Channel. “No Reservations” was a breakout hit, earning two Emmy Awards and more than a dozen nominations.
In 2013 both Bourdain and CNN took a risk by bringing him to the news network still best known for breaking news and headlines. Bourdain quickly became one of the principal faces of the network and one of the linchpins of the prime time schedule.
Season eleven of “Parts Unknown” premiered on CNN last month.
While accepting the Peabody award in 2013, Bourdain described how he approached his work.
“We ask very simple questions: What makes you happy? What do you eat? What do you like to cook? And everywhere in the world we go and ask these very simple questions,” he said, “we tend to get some really astonishing answers.”
Bourdain’s death happened after fashion designer Kate Spade hanged herself in an apparent suicide at her Manhattan apartment on Tuesday. Spade was found hanged by a scarf she allegedly tied to a doorknob, an NYPD source said.
Suicide is a growing problem in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a survey Thursday showing suicide rates increased by 25% across the United States over nearly two decades ending in 2016. Twenty-five states experienced a rise in suicides by more than 30%, the government report finds.
And I’ll remember you when I next enjoy that uniquely glorious tradition, timelessly practiced in cities around the world at 2 am whilst drunk off your ass, the stumble-hunt for street vendors purveying delicious, fire-charred tube-shaped spiced meat. On a stick.
My favorite episodes are the Cajun Cochon de Lait one and The Layover in New Orleans. Always honest, unvarnished, and deeply authentic.
Georgann Johnson, the veteran film, television and Broadway actress who portrayed the mother of Jane Seymour’s character on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman, died June 4 in Los Angeles, daughter Carol Prager announced. She was 91.
Polish writer and Holocaust survivor Gena Turgel, the “Bride of Belsen” who survived stints at four concentration camps and provided solace to Anne Frank, has died in her adoptive country of England at age 95.
Her stirring memoir of pain and hope, I Light a Candle, was published in 1987 to rave reviews.
“My story is story of survival,” she said at a Holocaust Day ceremony in April. “It is also a story of 6 million who perished. And maybe that is why I was spared, so that my testimony would stand as a memorial. Like the candle I light for the men and women who have no voice.”
Turgel, who died last week, was born in Krakow in 1923, the youngest of nine children. After the Nazis invaded Poland in 1939, her family was ordered to give up all their belongings. A brother was shot and she, several siblings and her mother moved to the Krakow ghetto.
She was shipped to Plaszow labor camp and then was part of a forced march to Auschwitz-Birkenau in 1944. Months later she was part of the “death march” to Buchenwald before finally being sent to the Bergen-Belsen camp.
It was there, working in the camp hospital, that she nursed Anne Frank as the 15-year-old died of typhus in the winter of 1945.
“I washed her face, gave her water to drink, and I can still see that face, her hair and how she looked,” Turgel told the BBC.
Weeks later the camp was seized by British troops. Among the liberators was Norman Turgel. Six weeks later they were married. Her wedding dress, made from the parachute of a British paratrooper, is on display at the Imperial War Museum in London.
“Please find a few minutes to listen to the moving words of Gena Turgel, a truly remarkable Holocaust Survivor,” said Rabbi Ephraim Mirvis, Britain’s chief rabbi. “Her legacy is our responsibility now.”
I like lots of informative words when I post here, I guess.
But I’m glad you posted this one. I’m no encyclopedia of anything, including of important and valuable people we have lost.
And my way is not by any means the “right way”. It’s just my habit. And usually I’m mostly doing copy/paste from a news article.
The Blues Brothers as an SNL concept spin-off was greatness.
But Belushi, for all his genius and gifts, was not ever a full-on bluesman. He just never did the sweaty, impoverished, anonymous years on filthy or backwoods or shanty bar stages learning the full craft.
Also: along with the huge difference in levels of craft and professionalism that existed between Ackroyd and Belushi, vs their “backing band” of world-class professionals, there is a huge visible difference in dignity, tightness and precision, and in carrying oneself through the years of dedication, adversity, and such success as could be achieved. And this diff is visible on stage.
Not knocking Belushi and Ackroyd. Their love of the blues was clearly genuine, the idea was comedy greatness. Who wouldn’t do that, if one could get it together and funded, and pull it off?
And the concept gave visibility (as well as income) to the real professionals.
So … All good. But, when Belushi is on stage doing his thing, I mostly just want him to get out of the way. And I kinda suspect Belushi would have understood that reaction.
“The Gorilla Foundation is sad to announce the passing of our beloved Koko,” the famous research center says, informing the world of the death of a gorilla who fascinated and elated millions of people with her facility for language.
Koko, who was 46, died in her sleep on Tuesday morning, the Gorilla Foundation said. NPR Link
Drummer Vinnie Paul, co-founder of metal band Pantera, has died. Currently a member of Hellyeah, Paul was 54.
Along with his brother, Dimebag Darrell, Paul (born Vincent Paul Abbott) formed Pantera in 1981. Pantera earned four Grammy nominations and charted nine albums on the Billboard 200, including its 1994 album Far Beyond Driven, which debuted at No. 1 on the chart.
Following Pantera’s demise, the Abbott brothers formed Damageplan in 2003. The band was performing on Dec. 8, 2004, when Dimebag Darrell was shot and killed onstage during a concert in Columbus, Ohio.
Fox News has confirmed that History will air “Pawn Stars: A Treasure Remembered” on Wednesday night at 9 p.m. EST. The hour-long special will air in place of “Navy SEALs: America’s Secret Warriors” and honor the life of Harrison, who died over the weekend.
@PlacidPenguin You know, I’m kind of surprised I haven’t read anything of his, considering how voraciously I’ve been consuming hard/speculative/irreverent science fiction for decades.
Asimov, P.K.D., Clark, Bradbury, Heinlein, Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Wells and Verne, etc., etc. - I’ve read it all.
No idea how I never got around to Ellison.
@PlacidPenguin Nice! “I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream” + other short stories was free with my Prime account and “A Boy and His Dog” was only $1.70.
They’re going to have to wait awhile though, as I’m currently committed to re-reading “The Expanse” and I’ve only just started book 3.
Skewing his surfer-boy image, Hunter played Todd Tomorrow, a dashing owner of a drive-in, opposite Divine in the John Waters black comedy Polyester (1981), which introduced Odorama to theaters via a scratch-and-sniff card. (Among the scents: “Flatulence,” “Model Building Glue” and “Smelly Shoes.”)