December 30th, 2005

gericault_the raft of the medusa 2


The slow rain drips for hours, filling the night with soft pattering and trickling. I enjoy listening to it too much. I do nothing else all night. Now the night is gone, but the rain is still falling. It will probably still be falling when I wake up. I'll probably write about it again. If it continues to fall tonight, though, I don't think I'll spend so much time listening to it. I'll go poke around at the Historic American Buildings Survey section of the Library of Congress. Everything is going to be washed away, so I'd like to see what it was.
gericault_the raft of the medusa 2


The Sacramento Bee has published its annual list of dead famous and semi-famous people. Once again, I failed to appear. As usual, there were a few whose obituaries I had missed. For example, I hadn't heard about musicians "Long" John Baldry (64); Oscar Brown Jr. (78); Hamilton Camp (70); Jim Capaldi (60), of Traffic; Tyrone Davis (66); Spencer Dryden (66) of Jefferson Airplane; Paul Hester (46) of Crowded House; Keith Knudsen (56) of the Doobie Brothers; Chris LeDoux (56); Karl Mueller (41) of Soul Asylum; Bobby Short (80); Jimmy Smith (79); and, most surprisingly, Chris Whitley, who was 45. Most of those guys were fairly young. Musicians.

There were also a few "WTF, they were still alive?" moments on the list. I hadn't heard about Constance Cummings, who died at 99. I thought she died sometime in the '70's. Then there was lounge music legend Martin Denny, who died at 93, and band leader Skitch Henderson who was 87. I thought both of them gone long ago. Same for singer Frances Langford, 92, who was popular as far back as the 1930's. Actor Dan O'Herlihy died at 85. I remember him being an old guy when I saw him in movies made way back in the 1950's (well, he seemed old to me when I was akid, though he was a decade younger than my dad.) Writers Alvin Josephy (90) and Gavin Lambert (80) I also thought already dead.

I always have mixed feelings about the annual dead lists. On the one hand, they're sort of ghoulish and a bit depressing. On the other, I get to say "Hey, I outlived that guy!" which makes me feel lucky. But what would we do without dead lists to exacerbate the inevitable mood swings of this moody season? They're as essential to the time as booze and electrical fires and the morose, sentimental verses of Robert Burns. Happy freakin' holidays.

I probably won't make the list next year, either, even if I'm dead by then. I'm unlikely to become even a qualifying semi-celebrity in so short a time.