In an interview for this obituary in 2009, Mr. Schallert said he had never been particularly selective about the roles he played. “That’s not the best way to build a career,” he admitted, “but I kept on doing it, and eventually it paid off.”
Robert E. Simon, the developer who started the beautiful community where I have lived for the past 30 years, has passed away, according to Michael Neibauer’s report. If Reston hadn’t come into being, I’m not sure that I would still be living here in the D.C. metro.
So, picking up some vibration in the air or other, I recently watched Keep On Keepin’ On (2014), Alan Hicks’s documentary about the relationship between veteran jazz trumpeter Clark Terry and the young pianist Justin Kauflin. The film was thin in the areas I was curious about, namely Terry’s career in the 1940s and onward—his departure from the Duke Ellington orchestra gets only an offhand mention, for instance—but it does a good job of telling the story it wants to tell. Terry was an influence on so many players, and he continued to nurture talents like Kauflin’s into his 90s. His body ravaged by diabetes, Terry kept on teaching.
My familiarity with Terry’s work is rather limited, but he was a gateway drug for me, like Dave Brubeck. I have a vinyl recording of Terry performing live with the Ohio State University Jazz Ensemble; this would be early 1970s, as I bought it after then band played a high school assembly for us. His work with the horn impressed me less than his vocal work, especially his signature piece “Mumbles,” an encore bit of rhythmic whimsy.
Anyway, it came as a slight shock to learn that Terry had died just this past week, as Reuters reports. Another one gone, but we have his recordings (more than 900 of them!) and his students.
Bruce Morton, my favorite reporter on CBS in the Vietnam-to-Watergate days, back when I had time for TV news, has passed away. Morton had an edge to his on-air work that hinted that he had a firm grasp of how absurd the whole situation was. You can hear him in a couple of tiny clips in Wolf Blitzer’s remembrance.
I bought these boots somewhere in the early 1990s—I know, nothing is built to last any more. Light and comfy, they took me up to Clingman’s Dome in Tennessee in 1993: that’s when I figured out that the nicely ventilating nylon uppers weren’t waterproof. Together, my footgear and I climbed in the Cascades of Washington, the Adirondacks, Yosemite, and many times up, down, and over the Blue Ridge.
Stitched and glued back together several times, they’d finally had enough. So long, old boots.
Hey, the laces are new and in good shape. I can use them again for something.
Those who lack faith in fixed order and stable places have a harder time building monuments that must, in their nature, be monolithically stable and certain. Happiness writes write, and pluralism builds poorly. An obelisk can never be an irony. A pyramid can never symbolize a parenthetical aside. An eighty-foot-tall monument to fair procedure would not be a fair sight.
Margalit Fox’s obit for Imero Fiorentino, the lighting designer who made Richard Nixon look less bad in the televised Nixon-Kennedy debates, has this delicious second lede paragraph:
The maestro behind those feats was Imero Fiorentino, a lighting director who for more than half a century orchestrated the play of luminescence and shadow on television shows, in commercials and at live performances, illuminating — or not — everything from jowls to Jell-O to ginger ale.