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.”)
@daveinwarsh@RiotDemon I read that there is some debate among his close friends and family. Many think he fell off the balcony accidentally. I thought it was in rather poor taste for the article to say they “didn’t want to jump to conclusions”
V.S. Naipaul, the Nobel laureate who documented the migrations of peoples, the unraveling of the British Empire, the ironies of exile and the clash between belief and unbelief in more than a dozen unsparing novels and as many works of nonfiction, died on Saturday at his home in London. He was 85.
Compared in his lifetime to Conrad, Dickens and Tolstoy, he was also a lightning rod for criticism, particularly by those who read his portrayals of third-world disarray as apologies for colonialism.
Yet Mr. Naipaul exempted neither colonizer nor colonized from his scrutiny. He wrote of the arrogance and self-aggrandizement of the colonizers, yet exposed the self-deception and ethical ambiguities of the liberation movements that swept across Africa and the Caribbean in their wake. He brought to his work moral urgency and a novelist’s attentiveness to individual lives and triumphs.
Mr. Naipaul personified a sense of displacement. Having left behind the circumscribed world of Trinidad, he was never entirely rooted in England. In awarding him the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2001, the Swedish Academy described him as “a literary circumnavigator, only ever really at home in himself, in his inimitable voice.”
Yet his existential homelessness was as much willed as fated. Although he spent his literary career mining his origins, Mr. Naipaul fiercely resisted the idea of being tethered to a hyphen, or to a particular ethnic or religious identity. He once left a publisher when he saw himself listed in the catalog as a “West Indian novelist.” A Hindu, though not observant, Mr. Naipaul was a staunch defender of Western civilization. His guiding philosophy was universalism.
“What do they call it? Multi-culti? It’s all absurd, you know,” he said in 2004. “I think if a man picks himself up and comes to another country he must meet it halfway.” It was the kind of provocative statement that won him both enemies and admirers over the years.
Aretha Franklin — the first woman to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, dubbed the Queen of Soul for powerful anthems like “Respect” and “Chain of Fools” — died on Thursday morning at her home in Detroit. She was 76 years old.
She was a supremely talented technical musician — a child prodigy on the piano, able to shift seamlessly from thunderous gospel chord progressions to propulsive R&B beats to bouncy jazz riffs.
Her voice was equally prodigious, a mezzo-soprano powerhouse that could gracefully handle gospel effusions and operatic bomb bursts — something all of America learned in 1998.
At the Grammy Awards that year, Luciano Pavarotti had been booked to perform his showstopper aria, “Nessun Dorma” from the final act of Puccini’s “Turandot,” but he canceled at the last minute. With the live show approaching, Franklin agreed to stand in for the man many consider the greatest operatic tenor of the 20th century.
Instead of performing one of her own classics, Franklin went ahead with “Nessun Dorma,” nailing the arduous high B “Vincero!” that closes the aria in a swell of orchestral bravado.
“Nessun Dorma” became part of Franklin’s repertoire, and in 2015, she performed it for Pope Francis during his tour of the United States.
In her indelible late-1960s hits, Ms. Franklin brought the righteous fervor of gospel music to secular songs that were about much more than romance. Hits like “Do Right Woman — Do Right Man,” “Think,” “(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman” and “Chain of Fools” defined a modern female archetype: sensual and strong, long-suffering but ultimately indomitable, loving but not to be taken for granted.
When Ms. Franklin sang “Respect,” the Otis Redding song that became her signature, it was never just about how a woman wanted to be greeted by a spouse coming home from work. It was a demand for equality and freedom and a harbinger of feminism, carried by a voice that would accept nothing less.
Ms. Franklin’s airborne, constantly improvisatory vocals had their roots in gospel. It was the music she grew up on in the Baptist churches where her father, the Rev. Clarence LaVaughn Franklin, known as C. L., preached. She began singing in the choir of her father’s New Bethel Baptist Church in Detroit, and soon became a star soloist.
Gospel shaped her quivering swoops, her pointed rasps, her galvanizing buildups and her percussive exhortations; it also shaped her piano playing and the call-and-response vocal arrangements she shared with her backup singers. Through her career in pop, soul and R&B, Ms. Franklin periodically recharged herself with gospel albums: “Amazing Grace” in 1972 and “One Lord, One Faith, One Baptism,” recorded at the New Bethel church, in 1987.
But gospel was only part of her vocabulary. The playfulness and harmonic sophistication of jazz, the ache and sensuality of the blues, the vehemence of rock and, later, the sustained emotionality of opera were all hers to command.
Robin Leach, ‘Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous’ host, dies at 76.
“…Leach had suffered a stroke and had been hospitalized since November.”
May you enjoy your champagne wishes and caviar dreams in the afterlife Mr. Leach.
@f00l And here is our President of the United States, telling Robin Leach on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous he thinks the best qualities his 1-year old daughter will have are her mother’s legs and her boobs.
I have heard (during a live interview on the Stern show, many years ago) our current President making similar remarks about the sex-appeal physical attributes of his then not-long-adult elder daughter.
And have read him quoted making similar such remarks about the other daughter, this quote made within the very recent years.
Both the remarks were of the type one might expect to overhear in a strip club, if a somewhat drunk client were evaluating the bodies of the entertainers.
I doubt these remarks were discussed in the elder daughter’s recent book regarding her ideas on work-life balance.
I doubt these remarks were discussed in the elder daughter’s recent book regarding her ideas on work-life balance.
That’s because she is gagged by her NDA, in perpetuity.
That is, if the recently published NDA of the Trump Tower doorman about his illegitimate child with his housemaid are true. Corroborated by Stormy, Omarosa, and anyone who has left the White House, under indictment, about to be, or pleaded guilty. I think DJT didnt want Ahhhrnohld to outshine him, since DJT is such a publicity whore.
Yeah, I saw that story about the Trump doorman getting released from his Nat Enq NDA regarding the secret child.
I wonder how many other previously NDA-bound facts will be out soon?
Re Ivanka’s book and her work/life balance advice:
A reporter took a copy of Ivanka’s book to a fabric and clothing factory (I think in Indonesia), when the Ivanka-branded clothing was produced, and showed the book to factory workers, make and female
Those workers worked at least 6 days a week, for many more than 8 hours a day. They did not get paid vacations, sick time, or overtime.
If they did not meet the exceptionally high production quotas,or were accused of errors, they either forfeited pay, or had to work extra hours unpaid, or both.
Housing was often factory-owned and adult only. Always expensive, and often dormatory-style. Children were not permitted to reside in these.
In order to live as a family, these workers would have needed to get apartments or shared houses, which they could not afford.
Many or most of the workers were married and had kids; the factory preferred these workers because they were stable and productive and needed the wages. These workers could not afford to live with or raise their own children, and so usually the children were raised by relatives in some fairly distant and far cheaper and semi-rural area.
Once a month or so, the workers could manage to save enough to afford to rent a motorbike, and so be able to go visit their families for a day.
The workers had not, needless to say, yet managed to achieve Ivanka’s recommendations for family, work, personal, “public service”, and social life balances.
Her lifestyle recommendations in the book left these workers, shall we say, rather “bemused”.
Dammit. This is getting to me in a rather sharp way.
When I think of him in contrast to some others …
Silly, perhaps, but I am going to have to temporarily dump one audiobook (not at all a light work), for the moment - and start upon another. Change of direction.
Not quite sure this makes much sense. But it makes emotional sense.
Because of McCain. His death just knocked me a little off course or something. I can’t just go on like nothing so much happened.
Now he is scattered among a hundred cities
And wholly given over to unfamiliar affections,
To find his happiness in another kind of wood
And be punished under a foreign code of conscience.
The words of a dead man
Are modified in the guts of the living.
But in the importance and noise of to-morrow
When the brokers are roaring like beasts on the floor of the
And the poor have the sufferings to which they are fairly
And each in the cell of himself is almost convinced of his
A few thousand will think of this day
As one thinks of a day when one did something slightly unusual.
he was an old school politician. while he was a wheeler dealer, he was a gentleman.
i fully believe had he not had that moron for a running mate, he’d have given a much better show in that presidential election a few years ago.
Deep Peace to You
Deep peace of the running wave to you.
Deep peace of the flowing air to you.
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you.
Deep peace of the shining stars to you.
Deep peace of the infinite peace to you
Neil Simon, Preeminent And Prolific Playwright And Screenwriter, Has Died At 91
“Playwright Neil Simon, a master of comedy whose laugh-filled hits such as “The Odd Couple,” ''Barefoot in the Park” and his “Brighton Beach” trilogy dominated Broadway for decades, has died. He was 91.
Simon died early Sunday of complications from pneumonia surrounded by family at New York Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan, said Bill Evans, his longtime friend and the Shubert Organization director of media relations. "
Burt Reynolds, the charismatic star of such films as Deliverance, The Longest Yard and Smokey and the Bandit who set out to have as much fun as possible on and off the screen — and wildly succeeded — has died. He was 82.
@mike808 I love that man. His best role was Howard Borden, but I’ve been watching I Dream of Jeannie this summer and Major Healey is A-OK.
@Shrdlu that’s a great quote, it sounds like he brought a lot of himself to his roles. My other takeaway from that article was that Barbara Eden is on twitter and I was not following her. Her twitter’s not that interesting but I’m following her now. And when I searched for her, Barbara Crampton came up, and now I’m following her and Jeffrey Combs too.
@daveinwarsh@mike808@Shrdlu A few years ago I was watching The Bob Newhart Show and I suddenly realized that Bill Daily said “potatoes” the same way my grandfather did, so he must have grown up in Chicago, and it made me love him more. I also really appreciated the reality of both Bob and he having the correct local accent on the show.
Paul Taylor, founder of the Paul Taylor Dance Company,
Paul Taylor Dies at 88; Brought Poetry and Lyricism to Modern Dance
Mr. Taylor’s poignant and exuberant works entered the repertory of numerous dance companies. His own company has been one of the world’s superlative troupes.
By Alastair Macaulay
Aug. 30, 2018
Paul Taylor, who brought a lyrical musicality, capacity for joy and wide poetic imagination to modern dance over six decades as one of its greatest choreographers, died on Wednesday in a Manhattan hospital. He was 88.
Mr. Taylor, whose highly diverse style was born in radical experimentalism in the 1950s, created poignant and exuberant works that entered the repertory of numerous dance companies. His own company, eloquent and athletic, has been one of the world’s superlative troupes.
As a strikingly gifted dancer in his 20s, Mr. Taylor created roles for the master choreographers Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and George Balanchine. He had piercing blue eyes, the power and musculature of a skilled athlete and an incisive, outgoing — but also elusive — personality.
Throughout the 1950s, he also made dances of his own — 18 of them with Robert Rauschenberg as his designer, two with music commissioned from John Cage. In 1960, he began to collaborate with the painter Alex Katz; though they worked together only from time to time, they continued to do so until 2014, and made two of Mr. Taylor’s most exceptional works, the highly dissimilar “Sunset” (1983) and “Last Look” (1985).
Arthur Mitchell Is Dead at 84; Showed the Way for Black Dancers
Sept 19, 2018
Arthur Mitchell, a charismatic dancer with New York City Ballet in the 1950s and ’60s and the founding director of the groundbreaking Dance Theater of Harlem, died on Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 84.
Mr. Mitchell, the first black ballet dancer to achieve international stardom, was one of the most popular dancers with New York City Ballet, where he danced from 1956 to 1968 and displayed a dazzling presence, superlative artistry and powerful sense of self.
That charisma served him well as the director of Dance Theater of Harlem, the nation’s first major black classical company, as it navigated its way through severe financial problems in recent decades and complex aesthetic questions about the relationship of black contemporary dancers to an 18th-century European art form.
Marty Balin, a Founder of Jefferson Airplane, Dies at 76
… (A few quote from the NYT obit)
Mr. Balin was a prime mover in the flowering of psychedelic rock in mid-1960s San Francisco, not only as a founding member of Jefferson Airplane in 1965, but also as an original owner of the Matrix, a club that opened that year and nurtured bands and artists like the Grateful Dead, Big Brother and the Holding Company, Santana and Steppenwolf.
Mr. Balin’s voice could offer the intimate solace of ballads like Jefferson Airplane’s “Today,” the siren wails of a frantic acid-rocker like the group’s “Plastic Fantastic Lover” or the soul-pop entreaties of Jefferson Starship’s “Miracles.”
In Jefferson Airplane’s prime, Mr. Balin was one of four lead singers alongside Grace Slick, Paul Kantner and the band’s lead guitarist, Jorma Kaukonen. That lineup could generate fervent harmonies and incendiary vocal duels in songs like “Volunteers” or “3/5 of a Mile in 10 Seconds.”
But it also led to increasing friction within the band; Ms. Slick was often singled out for attention, and she sang lead on “White Rabbit” and “Somebody to Love,” the 1967 hits that made the band national headliners. “I always let everybody else take the credit,” Mr. Balin told High Times magazine in 2000. “Grace was the most beautiful girl in rock at the time, so they gave her credit for everything.” In the documentary film “Monterey Pop,” when Mr. Balin sings his ballad “Today,” the camera instead shows Ms. Slick, who was mouthing the words with him. Mr. Balin quit Jefferson Airplane in 1971.
Yet he never entirely left behind his Jefferson Airplane bandmates. Jefferson Starship, a band formed by Mr. Kantner with Ms. Slick, featured Mr. Balin as a guest in 1974 and reached its commercial peak when he became a full member in 1975; he wrote and sang Jefferson Starship’s biggest hit, “Miracles.” (Jefferson Starship evolved into the hit-making 1980s band Starship without Mr. Balin.) Soon after leaving Jefferson Starship, an exhausted Mr. Balin turned down an offer to become lead singer of a new San Francisco band: Journey. Instead, he went on to a solo career in the 1980s, beginning with the 1981 album “Balin.”
In 1987, Mr. Balin joined Mr. Kantner and Jefferson Airplane’s bassist, Jack Casady, to make an album as the KBC Band. He also reunited with Ms. Slick, Mr. Kantner, Mr. Kaukonen and Mr. Casady to tour and record as Jefferson Airplane in 1989. “We went out and did 36 shows, and I thought we were dynamite,” he told High Times. “At the end, we finished, and everyone said, ‘This was great,’ then split apart. Everybody went home. Nobody calls anybody, nobody says anything. Same old band.”
Mr. Balin sang with a new iteration of Jefferson Starship, which did not include Ms. Slick, from 1993 to 2003, and he occasionally worked with that band’s shifting lineup in later years. But he also continued to record and perform regularly with his own band, and late in 2015 — 50 years after Jefferson Airplane began — he released “Good Memories,” new versions of songs from the Airplane catalog.
Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen died today at 65. Allen said earlier this month that he was being treated for non-Hodgkin lymphoma.
Allen was a childhood friend of Bill Gates, and together, the two started Microsoft in 1975. He left the company in 1983 while being treated for Hodgkin’s lymphoma and remained a board member with the company through 2000.
Paul’s sister, Jody Allen, wrote a statement on his family’s behalf:
“My brother was a remarkable individual on every level. While most knew Paul Allen as a technologist and philanthropist, for us he was a much loved brother and uncle, and an exceptional friend.
Paul’s family and friends were blessed to experience his wit, warmth, his generosity and deep concern. For all the demands on his schedule, there was always time for family and friends. At this time of loss and grief for us – and so many others – we are profoundly grateful for the care and concern he demonstrated every day.”
@f00l Wow. That’s really too bad. My prayers to friends & family of Paul.
He really did some great things with his time & money here.
Besides giving billions to charities, the arts, education etc, he also owned the Seahawks, the Portland Trailblazers and part owner of Seattle Sounders.
Rest in Peace.
Losing Bill Goldman made me cry. My favorite book of all time is The Princess Bride. I was honored he allowed me to make it into a movie. I visited with him last Saturday. He was very weak but his mind still had the Goldman edge. I told him I loved him. He smiled & said fuck you.
We’re not done celebrating the life of William Goldman yet, are we?
Have some more:
(Someone’s list of best quotes from TPB)
Rhymes with Peanut
Inigo Montoya: That Vizzini, he can fuss.
Fezzik: Fuss, fuss… I think he like to scream at us.
Inigo Montoya: Probably he means no harm.
Fezzik: He’s really very short on charm.
Inigo Montoya: You have a great gift for rhyme.
Fezzik: Yes, yes, some of the time.
Vizzini: Enough of that.
Inigo Montoya: Fezzik, are there rocks ahead?
Fezzik: If there are, we all be dead.
Vizzini: No more rhymes now, I mean it.
Fezzik: Anybody want a peanut?
The Queen of Refuse
The Ancient Booer: Your true love lives. And you marry another. True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage. And that’s what she is, the Queen of Refuse. So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo.
The book shows promise
Grandpa: Westley didn’t reach his destination. His ship was attacked by the Dread Pirate Roberts, who never left captives alive. When Buttercup got the news that Westley was murdered…
The Grandson: Murdered by pirates is good.
The odds in your favor
Fezzik: We face each other as God intended. Sportsmanlike. No tricks, no weapons, skill against skill alone.
Man in Black: You mean, you’ll put down your rock and I’ll put down my sword, and we’ll try and kill each other like civilized people?
Fezzik: [brandishing rock] I could kill you now.
Man in Black: Frankly, I think the odds are slightly in your favor at hand fighting.
Fezzik: It’s not my fault being the biggest and the strongest. I don’t even exercise.
Dying with dignity
Fezzik: I just want you to feel you’re doing well. I hate for people to die embarrassed.
A pirate gone soft
Buttercup: You mock my pain!
Man in Black: Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.
Inigo Montoya: You seem a decent fellow. I hate to kill you.
The Man in Black: You seem a decent fellow. I hate to die.
A spoonful of sugar
Valerie: The chocolate coating makes it go down easier. But you have to wait fifteen minutes for full potency. And you shouldn’t go in swimming after, for at least, what?
Miracle Max: An hour?
Valerie: Yeah, an hour.
To the pain
Westley: To the pain means the first thing you will lose will be your feet below the ankles. Then your hands at the wrists. Next your nose.
Prince Humperdinck: And then my tongue I suppose, I killed you too quickly the last time. A mistake I don’t mean to duplicate tonight.
Westley: I wasn’t finished. The next thing you will lose will be your left eye followed by your right.
Prince Humperdinck: And then my ears, I understand let’s get on with it.
Westley: Wrong! Your ears you keep and I’ll tell you why. So that every shriek of every child at seeing your hideousness will be yours to cherish. Every babe that weeps at your approach, every woman who cries out, “Dear God! What is that thing,” will echo in your perfect ears. That is what to the pain means. It means I leave you in anguish, wallowing in freakish misery forever.
It’ll take a miracle
Miracle Max and Valerie: Have fun stormin’ da castle.
Inigo Montoya: I just work for Vizzini to pay the bills. There’s not a lot of money in revenge.
The pick-up line
Prince Humperdinck: Please consider me as an alternative to suicide.
The to-do list
Prince Humperdinck: Tyrone, you know how much I love watching you work, but I’ve got my country’s 500th anniversary to plan, my wedding to arrange, my wife to murder and Guilder to frame for it; I’m swamped.
Count Rugen: Get some rest. If you haven’t got your health, then you haven’t got anything.
The Grandson: They’re kissing again. Do we have to read the kissing parts?
Man in Black: I do not envy you the headache you will have when you awake. But for now, rest well and dream of large women.
True love is like a sandwhich
Miracle Max: Sonny, true love is the greatest thing, in the world-except for a nice MLT – mutton, lettuce and tomato sandwich, where the mutton is nice and lean and the tomato is ripe. They’re so perky, I love that.
The clueless king
The King: [after Buttercup kisses him] What was that for?
Buttercup: Because you’ve always been so kind to me, and I’ll never see you again, because I’m killing myself as soon as we reach the bridal suite.
The King: Won’t that be nice? She kissed me! Ha!
The frog in the throat
The Albino: [raspy voice] The Pit of Despair! Don’t even think… [clears throat] … don’t even think about trying to escape.
The fair giant
Vizzini: Finish him. Finish him, your way.
Fezzik: Oh good, my way. Thank you Vizzini… what’s my way?
Vizzini: Pick up one of those rocks, get behind a boulder, in a few minutes the man in black will come running around the bend, the minute his head is in view, hit it with the rock.
Fezzik: My way’s not very sportsman-like.
The Grandson: Grandpa, maybe you could come over and read it again to me tomorrow.
Grandpa: As you wish.
Westley’s return from the dead
Westley: There’s a shortage of perfect breasts in this world. It would be a pity to damage yours.
Vizzini: He didn’t fall?! Inconceivable!
Inigo Montoya: You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.
The battle of wits
Vizzini: You fell victim to one of the classic blunders—the most famous of which is, “Never get involved in a land war in Asia”—but only slightly less well-known is this: “Never go against a Sicilian when death is on the line”! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha! Ha ha ha…[thunk].
The Impressive Clergyman: Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam… And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva… So tweasure your wuv.
Prince Humperdinck: Skip to the end.
The Impressive Clergyman: Have you the wing?
Inigo Montoya kills Count Rugen
Inigo Montoya: Hello! My name is Inigo Montoya! You killed my father! Prepare to die!
Count Rugen: Stop saying that!
Inigo Montoya: HELLO! MY NAME IS INIGO MONTOYA! YOU KILLED MY FATHER! PREPARE TO DIE!
Inigo Montoya: Offer me money.
Count Rugen: Yes!
Inigo Montoya: Power, too, promise me that.
Count Rugen: All that I have and more. Please…
Inigo Montoya: Offer me anything I ask for.
Count Rugen: Anything you want…
Inigo Montoya: I want my father back, you son of a bitch!
A sword fight
And more good TPB stuff
A knife fight
A jump. And Redford’s perfect hair
I’m glad I’ve been around to appreciate Goldman’s stuff
I suspect he knew how good he was.
He published a memoir about his professional life in Hollywood, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983) which summed up the entertainment industry in the opening sentence of the book,
*Nobody knows anything."
Goldman wrote the famous line “Follow the money” for the screenplay of All the President’s Men; while the line is often attributed to Deep Throat, it is not found in Bob Woodward’s notes nor in Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s book or articles. However, the book does have the far less-quotable line from Woodward to Senator Sam Ervin, who was about to begin his own investigation: “The key was the secret campaign cash, and it should all be traced…”
According to his memoir, Adventures in the Screen Trade (1983), Goldman began to write when he took a creative-writing course in college. His grades in the class were “horrible”. An editor of Oberlin’s literary magazine, he would submit short stories to the magazine anonymously; he recalls that the other editors, upon reading his submissions, remarked “We can’t possibly publish this shit.”
(ps love you also. Apologies for being so absent and useless and unreliable. )
Nicolas Roeg, a visionary filmmaker whose enrapturing, sensuous movies transformed the way audiences and his fellow directors understood cinematic language, has died at the age of 90, his family confirmed to the BBC.
More concerned with blazing his own trail than catering to commercial concerns, Roeg created dramas that played with chronology and offended small-minded viewers, resulting in a body of work full of cult classics that were often rejected upon release, only to be reevaluated far more favorably in subsequent years as their pioneering qualities influenced future artists. In films such as Performance, Walkabout, Don’t Look Now and The Man Who Fell to Earth, he captured the experimentation and rebellion swirling through youth culture during the 1960s and ‘70s, and their dismissive reception in the mainstream was, in a sense, appropriate for his stories of outsiders and lost souls. “I don’t look back on any film I’ve done with fondness or pride,” Roeg told The Telegraph in 2013. “I look back on my films, and on the past generally…” He then shook his head and added, “I can only use the phrase, ‘Well, I’m damned.’”
The World is Ever Changing, a work of rare poetic insight, is tinged with the amazement and self-examination of an older man looking back on a most unusual career. “The strings of the lyre of modern poets are endless strips of celluloid,” wrote Franz Kafka. Roeg, who effectively invented a new language cinematic language, might agree.
@f00l He was exploring the possibilities of film and wasn’t necessarily interested in making it easy or comfortable for the viewer. He was interested in making it interesting. That’s incredibly rare.
Holy crap, Performance is available in prime instant video. When did this happen?
I have to add that the incredibly rare part is that he succeeded, because he was super-talented. There have been plenty of people wanting to make interesting films that explored the possibilities of the medium who were not talented.
@f00l I’m not saying he had some kind of grand theory, but there was definitely an intellectual rigor to his work, in that he took it where and as far as he felt it needed to go, regardless of whether or not it would be a popular or profitable choice. We’re definitely saying the same thing using different words.
Bernardo Bertolucci, Oscar-Winning Italian Director of ‘Last Tango in Paris,’ Dies at 77
From The Hollywood Reporter
The maker of ‘The Last Emperor’ and others was known for his colorful visual style.
Bernardo Bertolucci, the Italian director and screenwriter whose films include Last Tango in Paris and The Last Emperor, for which he won the Academy Award for best director and best adapted screenplay, died in Rome on Monday. He was 77.
A spokeswoman said the filmmaker, who became known for movies with a colorful visual style and political films, died of cancer.
In 1962, at the age of 22, Bertolucci directed his first feature film, La commare secca, a murder mystery about a prostitute’s homicide that uses flashbacks to piece together the crime.
In 1987, Bertolucci directed the epic The Last Emperor, a biographical film about the life of Aisin-Gioro Puyi, the last Emperor of China.
At the 60th Academy Awards, the film won all nine Oscars for which it was nominated: best picture, director, adapted screenplay, cinematography, film editing, costume design, art direction-set decoration and original score.
The Last Emperor was the first Western film about China made in the country and produced with full Chinese government cooperation since 1949. It was also the first feature film ever authorized by the government of the People’s Republic of China to film in the Forbidden City.
Last Tango in Paris, meanwhile, was his most controversial film, causing debate, with fans praising it for pushing the boundaries of how sex was portrayed in movies, while critics called it pornographic. The film is about a recently widowed American who begins a sexual relationship with a young Parisian woman. It stars Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, and Jean-Pierre Leaud.
A resurfaced interview with Bertolucci brought Last Tango in Paris back under the microscope in recent years when the Oscar-winning director admitted to the “non-consensual” rape of Schneider on the set. Bertolucci admitted that he and Brando had improvised the use of butter the infamous scene and that Schneider was not made aware of graphic details of the shoot until the day they filmed it. “We wanted her spontaneous reaction to that improper [butter] use. That is where the misunderstanding lies,” Bertolucci said in response to the headlines.
Bertolucci, a professed Marxist, also got a reputation for making political films. The Conformist from 1970 criticized conformism and fascism, while 1900 (1976) focused on the political conflicts between fascism and communism in Italy during the first half of the 20th century. The latter starred Robert De Niro, Gerard Depardieu, Donald Sutherland and Burt Lancaster, among others.
Bertolucci was married, since 1979, to British screenwriter Clare Peploe.
This man was a brilliant director, and made truly wonderful films; but to say that I have mixed feelings about him severely understates my reaction to later information concerning his direction of Last Tango.
Bertolucci caused controversy in 1972 with the film Last Tango in Paris, starring Marlon Brando, Maria Schneider, Jean-Pierre Léaud and Massimo Girotti. The film presents Brando’s character, Paul, as he copes with his wife’s suicide by emotionally and physically dominating a young woman, Jeane (Schneider). The depictions of Schneider, then 19 years old, were regarded as exploitative. In one scene, Paul anally rapes Jeane using butter as a lubricant. The use of butter was not in the script; Bertolucci and Brando had discussed it, but they did not tell Schneider. She said in 2007 that she had cried “real tears” during the scene and had felt humiliated and “a little raped”. In 2013 Bertolucci said that he had withheld the information from Schneider to generate a real “reaction of frustration and rage”. Brando alleged that Bertolucci had wanted the characters to have real sex, but Brando and Schneider both said it was simulated. In 2016 Bertolucci released a statement where he clarified that Schneider had known of the violence to be depicted in the scene, but had not been told about the use of butter.
According to interviews, Schneider was not told how the scene would be played, as a deliberate choice by the director: he wanted “the reaction of the girl”, not “the reaction of the actress”.
I wonder how far such a director would go in exploiting his cast in order to get “genuine reactions” as opposed to acted ones:
all the while the director believing that not only was “the real thing” (in this case, a simulated violent sexual assault) better than the acted version, but also, of course, all the while, thinking that the actors are assumed to be apparently insufficient to the task of portraying their fictional personas on-screen.
By that standard, perhaps we should devolve to Roman practices, and put the humiliation and suffering of others on display for our entertainment or our artistic experiences.
It’s my understanding that Schneider never forgave him. And I believe that he never fully owned up to the cost to Schneider of his choices. Perhaps I’m incorrect.
George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States and the father of the 43rd, was a steadfast force on the international stage for decades, from his stint as an envoy to Beijing to his eight years as vice president and his one term as commander in chief from 1989 to 1993.
The last veteran of World War II to serve as president, he was a consummate public servant and a statesman who helped guide the nation and the world out of a four-decade Cold War that had carried the threat of nuclear annihilation.
One of Bernie Glassman’s favorite koans asks: Where do you step from the top of a 100-foot pole?
His answer seemed to be: You plunge.
Glassman, who died November 4 at age 79, was a Brooklyn-born Jew, a recognized Zen master, a Buddhist trailblazer, a restless mensch and a serial plunger.
Glassman plunged into aeronautical engineering, into Zen, into leading a Buddhist community, into running a bakery, into growing that bakery into a constellation of social services, into holding spiritual retreats among the homeless and at Holocaust-haunted concentration camps, into writing a book of koans with a Hollywood star, into mourning when his second wife died and into learning to walk and talk again two years ago after a stroke.
The plunges, as Glassman called them, served a spiritual purpose: to uproot preconditioned ideas, bear witness to what’s going on and serve those most in need. At a time when many American Buddhists preferred self-development to social engagement, Glassman dismissed “mannequin meditation” and carried his Zen practice from clean-aired monasteries to chaotic city streets, where he led weeklong retreats on sidewalks and in crowded parks.
“Bernie was very clear that meditation was not a refuge from life,” said Roshi Eve Myonen Marko, Glassman’s third wife. “For him, meditation was total engagement.”
Ken Berry, who played Captain Parmenter on F Troop, as well as roles in the Andy Griffith Show, Mayberry RFD, and Disney movies like “Herbie Rides Again” and “The Cat from Outer Space” has passed away at the age of 85.
John D.F. Black passed away November 29th. I knew the name from reading many books about Star Trek growing up, though he had a much broader career. Including, to my surprise, being the co-writer for the screen play for “Shaft” along with the original author.