RIP: Aretha Franklin
[Obligatory joke about showing some damn 'R E S P E C T']
[Obligatory 'Christopher Reeve is still dead' reference]
[Obligatory apology for the previous items]
This has been a busy week for celebrity funeral directors.
Probably the wrong time for this then...
George H.W. Bush, RIP
Whatever his failings, the man had personal courage.
I had a lot of problems with the elder Bush. A lot. Plus he is at least partially responsible for bringing Dubya upon us.
Yet I still feel a little sad at his passing.
To tell the truth, I kind of wonder if my sadness is entirely because of comparisons to our current president.
The most notably legacy of his presidency, to me, was probably the War on Drugs stuff; arguably one of the most harmful things to happen to the country in the modern era (pre-Trump). So, meh. I'm sure he was a fine tennis player and whatnot.
There was an interesting twitter thread today about the poor schmuck the DEA convinced to sell them some drugs across the street from the White House, so that Bush could hold it up in a press conference to show how bad the drug crisis was. Of course they had to lure the kid across town because it wasn't actually possible to buy drugs anywhere near the white house. (The kid they found didn't even know where in town the white house was, the DEA had to tell him where to go.)
Long story short Bush got his talking point and random kid with no criminal record got a mandatory minimum 10 years without parole. The judge in the case thought it was so excessive he suggested that Bush, being decent and compassionate, might commute it (he didn't).
A lovely (and funny) lady...
RIP Carol Channing
Mike Hawthorn, died on this date (January 22nd) in 1959.
Mike Hawthorn started his motor racing career in 1950, eventually becoming a Ferrari team driver for the 1953 Formula 1 season. Motor racing in the 50s was something of a blood-sport. Hawthorn suffered a couple of serious accidents, lost several of his team mates to fatal crashes and was involved in the 1955 Le Mans crash that sent a Mercedes crashing through the crowd (killing 84 spectators).
In 1958 Hawthorn finally won the Formula 1 world championship (the first Englishman to win). He immediately retired from racing.
On January 22nd, 1959 (three months into retirement), Hawthorn was driving his modified 1958 Jaguar 3.4-litre saloon on a dangerous section of the A3 Guildford bypass (racing with team manager Rob Walker, in a Mercedes 300SL gull-wing). Hawthorn lost control after striking a bollard, a truck and then crashing into a tree. The cause is not fully understood, as there is speculation that Hawthorn could have suffered a medical episode, which may have caused the crash.
Having survived chronic health issues and the horror of motor racing in the 1950s, to become world champion, Mike Hawthorn died in a road accident, at the age of 29.
The best thing I ever read about Carol Channing involved her being on Richard Nixon's enemies list.
She said it was the highest honor of her career.