Archive for the ‘Death notices’ Category

Michael Siemon

March 8, 2018

My friend Michael Siemon died back on November 1st in Oakland CA, and now his California family have planned a memorial dance in his honor, on the afternoon of Sunday March 25th. The flyer:


A man of great charm and very wide intellectual and artistic interests.


Nanette Fabray

February 28, 2018

From the NYT on the 23rd on-line, “Nanette Fabray, Star of TV and Stage Comedies, Dies at 97” by Anita Gates:

(#1) Fred Astaire and Nanette Fabray on the set of The Band Wagon

Nanette Fabray, whose enthusiastic charm, wide smile and diverse talents made her a Tony Award-winning performer in the 1940s and an Emmy Award-winning comic actress in the 1950s, died on Thursday at her home in Palos Verdes, Calif. She was 97.

Warm memories for me, since I came to know her first in the 1953 movie musical The Band Wagon, which I saw as an impressionable young teen at the Radio City Music Hall. (I have the DVD and watched it again last weekend, with great pleasure.)


Donnelly Rhodes

January 21, 2018

In the NYT on the 10th on-line, “Donnelly Rhodes, Prolific Character Actor, Is Dead at 81” by Daniel E. Slotnik, beginning:

(#1) The craggy-faced Rhodes on screen

Donnelly Rhodes, a Canadian-born character actor best remembered by American television audiences for playing an escaped convict on the sitcom “Soap” and a brusque doctor on the recent reboot of “Battlestar Galactica,” died on Monday at a hospice facility near his home in Maple Ridge, British Columbia.

Rhodes was a major figure in the American branch of what I think of as the Acting Corps, a bank of reliable, competent, and versatile actors, many with recognizable faces — but without star status. (Discussion in my 7/20/15 posting “The Acting Corps”.) I took pleasure in his performances for over 50 years.


LGBT news from Stanford

January 19, 2018

(A posting delayed by assorted computer upheavals at my house and a monster cold, which has caused me to sleep 11 hours a day. In any case, LGBT news bulletins, but no sex at all.))

News from Wednesday the 10th, the monthly Happy Hour! of Stanford’s QUEST group:

(#1) Logo provided by Ryan Tamares for the QUEST website

The gathering (almost all staff these days, and very heavy on librarians of various sorts) was our 8th anniversary event, a return to the Old Pro, a sports bar just up Ramona St. in Palo Alto from my house (yes, a sports bar, but it’s convenient to Stanford, lots of parking, and the CalTrain).


This week’s terrible literary food pun

January 6, 2018

It starts with the piece by Calvin Baker on the life of poet Derek Walcott in the recent NYT Magazine “The Lives They Lived” issue (12/28 on-line, 12/31 in print), with this photo of the Nobel laureate:

(#1) Walcott in Hay-on-Wye, Wales, in 1993; photo credit: David Hurn/Magnum Photos

The village of Hay, on the river Wye, on the border between England and Wales, is famously picturesque, and I’ll get to that. But I was then struck by a recollection that there was in fact a village in England called Ham (also picturesque, and I’ll get to that too), which is not on the river Wye (though it’s close to the river Avon, as in Stratford-on-Avon, cue Shakespeare, so you could reasonably think of it as Ham-on-Avon) — but if it were, it would be (insert massive groan here) Ham-on-Wye. Well, it gets worse.


Amazing Grace of the Rising Sun

December 23, 2017

On this blog on 11/17/15, “The House of the Writhing Pun”, I wrote about “The House of the Rising Sun”, with Wikipedia notes on the folk song and a link to The Animals’ 1964 recordng of it; and added this note about the meter of the text:

Common meter: four lines of iambs, alternating tetrameter and trimeter: With the 2nd and 4th lines rhyming, An enormous number of texts — “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Amazing Grace”, for example — can be sung to this tune.

I hadn’t realized that one of these possibilities had been realized by serious musicians until this morning, when during hours of Christmas and Jesus music, public radio station KRCB in Santa Rosa CA broadcast a Blind Boys of Alabama recording of “Amazing Grace” (the text) sung to the tune of “The House of the Rising Sun”. Really quite moving. You can watch a live performance of it here.


Jerry Fodor

December 21, 2017

In the NYT on 11/30, an obituary by Margalit Fox, “Jerry A. Fodor, Philosopher Who Plumbed the Mind’s Depths, Dies at 82”, beginning:

Jerry A. Fodor, one of the world’s foremost philosophers of mind, who brought the workings of 20th-century computer technology to bear on ancient questions about the structure of human cognition, died on Wednesday at his home in Manhattan. He was 82.

The cause was complications of Parkinson’s disease and a recent stroke, his wife, Janet Dean Fodor, said.

More of the obit below, then a few personal remarks, and an extended discussion of an early influential work by Jerrold Katz and Jerry Fodor, The Structure of Langage: Readings in the Philosophy of Language (1964).


A dark week in early December

December 4, 2017

A week of death, punishment, and destruction. This week: deaths on M W F, punishment on Tu, destruction on Th.

(#1) John Cleese as the host on Monty Python’s “It’s Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart” show

Hello again, and welcome to the show. Tonight we continue to look at some famous deaths. Tonight we start with the wonderful death of Genghis Khan, conqueror of India.

Well, acually, today, the 4th, is Frank Zappa (1993). Friday, the 8th, is John Lennon (1980). And Wednesday, the 6th, is Wolfie M. himself (1791). Tomorrow, the 5th, is Krampusnacht, when the Christmas demon Krampus punishes naughty children (the night before St. Nicholas rewards the good ones, on his feast day). And Thursday, the 7th, is Pearl Harbor Day, the anniversary of the Japanese bombing of the naval base in Honolulu, which brough the United States into World War II.


Fay Zwicky

July 4, 2017

From today’s issue of The Australian, “Acclaimed poet Fay Zwicky dies in Perth at 83” by Paige Taylor:



Don Coleman

June 19, 2017

Family stuff.

From my cousin Eleaner Severin Houck, this death notice from the Reading (PA) Eagle: