Kirsty MacColl, pop and folk singer-songwriter.
Ian Dury, singer, lyricist, actor, and founder, frontman, & lead singer of the New Wave band Ian Dury and the Blockheads.
Jack Nitzsche, arranger, producer, songwriter and film score composer.
Tito Puente, Latin Jazz and Mambo musician, aka "The King of Latin Music".
Chet Atkins, country guitarist and co-creator of the Nashville sound
James Carr, extraordinary Rhythm & Blues and soul musical artist.
Read the rest of the list here.
The New York Times reports that Robert Degen passed away on November 23rd, his 104th birthday. While a later version of the song was the first to hit big, Degen was the first to copyright "The Hokey Pokey Dance" in 1944.
However, some believe that the song's origins really are as old as Goose or Grimm:
A similar song, called variously “Hokey Cokey” or “Cokey Cokey,” was reportedly a favorite of English and American soldiers in England during World War II, the authorship attributed sometimes to a popular British songwriter, Jimmy Kennedy, and sometimes to a London bandleader, Al Tabor.
Some Roman Catholic churchmen, meanwhile, have said that the words “hokey pokey” derive from “hocus pocus” — the Oxford English Dictionary concurs — and that the song was written by 18th-century Puritans to mock the language of the Latin Mass.
The waning popularity and presence of typewriters hasn't been lost on the author:
Mr. McCarthy is known for being taciturn, particularly about his writing. He came to realize that not only his working method but even his tools are puzzling to a younger generation.
He remembers one summer when some graduate students were visiting the Santa Fe Institute. “I was in my office clacking away,” he said. “One student peered in and said: ‘Excuse me. What is that?’”
But don't think this is a signal of McCarthy going digital. What is he trading this typewriter in for? Another Olivetti.
Very sad news from the New York Times that the artist Jeanne-Claude, who collaborated with her partner and husband Christo, has died.
Their working methods, as described on their Web site, remained constant throughout the years. After jointly conceiving of a project, Christo made drawings, scale models and other preparatory works whose sale financed the project. Working with paid assistants, they did the on-site work: wrapping buildings, trees, walls or bridges; erecting umbrellas (“The Umbrellas,” 1991); spreading pink fabric around islands in Biscayne Bay near Miami (“Surrounded Islands,” 1983).
“We want to create works of art of joy and beauty, which we will build because we believe it will be beautiful,” Jeanne-Claude said in a 2002 interview. “The only way to see it is to build it. Like every artist, every true artist, we create them for us.”
Anyone who was in New York for the Gates is familiar with the impact of the couple's monumental yet temporary work. For an online retrospective check out the National Gallery's site here.
All the big names in town would do it: stop by the Georgetown Barnes & Noble or Politics and Prose, stare admiringly at the cover, then furtively flip to the index to make sure your place in the power structure was secure.
“I suppose we’ll actually have to read the whole book from now on,” said former Clinton adviser and CNN commentator Paul Begala. “Heaven forbid.”
Brokelyn.com has a guide for New Yorkers who want to get rid of old items. Furniture, tires, light bulbs, hazardous materials -- everything you want to throw away but don't want to just dump in the Gowanus Canal.
Image via Science of the Time.
Four goats have been found in the New York City area over the past four months -- and that's after six goats were found in 2008. Amazingly, possibility is that these animals are escapees who managed to avoid becoming victim of a ritual sacrifice:
While the goats could have been dumped sick animals or live-market escapees, a number of neighbors have called animal-care officials to speculate that the goats might be part of the sacrificial rituals of Santeria, a religion created several centuries ago by West Africans enslaved in colonial Cuba and imported to New York City in the 1940s.“The neighborhood where these goats are being found, there are a lot of Santeria, people who practice Santeria,” said Susie Coston, the national shelter director for Farm Sanctuary. “They’ve seen skulls and obvious sacrificed animals before.”
"When I look at books, I see an outdated technology, like scrolls before books," said James Tracy, headmaster of Cushing and chief promoter of the bookless campus. "This isn't 'Fahrenheit 451' [the 1953 Ray Bradbury novel in which books are banned]. We're not discouraging students from reading. We see this as a natural way to shape emerging trends and optimize technology."
There are some good arguments for digital collections, but I have to admit that this decision to completely remove all books doesn't sit very well with me. For one thing, what will people read during power outages?
Then again, the numbers do suggest that the books aren't exactly flying off the shelves: "School officials said when they checked library records one day last spring only 48 books had been checked out, and 30 of those were children's books."
About 16,000 words have succumbed to pressures of the Internet age and lost their hyphens in a new edition of the Shorter Oxford English Dictionary.Read the rest at Reuters.
Bumble-bee is now bumblebee, ice-cream is ice cream and pot-belly is pot belly.
And if you've got a problem, don't be such a crybaby (formerly cry-baby).
So I'm sad to report the death of one of the groups two founding members, Beau Velasco. Details are scarce (it was announced last night via Twitter) but for now the best remembrance is in the music:
More videos at Brooklyn Vegan.
Wal-Mart and its supporters dismiss ... opposition as exaggerated, because the store would not sit directly on parkland or on what is known as the core battlefield, where the most intense fighting took place. Instead, the site is in what was the Union rear.via Kathleen
Featured on local television newscasts when she voted last year, Baines, who is black, said she backed Obama ''because he's for the colored.'' She said she never thought she would live to see a black man become president.
Read her full obit here.
Mr. McAllister said it used to be easy to visit salmon streams in the Great Bear Rainforest, a large area of protected forest on the central coast, and see 20 to 30 bears a day feasting on salmon.
“Now you go out there and there are zero bears. The reports are coming in from Terrace to Cape Caution … the bears are gone,” he said.
“And we haven't seen any cubs with mothers. That's the most alarming part of this,” Mr. McAllister said.
Cheever was to die of kidney cancer within a few years—but for the effects of long-term sobriety we can turn to Raymond Carver, who, after the usual pile-up of emergency rooms, courtrooms, detox centres and drying-out clinics, got sober in 1977. For a year he wrote nothing (“I can’t convince myself it’s worth doing”), just played bingo and got fat on doughnuts, but then he remarried, and he went on to write some of his best work—he was nominated for a Pulitzer prize for his story collection, “Cathedral”, illuminating the downtrodden blue-collar lives he had written about before with unexpected moments of revelation and connection.Read the full article here.
In the past, those dark ages of the late 90s and early 00s, it was possible to sit with a fellow lass or lad on adjacent bar stools and spend hours debating at increasing levels of volume, vitriol and frustration, exactly what the original TGIF lineup was. ...Even private debates you wouldn’t expect the internet to answer — was she at the party? did those two ever date? — are still solvable through a perusal of pictures on the Facebook, the Flickr and the rest of the public domain that has become our digital lives.
I know I gave up on handwriting long ago. If I handed you one of my reporter’s notebooks and you could decipher more than four or five words per page, you are some sort of secret codemaster....And maybe some of my best writing (that you’ll never see so you’ll never know if I’m telling the truth) is spread scattershot in convulsions of black ink and greasy margin smudges like rotten infestations on the husk of dead tree I carry around in my moleskin.
My signature bears witness to the breakdown of civilization as we know it. My signature used to be a thing of beauty — of distinction, anyway — a march of erect and discernable letters, some of them half-printed, ending in a bold lateral sweep. It was the sort of signature you'd expect from a man of substance — a pirate or a cowboy or an astronaut. Now it's just a jumpy squiggle, a bad EKG readout, a worm. I have, almost all of us have, lost it.My credit card ate my signature and in its place upchucked this senseless scrawl. There was a time when I could write my name as well as the next person and when a reader of discernment could tell that it was a signature and not an IOU or a note directing a bank teller to PUT CASH IN BAG NOW.
Awful Library Books is an entertaining blog where librarians post books that should be removed -- "weeded" -- from their collections. Like the 1983 exercise guide above.
I'm always a little disappointed to hear about books getting thrown away. Somewhere, I imagine there's someone who needs that 1966 copy of The Guide for Young Homemakers. But in reality these outdated books shouldn't be taking up space on library shelves. There are plenty of new, hopeful authors who would be happy to fill them.
And really, does anyone need this coffee table book from 1977?:
From the late 19th century onwards, stories of werewolf encounters tailed away significantly, says [Brian] Regal. “The spread of the idea of evolution helped kill off the werewolf because a canid-human hybrid makes no sense from an evolutionary point of view,” he says. “The ape-human hybrid, however, is not only evolutionarily acceptable, it is the basis of human evolution.”
Mollie Sugden's Mrs Slocombe was a recognisable working type – the shopworn divorcee trying to keep up appearances, defying the years with ever more lurid rinses, and returning home alone each night to her "little pussy", to which there was always at least one reference in every show.Of course, this video tribute really captures the essence of the show's humor. Comedy never really changes, does it?
Mrs Slocombe had an arch, Ortonesque way with the unfortunate phrase: "Captain Peacock, I do not respond to any man's finger!", she says in response to a summons from the boss. "Before we go any further, Mr Rumbold, Miss Brahms and I would like to complain about the state of our drawers. They're a positive disgrace."
The architect, Kisho Kurokawa was also well-known in the '60s for the Space Capsule Disco, which unfortunately doesn't seem to have photos readily available on the internet.
Maclean's magazine reviews Au Revoir to All That: Food, Wine and the Death of France by Michael Steinberger, including this terrifying news:
Charles de Gaulle’s famous remark—“How can you govern a country which has 246 varieties of cheese?”—grows ever more hollow. Prized cheeses are dying out as their makers retire unreplaced: in 2005, septuagenarian Célina Gagneux hung up her ladle and a two-centuries-old Alpine cheese, Vacherin d’Abondance, went extinct. Other raw-milk varieties—real cheeses, in the judgment of connoisseurs—even the iconic Camembert, are also under threat.
Not the Camembert! Read the full review here.
Read the story on Neatorama about Masabumi Hosono, the Japanese man who escaped the Titanic but was told by his countrymen that he should have gone down with the ship.
Hosono was denounced as a coward by Japanese newspapers and fired from his job with the Transportation Ministry. The ministry hired him back a few weeks later, but his career never recovered. College professors denounced him as immoral, and he was written up in Japanese textbooks as a man who had disgraced his country. There were even public calls for him to commit hara-kiri -ritual suicide - as means of saving face.
But I also love their version of the Surfaris' famous "Wipeout":
Decades ago, Americans were a simpler and much, much higher bunch. Pill Talk has a great selection of classic medical ads for drugs that would now get you arrested if you tried selling them. Looking at these ads reminds me of visiting the old site of the New Orleans' Museum of the American Cocktail, which was then part of the New Orleans Pharmacy Museum.
(Photo copyright Southen.)
The Detroit City Council voted in April to tear this incredible Beaux Arts landmark down. For a look inside it 22 years ago, when it was closed but still largely intact, check out this video.
Anyone know the latest status of the building?
(image copyright Meredith Allen)
The last three days I have walked to work in Manhattan in the pouring rain. To my dismay, it's suppose to keep raining this week. These pictures of melting ice pops make me long for hot hot weather and endless summer. I miss the simple summers of childhood.
I can think of plenty of puns to go with this piece, but rather than reducing it to Jay Leno-monologue status we should take this problem seriously:
A mysterious fungus attacking America's bats could spread nationwide within years and represents the most serious threat to wildlife in a century, experts warned Congress Thursday.
"I went into a cave last spring and most damn near cried," [Marvin Moriarty, acting deputy director of the Fish and Wildlife Service] said in an interview after the House panel.There were supposed to be 3,000 bats in the cave, the Greeley mine in Vermont. Moriarty and his colleagues could only find 33."And I don't think a single bat was going to make it out of the cave."
Compare the original book and the children's version. And read the full Observer story to discover why "It’s kind of a macabre idea for a children’s book."
Mr. Gans was a show business anomaly, with no movie or television career to speak of and a long-ago one-man show on Broadway that lasted a week. Still, when he died he was grossing $18 million a year as a sure bet to lure people into the casinos that hired him, which is what it's all about.
He had no tigers, no scantily clad assistants, no fireworks — only a seven-piece band, a prop or two, and the uncanny ability to summon the voices of dozens of celebrities a night. In singing a duet of "Unforgettable," for example, he would channel both Nat King Cole and Natalie Cole.
In other music news, Motley Crue did not smoke in the boys room and David Lee Roth was not hot for his teacher.
Image via NASA
Venetia Fair named Pluto when she was 11. She died at 90, on April 30, 2009, herself having a wonderful name. Read the full obituary over at The Los Angeles Times. The Pluto was downgraded to Kuiper Belt dwarf planet status, we still consider it one of man's best friends.
Image via the New York Times
Martha Mason, who passed away last week, spent most of her life in an iron lung after a childhood case of polio. She graduated from college, wrote for a newspaper, and even had a memoir published. Read the full, fascinating obituary over at The New York Times. You'll never complain about writer's block again.
Keynotes include one of America's literary lions, Paul Theroux, author of acclaimed travel literature, short-story collections, novels, criticism and children’s books; Ira Glass, National Public Radio's host and producer of “This American Life: and editor of a breathtaking anthology called The New Kings of Nonfiction; Alma Guillermoprieto, Latin American correspondent for The New Yorker and The New York Review of Books. The nation's foremost humor writer, Roy Blount Jr., will also be speaking at the conference, along with Stephanie Elizondo Griest, the "accidental memoirist" of Mexican-American society; Vogue's renowned narrative essay writer, Julia Reed; the nation's leading authority on Abraham Lincoln's assassination, Michael Kauffman; Gordon Grice, “the Stephen King of nature writers”; Wall Street Journal foreign correspondent and hunger expert, Roger Thurow; internationally acclaimed documentary filmmakers Allen Mondell and Cynthia Salzman Mondell; and a number of other storytellers.
Bob Shacochis, a National Book Award Winner (Swimming in the Volcano) who spoke at last year's conference, says the Mayborn is "the most compelling, remarkable writers' conference I've attended in more than 20 years of writers' conferences around the nation. Thanks to the Mayborn tribe of storytellers, I think of Dallas as a preferred destination, a center of literary gravity, perhaps the very heart of the universe these days for nonfiction writers in America."
And there are prizes. For information and to register, visit http://themayborn.unt.edu/MaybornConference2009.htm. For more information, contact George Getschow at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone: 972-746-1633, or Project Coordinator Jo Ann Ballentine, email@example.com, 940-565-4778, cell 940-368-1988. 940.368.1998. George Getschow at 972-746-1633.
via Love Made Visible.
For the most part, there is nothing funny about automobile accidents. But occasionally, an pile-up can seem a little less dire. Like when the road is covered in oh, I don't know... beer: That's the beauty of TruckSpills.com, where you can find pictures of wayward hauls of items like chickens, oranges, and tomahawk missiles, among many others. Check it out, and drive safely.