Sunday, March 29
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Tag: obituaries

Thank you Hank

Thank you Hank

Music, People
Although I knew this day would come, it doesn't make it any easier to handle.  Hank Jones, the man most responsible for sparking my love of jazz, has died at age 91.  Jones' always tasteful and elegant brand of swing may not have blazed any musical trails, but it always made for good listening. The music was a reflection of the man - gentle, thoughtful with a touch of humor, and never self-important. Jones was the last surviving member of an immensely gifted trio of brothers - Thad (1923-1986) made a name for himself as much for his trumpeting acumen as for his compositional skills, and Elvin (1927-2004) was one of the most respected drummers in the genre.  Hank's understated style made him the least flashy or famous of his brothers, but he was always my favorite. You can find an
Goodbye blue sky…Barthy burgers…girls…

Goodbye blue sky…Barthy burgers…girls…

People, TV & Radio
A beloved piece of my generation's childhood is no more.  Les Lye, a writer and actor known to '80s children as any number of adult characters from You Can't Do That on Television, has died at age 84.  According to what I've read Lye had a long and successful career in Canadian radio and TV, but Americans like me all remember him from Nickelodeon as Barth the cook, Nasti the German dungeon master, and of course El Capitano the vaguely Hispanic military executioner. As a last goodbye to a truly underrated performer and important part of my wasted youth, let's take a look back at some great Les Lye moments.  And by great I mean wet, slimy, and tasty.
Michael

Michael

Music
No matter what objectionable things I think he did, no matter what objectionable things I know he did, at this moment I can only look back on Michael Jackson's half century on this planet and think of the great things he did.  I've gone through various stages of love and hate regarding Michael over the years.  But one thing I didn't consider until today was that I've never really known of a musical universe without Michael in it in some fashion. I had just turned seven when Thriller came out, and I played that album a million times.  Not long after that, maybe around 1984 or 1985, I suddenly decided that anything besides hard rock or heavy metal was garbage.  I trashed my copy of Thriller and never even gave any of his subsequent albums a shot (I had an image to uphold, you know).  But
Gone but not forgotten – Harvey Korman

Gone but not forgotten – Harvey Korman

People
I'm not going to claim that I was a huge Harvey Korman fan and was familiar with his entire body of work just because he's now dead, but I saw enough of him to know that he was damn funny. Hell, he gained comedy immortality for his performance in Blazing Saddles alone. So before YouTube pulls the clip, enjoy just one classic moment from our dearly departed funnyman...
Gone but Not Forgotten – John Rutsey

Gone but Not Forgotten – John Rutsey

Music, People
Somehow this news escaped my attention when it first broke, but John Rutsey (co-founder and original drummer for Rush) died at age 55 over the weekend. Preliminary word is the cause of death was a heart attack possibly related to complications from diabetes, which he had been living with for decades. Rush fans know the background well - Rutsey helped co-found the band in Toronto during the summer of 1968, along with guitarist Alex Lifeson and bassist/singer Jeff Jones. Jones's stay was brief, and he was replaced in short order by Geddy Lee. After more lineup shifts the trio of Lee, Lifeson, and Rutsey was cemented in May 1971. It was this trio that released the band's self-titled debut in March 1974. Rutsey left Rush in July 1974, with the main causes reportedly being health conc...
Now who will teach us about potato clocks?

Now who will teach us about potato clocks?

TV & Radio
Remember that scene in Star Wars when Obi-Wan Kenobi almost faints after the Alderaan gets blown up by the Death Star? He wasn't even there, but knew on an instinctual level that something terrible had happened. That's how I felt when I learned of the death of beloved childhood icon and all-around neat guy Don Herbert, better known to you and me as Mr. Wizard. He had many shows throughout his long life, but only one matters to me. It goes without saying that for many of my generation - at least the ones with cable - Mr. Wizard's World was a genuine institution. Through it not only did I learn what a moldy orange looked like when magnified 20 times, but also how I could use everyday household items to blow stuff up. He introduced us to the wonders of the COMPUTER (which I think...
So long, Peter

So long, Peter

People
I have avoided television news like the plague since the 2000 US general election. While the legal battle between then-Governor Bush and Vice President Gore was certainly excellent fodder for the talking heads, I grew very tired of hearing them analyze every single word uttered by anyone even remotely connected to the two sides. The venom that spewed forth from that debacle is still coursing through the veins of this country, and the partisan lapdogs who constitute the majority of the national news media are only too happy to contribute to that environment. It is precisely this brand of scorched earth journalism that Jon Stewart so successfully exposed on the now-defunct CNN show Crossfire. Stewart, incidentally, is a pompous ass who is entirely too satisfied with himself, but on that occa...