Saturday, December 29, 2007

man knows not his time-- 2007

From World, excerpts from Edward Plowman's year-end list of "Departures"...

I'll list the ones that seem most interesting, obscure, and so on-- to me-- with occasional comments or links to earlier blog entries I've made this year...

Robert Adler, 93, Feb. 15—physicist who invented the first wireless television remote control in 1956.

He wasn't Mortimer Adler, but people everywhere salute him for this technological advance. Can you remember the Stone Age-- when people had to get up out of their seat to change channels?!

Momofuku Ando, 96, Jan. 5—Japanese inventor of ramen noodles (in 1958), victuals for an estimated 100 million people a day worldwide.

I honor Ando's efforts at lunch many-a-day. I especially like the Lime Chili Shrimp version...

Hank Bauer, 84, Feb. 9—New York Yankees All-Star outfielder who later managed Baltimore to its first pennant and World Series championship in 1966.

I'm not sure I knew this-- even though I claim to be a lifetime O's fan. It's also one more example of Yankee/Oriole interaction.

Ingmar Bergman, 89, July 30—internationally acclaimed Swedish director of more than 50 films (Smiles of a Summer Night, The Seventh Seal).

'Nuff said...

J. Robert Cade, 80, Nov. 27—University of Florida medicine professor who invented Gatorade.

Remember that Gatorade & chocolate milk "diet"?

John H. Cross Jr., 82, Nov. 15—pastor of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Ala., in 1963, when four girls at his church were killed in a bombing that became a turning point in the civil-rights movement.

Yvonne De Carlo, 84, Jan. 8—beautiful star who played Moses' wife in The Ten Commandments but achieved her greatest popularity on TV's The Munsters.

Calvert DeForest, 85, March 19—actor and comedian who played the white-haired, bespectacled oddball Larry "Bud" Melman on David Letterman's TV shows.

Larry Bud was a strange but memorable part of my formative years...

Bob Evans, 89, June 21—sausage maker who turned his 12-stool restaurant for truckers in southeast Ohio into a chain that boasts nearly 600 restaurants in 18 states.

Good restaurants and good sausage. It's an inside joke in our family-- about how much my dad loves the former...

Jerry Falwell, 73, May 15—Virginia megachurch pastor and co-founder of Liberty University who launched the Moral Majority to help make the religious right a powerful force in American politics.

Remember this great story about Falwell?

Dan Fogelberg, 56, Dec. 16—singer and songwriter whose hits "Leader of the Band" and "Same Old Lang Syne" helped define the soft-rock era.

Dan's music used to "soft-rock" my world-- back int he day...

Ruth Bell Graham, 87, June 14—China-born wife, confidante, and editorial advisor to evangelist Billy Graham; she was a life-long Presbyterian who mostly stayed home to raise their five children while he was on the road, but went on to become an author or co-author of 15 books.

Behind every great man...

Merv Griffin, 82, Aug. 12—singer, actor, and talk-show host who made his fortune inventing and producing the Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune TV game shows.

David Halberstam, 73, April 23—author and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for The New York Times, known for his controversial coverage of the Vietnam War.

I've read a few of his books and enjoyed each immensely. In particular, I recommend October 1964 for fans of baseball, politics/history or both.

Johnny Hart, 76, April 7—cartoonist, creator of the comic strip B.C., who often wove Christian themes into his work.

Leona Helmsley, 87, Aug. 20—New York billionaire hotel and real-estate magnate who sealed her reputation as the "queen of mean" during her 1989 trial for tax evasion.

But at least in the end, she was revealed as a more complicated character...

Arthur Jones, 80, Aug. 28—entrepreneur best known for inventing the Nautilus fitness machines in the 1960s that helped to spark the health club business.

Evel Knievel, 69, Nov. 30—soaring motorcycle daredevil whose feats (flight across 13 buses) and failures (rocket-powered Snake River Canyon crash) made him an international icon in the 1970s.

His baptism and testimony...

Madeleine L'Engle, 88, Sept. 6—author whose novel A Wrinkle in Time has been enjoyed by generations of schoolchildren and adults since the 1960s.

I'm reading this with the kids right now-- and will blog on this when we finish it.

Marcel Marceau, 84, Sept. 22—French-born mime artist who changed his name to hide his Jewishness in World War II and went on to create the alter ego "Bip" the clown.

Mstislav Rostropovich, 80, April 27—master cellist, conductor, and music director of the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, D.C., 1977-1994, who championed artistic freedom and human rights in his Soviet homeland during the last decades of the Cold War.

As a violinist growing up in the D.C. area, his name was memorable to me!

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., 89, Feb. 28—bow-tied Pulitzer Prize--winning historian and liberal "court philosopher" of the Kennedy administration.

Perhaps this point is oversold in the case of Schlesinger, but in noting that one is fortunate to have his history written by friends, I have often heard reference to Schlesinger's interpretation of FDR's New Deal.

Paul Tibbets, 92, Nov. 1—pilot of the B-29 bomber Enola Gay that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima.

Werner von Trapp, 91, Oct. 11—member of the Austrian musical family made famous by the 1965 movie The Sound of Music (he was Kurt).

Kurt Vonnegut, 84, April 11—best-selling satirical novelist and social critic whose works dripped with cynicism and dark humor (Slaughterhouse-Five).

I had a Vonnegut phase in grad school, reading at least a half dozen of his novels and the compendium of short stories, Welcome to the Monkey House (including Harrison Bergeron-- something I've used in college classrooms ever since!).

Dick Wilson, 91, Nov. 19—actor who played TV's uptight grocer Mr. Whipple in commercials, begging customers, "Please don't squeeze the Charmin."

Click here for a feature on his "work"...


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