Adam Gopnik considers the making of memorials (paywalled article):
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.
Mae Keane, most likely the last surviving “radium girl,” a victim of occupational radiation poisoning at her workplace with the Waterbury Clock Company, has passed away.
After a few months, she [left the company]. It was the summer of 1924. She was 18. Within two decades she had lost all her teeth.
Shirley Temple, child star of the 1930s and inspiration to my mother and many others, has died at 85.
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.
Marcella Hazan, author of one of the two cookbooks that I actually cook from, has passed. She did prickly so well.
When Mrs. Hazan arrived in New York in 1955, Italian food was still exotic, served in restaurants with straw-covered Chianti bottles and red-checked tablecloths….
The culture shock nearly crushed her. She was appalled by canned peas, hamburgers and coffee she once described as tasting no better than the water she used to wash out her own coffeepot at home.
NPR has the unhappy news of the passing of Marian McPartland, jazz pianist and genteel radio host. McPartland was one of the last four survivors of the photographic portrait from 1958, “A Great Day in Harlem.”
Cosmo Allegretti, puppeteer and voice of Dancing Bear, Bunny Rabbit, and Mr. Moose, has dropped his last ping pong ball.
Jim Nayder, host of WBEZ-FM’s “Annoying Music Show,” has passed.
A voice for centrism, former Sen. Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania, has died. Of his short-lived run for the presidency in 1995, he quipped,
“I was the only one of nine people in New Hampshire who wanted to keep the Department of Education.”
Russell Train, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, has died. He is remembered, briefly, by Robert B. Semple, Jr.
His death serves as a reminder of the G.O.P.’s historic tradition of environmental stewardship, a tradition stretching as far back as Teddy Roosevelt, which the party has now repudiated.
Fade to black for visionary filmmaker Chris Marker, who made the genuinely one-of-a-kind La Jetée (1962). He was 91.
R.I.P. Peter Bergman.
Update: Via If Charlie Parker Was a Gunslinger…, Richard Metzger offers a remembrance and clips of two TV commercials the Firesigns made for a VW dealership in 1969.
Dick Tufeld, voice of the Robot in TV’s Lost in Space (the only character who sounded remotely grounded in reality), has passed away.
(News via Leta.)
Helen Frankenthaler, one of the few women that thrived in the boys’ club of New York school abstractionism, died earlier this week. The Times has a brief slideshow of some of her most important work.