Celebrity Death Watch: Georges Gutelman evacuated Ethiopian Jews to Israel as part of Operation Moses in the 1980’s. Laurel Griggs was a teenage actress. Ernest J. Gaines was a novelist, best known for The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Robert Freeman photographed celebrities, particularly The Beatles. Edward Cullinan was an architect, whose work included the visitor center at Fountains Abbey, which is one of my favorite places in England. Tom Spurgeon edited The Comics Journal. Browning Bryant was a singer-songwriter, best known for the song, "Patches," arguably one of the worst songs of all time. John Campbell Brown was the Astronomer Royal for Scotland. Dorothy Seymour Mills was a baseball historian. Wat Misaka was the first person of color to play professional basketball. Fred Cox played for the Minnesota Vikings and co-invented the nerf football. Jake Burton Carpenter popularized snowboarding as a sport. Barbara Hillary was the first woman to reach both the North and South Poles. Colin Mawby wrote choral music.
Maria Perego was a puppeteer who created Topo Gigio, the mouse who appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show. I was sometimes allowed to stay up late specifically to watch that little mouse.
Gahan Wilson was a cartoonist, who specialized in the bizarre and macabre. His work appeared in a number of publications, including The New Yorker and Playboy.
John Simon was a theatre and film reviewer for New York Magazine and other publications. His tastes were pretty much the exact opposite of mine, which made his reviews useful in a way. That is, if he loved something, I was likely to hate it and vice versa. He also had the annoying habit of criticizing actors for their looks, rather than their acting ability.
Thai Dinner: Tuesday night was a dinner with some members of the Loser community, i.e. devotees of the Washington Post Style Invitational. I continue to be fascinated by the level of community that has evolved among a group of people whose common bond is a humor contest. We went to District Thai, which was reasonably good, at least if the drunken noodles I got are an indicator. One amusing tidbit is that another attendee, who I hadn’t met in person before, turns out to be the cousin of a storyteller I had recently taken a workshop with. Anyway, it was a nice night out and I’d like to thank the guy who was visiting from Michigan for providing the excuse for it.
Book Club: Wednesday night was Book Club. This session’s book was The Burgess Boys by Elizabeth Strout. I’ll write more about it when I do my quarterly book round up, but for now I will say two things: 1) we all liked it and 2) it was the third book we’ve read recently that was set in Maine, which appears to be entirely coincidental.
The Weekend: I barely left my house all weekend. I got through some household odds and ends, though there is still plenty to sort out. I did go out Sunday to go to the shloshim (memorial service after 30 days of mourning) for Bob, which was reasonably inspiring. However, I will note that when the organizer of an event suggests people say "one or two sentences," one should not then tell three rambling stories that take up over 10 minutes.
Neighborhood Kerfuffle: The town of Vienna is getting a WaWa (a brand of convenience store, which is popular, though I suspect that is largely because it isn’t a 7-11). Alas, they have gotten into the bad graces of local residents by removing three 100-year-old maple trees in the course of construction.
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