Archive for the ‘Obits’ Category

Obit watch: April 19, 2017.

Wednesday, April 19th, 2017

Kevin O’Brien, who blogged under the pseudonym “Hognose” at WeaponsMan, passed away yesterday.

I wasn’t a personal friend of Hognose, and I was a relative newcomer to his blog. I think I found it by way of a link from Tam last year. But this is a huge loss to the gun blogging community.

Hognose was an ex-Special Forces guy (the obit linked above goes into more detail on his service) who wrote a great deal…and I could stop there, because he often turned out three or more posts a day. Substantial posts, too, not stuff that was quickly tossed off.

And he wrote on a wide variety of topics. He wrote a lot about historic and contemporary military weaponry, drawing from his SF background. He also covered military history, contemporary military leadership, and politics (mostly as it related to the military).

He was interested in historical arms in general, but especially obscure Czechoslovakian arms (military and sporting) and was working on a book about Czech guns. He wrote a great deal about the problems with the VA system. He covered defensive shootings (and sort of picked up the “When Guns Are Outlawed…” mantle from Weer’d). Hognose and his brother were building their own plane; hr wrote quite a bit about the build process, and some about aviation in general. He was on Kathleen Kane like a fat man on a Chinese buffet.

The list goes on. He was eclectic. And if he said something, he was good about backing it up with sources.

Nice tribute from Tam.

My hope is that his family leaves the blog up, or at least makes the content available for download. We are already diminished by the loss of Hognose as a blogger; it would be worse if the valuable information he provided over the last five years was irrevocably lost as well.

Obits and firings: April 14, 2017.

Friday, April 14th, 2017

Dan Rooney, of Pittsburgh Steelers fame, and former ambassador to Ireland.

A powerful voice in the NFL for decades, often out of the public eye, he helped settle two players’ strikes, served on many league committees and was a confidante and adviser to three commissioners. He fought to give more opportunities for minority coaches to ascend in the NFL, an effort that prompted the adoption of what is known as the Rooney Rule, which requires teams to interview at least one minority coach in the process of hiring a head coach.

As Lawrence noted in a comment yesterday, it looks like Judge Sheila Abdus-Salaam’s death is being considered a suicide. I didn’t want to say so at the time, but that’s what I was afraid of.

Some wisdom from other, better people:

…as the Bloggess says, depression lies. Depression tells me that it’s never going to change. Depression tells me that there’s no hope, that I’m going to feel this way forever. Depression tells me I’ve tried everything to get better and it doesn’t work. Depression tells me that I’m a failure as a husband, a father, a friend. Depression tells me that I suck at my job — that if clients are happy with my work it’s only because they are deluded.

The number for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

Firings after the jump.

(more…)

Obit watch: April 13, 2017.

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

J. Geils, of J. Geils Band fame. Remember “Centerfold”? I used to have that on a 45 somewhere.

(Kids, ask your parents about records.)

My brother mentioned Charlie Murphy‘s death yesterday, and I’m embarrassed to admit: it rang no bells with me until I read the obit and realized, “Oh, yeah, the ‘True Hollywood Stories’ guy from ‘Chappelle’s Show’.” (I didn’t watch the show first run, but Lawrence has some DVDs that we’ve been watching from time to time.)

And I think this is worth noting for news value:

Sheila Abdus-Salaam, an associate judge on New York State’s highest court and the first African-American woman to serve on that bench, was found dead on Wednesday in the Hudson River, the authorities said.

I don’t want to speculate, but it doesn’t seem like the authorities suspect foul play at the moment.

Obit watch: April 12, 2017.

Wednesday, April 12th, 2017

Dorothy Mengering, David Letterman’s mother and sometime “Late Show” correspondent.

“He kidded me in Norway,” she told the St. Petersburg Times, explaining that he asked her whether she’d seen any fjords lately. “‘I was supposed to say ‘No, but I’ve seen some Chevys.’ I didn’t get it until after we were off the air. I saw the tape of the show, and then it dawned on me.”

Obit watch: April 7, 2017.

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Don Rickles: NYT. LAT. AV Club.

Joe Harris passed away on March 26th, though the NYT didn’t get around to reporting it until a week later. Mr. Harris was a commercial illustrator who is credited with creating the original Trix rabbit. Later on, he joined Total TeleVison, a company that produced Saturday morning cartoons. There he created Underdog.

Yeah, the animation may not have been great, but it did have one of the best cartoon theme songs ever.

Question for the huddled, wretched masses yearning to breathe free: what are some of the other great cartoon theme songs? Off the top of my head, I love the themes for “SuperChicken” and “George of the Jungle” (I have been known to quote the “SuperChicken” theme at work.) Oddly enough, I also have fond memories of the “Hong Kong Phooey” theme (and when are we going to get a live action “Hong Kong Phooey” movie?). Am I just a sucker for good theme songs wrapped around bad animation?

Obit watch: April 6, 2017.

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

I’m seeing reports from reliable sources (and CNN) that Don Rickles has passed away, though I’m not seeing anything link-worthy.

If I get a chance, I’ll update later today: otherwise, it may be tomorrow before I’m able to throw up a good round-up.

Obit watch: April 5, 2017.

Wednesday, April 5th, 2017

Radley Metzger, film director. (“The Opening of Misty Beethoven”, “Camille 2000″)

I realize this is a little obscure, even by my standards. But I’d actually heard of Radley Metzger by way of Roger Ebert’s memorable review of “Camille 2000″. (I believe this is reprinted in I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie, a book every film buff should have.)

So that made 85 times he had seen “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.” Eighteen times to go. I wonder if he was the guy who sat behind me the last time I saw it at the Clark. He was reciting the dialog under his breath and when the usher protested, he flashed a card with the name Fred C. Dobbs on it.

Obit watch: March 31, 2017.

Friday, March 31st, 2017

Donald Harvey is burning in Hell.

Mr. Harvey, among the most prolific mass murderers in United States history, confessed to killing 37 people, mostly hospital patients, over two decades in Ohio and Kentucky.

Mr, Harvey was, according to reports, attacked and killed by another prisoner.

Mr. Harvey killed most of his victims by poisoning them with substances like cyanide, rat poison, petroleum distillate or arsenic, which he often mixed into beverages or foods like freshly baked pie.
Others were suffocated in their hospital beds, either with their pillows or by oxygen tanks that he refused to refill.

“I felt what I was doing was right,” he told reporters in 1987. “I was putting people out of their misery. I hope if I’m ever sick and full of tubes or on a respirator, someone will come and end it.”

Obit watch: March 30, 2017.

Thursday, March 30th, 2017

William Powell apparently passed away July 31st of last year. However,

It was not until last week that his death became more widely known, with the theatrical release of “American Anarchist,” a documentary about Mr. Powell. His death was noted in the closing credits.

He was 66, and died of a heart attack.

Mr. Powell was most famous as the author of The Anarchist Cookbook .

Mr. Powell never revised the book or wrote a sequel, but his original stayed in print, through Lyle Stuart and its successor company, Barricade Books, and most recently by Delta Press. Eventually, he renounced the book. In 2000, he posted a statement to that effect on Amazon.com. And later, in 2013, he expressed his regret in an article he wrote for The Guardian.

Obit watch: March 22, 2017.

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2017

Chuck Barris, “Gong Show” host and noted CIA assassin, has passed away.

Or has he? You know, a conspiracy to fake his own death and go on one last mission for The Company is exactly the kind of thing that would appeal to Mr. Barris…

Colin Dexter, mystery writer. I haven’t read any of the Inspector Morse novels yet, though they are on my big list to read someday, so I can’t offer much about Mr. Dexter. However, The Rap Sheet has a good round-up and I would expect more tributes there as time goes by.

Obit watch: March 20, 2017.

Monday, March 20th, 2017

David Rockefeller.

After the death in 1979 of his older brother Nelson A. Rockefeller, the former vice president and four-time governor of New York, David Rockefeller stood almost alone as the remaining family member with an outsize national profile. Only Jay Rockefeller, a great-grandson of John D. Rockefeller, had earned prominence as a governor and United States senator from West Virginia. No one from the family’s younger generations has attained or perhaps aspired to David Rockefeller’s stature.

Obit watch: March 16, 2017.

Thursday, March 16th, 2017

Bob Bruce. Mr. Bruce joined the Colt .45s in 1962 (he’d previously been with the Detroit Tigers) and pitched for them, winning 15 games during the 1964 season.

Of greater historical significance: when the Astrodome opened and the Colt .45s became the Houston Astros, Mr. Bruce was the starting pitcher for their opening game in the Astrodome.

In five seasons in Houston, Bruce went 42-58 with a 3.78 ERA.

Royal Robbins, noted climber. He was most famous for his advocacy of “clean” (“leave no trace”) climbing.

“I think that we were drawn to our ethical stance because it was harder that way, frankly, and I think whatever’s harder has to be better,” Robbins told Outside magazine in 2010. “That’s why I have so much respect for free soloists these days.”

I’m not sure that I buy the “whatever’s harder has to be better” philosophy, but there is a certain resonance to the meta-idea:

He added of Robbins, “His philosophy was that it’s not getting to the summit but how you do it that counts.”