David Bowie has died at the age of 69, of cancer. You may remember him as the guy who changed the direction of rock six or seven times.
I wish I had something clever to say here, but I don’t, so just read the AP’s retrospective (or Wikipedia‘s, if you’re reading this in a dystopian future where the AP’s links have gone dead) while listening to Moonage Daydream:
Christopher Hitchens died today of pneumonia (itself caused by his esophageal cancer), at the age of 62. People more eloquent than I have attempted to sum up his character and the impact of his life, so I won’t attempt it.
Let me simply quote one of his simpler, more distilled adages:
What can be asserted without proof can be dismissed without proof.
and replay one of my favorite Hitch bits, from the Intelligence2 debate on whether the Catholic church is a force for good:
Martin Gardner, the Mathemagician, passed away on May 22.
Go read Phil Plait’s post about him, because Phil says everything I would have.
The AP is reporting that Oral Roberts is dead at 91. I guess he failed to raise the $8 million ransom to keep the Lord from calling him home.
The obit also mentions Oral Roberts University’s financial problems. Maybe they could join with Bob Jones University to form Oral BJ U. (Might not want to invite Brigham Young U. into the coalition, though. That might turn out to be… barely legal.)
As you’ve no doubt heard,
Ted Kennedy has passed away.
My earliest memory of him is from my college days, when he and Bob
Dole had a five-minute debate program on WTOP that I enjoyed listening
to on my way to school.
He was also the guy who, every year, introduced a bill to raise the
minimum wage. Every time, it got shot down, and every time, he
introduced another one, until one finally passed.
Last, and certainly least, he spoke with a true New England yankee
accent. In an age when it seems that American regional accents are
being eroded, Kennedy’s speech had a certain exotic quality about it.
I just heard that George Carlin died on Sunday.
Piss, cunt, motherfucker, cocksucker.
I first ran into his Seven Words You Can Never Say on TV when I was, oh, twelve or thirteen. At the time, I thought it was the funniest thing ever.
Later, I decided it wasn’t actually all that funny; that the humor came entirely from the fact that you’re not supposed to say those words—in other words, it was an elaborate poop joke.
Still later, I listened to the sketch again, and realized that no, it’s funny even if you’re not shocked by words like “cocksucker”. And while the humor is based on the fact that you’re not supposed to say words like that, it’s more subtle than just a poop joke; it’s more of a commentary on society, and the interaction between the meaning of words and their connotations.
But to hell with that. Here’s a sketch of Carlin’s that’s all about death and heaven:
And finally, let’s thank the sun for the fact that we had Carlin as long as we did. And Joe Pesci, if you’re listening, please make sure he’s not in any discomfort.
Arthur C. Clarke has passed away. Not that this was entirely unexpected, but it still sucks.