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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Reverend Ike died he was 74.

Reverend Ike, formally the Right Reverend Dr. Frederick J. Eikerenkoetter II , Th.B., D.Sc.L., Ph.D., founder and pastor of the Christ United Church, was an American minister and electronic evangelist based in New York City. Reverend Ike was of African American and Indonesian descent.

(June 1, 1935, Ridgeland, South Carolina - July 28, 2009, Los Angeles, California[1])

He began his career as a teenage preacher and became assistant pastor at Bible Way Church in Ridgeland, South Carolina. After serving a stint in the Air Force as a Chaplain Service Specialist (a non-commissioned officer assigned to assist chaplains), he founded, successively, the United Church of Jesus Christ for All People in South Carolina, the United Christian Evangelistic Association in Boston, Massachusetts (which is still his main corporate entity), and the Christ Community United Church in New York City.

Reverend Ike's ministry reached its peak in the mid 1970s, when his weekly radio sermons were carried by hundreds of stations across the United States. He was still active as of 2007, with a presence on the Internet and a syndicated television program.

He fully restored and owned the Christ United Church "Palace Cathedral" in Manhattan's Washington Heights section, formerly the Loews 175th Street movie theatre (one of the grandest and most extravagant of the "Wonder Theaters" movie palaces of the 1920s; restoration included the seven-story high, twin chamber Robert Morton organ). The "Miracle Star of Faith," visible from the George Washington Bridge, now tops the cupola of the building. He was also the "chancellor" of the United Church Schools, which include the Science of Living Institute and Seminary (which awarded him the D.Sc.L.: Doctor of the Science of Living); the Business of Living Institute (home of Thinkonomics); and other educational projects. He also offered a large number of books, audio and video tapes and a magazine to followers.

The Reverend Mrs. Eula M. Dent Eikerenkoetter (“Rev. Mrs. Ike”), B.A., M.A., D.Sc.L., his wife, served as Senior Co-Pastor, and his son, The Right Reverend Xavier Frederick Eikerenkoetter (“Rev. Ike’s Son”), B.A., M.Sc.L, D.Sc.L., was his "Bishop Coadjutor."

Reverend Ike had his own personal style of “preaching prosperity” and it is purported that he influenced a succeeding generation of "prosperity teachers" such as E. Bernard Jordan and Neale Donald Walsch.

Ike also made a guest appearance on Hank Williams, Jr.'s late 1986 single "Mind Your Own Business", which was a Number One country hit.[2]

Reverend Ike died on July 28, 2009 of a stroke. He was 74.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Merce Cunningham died he was 90

Mercier (Merce) Philip Cunningham died he 90. Cunningham was an American choreographer who was at the forefront of the American avant-garde for more than 50 years. Throughout much of his life, Cunningham was also considered one of the greatest American dancers. A constant collaborator who has influenced artists across disciplines—including musicians John Cage and David Tudor, artists Robert Rauschenberg and Bruce Nauman, designer Romeo Gigli, and architect Benedetta Tagliabue—Cunningham’s impact extends beyond the dance world to the arts as a whole.

(April 16, 1919 – July 26, 2009)

As a choreographer, teacher, and leader of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company, Cunningham had a profound influence on modern dance. Many dancers who trained with Cunningham formed their own companies, and they include Paul Taylor, Trisha Brown, Lucinda Childs, Karole Armitage, Foofwa d’Immobilité, Kimberly Bartosik, and Jonah Bokaer.

In April 2009, Cunningham celebrated his 90th birthday with the premiere of a new work, Nearly Ninety, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music in New York. Also in 2009, the Cunningham Dance Foundation announced the Legacy Plan, a precedent-setting plan for the continuation of Cunningham’s work and the celebration and preservation of his artistic legacy.

Cunningham earned some of the highest honors bestowed in the arts, including the National Medal of Arts and the MacArthur Fellowship. He also received Japan's Praemium Imperiale, a British Laurence Olivier Award, and was named Officier of the Légion d'honneur in France.

Cunningham’s life and artistic vision have been the subject of numerous books, films, and exhibitions, and his works have been presented by groups including the Ballet of the Paris Opéra, New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, White Oak Dance Project, and London's

Merce Cunningham was born in Centralia, Washington in 1919, the second of three sons. Both his brothers followed their father into the legal profession. Cunningham initially asked to attend dance school when he was ten years old, and received his first formal dance and theater training at the Cornish School (now Cornish College of the Arts) in Seattle, which he attended from 1937-1939. During this time, Martha Graham saw Cunningham dance and invited him to join her company.[1]

In the fall of 1939, Cunningham moved to New York and began a six year career as a soloist in the company of Martha Graham. He presented his first solo concert in New York in April 1944 with composer John Cage, who became his life partner and frequent collaborator until Cage's death in 1992.

In the summer of 1953, as a teacher in residence at Black Mountain College, Cunningham formed the Merce Cunningham Dance Company as a forum to explore his new ideas on dance and the performing arts.

Over the course of his career, Cunningham choreographed more than 200 dances and over 800 “Events,” which are site-specific choreographic works. In addition to his role as choreographer, Cunningham performed as a dancer in his company into the early 1990s.

He continued to lead his dance company until his death, and presented a new work, Nearly Ninety, in April 2009, at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York, to mark his 90th birthday.[2]

Cunningham lived in New York City, and was Artistic Director of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. Cunningham died peacefully in his home on July 26, 2009.[3]

Johnson died he was 68

PHILADELPHIA -- Jim Johnson, whose attacking defenses helped the Philadelphia Eagles to one Super Bowl appearance and five NFC title games, has died. He was 68.

Johnson had taken a leave of absence from the team in May as he continued to battle a cancerous tumor on his spine. The Eagles announced his death on Tuesday afternoon.

A veteran of 22 years as an NFL assistant, Johnson was considered one of the top defensive minds in the league, known for complex schemes that confused opponents and pressured the quarterback from every angle. His defenses consistently ranked among the best in the league, including last season, when the Eagles finished third in total defense and fell one victory short of the Super Bowl.

From 2000-08, Johnson's Philadelphia defenses ranked second in the NFL in sacks (390). During his 10-year tenure, the Eagles made the playoffs seven times and he produced 26 Pro Bowl selections.

"This whole Eagles-Andy Reid regime here that's taken place wouldn't have been possible without Jim," said Andy Reid, who hired Johnson to be his defensive coordinator shortly after he got his first head coaching job with the Eagles in 1999.

"I'm not sure there's a person that I've met that isn't a Jim Johnson fan. He really represented everything this city is all about with his toughness and grit. That's the way he fought this cancer."

Eagles chairman Jeffrey Lurie praised Johnson for his leadership skills and the person he was.

"For 10 years, Jim Johnson was an exceptional coach for the Philadelphia Eagles, but more importantly, he was an outstanding human being," Lurie said. "As an integral part of the Eagles family, Jim epitomized the traits of what a great coach should be -- a teacher, a leader, and a winner ... It was easy to feel close to him."

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell echoed Lurie's sentiments.

"He was a teacher to many players both on and off the field and devoted his life to the game of football," Goodell said in a statement. "He had a positive influence on scores of young men, and leaves behind a wonderful legacy."

On Sunday, the Eagles announced that Sean McDermott would replace Johnson. In his first news conference as coordinator, McDermott gave full credit to Johnson.

"What haven't I learned from Jim?" McDermott said. "I don't think it would be fair to Jim, in this setting, to try and limit in one statement, one press conference, the effect that Jim has had on my life."

McDermott paid Johnson the ultimate compliment in describing the style of defense he wanted the Eagles to play: Johnson's style.

"There is one thing I know, and that is that this system, it works," McDermott said. "Jim has spent a considerable amount of time in his coaching career researching and finding things that work and finding things that didn't work, quite frankly, and I'm going to respect that and we're going to build on that. From there, we'll add wrinkles."

Coaches across the league paid homage to Johnson's impact on their careers and the league.

"I loved Jim Johnson," said Baltimore Ravens coach John Harbaugh, an Eagles assistant for nine seasons with Johnson. "He had a special ability to bring out the best in people while getting you to see the best in yourself. He saw potential and developed it. He made me believe I could coach at this level. In football, he was a pioneering and brilliant strategist, changing the way defense is played in the NFL. For me, he was a father-type mentor, and above all, a cherished friend. He belongs in the Hall of Fame. I will miss him so much."

"He was a dear friend and a special person," said St. Louis Rams coach Steve Spagnuolo, a member of the Eagles defensive staff under Johnson for eight seasons. "Our prayers and thoughts go out to his wife Vicki and their family. Jim meant the world to me, both personally and professionally. I am very blessed to have had the privilege to work for him and with him. The NFL has lost a good man."

New York Giants coach Tom Coughlin did not know Johnson, but admired him from afar.

"He was great to work with and for, and he had his priorities in order," Coughlin said. "His players loved to play for him and his coaches loved to coach with him. It is a sad day for the National Football League to lose somebody the quality of Jim Johnson. It is a sad note on which to start the season."

Johnson had been treated for melanoma in 2001.

In January, he complained of back pain and coached from the press box in the Eagles' playoff win over the New York Giants and in the loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the NFC championship.

An MRI after the divisional playoff win against the Giants on Jan. 11 alerted doctors that something might be wrong. Following the Arizona loss, the team announced the cancer had returned and Johnson would undergo more treatments.

Johnson had recovered sufficiently to coach during the team's first post-draft minicamp in May. But he coached from a motorized scooter during practices and said he wasn't certain he'd be able to return for the season.

"Jim was tailor-made to coach in Philadelphia," said Denver Broncos safety Brian Dawkins, who played 10 seasons for Johnson in Philadelphia. "He was a tough coach who wasn't afraid to let you know how he was feeling, but at the same time, he cared about us deeply."

Johnson is survived by his wife, two children and four grandchildren.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Henry J. Patch died he was 111

Patch, who was conscripted to the Army at the age of 18, had no inclination to fight, much less to kill anyone

Patch, who was conscripted to the Army at the age of 18, had no inclination to fight, much less to kill anyoneThe death of Harry Patch leaves no known British survivors of those who fought in the trenches of the First World War. He was the last of the infantry soldiers — the “Tommies”, immortalised by Kipling — who fought and died in hundreds of thousands on the Western Front, at Gallipoli, in Mesopotamia and Palestine during the “war to end all wars”, but which led inexorably to the conflict of 1939-45. Until the passing of the Military Service Act of January 1916, the Army had relied on volunteers, including those of the Territorial Army, to swell the ranks of its small regular force. It was indeed so small by Continental standards that the German Kaiser, Wilhelm II, dismissed it as Britain’s “contemptible little army”. By the close of 1915 a force of thirty-eight divisions was deployed on the Western Front, including those from Australia, Canada and New Zealand, but the casualties suffered during the 1915 offensives made it no longer possible for Britain to rely on volunteers. Conscription for unmarried men between 18 and 41, but excluding Ireland from where many volunteers had already come, began in January 1916. Patch was called up to join the Duke of Cornwall’s Light Infantry at the age of eighteen and a half in December 1916.

By his own account, he would never have volunteered, having no inclination to fight, much less to kill anyone. Nevertheless, he proved a natural rifle shot and qualified for the coveted cross-rifles marksman badge by the end of his basic training. Such skill often led to selection as a sniper, but it seems that lacking the individual ruthlessness required Patch was assessed as best suited to be part of a team. He was trained on the American-designed Lewis machinegun, introduced into the British Army on a scale of two per battalion, increased to two per company and finally to one per platoon during the course of the war.

On going to France in 1917, Patch joined 7th DCLI as a reinforcement following the battalion’s serious losses in earlier fighting. Hearing a call for someone trained on the Lewis gun, a comrade volunteered Patch for the post. He consequently became the Number 2 of a Lewis gun team in ‘C’ Company. The team consisting of the Number 1 who fired the gun, No 2 who was the loader, and the remaining three who carried the ammunition to refill the 50-round circular magazines. The Number 1 would normally fire the gun but if he were wounded or killed the Number 2 was trained to take over.

As often happened, his first group of close friends remained the most prominent in his memory. Eighty years on, Patch would recall sharing a parcel from home with his gun team members: half the packet of Royal Seal tobacco to the only other pipesmoker, thirteen cigarettes each for the other three from the two packets of twenty and socks to the one who needed them most. Everything was shared without hesitation.

Fire from the Lewis gun was strictly controlled by the officer in charge of the stretch of trench where it was situated. This was to conserve ammunition and limit the chances of the enemy identifying the position from gun flashes and retaliate with artillery fire. Prolonged firing demanded a hasty move to a new position and overheating also presented difficulties. The gun was gas-operated, so that draughts of air were driven back between the barrel and the outer casing, but it would become too hot to touch after firing the hundred rounds from two magazines.

During the preliminary stage of the British advance in the Third Battle of Ypres, which began on July 31, 1917, Patch’s battalion took part in the attack on Pilckem Ridge, the scene of bitter fighting in the first autumn of the war. The 7th DCLI went over the top of their assault trenches with ‘A’ and ‘B’ companies leading and ‘C’ and ‘D’ companies following in immediate reserve. They ran forward over the dead and wounded of earlier waves of infantry lying in no-man’s land, but no time could be spared to help them.Patch’s Lewis gun team was struggling towards an enemy second-line trench when three German soldiers climbed out of it, one advancing on them with bayonet fixed. Guessing correctly that the man had used all his ammunition, Patch drew the Colt revolver the Number 2 carried and shot the man in the shoulder then, as he still came on, in the leg. As a good shot with the Colt, he could easily have killed him, but he chose to spare his life.

Six weeks later, after his battalion had been relieved in the line and was withdrawing at night to the support trenches, Patch lost the three supporting members of the Lewis gun team to a single shell burst, one of his comrades disappearing completely in the blast. He was wounded in the groin by shrapnel. For the rest of his long life Harry Patch held his own private day of remembrance recalling the three friends he lost on September 22, 1917.

He was evacuated to hospital in England and after recovery from his wound was sent to a reinforcement camp on the Isle of Wight to wait return to France. He and other soldiers awaiting drafting were on the rifle range on the morning of November 11, 1918. They had heard talk of a possible ceasefire in France and told that if an armistice was signed a rocket would be sent up from camp headquarters. Just after 11 o’clock they saw the rocket soar into the air, filling everyone with a huge sense of relief that they would not have to return to the trenches.

The countries of the then British Empire lost one million men in all the battlefields of the First World War, by far the largest proportion on the Western Front in Belgium and France. Of this awful figure, the bodies of approaching 500,000 either were never found or could not be identified. France lost 1,700,000 killed and Germany around two million.

To Patch and to the thousands who had lost family members in the war, the conflict was just a terrible waste of lives, provoking the question: “Could war have been avoided?”. The answer is probably “yes”, but placing the blame is more difficult. Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia, following the assassination of Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand, was uncompromising, but had the Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey made clear to France that Britain would stand by her only if she urged restraint on her treaty ally Russia, then Germany might have paused. Kaiser Wilhelm asked his army to slow down the rate of mobilisation against France but the Chief of Staff, von Moltke, argued this was impossible without upsetting the schedules of the 11,000 trains involved. Hence a vital signal for peace was not sent.

On demobilisation in early 1919, Henry John Patch returned to Bath, Somerset, where he had been born. He worked for the local Fire Service and was awarded the British Fire Services Association medal on retirement. Together with other surviving British veterans of the First World War, he was appointed to the Légion d’Honneur by the French Government in 1999 in recognition of his services to France in 1917.

He maintained his connections with his old regiment through the Light Infantry Regional Office in Cornwall until shortly before his death.

His wife Ada, née Billington, whom he married in 1919, predeceased him, as did their two sons.

Henry J. Patch, the last “Tommy” of the First World War, was born on June 17, 1898. He died on July 25, 2009, aged 111

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Alexis Cohen died she was 25

PHOTO Pa. woman who unsuccessfully tried out for 'American Idol' struck, killed by car in NJ

Authorities say a 25-year-old former two-time "American Idol" contestant has been struck and killed by a car in a New Jersey shore town.

The Asbury Park Press reports that Alexis Cohen, of Allentown, Pa., was killed early Saturday in Seaside Heights.

Deputy Chief Michael Mohel of the Ocean County Prosecutors Office says an autopsy indicated she suffered chest, head and abdominal injuries. Mohel says investigators are seeking more information about the collision.

Cohen auditioned in Philadelphia for the popular Fox singing competition in August 2007, and the episode was aired in January 2008. She tried out again during the show's eighth season.

A video of her angry rant after being rejected by judges went viral on the Internet.

Vernon Forrest Ex-boxing champ shot to death he was 38

ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) -- Former boxing champion Vernon Forrest is dead at 38 after being shot multiple times in a neighborhood southwest of downtown Atlanta, officials said Sunday.

Police say they have no suspects in the death of former boxing champion Vernon Forrest.

Police say they have no suspects in the death of former boxing champion Vernon Forrest.

An Atlanta police spokeswoman said it appeared that Forrest, 38, had been robbed, which led to a confrontation in which he was shot several times in the back.

Police had no suspects as of midday Sunday, said the spokeswoman, Sgt. Lisa Keyes.

Mark Guilbeau, senior investigator with the Fulton County Medical Examiner's office in Atlanta, said an autopsy will be conducted Sunday, and results are expected by afternoon.

Forrest was the International Boxing Federation welterweight champion in 2001, the World Boxing Council welterweight champion in 2002-2003, and the WBC light welterweight champion in 2007-2008 and 2008-2009, according to the BoxRec Web site.

He was named the World Boxing Hall of Fame fighter of the year in 2002, according to BoxRec.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

E. Lynn Harris died he was 54,

(CNN) -- E. Lynn Harris, the author who introduced millions of readers to the "invisible life" of black gay men, was a literary pioneer whose generosity was as huge as his courage, friends said Friday.

E. Lynn Harris touched fans with his courage and his kindness, friends say.

Harris, 54, died Thursday night while on a business trip to Los Angeles, California, said Laura Gilmore, his publicist.

Harris wrote a series of novels that exposed readers to characters rarely depicted in literature: black, affluent gay men who were masculine, complex and, sometimes, tormented.

Keith Boykin, an author and friend, said Harris encouraged the black community to talk openly about homosexuality.

"We have a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy in the black community," Boykin said. "E. Lynn Harris encouraged people to ask and to tell."

How Harris broke ground

In books like "Invisible Life," "A Love of My Own," and his New York Times best-selling memoir, "What Becomes of the Brokenhearted," Harris virtually invented a new genre: books that depicted black gay men living double lives.

Though Harris wrote primarily about black gay men, some of his biggest fans were black women. His books became staples in black beauty salons, bookstores and book clubs.

"It was hard to go on a subway in places in New York or D.C. and not see some black woman reading an E. Lynn Harris novel," Boykin said.

Harris was an unlikely literary pioneer. He was a former IBM executive who decided to write about his life. He started off in 1991 selling books from the trunk of his car to African-American beauty salons and bookstores.

He eventually became one of the nation's most popular writers with an estimated 4 million of his books in print.

Tina McElroy Ansa, author of "Taking After Mudear," met Harris at the beginning of his literary career when he was selling his first book "Invisible Life." She said they were both so poor they only had enough money to buy each other's book.

Ansa said she took Harris' "Invisible Life" home and was stunned by the time she reached page 20. She came across a scene where Harris depicted two black men playing in the snow with one another.

She immediately dropped the book, called Harris and told him she had never read such a scene before.

"I had never seen homosexual love in African-American men portrayed that way," she says. "It was playful, loving, and it wasn't hidden."

Years later, when Harris became successful, he thanked Ansa for her early encouragement.

"He gave me a string of pearls," Ansa said.

In 2000, Harris told the magazine Entertainment Weekly how important "Invisible Life" was for him.

''When I wrote "Invisible Life," it had to be the first book out of me -- it helped me to deal with my own sexuality,'' Harris said. "'For me, my 20s and early 30s were spent just hiding and running, because there was no one to tell me that my life had value and the way I felt was okay.''

Standing room only at his book events

"It's heartbreaking; he had such a generous spirit," said Tananarive Due, author of "Blood Colony."

"When I was just starting out, he flew me to an event out of his own pocket and put me up just because he thought more people should know my work," Due said.

Harris was as generous with his fans as he was with his friends, some said.

They describe an author who held dinner parties for aspiring writers at his home, loved meeting and hugging fans at book readings, and never seemed to let his fame change him.

"You could get trampled at an E. Lynn Harris reading," Ansa said. "People loved him."

Due said Harris would answer up to 200 e-mails from his fans each day. She said Harris had been a cheerleader in college "and a spirit of joy followed him through his life."

"He genuinely loved being around people and remembered names," Due said. "I remember seeing him at an event in Florida, and one woman in the crowd raised her hand and he said, 'Oh, Mary, you were here for my hardcover book signing.'"

Nonetheless, Harris had his share of personal pain.

He was born in Flint, Michigan, and grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas. In his 2003 memoir, he wrote about enduring abuse by his stepfather and an attempted suicide in 1990.

And he had critics. Some said Harris was a mediocre writer who stumbled on a winning literary formula. Boykin says Harris was stung by some of the criticism.

"He always said 'I'm not a James Baldwin,'" Boykin said, referring to the openly gay black author from the 1960s. "He was writing accessible literature for the masses."

Boykin said Harris received most of his criticism not from outraged straight critics, but people within the black community.

"He was hurt by some of the criticism from some black gay men who felt he wasn't portraying them accurately and others who thought he was telling too much," Boykin said.

In a 2003 Detroit Free Press interview, Harris said he resisted becoming an advocate for gay rights.

"It's such a small part of who I am, " he said. "It's what I do when I'm with my partner that puts this label on me. Most of my friends are straight. I tend to have a regular life, if you will."

Due said there has traditionally been a lot of pain associated with homosexuality in the black community. Harris took a little of that pain away with his life and his books.

"He really helped let the air in," Due said. "He helped us all breathe a little better."

Friday, July 24, 2009

Dr. Joel Weisman first aids doctor Died at 66

Los Angeles physician Joel Weisman, one of the first to identify HIV/AIDS in 1980 from his Sherman Oaks office, died Saturday. He was 66.

Known as "the dean of Southern California gay doctors," Weisman made the discovery nearly three decades ago, when he realized that three of his male patients, all gay, started suffering from similar symptoms (including drastic weight loss, pneumonia, and fevers). With UCLA immunologist Martin S. Gottlieb -- who also had a patient with similar symptoms -- the pair wrote a report in a 1981 issue of the Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, signaling the official start of the AIDS epidemic. The two doctors cited health information among five patients, who died shortly thereafter, of what would eventually be known as AIDS.

Following their report, cases of immunodeficiency were being reported globally. By the end of 1982, 618 cases were reported. Twenty years later, the full toll had reached 500,000.

Weisman became an advocate for his patients and others with HIV when in 1983 he became founding chairman of AIDS Project Los Angeles. There, Weisman played a critical role in increasing services to those with the virus.

He also helped establish the first AIDS-specific hospital unit at the Sherman Oaks Hospital and Health Center. Weisman also pushed to fund AIDS research as an original member of amFAR. He later became chairman of the organization from 1988 to 1992. Dr. Mervyn Silverman lead the board of directors of amFAR from 1986 to 1996, including the period while Weisman was chairman of the board. Silverman described his colleague as a diligent advocate in the early stages of the AIDS epidemic.

"Hearing about him really upset me because he was very caring, very compassionate, he wasn't just part of the gay community, or the medical profession," Silverman said. "He was someone who really cared about the issues, especially with his involvement with APLA and amFAR. I never got the sense, working with him, that anything he was doing was for self aggrandizement or to be in the spotlight. He just did what he did."

Silverman remembers Weisman's work with amFAR during the early years as being controlled during such a hectic time.

"The foundation was in its very formative years, and if you've worked with a new foundation, you'll know that it can get crazy, especially because with amFAR you had people who were there for one reason, and it was to solve this mystery and get on with it," he said. "When you have that kind of commitment and dedication, the organizational things get more difficult. So in the beginning, you have mostly people who are there volunteering because of the cause, during that time, it's a very difficult maturation. I look at the board today compared to the board back then, and it's like night and day."

Weisman died in his home after suffering from heart disease and being ill for several months, his partner of 17 years, Bill Hutton, told the Los Angeles Times. He is survived by Hutton, his brother Mark, his daughter Stavey Weisman-Bogue Foster, a granddaughter, and two nieces. Donations may be made in his name to amFAR, AIDS Project Los Angeles, or the Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Taco Bell Chihuahua, Gidget, dies at 15

Gidget the Chihuahua, whose Taco Bell commercials made her a star, has died. She was 15.

The owner of Studio Animal Services in Castaic says Gidget suffered a massive stroke late Tuesday at her trainer's home in Santa Clarita and had to be euthanized.

Gidget was the sassy mascot in Taco Bell commercials from 1997 to 2000. While other dogs had bit parts, it was her bug-eyed, big-eared face that was seen pronouncing "Yo quiero Taco Bell," Spanish for "I want Taco Bell," in a male voice dubbed by Argentine actor Carlos Alazraqui. A few years later, Alazraqui landed the role for which he is best known: Deputy James Garcia on Comedy Central's "Reno 911!"

The Taco Bell ads provoked some criticism from activists who said they used Mexican stereotypes.

Gidget also had a role in the movie "Legally Blonde 2," but others associated with the ad campaign weren't so lucky. Earlier this year, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the creators of the Chihuahua character hadn't been properly compensated for their work, and Taco Bell was ordered to pay $42 million.

Gidget's trainer, Sue Chipperton, in an interview earlier this year with the People Pets website, described the diminutive dog as a consummate professional on the set. But, she said, Gidget had been the victim of typecasting, which limited her career choices (or, rather, Chipperton's choices on her behalf).

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Gordon Waller of the British Invasion pop duo Peter And Gordon has died at the age of 64.

Waller passed away Friday (July 17) at a hospital near his home in Connecticut after he went into cardiac arrest. His cause of death was listed as cardiovascular disease, reports the Associated Press.

Peter And Gordon had a string of chart-topping hits in the '60s, including a handful written by their friend, Paul McCartney. Their hits included 'A World Without Love'

and 'I Don't Want To See You Again'.

Waller was born in Scotland and met his bandmate Peter Asher at Westminster School in London. "Gordon played such a significant role in my life that losing him is hard to comprehend – let alone to tolerate," Asher said in a statement.

"He was my best friend at school almost half a century ago. He was not only my musical partner but played a key role in my conversion from only a snooty jazz fan to a true rock and roll believer as well. Without Gordon I would never have begun my career in the music business in the first place. Our professional years together in the '60s constitute a major part of my life, and I have always treasured them."


  • In Touch With... (by Peter and Gordon) (1964)
  • Peter and Gordon (by Peter and Gordon) (1964)
  • World Without Love (by Peter and Gordon) (1964)
  • Hurtin' 'n' Lovin' (by Peter and Gordon) (1965)
  • I Don't Want to See You Again (by Peter and Gordon) (1965)
  • I Go to Pieces (by Peter and Gordon) (1965)
  • True Love Ways (by Peter and Gordon) (1965)
  • Best of Peter and Gordon (by Peter and Gordon) (1966)
  • Peter and Gordon Sing & Play the Hits of Nashville (1966)
  • Somewhere (by Peter and Gordon) (1966)
  • Woman (by Peter and Gordon) (1966)
  • In London for Tea (by Peter and Gordon) (1967)
  • Knight in Rusty Armour (by Peter and Gordon) (1967)
  • Lady Godiva (by Peter & Gordon) (1967)
  • Hot Cold & Custard (by Peter & Gordon) (1968)
  • and Gordon (solo) (1972)
  • Best of Peter and Gordon (by Peter & Gordon) (1983)
  • Hits of Peter and Gordon (by Peter & Gordon) (1983)
  • Best of Peter and Gordon (by Peter & Gordon) (1991)
  • Ultimate Peter and Gordon (by Peter & Gordon) (2001)
  • Definitive Collection: Knights in Rusty Armour (by Peter & Gordon) (2003)
  • Plays the Beatles (by Gordon Waller) (2007)
  • Rebel Rider (by Gordon Waller) (2008)

David Ferguson died he was 56

David Ferguson died he was 56:

David Ferguson defended the moral rights of musicians, composers and creators. After the advent of the digital world and at a time when ideas about ownership, piracy and copyright started to be tested, he sought to make musicians aware of their rights and help them to speak to government with a coherent voice.

Underpinning all his political lobbying was a lifelong commitment to social justice and a passionate, often fiery belief in the importance of songwriters and composers to the multibillion-pound music industry.

David Ferguson was born in South London in 1953 and grew up in a fiercely political household. A love of debate ran in the family. Both his parents were Labour Party activists, although the most enduring influence on his beliefs was his maternal grandmother, Constance Lewcock. One of the original suffragettes, she had been imprisoned for plotting to blow up a railway arch at Durham in 1914. On her release she became a well-loved Labour Party councillor for Newcastle upon Tyne. Ferguson kept a picture of her with him until he died.

After attending Bessemer Grange school in Southwark, Ferguson was given a scholarship to Dulwich College in 1964. It was during this particularly liberal period in the school’s history that his interests in music, drama and political ideology really took shape.

On leaving Dulwich he took a degree in Slavonic studies at London University before taking a job with the Traverse Company in Edinburgh creating sound collages to accompany the plays. He then moved to the Victoria Theatre in Stoke-on-Trent, where his soundscapes with guitars, tapes and a modified Rolf Harris stylophone became integral to many of their productions of the early 1970s. Although lacking any formal musical training Ferguson began to explore early sound design through the use of synthesisers, keyboards, drones and tape effects. It was an imaginative approach that formed the basis of much of his later professional work.

It was a chance meeting with an old school friend, David Rhodes, at a concert by Brian Eno’s experimental rock troupe, the 801, in the autumn of 1976, that changed the course of his professional life.

The two shared a love of the esoteric sounds of Amon Düül, Neu!, Kraftwerk, Can and experimental French operatic rockers Magma. Their first band Manscheinen quickly morphed into Random Hold (named after Ferguson’s love of fruit machines) with the addition of Bill MacCormick of the 801, the singer Simon Ainsley and Michael Phips — the ex-drummer with the Glitter Band.

Early shows were edgy and exciting. At one, when he was supporting Adam and the Ants at the Rock Garden, a group of neo-Nazis stormed the stage. Ferguson emerged from behind his keyboards and invited them all to take him on one by one.

Word about Random Hold spread. A double-page spread in the Melody Maker in which he told the interviewer Allan Jones that they made “dark music for swinging suicides”, and the patronage of Peter Gabriel, ensured that the band soon became the subject of a bidding war among record companies.

The band signed to Polydor and recorded their debut album with Peter Hammill of Van der Graaf Generator at John Lennon’s former home, Tittenhurst Park. The subsequent album was not as commercial as Polydor would have liked but the band got good reviews and toured to support its release with Peter Gabriel, Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark and XTC. During this period Ferguson also contributed keyboards to Peter Gabriel’s worldwide hit, Biko.

After three commercially disappointing albums, Random Hold disbanded. Rhodes joined Peter Gabriel’s band and Ferguson went into music for television. He built his own studio at his house in Waterloo and was taken on by the BBC Radiophonic workshop, which added him to its list of freelancers. His first big TV music assignment was for the 1987 Emmy and Baftawinning Granada documentary The Sword of Islam. Soon his haunting mood pieces were in demand. His work appeared on everything from thrillers to hard-hitting documentaries including Black Box, X Cars, Fire in the Blood and Under the Sun. Inspector Rebus, the much loved Auf Wiedersehen Pet and the cult Granada drama Cracker were his most notable successes.

It was while working on one high-profile commission that Ferguson took on the cause that would dominate the last 20 years of his life. He received a late-night call from an American lawyer who told him that he would “never work in this industry again” if he didn’t sign the publishing rights in his music over to the TV production company. The bullying practice of coercive publishing, where large media companies demand all rights in music compositions, including any future royalties, would become widespread.

Throughout it all, Ferguson’s passionate, often uncompromising advocacy won him the respect of even his fiercest adversaries,

In 2007 Ferguson had pancreatic cancer diagnosed. He underwent treatment and briefly entered remission. When the cancer returned late in 2008 he withdrew from public life, dedicating his remaining months to travel, gastronomy and working with his son Sam on a final music project. Recorded at Peter Gabriel’s Real World studios in Bath, the album features ex-members of Random Hold, Roxy Music and Peter Gabriel’s touring band.

In February 2009 he married Silvana, a fellow music rights activist whom he met while lobbying in France.

David Ferguson’s final public appearance was at the Ivor Novello Awards in May 2009, where he received Basca’s highest accolade, the Academy Fellowship. Typically, he chose this final platform to attempt to galvanise the industry one last time, “Get your bloody act together you lot,” he said, shaking a defiant hand at the audience.

He is survived by Sara, his formerpartner, their son Sam, and his wife Silvana.

David Ferguson, musician, composer and rights activist, was born on May 24, 1953. He died of pancreatic cancer on July 5, 2009, aged 56

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Julian Hall died he was 59

Hall: a persuasive advocate, he claimed to have lost only two jury trials

Julian Hall was a flamboyant and controversial figure in Bermuda for three decades. Articulate, charming and charismatic, he was a man of great talent and ability, but these strengths were not always counterbalanced by coolness of judgment and political sagacity.

He enjoyed a shooting-star career as a defence lawyer, before becoming mired in financial problems and bitter political infighting which almost, but never entirely, extinguished his flame.

After his death The Royal Gazette newspaper remarked in an editorial that maybe he was simply too big for Bermuda — “which can be as small in mind as it is in scale”.

Julian Hall was born in Bermuda in 1950. His parents divorced when he was 4, and he and his sisters were brought up by their maternal grandmother. Hall won a scholarship to the Berkeley Institute, after which, with financial help from Clarence Terceira, chairman of the United Bermuda Party (UBP), he went to Mount Allison University, in New Brunswick, Canada, graduating in law in 1970.

In 1971-73 he studied at the London School of Economics. He was called to the Bermuda Bar in 1974 and joined Conyers, Dill and Pearman, becoming one of the first black lawyers to join a large Bermudian law firm. He was also active in the UBP, rising to be deputy chairman at the age of 27.

However, he fell out with the party in the acrimonious aftermath of the notorious murder of the Governor, Sir Richard Sharples, and his aide-de-camp, Captain Hugh Sayers, in 1973. Two men, Buck Burrows and Larry Tacklyn, were convicted of the murders — they also killed the Governor’s dog, Horsa — and they were hanged in 1977. It was claimed that they were associated with a Bermudian Black Power group, and their executions were followed by three days of rioting.

Hall was associated with their defence team, which had argued that certain aspects of the trial were unconstitutional. He switched his political allegiance to the Progressive Labour Party (PLP) in 1979.

The Burrows-Tacklyn case was a rare setback for Hall, who claimed to have lost only two jury trials in his career. One of his most famous courtroom successes was his defence of Michael Meredith, who had been accused of killing his wife — the case was dubbed “Bermuda’s OJ” by one Bermudian lawyer.

Despite his legal success Hall began to have money problems in the late 1970s. A festival which he organised in 1977, Summerfest, featuring such luminaries as Peter Tosh and Richie Havens — and remembered by many as the finest rock concert the island had seen — was a financial disaster.

In 1982 Hall was declared bankrupt, and in 1984 his legal career was effectively ended when a law was passed banning bankrupts from practising law in Bermuda. Hall claimed that the law was passed by the UBP to punish him for his “disloyalty”.

After a stint working in Canada, Hall returned to Bermuda and launched himself on a political career. He was elected to the House of Assembly for Hamilton Parish, but served only one term, from 1989 to 1993, before losing his seat. He acted as the PLP’s Shadow Justice Minister, and was always a fine speaker and a sometimes entertainingly outspoken parliamentarian.

Hall also won praise as a wordsmith. While unable to practise law, he wrote a regular column for the Bermuda Sun newspaper and was praised for the effectiveness of his critiques of the island’s administration.

He remained a controversial figure who attracted rumour and speculation. In 1991 it was suggested during a trial that Hall was somehow involved in the smuggling to Bermuda of 60kg of cannabis. He was also rumoured to figure in an abortive police investigation into drug trafficking and money laundering in 1993. Hall vehemently denied all insinuations, and on occasion imputed racist motives to those who made them.

And his financial problems continued to dog him — being unable to work he could not pay off his creditors, and in 2000 he was again declared bankrupt.

In 2005 he was acquitted of five charges of having stolen about US$500,000 from an elderly client a decade earlier.

Hall finally won the right to practise law in Bermuda in February this year when the 1984 Act was amended but he was by then too ill to return to work.

Hall married Isabella Beattie in 1981. They were divorced but remained close, and she and their three daughters survive him.

Julian Hall, lawyer, was born on March 4, 1950. He died after a long illness on July 18, 2009, aged 59

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Alan Stang died he was 77

Author and radio host Alan Stang, a longstanding champion for conservativism and outspoken opponent of communism in the U.S., died yesterday. He was 77 years old.

Stang began his career in communications as an editor for Prentice-Hall before moving on to radio at NBC in New York City. The award-winning journalist also worked as one of Mike Wallace's first writers before Wallace became a fixture of "60 Minutes" and went toe-to-toe in the ratings against Larry King, when the two hosted competing radio shows in Los Angeles. Stang boasted that despite broadcasting on a station of significantly less power, his program drew twice as many listeners as King's.

Most recently, Stang hosted "The Sting of Stang" show on the Republic Broadcasting Network.

"My dad spent his whole life fighting for this country," Stang's son Jay told WND. "He saw something to fight for, just like every one of us. He never gave up, even when he had to fight for his own life instead. His treasure was truly in heaven. He loved Jesus Christ with all his heart, and he loved his family. He was able to hold his first two grandchildren in his arms and look them in the eye. He is happy now and has no more pain or sorrow. He is with his savior."

Monday, July 20, 2009

Francis "Frank" McCourt died he was 78

Francis "Frank" McCourt died he was 78, McCourt was an Irish-American teacher and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, best known as the author of Angela's Ashes.

His brother Malachy McCourt, a former radio host, is also an actor and autobiographical writer. Together they created the stage play A Couple of Blaguards, a two-man show about their lives and experiences.

(19 August 1930 - 19 July 2009)

Frank McCourt was born in Brooklyn, New York, the eldest of seven children of Malachy (died 1985) and Angela McCourt (died 1981).[1]Unable to find work in the depths of the Depression, the McCourts returned to their native Limerick, Ireland in 1934, where they sank deeper into poverty. [2] McCourt's father, an alcoholic who was often without work, drank up what little money he earned. When McCourt was eleven, his father left with other Irishmen to find work in the factories of wartime Liverpool. He sent little money to the family, leaving Frank's mother to raise four surviving children. After quitting school at the age of thirteen, Frank alternated between odd jobs and petty crime in an effort to provide for his mother, and three surviving brothers, Malachy, Michael (who now lives in San Francisco), and Alphonsus ("Alphie") (who lives in Manhattan). The three other siblings died of diseases related to malnutrition and the squalor of their surroundings. Frank McCourt himself nearly died of typhoid fever when he was ten.[citation needed] In Angela's Ashes, McCourt described an entire block of houses sharing a single outhouse, flooded by constant rain, and infested with rats and vermin.[citation needed]

At age nineteen, he left Ireland returning to the United States where, after a stint working in New York City's Biltmore Hotel, he was drafted and sent to Germany. Upon his discharge from the army, he returned to New York City, where he held a series of jobs.

He used the G.I. Bill to enroll in New York University, from which he ultimately graduated. After receiving a Master's degree from Brooklyn College in 1967, he taught English at McKee High School and Stuyvesant High School in New York City (where he joined the American Federation of Teachers). He retired after thirty years.

He received the Pulitzer Prize (1997) and National Book Critics Circle Award (1996) for his memoir Angela's Ashes (1996), which details his impoverished childhood in Limerick. He also authored 'Tis (1999), which continues the narrative of his life, picking up from the end of the previous book and focusing on life as a new immigrant in America. Teacher Man (2005) detailed the challenges of being a young, uncertain teacher.

McCourt was a member of the National Arts Club and was a recipient of the Award of Excellence from The International Center in New York.

In 2002 he was awarded an honorary degree from the University of Western Ontario. That same year he was also awarded the Action Against Hunger Humanitarian Award.

Frank McCourt lived with his wife Ellen in New York City and Connecticut. He had a daughter, Maggie, with his first wife, a granddaughter, Chiara, and two grandsons, Frank and Jack.

It was announced in May 2009 that he had been treated for melanoma and that he was in remission, undergoing home chemotherapy.[3] On 19 July 2009, he died from the disease, with meningeal complications, at a hospice in Manhattan.[4]

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Mr. Get-It-Together" Rolling Stones 'Fixer' Tom Keylock Dead July 2, 2009

Tom Keylock, Aug. 9, 1926-July 2, 2009, chauffeur, bodyguard, cook, road manager and procurer for the Rolling Stones died at the age of 82.

Starting as a chauffeur, Keylock began driving the famous group on their tour of Britain in the fall of 1965. The band quickly recognized Keylock multiple talents as Keylock got them from hotel to venue without being mobbed by fans by using back stairways, fire escapes and other slick ploys to the delight of all the band members.

The Stones actually loaned Keylock to Bob Dylan when Dylan toured Britain, and, again, Keylock proved indispensible in "taking care of issues."

He didn't stop at just being an inside man for the rock groups. Keylock appeared in D. A. Pennebaker's documentary film of Dylan's 1966 tour, "Eat the Document" playing in a bizarre scene where he drives John Lennon and Bob Dylan who are high on drugs around the streets of London.

Keylock also acted as an adviser during the making of the 2005 film "Stoned." The film followed the events surrounding Rolling Stones band member, Brian Jones' mysterious 1969 death in his swimming pool in which Keylock was smack in the center being one of the first on the scene.

Keylock leaves behind his wife, Joan - married since 1951, and his four daughters.

juilus shulman died he was 98

Julius Shulman was an American architectural photographer best known for his photograph "Case Study House #22[1], Los Angeles, 1960. Pierre Koenig, Architect." The house is also known as The Stahl House. Shulman's photography spread California modernism around the world. Through his many books, exhibits and personal appearances his work ushered in a new appreciation for the movement beginning in the 1990s. His vast library of images currently reside at the Getty Center in Los Angeles. His contemporaries include Ezra Stoller and Hedrich Blessing. In 1947, Julius Shulman asked architect Raphael Soriano to build a mid-century steel home and studio in the Hollywood Hills.

Some of his architectural photographs, like the iconic shots of Frank Lloyd Wright's or Pierre Koenig's remarkable structures, have been published countless times. The brilliance of buildings like those by Charles Eames, as well as those of his close friend, Richard Neutra, was first brought to light by Shulman's photography. The clarity of his work demanded that architectural photography had to be considered as an independent art form. Each Shulman image unites perception and understanding for the buildings and their place in the landscape. The precise compositions reveal not just the architectural ideas behind a building's surface, but also the visions and hopes of an entire age. A sense of humanity is always present in his work, even when the human figure is absent from the actual photographs.

Today, a great many of the buildings documented by Shulman have disappeared or been crudely converted, but the thirst for his pioneering images is stronger than ever before.

(October 10, 1910July 15, 2009)

In 1987, the Shulman House was designated a Cultural Heritage Monument by the City of Los Angeles.

In 2000 Julius Shulman gave up retirement to begin working with his current business partner Juergen Nogai.

The Getty Research Institute held a 2005–2006 exhibition of Shulman's prints entitled "Julius Shulman, Modernity and the Metropolis"[2]. The exhibition included sections entitled "Framing the California Lifestyle," "Promoting the Power of Modern Architecture," "The Tools of an Innovator," and "The Development of a Metropolis"[2]. The exhibition traveled to the National Building Museum[3] and to the Art Institute of Chicago[4].

Julius Shulman and Juergen Nogai have had exhibitions at the Design and Architecture Museum in Frankfurt, Germany in Fall of 2005, as well as an exhibition at the Barnsdall Municipal Gallery in Los Angeles 2006, Craig Krull Gallery Bergamont station, Los Angeles, October 2007, and another up-coming show in Spring 2009. An exhibition of their work is also scheduled in Mannheim, Germany in 2010.

On December 16, 2007 Shulman attended a showing of his architectural photography at the Los Angeles Public Library[5]. The exhibit, organized by the Getty Research Institute, included one hundred fifty photographs documenting architectural changes in Los Angeles for the last eighty years. This progression includes the re-development of Bunker Hill, the growth of Century City, the avant-garde architectural designs in Los Angeles, such as Watts Towers, Grauman's Chinese Theatre, and the Getty Villa, as well as the growth of Wilshire Boulevard. The exhibition features the industrial engines at the Port of Los Angeles and the Los Angeles International Airport that helped fuel the growth of Los Angeles Also, featured diverse residential fabric from Echo Park to South Los Angeles. The exhibit spot-lighted Shulman's unique role in capturing and promoting innovative, sleek Case Study Houses, as well as the contrasting tract housing developments with repeated floor plans.

In February, 2008, the Palm Springs Art Museum presented "Julius Shulman: Palm Springs," guest curated by Michael Stern. Containing over 200 objects, this is the largest Julius Shulman exhibition that has ever been presented to date. In addition to the Shulman photographs, renderings, illustrations and models of many of the buildings that Shulman photographed were presented to compliment Shulman's extensive documentation of a place that was so inspirational to him. Rizzoli published the accompanying catalog, "Julius Shulman: Palm Springs." Additionally, a documentary DVD was produced in conjunction with the exhibition "Julius Shulman: Desert Modern."

Selected Shulman works were included in the Annenberg Space for Photography's inaugural exhibit, L8S ANG3LES [6]. One of his last commissioned works was of the Space, which opened in March, 2009, with Shulman in attendance.

Shulman was the subject of a 2008 documentary film, "Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman." The film, narrated by Dustin Hoffman and directed by Eric Bricker, explores both Shulman’s art and uniquely individualistic life offering a lyrical portrait of modernism’s most eloquent ambassador. It discusses how Shulman's images helped to shape the careers of influential 20th century architects, including Frank Lloyd Wright, Richard Neutra and John Lautner. The film won the 2009 Palm Springs International Film Festival Audience Award for Best Documentary Feature.

Shulman died at his home in Los Angeles, California on Wednesday, July 15, 2009, he was 98 years old.[7]

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