"Flowers For Algernon" was one of those books that I read way too young (my dad’s fault), but it had a massive impact on me. Whenever anyone asks about books that shaped me, that one is always on the list.
Thank you and rest in peace, Mr. Keyes.
H.R. Giger, Atomic Children
Many of us are familiar with the story of Shirley Temple, the child star. But how many of us know the story of Shirley Temple Black, the U.S. diplomat tasked with tracking down an elephant missing from the president’s guest house?
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Director Harold Ramis, who brought us films like Stripes, Analyze This, Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters and who appeared as Egon Spengler in the latter and its sequel, Ghostbusters 2, died at the age of 69. R.I.P.
Famous deaths invite hyperbole. The news that Philip Seymour Hoffman was discovered dead today in an apartment bathroom, with a syringe sticking out of his arm, seems like an occasion to overreact with some exaggerated summary of his career—something like “most talented and kaleidoscopic actor of his time.”
Except, in this case, the compliment isn’t hyperbolic at all. It’s just an accurate description, as true yesterday as it is today. And the competition isn’t even that close.
The first thing about Philip Seymour Hoffman—that is, the first thing most audiences saw—is that he looked unremarkable, even boring. He had a hangdog countenance, often sliced with the swoop of his receding blond mane, with small, firm eyes. He wasn’t strikingly handsome, nor strikingly unhandsome, neither thin nor obese, not blessed with any distinguishing gosh-wow feature that would make somebody watching an early performance in Twister or The Big Lebowski exclaim, “I think we’ve found our next Brando.” Instead of standing out in these early films, he stood within them—gauging the pace and tone of the action around him and blending in so delicately that it’s not uncommon for even Hoffman fanatics to look back on his career and think, I forgot he was in that.
Read more. [Image: Sony Pictures Classics]
Dead at 46, Philip Seymour Hoffman
I am actually really sad right now…Just goddamn everything.
Vinnie’s Pizza in Brooklyn remembers Nelson Mandela the only way it knows how.
I think he’d be cool with this. Or at least I would like to think he would be.
Haunted by troubling memories, he spent the last years of his life trying to beat a debilitating drug addiction and pouring out his heart to anyone who would listen. The people who knew him in those years open up about the demons that he battled to the end.
RIP Elliott…You’re still missed as much as you were 10 years ago.
So far, the human race has eliminated just one disease in history: smallpox. But it’s on the cusp of adding a second virus — polio — to that list.
One special man in Somalia was at the battlefront of both eradication efforts. He died unexpectedly last week at age 59 of a sudden illness.
Ali Maow Maalin was the last member of the general public to catch smallpox — worldwide. And he spent the past decade working to end polio in Somalia.
World health leaders called Maalin “an inspiration.” Even in the weeks before his death, he was leading anti-polio campaigns in some of the most unstable parts of Somalia.
Maalin’s fight against polio began in 1977. Jimmy Carter had just been elected U.S. president. Apple Computer had just incorporated in California. And the world was on the verge of wiping out smallpox. Decades of vaccination efforts had pushed the virus into one last corner of the world: Somalia.
Maalin, then a hospital cook near Mogadishu, caught smallpox while driving an infected family to a clinic. He was careful not to spread the disease to anyone. And about three years later, Somalia — and the world — were declared free of smallpox.
Photo courtesy of the World Health Organization.
-The Monkees, ‘Daydream Believer’
I used to sing this to Ezra sometimes while I would hold him. I always screwed up the verses, and he seemed generally bewildered but fine with me singing this.