Archive for the ‘Obits’ Category

Obit watch: June 29, 2015.

Monday, June 29th, 2015

Chris Squire, bass player for Yes. A/V Club.

Walter Shawn Browne, noted chess grandmaster.

Mr. Browne’s competitiveness extended beyond chess. “I can beat 97 out of 100 experts in Scrabble, 98 of 100 in backgammon and 99.9 of 100 in poker,” he told Sports Illustrated in 1976. “At hi-lo, table-limit poker, I’m the best in the world.”

Finally, Red Mascara. Mr. Mascara wrote a song, “I’m From New Jersey” in 1960 and spent the next 55 years on a quixotic quest to have it made the official state song.

He came closest to his goal in 1972, when the Legislature passed a bill recognizing “I’m From New Jersey” as the official state song. Mr. Mascara had hired a band to play it from the gallery of the Assembly chamber. But Gov. William Cahill vetoed it, telling reporters that the only thing worse than that song was hearing Mr. Mascara sing it.

Random notes: June 26, 2015.

Friday, June 26th, 2015

Obit watches: Patrick Macnee. A/V Club. LAT.

Phil “Nick Danger” Austin, founding member of the Firesign Theater, passed away on the 18th, but the paper of record just got around to running his obit.

Shepard Fairey has been charged with two counts of “malicious destruction of property” for tagging buildings in Detroit.

The police say he tagged as many as 14 buildings with his signature images, which include the face of Andre the Giant. Nine of the building or business owners were interested in pressing charges.

Two things from the WP that kind of tickled my fancy:

1. How much water do California pot growers use? The answer is: well, that’s hard to quantify, for obvious reasons. But a group of researchers have made an attempt to come up with a number, and their estimate is that pot growing uses about the same amount of water as almond growing.

2. Don’t let your pet goldfish loose in the nearest pond, because they will become gianormous and screw up the ecosystem.

(Do I need a “Fish” category?)

Obit watch: June 24, 2015.

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

For the record: Don Featherstone.

Frances Kroll Ring has died at the age of 99. The significance of this is that she was F. Scott Fitzgerald’s personal secretary at the end of his life, while he was working on “The Last Tycoon”.

Obit watch: June 23, 2015.

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

This has been semi-well reported elsewhere (except, oddly, in the paper of record); James Horner. (Edited to add 2: NYT obit. In fairness, it appears that they were waiting for official confirmation from Horner’s people that he was actually flying the plane; other sources seemed to be basing their reports on “well, it was his plane, and he hasn’t called anybody since it went down to say ‘I’m alive!’, so…”)

Dick Van Patten: LAT. A/V Club. (Edited to add: NYT.)

(He was in “Soylent Green”? I need to watch that movie “again”, as I’ve only ever seen parts of it in the “edited for television” version.)

Obit watch: June 16, 2015.

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

Blaze Starr, noted “burlesque performer” and paramour of Louisiana governor Earl Long, has passed away at the age of 83.

Edited to add: better WP obit.

Their affair was an open secret until the governor’s wife had him committed to a mental hospital in Texas in 1959. Long was released after several days, then returned to New Orleans, where he “received redheaded Blaze Starr, his favorite Bourbon Street stripper, at 2:30 a.m.,” according to Time magazine.
“At week’s end,” the magazine added, “six doctors gravely warned Long that he would risk his life if he undertook any more strenuous activity.”
He died a year later.

Obit watch: June 11, 2015.

Thursday, June 11th, 2015

It seems like all I’m doing this week is posting obituaries. I could do with a week where good people don’t die.

Ornette Coleman, noted jazz musician.

Christopher Lee: NYT. WP. A/V Club.

Not exactly an obit, but:

Spain gave its greatest writer, Miguel de Cervantes, a formal burial Thursday nearly 400 hundred years after his death, unveiling a funeral monument holding recently unearthed bone fragments believed to include those of the author of “Don Quixote.”

Edited to add: A/V Club obit for Ornette Coleman.

Lawrence challenged me to find some Coleman on YouTube that isn’t “unlistenable” (his word, not mine). I’ve never really acquired the ability to appreciate jazz, but I like this well enough.

Obit watch: June 10, 2015.

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

Vincent Musetto passed away yesterday. NYT. NY Post.

I’ve written about Mr. Musetto before. For those who don’t remember, he was a long-time employee of the NY Post, and the man behind one of the greatest headlines in the history of newspapers:

Obit watch: June 9, 2015.

Tuesday, June 9th, 2015

Vincent Bugliosi, former LA County deputy DA, the man who prosecuted Charles Manson, and co-author (with Curt Gentry) of Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders. (Edited to add: NYT obit.)

(I’m back home now and slowly dipping my toes into the water. After action report to come soon-ish.)

Random notes: May 18, 2014.

Monday, May 18th, 2015

Lawrence has been on the Waco biker gang shootout like a fat man on a Chinese buffet. I’d encourage you to go here and here for coverage. (I was out and about with friends pretty much all day yesterday, which is why I’m running behind.)

A few random thoughts:

  • Before yesterday, I couldn’t have named five biker gangs; my knowledge pretty much stopped with the Hells Angels, Bandidos, and Mongols (the latter because of their trademark battle). Not that I’m proud of my ignorance or anything, just saying.
  • A lot of yesterday’s stories included some variation on “Twin Peaks corporate office was unavailable for comment”. Of course; it was a Sunday. But I figure there’s got to be a 24/7 emergency number for franchise owners to call…

    “Thank you for calling the Twin Peaks hotline. If you have an emergency, press 1.”

    “Thank you. If your restaurant is on fire, press 1. If your restaurant is flooding, press 2. If there is a shootout between rival biker gangs going on, press 3. If someone is committing an act of regicide, press 4.”

    You have selected regicide. If you know the name of the king or queen being murdered, press one.

  • Speaking of Twin Peaks corporate, Lawrence quotes: “Twin Peaks corporate “is ‘seriously considering revoking’ the Waco location’s franchise agreement.” Gee, you don’t say. (As I was writing this post, the Statesman reported that the franchise has, indeed, been yanked.)
  • “”We are horrified by the criminal, violent acts that occurred outside of our Waco restaurant today.” Shocked, shocked we are to find out that biker gangs used our restaurant as a meeting place. (I know it is early and I’m relying on news media coverage, but it seems pretty well established at this point that this was a biker hangout, and that the management knew it.)
  • Not only did they shoot up Twin Peaks, they walked the check at Denny’s and were rude to the Hooters girls. “They come in here all the time. I’ll keep waiting on them because that is my job. But this whole thing is just so crazy. And it’s also disrespectful, because of lot of those girls at Twin Peaks used to work here.”
  • Seriously, I feel bad for the Twin Peaks and Don Carlos staff, who are probably going to lose at least several days of pay (if not their jobs) over this. Twin Peaks had their liquor license yanked temporarily, though the reports I’ve read say they can reopen as a restaurant “as soon as police allow it to be opened”.

Obit watch: Garo Yepremian, legendary Miami Dolphins kicker.

A while back, I linked to a NYT story about the Clif Bar people ending their sponsorships of certain athletes because of their discomfort with the risk involved. One of those athletes, Dean Potter, was quoted in the article.

Dean Potter was killed in a BASE jumping accident over the weekend.

Penn Jillette on the closing of the Riveria. The Riveria was actually the first place I ever stayed in Vegas.

Finally, and on a lighter note, the NYT ran an interview with Don Rickles. The news peg is that the complete “CPO Sharkey” is being released on DVD Tuesday. I had actually completely forgotten the existence of “CPO Sharkey” (though I’m sure I watched it) until the paper of record reminded me. Man, it is hard getting old.

Edited to add: Well. Well well well. Well.

The Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco will be permanently closed as a result of Sunday’s deadly shooting.

Quel fromage! I wonder what they’re going to replace it with. Maybe a Bikinis? Or perhaps a Bombshells? Wait, wait, I know: perhaps someplace good? Or at least not degrading to women?

Can’t get no antidote for blues…

Friday, May 15th, 2015

It is pouring down rain this morning in Austin. Somehow that seems fitting.

B.B. King: NYT. A/V Club. LAT. WP.

Obit watch: May 14, 2015.

Thursday, May 14th, 2015

This seems to have been horribly buried in the Statesman, but noted Texas fiddler Johnny Gimble passed away over the weekend.

In the 1950s, he played with Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys, the most popular Western swing band of the day, sometimes adding a fifth string to his fiddle to achieve a lower, rounder and louder sound. (Wills also played fiddle.) For a time he was part of the house band at a club Wills had opened in Dallas. He was featured on recordings by Marty Robbins, Lefty Frizzell and Ray Price, among others, and he was the host of a musical television show in Waco, Tex., “Johnny Gimble and the Homefolks” (for which he hired Willie Nelson to play bass in the band).

Then, in the late 1960s, he moved to Nashville, where he became one of country music’s most sought-after session players. He recorded with Chet Atkins, Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty and Dolly Parton, among others, and was a member of the Million Dollar Band, an all-star ensemble including Atkins, Roy Clark and Floyd Cramer that was featured on the television show “Hee Haw.”

I can’t embed it, but here’s a great version of “Take Me Back To Tulsa” with George Jones and Mr. Gimble.

And I can embed this: a profile of Mr. Gimble produced by a Waco TV station.

Obit watch: May 11, 2015.

Monday, May 11th, 2015

Conceptual artist Chris Burden.

(Edited to add 5/12: NYT.)

I’ve touched on Mr. Burden and his work before, particularly the notorious “Shoot”. This is one work I was not aware of:

For his master’s thesis, he executed “Five Day Locker Piece,” a durational performance in which he locked himself inside an ordinary school locker measuring just two feet high, two feet wide and three feet deep. The locker directly above contained five gallons of bottled water, and the locker directly below held an empty five-gallon bottle.