RIP Robert M. Pirsig, author of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

"The truth knocks on the door and you say, ‘Go away, I’m looking for the truth,’ and so it goes away. Puzzling." -- Robert M. Pirsig

I was saddened to learn that Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance author Robert M. Pirsig died today at the age of 88.

I read the pop philosophy treatise Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance in college and thought it was the greatest book ever. I read it again 15 years later and didn't get as much out of it the second time around. It's been another 15 years since I re-read it and I no longer remember why I had those opinions (I have a lousy memory when it comes to books and movies). I think I should give it another try and see what my current nervous system thinks of his exploration into the nature of quality.

One thing is for certain, the title of the book is one of the best ever (and has been imitated ever since the book came out in 1974), and the paperback cover design is absolutely iconic. [UPDATE: reader Simenzo corrected me. Zen in the Art of Archery, by Eugen Herrigel, was published in 1948]

Author Robert Pirsig and his son Chris in 1968. Pirsig, who wrote Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, died Monday at age 88. William Morrow/HarperCollins

From NPR:

Zen was published in 1974, after being rejected by 121 publishing houses. "The book is brilliant beyond belief," wrote Morrow editor James Landis before publication.

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Chuck Berry, Rock Music Legend, Dies at 90

The great Chuck Berry, “who with his indelible guitar licks, brash self-confidence and memorable songs about cars, girls and wild dance parties did as much as anyone to define rock ’n’ roll’s potential and attitude in its early years,” died on Saturday, the New York Times and others reported Saturday. He was 90.

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RIP Popular Photography, 1937-2017

Eighty years after its founding as one of the first prosumer publications for the then-expensive hobby of photography, Popular Photography is ceasing both print and online operations following the next issue. Read the rest

Legendary jazz singer Al Jarreau, 76, passes away

The incredibly talented Al Jarreau has passed away, at a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 76.

Via the Chicago Tribune:

Jarreau was loosely classified as a jazz singer, but his eclectic style was entirely his own, polished through years of obscure apprenticeship in lonely nightclubs. He did not release his first album until 1975, when he was 35, but within two years he had won the first of his seven Grammy Awards and had begun to attract a wide following.

He was dubbed the "Acrobat of Scat" for the way he adopted the fast, wordless syllables of bebop jazz musicians, but he didn't limit himself to the musical backdrop of an earlier generation. His approach emphasized the percussion-heavy and electronically amplified sound of rhythm-and-blues and funk music, and he had a particular gift for mimicking almost any kind of musical instrument or sound.

"Jarreau imitates the electronic and percussive hardware of the 1970s," critic Robert Palmer wrote in Rolling Stone in 1979. "But he does more than that. He stands there and makes it all sound natural, singing so sweetly and unaffectedly you'd think he just happened on this remarkable vocal vocabulary."

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Richard Hatch of 'Battlestar Galactica' has died. He was 71.

Richard Hatch, who starred in the original television science fiction series 'Battlestar Galactica' and the mid-2000s reboot, died today of pancreatic cancer. He was 71. Hatch was nominated for a Golden Globe award in 1979 for his performance as Captain Apollo in the iconic science fiction series.

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Mary Tyler Moore, a television icon for women in an era of change, has died

“How will you make it on your own?,” the theme song asked a “girl,” played by Mary Tyler Moore. “This world is awfully big.” She made it, after all.

"Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine," her rep said in a statement.

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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.

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Fidel Castro, former Cuban president, is dead at 90

Fidel Castro, the former president of Cuba and leader of the Caribbean nation's Communist revolution, has died, state TV announced tonight. He was 90. His brother Raúl Castro, who is the current President of Cuba, announced Fidel's death on state television tonight.

"The historical leader of the Cuban Revolution died on the night of Friday, November 25, at 22:29 hrs., and his remains will be cremated, in accordance with his will," said the Cuban president.

BBC:

Fidel Castro ruled Cuba as a one-party state for almost half a century before handing over the powers to his brother Raul in 2008. His supporters praised him as a man who had given Cuba back to the people. But his opponents accused him of brutally suppressing opposition.

A woman carries a portrait of Cuba's former president Fidel Castro during a May Day rally in Istanbul, Turkey, May 1, 2016. REUTERS

The funeral details for Fidel will be announced in the coming hours, said Raúl. Fidel was last seen on November 15, when President Tran Dai Quang of Vietnam visited the longtime Cuban leader's residence.

[El País] Read the rest

Please donate for Carson Lebkowsky's funeral expenses

I received the shocking and sad news that Jon Lebkowsky's 16-year-grandson Carson died suddenly this week. Jon was one of the early editors at bOING bOING (the zine) and a great supporter of Boing Boing on The Well. He is also one of the founders of EFF Austin and an all around activist for good. Please consider donating to Carson's funeral expenses at Go Fund Me.

I am a family friend of the the Lebkowsky family, and have known Carson since he was a tiny tot. Carson was just 1 month shy of his 17th birthday, November 23rd. He knew and loved God, loved his family and friends, and loved to make others smile. Carson had such a huge heart, and would give whatever he had to help someone. He was so proud of his family and his love for them showed when he was with them. His personality was so outgoing... as long as you were laughing and smiling he was having a great time!

On the morning of October 23, 2016, Carson's family went to wake him up to start the day only to find that he was not breathing. EMS arrived and made every attempt to save Carson, however it was unsuccessful. Carson passed away in their family home in Austin, Texas.

Carson leaves behind his parents, Robert and Dana; his older brother, Colton; grandparents, numerous aunts and uncles, cousins, and a lot of friends. He will be greatly missed and never forgotten.

His death was very unexpected and I have started this fundraiser to help with the funeral expenses.

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How haunters remember their own among 2016's deaths

Dan Howland from the dearly departed Journal of Ride Theory snapped these all-the-feels tombstones at this year's Davis Graveyard (previously) haunt. Read the rest

Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel, Nobel prize laureate and author, dead at 87

Elie Wiesel was a Holocaust survivor, Nobel Peace Prize winner, a prolific author, and an outspoken activist for peace and human rights. He died Saturday, at 87 years old.

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Michu Meszaros, who played ALF the extraterrestrial on television, RIP

Michu Meszaros, the circus performer and actor who played Alf the extraterrestrial on the 1980s sitcom, has died at age 76. Maestros also appeared in “Looks Who’s Talking, "Big Top Pee-wee," and episodes of "Dear John” and “H.R. Pufnstuf."

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'Casablanca' actor Madeleine Lebeau dead at 92

Actress Madeleine Lebeau has died. She was 92. She is best known in America for her role as 'Yvonne' in Casablanca. Lebeau was the film's last known surviving cast member, and also performed in a number of classic films including Federico Fellini's 8 ½ and Hold Back the Dawn with Errol Flynn and Olivia de Havilland.

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A long list of comedians mourn the passing of Garry Shandling, age 66

Comedy legend Garry Shandling passed away in Los Angeles, today, according to the Los Angeles Police.

Shandling was well respected and loved. E! Online shares a long collection of goodbyes from his colleagues.

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Jefferson Airplane’s Paul Kantner has died at 74

Paul Kantner, founding member of Jefferson Airplane and icon of the sixties San Francisco rock explosion, died today. He was 74. Earlier this week, he suffered a heart attack, and had for years been dealing with serious health issues.

His death was confirmed by longtime publicist and friend Cynthia Bowman, who told reporters he died of multiple organ failure and septic shock.

Paul Kantner and Grace Slick and daughter China of the Jefferson Airplane, photo dated 10/08/1971

From the San Francisco Chronicle:

With Jefferson Airplane, Mr. Kantner pioneered what became known as the San Francisco sound in the mid-1960s, with such hits as “Somebody to Love” and “White Rabbit.”

The Airplane was renowned for thrilling vocal gymnastics by singers Marty Balin, Grace Slick and Mr. Kantner, the psychedelic blues-rock sound developed by guitarist Jorma Kaukonen and bass player Jack Casady and the LSD-spiked, ’60s-era revolutionary fervor of its lyrics.

Paul Kantner [Wikipedia]

Jefferson Airplane

Jefferson Airplane at Woodstock

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Alan Rickman, 1946-2016

Famous for his intriguing villains and staccato voice, English actor Alan Rickman is dead at 69.

The star was suffering from cancer, his family said. He became one of Britain's best-loved acting stars thanks to roles including Professor Snape in the Harry Potter films and Hans Gruber in Die Hard.

He also won a Bafta Award for playing the Sheriff of Nottingham in 1991's Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves.

A family statement said: "The actor and director Alan Rickman has died from cancer at the age of 69. He was surrounded by family and friends."

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RIP Wayne Rogers, 1933-2016

Wayne Rogers, the actor who portrayed M*A*S*H's legendary "Trapper" John McIntyre, has passed away at the age of 82.

Rogers was an incredibly talented individual. In addition to his numerous television and film credits, Rogers became a very successful business person, board member, real estate investor, and continued to produce theater.

(h/t Daneel) Read the rest

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