Rest in peace, Alan Johnson, the man who choreographed this gem.
Rest in peace, Alan Johnson, the man who choreographed this gem.
We met at the Spring Dance in Boulder on April 22, 1984, and for the next fifteen years he was my partner, my cohort, my love, my best friend, and an indelible part of my life. We went from Colorado to Michigan to New Mexico, raising gardens and a puppy, Sam, and sharing the joys and tribulations, good times and sad, tests and the odds that all couples face. We never married because we couldn’t by law, but we had everything married couples have, and when we parted in June 1999, we stayed friends, even to the point of being better friends apart.
When I moved to Miami in 2001, he moved back to Colorado, and ended up there last year. He suffered a stroke last Christmas and complications developed two weeks ago. He slept away last night in the house he grew up in with his family at his side, at peace and the way he wanted to go.
I have so many memories, so many thoughts, so many pictures; after all, fifteen years together can’t be summarized in just words and pictures. I will just say that my life was better with him in it than without and that he will always be a part of me. The reminders at home and in my heart are good things of good times and a good life.
This is one of my favorite pictures of him, taken in August 1986 when we went on a sailing trip around northern Michigan for my dad’s 60th birthday. Although the biggest piece of water he’d ever seen was the man-made lake behind his house in Longmont, he took to sailing right away. It was the first of many such adventures we took, and his attitude was always “It’ll be fun!” And so it was.
I will always call you sweetheart.
He showed us a world of realities disguised as fiction.
Philip Roth, the prolific, protean, and often blackly comic novelist who was a pre-eminent figure in 20th century literature, died on Tuesday night at a hospital in Manhattan. He was 85.
The cause was congestive heart failure, said the writer Judith Thurman, a close friend. Mr. Roth had homes in Manhattan and Connecticut.
In the course of a very long career, Mr. Roth took on many guises — mainly versions of himself — in the exploration of what it means to be an American, a Jew, a writer, a man. He was a champion of Eastern European novelists like Ivan Klima and Bruno Schulz, and also a passionate student of American history and the American vernacular. And more than just about any other writer of his time he was tireless in his exploration of male sexuality. His creations include Alexander Portnoy, a teenager so libidinous he has sex with both his baseball mitt and the family dinner, and David Kepesh, a professor who turns into an exquisitely sensitive 155-pound female breast.
Mr. Roth was the last of the great white males: the triumvirate of writers — Saul Bellow and John Updike were the others — who towered over American letters in the second half of the 20th century. Outliving both and borne aloft by an extraordinary second wind, Mr. Roth wrote more novels than either of them. In 2005 he became only the third living writer (after Bellow and Eudora Welty) to have his books enshrined in the Library of America.
“Updike and Bellow hold their flashlights out into the world, reveal the world as it is now,” Mr. Roth once said. “I dig a hole and shine my flashlight into the hole.”
The Nobel Prize eluded Mr. Roth, but he won most of the other top honors: two National Book Awards, two National Book Critics Circle awards, three PEN/Faulkner Awards, a Pulitzer Prize and the Man Booker International Prize.
In his 60s, an age when many writers are winding down, he produced an exceptional sequence of historical novels — “American Pastoral,” “The Human Stain” and “I Married a Communist” — a product of his personal re-engagement with America and American themes. And starting with “Everyman” in 2006, when he was 73, he kept up a relentless book-a-year pace, publishing works that while not necessarily major were nevertheless fiercely intelligent and sharply observed. Their theme in one way or another was the ravages of age and mortality itself, and in publishing them Mr. Roth seemed to be defiantly staving off his own decline.
I just read “The Plot Against America,” published in 2004, that is eerily prescient in its alternative history of fascism coming to America with the election of Charles A. Lindbergh as president in 1940, defeating FDR in his bid for a third term. It was written as a warning in the George W. Bush era, but strikes an even more jarring chord in the #MAGA era.
The first Roth novel that I read was “Portnoy’s Complaint.” I will never look at liver the same way again.
I was sad to the point of cursing last night when I heard of the death of Harry Anderson. He became best known as the star of the comedy “Night Court,” which, to my mind, ranks up there with truly good TV sitcoms alongside “M*A*S*H” and “Barney Miller.”
Like those shows, “Night Court” was an ensemble that reminded me more of a play than TV show. With a supporting cast that included John Larroquette, Markie Post, Richard Moll, Charles S. Robinson, and, early on, the incomparable Selma Diamond, whose career in TV comedy is legendary, having been part of the writing crew for Sid Caesar along with Woody Allen and Neil Simon, and Florence Halop, whose own career dates back to the Bowery Boys. Marsha Warfield, who replaced Ms. Halop upon her death, was no slouch, either. But the bond that held them together was Mr. Anderson’s wry sense of humor, his genial touch, and his love of Mel Torme music.
He had another series after “Night Court,” “Dave’s World,” based on the writings of Miami Herald writer Dave Barry, but he’ll be remembered most fondly — at least by me — as Judge Harry.
R.I.P. Steven Bochco, creator of “Hill Street Blues,” “L.A. Law,” “Doogie Howser, M.D.,” and “NYPD Blue.”
From the BBC:
World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.
He died peacefully at his home in Cambridge in the early hours of Wednesday, his family said.
The Briton was known for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.
At the age of 22 Prof Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.
The illness left him in a wheelchair and largely unable to speak except through a voice synthesiser.
In a statement his children, Lucy, Robert and Tim, said: “We are deeply saddened that our beloved father passed away today.
“He was a great scientist and an extraordinary man whose work and legacy will live on for many years.”
They praised his “courage and persistence” and said his “brilliance and humour” inspired people across the world.
“He once said, ‘It would not be much of a universe if it wasn’t home to the people you love.’ We will miss him forever.”
He also promoted science to the masses: he guest-starred as himself on “Star Trek: The Next Generation” and “The Big Bang Theory,” and I think he would appreciate the timing that he left this form of life on Pi Day.
Rest in peace, Ray Thomas. His flute solo on this piece is wonderful.
Here we go with my annual recap and prognostication for the year. Let’s see how I did a year ago.
I’m still frightened. Nothing — not the Mueller investigation, the revelations coming from various sources, or chatter about impeachment or invoking the 25th Amendment — has calmed my fear that he is still capable of doing something that puts us and the rest of the world in peril. As for the second bullet point, we are seeing faint glimmers that disillusionment is happening in the nooks and crannies of America where he can do no wrong, and no amount of tweeting and bullshit from Fox News can turn around his dismal approval numbers. But that just means that fully 1/3 of the electorate still approve of him. Even his failures — Obamacare yet survives and the deportations haven’t happened — haven’t dimmed the hopes of the dim.
Obviously I’m not an economist because if I was I would have known that the economy lags behind and the continued growth and low unemployment rate are a result of Obama’s policies. Of course Trump is taking credit for it.
The Syrian civil war goes on but it’s not dominating the news cycles, and ISIS is a lessening factor. I don’t know if it’s sheer exhaustion. The refugee crisis goes on but with a lesser magnitude.
Trump rescinded some of the Obama administration’s changes in our relations with Cuba but not enough to return us to Cold War status. The blockade, such as it is, enters its 57th year.
Charlottesville and Trump’s tacit support of the Nazis proved that to be true, more’s the pity.
I lost two uncles and a nephew since I wrote that.
They traded Justin Verlander. Yeah, he helped the Astros win the World Series, but…
Okay, now on to predictions.
Okay, friends; it’s your turn.
Rest in peace, Rose Marie.
R.I.P. Bruce Brown, 80, the filmmaker who gave us “The Endless Summer.”
Argentina ends search for missing submarine.
Outrage grows in Britain over Trump’s retweets.
GOP holdouts cave on tax bill.
Bette Midler vs. Geraldo Rivera over his defense of Matt Lauer.
R.I.P. Jim Nabors, 87, portrayed Gomer Pyle on TV.
Hurricane season is officially over, and not a minute too soon.
Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit.
Rest in peace, Della Reese.