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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Lucy Vodden died she was 46

(AP) Lucy Vodden, who provided the inspiration for the Beatles' classic song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," has died after a long battle with lupus. She was 46.

Her death was announced Monday by St. Thomas' Hospital in London, where she had been treated for the chronic disease for more than five years, and by her husband, Ross Vodden. Britain's Press Association said she died last Tuesday. Hospital officials said they could not confirm the day of her death.

Vodden's connection to the Beatles dates back to her early days, when she made friends with schoolmate Julian Lennon, John Lennon's son.

Julian Lennon, then 4 years old, came home from school with a drawing one day, showed it to his father, and said it was "Lucy in the sky with diamonds."

At the time, John Lennon was gathering material for his contributions to "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band," a landmark album released to worldwide acclaim in 1967.

The elder Lennon seized on the image and developed it into what is widely regarded as a psychedelic masterpiece, replete with haunting images of "newspaper taxis" and a "girl with kaleidoscope eyes."

Rock music critics thought the song's title was a veiled reference to LSD, but John Lennon always claimed the phrase came from his son, not from a desire to spell out the initials LSD in code.

Vodden lost touch with Julian Lennon after he left the school following his parents' divorce, but they were reunited in recent years when Julian Lennon, who lives in France, tried to help her cope with the disease.

He sent her flowers and vouchers for use at a gardening center near her home in Surrey in southeast England, and frequently sent her text messages in an effort to buttress her spirits.

"I wasn't sure at first how to approach her," Julian Lennon told the Associated Press in June. "I wanted at least to get a note to her. Then I heard she had a great love of gardening, and I thought I'd help with something she's passionate about, and I love gardening too. I wanted to do something to put a smile on her face."

In recent months, Vodden was too ill to go out most of the time, except for hospital visits.

She enjoyed her link to the Beatles, but was not particularly fond of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

"I don't relate to the song, to that type of song," she told the Associated Press in June. "As a teenager, I made the mistake of telling a couple of friends at school that I was the Lucy in the song and they said, 'No, it's not you, my parents said it's about drugs.' And I didn't know what LSD was at the time, so I just kept it quiet, to myself."

Vodden is the latest in a long line of people connected to the Beatles who died at a relatively young age.

The list includes John Lennon, gunned down at age 40, manager Brian Epstein, who died of a drug overdose when he was 32, and original band member Stuart Sutcliffe, who died of a brain hemorrhage at 21.

A spokeswoman for Julian Lennon and his mother, Cynthia Lennon, said they were "shocked and saddened" by Vodden's death.

Angie Davidson, a lupus sufferer who is campaign director of the St. Thomas' Lupus Trust, said Vodden was "a real fighter" who had worked behind the scenes to support efforts to combat the disease.

"It's so sad that she has finally lost the battle she fought so bravely for so long," said Davidson.

Monday, September 28, 2009

William Safire, political and linguistic commentator died he was 79

William Safire died he was 79. Safire was credited, along with William F. Buckley Jr with restoring substance and respectability to the American Right. He was, in addition, one of those loquacious Americans of a certain vintage who, if rarely laugh-out-loud funny, were venerated for their wit.
For some 35 years, writing a political column syndicated in more than 300 papers, he straddled the worlds of partisan politics and libertarianism, engaging in the first with unabashed ferocity while exploring the second as the surest sign of a civilised society.
William Safire

( Hewas born on December 17, 1929. He died of pancreatic cancer on September 27, 2009, aged 79)

He could be abrasive, even abusive, as when he notoriously labelled Hillary Clinton, then the First Lady, a “congenital liar”. He could get things hopelessly wrong, as when he wrote, beneath the headline “Found: A Smoking Gun”, that a “clear link” had been established between Saddam Hussein and Osama bin Laden. He was also an unwavering Zionist, with a particular regard for the belligerent former general and Likud party leader Ariel Sharon. He brooked no criticism of Israel and regarded the protection of the Jewish state as almost a constitutional requirement of the United States.

Yet, in repose, when writing his long-running column “On Language”, his mind was as playful as a grand piano. He was meticulous in his choice of words, determined always to strike the right note, keen that his learning should be on display alongside an obvious bonhomie. Many readers of The New York Times who would instinctively have shied away from his political opinions believed him to be the ultimate fount of wisdom when it came to style and usage.

It would never have occurred to Safire — not even in jest — to become a stand-up comedian. There was a polished quality to his humour that harked back to the Algonquin Round Table of the 1920s, when tweedy men and women with feathers in their hats exchanged well-practised aphorisms in midtown Manhattan while enjoying a three-Martini lunch.

If The New Yorker magazine had ever lurched to the right, he would have been one of its brightest stars. As it was, having served as a speechwriter in the Nixon White House, he worked for many years as a political pundit and linguistic commentator on the otherwise liberal New York Times, where his gung-ho conservatism — notable for its support for both the Vietnam War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq — was balanced by his unwavering support for civil liberties, including his spirited opposition to the Patriot Act of 2001.

William Lewis Safir (he added the “e” to his surname to make it appear more American) was born, the eldest of three brothers, into a Jewish family in New York City in 1929. His father, Oliver, was a threads manufacturer to the garment trade who died when Safire was 4. Brought up by his mother, Ida, in Los Angeles and New York, the future “maven” attended the Bronx High School of Sciences, from which he won a place at Syracuse University, dropping out at the end of his second year to work as a copyboy for Tex McCrary, a columnist with the New York Herald Tribune.

It was McCrary — later credited with the invention of the talk show — who introduced Safire to the Republican Party, then recovering from the shock defeat of Thomas E. Dewey in the eventful 1948 campaign in which President Harry S. Truman won his second term.

Safire came to believe that only Republicans could maintain order in the world and provide succour to the nascent Israeli state, and was persuaded by his boss that the best man to succeed Truman in the White House was the former Commander-in-Chief Dwight D. Eisenhower.

By 1951, aged 22, the erstwhile trainee was a foreign correspondent for the NBC, working in Europe and the Middle East, but drafted into the army 12 months later and assigned to the Armed Forces Network. Upon his discharge from the military, he entered public relations and in 1959 represented a US domestic appliances company at the American National Exhibition in Moscow. It was here that he persuaded the visiting Vice-President, Richard M. Nixon, and the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, to engage in a revealing political discussion on the merits of communism v capitalism that became known as the “kitchen debate”.

For Safire, it was a life-changing event. Within a year, Nixon had taken on the young PR man to boost his forthcoming bid for the presidency. The campaign, against the unstoppable John F. Kennedy, was a disaster, but no blame attached to Safire, who, while honing his craft, maintained links with Nixon all the way through his wilderness years until his victory, at the second attempt, in 1968.

The first Nixon Administration was dominated by the Vietnam War, which Safire, as an in-house speechwriter, defended as a national and ideological crusade. In one speech, written for the Vice-President, Spiro T. Agnew, he described opponents of the war as “nattering nabobs of negativism”, a largely meaningless phrase that caught the media’s attention. Pleased with the result, he then coined the equally alliterative “hysterical hypochondriacs”.

Dr Vasco Smith Died he was 89

Dr. Vasco Smith died he was 89. Smith, who led in the fight for civil rights for more than 50 years was a member of the Shelby County Commission for more than 20 years.

Dr. Smith was married to Civil Rights icon, Maxine Smith, and was himself, a leader in the movement. Dr. Smith was also a member of the board of the Memphis NAACP.

Dr. Smith was a graduate of LeMoyne-Owen College and Meharry School of Dentistry.

Dr. Smith and his wife, Maxine, executive secretary of the Memphis branch of the NAACP, celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary 10 days ago.

Their partnership had a lasting effect on the march toward civil rights in Memphis.

“She and Vasco should have been called the freedom fighters,” said U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.), who served with Dr. Smith on the commission. “They would stand up for principle and stand up on issues. They were strong moral voices in the community.”

Dr. Smith graduated from Booker T. Washington High School in 1937, then from LeMoyne College in 1941. He received his dental degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville in 1945.

He began his public life in 1973 when he won a special election for an at-large seat on the Shelby County Quorum Court, forerunner of the commission. He served on that body until retiring from politics in 1994.

During his time there, Dr. Smith and others were instrumental in founding the Regional Medical Center at Memphis. Dr. Smith remembered his mother, who worked at the old John Gaston Hospital, telling him stories about that facility’s inadequacies.

“I always said if I could at some time do something about it, I would. On the County Commission, I saw an opportunity,” he told The Commercial Appeal in 1994.

But it was also his efforts at promoting civil rights and rooting out racism that left a lasting mark on the city.

Teaming with the likes of Jesse Turner, A. W. Willis, H. T. Lockard, Russell Sugarmon, Hooks and others, the Smiths pushed for voter registration, filed lawsuits, raised money and helped elect blacks to office. They also took part in demonstrations and sit-ins and were arrested more than once.

“I know that I would not be where I am today as a lawyer or in political circles had it not been for Vasco Smith,” said Shelby County Mayor A C Wharton, a neighbor of the Smiths, who announced Dr. Smith’s death at Monday’s commission meeting.

“Dr. Vasco Smith just expired a few minutes ago,” Wharton told the commission. “He served on this body from 1973 to 1994. I’ve been with Ms. Smith in the last hour. And under the circumstances she’s well.”

Commissioners then observed a moment of silence.

Later, Wharton said, “I could best describe him as a valiant soldier in the army for justice (and) equality who suffered many combat injuries and never received a Purple Heart for it.”

Dr. Smith was also a music aficionado with a particular love for jazz. At the Smith home, a large portion of one wall is devoted to his expansive collection, dominated by jazz but including music that covered most of the nearly nine decades of his life. The albums were catalogued in the kind of minute detail characteristic of someone passionate about music.

Wharton would often pass along obituaries from The New York Times when an influential musician would pass away, but Dr. Smith’s knowledge would run deeper than the newspaper’s account.

“You name it, he would give you a dissertation on it,” Wharton said.

While many in Memphis and around the country mourned Dr. Smith’s passing Monday, perhaps his old college classmate and fellow civil-rights warrior Lockard best summed up the loss.

“He was a good fellow,” Lockard said.

In an interview with The Commercial Appeal in January, Maxine Smith talked about how she and Vasco’s efforts built on even greater sacrifices made by those who came before them.

She talked about Vasco’s “sacrifices,” how his family from Arkansas “didn’t even have a 6th-grade education” and how “they moved every time the rent man came.”

“We hit the ground running after Vasco got out of the service,” she said. “I never had the good sense to get away and I don’t have a single regret.

“We all got here on somebody’s shoulders and we can go as far back in history as we want and far enough we don’t even remember some of those days. One good thing stacks on top of another. I sometimes wonder why God is so good to Vasco and I.”

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Sam Carr died he was 83

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Sam Carr, a drummer who was considered an anchor in the blues scene that continues to draw fans to the poverty-stricken Delta region where the music form was born, died Monday. He was 83.

Carr died of congestive heart failure, said John Andrews, director of Century Funeral Home in Clarksdale.

Sam Carr (AP Photo)

Carr had a reputation as one of the best blues drummers in the country, but he made his living in the Mississippi Delta where he was raised.

At one time or another, Carr had backed big names like Sonny Boy Williamson II and Buddy Guy.

Carr had received multiple honors, including the Governor's Award for Excellence in the Arts in 2007. He also received several awards from Living Blues magazine.

Carr's father was 1930s blues guitarist and vocalist Robert Nighthawk who made famous the song, "Sweet Black Angel." Early in his career Carr often played with father.

Carr was born Samuel Lee McCollum in 1926 near Marvell, Ark. His name was changed after he was adopted as a toddler by a Mississippi family with a farm near Dundee, according to a biography written by Barretta.

He moved back to Arkansas at age 16 and collected money at door of clubs where his father performed.

He worked as a sharecropper before turning his full attention to blues music, moving to St. Louis and playing bass with harmonica player Tree Top Slim.

He returned to Mississippi in the early 1960s and formed the Jellyroll Kings.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Geoffrey Tozer died he was 54

Geoffrey Tozer died he was 54. Tozer was an Australian classical pianist.

(5 November 1954 – 21 August 2009)

Geoffrey Peter Bede Hawkshaw Tozer was born to Veronica Tozer and Anglican minister Geoffrey Conan-Davies in the Indian Himalayas and lived his first four years in the hill station of Mussoorie before moving with his mother and older brother Peter[1] to Melbourne, Australia, where he attended St Joseph's Parish School, Malvern, in the same class as the historian Edward Duyker and then De La Salle College, Malvern.[2] In 1962, at the age of eight, Tozer performed J. S. Bach's Concerto No. 5 in F Minor with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra in a concert that was televised nationally by the ABC. In February 1963 he performed a Haydn concerto before a live audience at the Myer Music Bowl, a performance which can be heard on the disc issued to coincide with his Celebration Forty tour in 2004. In 1964, in Melbourne's Nicholas Hall, he performed a Beethoven concerto with the Astra Orchestra under George Logie-Smith. Within four years he had played all five Beethoven concertos.[3]

He studied with Eileen Ralf and Keith Humble in Australia, Maria Curcio in England, and Theodore Lettvin in the USA.[4] He became the youngest semi-finalist ever (aged fourteen) at the Leeds International Piano Competition[5] and soon afterwards made his European debut at a BBC Promenade Concert in the Royal Albert Hall, with the BBC Symphony Orchestra under Sir Colin Davis. He was the youngest person to be awarded a Churchill Fellowship.[3]

He performed at the inaugural concert of the Melbourne Concert Hall in 1982. In the early 1980s he taught at the University of Michigan and in the mid 1980s he taught at the Canberra School of Music. [2]

In 1993, Tozer made his first tour of China, appearing in Beijing, Shanghai, Nanjing and other cities. In 1994, he made the first complete recording of the four piano concertos of Ottorino Respighi, with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra under Sir Edward Downes.[3]

In May 2003, Tozer gave a recital in New York City with Colin McPhillamy, in which they gave the first performance in the United States of Nikolai Medtner's The Treehouse. This followed an appearance in Birmingham to play in a tribute to Medtner's foremost pupil, the late Edna Iles.

In May 2001, Tozer was the first Western artist to perform the Yellow River Concerto in China.[4] His performance, which received a standing ovation, was broadcast live on Chinese national television and was watched by an estimated audience of 80 million people[6].

Tozer championed the music of many under-recorded composers, such as Respighi, Alan Rawsthorne, John Blackwood McEwen, Erich Wolfgang Korngold, Roberto Gerhard, Percy Grainger, John Ireland (the Piano Concerto in E flat) and Nikolai Tcherepnin. At one Berlin Festival, Tozer gave an all-Artur Schnabel concert, in the presence of the entire Schnabel family; he has also recorded Schnabel's music.

Tozer also championed another Melbourne prodigy, pianist Noel Mewton-Wood, who died in 1953. Tozer has said of him: "He was the most stimulating and intellectually powerful pianist Australia has ever produced. He had been completely forgotten before his work reappeared on CD and everyone realised how revolutionary his playing was." Tozer first heard of him when he prepared to play Bach and Beethoven as a seven-year-old for Mewton-Wood's former Melbourne teacher, Waldemar Seidel. "I played a few bars and he jumped up shouting, 'Noel's come back'. I had never heard of him, of course. But, after listening to his records, I realised it was the greatest musical compliment I've ever received."

Geoffrey Tozer was a noted improviser. He sometimes ended formal recitals by improvisations using themes and styles suggested by the audience: Donizetti, Bellini, Rossini, Verdi, Wagner, Bartók, Piazzolla, Cage, Satie, Gershwin and Brahms simultaneously, and many others.

In January 2003, to celebrate Miriam Hyde's ninetieth birthday, the ABC broadcast Geoffrey Tozer performing her music live, from the Eugene Goossens Hall, Sydney.

Geoffrey received several major awards twice in his lifetime. He won his first Churchill Fellowship at 14 and won a second at 17; he was also twice awarded Israel's Rubenstein Medal, in 1977 and 1980; and he was awarded two consecutive Australian Artists Creative Fellowships, worth more than $500,000 in total, in the 1990s. The grants were inaugurated after Paul Keating met Tozer while he was teaching at the Canberra school where Keating's son Patrick was a student. Keating, who cites Tozer as Australia's greatest pianist, said he felt "ashamed" that a pianist of Tozer's talents was earning only $9,000 a year, so he introduced the fellowships (they are sometimes referred to as "the Keatings") and the first five-year award in 1989 ($329,000) went to Tozer.[7] The awarding of successive fellowships to the same person was criticised by Larry Sitsky. He explained that his criticism was not personal against Tozer, who was a friend of his, but that it was a matter of principle.[8]

The fellowships allowed Tozer to travel to London to commence his recording career. He recorded most of the solo piano works of Nikolai Medtner.[9] His recording of the three Medtner concertos won a Diapason d'Or prize in 1992.[3] and was also nominated for a Grammy award[10].

His other international awards included Hungary's Liszt Centenary Medallion, Belgium's Prix Alex De Varies and Britain's Royal Overseas League Medallion, although he received no similar honours in Australia.

In 1996 his recording of piano works by Ferruccio Busoni won the Soundscapes (Australia) prize for "Record of the Year".

On 21 August 2009[11] Geoffrey Tozer died from liver disease at the East Malvern house in Melbourne in which he lived as a child, having been released from the Alfred Hospital the previous week. He was survived by four of five siblings.[2]

Monica Pidgeon died she was 95

Monica Pidgeon, who has died aged 95, was a pivotal figure in the world of postwar modern architecture. She edited the Bloomsbury-based international journal Architectural Design (AD) from 1946 until 1975, publishing and championing the work of major modernist figures such as Le Corbusier, Josep Lluís Sert, Mies van der Rohe, Walter Gropius, Richard Buckminster Fuller and Alison and Peter Smithson.

She was born Monica Lehmann in Chile, the daughter of an anglophile Frenchman and a manse-bred Scotswoman. Her father was the chairman of a copper-mining company and had promised his wife that the children should complete their education in England so, in 1929, the family set sail.

In London, Monica attended St Martins-in-the-Fields school, Dulwich, and then took a two-year course in interior design at the Bartlett School of Architecture at University College London, where her contemporaries included Hugh Casson, Richard Seifert and a young student called Raymond Pidgeon. Monica and Raymond married in 1936, but were divorced 10 years later. They had a daughter, Annabel, and a son, Carl, who later became a distinguished physicist.

Monica joined Architectural Design in 1941 to assist the then editor, Tony Towndrow, and was promoted to editor in 1946, when Towndrow emigrated to Australia. The owners did not like the idea of a female editor and insisted that male architects' names (including Ernö Goldfinger and Denys Lasdun) were placed on the masthead as "consultants" to reassure readers and advertisers. In those early years, Monica attended the founding of the Union International des Architectes (UIA), the first postwar meetings of CIAM (Congrès International d'Architecture Moderne) and was an active member of the MARS (Modern Architectural Research) Group.

In the early 1950s, Theo Crosby became AD's technical editor. While working at the magazine, Crosby curated the influential This Is Tomorrow exhibition at the Whitechapel gallery in 1956, bringing together the work of artists and architects such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, Colin St John Wilson and the Smithsons.

Monica was a member of the organising committee of the UIA conference in London in 1961. It was there that she met the US architect and inventor Buckminster Fuller, who launched his World Design Science Decade that year. The WDSD was a far-sighted programme to control the depletion of the world's resources. AD subsequently published many articles on Fuller's work.

The architectural writer Ken Frampton was AD's technical editor from 1962 to 1964 and the historian Robin Middleton succeeded Frampton in 1964.

At the AD editorial office in Blooms- bury Way, all work and meetings were carried out around one large wooden table; visitors, including "star" architects, were offered a three-legged, Jacobsen chair; as they leant forward to show Monica their work they would frequently tip unceremoniously under the table. It was an effective way of cutting the sometimes arrogant contributors down to size.

Monica believed that if a building was no good, it was better not to publish it at all than to write a critical piece. In addition to promoting the work of Fuller, AD in the 1960s was an advocate of the theories of Team Ten, which had replaced CIAM as the voice of radical young architects and urbanists, and in particular the work of Aldo van Eyck and the Smithsons.

Another powerful influence was John Turner, whom Monica met when revisiting South America in 1962. He showed her the barriadas – shanty towns built by the homeless. This convinced Monica that if public housing was ever to blossom its future occupants must be involved in the design process.

Though Monica could frighten strong men and reduce typists to tears, her salient characteristics were warmth and a passion for architecture. She built up a substantial network of international contributors and could find a warm welcome in any major city in the world.

The economic and oil crisis in the early 1970s destroyed advertising revenue and AD's owner, Standard Catalogue Company, threatened to close the magazine. Monica convinced them to keep it running on a "book" economy, covering all costs from copy sales. Costs were cut to the bone and AD became more like the alternative magazines blossoming at the time – cheap web printing and hand-pasted lithography, in stark contrast to earlier years. With Peter Murray as technical editor, its focus moved away from buildings to alternative energy and lifestyles, studying many issues that surfaced in the green movement 30 years later.

Survival was tough and by 1975 Monica had had enough. She finally accepted an invitation from the then president of the Royal Institute of British Architects, Eric Lyons, to edit the RIBA journal and AD was sold.

While working at the RIBA she came across a recording that gave her an idea for her "retirement". On her extensive travels, she had noticed that people longed to meet the personalities behind current thinking in architecture. She started Pidgeon Audio Visual (PAV) with the Radio 3 producer Leonie Cohn and they published slides and tapes of architects and designers talking about their work. When Monica retired in 1979, PAV was launched at the RIBA with speeches by the Smithsons and Sir John Summerson, whose voices had been recorded for posterity. She continued to add to the recordings until her late 80s.

In 2006 work started on the digitisation of the Pidgeon archive, which can now be accessed at The list of contributors includes Serge Chermayeff, Buckminster Fuller, Frank Gehry, Cesar Pelli, Conrad Wachsman, Norman Foster, Cedric Price, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Will Alsop and hundreds of others.

Monica was made an honorary fellow of the RIBA in 1970, of the Architectural Association in 1979, and of the American Institute of Architects, for her work on PAV, in 1987.

She is survived by a son, daughter and four grandchildren, including the actor Rebecca Pidgeon, and five great-grandchildren.

Monica Pidgeon, architectural editor, born 29 September 1913; died 17 September 2009

Irving Kristol died he was 89

Irving Kristol died he 89, Kristol was an American columnist, journalist, and writer who was dubbed the "godfather of neoconservatism."[1] As the founder, editor, and contributor to various magazines, he played an influential role in the intellectual and political culture of the last half-century.[2]
(January 22, 1920 – September 18, 2009)

Kristol was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of non-observant Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe[3][4]. He received his B.A. from the City College of New York in 1940, where he majored in history and was part of a small but vocal Trotskyist sect who eventually became the New York Intellectuals. During World War II, he served in Europe in the 12th Armored Division as a combat infantryman.[5]

He was an editor and then the managing editor of Commentary magazine from 1947 to 1952; co-founder (with Stephen Spender) of the British-based Encounter from 1953 to 1958; editor of The Reporter from 1959 to 1960; executive vice-president of the publishing house Basic Books from 1961 to 1969; Henry Luce Professor of Urban Values at New York University from 1969 to 1987; co-founder and co-editor (first with Daniel Bell and then Nathan Glazer) of The Public Interest from 1965 to 2002;. These were originally liberal publications. He was the founder and publisher of The National Interest from 1985 to 2002.

Kristol was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and a fellow emeritus at the American Enterprise Institute (having been an associate fellow from 1972, a senior fellow from 1977 and the John M. Olin Distinguished Fellow from 1988 to 1999). As a member of the board of contributors of the Wall Street Journal, he contributed a monthly column from 1972 to 1997. He served on the Council of the National Endowment for the Humanities from 1972 to 1977.

In July 2002, he received from President George W. Bush the Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

Kristol married the historian Gertrude Himmelfarb in 1942. They had two children, Elizabeth Nelson and William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard. Kristol died on September 18, 2009 at the Capital Hospice in Falls Church, Virginia of the complications of lung cancer.[6]

In 1973 Michael Harrington coined the term "neoconservatism" to describe those liberal intellectuals and political philosophers who were disaffected with the political and cultural attitudes dominating the Democratic Party and were moving toward a new form of conservatism.[7] Intended by Harrington as a pejorative term, it was accepted by Kristol as an apt description of the ideas and policies exemplified by The Public Interest. Unlike liberals, for example, neoconservatives rejected most of the Great Society programs sponsored by Lyndon Johnson; and unlike traditional conservatives, they supported the more limited welfare state instituted by Roosevelt.

In February, 1979, Kristol was featured on the cover of Esquire. The caption identified him as "the godfather of the most powerful new political force in America -- Neoconservatism."[8] That year also saw the publication of a book The Neoconservatives: The Men Who Are Changing America's Politics. Like Harrington, the author, Peter Steinfels, was critical of neoconservatism, but he was impressed by its growing political and intellectual influence. Kristol's response appeared under the title "Confessions of a True, Self-Confessed -- Perhaps the Only -- 'Neoconservative'."[9]

Neoconservatism, Kristol maintains, is not an ideology but a "persuasion," a way of thinking about politics rather than a compendium of principles and axioms.[10] It is classical rather than romantic in temperament, and practical and antiutopian in policy. One of Kristol's most celebrated quips defines a neoconservative as "a liberal who has been mugged by reality."[11]

That "reality," for Kristol, is a complex one. While propounding the virtues of supply-side economics as the basis for the economic growth that is "a sine qua non for the survival of a modern democracy," he also insists that any economic philosophy has to be enlarged by "political philosophy, moral philosophy, and even religious thought," which were as much the sine qua non for a modern democracy.[12]

One of his early books, Two Cheers for Capitalism, asserts that capitalism, or more precisely bourgeois capitalism, is worthy of two cheers: One cheer, because "it works, in a quite simple, material sense," by improving the conditions of people. And a second cheer, because it is "congenial to a large measure of personal liberty." These are no small achievements, he argues, and only capitalism has proved capable of providing them. But it also imposes a great "psychic burden" upon the individual and the social order as well. Because it does not meet the individual's "'existential' human needs," it creates a "spiritual malaise" that threatens the legitimacy of that social order. As much as anything else, it is the withholding of that third cheer that is the distinctive mark of neoconservatism, as Kristol understands it.[13]

"The trouble with traditional American conservatism is that it lacks a naturally cheerful, optimistic disposition. Not only does it lack one, it regards signs of one as evidence of unsoundness, irresponsibility."[14]

"There are different kinds of truths for different kinds of people. There are truths appropriate for children; truths that are appropriate for students; truths that are appropriate for educated adults; and truths that are appropriate for highly educated adults, and the notion that there should be one set of truths available to everyone is a modern democratic fallacy. It doesn't work."[15][16]

"I have observed over the years that the unanticipated consequences of social action are always more important, and usually less agreeable, than the intended consequences." [17]

"What rules the world is idea, because ideas define the way reality is perceived."[18]

"It requires strength of character to act upon one's ideas; it requires no less strength of character to resist being seduced by them."[19]

"An intellectual may be defined as a man who speaks with general authority about a subject on which he has no particular competence."[20]

"Democracy does not guarantee equality of conditions -- it only guarantees equality of opportunity."

"Nostalgia is one of the legitimate and certainly one of the most enduring of human emotions; but the politics of nostalgia is at best distracting, at worst pernicious."[21]

"The liberal paradigm of regulation and license has led to a society where an 18-year-old girl has the right to public fornication in a pornographic movie -- but only if she is paid the minimum wage."[18]

"Senator McGovern is very sincere when he says that he will try to cut the military budget by 30%. And this is to drive a knife in the heart of Israel... Jews don't like big military budgets. But it is now an interest of the Jews to have a large and powerful military establishment in the United States... American Jews who care about the survival of the state of Israel have to say, no, we don't want to cut the military budget, it is important to keep that military budget big, so that we can defend Israel."[22]

"After all, if you believe that no one was ever corrupted by a book, you also have to believe that no one was ever improved by a book (or a play or a movie). You have to believe, in other words, that all art is morally trivial and that, consequently, all education is morally irrelevant. No one, not even a university professor, really believes that."[23]

"The enemy of liberal capitalism today is not so much socialism as nihilism."[24]

"It is ironic to watch the churches, including large sections of my own religion, surrendering to the spirit of modernity at the very moment when modernity itself is undergoing a kind of spiritual collapse....[25]

"Young people, especially, are looking for religion so desperately that they are inventing new ones. They should not have to invent new ones; the old religions are pretty good."[26]

"Power breeds responsibilities, in international affairs as in domestic -- or even private. To dodge or disclaim these responsibilities is one form of the abuse of power."[27]

"The danger facing American Jews today is not that Christians want to persecute them but that Christians want to marry them."[28]

"A liberal is a person who sees a fourteen-year-old girl performing live sex acts onstage and wonders if she's being paid the minimum wage."

Friday, September 18, 2009

Linda C. Black astrologer and columnist died she was 65

Linda C. Black died she was 65. Black, a Libra, wrote a daily syndicated horoscopes column that since 1992 has appeared in newspapers including the Chicago Tribune.

Ms. Black, 65, died of ovarian cancer Monday, Aug. 3, at a hospital near her home, a peacock farm on California's Central Coast, said her daughter, Nancy Black.

Ms. Black was both a devout Catholic and a devoted follower of astrology, which holds that the position of the stars and planets has a direct effect on human affairs and personalities.

"She didn't feel like she was taking liberties. She was interpreting on a scientific basis," said her daughter, who worked on the column with her mother for several months and has now taken it over in collaboration with Stephanie Clements.

The horoscope for Libra published on the day Ms. Black died read: "Surprise a family member by changing your perspective. Show you understand by your actions. This works well for all."

In a statement that accompanied the announcement of her death, Ms. Black is quoted as saying of her work: "We can use this information to make wise choices, develop our talents, be warned and be comforted."

"It was a very popular column, always one of our best sellers," said Mary Elson, managing editor at Tribune Media Services, which syndicated Ms. Black's column.

The former Linda Chamlee grew up in California and married Richard Black when she was 19. The couple and their two small children lived on a sailboat off Los Angeles for about a decade. As a sailor, Ms. Black learned celestial navigation, which built on an early fascination with the cosmos and astrology. She began compiling index cards on everyone she knew, charting personality traits and astrological information.

Divorced in 1974, she worked as a paralegal and in the mid-1980s got an English degree from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo.

She wrote a few articles for the magazine Fate, then received an offer from a publishing group to compile daily horoscopes. In the beginning, she was writing 250 words for each of the 12 astrological signs every day.

At the Tribune, she replaced Joyce Jillson. She wrote horoscopes six weeks in advance for newspapers nationwide and overseas.

"She promoted herself not at all," her daughter said. "She concerned herself with doing her column. I think her column was like her third child."

She is also survived by her second husband, Howard Hotchkiss; a son, Tony Black; her mother, Marcia Chamlee; a brother, Bryan Chamlee; and three grandchildren.

Henry Gibson died he was 73

Henry Gibson[1] died he was 73. Gibson was an American actor and songwriter, best known as a cast member of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In and for his recurring role as Judge Clark Brown on Boston Legal.
(September 21, 1935 – September 14, 2009)

Gibson was born as James Bateman[2] in Germantown, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Dorothy (née Cassidy) and Edmund Albert Bateman. He attended Saint Joseph's Preparatory School, where he was President of the Drama Club.[3]

Graduating from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., he served in the U.S. Air Force as an intelligence officer.[2] After his discharge, he developed an act in which he portrayed a Southern accented poet. His stage name was a play on dramatist Henrik Ibsen,[2] and he often pronounced his name as if it were "Ibsen", particularly when performing as "The Poet".

Gibson's performing career began at the age of seven. He appeared in many stage and theater productions. His career took off when he performed in the Jerry Lewis film The Nutty Professor[2] (1963). Gibson also appeared on The Dick Van Dyke Show, reading the poem "Keep A Goin'", which he turned into a song in the Robert Altman movie Nashville (1975), starring Ned Beatty and Keith Carradine. Gibson appeared in three other films directed by Altman: The Long Goodbye (starring Elliott Gould), A Perfect Couple and Health. He also appeared in The Incredible Shrinking Woman (starring Lily Tomlin). He was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Nashville and won the National Society of Film Critics award for his role of country music singer Haven Hamilton.

Gibson spent three years as part of the Laugh-In television show's cast. He often played "The Poet," reciting poems with "sharp satirical or political themes".[4] Gibson would emerge from behind a stage flat, wearing a Nehru jacket and "hippie" beads and holding an outlandishly large artificial flower. He would state the "[Title of poem] — by Henry Gibson", bow stiffly from the waist, recite his poem, and return behind the flat. Gibson's routine was so memorable that John Wayne actually performed it once in his own inimitable style: "The Sky — by John Wayne. The Sky is blue/The Grass is green/Get off your butt/And join the Marines!", whereupon Wayne left the scene by smashing through the flat. Gibson also regularly appeared in the "Cocktail Party" segments as a Catholic priest, sipping tea. He would put the cup on the saucer, recite his one-liner in a grave and somber tone, then go back to sipping tea. He also made recurring appearances in the 1969-1974 anthology Love, American Style.

In the 1989 Joe Dante comedy The 'Burbs, starring Tom Hanks, Gibson played the villain. In 1980 he played the leader of the 'Illinois Nazis' in the John Landis film The Blues Brothers. Most younger audiences associate him with this film in particular due to its popularity. He made a brief appearance in Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia as an eccentric barfly. He also worked frequently as a voice actor in animation, most notably portraying Wilbur the pig in the popular children's movie Charlotte's Web (1973). He also worked on the cartoon The Grim Adventures Of Billy & Mandy as Lord Pain.

Gibson reunited with director Dante a few years later when Gremlins 2 was released in 1990. He performed a cameo as the office worker who is caught taking a smoking break on camera and fired by the sadistic boss. He had a leading role in a Season 5 episode of Stargate SG-1 entitled "The Sentinel", as the character Marul. Gibson's last roles were alongside Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn in the 2005 comedy hit Wedding Crashers, and as supporting character Judge Clark Brown on the TV show Boston Legal.

On April 6, 1966, he married Lois Joan Geiger, with whom he had three sons: Jonathan David Gibson, Charles Alexander Gibson and James Gibson.[2] She died on May 6, 2007.[2]

On September 14, 2009, Gibson died of cancer at his home in Malibu, California, a week before his 74th birthday.[2]


Thursday, September 17, 2009

Mary Travers died she was 72

Mary Allin Travers [3] was an American singer-songwriter and member of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary, along with Peter Yarrow and Noel "Paul" Stookey. Peter, Paul and Mary was one of the most successful folk-singing groups of the 1960s. Almost unique among the folk musicians who emerged from the Greenwich Village scene in the early 1960s, Travers actually came from the neighborhood.[3]

(November 9, 1936 – September 16, 2009)

She was born in Louisville, Kentucky, to Robert Travers and Virginia Coigney, both of whom were journalists and were active organizers for The Newspaper Guild, a trade union.[4] In 1938, the family moved to Greenwich Village in New York City, New York. She attended the Little Red School House in New York City, but left in the eleventh grade to pursue her singing career.


While in high school, she joined The Song Swappers, which sang backup for Pete Seeger when Folkways Records reissued a union song collection, Talking Union, in 1955. The Song Swappers recorded a total of four albums for Folkways in 1955, all with Seeger. Travers had regarded her singing as a hobby and was shy about it, but was encouraged by fellow musicians.[3] Travers also was in the cast of the Broadway-theatre show, The Next President.[5]

The group Peter, Paul and Mary was formed in 1961, and they were an immediate success. The Associated Press, in Travers' obituary noted:

The group's first album, "Peter, Paul and Mary" came out in 1962 and immediately scored hits with their versions of If I Had a Hammer and Lemon Tree. The former won them Grammys for best folk recording and best performance by a vocal group.

Their next album, Moving, included the hit tale of innocence lost, Puff (The Magic Dragon), which reached No. 2 on the charts and generated since-discounted reports that it was an ode to marijuana.

The trio's third album, In the Wind, featured three songs by the 22-year-old Bob Dylan. Don't Think Twice, It's All Right and Blowin' in the Wind reached the top 10, bringing Dylan's material to a massive audience; the latter shipped 300,000 copies during one two-week period.[6]

All in all, "[a]t one point in 1963, three of their albums were in the top six Billboard best-selling LPs as they became the biggest stars of the folk revival movement."[6]

Their version of If I Had a Hammer became an anthem for racial equality, as did Bob Dylan's Blowin' in the Wind, which they performed at the August 1963 March on Washington.[6] Puff, the Magic Dragon is so well-known that it has entered American and British pop culture.

The group broke up in 1970, and Travers subsequently pursued a solo career and recorded five albums, "Mary" (1971), "Morning Glory" (1972), "All My Choices" (1973), "Circles" (1974) and "It's in Everyone of Us" (1978). [3] The group re-formed in 1978, toured extensively and issued many new albums. The group was inducted into the Vocal Group Hall of Fame in 1999.

Travers’s first three marriages [1. ? (m. 1958-1960), 2. Barry Feinstein (m. 1963-1968), 3. Gerald Taylor (m. 1969-1975)][7] ended in divorce. She is survived by her fourth husband, restaurateur Ethan Robbins (married 1991), two daughters, Erika Marshall (born 1960) of Naples FL, and Alicia Travers (born 1965) of Greenwich CT; half-brother John Travers; a sister, Ann Gordon, Ph.D. of Oakland CA, and two grandchildren, Wylie and Virginia. Travers lived in Redding, Connecticut.[3]

In 2005, Travers was diagnosed with leukemia. Although a bone-marrow transplant was apparently successful in beating the disease, Travers died on September 16, 2009, at Danbury Hospital in Danbury, Connecticut, from complications arising from chemotherapy.[3] She was 72 years old.

Solo discography

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Stars that died video of 2010 updated

Stars That Died 2008