April 13th, 2020

storyteller doll

Catching Up

Celebrity Death Watch: William Bartholomay owned the Milwaukee Braves and was responsible for moving them to Atlanta, which led to baseball guidelines on local ownership. Richard Reeves was a political reporter and columnist. Princess Maria-Teresa of Bourbon-Parma, who was both a socialist and a (Spanish) monarchist, was the first royal to die of COVID-19. Curly Neal played for the Harlem Globetrotters. Bob Andy was a reggae singer, as was Delroy Washington. Brian Blume co-founded TSR of D&D fame. Harriet Glickman persuaded Charles Schulz to integrate Peanuts by adding Franklin. Joseph Lowery was the president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference for 20 years. John Callahan was a soap opera actor. Tom Coburn was a representative and later Senator from Oklahoma, known as Dr. No for his use of technicalities to block federal spending bills. Philip W. Anderson won a Nobel prize for his work on solid state physics. Alan Merrill wrote “I Love Rock ’n’ Roll.” Lorena Borjas was a trans-gender rights activist. Joe Clark was the cofounder of Horizon Air. Dr. Evermor was a sculptor, whose work included much of the carousel at The House on the Rock. Bucky Pizzarelli was a jazz guitarist. Adam Schlesinger was a founding member of Fountains of Wayne and also wrote songs for numerous films and television shows, including songs performed at the Tony and Emmy Award shows. Ellis Marsalis, Jr. was a jazz pianist (and the father of Branford and Wynton). Aaron Rubashkin was the patriarch of a family that is probably most famous for a scandal in the kosher meat business involving exploitation of illegal immigrants. Margaret Burbridge was an astronomer. Honor Blackman played Pussy Galore in Goldfinger. Earl G. Graves founded Black Enterprise. James Drury was an actor, best known for starring in The Virginian. Steven C. Beering was the president of Purdue University for about 17 years. Faith Dane originated the role of Mazeppa in Gypsy and went on to an eccentric political career in D.C. Chynna Rogers was a rapper. Linda Tripp was Monica Lewinsky’s worst best friend. Arne Wilhelmsen co-founded Royal Caribbean Cruises. John Conway was a mathematician who was responsible for things called surreal numbers and monstrous moonshine, neither of which I understand but which have cool names. Tim Brooke-Taylor was a comedian, best known for The Goodies.

Robert Levinson’s death was announced on March 25th, though nobody knows exactly when (or, technically, if) he died. He was captured in Iran while on a mission for the CIA in 2007 and was officially considered the American who spent the longest time in captivity in Iran.

Tomie dePaola was a writer, illustrator, and storyteller. He was best known for his children’s book, Strega Nona.

Bill Withers was a soul / R&B singer. Some of his most famous songs include “Ain’t No Sunshine,” “Grandma’s Hands,” and “Lean On Me.”

Al Kaline was a baseball player. He was primarily an outfielder during his long and successful career with the Detroit Tigers. He was an 18-time All Star and is in the Hall of Fame. Definitely, one of the greats.

John Prine was a singer-songwriter. My favorite of his songs was “Paradise.” I have to admit that I am a little surprised over how much attention his death got, as his material was folksier than typical top-40 type stuff. By the way, I had used one of my ghoul pool trades for him when I read about his dire health prognosis, so he netted me 20 points.

Mort Drucker was a cartoonist. He drew most of the movie and television parodies in Mad Magazine.

Sir Stirling Moss was one of the greatest race car drivers of all time. He had been in poor health for a few years, which led him to retire from public life and earned him a place on my ghoul pool list, where he earned me 13 points. I had not realized until reading a few obituaries that he was Jewish. I had also thought I had read his autobiography as a teenager, but publication dates don’t make sense. It seems that I had actually read Graham Hill’s autobiography and remembered incorrectly. As I’ve said before, I thought I was wrong once, but I turned out to be mistaken.

Product I Won’t Be Reviewing: I saw a coupon for Peeps-flavored coffee creamer. I don’t understand artificial coffee creamer to begin with, as I firmly believe that, if coffee were meant to have cream and/or sugar in it, the beans would grow that way. If someone insists, I will permit them to have actual cream (or, even, milk). But I particularly don’t understand the idea of corrupting the elixir of life with artificial marshmallow flavoring. As far as I am concerned, Peeps exist entirely as a sculpture medium, not a foodstuff.

Work: There are approximately 1800 desk chairs one can order on-line. I am struggling with the paradox of choice.

Work itself is much as usual. I call into countless meetings and write emails about what happened at them. I did get a nice “attagirl” from my boss, i.e. the kind that comes with some money.

Socializing: I have had phone calls with several friends, email exchanges with a few relatives, a couple of zoom sessions with another group of friends, and board games with still other people I know. There are also lots of virtual concerts to go to. In short, keeping busy is no problem.

Pesach: Doing a seder over zoom (with friends) was just weird. I did cook well, though. I roasted a turkey breast and some vegetables (potato, carrot, onion, and fennel, tossed with olive oil and black pepper), which came out quite nice. I had been afraid the fennel would overwhelm the other flavors, but it really does mellow a lot when roasted. Total Wine had a decent selection of kosher wines and the Bartenura Pinot Grigio worked well with this. There was enough turkey for about 7 meals, by the way.

Speaking of Which: Happy seasonally appropriate holiday, everyone!

What I Am Not Getting Done: I need to focus on household paperwork, starting with taxes. And I am definitely not getting enough exercise, sigh.

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