## RIP Raymond Smullyan, Puzzle-Creating Logician

When I was in college I read and greatly enjoyed Raymond Smullyan logical puzzles books, especially What Is the Name of This Book? He died last week at the age of 97.

From the NYTimes:

Professor Smullyan was a serious mathematician, with the publications and the doctorate to prove it. But his greatest legacy may be the devilishly clever logic puzzles that he devised, presenting them in numerous books or just in casual conversation.

Sometimes they were one-offs, and sometimes they were embedded in longer narratives to explain mathematical concepts, such as Boolean logic, as he did in “The Magic Garden of George B and Other Logic Puzzles” in 2015; or retrograde analysis, as he explored in the “The Chess Mysteries of the Arabian Knights” in 1981.

He was also a character. With his long white hair and beard, Professor Smullyan resembled Ian McKellen’s wizard, Gandalf, from the “Lord of the Rings” film series. He was lanky, hated exercise and loved steak and eggs. He studied Eastern religion. He told corny jokes and performed close-up magic to anyone near him. He played the piano with passion and talent into his 90s. (A career in music had been derailed by tendinitis when he was a young man.)

## RIP J.S.G. Boggs (1955-2017) - an artist who drew his own money

Artist J.S.G. Boggs died on January 22. He drew money and convinced people to accept it in exchange for products. He sold the receipts as his works of art. He didn't sell the bills themselves.

James Stephen George Boggs (born 1955) is an American artist, best known for his hand-drawn, one-sided depictions of U.S. banknotes (known as "Boggs notes") and his various "Boggs bills" he draws for use in his performances.

He spends his "Boggs notes" only for their face value. If he draws a \$100 bill, he exchanges it for \$100 worth of goods. He then sells any change he gets, the receipt, and sometimes the goods he purchased as his "artwork". If an art collector wants a Boggs note, he must track it down himself. Boggs will tell a collector where he spent the note, but he does not sell them directly.

## Star Wars icon Carrie Fisher dead at 60

Last weekend, actor Carrie Fisher had a heart attack while flying to Los Angeles. She was rushed to UCLA Medical Center as soon as her flight landed, and was under medical care since. Earlier today, Tuesday, December 27, 2016, Carrie Fisher died at the age of 60.

## John Glenn, the first American to orbit Earth, dies at 95

John Glenn, a war hero and the first American to orbit planet Earth, has died after being hospitalized in Ohio for the last two weeks.

## Jazz pianist and composer Horace Silver, 1928-2014

The great jazz pianist and composer Horace Silver died today "of natural causes" at his home in New Rochelle, New York. Read the rest

Jenny Hart remembers the self-published Toronto author and his "sweet, vulgar, offensive, sometimes boring, funny and beautiful to read" words

## Gabriel García Márquez, Nobel laureate novelist, 1927-2014

Novelist Gabriel García Márquez, whose One Hundred Years of Solitude "established him as a giant of 20th-century literature," died today at his home in Mexico City. He was 87.

## RIP Lou Scheimer (Fat Albert, Star Trek: The Animated Series, etc.)

Saturday morning cartoon pioneer Lou Scheimer, whose Filmation company created Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids, Star Trek: The Animated Series, Groovie Goolies, He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, and many other classics of the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, has died. He was 84. Above, Scheimer with some of his Filmation characters in an illustration from the cover of his book, "Lou Scheimer: Creating the Filmation Generation." From the New York Times:

Filmation was considered noteworthy on two counts: it kept production in the United States in an age of increasing outsourcing (then as now, the labor-intensive work of animating many American cartoons was done in Asia) and it sought to produce cartoons with a message of social tolerance.

## Elmore Leonard, RIP

Crime novelist Elmore Leonard, a master of modern noir, died today. He was 87. From his 2001 essay, "Easy on the Adverbs, Exclamation Points and Especially Hooptedoodle,"that appeared in the New York Times:

5. Keep your exclamation points under control. You are allowed no more than two or three per 100,000 words of prose. If you have the knack of playing with exclaimers the way Tom Wolfe does, you can throw them in by the handful.

6. Never use the words ''suddenly'' or ''all hell broke loose.'' This rule doesn't require an explanation. I have noticed that writers who use ''suddenly'' tend to exercise less control in the application of exclamation points.

Elmore Leonard's author page on Amazon

## Notable deaths in 2012, as recorded by Wikipedia

Information designer Jess Bachman created Wikipedia Remembers 2012, an interactive feature about the top 100 public figures who died in 2012 as ranked by the number of words in their Wikipedia entries. There are probably more accurate ways to measure the value of a person's life, but hey, that's a matter for another debate. Jess explains:

I think its a great way to explore and remember the lesser known heroes and is an interesting measure of ones life. Phyllis Diller and Michael Clarke Duncan were 101 and 102 so they didn't make the list, while others like #4, Tale Ognenovski is a lessor known Macedonian clarinetist, but for some reason has a incredibly documented wiki page! So many interesting people here.

It should be noted that I did remove notorious people and those who were solely involved in news events, so there is some editorial by me here. The number one person was actually Treyvon Martin, and there were plenty of serial killers, terrorists, and other folk I didn't think were worth remembering.

Check it out. Read the rest

## Ravi Shankar, RIP: A performance on the Dick Cavett Show, and a reporter's recollections of a visit with Raviji

In the clip above, the late classical Indian musician Ravi Shankar performs on the Dick Cavett show, with his friend George Harrison of the Beatles.

## Pet obituaries

Reuters' Kevin Lim reports that Singapore's largest newspaper, The Straits Times, is accepting pet obituaries.

The decision to market obituaries to pet owners in tiny Singapore, one of the world's richest countries in terms of per capita income, comes as wealthy Asians have fewer kids and shower more attention on pets. Though dogs and cats once roamed free around neighborhoods in Singapore, pet owners today are extremely protective of their pets. In addition, the 80 percent of the population that lives in government-run flats is restricted to just one dog, of a small breed.

If you would like to just read a nice pet obituary this morning, Google suggests Sadie, a golden retriever who died at 12 last week. Her adventures led her as far afield as Iceland and England, and while she had no desire to learn a repertoire of tricks, she could flip a dog treat off her nose with the best of them. Read the rest

## Herbert Lom, who played stressed-out boss of Inspector Clouseau in "Pink Panther" films, has died

Czech-born actor Herbert Lom, best known as the weary boss of Inspector Clouseau in the Peter Sellers Pink Panther movies, died today at 95 years of age.

His son Alec Lom told the Associated Press that his dad "died peacefully in his sleep at home in London."

A two-part series of clips on YouTube:

Part 1, and Part 2.

## Neil Armstrong, 1930-2012: One Giant Loss for Mankind

Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon or any other world beyond Earth, died today. The former test pilot and NASA astronaut recently celebrated his 82nd birthday, and underwent heart surgery just weeks ago.

He commanded the Apollo 11 spacecraft that landed on the moon on July 20, 1969, and radioed back to Earth the historic line, "That's one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind." He walked on the moon for nearly 3 hours with fellow astronaut Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin.

He died today of complications following his cardiac surgery.

That's one giant loss for mankind. Godspeed, Sir.

Via Miles O'Brien, a statement from Armstrong's family released through their website:

## Coroner: "Top Gun" filmmaker Tony Scott did not have brain cancer

Filmmaker Tony Scott jumped to his death on Sunday, off a bridge in Southern California. Early reports from ABC News (which were copy-pasted by TMZ, HuffPo, and other outlets) that the "Top Gun" director killed himself after learning that he had an inoperable brain tumor were apparently false. Read the rest

## For Aileen.

My boyfriend Miles O'Brien lost his beloved little sister to breast cancer today. She was only 46 years old.

They both lost their mom to it a few weeks after I was diagnosed with the same disease.

There is so much to say about what a beautiful soul Aileen was, what a cruel and ugly and brutal disease breast cancer is, how torturous treatment is, how enraging it is that science and medicine have nothing better to offer us yet, how unjust the financial devastation a diagnosis brings to so many women is—and, most of all, what it means to those of us with cancer to have the kind of support in our lives that men like Miles provide, selflessly and heroically and with unconditional love.

But for now, I just want the world to see, respect, and remember this photograph Miles took of his sister this morning, shortly before her life ended. He brought her dog Jethro from her home to the hospice house so Jethro could also say goodbye.

Gone but still loved by all. RIP Aileen Crimmings O'Brien Graef - 10/30/64-8/21/2012

She is survived by two beautiful daughters, Katie and Aileen, whom she loved very much.

And, their dog Jethro.

Update: Miles and her daughters suggest that donations in honor of Aileen be sent to Visiting Nurses Association of the Treasure Coast (@vnatc), 1110 35th Lane. Vero Beach, FL 32960. This is the hospice center that cared for Aileen in her final days. Services at Strunk Funeral Home, 916 17th Street, Vero Beach, FL 32960. Read the rest