Thursday, December 31, 2009

December 31, 2009

       At the end of the year, this column always thinks about those we've lost during the year.  It seems like a lot this year, but then it always does.      We lost Edward Kennedy, the youngest and most troubled of the brothers, as many frailties as most of us possess.  But health care reform, perhaps his favorite cause, seems headed toward success.  Good night, sweet prince.  I hope they pass it.  Maybe that can be his monument.  We lost his sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, a tireless advocate for those with special needs.      In my own former trade, news, we lost Walter Cronkite, the ultimate anchor. When he said, "That's the way it is," it usually was.  And Don Hewitt, creator and first executive producer of "60 Minutes."  Now there's a legacy.     Author Dominick Dunne died the same day as Kennedy. "He'd have hated that," one friend said.  And John Updike, a great American novelist whose four books about a high school basketball star named Rabbit Angstrom told us much about our country.      Marilyn Chambers died, an actress who made pornographic movies and "Ivory Snow Girl" ads.  How many of us can say that?  Oh, and in 2004 she ran for Vice President on the Personal Choice Party ticket.  She got 946 votes.      We lost Jack Kemp, a gifted NFL quarterback and later a articulate conservative Congressman, Bob Dole's running-mate on the 2004 Republican ticket.  He got more votes than Chambers, of course.  We lost Ed McMahon, best known for two words, "Heeeere's Johnny!"  Lost Irving Penn, a photographer best known for shots of fashion and glamour.  Movies:  Farah Fawcett, Jennifer Jones, Bea Arthur, Natasha Richardson, Patrick Swayze and Karl Malden, a wonderful character actor, all left us.      Popular music lost Mary Travers of Peter, Paul and Mary, guitarist Les Paul and Michael Jackson, who was only fifty.      We lost Robert McNamara, a brilliant Defense Secretary, burdened with a pointless war in Vietnam--he didn't start it, Lyndon Johnson did, but 58,000 Americans and even more Vietnamese died in it.  I remember him, out of office, talking about getting a memo from the Soviets saying, in effect, if you want war, you can have it.  He didn't.  We didn't have it.      Oh, and we lost Gidget, the chihuahua who worked for Taco Bell.      I always leave out of these columns, I know, some people who should be in them.  I'm sorry. 
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