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Today Is Dean Martin's Birthday

I'm not posting this because I'm a  huge Dean Martin fan. I don't have any of his CD's. I do own a couple of his films on DVD. They are  Rio Bravo, which I own because it is  one of Quentin Tarantino's favorite films, and Kiss Me, Stupid, which I purchased when I was going through a Billy Wilder phase. The latter is one of Wilder's more underrated films and I recommend it.

But the films aren't why I find his birthday noteworthy. I suppose part of it is my manic tendency to find everything noteworthy, but that's not the entire reason. Dean Martin has intersected my life in a couple of ways I find  interesting enough to post about.

I used to like to read the Usenet newsgroup (now Google group) alt.fan.frank-zappa. For a while it had a mild infestation of people who insisted on discussing  Dean Martin.  I guess they thought it was a fun and effective way of annoying people.

The system administrator for our department's network was a big Zappa fan and a regular on the group. We were talking about Frank Zappa one day and the conversation drifted towards the newsgroup. I said something about how bad the signal to noise ratio could be sometimes and he said "Yeah it sure is. Who the hell is this Dean Martin guy anyway?"

I felt so old. And this was in the early 90's.

Dean Martin died in 1995. Like James Brown many years later, he died on Christmas day. I remember it very well, because my mother had died a few weeks earlier. I watched the news of his death on  TV  in a hotel room in Winston-Salem (my family didn't want to spend that Christmas at home) , thinking the usual thoughts about deaths coming in groups and pondering the cosmic significance of his death being so close to my mothers. If they met in the afterlife, I hope he conducted himself like a gentleman and not like a lounge lizard.

When everyone got back from Christmas break, I stopped by the system administrator's office and asked "NOW do you know who Dean Martin is?". He did.