Obituary of the Day

Blame it on the dog:

Norma Rae Flicker Brewer, a resident of Fairfield, passed away while climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. She never realized her life goal of reaching the summit, but made it to the base camp. Her daughter, Donna, her dog, Mia, and her cats, came along at the last minute. There is suspicion that Mrs. Brewer died from hypothermia, after Mia ate Mrs. Brewer’s warm winter boots and socks.

Actually, the obituary is the deceased’s final prank:

“It was just typical mom,” Donna Brewer, Norma’s daughter, said with a chuckle Saturday. “She always had stories, many of which were not true, but thought were funny.”

Donna Brewer said her mother recently died from a stroke and had been wheelchair-bound for more than a year.

“People who don’t know my mother are bemused,” said Donna Brewer.

“People who know my mother are laughing and saying, `Yeah, that’s Norma.’ ”

Donna said she has received all sorts of phone calls and inquiries regarding the bizarre introduction to her mother’s death notice, including from her partners at work.

She confirmed that the rest of the death notice is correct, including Norma Brewer being the daughter of W. Raymond Flicker, former president and publisher of the Bridgeport Post, Telegram and Sunday Post (now known as the Connecticut Post).

David Sedaris: The Unquiet American

Short profile of David Sedaris from the Times Online (I have the audio book of While You’re Engulfed in Flames which I’m about to start listening to soon):

When so much clamour greets even D-list celebrities, it is curious that Sedaris, who has sold more than seven million books, been nominated for Grammys, filled Carnegie Hall, whose every volume of memoir begins with pages of lavish ecomiums comparing him to Oscar Wilde and Mark Twain, lives in London almost unnoticed. Indeed, he considered calling his latest book Indefinite Leave to Remain after the British immigration status he was granted two years ago: “I liked the little contradiction in the phrase.” He passed his Home Office test on UK life: its quirky questions —“How old do you have to be to deliver milk?” — appealed to an American humorist fascinated by the oddness of the everyday.

Perhaps his low-key profile is intrinsic to his appeal: readers love him so intensely because they feel that they discovered him themselves. Sedaris rarely appears on TV (“I don’t want to be seen as just a personality with a typewriter”) although he travels the world giving huge, sold-out readings.

Mostly he writes about his upbringing in a loud, Greek-American clan in Raleigh, North Carolina, but his outsiderness — being gay, odd-looking, drifting between college courses and lame jobs into sundry addictions — renders his humour unflinching and often very dark. In his most recent volume, called When You Are Engulfed in Flames, he discusses the etiquette dilemmas arising from when a neighbour in the Normandy village where he owns a house is jailed as a paedophile, and the first time he told anyone he was gay ( to explain to a man who’d picked him up hitchhiking why he didn’t want to have sex, right there in the car, with his negligée-clad wife).

RIP Norman Borlaug

From his Wiki entry:

Borlaug received his Ph.D. degree in plant pathology and genetics from the University of Minnesota in 1942. He took up an agricultural research position in Mexico, where he developed semi-dwarf high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties.

During the mid-20th century, Borlaug led the introduction of these high-yielding varieties combined with modern agricultural production techniques to Mexico, Pakistan, and India. As a result, Mexico became a net exporter of wheat by 1963. Between 1965 and 1970, wheat yields nearly doubled in Pakistan and India, greatly improving the food security in those nations. These collective increases in yield have been labeled the Green Revolution, and Borlaug is often credited with saving over a billion people from starvation.[5] He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1970 in recognition of his contributions to world peace through increasing food supply.

The Last WWI Trench Warfare Vet Dies

Harry Patch:

I never knew Bob [Harry’s friend and gunner] to use that [Lewis] gun to kill. If he used that gun at all, it was about two feet off the ground and he would wound them in the legs. He wouldn’t kill them if he could help it.

[A German soldier] came to me with a rifle and a fixed bayonet. He had no ammunition, otherwise he could have shot us. He came towards us. I had to bring him down. First of all, I shot him in the right shoulder. He dropped the rifle and the bayonet. He came on. His idea, I suppose, was to kick the gun if he could into the mud, so making it useless. But anyway, he came on and for our own safety, I had to bring him down. I couldn’t kill him. He was a man I didn’t know. I didn’t know his language. I couldn’t talk to him. I shot him above the ankle, above the knee. He said something to me in German. God knows what it was. But for him the war was over.

He would be picked up by a stretcher bearer. He would have his wounds treated. He would be put into a prisoner-of-war camp. At the end of the war, he would go back to his family. Now, six weeks after that, a fellow countryman of his pulled the lever of the gun that fired the rocket that killed my three mates, and wounded me. If I had met that German soldier after my three mates had been killed, I’d have no trouble at all in killing him.

Obituary for the Night

(NANCY) LEE HIXSON of Danville, Ohio died at sunrise on June 30, 2009. She was born Nancy Lee Wood in Cleveland on April 17, 1944, baptised at St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Valley City Ohio, and confirmed at St. John’s Lutheran Church, Independence Ohio. In addition to being a teetotaling mother and an indifferent housekeeper, she was a board certified naturopath specializing in poisonous and medicinal plants; but she would like to point out, posthumously, that although it did occur to her, she never spiked anyone’s tea. She often volunteered as an ombudsman to help disadvantaged teens find college funding and early opened her home to many children of poverty, raising several of them to successful, if unwilling, adulthood. She also enjoyed a long life of unmentionable adventures and confessed she had been a rebellious teen-aged library clerk, an untalented college student on scholarship, a run-away Hippie, a stoic Sunday School teacher, a Brownie leader, a Grange lecturer, an expert rifleman, a waitress, a wife once or twice, a welder, an artist, and a writer. She was in earlier years the president of Rainbow Systems Trucking Company, Peninsula Ohio, and she drove tractor-trailers over-the-road hauling freight commodities to startled customers from Minnesota to Florida. She was the CEO of the Cuyahoga Valley Center of Outdoor Leadership Training (COLT), where she lived in a remote and tiny one-room cabin in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Despite the lack of cabin space and dining table, she often served holiday dinners to friends and relatives and could seat twenty at the bed.

Clickez-ici for the rest.

(via TYWKIWDBI)

Michael Jackson Link Roundup

The online catalog of what was auctioned from Neverland.

Captain Eo on YouTube.

The King is Dead: Lefsetz on the passing of Michael Jackson:

He missed his childhood and now he’s gonna miss his old age.

How fucked up is that?

Michael Jackson never had a chance. He had to succeed for his family, his parents’ dreams were dependent upon him.

And a boy with that much pressure delivers. He works truly hard, so he will be loved. That’s all Michael Jackson was looking for, love.

He wanted to be accepted. Wanted to be so good that he couldn’t be denied. But you can’t change family history, and the public no longer treats you as human, as an equal, once you break through. People want to rip you off or tear you down, or shower you in faux love that’s more about their unfulfilled desires than yours. It gets so confusing that you retreat.

Slog: The Last Time I saw Michael Jackson:

His art will not redeem him. He’s a one-of-a-kind musical genius who went crazy, played with morphing his race and gender, slept with children, was repeatedly acquitted of child-molestation charges, and then died, alone and broke.

It’s enough to make you cry.

Twitter and Michael Jackson:

“My Twitter search script sees roughly 15 percent of all posts on Twitter mentioning Michael Jackson. Never saw Iran or swine flu reach over 5 percent,” observed Ethan Zuckerman, a fellow at Harvard’s Beckman Center for Internet & Society.

Marco.org takes a look at Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker for Sega Genesis.

It’s weird. It’s creepy. It’s comically absurd. It really doesn’t seem like kids belong there. Yet, I can’t see anything malicious about it — I’m not even sure that anything here is inappropriate. But it seems like something about it should be, which maps eerily to the tragic battle that Michael Jackson had fought against society for nearly two decades.