ODD Comments

    Jan Hooks, formerly of SNL, gone at age 57

    Goodbye Bette Davis. Goodbye Jodie Foster.  Goodbye Kathie Lee Gifford.  Goodbye Tammy Faye Bakker.  Goodbye Sinead O’Conner. Jan Hooks, who was well known for these and other actress impersonations on SNL, has died at the age of 57.

    Hooks got her start on “The Bill Tush Show” which broadcast in the 1980s on WTBS in her home town of Atlanta, Oh Atlanta (thank you, thank  you Lowell George).  The show mixed up comedy, interviews, and a variety of musical guests including the debut of The Vapors performing their classic “Turning Japanese” on the show.

    Hooks left SNL in 1991 and took a part in the successful TV show “Designing Women“.  Hooks also had a very memorable roll in “Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure” playing the part of Tina a tour guide at the Alamo. Can you say ‘adobe’ with me?

    OBTW Bill Tush has been news journalist and humorist.  In 1965 he was working as a radio disk jockey in Latrobe, Pennsylvania, hosting the “Mid Morning Polka Party”.

    Latrobe of course is famous for Rolling Rock beer as well as (apparently) polka. (Always link back to beer whenever you have the chance.)  (Or to the Deer Hunter wherein you will find several scenes that feature Rolling Rock.)  Fish wrap.

    Lest you think polka has also gone and joined the bleedin’ choir invisible polka radio may still be found especially if you find yourself in Michigan or surfing the net.  Polka is apparently a Czech word meaning “Polish woman” if you believe the Oxford Etymological Dictionary.

    Bel Air born racehorse Cigar stubbed out at 24

    Today, we give an ODD nod to the war against speciesism , as we report the death of the legendary American Thoroughbred race horse Cigar who passed on to that great paddock in the sky. In 195 and 1996 he won 16 consecutive races against topnotch competition. During his career he earned over $9 million dollars.

    He missed $10 million by $185. (Dare we say, “Close but no cigar?”) Top lifetime Thoroughbred racing earnings go to Curlin who won over $10 million.

    Lest you think his name came from a tobacco product, be advised that it came from a aeronautical term pre-takeoff check-offs: Controls, Instruments, Gasoline, Attitude, Runup. It was bestowed upon him by his owner, Allen Paulson who owned the Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation, maker of Gulfstream private jets.

    Psst, for those of you with double digit multiples of Cigar’s winnings, Gulfstream has a new, super secret jet in the offing – code name P-42.

    Alas, Cigar was sterile. (We ask ODDly, if Cigar had produced progeny, would they have been known as “Cigar-ettes”? Sorry.) In contrast to the tragedy of Ferdinand, Cigar was retired to the Kentucky Horse Park.

    He died October 8, 2014 following complications of surgery for severe osteoarthritis. Cigar was 24 years old.

    Marian Seldes, stalwart actress, exits the stage

    Actress Marian Seldes has passed away at age 86. She was the Tony Award-winning star of “A Delicate Balance” written by playwright Edward Albee.

    Ms. Seldes was known as a teacher to both the great Kevin Kline and the incomparable Robin Williams.  She was also said to be a muse to Mr. Albee.

    “O for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
    The brightest heaven of invention,
    A kingdom for a stage, princes to act
    And monarchs to behold the swelling scene!”

    She held for a time the Guinness World Record for most consecutive performances. Our friends in the UK called her “stalwart” meaning of course “loyal, reliable, and hardworking”.

    Incidently the Tony Awards are named for Antoinette Perry, an actress, director, producer, and wartime leader of the American Theatre Wing.

    Ms. Perry was born and raised in the Mile High City of Denver Colorado which coincidentally is the home locale for Kevin Kline (and Diane Keaton) in the movie Darling Companion.  Denver is also just a short drive from Robin Williams’ well known Mork and Mindy House located in Boulder, Colorado.

    Artie Shaw, Big Band leader, passes the baton

    Artie Shaw, the jazz clarinetist and big-band leader who successfully challenged Benny Goodman’s reign as the King of Swing with his recordings of “Begin the Beguine,” “Lady Be Good” and “Star Dust” in the late 1930’s, died December 30, 2004 at his home in Newbury Park, Calif. He was 94.

    He apparently died of natural causes, his lawyer, Eddie Ezor, told The Associated Press.

    Artie Shaw’s virtuosity on his instrument, his groups’ highly original arrangements and his explosively romantic showmanship made him one of the most danced-to bandleaders of swing and one of the most listened-to artists of jazz.

    He quit performing in 1954 , but the many re-releases of his discs, a ghost band, and his informed but often sardonic comments on music and many other subjects kept him in the public ear.

    Hans Bethe, ‘The Last of the Old Masters’ of Physics

    Hans Bethe, the nuclear physicist whose elegant calculations explained how stars shine and laid the foundation for development of both the atomic and hydrogen bombs, has died. He was 98.

    Bethe, who received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1967, died Sunday at his home in Ithaca, N.Y., Cornell University announced Monday.  (And did you know that famous Ithacans include: “Roots” author Alex Haley, astronomer Carl Sagan, television writer Rod Serling, and former World Bank president Paul Wolfowitz.)

    A reluctant but crucial participant in the World War II effort to develop nuclear weapons, Bethe later became one of the country’s most passionate and persuasive proponents of disarmament. He argued that the use of such weapons would cost not only countless lives, but “liberties and human values as well.”

    A brilliant, prolific and engaging theorist with an encyclopedic knowledge of nuclear physics, Bethe spent more than 60 years working with only a slide rule, a stack of blank paper and his enormous intellect, turning out page after page of mistake-free, complex calculations that fundamentally altered how scientists viewed the microscopic world of the atom.

    “He was the last of the old masters,” said astrophysicist Edward Kolb of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory. “He turned out classic paper after classic paper.”