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Recent Deaths

There have been a lot of them lately. Most have heard about Gary Coleman. I found his passing to be genuinely sad...he had a rough life.
In spite of  the true pathos, I had to fight off the urge to make jokes. Enough time has passed though for a little frivolity, which is why I am posting this picture:

For those unfamiliar, the lady on the right is porn star Mary Carey, who ran for governor of California the same year Gary Coleman did. Just looking at it, he didn't seem to have any objections to having the picture taken. And I'm sure he'd much rather being remembered  for this than being endangered by a pedophilic bicycle shop owner (as happened on an entirely too special episode of Diff'rent Strokes.)

A death you didn't  hear nearly enough about was that of Martin Gardner. Martin Gardner for many years edited the Mathematical Games column in Scientific American. He also wrote a lot of books about recreational mathematics, puzzles, philosophy, and damn near everything else under the sun. I own and have read a couple of them...The Colossal Book Of Mathematics and a book of philosophical essays called The Whys Of  A Philosophical Scrivener. The former is one of the most honestly titled books I have ever read. It is quite colossal and entirely about mathematics. Left out are some other superlatives that could have been included such as fascinating and entertaining. The latter book contains a lot of surprises. Many of the essays reveal Gardner to be a theist (thought not a Christian) and outside of the positivist, scientistic camp that many of his fans are in.

Although he died in Norman, Oklahoma, most of his last days were spent right here in North Carolina, in Hendersonville. I found this to be a fascinating tidbit. But when I shared it with people, the nearly unanimous response was "who is Martin Gardner?". Even from a guy who is smart enough to have a PhD and know what the game of life is and has a home in Hendersonville. (That one really disappointed me.) Sometimes I would describe him as "the man who is to recreational mathematics what Stephen Hawking is to physics" and the usual reaction is skepticism that there is such a thing as recreational mathematics.

Maybe I don't hang with as smart a crowd as I thought I did. I hope that's the explanation. I definitely need to make sure I write him a good haiku at the next poetry reading so people will know who he is.

In addition to Gardner and Coleman, Dennis Hopper and Art Linkletter also died. And someone told me last night (and I just confirmed) that Sandra Herrold, owner of Travis the killer chimpanzee had died. I'm going to be pretty busy between now and the second Thursday in June.



That was a pretty interesting article. I hadn't thought about how much tougher things would be for a former child star if they didn't grow physically.

I don't mind reading Salon. Sometimes there is some interesting stuff there. I suspect you wanted to ease me into Salon gently because of my last post, which I appreciate if that was the case. :)